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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.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blueberry-Orange Bread

I have to admit, this isn't a recipe I've baked myself.  It sounds a bit unusual, but I thought I'd share it here and give it a try one day soon.  If you bake it yourself, be sure to share your comments here.  This comes from a newspaper clipping with a date of November 1948.

3 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp grated orange peel
2/3 cup orange juice
1 cup fresh blueberries

In bowl, stir together dry ingredients.  Beat together eggs, melted butter, milk, orange peel, and orange juice.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in berries.

Bake in greased 9 x 5 x 3" loaf pan at 350 degrees until golden brown (about 60 - 70 minutes).  Remove from pan.  Cool.  Wrap in foil and store overnight before slicing.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Peach Glazed Brisket

Prepare a rub
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cinnamon

4 lb trimmed brisket
2 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
1 white onion (diced)
3 garlic cloves (smashed)
4 cups beef broth
1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp thyme
3 celery stalks (diced)
3 large carrots (chopped)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

The night before serving, prepare the rub and spread all over the brisket.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Remove from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large wide pot over high heat.  Add brisket, fat side down.  cook until well browned (5 - 6 minutes).  Turn brisket over and cook until browned (about 3 minutes).  Transfer to a plate.  Lift with a spatula or use tongs.  Do not pierce.  Reduce heat to medium and add remaining Tbsp of olive oil.  Add onion and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is slightly golden.  Add broth and all remaining ingredients.  Bring liquid to a simmer.  Return brisket to pot.  Cover and transfer to oven.

Braise until the brisket is very tender to the touch, but still holds its shape, about 4 1/2 hours.  Transfer brisket to a plate and then strain the liquid.  Return the liquid to the pot.  Bring to a simmer and reduce to 2 cups.  Return the brisket to the reduced liquid.

For the Glaze
Transfer 1/4 cup of the braising liquid to a blender.  Add 1/2 cup peach jam, and 2 tsp bourbon.  Puree until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the broiler.  Spread 3 - 4 Tbsp glaze on top of brisket.  Broil brisket in pot until browned and glazed, watching carefully to prevent burning.

Transfer brisket to a cutting board.  Slice against the grain and transfer to a large platter.  Ladle braising liquid over.  Drizzle remaining glaze on top.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Herb Butter

Grandma grew lots of herbs in her garden.  I do all of my herb gardening in containers on the deck.  It keeps them handy when I need them for a recipe.

Herb butter is easy to make and will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.  Use it on pasta,  veggies or steak.

4 oz butter (softened)
1/4 cup of your favorite finely chopped herb -- chives, rosemary, thyme, sage or tarragon (you can use a mixture)
1 tsp lemon juice
Sea salt to taste

Mix the butter and other ingredients together either with a fork or hand mixer.  Shape the butter into a stick and wrap in waxed or parchment paper.  Wrap in plastic wrap.  Store in the refrigerator.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fruit Cocktail Cake

If you're looking for a recipe to start your child baking in the kitchen, this is it.  It's very easy and requires very little attention.

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 can (15 oz) fruit cocktail -- do not drain
1 egg

Stir ingredients together.  Mix well.  Pour into a 9 x 9" pan.  Top with 1/2 cup of brown sugar sprinkled evenly over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serve this topped with Cool Whip.  It's simple and delicious!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Peanut Butter Brownies

Grandma had quite the collection of dessert recipes.  In fact it is almost endless.  This is one I've prepared several times.  You may either follow the brownie recipe that appears first, or start with a box mix.  It's positively delicious either way.

1 cup butter (melted)
2 cups sugar
8 Tbsp cocoa powder
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup flour

Soften butter.  Stir in sugar, cocoa, eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Stir in salt, baking soda, and flour.  Mix well. Pour into 9" x 9" pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  Brownies should still be moist in the center.

1 cup cold milk
1 pkg (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups whipped topping
3 squares semi-sweet baker's chocolate

As the brownies cool, beat the milk and the pudding with a whisk for 2 minutes.  Add peanut butter and sugar and mix well.

Spread pudding mixture over the brownies.

Melt the baker's chocolate in a double boiler and then stir in the whipped topping.  Spread over the pudding mixture and then refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Tips:  To make this easier, I use Cool Whip
          To change up the flavors, sometimes I'll use White Chocolate pudding instead of vanilla

Monday, June 11, 2012

Turkey Bacon Salad

This is another one of Grandma's recipes that made good use of the produce from her garden.  She grew lots of herbs to use in her cooking.  This is a good hot summer evening dinner.  It won't heat up the house, and you get your meat and veggies.

6 slices of bacon (fried and crumbled)
2 cups sugar snap peas
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp snipped fresh dill - we can buy this in the produce section at the grocery store
1 small head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
8 oz turkey breast, cut into strips

Fry the bacon to desired crispness and drain on paper towel
Set bacon aside to cool
Cook peas, covered, in boiling salted water for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender
Crumble one bacon slice and set aside
Break the remaining bacon slices into pieces
In a bowl, combine the Miracle Whip, mustard, vinegar, and dill
Stir in crumbled bacon
Arrange romaine lettuce on each plate
Add peas, turkey strips and bacon pieces
Top with dressing

Friday, June 8, 2012

Chicken Hash with Apricots

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 lb red potatoes (small B-size), unpeeled
1 large red pepper
3 Tbsp apricot jam
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4 green onions, thinly sliced

Okay, before we get started, I've modified this recipe to make it far more to my liking.  I haven't changed it enough to require a new name.

I use 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I like white meat far more than dark meat).
I replace the red pepper with fresh or canned apricots and a white onion.
The rest remains the same.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine chicken and soy sauce; let stand.  Cut potatoes and red pepper into 1/2" pieces.  In a small bowl, mix jam and lemon juice until well blended.

Spread the chicken on foil-lined pan; brush with the jam mixture.  roast 15 - 17 minutes or until meat is no longer pink inside.

While chicken roasts, place the potatoes in a deep fryer and fry for about 5 minutes until crispy.  Remove from hot oil and drain on paper towel.  Heat 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the red pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring.  (In my version, you'll replace the pepper with the onion and apricots.) Stir in deep fried potatoes and most of the green onions.  Add 1/4 tsp of salt to season.  Cook 5 - 7 minutes or until lightly browned.

Spoon the potato mixture onto a plate and top with the chicken.