Sunday, December 30, 2012

Eggs in a Basket

This is a fun breakfast for kids, but hearty enough for big kids, too.

4 slices of bread (use wide pan bread if available)
4-8 eggs
Cheese slices (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste.

Use a non-stick griddle. Spray with cooking spray. Butter both sides of each piece of bread. Using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, or a cup, punch out the center of the bread. Put the bread and the inside circle on the griddle. Crack eggs, and put one or two in the middle of each side of the bread (depending on the size of the hole you cut). Flip the bread circles. Let the eggs cook and set, then flip the egg basket. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and top with the cheese, and let the eggs finish cooking. Top with the toasted bread circle and serve.

Roast Beef Hash

We always had this the day after Christmas. It is made from the leftovers, so is a little different each time but was always delicious. A variation of this was made after the St. Patrick's Day corned beef.

Leftover roast beef, cut into bite-size pieces to equal about 2 cups
Leftover Yorkshire pudding, cut into bite-size pieces
Onion, chopped (I used about a 1/2 an onion)
4 or 5 potatoes, peeled and boiled, cut into bite-size pieces
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
Olive oil

Heat nonstick griddle to about 350 degrees. Heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil, then add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the potatoes and bits of Yorkshire puddings, and keep stirring and browning the mixture, adding more oil if needed. The beef is added last so it is not overcooked. Cook until heated. Season to taste.

Serve with a vegetable and some bread for a hearty dinner, or with eggs and fruit for breakfast or brunch.

Saturday, December 08, 2012


Grandma always made these at Christmastime. She filled some with raspberry jam, and some with apricot jam.

8 ounces of cream cheese
3 sticks of butter
3 cups of flour
Raspberry and apricot jam
Confectioner's sugar

Cream the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add flour little by little until combined into a dough. Form into a ball, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When ready to make, heat the oven to 350 degrees and roll the dough to about a 1/4" thickness. Slice into 2" squares. Place a dab of the jam in the center of the square, then fold one corner in, then overlap the other corner in.

Bake for 15 minute, until just browning. Store in airtight container. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar before serving.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Rainy Day Stew

On cold or rainy days, Mom would make stew to feed a crowd. She often made this in a crock pot, but would sometimes bake for an hour or two in the oven.

Put a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet and heat.
Cut meat (lamb or beef) into bite-size pieces.
Dredge in flour and brown in the hot oil.
Transfer to crock pot.
Add potatoes, carrots, and onions.
Stir in a can or two of Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup and a can or two of tomato sauce or diced tomato.
Season with salt and pepper, and a little red wine if available.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Serve over buttered noodles.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Banana Cake

If I had to pick one food that represented my childhood to me, it would be this Banana Cake made by Grandma. Well, this or homemade chicken noodle soup. The secret is in the sour cream.

1-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda (dissolve in sour cream)
4 T sour cream
1 cup banana pulp (mashed)
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Cream butter & sugar, add eggs until and beat until very light. Add the soda dissolved in sour cream. Beat well. Then add the bananas, flour, salt and vanilla. Mix well. Bake in well-buttered oblong pan in moderate oven. Frost with lemon butter frosting.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Scrumptious Chocolate Brownies

Another favorite from Grandma:

4 T cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup (4 oz) egg beaters (= 2 eggs)
1/2 cup melted margarine or corn oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chopped nuts
1-1/4 cup sifted flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Oil a 9" x 13" pan. Mix all ingredients and beat for 1 minute. Pour into pan. Bake 35 min. Cool and cut into squares.

Tim's Famous Curry Chicken Salad

1 cooked chicken, shredded
2/3 cup plain yogurt
3 T mayonnnaise
1 inch ginger root, peeled and finely grated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 T lime juice
1 T brown sugar
1 small red pepper, chopped
2 T hot curry paste (Patak's is the best)
1 tsp ground cumin
Fresh ground pepper

Combine the ginger, garlic, lime juice, brown sugar, curry paste, cumin, and black pepper and stire until sugar is dissolved. Add the yogurt and mayonnaise and mix well. Pour over chicken and red pepper and stir.

