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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.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Quick Berry Cheesecake

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 Tbsp melted butter
3 Tbsp sugar
32 oz cream cheese at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 - 2 cups of fresh mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries)
8 oz of whipped topping

Combine the cracker crumbs, butter and 3 Tbsp sugar.  Mix well and then press into the bottom of a 13 x 9" pan.  Refrigerate while preparing filling.

Beat the cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar in a large bowl until well blended.  Stir in the berries until well mixed. Whisk in the whipped topping.  Pour mixture over crust.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.  Cut into squares to serve.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Grandma used lots of sweet potatoes during the fall and winter months.  They stored well in the cellar.  Here is another one of her delicious sweet potato recipes.

3 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes cut into chunks or 1/2" slices
1/2 cup pecans (finely chopped)
6 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate (thawed)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups miniature marshmallows

Peel and slice the sweet potatoes and place them in a large pot of boiling salted water.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Drain well.

Coat a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, stir together the sweet potatoes, pecans, butter and orange juice concentrate until combined.  In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and Cayenne pepper.  Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture and stir until combined.  Spoon into the baking dish.

Cover and cook on at 285 degrees for 2 - 3 hours.  Sprinkle the marshmallows over the top of the sweet potatoes.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the marshmallows are melted.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Honey-Roasted Sesame Pork

Pork tenderloin is one of my go-to meals when I need to make dinner in a hurry.  I try to stock on them when they are on sale and keep them in the freezer.  It's easy to defrost one in the microwave and then prep it for the oven.

This is one of Grandma's recipes, and it's a good one!

1 (3/4 lb) pork tenderloin
1/4 cup honey
1 cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted

For Marinade:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Combine the soy sauce, garlic and ginger in a dish just large enough to hold pork tenderloin.  Add meat, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, turning several times.

Drain tenderloin and pat dry.  Spread honey on a plate and roll meat in it.  Spread sesame seeds on another plate and roll honeyed tenderloin in them, coating all over.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a roasting pan, bake pork tenderloin for 20 minutes or until no longer pink at the thickest part.  Let meat stand for 5 minutes and slice to serve.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Slow Cooker Dessert - Pear Upside-Down Cake

We live in a very busy world, and as the mother of young adults who live at home, I'm always looking for ways to serve good comfort food that will be ready to eat at the crazy times we manage to have everyone home.

This recipe comes from from my Grandma's recipe book, but I've borrowed some baking ideas from the Slow Cooker Cookbook.  This recipe will take 4 hours from start to finish.  Give it a try . . . it will be a new family favorite.

7 Tbsp butter (3 Tbsp cut into small squares, 4 Tbsp softened)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 fresh Bosc pears (cored, peeled and sliced in half)
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup pecans (toasted and chopped)
1/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs (at room temp)
2 Tbsp milk (at room temp)

Line a 5 quart slow cooker with foil and spray the foil with non-stick spray.  Turn the cooker on low.  Sprinkle the cut-up butter and brown sugar over the foil in the cooker.  Add the pears cut-side down.

Mix the flour, pecans, cornmeal, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl.  Beat the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl at low speed until blended.  Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs.

Add the dry ingredients and the milk, mixing until the batter is smooth.  Spread over the pears in the slow cooker.  Drape paper towels over the top of the slow cooker (don't let them touch the cake).  This will keep condensation from dripping onto the cake.  Cover and cook on the low setting until the cake is set (about 3 hours).  Allow the cake to rest for 20 minutes and then lift from the slow cooker by the foil.  Invert onto a serving plate when cool.

Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cinnamon-Honey Sweet Potatoes

Grandma had lots of ways to serve sweet potatoes.  They were a staple in her fall and winter pantry.

5 large sweet potatoes (peeled and sliced)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1 Tbsp orange juice
1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray a 9" baking dish with cooking spray.
Arrange potato slices in bottom of dish.
Combine cinnamon, ginger, orange juice and honey and pour over potatoes.

