Monday, December 22, 2014

December Foodie Holidays: Week 4

Dec. 22: Date Nut Bread Day
Dec. 23: Pfeffernüesse Day
Dec. 24: Egg Nog Day
Dec. 25: Pumpkin Pie Day
Dec. 26: Candy Cane Day
Dec. 27: Fruit Cake Day
Dec. 28: Chocolate Candy Day
Dec. 29: Pepper Pot Day
Dec. 30: Bicarbonate of Soda Day
Dec. 31: Champagne Day

This is my paternal grandmother's aunt's recipe for fruit cake. She was born in 1892, and died the year I graduated from high school. Sadly, I never met her.

And that's the year in "foodie" holidays! If you want to add something extra to your cookbook, why not include contributor's birthdays, and the corresponding food holiday, just for fun?

Here are the websites I referenced while writing these pages:

Monday, December 15, 2014

December Foodie Holidays: Week 3

Dec. 15: Cupcake Day
Dec. 16: Anything-Chocolate-Covered Day
Dec. 17: Maple Syrup Day
Dec. 18: Roast Suckling Pig Day
Dec. 19: Hard Candy Day
Dec. 20: Fried Shrimp Day, Sangria Day
Dec. 21: Hamburger Day

Mom makes these at Christmas, among many others.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 C. margarine
1 C. sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
10 oz. jar maraschino cherries
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C. sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. maraschino cherry juice

Directions: Sift together the first six ingredients. Cream margarine and sugar; add egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture; beat until well blended. Shape into 1” balls, place on cookie sheet, and press center with thumb. Drain the cherries, reserving juice. Put a cherry in the depression. Heat chocolate chips and milk until chocolate melts; stir in juice. Spoon a tsp. of this over the cherry, covering it. Bake at 350ºF for 10 minutes.

Monday, December 8, 2014

December Foodie Holidays: Week 2

Dec. 8: Chocolate Brownie Day
Dec. 9: Pastry Day
Dec. 10: Lager Day
Dec. 11: Noodle Ring Day
Dec. 12: Cocoa Day
Dec. 13: Popcorn String Day
Dec. 14: Bouillabaisse Day

The same aunt who contributed the Egg Nog Bread also gave me this, and I can vouch for them 100% – they're amazing.

“Once-a-Year” Brownies
1 C. flour
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. margarine, softened
4 eggs
1 1/2 C. Hershey’s chocolate syrup
nuts, if desired
Directions: Grease a 13x9” pan. Combine all ingredients; beat until smooth. Pour in pan. Bake at 350ºF for 25-30 minutes. Do not overbake. While brownies are still hot, pour on fudge frosting; cool. Store at room temperature.
Comments: “J. R. calls these ‘once-a-year’ brownies; I make them more frequently than that, but not often enough for him. And God forbid I try a new recipe! ‘What’s wrong with the one we like?’”

Fudge Frosting
1 12 oz. pkg chocolate chips
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Directions: Melt the chocolate chips with the sweetened condensed milk. Add vanilla. Pour over hot brownies and cool. Frosting will harden to “fudge” consistency.

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Foodie Holidays: Week 1

December is National Fruit Cake Month and Egg Nog Month.

Dec. 1: Pie Day
Dec. 2: Fritters Day
Dec. 3: Apple Pie Day
Dec. 4: Cookie Day
Dec. 5: Sacher Torte Day
Dec. 6: Gazpacho Day
Dec. 7: Cotton Candy Day

From one of my husband's aunt's:

Eggnog Bread 
3 C. flour
1/2 C. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 beaten egg
1 3/4 C. canned OR dairy eggnog
1/2 C. cooking oil
1/2 C. chopped pecans
1/2 C. golden raisins
1/2 C. sifted powdered sugar
2-3 tsp. eggnog
Directions: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Combine the eggnog, egg and oil; add to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Stir in the nuts and raisins. Turn into a greased 9x5 loaf pan. Bake in a 350ºF oven for 60-70 minutes. Cover with foil after 50 minutes is bread browns too quickly. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack. Wrap bread; store overnight. To serve, stir together powdered sugar and enough eggnog to make of drizzling consistency. Drizzle over bread.
Comments: “This is a nice bread to give away.”

Saturday, November 22, 2014

November Foodie Holidays: Week 4

Nov. 22: Cashew Day, Cranberry Relish Day
Nov. 23: Espresso Day
Nov. 24: Sardines Day
Nov. 25: Parfait Day
Nov. 26: Cake Day
Nov. 27: Bavarian Cream Pie Day
Nov. 28: French Toast Day
Nov. 29: Chocolates Day, Lemon Cream Pie
Nov. 30: Mousse Day

I got this recipe from my dad, who made it when Mom was either out of town or under the weather and not cooking, I don't recall which. (She was appalled.) The directions are a bit scanty, but "simmer until done" is about par for the course for chili, really.

