Fresh New Potatoes and Peas were a summer treat on the Iowa farm. My Mother would dig potatoes and shell peas from her large summer garden. I cannot verify the origin of this recipe but Mom always said it had Dutch or Pennsylvania Dutch roots.
While I do not grow potatoes in my garden, I prepared with red potatoes from the grocery store and peas from my CSA weekly bounty.
This recipe can easily be prepared with frozen peas as well. It’s a wonderful side dish with steak, hamburgers, or fish. My oldest daughter, Megan, suggested it would be great with a little Parmesan cheese. I’ll be trying that next time!
FRESH NEW POTATOES AND PEAS
1 1/2 quarts new potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups new peas, cook until done
1 cup sweet cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup grated carrots (optional)
salt and pepper
Cover potatoes, peas, and carrots with water and cook until tender. Drain.
Combine cream and flour until smooth. Add to potatoes and peas and add butter, salt and sugar.
Cook and stir over medium-low heat until thickened.
My Mother would often find old sheet music at estate sales and bring it home for me to play on the piano. As a result, I have a stack of music that is great fun to look through. A few days ago, I was looking through the stack and ran across this piece, Where the Columbines Grow.
Little did I know back in those days that I would eventually settle in Colorado, now for 33.5 years. Columbines are one of my favorite flowers. While most of the Columbines are now gone from my garden, I can enjoy photos all year-long.
“Where the Columbines Grow” is one of the two official state songs of Colorado. It was written and composed by A.J. Fynn, and was adopted on May 8, 1915. In the early to mid-2000s, there was debate over replacing “Where the Columbines Grow” with John Denver‘s “Rocky Mountain High” or Merle Haggard‘s rare song “Colorado”. In 2007, the Colorado legislature named “Rocky Mountain High” as Colorado’s second official state song, paired with “Where the Columbines Grow”.
Memories of Bleeding Hearts in my Mother’s garden are vivid. Planting these beauties in my shade garden was a must when we moved into our home many years ago. Each year I look forward to their spring blooms and the memories they bring. Delicate little white and red hearts dangling from their tender stems, blowing in the breeze in my yard are precious.
My Mother used to take a blossom from the plant and fold down the bottom of the heart to create what appears to be a girl in a pretty red skirt.
In playing this game with my girls, I discovered that if you fold the petal down a little more you now have a young boy in his pants.
When I decided to post about the beloved Bleeding Heart, I did some research and discovered a wonderful legend that I love and will share with my grandchildren.
BLEEDING HEART LEGEND
Long ago there lived a noble prince who tried in vain to win the heart of a very beautiful princess. The prince had brought the princess wonderful gifts from his travels far and wide. Yet she had taken no notice of him. One day the prince returned from a long journey with very special gifts to surely win the love of the princess. First he presented her with two magical pink bunnies. (Peel off the two outer petals and set them on their sides to display two little bunnies.)
The princess only sighed and barely looked at the little bunnies. The hopeful prince had another gift for the princess – he presented a pair of beautiful enchanted earrings. (Remove the two long white petals and hold them next to your ears.)
These she took happily, but declared she could not love him. Still, he can’t bear to give up hope, and he makes her another gift of slippers made of the finest silk.
Again, the princess hardly noticed the prince’s gift. Now the poor prince was utterly heartbroken. He could try no more to win the heart of the princess. He rose up, pulled a dagger from his sheath and stabbed himself in the heart. (Remaining in the flower is a heart shape with the stamen, appearing as a dark green line down the center. Hold the heart up, carefully remove the dagger-like line, and plunge the dagger through the heart.)
The princess was overcome by the dedication of the dying prince and his unending love for her. She realized too late that she loved him also. “Alas,” she cried out. “I have done wrong, my own heart is broken also. I shall bleed for my prince forever more!” And her heart bleeds to this very day.
There are many blossoms on a Bleeding Heart in full bloom, so next time you pass such a delightful array, perhaps you’ll have permission to pick a heart and discover the mysteries within
Meat Loaf is a favorite of mine and feel badly that it’s gotten a bad name. Perhaps people have even too many ‘bad’ meatloaf to appreciate the good. Meat Loaf is not a pretty dish but it is excellent paired with a good baked potato, salad and green vegetable. And, who doesn’t like a good meatloaf sandwich from the leftovers? My Mother always had a slice of raw potato on her meat loaf sandwich and it’s good. Who knew!
Meat Loaf is not easy to photograph…my apologies but I won’t apologize for the wonderful results!
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I prefer ground chuck or sirloin)
3/4 cup quick oatmeal (uncooked)
1/2 cup chopped onion (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1/3 to 1/2 cup catsup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Mix all but topping together. Pack firmly into a loaf pan. Spread the topping over.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 60-90 minutes or until done. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.
