Potato Salad was a must-have side dish for every picnic and barbecue. My Mother made THE BEST potato salad ever and I can replicate it pretty well. There are no measurements, just a ‘pinch of this and a pinch of that’ type of preparation. When my Mother made it, she used onions from the garden and eggs from our farm.
My Potato Salad is pretty darn good, but you can never top what Mom could do!
Boiled, peeled and cubed potatoes
Boiled, peeled and chopped eggs
chopped green onions (or sweet white onion)
celery seed (or chopped celery)
Mix together potatoes, eggs, onions (and celery if desired). Sprinkle with celery seed.
In separate bowl, mix mayonnaise with enough milk to thin to consistency of salad dressing. Add sugar and salt to taste.
Refrigerate for several hours before serving. The flavor is best the next day.
Do you have a favorite childhood memory of food that, to most people, seems utterly ridiculous (and perhaps disgusting)? Perhaps my lowly radish sandwich seems that way to you.
Growing up my Mother had a wonderful garden and I loved the fresh radish sandwich my Mother would make for me. Simple but pleasing. Today another walk down memory lane. This radish sandwich is for you Mom!
LOWLY RADISH SANDWICH
Buttered bread of choice
Fresh sliced radishes
Let me just say that I will eat almost any ethnic food any time, any where. While I’m not truly Irish, my family would say that we are part ‘Scotch-Irish‘. Like every good American, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day eating the traditional corned beef, cabbage and Irish Soda Bread.
Irish Soda Bread is tasty and simple. The key is to make sure the bread is cooked through by testing with the ‘hollow sound’. It’s delectable served warm with butter, but I love a piece drizzled in honey.
This St. Patrick’s Day:
May your blessings outnumber The shamrocks that grow, And may trouble avoid you Wherever you go. –Irish blessing
IRISH SODA BREAD
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large cookie sheet.
In large bowl, combine flour with soda, sugar, salt and cream of tartar, mix well.
Add buttermilk; with fork, stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn out dough only lightly floured board. Knead lightly until smooth, about 1 minute.
Shape dough into a ball; place on cookie sheet. With hands, flatten into a 7″ circle. With sharp knife, cutting 1/4 inch deep, mark into quarters.
Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until top is golden-brown and loaf sounds hollow when rapped with knuckle.
Remove loaf to wire rack. Brush top with butter; cool completely.
My Czech roots are precious to me and this week I enjoyed a hearty stock of Sauerkraut Soup. This recipe was one of two recipes my Mother made and she was given this recipe by our dear Bohemian friend, Blanche.
I understand that many families serve a Sauerkraut Soup as a traditional Christmas Eve meal but I enjoy it anytime!
After the rich, sweet treats of the holidays, the hearty sauerkraut soup was a welcome change allowing me to walk down memory lane once again.
1 pint sauerkraut (add extra caraway seed if desired)
1 cup finely diced ham
1 quart cooked and drained diced potatoes
1 quart Milk (more or less)
1 egg yolk
1 heaping tablespoon of flour
salt and pepper
dill weed garnish (optional)
Put enough water on sauerkraut to simmer slowly with ham.
When tender, pour milk over and a chunk of butter. Salt and pepper to taste.
Break egg yolk into small bowl and whisk.
Add flour and mix together.
Drop small pieces of the dough into the soup until cooked through, 10-15 minutes.
Add cooked, drained potatoes to the soup.
Heat until low boil. Serve or cool to serve next day. The flavor is even better the next day!
Norwegian Christmas Bread (Julekake) brings back fond memories of our elderly Iowa friends, the Butlers. Growing up, Anna would bake Julekake, Kringla, and Lefse to share with friends. She would brew a strong cup of coffee for adults and children to enjoy with the seasonal treats. A cup of hot coffee with a toasted slice of Julekake and butter, at Anna’s oak table was the best. Today, I sit at the same oak table in my dining area thinking of the wonderful stories and memories created in that small farm-house so many years ago.
Kringla is an annual tradition with Julekake only every few years. Kneading bread dough is hard for me so I’ve included, along with the traditional recipe, my version for the bread machine. This year I borrowed daughter Sarah’s Kitchen Aid mixer to make the traditional recipe, which I split into two parts to accommodate the smaller size of the mixer.
NORWEGIAN CHRISTMAS BREAD
This is the original Christmas bread recipe from Norwegian family friend, Anna Butler
2 packages dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup chopped citron or candied pineapple
3 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup butter
2 cups raisins
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped candied cherries
2 beaten eggs
1/2 teaspoon crushed cardamom
10 to 11 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water.
Scald milk and then add butter, salt and sugar. Cool to lukewarm. Add to yeast mixture and add 1/2 flour and eggs. Beat well.
Add fruit and cardamom and remaining flour to make light dough. Knead and place in a greased bowl. Let rise until light.
Knead and let it rise again.
Shape into 5 loaves and place in greased bread pans. Let rise 1 hour or until light. Brush tops with egg yolk mixture of beaten egg yolk and water.
Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. After removing from oven, brush top with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar
NORWEGIAN CHRISTMAS BREAD (ADAPTED FOR THE BREAD MACHINE)
This is a conversion of the original Christmas bread recipe from Anna Butler
1/6 cup lukewarm water
1 cup scalded milk (cooled to lukewarm)
1/3 stick melted margarine
1 small beaten egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/6 teaspoon cardamom
3 to 3.3 cups flour
1 package yeast
2/3 cup raisins
1/6 cup citron
Place ingredients in bread machine in the order given but put raisins and citron aside.
Start bread dough in knead mode and add raisins/citron when your bread machine prompts for add-ins.