Sardine Chili
1 tin sardines (plain)
1 can chili beans w/ seasoning
1 can tomato chunks
1 bottle tomato juice
1 envelope chili seasoning
Directions: Simmer until done.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

November Foodie Holidays: Week 3

Nov. 15: Bundt Day, Raisin Bran Cereal Day
Nov. 16: Fast Food Day
Nov. 17: Baklava Day, Homemade Bread Day
Nov. 18: Vichyssoise Day
Nov. 19: Caffeinated Soda Day
Nov. 20: Peanut Butter Fudge Day
Nov. 21: Gingerbread Day

Another recipe from Mamaw's recipe box, a pair of them, in fact: "White" Fudge and Peanut Butter Fudge:

Saturday, November 8, 2014

November Foodie Holidays: Week 2

Nov. 8: Cappuccino Day, Harvey Wallbanger Day
Nov. 9: Scrapple Day, Cook-Something-Bold Day
Nov. 10: Vanilla Cupcake Day
Nov. 11: Sundae Day
Nov. 12: Pizza with Everything Day
Nov. 13: Indian Pudding Day
Nov. 14: Spicy Guacamole Day, Pickle Day

From my paternal grandmother's recipe box:

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November Foodie Holidays: Week 1

November is National Peanut Butter Lover's Month, Pepper Month, Pomegranate Month, Raisin Bread, and World Vegan Month.

Nov. 1: Bison Day, Deep Fried Clams Day, World Vegan Day
Nov. 2: Deviled Egg Day
Nov. 3: Sandwich Day
Nov. 4: Candy Day
Nov. 5: Doughnut Day, International Stout Day
Nov. 6: Nachos Day
Nov. 7: Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

I really don't know why some of these food holidays were picked for the months/days they were. I don't associate Deviled Eggs with November at all, but ok. (shrug) This is Mom's recipe for for them, usually served at cookouts in the summertime, or at Easter when she had to do something with all those colored eggs we made.

Deviled Eggs
6 hard-cooked eggs
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Directions: Cut peeled eggs in half lengthwise. Slip out yolks; mash with fork. Add other ingredients; mix thoroughly. Fill egg whites with this mixture, heaping slightly. May be refrigerated, covered, for up to 24 hours.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October Foodie Holidays: Week 4

Oct. 22: Nut Day
Oct. 23: Canning Day, Boston Cream Pie Day
Oct. 24: Bologna Day
Oct. 25: Greasy Foods Day, World Pasta Day
Oct. 26: Pretzel Day, Mince Meat Pie Day, Pumpkin Day
Oct. 27: Potato Day, American Beer Day
Oct. 28: Chocolate Day, Wild Foods Day
Oct. 29: Oatmeal Day
Oct. 30: Buy-a-Doughnut Day, Candy Corn Day
Oct. 31: Trick or Treat for UNICEF Day

Consider including an appendix to your cookbook, with tips and tricks from seasoned cooks. All the snarky remarks about Millennials not knowing how to do this or that, taking classes on so-called mundane things... this is the sort of information, the everyday stuff that "everyone knows," yet no one seems to know anymore. Find the people who have the common sense stuff, and gather those pearls!

I received this tip from one of my husband's grandmothers, who planned a wedding reception for her daughter.

How many nuts to buy?
According to Grandma W., you need 1 1/2 lbs. of mixed nuts for 50 people at a party (or reception, wedding, etc.).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October Foodie Holidays: Week 3

Oct. 15: Chicken Cacciatore Day, Roast Pheasant Day
Oct. 16: World Bread Day, World Food Day
Oct. 17: Pasta Day
Oct. 18: Chocolate Cupcake Day
Oct. 19: Seafood Bisque Day, Oatmeal Muffin Day
Oct. 20: Brandied Fruit Day
Oct. 21: Pumpkin Cheesecake Day, Caramel Apple Day, Apple Day

Several of the men on my husband's side are avid outdoorsmen. Game is often on the menu (watch out for the birdshot!), and it is from one of those men that I have this recipe, from my mother-in-law's brother. (Yeah, I know it's not "Roast Pheasant," I didn't have one for roast pheasant.)

"Famous" Pheasant
pheasant breasts
2 Tbsp. soy sauce, or to taste
Directions: Cut pheasant breasts in strips or chunks and dredge in flour. Place in a skillet well greased with butter. Cook on low (250ºF) until brown. Add soy sauce. Cook 20-22 minutes. Serve on wild rice or dressing.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October Foodie Holidays: Week 2

Oct. 8: Fluffernutter Day, Pierogi Day
Oct. 9: Submarine/Hoagie/Hero/Grinder Day
Oct. 10: Angel Food Cake Day
Oct. 11: Sausage Pizza Day, World Dulce de Leche Day
Oct. 12: Gumbo Day
Oct. 13: Yorkshire Pudding Day
Oct. 14: Chocolate-Covered Insects Day, Dessert Day

This next recipe has two parts, that includes a spice mixture that could be used for other recipes. When you're putting together your index, be sure you index all the recipes. The next edition of the family cookbook may have enough of these spice mixes to have their own chapter; we'll see...

This comes from my other sis-in-law, who has had some culinary training, which she took for fun.