Sunday Night meals, on the farm, were typically sandwiches enjoyed on TV trays in front of the TV watching Lassie, Ed Sullivan, and Bonanza. It was the only night of the week we ate outside of the kitchen but it was a treat. Often the sandwiches were a result of leftovers from the tremendous Sunday Dinner (noon meal) my Mother would make of Roast Beef, Roast Chicken, Pork Roast, Ham, etc. She would often grind the leftover meat on her Universal Meat Grinder and add onion, pickle, mayonnaise.
Ham Salad is still a favorite and I make it rarely but since it was a Sunday and I was reliving the Sunday Night Farm experience…I ate a Ham Salad Sandwich in front of the TV (sans TV tray) watching 60 minutes instead of Lassie. Oh, sweet memories!
OLD FASHIONED HAM SALAD
2 cups ground ham (I chopped mine in the food processor)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup dill pickle relish (or sweet relish)
1 teaspoon mustard
2 chopped, hard boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Combine all well. Serve on good bread or roll and enjoy!
Oatmeal cake with broiled topping is truly a walk down memory lane. My Mother didn’t make this cake often, but when she did, it was a treat.
This time I decided to bake the cake in two 9×9″ pans and freeze one for later…or so I thought. While the cakes and topping were cooling and while I was trying to settle grandson, Evan, into his afternoon nap, the dogs decided to sample one of the cakes. I was so unhappy, I didn’t take the time to snap one of those naughty dog photos!
Luckily one cake remained and it was delicious! The cake is moist and the crunch topping is so yummy. Top with a dallop of whipped cream.
Thanks, Mom for a great recipe. And to the dogs…I’ll choose to say nothing.
1 cup quick oatmeal
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups flour plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9×13″ (or two 9×9″) cake pans.
Mix together oatmeal and boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes and cool.
Mix flour, brown sugar, white sugar, shortening, eggs, salt, cinnamon and soda. Add cooled oatmeal.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. Prepare topping while the cake is baking.
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup coconut
Bring all ingredients to a boil. Spread topping over cake while cake and topping are hot.
Put cake and topping under broiler and let topping brown.
Recently our book club read and reviewed ‘Tallgrass’ by Sandra Dallas, a historical novel that addresses the life and times of the small Colorado town and the controversial internment camp that divided the townspeople. It was an great book and spurred an excellent discussion. We all agreed that Sandra Dallas, who lives in Colorado and has family ties to Iowa, has an excellent voice for her characters.
Our book club always begins our gathering with a wonderful potluck typically with a theme associated with book. This evening we enjoyed sushi, edemame salad, fried rice, salads, fruit and much more. After brainstorming with my book club buddies, I decided to make an Old Fashioned Apple Pie in honor of Mary Stroud, a key character in the book.
My favorite Apple Pie is, again, from one my all-time favorite cookbooks. I must confess that I don’t make my own pie crust. I think the Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts are excellent and I’d rather spend time on the good part…the filling!
As I was making this pie and cutting the vents for the top crust, I couldn’t help but think of my Mother and the hundreds, if not thousands, of pies that she baked over the years. I carry on her vent design, simple but effective.
The pie is excellent on its own but always wonderful topped with vanilla bean ice cream, too!
OLD FASHIONED APPLE PIE
Pastry for 2 crust pie
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons flour
6 cups thinly sliced, pared tart cooking apples
2 tablespoons butter
On lightly floured surface, roll out half of pastry into an 11 inch circle. Use to line 9 inch pie plate, trim. Refrigerate, with rest of pastry until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, flour and salt, mixing well. Add to apples in large bowl, tossing lightly to combine.
Turn into pastry-lined pie plate, mounding high in center; dot with butter.
Roll out remaining pastry into an 11 inch circle. Make several slits near center for steam vents; adjust over filling; trim.
Fold edge of top crust under bottom crust; press together with fingertips. Crimp edge decoratively.
Bake 45-50 minutes, or until apples are tender and crust is golden-brown.
Turkey and Dressing baking the morning of Thanksgiving is such a sensory experience, bringing back fond memories of Thanksgivings past while creating new memories.
This photo of my Uncle George carving our Thanksgiving turkey in the 1960s while my Dad and Aunt Wilma watched (or snitched pieces of turkey) transported me back to the Smaha farmhouse and large family gatherings.
Traditionally, my family made the dressing from only white bread. When I married, Karl introduced me to cornbread dressing and I’ve become a big fan. The texture and flavor of the cornbread are a great addition.
ROAST TURKEY AND DRESSING
1 bag dried bread cubes 1 pan cornbread, crumbled
Chicken or turkey broth
1 egg, beaten
Sprinkle of sage & poultry seasoning
salt & pepper
Put bread cubes and crumbled cornbread in large bowl and saturate with broth.
Add onion, egg, salt & pepper, sage & poultry seasoning. Season to taste. Add chopped celery leaves.
Make sure stuffing is moist!
Stuff mixture in and around the turkey or chicken.
Cover with aluminum foil tent until last 2-3 hours of roasting. (Note for stuffing as a side dish, cook a minimum of 1-1.5 hours at 350 degrees.)