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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.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgivings Past

Growing up, I think my Thanksgiving holidays were like lots of others -- we had more than one family meal to fit in.  My mom's side of the family was rather large.  She came from a family of seven children.  My dad was an only child.  Dinners were a bit different.  We loved spending time with cousins, aunts and uncles with one family and we loved being the center of attention with the other.  It was a great mix!  My childhood holidays were great!  I hope my grandchildren will remember theirs just as fondly.

My Grandma Mohr had a huge group of people to cook for.  I can't begin to imagine how much food had to be prepared for all of us.  Plum Pudding was always the perfect finish to our holiday meal.  Yummy!  I need to learn how to make that.  My Grandma Kruse had a smaller group to cook for and always went all out!  Cinnamon Rolls would start the day and Sweet Potato Pie would end dinner.  My sister, Kim, would refuse to eat the pie because it wasn't pumpkin.  It really did taste the same.

I hope one day my kids and grandkids will look back and remember a favorite recipe from our Thanksgiving dinner.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dinner Rolls

8 oz warm whole milk (100 degrees)
1/3 cup sugar
1 pkg active dry yeast
15 oz all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 stick of butter (6 Tbsp at room temp and 2 Tbsp chilled and cut into 16 small cubes)

Butter a sheet pan and set aside.

Place the milk, sugar, yeast, flour, egg yolks, and salt in a bowl.  Stir and then work with hands to combine.  When well mixed, let dough rest for 15 minutes.

Add 2 oz of the room temp butter and mix dough well.  Work dough until it pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll and shape with hands to form a large ball.  Return dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm, dry place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and roll into a 16 x 3" long log.  Use a bench knife to cut the dough into 1 3/4 oz portions, about 16 rolls.  Using your loosely cupped hand, roll each portion on the counter until they tighten into small balls.  Working 1 at a time, use a rolling pin to roll each small ball into a 3" circle or oval.  Use the side of your hand or a small dowel to make an indentation across the middle of the circle.  Place a small pat of chilled butter into the center of the indentation, then fold in half and gently press to seal the edges.  Place the rolls, top-side down onto the prepared sheet pan, spacing them evenly.  Melt the remaining 1 oz butter and brush the tops of the rolls.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, dry place to rise until doubled in size, 30 - 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 8 - 10 minutes.  Rotate the pan halfway through baking.

Remove the pan to a cooling rack and cool for 2 - 3 minutes before serving.