Cajun Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo
1/3 C. vegetable oil OR butter or margarine
1/3 C. flour
Cajun Spice mixture (follows)
1 onion, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. paprika
1-2 bay leaves
salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
8 oz. fresh okra OR green beans
4 C. boiling chicken broth
4 oz. spicy sausage, cooked and drained
3 dried chili peppers
1 C. chopped tomatoes (canned is fine)
1 lb. shrimp (shelled or not)
1 C. cooked shredded chicken
1/2 C. chopped parsley, if desired

Directions: Make the roux in an 8 qt. pot by melting butter and adding flour until mixture is lumpy. Season with Cajun Spice mixture to taste (1-2 Tbsp.). Stir mixture constantly over medium heat until mixture is dark in color and set aside. Sauté onion, green pepper, celery and garlic in 2 Tbsp. oil. Cook until onion is soft. Add thyme, paprika, bay, salt, pepper, cayenne and okra (I use green beans). Cook okra another 3-5 minutes until soft and dark. In the 8 qt. pot combine the roux and vegetable mixture. Stir in broth, sausage, chicken, dried chili peppers and tomatoes. Simmer for 20 minutes. Before serving, add shrimp and cayenne as desired. Cook until shrimp are pink. Simmer, serve and garnish with parsley.
Comments: You can really add anything to this that you like. It freezes well, and is easy to double the recipe. Enjoy!

Cajun Spice Mixture
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. onion powder
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. pepper

Directions: Combine and store in an airtight container. Makes about 2/3 C.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October Foodie Holidays: Week 1

October is National Apple Month, Applejack Month, Caramel Month, Chili Month, Cookie Month, Dessert Month, Pasta Month, Pickled Peppers Month, Pork Month, Pretzel Month, Seafood Month, and Vegetarian Awareness Month.

Oct. 1: World Vegetarian Day, Homemade Cookies Day
Oct. 2: Fried Scallops Day
Oct. 3: Caramel Custard Day
Oct. 4: Cinnamon Roll Day (Sweden), Taco Day, Vodka Day
Oct. 5: Apple Betty Day
Oct. 6: Noodle Day
Oct. 7: Frappe Day

This recipe was taught to my mother by her aunt (her mother's sister). It's a holiday recipe, because they're a pain to make (literally! – your shoulders get a workout with the rolling pin). Pasta rollers largely remove the labor from these, especially one of the fancy ones that attach to a stand mixer, but Mom makes them by hand, when she does.

Homemade Noodles
2 C. flour
3 egg yolks
1 egg
2 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 C. water
Directions: Make a well in the center of flour. Add egg yolks, egg, and salt; mix thoroughly. Mix in water 1 Tbsp. at a time, until dough is stiff but easy to roll. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll one part at a time into a paper-thin rectangle on a generously floured board. Keep remaining dough covered. Loosely fold the rectangle into thirds. Cut crosswise into 1/4” strips. Unfold strips and place on towels until stiff and dry, about 2 hours. Break strips into smaller pieces. Cook in 3 qt. boiling broth until tender, 5-7 minutes.

Monday, September 22, 2014

September Foodie Holidays: Week 4

Sept. 22: Ice Cream Cone Day
Sept. 23: Pot Pie Day, Key Lime Pie Day, White Chocolate Day
Sept. 24: Cherries Jubilee Day
Sept. 25: Lobster Day (Official, by act of Congress and everything)
Sept. 26: Pancake Day
Sept. 27: Corned Beef Hash Day, Chocolate Milk Day
Sept. 28: Strawberry Cream Pie Day
Sept. 29: Coffee Day
Sept. 30: Hot Mulled Cider Day

Sometimes you might want to include notes or comments from the contributor. They might be about where the recipe came from, special instructions, optional information... anything really that isn't critical to the instructions themselves.

I credit this recipe to my daughter, even though she doesn't make them.

Pancakes with Sprinkles
Pancake mix
Multicolor “jimmies” sprinkles
Mini chocolate chips
Directions: Heat a nonstick griddle (or spray your pan with cooking spray). Prepare the pancake mix as usual, but add sprinkles and chocolate chips to the batter. (For 4 pancakes, about 1 tsp. sprinkles and 1 Tbsp. chocolate chips.) Cook as usual.
NOTE: I started making these for her after she had “Sprinkle Pancakes” from the kid’s menu at a local breakfast restaurant, and I saw “Birthday Cake Pancake” mix in the grocery store for twice the price. The jimmies melt as they cook, making these very much like Funfetti pancakes, without the cost. The chocolate chips were her addition, and insistence. (WW)

Monday, September 15, 2014

September Foodie Holidays: Week 3

Sept. 15: Linguini Day
Sept. 16: Guacamole Day
Sept. 17: Apple Dumpling Day
Sept. 18: Cheeseburger Day
Sept. 19: Butterscotch Pudding Day
Sept. 20: Rum Punch Day
Sept. 21: Pecan Cookie Day

This was another recipe that didn't make the first edition cookbook and had to be flown in from California; from my sweet sister-in-law.

2 avocados
2 green onions
2 cloves garlic
1 tomato, diced
1 serrano pepper, seeds and all
cilantro, to taste
lime juice, to taste
salt, to taste
Directions: Mince onions, garlic, cilantro and pepper together. Halve avocado, discard pits and scoop flesh into a ceramic or glass bowl. Add tomato and minced vegetables. Add lime and salt to taste. Mix.
Note: Use only plastic utensils on avocados to minimize oxidation.

