Saturday, February 27, 2010

Refreshing Raspberry Shrub

My Grandma's RecipesFrom the old-timey Southern Appalachian Mountain Cookbook I've discovered a Raspberry Shrub recipe.  Intrigued by the ingredients, it's taken me on a journey to find out more about the history of these vinegar based concentrates.

A shrub, unlike the woody plant growing in your landscape,  is a vinegar based sweet liquid made with fruit, vinegar and sugar. Popular as an alternative to hard spirits and as a way to preserve fruit harvests in the 19th and early 20th century, shrub receipts and methods were prominent in cookbooks of the day.

This Mountain Cookbook recipe for Raspberry Shrub is one that I will be trying this summer when raspberries are in season.

(also use Strawberries) Cover ripe red berries with vinegar and let stand 24 hours. Heat, cool and strain. To each cup juice, add 1 cup sugar. Boil 15 minutes, bottle and seal. When served, add two tablespoons of juice to a glass of water and crushed ice.

Important Notes:
  • From what I have read on the Internet shrubs will keep indefinitely if you use a sterilized bottle and keep the syrupy concentrate refrigerated.
  • Use non-reactive cookware for this process - i.e. enamel, clay, glass, plastic and stainless steel.
  • There is a page for shrub recipes and articles that I'm starting right here on this blog...woo hoo! Share, try, comment.
What do you think - are you as intrigued as I am about shrub recipes?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hint of Bacon Spoon Bread

Bacon.jpgLight and fluffy with a hint of bacon this Spoon Bread compliments any breakfast, lunch or dinner. Time this to come out of the oven just as you are sitting down for your meal because the presentation is spectacular - billowy, baked to golden brown.

Bacon Spoon Bread

3-4 strips of bacon
1 cup corn meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
2 eggs; separated
1 cup milk

Cook bacon to crispy, crumble and set aside. Add salt to cornmeal, stir in boiling water and 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings. Beat egg yolks, add to milk and stir into cornmeal mixture. Whip egg whites to stiff peaks, fold into mixture. Pour into well greased casserole, top with crumbled bacon. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

  • Breakfast: Top a serving of bacon spoon bread with a fried or poached egg, include a side of fruit salad.
  • Lunch: Fold in 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar cheese into the cornmeal mixture, bake as directed. Serve with a steaming hot cup of tomato or vegetable soup.
  • Dinner: Serve along with a green salad and your favorite roasted or barbecued meat.
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite cheese; shredded and folded into the cornmeal mixture, bake as directed.
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh off the cob super sweet corn; blanch just to heat through, drain and fold into the cornmeal mixture right before baking.
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions; saute in butter or olive oil to tender, fold into the cornmeal mixture, bake.
  • 1 small jalapeno, finely chopped and stirred into the cornmeal mixture, bake as directed.
Share your meal ideas and additions for this Bacon Spoon Bread.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Salmon Loafing

Gather the crowd 'round for this oh so yummy Salmon recipe, it makes enough for one hundred hungry folks! With a hint of lemon, which is a great compliment to fish, this Salmon Loaf is a unique find from my Grandma's cooking journals.

Salmon Loaf

10 cans salmon; 16oz each or *10 lbs fresh salmon; cooked and flaked
1 pound 8 oz rice; uncooked
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon rind
1 cup green pepper; chopped
1 cup parsley; chopped
2 quarts breadcrumbs; fresh
40 eggs; beaten
2 quarts milk and or salmon liquid
1/3 cup salt
3 tablespoons baking powder

If using canned salmon, drain, save liquid and flake*. Cook rice according to package directions. Combine all ingredients and pour into three well greased 12"x18"x2" pans, set these into pans of hot water. Bake at 400° for 45 minutes. Serve with egg or parsley sauce. Serves 100 portions of 2"x3"x2"

That photo above is my husband's wild-caught salmon here in the beautiful Pacific NW. Love that smile!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Do You Know Schnitz Un Gnepp?

My Grandma's RecipesGrandma collected the most wonderful cookbooks. Little treasures from the local church ladies, plus popular cookbooks of the day. I just discovered this gem tucked in the box with Grandma's cooking journals and recipes. Written and signed by Edna Eby Heller, Dutch Cookbook is filled with original recipes "...tested with the idea that Pennsylvania Dutch Cookery was to be made practical for this generation of cookbook cooks." Delicious, comforting, homemade - this cookbook has me intrigued.

Mrs. Heller says, "Whenever you hear the call Koom essa, start running for that is the call to the Pennsylvania Dutch meal where food is good and plentiful." So Koom essa - let's try Schnitz Un Gnepp!

The translation for Schnitz Un Gnepp is "apples and dumplings." These are generally cooked with ham.

  • 2 cups smoked ham
  • 2 cups dried sweet apples
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Cover the dried apples with water and soak overnight. In the morning, using a kettle fairly large in diameter, almost cover the ham with sold water and cook slowly for 2 hours. Add the apples and water in which they were soaked. Add brown sugar and cook 1 hour longer. Add gnepp last 20 minutes.

To make the gnepp:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg; beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk; scant
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in beaten egg and melted butter. Add enough milk to make a moderately stiff batter. Drop from spoon into boiling ham and apples. Cover kettle tightly and cook, without lifting lid, for 20 minutes. Serves 6-8

Doesn't this sound just delicious, warm and comforting?

Edna Eby Heller's Dutch Cookbook is available on

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Delish Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake!

This chocolate cake recipe with mayonnaise and cocoa powder is real...real lovin' from the oven!