Peanut Brittle was a Christmas tradition for my Mother. As a matter of fact, she would make so many candies to share with the neighbors, family and friends. Her home-made candy traditions included the peanut brittle, divinity, chocolate fudge, peanut butter fudge, and caramels. I’ve gained 10 pounds just thinking about it…and this doesn’t even include the list of cookies and breads she would make! She would decorate a box and include a sampling of all of her wonderful goodies.
While I wish I could do the same, I know that I would be sampling everything a little too much so only make a few of my favorites this year. Peanut Brittle is a favorite and at least it has ‘some’ protein, right?
Whatever your traditions, continue and share the memories or your childhood with your children and encourage them to create their own traditions.
1 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 cups raw peanuts
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda (added after candy has cooked)
Combine everything but peanuts and baking soda, and cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
Add raw peanuts. Boil and stir constantly with wooden spoon about 15-20 minutes.
Cook to hard crack stage (300 degrees). Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon baking soda.
Don’t stir much after you add the baking soda.
Pour in large buttered cookie sheet and spread out to corners fast with hands while hot and place quickly on cold table, cement or surface until foam disappears and candy hardens.
I will eat a Scotcheroos any time of year, but for some reason I associate these addictive treats with Easter. A pan of Scotcheroos regularly graced our family Easter dinner celebration along with the traditional baked hams, potatoes, etc.
They are an absolute favorite of mine and I’ve been known to eat them for breakfast, if left to my own devices. After all, they do have cereal and peanut butter in them! I find them so addictive, that I cannot make them often.
This year, Scotcheroos will again grace our Easter celebration, sprinkled with Easter colored sugars. Let’s hope the guests will eat several so I won’t have to! Scotcheroos…it’s tradition.
1 small package chocolate chips
1 small package butterscotch chips
1 cup light Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter (crunchy is great)
6 cups Rice Krispies®
Melt chips in microwave.
In separate pan mix Karo and sugar. Stir in pan until slightly boiling. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and beat until smooth.
Pour syrup over Rice Krispies in large bowl.
Put Rice Krispies mixture in buttered 9×13″ pan. Cover with melted chips. Let cool and set until firm. Cut into squares to serve.
Chicken and Noodles has to be our all-time family favorite. This is the ultimate comfort food to share with those you love. The carbs are high but your family will be feeling the love! My mother would serve this for a hearty supper (evening meal in the Midwest) or for Sunday dinner (noon meal). It is best made with homemade noodles, although we have found several commercial noodles (such as Kluski style noodles) that work well.
This time, I made my noodles from scratch, like my Mother did. She could whip up a batch so fast. I admit I’m slower and not as precise. After I moved away from Iowa, my Mother would visit and make several batches of noodles for me, always ready in the freezer when I was craving Mom’s chicken and noodles.
This is not your ordinary chicken and noodle soup…Instead, the chicken and noodles are served over mashed potatoes. Crazy, right? You won’t think so once you try it. It is a fabulous medley of flavors that is perfect for a cold, wintry night. However, daughter Megan has been known to request this for her August birthday dinner. We served this to her friends when she was a teenager and they thought we were crazy UNTIL they tasted it. Now her friends ask her when she is making chicken and noodles. The tradition continues.
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
7 to 8 tablespoons cold water
Sift flour with salt into medium bowl.
Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Add egg yolks and 4 tablespoons cold water. Beat vigorously with wooden spoon until well combined.
Gradually add 3 more tablespoons water, mixing well with your hands. Dough will be stiff. If it is too stiff to knead, gradually add more water.
On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover with bowl and let the dough rest for 5 minutes
Divide the dough into four parts. Work with one part at a time. Keep remainder covered with bowl until ready to roll out.
Roll each part, on a floured surface, to about 14″x16″. Dough will be about 1/8″ thick. The shape does not need to be perfect. Work quickly before dough dries out.
Make sure each side of the dough is lightly coated with flour. Starting with the long side, roll the dough loosely, like you would for a jelly roll. With a thin sharp knife, cut roll into 1/8″ strips for noodles. Arrange on ungreased cookie sheet to dry. Let dry overnight before cooking.
Dried noodles can be stored in a cool place. They also freeze beautifully for use at a later time.
CHICKEN AND NOODLES
1 whole chicken
Salt and pepper
Egg Noodles, Uncooked (or make your own)
Parsley to taste
Cover whole chicken, in deep pot, with water and boil until chicken is falling off the bone. Remove chicken from broth and cool. Once chicken is cool, pick chicken pieces off the bone and return to broth. Discard bones and skin.
Refrigerate broth over night. Before proceeding, remove any congealed fat from top of broth.
Heat broth and chicken and add more water to assure enough liquid to cook one package of egg noodles. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 30+ minutes or until noodles are done.
Posole (puh-SO-lay) is a dried hominy stew that I first experienced when I lived in Arizona in the late ’80s. Having Iowa roots and a true affection to anything corn, I was drawn to this wonderful, comforting Mexican stew. It’s not that much different from the hominy my Mother served in her Iowa farm kitchen. Posole is known to bring good luck for the New Year, or anytime you need a little luck (or just plain comfort food) in your life.
Bring in the New Year with a little luck and Posole. Your tummy will thank you!
2 cups dried posole
6 cups water (more as needed)
1 pound lean pork, cubed
1 teaspoon chile caribe
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 teaspoons salt
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon saffron (optional and I do not use)
avocado slices for garnish
Brown pork cubes in a small amount of olive oil until starting to brown.
Add water and add dried posole, chili caribe, onion, garlic, oregano.
Cover and cook over low heat until done (4+ hours). Check often and add water as needed. Add salt immediately before serving. Garnish with avocado slice. Serve with guacamole and chips, hot sauce or any other Mexican favorite sides.