Monday, September 8, 2014

September Foodie Holidays: Week 2

Sept. 8: Date Nut Bread Day
Sept. 9: Wiener Schnitzel Day
Sept. 10: TV Dinner Day
Sept. 11: Hot Cross Bun Day
Sept. 12: Chocolate Milkshake Day
Sept. 13: Peanut Day
Sept. 14: Cream-Filled Doughnut Day

No recipes for this week, just a tip! My husband's grandmother used to save the partitioned aluminum TV dinner trays, wash, and then make her own TV dinners with her own leftovers. While it may not be practical to save the plastic thingies that little frozen dinners come in today (and some come in biodegradable cardboard), you can buy partitioned plates that are microwave safe and make your own "TV dinners."

Pay attention to which recipes "freeze well" or "reheats well" or conversely "doesn't reheat well" if you get recipes with those sort of notes. If you have a handful of recipes that do, and the rest don't, ask the contributors – "Hey, how does X reheat, does it make good leftovers?" – and include those additional notes in the cookbook. If you're trying to save a little money and take lunches to work and not eat out, knowing which things reheat well (and which don't!) is great information to have.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Foodie Holidays: Week 1

September is National Biscuit Month, Better Breakfast Month, Whole Grains Month, Honey Month, Mushroom Month, Potato Month, and Rice Month.

Sept. 1: Cherry Popover Day, Gyro Day
Sept. 2: Blueberry Popsicle Day, Grits-for-Breakfast Day
Sept. 3: Welsh Rarebit Day
Sept. 4: Macadamia Nut Day
Sept. 5: Cheese Pizza Day
Sept. 6: Coffee Ice Cream Day
Sept. 7: Acorn Squash Day

My mom stood shoulder-to-shoulder with her mother-in-law to get this recipe. I'm glad she did, because by the time I compiled the family cookbook, Mamaw had already died.

4 C. self-rising flour
1/2 C. powdered milk
handful shortening
Directions: Put flour in a bowl. Make a well in the flour; pour the powdered milk in it. Add the shortening. Add water, a little at a time, working in flour from the sides. When the consistency is right, scoop by handfuls onto a floured surface. Pat into a biscuit shape with floured hands. Bake at 450ºF until light golden brown.

Friday, August 22, 2014

August Foodie Holidays: Week 4

August 22: Spumoni Day, Bao Day, World Plant Milk Day, Eat-a-Peach Day
August 23: Sponge Cake Day
August 24: Waffle Day, Peach Pie Day
August 25: Banana Split Day, Whiskey Sour Day
August 26: Cherry Popsicle Day
August 27: Pots de Crème Day, Banana Lover's Day
August 28: Cherry Turnover Day
August 29: Chop Suey Day
August 30: Toasted Marshmallow Day
August 31: Trail Mix Day, Eat Outside Day

This is another sort-of-cheating recipe, because it's not quite a banana split, but I'm including it anyway, because it's neat. (Also it's my blog and I can.) I received it from one of my aunts; it was a sort of bridal shower "favor." Everyone was asked to bring a recipe for the bride-to-be, and this was one of the ones she gave me.

Lickety-Split Banana Split Pie
1 graham cracker crust
2 small bananas
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
hot fudge sauce, unheated
pineapple preserves
chopped nuts
whipped topping
maraschino cherries
Directions: Slice bananas into the bottom of the crust. Spoon softened ice cream on top and freeze for 2 hours. Top with hot fudge, pineapple, whipped cream, chopped nuts and maraschino cherries.

Friday, August 15, 2014

August Foodie Holidays: Week 3

August 15: (Julia Child's B'day!) Lemon Meringue Pie Day
August 16: Bratwurst Day, Rum Day
August 17: Vanilla Custard Day 
August 18: Soft Ice Cream Day
August 19: Potato Day, Hot & Spicy Food Day
August 20: Lemonade Day, Chocolate Pecan Pie Day, Bacon Lover's Day
August 21: Pecan Torte Day

Today's recipe comes with an opportunity for storytelling. It just so happens that I have three generations of rather humorous and disastrous Pie Incidents involving my grandmother, my mother and myself. I included those anecdotes in the family cookbook, and will share them here, too, as examples of the sort of stories you can collect and share (if the people are willing, and no one's feelings are hurt doing so).

The Pie Incidents
“The last time Mother made her lemon pie was a very memorable one. She had made the pie for Mike for his birthday, since that was his favorite. Donna sat down with her piece and took a bite. You could see her trying not to make a face. She bravely took another bite, saying nothing.

“Mike was not so subtle. ‘Mom,’ he shouted into the kitchen, ‘what did you do to this pie?’ Mother tasted it, and immediately realized that she’d forgotten the sugar. She was mortified.” (told by Sharon B.)
“Grandma is not the only member of the family to do odd things to pies. A neighbor, whose favorite pie is cherry, was treated to Mom’s own version of it. She bought canned cherries, but accidentally bought cherries that hadn’t been pitted. Jim said it was the ‘best pie he’d ever had,’ as he spit out cherry stones.

 “Perhaps it runs in the family. I made a sweet potato pie for a friend who’d joined us for one Thanksgiving dinner. I asked if there was anything special I could cook for him, since he was alone for the holiday. His request was sweet potato pie.

