Daily Archives: August 26, 2011

From the family cookbook(s)

All the families I’m associated with love to eat, so it’s a good thing we enjoy cooking.

The first out-of-my-house food memory I have is of my grandmother’s cooking for Christmas or other family occasions. According to my mother, my grandmother had a baked beans recipe that she would make for my mother. Unfortunately, the recipe seems to have  disappeared. Also unfortunately, my early days as a picky, though voluminous, eater meant I missed a lot of those recipes made from such wholesome ingredients as lard and meat fat.

I particularly remember a couple of meals that involve my family. The day of Super Bowl XXXI, my parents, my brother, my aunt and uncle and a group of their friends got together to share lots of food and cheer on the Packers to their first NFL title in 29 years. (After which Jannan and I drove to Lambeau Field in the snow,  but that’s another story.) Then, on Dec. 31, 1999, my parents, my brother, my aunt and uncle and Jannan and I (along with Michael in utero) had a one-course-per-hour meal to appropriately end years beginning with the number 1. Unfortunately I can’t remember what we had, but it was really good and really filling.

Put two gourmand families together (my parents have been feeding me for 46 years, and my in-laws have been feeding me for more than 20 years), and you get quite a collection of recipes. My family’s recipes are more conventional yet contemporary than my in-laws’ recipes, because the latter involve (1) things you can get on your own farm (for instance, bacon and cow tongue) and (2) the aforementioned non-nutritionally-correct ingredients. About the latter, I would point out that (1) my father-in-law lived to 80, and my mother-in-law is now 84, and (2) everyone dies of something.

Before I met my in-laws, one of the more unusual job duties I’ve ever had, which the newspaper didn’t bother to tell me about when they were interviewing me, was to be the cooking columnist, the Grant Gourmet. (“Gourmand” would have been more appropriate, but most readers may not have known the difference between the two terms.) I discovered that while there were great recipes in central and western Grant County, there were not many people who wanted to be profiled in the newspaper. When we purchased the Cuba City newspaper, we inherited a cooking columnist, whose “Chit Chat” column now appears in other newspapers owned by that company.

Before I became a cooking columnist, my father came up with an idea for a cookbook to be called 101 Ways to Cook Chicken. I think we never got past about 30 or so different recipes, not including the two recipes here.

Many things I cook don’t involve formal recipes. That particularly includes my spaghetti sauce and my chili, because it’s less about the ingredients than the recipe (for instance, ground beef and Italian sausage). Many recipes also start with someone else’s work — for instance, pizza from a box — but get serious augmentation. (For instance, I put granulated garlic in the crust and ketchup — idea stolen from Pizzeria Uno in Platteville — plus Italian seasoning and Sweet Pepper and Onion mix in the sauce, and I use tomatoes, onions, green peppers, fresh or canned mushrooms, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, sausage, pepperoni and, yes, spinach, all put together in an iron skillet. It requires two hands to get it into the oven.)

There is — surprise! — a story with most of these recipes. My mother is not pleased because I taught our sons to cook Hot Dish, so they can’t serve them Hot Dish when they come to visit. (On the other hand, how many 8- and 11-year-olds do you know who can cook?) Pregnancy Fruit Salad, first made while Jannan was pregnant with our oldest son, was the result of some research into the most nutritious fruit proportion-size. (So Pregnancy Fruit Salad is not designed to get you pregnant, although there are no guarantees.) Jannan came up with Limonada con Soda when she was in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, where the water was generally not agreeable to non-natives. Straight to the Thigh Chocolate Pie came from Jannan’s former Rotary club, done by a diabetic woman who had a business making, you guessed it, desserts.

Breakfast/brunch

Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole

2½ cups seasoned croutons
1 pound roll sausage (we use Jimmy Dean Regular)
4 eggs
2¼ cups milk
1 10-ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed dry)
1 4-ounce can mushrooms (drained and chopped)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
Fresh herb sprigs and carrot strips (optional)
Picante sauce or salsa (optional)
Spread croutons on bottom of greased 9×13 baking dish. Crumble sausage into medium skillet. Cook over medium heat until browned, stirring occasionally. Drain off drippings. Spread over croutons. Whisk eggs and milk in large bowl until blended. Stir in soup, spinach, mushrooms, cheeses and mustard. Pour egg mixture over sausage and croutons. Refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until set and lightly browned on top. Garnish with herb sprigs and carrot strips if desired. Serve hot with picante sauce or salsa if desired. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Hors d’Oeuvres

Manly Hors d’Oeuvres

1 pound ground beef (works best with ground chuck or similar)
1 package ground sausage
1 package Velveeta Mild Mexican Cheese
1 loaf cocktail rye bread
¾ teaspoon oregano or Italian seasoning
Crushed red peppers to taste
Brown and drain meats. Add cheese and stir. Add spices. Spread on bread. Freeze on cookie sheet, then bag until ready to use. To eat, broil until brown and bubbly. 

