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My Grandma passed away at the age of 94. She was a wonderful cook and I was lucky enough to inherit her recipes. Many date back to the 1940s and 50s. Grandma prepared them in a charming country kitchen with no running water and most of her produce came from her garden, not from the grocery store. These are made-from-scratch recipes. I wish I had spent more time with her in the kitchen and . . . I wish I had spent more time with her for so many other reasons.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snack - Pepper Popcorn

This is an unusual snack recipe - might just have to try this out for Super Bowl Sunday.  I never would have come up with this idea.

2 quarts popped popcorn
2 cups shoe string potatoes
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion salt
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Combine butter with seasonings and toss with popcorn shoestrings and peanuts.  Put in a 9 x 13" pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Stir every two minutes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gravy - Grandma's Perfect Gravy

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
Neck and giblets from your turkey (discard the liver)
8 cups of chicken or turkey stock
Several sprigs thyme, parsley, rosemary and or sage
1 bay leaf
Turkey drippings (from your roasting pan)
1/2 cup flour
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and turkey neck and giblets; cook, stirring, until browned, about 15 minutes.  Add the broth, herb springs and bay leaf; cover and simmer about 2 hours (do this while your turkey roasts).

Once your turkey is done, transfer it to a cutting board to rest and pour the pan drippings into a large degreasing cup.  Strain the broth.

Put the roasting pan on the stovetop over low heat.  Add a dash of the broth to the pan and scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon.  Transfer the liquid and bits to the degreasing cup.  The fat will rise to the top of the degreasing cup.  Spoon off 1/2 cup fat and transfer to a saucepan.  Scatter in the flour; cook over medium heat, stirring in a figure-eight motion with a wooden spoon, until the flour mixture browns slightly, about 4 minutes.

Gradually ladle the hot broth into the flour mixture, whisking constantly (this is key, or your gravy will be lumpy).  Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the gravy simmers gently.

Add remaining turkey drippings to the gravy, leaving any extra fat behind in the degreasing cup.  Simmer, whisking occasionally, until the gravy thickens, about 10 minutes.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fruit - Old-Fashioned Fruit Compote

Looking for a side-dish  that's the perfect to go with your next turkey, goose, duck or ham?  This warm and fruity dish will simmer while you prepare the rest of the menu, or make it a day ahead and reheat before serving.

1 can (20 oz) pineapple chunks, undrained
1 pkg (18 oz) pitted dried plums
1 can (15 1/4 oz) sliced peaches, undrained
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges, undrained
1 jar (10 oz) maraschino cherries, drained
1 pkg (6 oz) dried apricots
2 pkgs (3 1/2 oz each) dried blueberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
4 lemon peel strips
1 cinnamon stick (3")

In a Dutch oven, combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 50 - 60 minutes or until fruit is tender.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cookie - Melting Moment Cookies

1 cup flour
1/2 cup corn starch
12 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup margarine
1 tsp vanilla

In a bowl, stir together first three ingredients.

In a large bowl, beat margarine at medium speed until smooth.  Beat in flour mixture and vanilla until well blended.

Refrigerate one hour.

Shape into 1" balls.  Place about 1 1/2" apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Flatten with lightly floured fork.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 6 minutes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Salad - Festive Cranberry Salad

2 pkg (3 oz each) raspberry Jell-o
2 cups boiling water (divided)
1 can (14 oz) whole-berry cranberry sauce
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin in 1 cup boiling water.  In another bowl, combine cranberry sauce and remaining water; add gelatin mixture and lemon juice.  Pour into a 13 x 9" dish coated with cooking spray; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

In a large bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form.  In another bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Stir in 1/2 cup whipped cream; fold in remaining whipped cream.  Spread over gelatin mixture; sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.