“I didn’t have a recipe, so I got one from a book. It called for bourbon in the filling, and I had to substitute whiskey from one of those tiny airplane bottles. It baked, and baked, and baked, and ever got quite done. After it had been baking well over an hour, I took it out, thinking that was the way it was supposed to be. It wasn’t.

“We each took a bite, and the alcohol, which was supposed to cook out, had not. It was just awful! I felt awful. And Mom wonders why I don’t like to make pies…” (told by Wendy W.)

Lemon Cream Pie 
1 2.9 oz. package lemon cook and serve pudding
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. water
3 eggs, separated carefully
1 baked and cooled 9” pie crust
1/3 C. sugar

Stir mix, 1/2 C. sugar, 1/4 C. water and 2 egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Stir in 2 additional cups of water. Stirring constantly with a wire whisk, cook on medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil. Cook 5 minutes, stirring twice. Pour into the cooked and cooled piecrust. To make the meringue: Beat three egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually add 1/3 C. sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Spread over filling, sealing to the edge of the crust. Bake at 350ºF for 10-15 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. Cool at room temperature at least 4 hours before serving. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

August Foodie Holidays: Week 2

August 8: Zucchini Day, Frozen Custard Day
August 9: Rice Pudding Day
August 10: Banana Split Day, S'mores Day
August 11: Raspberry Tart Day
August 12: Julienne Fries Day (shoestring fries)
August 13: Filet Mignon Day
August 14: Creamsicle Day

Here's a dish that will help you use some of your zucchini crop. It came to me from one of my husband's aunts.

Vegetable Lasagna
2 small zucchini (8oz. each)
1 bunch broccoli
2 C. firmly packed spinach leaves (about 4 oz.)
5 Tbsp. butter or margarine, divided
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
2 tsp. salt, divided
1 15 oz. container part-skim ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
2/3 16 oz. pkg lasagna noodles (about 12)
1 C. flour
2 C. milk
1 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 8 oz. pkg part-skim mozzarella cheese, sliced

Dice the zucchini; coarsely shop the broccoli and the spinach. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine in a 12” nonstick skillet. Cook the zucchini and broccoli with oregano and salt over medium heat. Cook until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and toss until wilted. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta and eggs with a fork; set aside. Prepare noodles per package instructions; drain. In a 2 qt. saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 Tbsp. butter or margarine. Stir in flour and salt until smooth. Gradually stir in milk; cook, stirring constantly, until sauce boils and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Layer half of the cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a glass baking dish. Put half of the ricotta mixture on the noodles, half of the vegetable mixture over the ricotta, and pour half the sauce over that. Top with remaining noodles and repeat layers. Top with mozzarella. Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for 40-45 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes for easier serving. Makes 8 main-dish servings.

Friday, August 1, 2014

August Foodie Holidays: Week 1

August is National Catfish Month, Peach Month, Sandwich Month, and Panini Month.

August 1: International Beer Day (1st Friday), IPA Day, Raspberry Pie Day
August 2: Ice Cream Sandwich Day
August 3: Watermelon Day, Grab-Some-Nuts Day
August 4: Chocolate Chip Cookie Day
August 5: Oyster Day, Waffle Day
August 6: Root Beer Float Day
August 7: Raspberries 'n Cream Day

I feel a little like a broken record when I say this, but if you get multiple recipes for the same thing, include all of them (unless they're identical, of course, or have one minor change that you could include as a recipe note). It seems like a simple thing: you have five different recipes for chocolate chip cookies, so you pick one and set the rest aside. Except one of those that you set aside will invariably be someone's favorite (and now it's not in the family cookbook) and the family member who contributed it may have hurt feelings (because it was excluded), and now the next family reunion or holiday gathering is going to be uncomfortable for no good reason. Unless the finished size of the cookbook is a significant concern, include everything.

This particular recipe for chocolate chip cookies comes from one of my husband's aunts.

Deluxe Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 C. butter or margarine, softened
2 C. sugar
2 C. brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 C. flour
5 C. quick oatmeal, powdered in blender
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
24 oz. chocolate chips
8 oz. Hershey bar, grated
3 C. chopped pecans
Directions: Cream together the sugars and butter in a large bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla; mix well. In another bowl, mix together the flour, powdered oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda. Gradually add to the sugar mixture – dough will be stiff. Add the chocolate chips, grated candy bar and nuts. Make golf ball sized balls, and flatten a little on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375ºF for about 15 minutes. Don’t overcook.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July Foodie Holidays: Week 4

July 22: Penuche Fudge Day
July 23: Vanilla Ice Cream Day
July 24: Tequila Day
July 25: Hot Fudge Sundae Day
July 26: Coffee Milkshake Day, Bagelfest Day
July 27: Crème Brûlée Day, Scotch Day
July 28: Milk Chocolate Day
July 29: Chicken Wing Day, Lasagna Day
July 30: Cheesecake Day
July 31: Cotton Candy Day, Raspberry Cake Day

Another recipe from my mom, although it feels a little like cheating, because it's not really raspberry cake, so much as cake with raspberry sauce. Anyway, it's delicious. (I should double-check with her, though, because I don't believe she uses margarine anymore to cook with, and I don't know if it affects this particular recipe or not to substitute butter. Don't be afraid to ask your contributors for clarification, or to test the recipes yourself if you have the time!)