Bake covered for 50 - 60 minutes until potatoes are soft and tender.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lemon-Cranberry Bundt Cake

3 1/4 sticks butter cubed and at room temp
3 cups cake flour sifted
12 oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries (thaw if frozen)
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 Tbsp whole milk
4 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

For the Glaze
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray non-stick cooking spray inside bundt pan.

Cook the cranberries with 3/4 cup sugar in a pot over medium high heat until juicy and the mixture reduces to 1 1/4 cups, about 15 minutes.  Let cool.

Whisk the milk, whole eggs and yolks, and vanilla in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk the 3 cups flour, the remaining 1 3/4 cups sugar, the lemon zest, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Add the 3 1/4 sticks butter and beat with a mixer on low speed until moistened.  Add half of the milk mixture, increase the speed to medium and beat 1 minute.  Add the remaining milk mixture in two batches, beating between each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again, about 30 seconds.

Transfer 2/3 of the better to the pan.  Spoon the cranberry mixture in a ring around the middle of the batter (do not let it touch the pan).  Top with the remaining batter and smooth evenly.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 55 - 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the syrup:  Dissolve the 1/4 cup sugar in 1/2 cup lemon juice in a saucepan over low heat. Remove the cake from the oven, poke the surface all over with a skewer and pour the syrup on top.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Carefully invert the cake onto a parchment-lined rack to cool completely.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let sit overnight.

When ready to serve, whisk the confectioners' sugar and the remaining 2 Tbsp lemon juice until smooth.  Drizzle over cake.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Plum Applesauce

This is comfort food!  This is the perfect fall or winter side dish with dinner.  It's delicious served warm or cold.

5 large apples (peeled and cored)
5 red plums (peeled and pitted)
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
4 Tbsp butter

Peel and core/pit your apples and plums.  If you like a sweet applesauce, use McIntosh apples or Red Delicious apples.  If you like your applesauce a little on the tart side, use Granny Smith apples.

Melt butter in a medium sized deep skillet.  Add the apples and plums.  Allow to cook slightly.

Add the apple juice, sugar, and cinnamon sticks.  Stir well and cook over medium-high heat until mixture begins to bubble.  Reduce heat and cook over low heat for 45 - 50 minutes or until apples and plums are tender.

Remove cinnamon sticks and mash the fruit to make a chunky sauce.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pork with Squash and Apples

1 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (about 2 large cloves)
1 tsp dried sage
2 lbs pork tenderloin (trimmed)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 Tbsp honey mustard
1 sprig fresh rosemary
5 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix the nutmeg, 1 tsp garlic, and sage in a bowl.  Rub over the pork and season with salt and pepper.

Toss the squash, apples, onion and remaining 1/2 tsp garlic, the honey mustard, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.  Spread out on a long sheet of foil.  Add the rosemary and 3 Tbsp butter, then bring the ends of the foil together and crimp to seal into a packet.  Place the packet on a baking sheet and roast on the upper rack until tender, 30 - 35 minutes.  Poke holes in the packet to release steam.

Meanwhile, heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, then brown the pork on all sides, about 8 minutes.  Add 2 Tbsp water and scrape up any browned bits from the pan, then transfer the skillet to the lower oven rack and roast until a thermometer registers 150 degrees, about 15 minutes.  Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.

Return the skillet to medium heat.  Add 1/2 cup water, scrape up any browned bits and simmer about 2 minutes.  Slice the pork and drizzle with pan juices.  Serve with the squash and apples.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Tomato-Celery Soup

We have our coldest weather of the season so far, and it's so windy.  Even our poor dogs don't want to go outside.  These are the days when I look for a good hearty soup to serve for dinner.

1/2 cup finely-chopped celery
1 small onion (chopped)
2 Tbsp butter
2 cans (10 1/2 oz) tomato soup
10 1/2 oz water
10 1/2 oz milk
1 tsp minced parsley
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp unsweetened whipping cream
1 tsp chopped parsley

Saute celery and onion in butter.  Do not brown.
Add remaining ingredients except cream and chopped parsley.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Celery will remain crisp.
Garnish each serving with whipping cream and parsley.