Discovered and baked this cake last night from 111 Favorites: Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Church Women (April, 1956) that was created by the women of the church and handed down to me from my Grandma Katie. Mrs John DeWitt shared this super easy chocolate mayonnaise cake recipe - I added the raspberry frosting and chocolate sprinkles ;)

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Ingredients and Method:
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup cold water
1 cup mayonnaise (recipe said Miracle Whip salad dressing, not sure how that would taste...??)

Preheat oven to 350°. Sift all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Then add water and mayonnaise, beat for 2 minutes. Put in greased baking pan and bake for 30 - 40 minutes. (Layer cake**)

**I used a bundt pan; greased and lightly floured. Added half of the batter, sliced a medium banana over batter and then topped with the remaining batter. Baked per above.

The consistency of this chocolate mayonnaise cake is dense, more like a pound cake. Rather then frosting this cake you could sprinkle it with powdered sugar once it has cooled. If you bake it as a layer cake use your imagination for fillings and frosting.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Five Ways to Say 'I Love You' With Food

happy valentines day - pink gerbera with a heart of chocolate!Food is a wonderful way to plant or grow the seed of love!

You don't have to be a chef or gourmet cook to create the air of love with food.  What you create doesn't even have to be that fancy - just use a bit of your imagination with this in you would feel as the receiver? That's Amore - listen while you browse.

1. Make a favorite - pick through your recipe box to find that special recipe that brings back good memories, it's sure to create more.

2. Surprise your loved one - secretly find out about a favored recipe from family, friends or co-workers, then prepare it - add your own flair.

3. Finger foods only - fix and eat everything in bite size pieces, from appetizers to desserts.

4. Create an atmosphere - leave tiny clues; text message, handwritten note, tweet, set the table or spread a blanket on the floor, light some candles, make a playlist of songs, now turn down the lights - enjoy your meal and each other.

5. Heart shapes - fill heart-shaped dishes with candy, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter for your food, spread heart confetti on the table, cut out heart shapes with colored paper include a handwritten love note and make sure to give lots of hugs from your heart.

*Any of these ideas can include the kids  - they will love helping with the set up, it's fun for them to eat by candlelight too and it creates lasting family traditions. Once they are tucked in bed you two can pull out the fruit, gourmet chocolates and whipped cream ;)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Asparagus - Snap!

My Grandma's RecipesGuaranteed you'll love the blending of the flavors in this Asparagus recipe that has horseradish and sour cream. I know! Doesn't that sound dee-li-she-us! A perfect compliment to a dinner of roast beef and parboiled new potatoes.

Asparagus with Horseradish Sour Cream Sauce

2 lbs asparagus spears
1/2 cup thick sour cream
1/3 cup drained horseradish
1/4 teaspoon salt
Few grains cayenne pepper or 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Cook asparagus spears to tender crisp; drain. Meanwhile make sauce. Beat sour cream slightly, add remaining ingredients and blend. Serve with cooked asparagus spears.

  • Trim asparagus spears, place in a microwave safe plate, add 3-4 tablespoons of water, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 3-4 minutes. The spears turn out tender-crisp, delicious!
  • Toss the sauce with the cooked asparagus spears, chill and serve with your meal.
My Grandma's RecipesAll-Clad Stainless Asparagus Pot : No microwave? Love to cook your veggies on the stove top? This stainless steel steamer is perfect. The tender asparagus tips are held farthest from the heat, while thicker stems are just above the boiling water. Use this stainless pot to steam other vegetables too!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Football and Fig Roll Ups

FigsThis recipe find from Grandma's journal is getting posted just in time for Sunday's Super Bowl game day festivities!

The flower from the fig tree imparts an exotic, distinct flavor to these beautiful roll-ups. Whip up the recipe today, have them chill out in the fridge until you are ready to wow the crowd with this delicious addition to your appetizer table - it's the perfect sweet treat!

Fig Roll Ups

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 pound figs; chopped

Cook filling until thickened over medium to medium-low heat. Set aside.

Roll Up Dough:
1 quart brown sugar
2 cups shortening
6 eggs; beaten
2 quarts cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl add ingredients in order given - mix just until ingredients are blended. Toss dough on a lightly floured board and roll out to 1/4" thick. Spread with fig filling and roll as a jelly roll. Chill, cut in slices and bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet in moderately hot oven (400 degrees) for 15 minutes.

- Use dates instead of figs.
- Dust the fig roll ups with confectioner's sugar.
- For an added touch decorate the plate with faux fig leaves

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mouthwatering Sweet and Sour Coleslaw

When I think ribs, I think coleslaw. When I think coleslaw, my mouth waters. It's something about the crunchy cabbage and tangy sweet of the sugar and vinegar in the dressing that tickles my taste buds.

I'm a straight out of the bowl coleslaw kinda gal, hubby likes the coleslaw to meld with flavors, so at 24 hours he's digging into the bowl. When's the perfect time for you to eat your bowl of coleslaw?

Tucked in the back of my grandma's journal is this Sweet and Sour Coleslaw recipe, which has enough ingredients to feed a crowd. I think it would be perfect for that upcoming Tate reunion ;)

Grab a couple of huge bowls, the shredder and these ingredients...
  • 10 lbs Cabbage - shredded finely
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 5 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups vinegar
Shred cabbage and place in refrigerator for several hours. Thirty minutes before serving add ingredients in order given, mix thoroughly into cabbage. Return to fridge, chill until serving.

Tips and Additions:
  • Mix the dressing ingredients and place in the refrigerator to chill, toss with cabbage right before serving.
  • Make and mix this recipe together and let chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Use cider vinegar for added sweetness
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of celery seed
  • Top with a healthy grinding of black pepper
  • Stir in two to three cups of finely shredded carrots
  • Fold in a large can of well-drained crushed pineapple and a cup of raisins
Enjoy - see ya tomorrow with another tasty bite and ideas ;)