Pound Cake
1/2 lb margarine
1/2 C. Crisco
3 C. sugar
5 eggs
3 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
Directions: Cream first three ingredients together well. Add the eggs one at a time. Alternately add the flour/baking powder and the milk. Add the vanilla and almond extract. Bake in a greased and floured tube (angel food) pan at 350ºF for 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool 2 hours (NOT upside down.) Serve with raspberry sauce.

Raspberry Sauce
2 10 oz. packages frozen raspberries
1 C. water
1 C. sugar
4 Tbsp. corn starch
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Directions: Reserving the juice, drain the thawed raspberries. Combine the juice, water, sugar and corn starch in a saucepan, cooking and stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in the lemon juice and the raspberries. Cool slightly. Serve warm over pound cake

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July Foodie Holidays: Week 3

July 15: Tapioca Pudding Day
July 16: Corn Fritters Day, Fresh Spinach Day
July 17: Peach Ice Cream Day
July 18: Caviar Day, Hot Dog Day
July 19: Daiquiri Day
July 20: Fortune Cookie Day
July 21: Junk Food Day

No family recipes for this week, but as an historical aside, did you know that fortune cookies are not Chinese at all? There is a similar Japanese tea cookie (complete with fortune) that has been around since the 1800s, and competing stories over who invented the modern version in California in the late 1890s/1900s. They remained something that was largely seen as Japanese until WWII, when Japanese discrimination and resentment was strong, and those immigrants were placed in internment camps. It was then Chinese immigrants took over production of the cookies.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July Foodie Holidays: Week 2

July 8: Chocolate with Almonds Day
July 9: Sugar Cookie Day
July 10: Piña Colada Day
July 11: Blueberry Muffin Day, Mojito Day
July 12: Pecan Pie Day
July 13: Beans n' Franks Day, French Fries Day
July 14: Macaroni Day, Grand Marnier Day

You will likely receive more than one "best" recipe – below is one such example for the "best" sugar cookie recipe, one my father-in-law favored, that his mother made. I have two other "best" sugar cookie recipes. It's probably a good idea to just call all of them simply Sugar Cookies (or whatever your duplicate recipes are), to avoid any family arguments... (After all, you will know the truth.)

Sugar Cookies
1 C. shortening
2 C. sugar
3 eggs
flavoring (such as vanilla, lemon, almond, etc.)
1 tsp. soda
4 1/2 C. sifted measured flour
1 tsp. salt
Directions: Cream together the shortening, sugar, eggs, salt, flavoring and soda. Add flour and shape dough into an oval and wrap in wax paper or place into a plastic bag. Chill at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Use a pastry canvas and covered rolling pin. Flour both lightly. Take out 1/4 or less of the dough. Keep remaining dough chilled. Roll dough into 1/4" or 3/8" thickness. With flour cutter, place cutter on dough and press down firmly with fingers all around the edges to make sure the entire image is cut. With spatula, lift cutter and dough. With thumb, rub cutting edge clean of dough. Then, using thumb, gently press dough into design of the cutter. Be careful never to press closer than 1/4" from the edge of the cutter. SLAP cutter down on table or cookie sheet and dough will come right out. Flour cutter before cutting the next cookie. Bake cookies 12-15 minutes. Do not allow to brown. Cool thoroughly before decorating.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Foodie Holidays: Week 1

July is National Baked Bean Month, Bison Month, Culinary Arts Month, Grilling Month, Hot Dog Month, and Ice Cream Month.

July 1: Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day, Gingersnap Day
July 2: Anisette Day
July 3: Chocolate Wafer Day, Eat Beans Day
July 4: Barbecued Spareribs Day, Caesar Salad Day
July 5: Graham Cracker Day, Apple Turnover Day
July 6: Fried Chicken Day
July 7: World Chocolate Day, Strawberry Sundae Day

This comes from my mom. I can't vouch for it because I am strictly bean-free (the texture totally squicks me out), but it's the only recipe I have that fits the bill for this week. Enjoy, I guess?

Bean Casserole
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can butter beans, drained
1 can baby lima beans, drained
1 can pork and beans
1/2 lb. turkey bacon
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 C. vinegar
3/4 C. brown sugar

Directions: Combine beans in a large casserole. Chop the bacon into 1” pieces and fry until crispy. Add the onion and garlic and fry until brown. Add sugar, mustard and vinegar; simmer 20 minutes. Pour over beans and mix. Bake 1 hour at 350ºF.