Uilani's New Mexico Hot Chocolate

When I lived in Hawaii, got this from a friend at work in an e-mail, circa winter 1997. Sent it to Mom, who probably had more use for it in snowy Connecticut. I printed it out and sent it via snail mail to Mom. The e-mail from Ui found its way into her recipe box.

This morning I pulled out all my cookbooks and found this New Mexican hot chocolate recipe, and actually *made* it, and ate it with my feet up while gazing out at the Koolau Mountain Range. Life IS good.

1/8 cup unsweetended cocoa
1/8 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix in a pot and simmer on medium until all melted. Add 1-1/8 cups milk, simmer shortly, take off stove. Add 1/2 tsp almond flavoring, 1/2 ts vanilla. Using rotary beater, beat until frothy. Pour into a big fat mug, top with cinnamon. Kick back with some tunes - a little Lisa Loeb or Jewel, perhaps, and just breathe....

Tim's Famous Green Olive Spread

40 pitted green olives (preferably Spanish)
1/2 tsp. capers
1 T blanched slivered almonds
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp thyme
fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Place all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor. Pulse for 5-10 second or until all ingredients are finely chopped. Add the olive oil in a slow stream while processing until everything is well blended.

Lemon Cheese Coffee Cake

This is from Grandma:

2-1/2 cups unsifted flour
1 package fast rising yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
3 T butter or margarine, softened
1 large egg

Mix 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.

In small pan over low heat heat water and butter til warm.

At low speed add water mixture and egg to flour mixture - Beat at medium speed add last of flour - place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with towel - let rise till it doubles about 30 min.

1 pack lite cream cheese
1 lg egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
2 T flour
2 tsp grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup seedless raisins

1 lg egg white

Roll out dough, fill, fold sides and make horse shoe; slit ends. Cover with towel let rise until about double 30 mins? Brush on egg whites - sprinkle with sugar. Bake about 25 min at 325 degrees or until brown.

Friday, December 24, 2010


This is the best tiramisu you'll ever have! It's fluffier than the traditional version. Can be doubled, and makes a pretty presentation in a trifle dish or glass baking dish. The perfect Christmas dessert. As a bonus, it is something that you make ahead, so less fuss on Christmas day!

1 package lady fingers
1 cup espresso
1/4 Kahlua (suit to taste)
drop of scotch (this eliminates the egg taste)
2 egg yolks
2 T sugar
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
cocoa powder

  1. In small bowl combine coffee, Kahlua, scotch (if doubling, you won't need to double this part). Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until foamy. Add mascarpone cheese to egg mixture.
  3. In a third bowl, whip heavy cream. Fold whipped cream into egg/cheese mixture.


Like a lasagna, this is arranged in layers. Two layers for single recipe, three layers for double:
  1. Dip each lady finger in coffee mixture, layer in trifle dish. (Or layer lady fingers, then sprinkle with coffee mixture).
  2. Sprinkle coffee-dipped ladyfingers with cocoa powder.
  3. Spread half (or third) of cheese mixture.
  4. Once layers are complete, sprinkle with more cocoa powder.
  5. Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

The Tiramisu! This is a double recipe.
The kid that got stuck holding the Tiramisu on the way to Thanksgiving dinner!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Grandma's Whiskey Balls

Grandma made these every year just after Thanksgiving so they would be ready for Christmas. Once made, pack them in sealed containers -- aging makes them better. Even as kids, we ate these and, because they ship well, they were packed in care packages.

2 cups finely chopped walnuts
2 3/4 cups of vanilla wafer crumbs
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup whiskey (Jack Daniels, Jameson's or Maker's Mark work well)

Combine all ingredients. Roll into little balls, then roll in some extra confectioners sugar. Store in airtight container.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey Tettrazini

A standard after-Thanksgiving use-up-the-leftovers meal. The base of this dish is a standard roux.

1 small onion, finely chopped
4 T butter
2 T turkey drippings
4 T flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups of cubed leftover turkey
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked spaghetti

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add turkey drippings. Heat. Add onions and saute until translucent. Turn the heat to low. Add flour one tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition. Once all the flour has been, turn heat up a bit until flour/butter mixture bubbles, then slowly add chicken broth (amount of broth can be adjusted to make sauce thicker or thinner). Once all the broth has been added, allow to come to bubble and stir until any lumps disappear. Add turkey and heat on medium until turkey is heated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over cooked spaghetti.