Carol’s Salsa

4 large or 6 medium fresh tomatoes
2 bunches green onions (chopped — use all parts)
2 2-ounce cans chopped green chiles
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup vinegar
2 cans Mexican-flavor stewed tomatoes (drain 1 can)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2 teaspoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon garlic powder
White pepper
Tabasco sauce to taste (at least one-third bottle)
Combine ingredients. Tastes best if not refrigerated; will keep on counter for a few days.

Bagel Dip

1 package dried beef (cubed)
1½ cups sour cream
1½ cups mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Accent or Lawry’s seasoning
2 teaspoons dill weed
2 tablespoons parsley
1 finely chopped onion
Mix together ingredients. Let stand several hours or overnight in refrigerator. Serve with bagel pieces or bagel chips. 

Chicken Dip

2 small cans or one large can of white chicken (drained, with hunks separated)
1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 package Knorr Vegetable soup envelope
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
Combine ingredients. Mix well. Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight. Serve with crackers but also makes a good sandwich.

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball
(Alternate name: Some Assembly Required Chocolate Chip Cheesecake)

1 8-ounce package cream cheese (softened)
½ cup butter (no substitutes!), softened
¼ teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¾ cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ cup finely chopped pecans
In mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add sugars; beat just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Place cream cheese mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap; shape into a ball refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just before serving, roll cheese ball in pecans (or just refrigerate in the bowl). Serve with graham crackers.

The Salad Course

Mom’s French Dressing

½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup ketchup
⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup salad (not white) vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon paprika
Grated onion and/or minced garlic
Combine ingredients in order in which they’re listed.

Pregnancy Fruit Salad

2 cans mandarin oranges
2 cans pineapple chunks
2 cans (or 1 large can) peaches
1 can apricots
Bananas (cut up)
Green or red grapes
1 3-ounce box lemon or vanilla instant pudding
Drain cans of mandarin oranges, pineapple, peaches,  and apricots. In large bowl place mandarin oranges, pineapples, peaches, apricots, bananas and grapes; stir. Pour box of instant pudding over top of fruit. Place covered in refrigerator 4 hours. Stir before serving.

Entrees and Main Courses

Ranchero Supper

1–1.5 pounds ground beef
1 28-ounce can baked beans
1 11-ounce can whole kernel corn (drained) or equivalent frozen corn
¼ cup barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Sliced green onions (optional)
Sour cream (optional)
Tortilla chips
Cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir baked beans, corn,  barbecue sauce, ketchup and mustard; heat thoroughly. Turn off heat and sprinkle with cheese. Serve on top of tortilla chips with green onions and sour cream.

Hot Dish

1 pound (or more) ground beef
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 can tomato soup
Parsley
1 cup ketchup
Pasta (cooked)
Cook ground beef until no longer pink, adding onions. Stir in tomato soup and ketchup, then cooked pasta. Sprinkle with parsley.

All Afternoon Oven Stew

1 pound (or more) stew meat or equivalent (cut up)
2–3 onions (quartered)
3–5 small potatoes (peeled and cut up)
1 can tomato soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 bag frozen corn
1 bag frozen vegetables
1 package refrigerator biscuits
In roaster or crock pot combine,  in order, beef, onions, potatoes, soups and frozen vegetables. Cook covered in oven at 250 degrees for 4 hours or in crock pot on Low 8 hours. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees or crock pot to High. Cut up biscuits into quarters, place on top, and cook additional 10 minutes (oven) or until done.

Hot and Spicy Sloppy Joes

1½ pounds ground beef
1 large onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
½ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 6-ounce can hot-style V-8 juice
½ cup water
2 tablespoons chopped jalapeños
2 teaspoons chili powder
Shredded cheddar cheese
8 hamburger buns
In large skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic until beef is brown and onion is tender. Drain fat. Combine ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, V-8, water, jalapeños and chili powder in 3½-quart crock pot. Stir in meat. Cover and cook on Low 10 to 12 hours, or on High three to five hours. When serving, toast buns, spoon mixture on buns, and top with cheddar cheese.