Hey! See what I did up there? That is an example of what NOT to do in your family cookbook! You will almost certainly receive recipes from family members for things you don't like (maybe even despise). Doesn't matter. As a historian, your job isn't to edit history and censor it because it's icky or unhealthy (unless a healthy cookbook is specifically your theme). My advice to you is to gather everything you can, unselfishly and judgement-free. The people who are giving their time and recipes (and hopefully stories, too) are doing just that, and should expect nothing less from the person compiling it. So keep the "ew, gross" editorials to yourself when you're putting it all together. Future generations don't need that kind of color commentary, they can figure out what they like (or don't), the same way everyone else has – by tasting it!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June Foodie Holidays: Week 4

June 22: Chocolate Éclair Day, Onion Rings Day
June 23: Pecan Sandy Day
June 24: Pralines Day
June 25: Catfish Day, Strawberry Parfait Day
June 26: Chocolate Pudding Day
June 27: Indian Pudding Day, Orange Blossom Day
June 28: Tapioca Day, Ceviche Day
June 29: Almond Butter Crunch Day
June 30: Ice Cream Soda Day, Mai Tai Day

The first edition of my compiled cookbook contained no recipes from my older brother, because... well... he couldn't quite make my deadline. As it was, our mom had to travel to California to get the handful of recipes I have from him and my sis-in-law now (that will go into the 2nd edition, eventually).

Here's his recipe for Mai Tais.

Mai Tai
Whaler's Dark Rum (do not substitute)
Triple Sec
Amaretto di Saronno
Pineapple juice
Grenadine (optional)
Directions: Fill a glass with ice cubes. Add equal parts of Whaler's Dark Rum (use this specifically), Triple Sec and amaretto until the glass is 3/4 full. Top with pineapple juice, and float a layer of grenadine on top.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June Foodie Holidays: Week 3

June 15: Lobster Day, Cannoli Day, Gin Day
June 16: Fudge Day
June 17: Eat-All-Your-Veggies Day, Apple Strudel Day
June 18: Cherry Tart Day, Sushi Day, Picnic Day
June 19: Dry Martini Day
June 20: Vanilla Milkshake Day
June 21: Peaches & Cream Day, Smoothie Day

Father's Day is the 15th! Chat up your dad if you can. Ask him about the things he likes to cook!

Fudge is one of those things that I associate with Christmastime, because that's when my mother makes it. It's odd to think of it in June, but here's the recipe she always uses for chocolate fudge.

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
6 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
1 lb. sifted powdered sugar
1 C. chopped nuts
Directions: Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Set aside. Stir cream cheese until soft and smooth. Add vanilla and salt. Gradually beat in sugar; add chocolate and beat until smooth. Mix in nuts. Line a 8” square pan with waxed paper and press fudge into the pan. Wrap and refrigerate until firm. Cut into square and store airtight.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June Foodie Holidays: Week 2

June 8: Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day, World Oceans Day (Sustainable Seafood)
June 9: Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day
June 10: Herbs & Spices Day, Iced Tea Day, Black Cow Day (root beer float w/ chocolate ice cream)
June 11: German Chocolate Cake Day
June 12: Peanut Butter Cookie Day, Jerky Day, International Falafel Day
June 13: Cucumber Day
June 14:  Strawberry Shortcake Day

Need a gluten-free cookie recipe? These flourless peanut butter cookies are so good, you will never even guess they're "specialty" cookies for people who have to follow a strict diet.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
1 C. creamy peanut butter
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in baking powder, and add the egg. Mix until well-combined. Roll dough into balls, roll balls in sugar (optional) and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake about 10 minutes – wait at least 5 min. before removing from the cookie sheet. Optional: Melt milk chocolate chips and drizzle over the cooled cookies.
Notes: These are so good, and so easy, and disappear so fast that I usually treble the recipe.
Red Sonjas Variant: Add candied ginger, chopped very fine, to the dough, about a tablespoon (or to taste), and a dash of red pepper (a little goes a long way). Place the dough balls on the baking sheet, stick the end of a steak knife into the dough (the oil from the peanut butter will make the sugar stick to the blade), dip it in red sugar and press the flat tip of the blade into the ball to flatten it slightly, leaving the red sugar in the impression. Flatten remaining balls, and bake as above.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June Foodie Holidays: Week 1

June is National Candy Month, Dairy Month, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, Iced Tea Month, Papaya Month, Mango Month, Seafood Month, Turkey Lover's Month (?!), and Steakhouse Month.

June 1: Olive Day, Hazelnut Cake Day
June 2: Rocky Road Ice Cream Day
June 3: Egg Day
June 4: Cheese Day, Frozen Yogurt Day, Cognac Day
June 5: Moonshine Day, Gingerbread Day
June 6: Applesauce Cake Day
June 7: Chocolate Ice Cream Day, Doughnut Day (first Friday)

Father's Day is June 15th this year. Don't forget to include Dad, if you can, when you're compiling recipes for the cookbook. Maybe your father is the primary cook, or maybe he's just a pinch hitter, either way, you don't want to leave him out. (And if he cooks like my dad does, you'll probably need to stand with him while he's cooking to measure things as he goes or at least guestimate how much of that ingredient he just threw in the pot...)

I have a particular fondness for Applesauce Cake. This recipe is my maternal grandmother's.

Applesauce Cake                                                                
1/2 C. shortening
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 C. applesauce
1 C. chopped raisins
2 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
Directions: Thoroughly cream shortening with sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Add applesauce, then sift dry ingredients together and add gradually. Beat until smooth; add raisins. Bake in a greased and floured 13x9” pan at 350ºF for 30-45 minutes. Frost with easy penuche frosting.