Or, mix with spaghetti, pour into greased casserole, cover with bread crumbs and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tapioca Pudding

A standard dessert and comfort food that both Mom and Grandma made was tapioca pudding. They both used the recipe that was right on the Minute Tapioca box -- usually the variation that used meringue to make it nice and fluffy. It was served warm or cold.

There was always a box of Minute Tapioca in the cabinet. Besides making pudding, tapioca works well as a thickener in pie fillings.

Mom's Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Hors d'Oeuvres
Clam Dip and Chips
Shrimp Puffs
Brie with Bremer Wafers



Tossed Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Relish Tray
Sweet Gherkins
Pickled Watermelon Rind

Main Course
Roast Turkey with Giblet Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Sage Stuffing
Creamed Onions
Glazed Carrots
Green Beans Almondine
Candied Yams
Cranberry Sauce

Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie
Whipped Cream

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chicken Quarantine

This started out as a recipe called "Chicken Florentine" but one of my brothers misunderstood what my mother had said, and with great indignation exclaimed, "you are feeding us something called Chicken Quarantine??"

The name stuck.

This is not quite a true Florentine, since broccoli (more palatable to us when we were children but still a green vegetable) was used. This is a great way to use up leftover chicken. This was a favorite of all six kids.

Spread about 2 cups of diced cooked chicken and bag of frozen broccoli florets in a 9x13 baking dish.

In a separate bowl, mix 2 cans of Campbells soup (cream of chicken and/or cream of celery work well) with about one cup of mayonnaise or sour cream. Mix in 1-1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread soup mixture over chicken and broccoli. Sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Friday, November 14, 2008

diet Coke Chicken

I got this recipe from my friend Dot years ago. She was born and raised in Mississippi and her "mama" made this for her. My mother met Dot on her trips to Hawaii, and Dot made this for her once. I think her mother probably used regular Coke, but Dot adjusted it to diet Coke because that's what she had on hand, and so that's how I make this too. This is good, ol' fashioned Southern white trash food at its finest... Diet Coke Chicken Spray a 8" square glass baking dish with Pam. Arrange boneless, skinless chicken breasts in pan (4 fit nicely, or use bigger dish for more). Squirt a blob of ketchup on each chicken breast, then top with a thin slice of onion. Pour about 1/2 can of diet Coke on top, about 1/2 inch in pan. Bake at about 350 for 30-40 minutes, basting with a spoon occasionally, until chicken is done and sauce is a little bubbly. Pour remainder of diet Coke over ice, splash with rum and garnish with lemon. Drink while waiting for chicken. Mmmm Mmmm Good.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Pasta Skillet with Ham and Broccoli

Mom made this dinner often -- it had all the food groups in one meal, and was great for making a little bit of meat stretch to feed a lot of people. She would ask for the "ham ends" at the deli, and get a great reduced price on those. Its a great mid-week dinner because it cooks up fast and requires very little prep work. Serve with a crusty bread and a salad if you wish.


2-3 T of oil

1 small onion, diced

1 box of pasta (such as rotini), prepared according to package directions

1 bag of frozen broccoli florets

1 cup of diced ham

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste


In large skillet, heat the oil. Saute onions until translucent. Add ham and broccoli, then turn heat to low, cover, and let heat for about 10 minutes, or until broccoli is heated through. Add pasta and toss (you may need to add a little extra oil if needed.) Mix half the parmesan cheese into the pasta mixture, and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Rehoboth Beach Waldorf Salad

The summer before I started high school, Mom and her friend Ann rented a cottage at Rehoboth Beach, and the ladies and all us kids (six from our family and Ann's four) all spent the a very casual week at the beach while the dads stayed behind and worked. So that they would have to cook as little as possible during vacation, we roasted a big turkey on the first day. After that, variations of turkey leftovers were served. On the evening that Diana Spencer wed Prince Charles, we planned to visit the neighbors down the way, who had a small black and white television so we could watch the wedding. Before going, the moms put out a "wedding" buffet spread. That night, the turkey was made into a cool and summery Waldorf Salad:

Waldorf Salad
4 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 cup of seedless grapes, cut in half
1/2 cup of walnuts -- toasted in the oven for about 10 minutes, then coarsely chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 cup cooked turkey (or chicken) diced
enough mayonnaise to hold it all together
salt and pepper to taste

Adjust ingredients to your liking. To serve, arrange some pretty lettuce leaves in a bowl, then add the Waldorf salad, and sprinkle with paprika.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This was usually served on Fridays during lent, but also anytime Mom needed a quick, stick-to-your-ribs, inexpensive meal.

In a big pot, bring some water to boil. Add some salt, then cook a package of Muellers wide egg noodles to the water. Bring back to boil and cook for another 8 minutes or so.

Drain noodles and set aside in the collander.

Make a roux: In the now empty pot, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Once hot, add one small finely chopped onion in the butter until transparent. Drain one big can of tuna (Mom used chunk light; I prefer albacore). Chop up the tuna a little and then add to the butter and onion and heat through. Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons of flour. You could also add a cup of green peas here.

Little by little, each time allowing the mixture to heat, add 2 cups of milk to the roux mixture. As the mixture heats, it will begin to thicken and bubble. When its the perfect thickness for your tuna noodle casserole, remove from heat and stir in cooked noodles.

Take about 2 cups of potato chips and crunch them up into crumbs (the odds and ends at the bottom of the bags are good for this purpose.) Stir half of the potato chip crumbs into the noodle mixture., then poor into an ovenproof casserole. Cover the top with the remaining potato chips and dot with butter.

Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve with a salad and some good bread with butter.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Carrot Pineapple Salad

This gelatin mold was a staple at our summer get-togethers. It was easy to make, it was cool, the kids all loved it, it is chock full of fruit and vegetables, and adds a pretty color to any picnic table.

Make a small box of lemon Jell-o as per package directions (orange would also work)
When its just about set, stir in the following:
1 cup grated carrots
1 can of pineapple chunks (drained)

Refrigerate a few more hours until set.

Pickled Watermelon Rind

We ate watermelon at Grandma's house in the summer. She even carved "baskets" out of the shell of the watermelon, scooped out all the juicy, red middle, and filled the basket with wonderful fruit salads. One time, when I was very young, maybe 3 (I remember it being at her old kitchen in the house my mother grew up in) she carved a whale with big teeth to hold the fruit salad. That whale scared me and I ran from the kitchen!

Nothing went to waste at Grandma's house. Like many thrifty Polish cooks, she took the rinds from the watermelon and pickled it. She would serve it all fall and winter at various family and holiday meals on relish trays that also included such treats as green olives, cocktail onions, celery hearts, sweet baby gherkins, and bread and butter chips.

I have yet to find Grandma's recipe, but in the meantime ran across this recipe which seems similar:

Pickled Watermelon Rind
(from Lynn's Country Kitchen)

3 pounds watermelon rind
Salted water (use 3 tablespoons salt for each quart of water)
2 pounds sugar
3 cups distilled white vinegar
6 pieces stick cinnamon (3 inches each)
2 tablespoons whole allspice
2 tablespoons whole cloves
2 tablespoons whole mustard seed

Cut rind into 1-inch cubes; trim off outer green skin and bright pink flesh. Soak overnight in enough salted water to cover. Drain.

Heat sugar and vinegar to boiling. Tie spices in cheesecloth bag.

Add spice bag and melon rind to vinegar mixture. Cook, uncovered, until melon is transparent, about 45 minutes. Discard spice bag.

If desired, add a few drops of red or green food coloring to the rind.

Pack watermelon rind tightly into hot, sterilized jars.

Pour boiling syrup over watermelon to with 1/8-inch of top, making sure vinegar solution covers rind.

Seal each jar at once.

3 pints

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Impossible Pie

These were fairly common in the 70's. The one I remember Mom making most was Impossible Lasagna Pie.