Stuffed Peppers

1 pound hamburger
⅛ cup milk
4 large peppers (any color)
1 cup bread crumbs
1 small onion
1 bottle chili sauce
Salt and pepper
1 egg
Shredded cheddar cheese
Cut off tops of peppers and clean out. Boil peppers in hot water 7 to 8 minutes. Mix hamburger, milk, bread crumbs, onion, three-fourths of chili sauce, salt, pepper and egg. Stuff each pepper with one-fourth of hamburger mixture. Bake in covered casserole dish 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Take cover off dish; add part of rest of chili sauce; sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. Bake 10 more minutes uncovered.

New England Boiled Dinner

6 medium potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and quartered
6 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 large onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 3- to 3½-pound corned beef brisket (discard seasoning packet)
2 teaspoons dried dill seeds
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
2 14-ounce cans beef broth
1 small head cabbage, cut into 8 wedges
Horseradish sauce (optional):
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup dairy sour cream
2 tablespoons horseradish mustard
2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives
In 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic. Trim fat from brisket; cut if necessary to fit. Place brisket on top of vegetables; sprinkle with dill seeds, rosemary and salt. Pour broth over brisket. Cook on Low 11 to 12 hours or High 5½ to 6 hours. If cooking on Low, turn to High. Add cabbage wedges. Cover; cook 30 to 60 minutes or until cabbage is tender. Transfer meat to cutting board. Thinly slice meat across the grain; place slides on serving platter. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to serving platter. Serve meat with vegetables and horseradish sauce.
Horseradish sauce: In a small bowl stir together ingredients. Cover and chill in refrigerator 5 to 24 hours.

Chicken Ziegenfuss

4 chicken breast halves
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
4 chopped green onion blades
½ cup butter
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pinch sage
1 package crescent rolls (8 to package)
Boil chicken breasts with chopped celery and onions 1 hour or until done. Strain celery and onions from broth; save enough broth for sauce. Let chicken cool. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Mix together chicken, cream cheese, chopped green onion blades (enough for color) and ¼ cup butter. Roll crescent roll dough into eight rectangular pieces. Put one-eighth of chicken mixture onto each rectangle. Bring corners up and pinch sides together covering all of the mixture. Dip each lump in ¼ cup melted butter, then in chopped walnuts. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.
Sauce: Heat cream of chicken soup, sage and enough chicken broth to make gravy consistency. Ladle sauce over each portion.

Chicken Bowl

1 16-ounce package prepared chicken breasts (cut up) or chicken nuggets
4 cups instant mashed potatoes
4 cups water
2 cups milk
1 can (drained) or 1 package frozen corn or mixed vegetables
1 bottle instant chicken gravy
Microwave chicken according to package directions; set aside. In large microwave-safe bowl combine instant potatoes, water and milk; microwave on High until slightly runny. Place chicken nuggets or pieces on top of potatoes. Place vegetables on top of chicken; microwave on High 4 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. Pour chicken gravy on top of vegetables; microwave on High 3 minutes or until hot.

Cajun Shrimp and Rice

1 28-ounce can tomatoes, cut up
1 14-ounce can chicken broth
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green sweet pepper
1 6-ounce package long grain and wild rice mix
¼ cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 pound deveined, peeled and cooked shrimp
Bottled hot pepper sauce (optional
In 3½- to 4-quart slow cooker, combined undrained tomatoes, broth, onion, sweet pepper, rice mix with seasoning packet, water, garlic and Cajun seasoning. Cover; cook on Low 5 to 6 hours or High 2½ to 3 hours. If cooking on Low, turn to High. Stir shrimp into rice mixture. Cover; cook 15 more minutes. Serve with hot pepper sauce if desired.

Western Fond du Lac County Fish Boil

8 to 10 red potatoes (cut up)
2 to 3 onions (peeled and cut up)
1 or 2 packages frozen cod
1 16-ounce package frozen broccoli
1 16-ounce package frozen carrots (not in sauce)
1 stick butter (melted)
In large pot with boiling water cook potatoes and onions until onions are clear. Cut up cod into cubes and add; cook until nearly done. Add broccoli and carrots; cook until done. Serve with melted butter on top.

Side dishes

Carrot Soufflé

2 pounds fresh carrots (sliced)
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
⅓ cup matzo meal
¾ cup butter or margarine (melted)
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
Cook carrots in water to cover in a large saucepan over medium-high heat 20 to 25 minutes or until very tender; drain well. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process carrots and eggs in a blender or food processor until smooth, pausing to scrape down sides. Add ⅔ cup sugar, matzo meal, ½ cup butter, salt, nutmeg and vanilla; process until smooth. Pour mixture into lightly greased 9 × 13 baking dish.  Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until  set. Combine remaining ⅓ cup sugar, ¼ cup butter and walnuts. Top soufflé with walnut mixture; bake 5 to 10 more minutes.