Easy Penuche Frosting
1/2 C. butter or margarine
1 C. brown sugar, packed
1/4 C. milk
2 C. powdered sugar
Directions: Melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in brown sugar and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; stir and boil over low heat for 2 minutes. Stir in milk, return to boil and remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm and gradually stir in powdered sugar. Let cool; beat to spreading consistency. If the frosting gets too stiff, heat, stirring constantly. Frosts 1 13x9” cake or 2 9” layers.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May Foodie Holidays: Week 4

May 22 - Vanilla Pudding Day
May 23 - Taffy Day
May 24 - Escargot Day
May 25 - Wine Day
May 26 - Blueberry Cheesecake Day
May 27 - Grape Popsicle Day
May 28 - Hamburger Day, Brisket Day
May 29 - Coq au Vin Day
May 30 - Mint Julep Day
May 31 - Macaroon Day

Grilling season is here! Maybe you have men in your family who rule the grill. Be sure to ask them for recipes or tips for the things they cook.

Cherry-Lime Macaroons (my own recipe, developed for a friend)
1 C. sweetened condensed milk
3 C. + shredded coconut
1/4 C. flour
1/4 C. minced sour cherries and/or maraschino cherries
4 Tbsp. lime juice
lime zest from the lime
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Pour sweetened condensed milk into a bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix well. Add more coconut if it seems too gooey. Drop into small balls and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake 12-13 minutes until brown. Let cool on the cookie sheet 10 minutes before removing – once cool, they will peel off easily.

Available at Amazon.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

May Foodie Holidays: Week 3

May 15 - Chocolate Chip Cookie Day; International Day of Families, Family Cookbook Day
May 16 - Coquilles St. Jacques Day
May 17 - Cherry Cobbler Day
May 18 - Cheese Soufflé Day
May 19 - Devil's Food Cake Day
May 20 - Quiche Lorraine Day
May 21 - Strawberries and Cream Day

Beginning in 1993, May 15th was declared by the United Nations to be the International Day of Families: "The International Day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families." I think it's also the perfect time to celebrate family, acknowledge roots and history, cultural shifts and traditions... through food.

Family recipes trace a subtle (or overt) history, where we come from, what our heritage is, what traditions we hold. It's important to preserve those histories and traditions, important to know where we've come from. A family cookbook is just one way to do that.

Chocolate chip cookies have a million variations. How many does your family have? (Be sure to include them all, so no one's favorite gets left out!)

Available at Amazon.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

May Foodie Holidays: Week 2

May 8 - Coconut Cream Pie Day
May 9 - Butterscotch Brownie Day
May 10 - Shrimp Day
May 11 Mocha Torte Day; MOTHER'S DAY!
May 12 - Nutty Fudge Day
May 13 - Apple Pie Day
May 14 - Buttermilk Biscuit Day

Sunday, May 11th is Mother's Day! Seize the opportunity to spend some time with your mom if you can, whether you talk about family recipes or not. 

Not all of the recipes in your family's boxes will be handwritten; expect to find plenty of clippings, too! This one was in my grandmother's box, from Nestle. I wasn't able to find a date, but it's old enough that I don't recognize the package design (so 1970s probably?), and I don't think butterscotch chips are even sold in 6-ounce packages anymore.


Debbie’s Fudge (white or chocolate)

1 stick margarine
2 C. sugar
2/3 C. Milnot
14 large marshmallows
small pkg. chocolate chips OR 4 oz. white chocolate
1/2 C. peanut butter OR 1 C nuts
Directions: In a heavy saucepan, boil the first four ingredients for exactly 3 minutes and 20 seconds. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Stir until melted and add the peanut butter or the nuts. Pour into a buttered 9x9” pan and cut when cool.
NOTE: On a humid day, cook for 10 seconds longer.


They aren't buttermilk biscuits, but they are my mamaw's biscuits, that Mom stood next to her, measuring ingredients (because her mother-in-law didn't, she just dumped things in a bowl) to get.

Grandma Mabel’s Biscuits
4 C. self-rising flour
1/2 C. powdered milk
handful shortening

Directions: Put flour in a bowl. Make a well in the flour; pour the powdered milk in it. Add the shortening. Add water, a little at a time, working in flour from the sides. When the consistency is right, scoop by handfuls onto a floured surface. Pat into a biscuit shape with floured hands. Bake at 450ºF until light golden brown.

Available at Amazon.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Foodie Holidays: Week 1

May 1 - Chocolate Parfait Day
May 2 - Truffle (Candy) Day
May 3 - Raspberry Tart Day
May 4 - Lemonade Day, Candied Orange Peel Day
May 5 - Chocolate Custard Day, Hoagie Day
May 6 - Crêpes Suzette Day
May 7 - Roast Leg of Lamb Day

No recipes this month -- I don't have family recipes for any of those holidays!

Mother's Day is May 11th this year, and a great time to get together with your mom and go through those family recipes. If you want to compile a family cookbook in time for Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or Yule), now's the time!

Why is Mother's Day the best time to start this project? Because women do the balance of the cooking in most households, most recipes are passed mother to daughter, and starting now gives you six months to get all the recipes you want from your family and have your family cookbook ready in time for the winter holidays. Creating an Heirloom: Writing Your Family's Cookbook takes you through every step of the process. It's easier than you think!

Available at Amazon.