Corn Meal Mush and Bacon

Grandma would sometimes make corn meal mush as a hearty breakfast for us kids.

The night before serving, cook corn meal in boiling water (should be the consistency of Cream of Wheat) and poor into greased loaf pan. Cover with wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, cook up a pound of bacon. Remove bacon and place on paper towels to drain. Slice the corn meal mush and fry in bacon drippings. Serve with plenty of butter and maple syrup.

David Eyre's Pancake

Mom used to make this for brunch. Its sort of like a popover, with a hint of lemon and nutmeg. Very yummy.

I'm copying the recipe here:

David Eyres Pancake
(Originally published in the New York Times by Craig Claiborne)

2 eggs
½ cup flour
½ cup milk
Pinch of ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Juice of half a lemon
Fig or blackberry jam, pear butter or any kind of marmalade, for serving (optional).

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the flour, milk and nutmeg and lightly beat until blended but still slightly lumpy.

2. Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet with a heatproof handle over medium-high heat. When very hot but not brown, pour in the batter. Bake in the oven until the pancake is billowing on the edges and golden brown, about 15 minutes.

3. Working quickly, remove the pan from the oven and, using a fine-meshed sieve, sprinkle with the sugar. Return to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes more. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve with jam, pear butter or marmalade. Serves 2 to 4.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tomato Beef Soup

Mom and Grandma always made homemade soup. Grandma was raised in a poor household and soup was something that could be made cheaply. They would boil the meat to make broth, then eat the broth with noodles or macaroni. Then, the boiled meat and vegetables would be used for another meal. This strategy also worked well for Mom with 6 kids to feed. One of our favorites was this Tomato Beef Soup:

Make a beef broth:
In a stock pot, take some soup bones and cover with 2 1/2 quarts of water.
Add big chunks of carrots and celery. You could also throw in some quartered onions if you have them
Season well with salt and pepper.
The "secret" ingredient to all Grandma and Mom's soups is pickling spice. Take about 1 tsp and put in a tea infuser and drop into the pot (don't just sprinkle into the broth, because you'll want to remove before serving.)
Bring to boil; lower to a simmer and allow to simmer for about 3-4 hours.

Prepare to serve:
Boil elbow macaroni to package directions, drain and set aside.
Strain meat and veggies from broth, set aside for another purpose.
Open 1 or 2 large cans of whole tomatoes, mash up well and dump into the broth.

To Serve:
Spoon about 1/2 cup of macaroni into a bowl, ladle the broth over the macroni

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Famous Wafer Dessert

Mom made some spectacular desserts at Christmas. Often it was a big trifle or a creamy tiramisu. But for us kids she would make the Famous Wafer Dessert. It is ridiculously simple to make using the recipe on the box: Just make whipped cream using a pint of whipping cream and some vanilla, then put stack the cookies using the whipped cream to hold it together. Lay the "log" of stacked wafers on its side then frost with the remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate for several hours. When ready to serve, sprinkle with chocolate shavings and slice diagonally.
Here's an article on the origins of this recipe: Famous Wafer Dessert

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding

Every year at Christmas, Mom usually made Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding. Sometimes she'd do a Beef Wellington, but we all loved Yorkshire Pudding so much (and weren't fans of pate) and you need to make a roast to make Yorkshire Pudding, so that was the standard. When I moved away from home, I looked in my cookbook to find a recipe for Yorkshire Pudding but there wasn't one. I called Mom, and she gave me instructions over the phone which I scribbled in the front cover of my cook book. To this day, these scribbled instructions are what I follow each Christmas as I make my own Yorkshire Pudding.

Mom's Standing Rib Roast:

Don't bother getting a roast less than 5 lbs.
Figure 1 lb. per person but get a big one because you can do a lot with the leftovers.
Set oven to 300 degrees.
Set roast in a roasting pan with a rack, season with salt and pepper
Figure 20 minutes per pound, or until the roast reaches 145 degrees.
Remove roast from oven, cover with aluminum foil and let "rest".