Pineapple Casserole

1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks (drained)
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1½ cups (about 36) crushed Ritz crackers
3 tablespoons melted butter
In 2-quart casserole mix pineapples. In separate bowl, combine sugar and flour. Sprinkle over pineapple. Scatter cheddar cheese, followed by crumbs, then drizzle butter. Bake at 350 degrees 23 to 28 minutes until brown and bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes.

Breads

World’s Greatest Bread Machine Bread

1¼ cups buttermilk*
1 egg
3 cups bread flour
1 cup quick oats
3 tablespoons instant potato flakes
1½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter*
3 tablespoons honey*
¼ teaspoon baking soda*
2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
Combine all ingredients in order except yeast. Add yeast (if making overnight or later in the day, keep yeast away from liquids). Bake on Large White cycle.
* May substitute 1 cup milk (omit baking soda) for buttermilk, 2 tablespoons margarine for butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar for honey.

Orange Rolls

6 tablespoons milk
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 package yeast
¼ cup warm water
2–2¼ cups flour
1 egg
Filling:
⅓ cup unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest or lemon peel
In saucepan, warm milk, then add ¼ cup butter, ¼ cup sugar and salt. Transfer to bowl to cool.  In small bowl sprinkle yeast over warm water; stir. Add ¾ cup flour to milk mix; beat 1 minute. Beat in egg. Beat in yeast mix. Gradually stir in enough flour to soft dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (5 to 8 minutes). Transfer to lightly greased bowl and turn to grease top of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise 1 hour until doubled in size. In bowl combine filling ingredients. After dough rises press down, recover with plastic, and let rest 10 minutes. Grease 16 muffin tins. Roll dough to 16 inches × 8 inches. Spread filling on top of dough. Roll dough. Cut into 1-inch slices and place into muffin cups. Cover with plastic and let rise 30 to 40 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees 15 to 20 minutes.

Drinks

Limonada con Soda

1 12-ounce can frozen limeade
1½ 1-liter bottles club soda or seltzer water
Combine ingredients. Serve optionally with rum, gin, vodka or other liquor.

Desserts

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups solid shortening
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda (in 2 tablespoons water)
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups oatmeal
2½ cups plus 1 teaspoon flour
Vanilla
Chocolate chips
Combine ingredients in order. Cook at 400 degrees until cookies start to turn brown. 

Coffee and Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

1¾ cups flour
2 cups sugar
¾ cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup coffee
Frosting:
1 cup milk
5 tablespoons flour
2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cake: Combine ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees 25 to 30 minutes.
Frosting: Cook milk and flour under low heat until it makes very thick paste. Combine butter, sugar and vanilla; beat well until the sugar is not gritty. Add milk–flour paste tablespoon by tablespoon, mixing very well.

Red* Cake

1½ cups sugar
½ cup shortening
2 eggs
2 ounces red* food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttemilk
2½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vinegar
Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs. In separate bowl mix food coloring and cocoa, then add to shortening–sugar–eggs bowl. In separate bowl mix salt and buttermilk. Alternate adding flour and buttermilk mix into big bowl. Add vanilla. In separate bowl, combine vinegar and baking soda, then add to mix. Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes.
* Works with other food colors, with interesting later results.

Straight to the Thigh Chocolate Pie

1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs
½ cup sugar
¾ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecan halves
Chocolate topping:
½ cup heavy cream
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Prepare pastry shell; chill. Melt butter and chocolate in heavy saucepan over low heat. Pour into medium bowl; cool slightly. Add eggs, sugar and maple syrup. Beat with electric mixer until well blended. Stir in vanilla and pecans. Pour mixture into shell. Bake on lower shelf at 375 degrees 40 minutes. Cool thoroughly on wire rack until completely cooled. In small heavy saucepan, bring heavy cream to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Let topping cool 15 to 20 minutes or until it is cool to the touch. Pour topping evenly over the pie. Chill pie for 30 minutes or until topping is set.

Categories: Culture | 2 Comments

Presty the DJ for Aug. 26

Today in 1967, Jimi Hendrix released “Purple Haze”:

Three years later, Hendrix made his last concert appearance in Great Britain at the Isle of Wight Festival, which also featured, for your £3 ticket …

The number one song in the U.S. today in 1978 was a song in a style unlike the movie from whence it came:

Birthdays start with Maurice Williams, who asks you to …

Richard Cowsill of the Cowsills:

Dan Vickrey played guitar for the Counting Crows:

Adrian Young plays drums, No Doubt:

Finally, a musical death of note (get it?): Those who played in high school bands (which are starting up right about now) probably played at least one of the works of British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, who died at 85 today in 1958:

Categories: Music | Leave a comment

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