While the roast is "resting", do the following:

Mom's Yorkshire Pudding:
Reset the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees.
Beat 3 eggs "to death"
Beat in 1 cup of milk (don't use skim)
Mix 1 cup of flour with 1/2 tsp salt, then beat into milk mixture
Put 1/4 cup roast dripping in a 13 x 9 Pyrex dish, the pour batter on top
Put in the oven for 30 minutes
(If conditions are right, the pudding will rise from pan as above.)

Serve with aspargus and Hollandaise Sauce, red and green pepper jellies, and horseradish cream.

*Dad stepped in to make the asparagus. He didn't cook often but he had a few specialties and he took asparagus very seriously. He used an old coffee perculator because he said the asparagus needed to stand while steaming for best effect.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees

Grandma always used these as decorations at Christmas. She would take sugar cones (not waffle cones) and stand them up. She would cover the cone with piped green frosting (use a stiff, decorating icing for best results). Then she would decorate with gold and silver dragees. She would arrange these "trees" on a bed of quilt batting for "snow".

A Pretty Christmas Table: Sequins, Butter Roses, and Sugar Bells

Grandma made a "butter rose" to grace the table of every special meal. She had a set of old spoons in graduated sizes (demitasse, teaspoon, soup spoon, etc.) that she kept on hand to make these. She would scoop a spoonful of the butter in the spoon, level it with a knife, and then dip the bowl of the spoon in ice water. When it had set a little, she would gently push it out of the spoon onto wax paper. Once she had a full complement of these "petals" she would freeze them. When they were good and solid, she would arrange them on a pretty round plate (salad plate size) in the shape of a flower--small petals in the center and larger ones to the outside.

For the sugar bells, she had an old small silver bell that had lost its clapper. (The bell had been used bedside for those confined to bed to call for her.) She would gently wet some granulated sugar (not too much or it would dissolve) and then she would pack it in the bell. Then she would gently tap it out onto wax paper to dry. After Christmas dinner, a crystal sugar bowl full of these sugar bells would be put on the table with coffee.

The dining table at Grandma and Mom's house was always set the same. They each had cherry dining tables. The table pads went down first, covered with a white table cloth (or in a pinch or in an effort to save the good white linens from small sticky finger--a white sheet). Then, a generous scattering of loose sequins (all shapes and sizes). To top it off and hold the sequins in place, a length of red netting from the fabric store. To finish the effect, a crystal punchbowl full of shiny glass ball ornaments framed with holly garland and red candles in silver candlesticks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Glazed Carrots

Like many of Mom's recipes, this one has no real measurements. It was also very simple and well-received. She served this at the holidays. It has a lovely color and is a nice complement to turkey, ham, or roast beef.

Julienne a bag of carrots. Put in a saucepan and cover with water. Add equal parts of white granulated sugar and butter (a stick of butter and a 1/2 cup of sugar usually works well). Bring to low boil and allow to boil until the liquid reduces to a glaze. This could take an hour or so, so leave it boiling on the back burner as you prepare the rest of the meal. Watch carefully at the end--it can burn very quickly as it becomes glaze.

Clam Dip

This was a staple appetizer at all our gatherings. Everyone loved it and always thought it was a more complicated recipe than it was. Mom always kept mum on that point and allowed them to think it was a culinary creation.

Drain a small can of minced clams. Mix clams into 1 pint of sour cream. Add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Resist the urge to add anything else. Chill for several hours.

When time to serve, put in dip bowl in the center of a platter of regular chips (Wise potato chips would be most authentic). Sprinkle dip with a little dried parsley for color.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Lynchburg Nibblers

Grandma always served pickled watermelon rind on relish platters at the holidays. Here is a recipe Grandma had for pickled watermelon rind:

Monday, May 01, 2006

Ma's Stir Fry Chicken

This was a meal that "Ma" used for family dinner or to feed a crowd. It was quick and easy and used up the vegetables in the refrigerator. She wasn't much on measurements--she preferred cooking to taste. So use your personal taste on this one. She sometimes substituted beef for the chicken.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Gateau a l'Orange

Before us kids came along, Mom and Dad belonged to a gourmet cooking club. They would take turns with other couples planning and preparing a fancy meal for the others. I suspect this recipe may have come from those days...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Banana Chiffon Pie

This recipe comes from the back of an undated letter Grandma sent to Mom. The letter opens with a discussion about a recipe my brother Tom, a chef, sent to her to try. It doesn't say what the recipe is (although based on the rest of the letter, I think it may be a pumpkin dessert), but makes mention of the use of "WOW--20 eggs!!!" and then concern that with her poor eyesight she would be unable to be successful with the recipe:
"after breaking 12 or 13 eggs--I would mix a little of the yolk in with the whites--thereby preventing the 'whites' to attain the desired 'whipped' stage"
but that the recipe "sounds delicious." Instead, she decides to try her hand at a "simpler" recipe. She writes:
. . . "Browsing thru my boxes of cook-books, I came across a "Banana Chiffon Pie"--I'm going to tackle it in a day or two--substituting 'Pumpkin' for the Banana--and use 1-1/2 envelopes gelatin instead of the (1) envelope that it calls for."

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Macaroni & Cheese

This is a very easy version of Mac & Cheese. No measurements, just use your judgment and your personal taste.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Monday, April 17, 2006

Home Ec Apple Coffee Cake

This was from Mrs. Volpe's middle school Home Economics class. I think this was the first project we all had to do in 6th grade:

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Molly's Strawberry/Pretzel Salad

In '92 I moved to Virginia as a military wife. I was very homesick. Grandma and Mom would often send me family recipes so I could make things that reminded me of home.

By October '94, I was living in Hawaii. My friend Molly brought this dish to a barbecue at my house and it was a big hit. Its a nice salad for warm weather get-togethers (think Grandma's pineapple-carrot salad). I asked Molly for the recipe and sent a copy home to Mom.

Not a year later we had a substantial fire in our quarters and, among other things, I lost everything in my kitchen. Including the small collection of recipes and cookbooks I had. While we were (eventually) reimbursed for our loss and replaced most of our kitchen items, there are some things you cannot replace. And there are some things you forget you even had.

And then you run across them in your mother's recipe box, over a decade later.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Sweet Koulourakia

This recipe came from our school. One of the mothers made this for an Easter party at school and distributed the recipe.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Grandma's Chocolate Cake

My cousin wrote to say that when he was in college, Grandma sent him a chocolate cake that weighed about 20 lbs and made him the envy of the dorm!

Here is a recipe for Chocolate Cake in her handwriting that I think may be the one he's talking about. Its clearly a well-loved recipe from the state of the card, so I think this must be it.

There is also another recipe that she used a lot that she got from a neighbor, who's name I don't remember. If anyone has that, please let me know and I will post it.

The White Mountain frosting on the card is not what I remember her using on chocolate cake. I remember her using chocolate fudge for frosting. Besides being delicious, she said it kept better in care packages. She would sometimes flavor the chocolate fudge with pure mint oil for variation.

One reader commented that the recipe was difficult to read, so I've transcribed it here:
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening (she probably used Crisco or butter)
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 2 T vinegar)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa
2-1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 cup hot water with a pinch of salt added
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, beat well. Then, add buttermilk. vanilla, and the cocoa. Beat well. Add flour alternately with the hot water with soda/salt.
Bake at 350 degrees in 10" angel food cake pan. Takes about 50 - 60 minutes.

Doesn't even need frosting, but if you want some,
Grandma made fudge frosting with real peppermint oil.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wetback's Delite

I apologize up front for the terribly un-PC name of this recipe. This is in my teenage handwriting, but I don't remember writing it.

Mom got it from a neighbor lady (I don't remember who exactly anymore) and made it when Dad was out of town on business. He was the meat-and-potatoes sort. When he was gone we got "fun" food. We loved it.

Like many of Mom's recipes, this has been adjusted to feed an army (there were 6 kids in the house). You could cut this in half easily, as I think its really been doubled from the original. Also, I think I would omit the Accent. We didn't know how bad that was for us 25 years ago.


Grandma always baked these brownies and layered them with wax paper in empty Entenmann's boxes wrapped in twine.

Recipe Source...

Here is the famous recipe box, chock full of recipes from my mother, my grandmother and random family, friends and neighbors from over the years...

Here is my mom as a young girl: