Ruby’s Culinaria


Appetizers

BobaLoo’s Bean Dip
Susan Delgado

Ingredients

  • 2 Cans Rosarita Black Refried Bean (Regular can be used but Black taste better)
  • Velveeta “original” liquid gold cheese 1 lbs. package
  • Pace Picante Salsa (HOT)
  • Pico Pica (HOT)

Method

Heat the 2 cans of beans over low heat and once warm start to add the cheese (cut into small cubes to melt quicker). With 2 cans of beans, it will take about ½ of the 1 lbs. block of Velveeta (plus or minus to taste). Once the cheese is blended add the Picante start with ½ cup then add to taste. Blend the salsa in then taste, it no spicy enough then add some Pico Pica salsa to taste.

Ashley’s comments are normally, more cheese and make it hotter, but test early and let it blend well before adding more of any ingredient.

Total time is about an hour.

Enjoy!

Chicken Vignettes
Al Kratz

12 servings

  1. Douse liberally with Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning.
  2. Cook over fire, about 5 minutes a side, turn frequently and make sure burn is distributed. Should see some separation from the bone.
  3. Optional addition: Liberally brush barbeque or buffalo sauce over the creole rub.
  4. Let cool and eat with lots of ranch for dipping and cold beer for drinking.


Beverages, Cocktails & Punches

Chai
Sudha Balagopal

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup milk
  • Black tea: a teaspoon if using loose leaf (adjust for strength) or tea bags.
  • Any combination or all of the spices listed below:
  • Ginger (Fresh, about ¼ inch piece, crushed)
  • a small stick of cinnamon
  • ¼ inch or so
  • two cloves
  • one pod of cardamom
  • one or two peppercorns
  • Sugar, white or brown, to taste.

Method

  1. In a pot, bring water to boil with the spices and the tea leaves. When it comes to a boil, add milk. Lower to a simmer for a minute. Take pot off the stove and place a lid on the steeping tea.
  2. Strain and enjoy. The longer the tea steeps, the stronger it will get. Sweeten to taste.

Enjoy!



Breakfast

Sunday Morning Pancakes
Timothy Boudreau

This recipe is something that’s typically improvised, dependent on whatever we might have in the house. My apologies that it’s not more exact.

I hope you enjoy!

Makes 8-10 pancakes (or so)

Ingredients

  • About 1 ½ cups of any combination of
  • steel cut oats
  • flax seed
  • farro
  • rolled oats
  • almonds
  • pecans
  • walnuts
  • (balance ingredients to your taste; feel free to use other nuts, seeds or grains)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Salt
  • cinnamon & nutmeg to taste
  • About 1 cup of fat free Greek yogurt
  • (you may use apple sauce or butter instead)
  • 2 eggsVanilla extract to taste
  • About 1 cup almond milk

Steps

  1. Grind nuts/seeds/grains in food processor into flour-like consistency.
  2. Stir in rest of dry ingredients.
  3. Add yogurt, eggs, vanilla and enough almond milk to produce your preferred pancake batter thickness.
  4. Pour with ¼-cup measuring cup on preheated frying pan or griddle. (Use ½-cup if you prefer bigger pancakes!)
  5. Cook until bubbles form on top and underside is firm and golden before flipping.

Migas
Michelle Ross

This is one of my family’s absolute favorite breakfast dishes, and it’s so quick and easy.

Forgive the vague amounts. I rarely measure when I cook; I eyeball ingredients.

Serves about 4

Ingredients

  • ¼ to ⅓ cup white onion
  • 1 4-ounce can diced Hatch chilis
  • ¼ to ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • A few cloves of garlic
  • 8-12 eggs
  • About ¼ cup almond milk (or whatever kind of milk you prefer)
  • A few (or many) handfuls of tortilla chips
  • ½ to 1 cup of salsa (homemade is always preferable)
  • Cilantro
  • ½ to 1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste (not too much salt, though, because the chips are already loaded with it)

Instructions

  1. Chop the onion and garlic.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic in heated oil in a cast-iron pan for about 5 minutes.
  3. While onion and garlic are cooking, whisk eggs with a little bit of milk. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Also, chop tomatoes.
  5. Add Hatch chilis and tomatoes to the onions and cook for another minute or so.
  6. Add eggs to the pan and cook for a few minutes, stirring routinely.
  7. Stir in tortilla chips.
  8. Stir in salsa.
  9. Stir in cheese.
  10. Remove from heat and top with cilantro, avocado, and sour cream as desired.

Mithai Granola
Anu Pohani

The below recipe is an American/South-Asian amalgam, like me. Also – healthy, vegan, and delicious.

Ingredients

  • ⅓  cup oil (rapeseed, sunflower, walnut are awesome, but in a pinch I’ve used the normal vegetable oil. No effect on flavour, lower in omega-3s)
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup (feel free to substitute agave)
  • 5 cardomom pods, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon1 cup oats
  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • 2 Tbsp. seeds (I use a sunflower-flaxseed-pumpkin seed mix)
  • ¼ cup desiccated coconutRaisins (to taste)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to a low setting, 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a larger bowl mix the nuts, seeds, oats and coconut. In a separate small bowl mix together oil, spices, and syrup until emulsified. Add the wet to the dry and toss with your hands so that everything is well coated.
  3. Spread the mixture in an even layer on a baking tray. Put in the oven for 7 minutes. Take out the baking tray and give it a little stir around to make sure nothing is burning, catching etc. Put it back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes depending on how toasty you like it.
  4. Take the tray out of the oven and let cool. Add raisins to taste. Store in an airtight container. Serve with your favourite accompaniment. I like vanilla yogurt.


Soups, Stews, Chowders & Gumbos

Chilli Chicken Ramen
Yin F Lim

Note on recipe:I began to build my own ramen during one of the Covid lockdowns, when I learnt to appreciate the therapeutic value of multi-process cooking. Making the different elements of this chilli chicken ramen dish, adapted from a recipe* by Ken Yamada of London’s Tonkotsu ramen house, keeps me calm and focused when I’m feeling frazzled. There’s a fair amount of work – and time – involved but it’s really worth the effort, especially the chilli oil which goes well with a bowl of instant ramen too, or anything else!

Serves 6

Preparation: 35 mins
Cooking time: 3 hours and 25 mins

Ingredients

BASE (A)

  • 150ml dashi
  • 10g salt
  • 1 tsp. sake
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. mirin
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar

CHICKEN STOCK (B)

  • 1.5kg whole chicken
  • 50g ginger, chopped
  • 4 salad onions, cut into several pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped

CHILLI OIL (C)

  • 60ml sesame oil
  • 140ml vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 salad onion, finely sliced
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped

PASTE (D)

  • 10g Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese seven-spice mix)
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 20ml soy sauce
  • 25g white miso

Serve with

METHOD

  1. Make the base (A):  Place the dashi in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to simmer until it is reduced by half. Add the rest of the base ingredients to the pan. Return to the heat and stir. Once the salt has dissolved, remove from heat and pour into a small container. Leave to cool.
  2.  Make the stock (B): Put the chicken in a deep stock pot and cover with cold water. Once you’ve added the rest of the stock ingredients, turn up the heat slowly. When the stock is boiling, turn the heat down to allow the chicken to poach gently for 3 hours, uncovered. Skim off any foam that forms on the surface.
  3. When the chicken is cooked, allow it to cool down, then shred the meat off the bones into bite-sized pieces. With a sieve, strain the stock into a pot and set aside for later.
  4. Make the chilli oil: In a bowl, mix the paste ingredients (D) until smooth and set aside. Add the chilli oil ingredients (C) to a small saucepan and place this over a low heat. Slowly bring up the temperature, keeping a close eye not to burn the garlic and onions. Once this reaches 130°C (this should take 10-15 mins; use a sugar thermometer), take the pan off the heat. Allow about 1 min for the oil to cool to 120°C, then add the paste to the oil and mix together. Once this has cooled to room temperature, transfer the chilli oil to a sterilised container.

Building your bowl of ramen

  1. Heat up the chicken stock to boiling, then turn down to a simmer.
  2. Cook your vegetables of choice in a pan of hot water for 1-2 mins, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain.
  3. Cook your noodles of choice according to the instructions on the pack.
  4. Mix 6 Tbsp. sediment from the chilli oil with the shredded chicken.

To assemble your ramen:

  1. Add 2 tsp. of the ramen base in your bowl.
  2. pour over 350ml hot chicken stock.
  3. Add the noodles.
  4. Add the toppings: chilli chicken, marinated eggs (cut in half) and vegetables.
  5. Add the salad onions and drizzle over the chilli oil; about 1 tsp. or more if you like!

*Recipe adapted from Waitrose & Partners Food magazine, Nov 2020 issue

Cook’s Notes:

* To further minimise stress, I’ve taken Ken Yamada’s tip to make the stock (Step 2) and chilli oil (Step 4) the day before

* Note on saké: If you, like me, don’t have a handy bottle lying around, substitute with mirin, Chinese Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry.

Shrimp Okra Gumbo & Summers in South Louisiana
Gay Degani

Imagine the kind of heat that sticks cotton shirts wet against your skin. Consider the rich mossy odor of peaty soil mixed with the smell of oil from barges moving along the intracoastal canal. Picture galvanized tubs filled with ice from the big freezer chest in the garage, chilling down fat green watermelons under an ancient fig tree. Notice the white clapboard house, the screened-in porch, the three cement steps cracking away from the foundation. Walk up those steps and onto the porch and give the wicker rocking chair a push so it whispers “hello.” Smile as you catch the smell of shrimp okra gumbo simmering on the kitchen stove.

You walk into the house, into a heat hotter than outside. Grandma is at the counter shredding coconuts, wearing a flower-print dress and a flour sack apron. Her thick stockings are rolled down to clunky shoes, her curly, blue-dyed hair almost tamed by a hairnet. She turns her damp face toward you and grins. “How you do?”

You say, “Can I have a soda?”

“Help yourself darlin’.”

Her yellow kitchen is small, so the ice box is in the breakfast room, on the other side of the swinging door. You push it. Go in. Cooler here. You wipe the sweat from your forehead and realize you’re almost as tall as the ice box, but, of course, it’s not very tall. You yank it open to grab a Nehi, then thrust your head inside, close your eyes. You let the cool air and steady hum wash over you. It’s the most enjoyable moment of a day full of enjoyable moments. And soon the cousins will come, bringing shrimp and crawfish, jambalaya, and maybe even a pecan pie to set next to grandma’s coconut cake.

Shrimp Okra Gumbo*

  • 1 pound of raw peeled shrimp
  • 1 ½ pounds of fresh okra, sliced
  • 1 fresh tomato, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. of butter
  • 2 Tbsp. shortening
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. of flour
  • 1 quart of water

Start with a Roux:

  1. Melt of butter and 2 shortening in a saucepan.
  2. When hot, sprinkle in 2 or 3 Tbsp. of flour (this is up to you).
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Stir constantly until the mixture turns amber.

Now:

  1. Add onions, and stir until the onions become almost clear.
  2. Add okra and shrimp and stir to coat with roux.
  3. Add tomato.
  4. Add cold water a little at a time, stirring until smooth after each addition.
  5. Add remaining liquid and seasonings and bring to a boil.
  6. Simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally.

Salt and pepper again to taste
Serve over rice with hot French bread

*This is how I learned to make it, but there are other recipes out there.

Minnesota Creamy Wild Rice Soup
Anne Panning

This recipe is from my mom, Barb Panning, who gave me a handwritten family recipe book, written in her beautiful cursive, when I got married in 1992. It’s stained and falling apart and the recipes are in no order whatsoever, but to this day it’s the one thing I’d run and grab if my house ever caught on fire. She used to make this soup on Christmas Eve, and I make it whenever I crave something cozy and familiar. My mom died several years ago when she was just 61 years old, so this cookbook is a tender treasure. I loved how she wrote little editorials on the recipes, such as “your Aunt Sandy gave me this one but I don’t use as much garlic—makes my stomach too urpsy!).

Ingredients

  • 4 T butter1 large onion, minced
  • ½ C flour
  • 8 C chicken broth
  • 4 C cooked wild rice
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t black pepper
  • 2 C half & half
  • 1C cubed ham
  • ⅔ C finely grated carrots
  • ½ C slivered almonds
  • (optional) 1 small package of instant mashed potatoes for extra thickening

Directions

  1. Cook the wild rice according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in soup pot; sauté onions until tender and translucent.
  3. Blend in flour, then gradually add chicken broth, using a whisk to mix it up.
  4. Stir constantly, until mixture thickens slightly.
  5. Stir in wild rice and salt; simmer about 5 minutes.
  6. Blend in the half-and-half, then add ham, carrots, and almonds.
  7. Simmer until ham, carrots, and almonds are warm.

NOTE: If you like your soup thicker and creamier (we do), add some instant mashed potatoes at the end, then increase heat and stirs until it thickens to how you like it.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: This makes a very large pot of soup! Even with our family of 4 big eaters, we definitely have leftovers, so feel free to halve the recipe if you want to.

Images courtesy of Anne Panning

Veggie Lentil Soup
Renuka Raghavan

Having lived in New England for almost a decade now, my family and I have come to appreciate the versatility and flavor aggregation in soups and stews. One of my favorite weekday dinners consists of fresh baked naan and a big bowl of my Veggie Lentil Soup. This soup is adjustable according to the vegetables you have on hand or what is currently in season. The spice mix ensures a hearty, warm filling.

  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced fine
  • 2 celery ribs, diced fine
  • 2 medium carrots, diced fine
  • (feel free to substitute 10 oz of mirepoix mix, if you have that on hand)
  • 1 Russet potato, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¾ cup minced fresh cilantro, divided
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup orzo6 ounces spinach, roughly chopped
  • Lemon wedges
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, potato, and zucchini, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent and just starting to brown, 6 to 7 minutes. In a mortar and pestle, crush garlic cloves and fresh ginger into a pulp. Reduce heat to medium, add the garlic/ginger pulp to the pot, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute, ensuring the spices are cooked in the oil. Toss in ½ cup cilantro and cook for 1 minute.

2. Stir in broth, water, and lentils; increase heat to high. Once you notice it boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot with the lid, and gently simmer until lentils are just tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Stir in tomatoes and orzo and simmer, partially covered, for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in spinach and continue to cook, partially covered, until orzo is tender, about 5 minutes longer. Off heat, add remaining ¼ cup cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.



Main Dishes

Ball Curry or ‘Bad Word’ Curry
Savera Zachariah

Ball curry is a dish made by the Anglo Indian(AI) community in India. This is eaten with yellow/coconut rice and devil’s(mother-in-law’s tongue) chutney, and is a Sunday special in many AI homes. Growing up in a neighbourhood with friends from different communities, food was always shared and all festivals celebrated with fervour. My mom adapted this recipe to suit our Malayalee palate, with coconut milk(first, second and third extract from freshly grated coconut) being a key ingredient. We eat it with plain rice.

As teenagers, the name ‘ball’ curry would send us into fits of giggles. I am guessing the adults replaced the name to a sanitised ‘bad word’ curry. When I tried spaghetti and meatballs for the first time in my life, I was like: “This is good ol’ balls!” Of course, seasoned differently.

Ingredients

  • 500 gms minced beef
  • Coriander leaves – 1 Tbsp., finely chopped

For the balls

  • White onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Ginger – 1 inch, finely chopped
  • Garlic – 4-5 pods, finely chopped
  • Green chilies – 3-4, finely chopped (reduce for less heat)
  • Garam masala – ½ tsp.
  • Coriander leaves – a few, chopped fine
  • Pepper -a pinch
  • Salt to taste

For the curry

  • White onion – 1 large, finely chopped
  • Ginger-garlic paste – 1 Tbsp.
  • Cinnamon – ½ inch stick
  • Cloves – 3
  • Cardamom – 1
  • Curry leaves – a sprig or two
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp.
  • Kashmiri chili powder – 1 Tbsp.( reduce for less heat)
  • Coriander powder – 3 tablespoon
  • Cumin powder – 1 tsp.
  • Tomato – 1 medium sized, chopped
  • Coconut cream(thin) diluted with water – 2 cups
  • Coconut cream(thick) – ½ cup
  • Green chilies – 2, slit vertically
  • Potatoes – 1 medium, chopped into 4 pieces
  • Coconut or Vegetable oil – 1 Tbsp.

For the seasoning

  • Coconut oil – 1 tsp.
  • Mustard seeds – ½ tsp.
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Onion – a tsp., finely chopped

Method

To prepare the meatballs

Fry the chopped onions, ginger, garlic, green chilies lightly till the onions are translucent. Add to the mince. Add the garam masala and the coriander leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and make lime sized balls. The balls should not be rolled too tight. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To prepare the curry

Heat a pan. Pour in the oil. Fry the onions till light brown. Add a sprig of curry leaf. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears. Keep aside.  Add the cinnamon, cardamon and the cloves. Make sure the spices don’t burn. Mix the coriander, chili, turmeric and cumin powder with a little water and pour in the pan. Cook this on a low flame and keep adding a little water so as not to burn the powders and spices. Add the chopped tomato and green chilies, and fry till the tomatoes soften. Mix everything and fry till the oil separates from the masala. Now add the thin coconut milk. Season with salt. When the curry is bubbling, add the meat balls and the potatoes. Let it simmer till cooked. Take the pan off the stove and pour in the thick coconut milk. Mix thoroughly.

To season the curry

In a pan, pour the oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds. When it splutters, add the chopped onion and the curry leaves. When the onions are light brown, tip the contents into the curry and cover the curry with a lid to trap the smell and flavor.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with plain rice or naans or rotis.

Tips

  • Make sure the curry is bubbling when the balls are added, as this will ensure that the balls don’t break up in the curry.
  • If short of time, use store-bought meatballs. Make sure the meatballs are only seasoned with pepper and salt.
  • Spinach leaves and cubed turnips can also be added, for a more wholesome and nutritionally rich curry.

Carne Guisada~Puerto Rican Beef Stew
Lugo-Trebble Style
John Lugo-Trebble

I consider myself very much a citizen of the world in that I have lived in four different countries and on both coastlines of the US. In that respect, I’m someone who has had to adjust to having and not having certain ingredients available when I want them or even need them. Carne Guisada is what reminds me of home and my mother. When I need a hug from her, I know it’s time to make this dish. I should say that this isn’t exactly my mother’s dish, but her version is different from what she grew up eating. The dish has evolved in our family because we have migrated, and leaving “home” is something that seems to be in our blood as Puerto Ricans.

So a few things to know, this dish is usually made in a Dutch Oven or cast iron pot. If you use one of these vessels, remember to first sear the meat and then add subsequent ingredients to the Dutch oven or pot to cook on a low flame. The whole point of this dish is to let the aromas spread through your home like open arms.

I use a slow cooker because I will defend them till my last breath, and so this version has been modified for that use. Trust me; if you put this together and turn it on overnight, you will awaken ravenous. If you put it on in the morning and sit down to work, your senses will awaken as the dish cooks throughout the day.

I call these three ingredients the Holy Trinity of Puerto Rican food, and although you can skip the sazón(it doesn’t agree with everyone), I urge you not to ignore the Adoboand not the Sofrito. In the US, you can buy these ingredients over the counter. I never buy store-bought Sofrito, so here is my recipe, which has been modified as there are certain ingredients that are hard to come by here where I live in the UK.

Sofrito

Ingredients

  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped (if you can find Cubanelle peppers, use 1 of these and only 1 green red bell pepper, make sure they are seeded and chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped 
  • 1 aji dulce pepper, seeded and chopped (sweet orange/yellow peppers are a good substitution)
  • 1 ½ cup of chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 ½ cup of chopped culantro leaves (if you can’t find culantro, then add the same of cilantro)
  • 9-10 cloves of garlic (I measure garlic with my heart, as should you)
  • 1 large white chopped onion (If you can get Spanish onions, they are the best for this)
  • 2 plum or vine tomatoes, chopped
  • A handful of oregano, chopped 
  • Spanish Olive Oil to help everything come together in the blender.

Method

I use a blender, so I add ingredients one or two at a time until they are all combined. You can use a food processor as well. As ingredients are blended, you pour a little olive oil directly into the blender to help all the ingredients come together. I prefer my sofrito to be pulsed, so it is not watery but not entirely chunky like a dip. If yours is still too chunky, you can add some water to help dilute it. 

The great thing about this is that it makes so much that you can freeze it for up to a year if you want. A common freezing technique is pouring the mixture into ice cube trays, so you have the perfect size serving to use when you cook.

This is best made at least a day before, so the flavours can really come together.

Carne Guisada  a la Lugo-Trebble

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. of Spanish Olive Oil (you can use any olive oil, but I think Spanish brings out the best flavour in this dish).
  • 2 pounds of chuck beef or braising beef cut into cubes (you want a cheaper cut as it will absorb the flavour, and the longer it cooks, the more tender it will be)
  • 2-3 shakes of adobo seasoning (it comes in a plastic container)
  • ¼ packet of sazón seasoning (if you desire it)
  • 1 crushed powdered cube of vegetable bouillon 
  • ½ cup of tomato sauce (a small tin will do) or passata (I would recommend watering it down a little if you will be using the latter).
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp. of mixed herbs (Italian herbs can work as well)
  • 10 pimento-stuffed Spanish olives (they come in jars in brine)
  • 1-3 garlic cloves, minced (depending on your taste buds, as sofrito is loaded with garlic)
  • 1 carrot, sliced thickly 
  • 2-3 decent size potatoes, cubed
  • 1-2 tsp. of red wine vinegar
  • 16-32 fl oz (or ½- 1 litre) of beef stock (I say this amount because it is a visual judgement. You want the stock combined with other liquids to cover the meat nicely, but it shouldn’t necessarily drown it)
  • A decent size glass of red wine (I tend to use a Rioja if one is open, but if not, something like a Merlot or a decent house wine will do).
  • Salt/Pepper to taste. 

Method

  1. In a bowl, combine the Adobo, sazón & sofrito with the meat. You want to leave a little bit of fat on the meat because this will cook beautifully and fall off with the touch of a fork.
  2. Make sure the meat is covered in the seasoning. If you want to leave this in the fridge overnight to marinate, it will be gorgeous. Just make sure you take it out at least a half-hour before you go to cook it. Personally, I only do that half the time. Most of the time, I just combine it all together and let it sit while I prepare the slow cooker.
  3. Your choice: you can seal the meat before transferring it to the slow cooker—I don’t, as having done it before, it hasn’t made a difference to the dish in my experience. If you do seal it, then use the olive oil and seal it on a low-medium flame as you don’t want to cook it.
  4. Layer the bottom of the slow cooker with olive oil and then potatoes and carrots.
  5. Transfer meat and layer on top of the potatoes and carrots.
  6. Combine the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker apart from the beef stock.
  7. Pour beef stock into the slow cooker, careful to cover the meat but not drown it by having the liquid reach the rim of the slow cooker.
  8. Add some salt and pepper and stir.
  9. Cook on low setting for a minimum 6-8 hours. I would check it after 6 hours to ensure the beef is tender. Bear in mind that when you open a slow cooker, you add 20 minutes to the cooking time, so try and only do this 1-2 times max. The gravy will not be thick; it’s not meant to be. Here if necessary, season with salt & pepper to taste.
  10. Once the meat is tender to your satisfaction, it’s ready.

I normally serve this with rice and kidney beans or just white rice. If you’re feeling healthy, some brown rice. I’d recommend checking out some Puerto Rican or Cuban rice and bean recipes as they would make ideal compliments to this dish.

Chicken Piccata
Samantha Vargas

This recipe is my dad’s favorite. To quote him, he could “drink the sauce.”

*makes 2 servings*

SEASON

  • 4 chicken cutlets with salt and pepper & pound thin with a mallet. Dust with flour.

SAUTE IN

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes on each side. Put cutlets to the side.

DEGLAZE WITH

  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp. Garlic, minced
  • Stir until garlic is brown and wine is reduced for approximately 2 minutes.

ADD

  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. capers, drained
  • sauteed chicken cutlets
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes until combined. Remove and plate the chicken cutlets.

FINISH WITH

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Fresh lemon slices
  • Once the butter melts, pour the sauce over the chicken cutlets.

GARNISH WITH

  • Fresh parsley
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley and enjoy!

Franks and Beans for Two
Francine Witte

  • Four hot dogs,
  • Can of baked beans
  • Mustard
  • Brown sugar

Cut each frank into 7 or 8 slices. This is important if you are eating this with your partner so that you can count out the number of franks when you go to serve it. You don’t want to have this kind of thing come up in the divorce hearings. (She always cheated me on the franks, kind of thing) Also important to remember how many slices the franks came out to. Put the franks into a big pan. Non-stick or not, no biggie. Cover with a can of Baked Beans. I like the ones with pork in it, but that’s personal. If you are cooking, you get dibs on eating the pork yourself when you go to serve. That’s a rule. Add a big Tbsp. of brown mustard. Stir in. Add a tablespoon of brown sugar, trying not to hum the Stones tune as you do. I’m sorry, I realize I just put that in your head. Mix. Cover and put on a low heat for about five minutes. Let it be a little bubbly. Mix again and count out half the franks. You didn’t forget the count, did you? If so, it’s in your favor, so no big deal. So yes, literally pull the franks out first with the spoon, we aren’t going for third-degree burns here. Once the franks are evenly distributed, add half the beans. Now, you might want to taste to make sure. That comes out of their half, not yours.

Enjoy.

K’neidelach
Julie Zuckerman

This recipe comes from my mother, and I make it all year long. Find more recipes (including a full Passover cookbook) on my website here.

  • 1 c. matzo meal
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ c. canola or other vegetable oil
  • ¼ c. water
  • 1 TBSP. chopped parsley
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and chill for an hour or two. Bring a pot of water to boil, and with a bit of oil on your hands, mold into small balls that can be dropped into the boiling water. Cook for about 30 minutes until the balls seem light and fluffy. (Notes: 1. Add a bit of chicken soup or soup mix to the water; 2. The balls should be somewhere in size between golf balls and tennis balls.)

Risotto
Marissa Walker

(makes 8 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg bacon (375g)
  • 1 pkg Arborio Rice (750g)
  • 1 pkg Chicken Broth (900ml-1Liter)
  • 1 Very large Vidalia Onion (or two small yellow onions)
  • 6 cloves of garlic pressed and/or minced
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 quart cherry or baby tomatoes
  • ½ cup butter
  • Several handfuls of baby spinach
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg

Cooking Instructions

Chop Bacon into small pieces to start and begin cooking on low heat in extra large and very deep pan. The goal is to cook without browning the bacon. It should take about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in another pot, heat up the broth and water on low. When the bacon looks mostly cooked, add in finely minced onion and allow to cook until transparent and soft. (if you find the pan getting dry, you can add a little water) Once onions are soft, add in garlic and butter. Stir for about one minute or until the butter is completely liquid, then add the entire package of Arborio rice. As soon as you have added the rice, scoop 3-ladles worth of the watered-down broth into the pan and stir. Turn up to medium heat. Each time the mixture starts to bubble, stir. Add one ladle of broth mixture at a time each time the rice starts to seem dry. Keep adding the broth one ladle at a time-this part takes a while, and Arborio rice does take a goodly amount more time than other varieties to cook. However, I can promise that if you take the time, you will get a truly lovely creamy texture. When the broth mixture is about half used, add nutmeg. I use a heaping tsp. worth, but you can season to taste. Add a little salt and ground black pepper. Test the rice; when it seems almost cooked, add the tomatoes—cut in halves. Stir and continue to add broth. When the rice is basically finished, add the spinach. I like to add mine without the stems-you can choose if the texture bothers you. At this point, all the broth should be included. If you have run out of broth and the rice is still not done, it is okay to add more water. Check the texture and flavor, add more nutmeg, salt, or pepper as needed.

Serve on its own or with a nice chicken or turkey breast.

Optional garnish of cheese on top. (I use finely shredded sheep cheese, but use what you like best, sharp cheeses like Parmesan go well with this dish.)

Enjoy!

Roasted Chicken Shawarma With Savory Red Wine Tomato-Olive Sauce
Mandy White

Note 1: this recipe is quite simple to prepare but yields sophisticated appearance and flavor. It’s perfect for an at-home meal served family-style and with an elevated presentation, ideal for company—a great excuse to break out your fun serving pieces or a reason to procure some. 

Note 2: the spice measurements in this recipe are geared toward a typical American palate. I tend to tweak the amounts I add (except for the cinnamon), adding more spice to the marinade to produce a deeper, more complex flavor in the chicken. The first time you marinate and cook this chicken, I recommend following this recipe as outlined below, then customizing it to your palate and taste in subsequent preparations. 

Marinade + chicken: 

  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced 
  • ½ cup olive oil + 1 Tbsp., divided
  • 6 (at least) cloves of garlic, smashed. Measure this to taste. You measure garlic with your heart, not with a measuring spoon 
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt (I use Normandy grey salt – kosher works, too. Any coarse salt, really)
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black or rainbow peppercorns 
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin 
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika (regular works, too, but smoked: *chef’s kiss*)
  • ½ tsp. turmeric 
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Red pepper flakes to taste (read: I use lots)
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed. Breasts work, too, but the thigh meat in this preparation is beyond divine. 
  • 1 red onion, quartered and separated
  • ***Assorted toppings, dips, and carbohydrates:
    (see preparation note 12 below before grocery shopping for this recipe)

Tomato olive sauce

  • 28oz crushed tomatoes
  • 2 small cans sliced black olives
  • ½ thinly sliced red onion
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper 

Preparation 

  1. In a 13×9 glass baking dish (mine is Pyrex – what one typically bakes brownies in), whisk together lemon juice and zest, ½ cup olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes.
  2. Add chicken, cover, and refrigerate from 1-12 hours. The longer the chicken marinates, the more flavorful it will be.
  3. Upon taking the chicken from the refrigerator, turn the oven to 425° F. Drizzle the Tbsp. olive oil onto a large sheet pan. 
  4. Add the quartered and separated onion to the chicken marinade, toss a couple of times, then discard marinade and spread chicken and onion onto the oiled sheet pan. 
  5. When the oven reaches 425°, place the sheet pan onto the center rack and roast for 30-40 minutes. 
  6. As the chicken and onion roast, mix the crushed tomatoes, black olives, and onion together in a small saucepan with a healthy glug of red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Glug. Glug glug. 
  7. Bring mixture to a simmer and allow the mixture to continue to bubble on low until the chicken in the oven is cooked through.
  8. When the chicken has 5 minutes left to go, begin to heat olive oil in a large saucepan until sizzling. 
  9. When the chicken and onion have finished cooking, pull the sheet pan from the oven, transfer the thighs to the large saucepan in batches, and sear until the edges are crispy. This should only take a few seconds per side. No one wants burnt chicken. Not after you’ve come all this way. 
  10. Arrange seared and roasted chicken thighs on a large serving platter, and slice into bits. 
  11. Place a bowl on the platter and pour the tomato olive sauce into it so that people can serve themselves and determine how much they would like. Do not pour over the chicken unless you’re sure everyone wants to eat their meal that way. This is not the time for any control issues to manifest. 
  12. Here’s where you can get creative and have some fun- add hummus with a swirl of good olive oil, tzatziki, toasted pita bread, crumbled feta, diced cucumbers, sweet peppers, falafel, fresh tomatoes, kalamata olives…really, anything that feels like it would complete the feast for you. I fry freshly mixed falafel dough in peanut oil for a fluffy and crunchy treat, and the rest of the cast of supporting culinary characters revolves around what I have on hand. This is a great time to clean out the refrigerator and use the bits and bobs loitering in the back of your appliance. 
  13. You can store leftovers for three days, but;
  14. You won’t have leftovers, and;
  15. You really won’t. 

Ruth’s Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Pot Pie (“Bot Boi”)
Patrice Boyer Claeys

In the Amish and German-settled part of eastern Pennsylvania, chicken pot pie does not come with a top crust and a thick sauce. Rather, it is a brothy stew made in a pot with rustic noodles cut in freeform shapes. This dinner was always a treat in my family. My sister and I loved cutting the pot pie noodles and carefully dropping them into the steaming pot. A local expression, “Get to know vat goot is,” certainly applies to this comfort food!

  • 1 4-pound whole chicken or equivalent cut-up parts
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 boiling potatoes
  • Water to cover the chicken
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • Fistful of parsley, chopped
  • Dough
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • Salt
  • 1⁄2 egg shell full of milk
  1. Make the dough by mixing together the flour, baking powder and a large pinch of salt. Knead in the butter to make a coarse meal. Add the egg and milk and mix until a shaggy dough forms. Flour a board and rolling pin and roll the dough until it’s very thin. Cut it into square and triangle pieces of about 1 ½ to 2 inches. Allow the noodles to dry a bit while you cook the chicken.
  2. Put the chicken in a large pot with the onion, bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt and ½ tsp. pepper. Cover everything with water. Bring to a boil and boil gently until the chicken is cooked and ready to fall off the bones, about an hour. Remove the chicken to a plate, discarding the onion and bay leaf but keeping the stock. While the chicken cools, peel and slice the potatoes into thin rounds. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Heat the chicken stock until it boils rapidly. In 2 batches, alternate layers of the dough (1 piece at a time or it will clump), chicken and potatoes into the boiling broth. Cook on medium/low heat for about 30 minutes or until the noodles are slightly puffed and cooked through. If it needs more liquid, add chicken broth or reconstituted bouillon cubes as desired. Taste for seasonings. Add peas and boil for a few more minutes, until they are cooked through. Serve with chopped parsley.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs
Jen Schneider

The recipe I share is an example of the wonderful flavors that often emerge when two unlike concepts or states of being, for example, sweet and sour, unite to create something new, novel, distinct, and unique. Whether on a sheet of paper, a paper napkin, or an antique platter, it’s often when the dissimilar meet that the most memorable experiences emerge.

My recipe was passed down to me by my grandmother. Through food and her favorite dishes, she remains both a strong presence and source of nourishment. I keep her recipe in an over-stocked, cluttered kitchen cabinet. Handwritten in red ink on a sheet of stained and folded 8 ½ by 11 loose-leaf paper, secured in the middle of a paperback cookbook. I could type and save the recipe on my computer, but I don’t. The handwriting warms like a home-cooked meal. The dish is full of seasoning and simultaneously perfect for any occasion.

Meatballs

  • 3 pounds ground beef & veal
  • 5 egg whites
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Matzo meal to hold together
  • Form into balls & put into sauce & cook 2-2½ hours

Sauce

  • 2 bottles ketchup. Regular size
  • 2 bottles ginger ale. Regular size

Turkey And Green Chili Enchiladas
Patricia and Trinidad Bidar

You’ll need

  • 2 ½ cups roasted turkey, shredded
  • ½ cup onion, sauteed
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced and sauteed with the onion
  • 1-4 oz. can diced green chiles (we use Ortega)
  • I can black beans, drained
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 tsp. cumin, ground
  • 1-19 oz. can green enchilada sauce (we use Las Palmas)
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup jack cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • Small can sliced black olives
  1. In a large bowl, mix shredded turkey, sauteed onion and garlic, and green chiles. Set aside.
  2. POUR ½ cup enchilada sauce in bottom of 13″x 9″ greased baking dish. Set aside.
  3. POUR remaining enchilada sauce in a frying pan. Heat to simmer.
  4. DIP One tortilla in the simmering sauce, leave in for 10 seconds.
    Remove and place approximately ⅛th of the turkey mixture in center. Add some jack cheese. Roll tortilla and place seam down in greased 13″ x 9″ baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas in dish. Sprinkle with cheese and sliced black olives.
  5. COVER and bake at 400° F for 20 minutes or until bubbly in center. Serve with sour cream, cilantro and hot sauce (we use Tapatio).


Jam, Jellies & Chutneys

Libby’s Freezer Jam
Hillary Leftwich

Memaw—Libby—speaks to me within the recipes I inherited and the food she loved during war. During gardening out of necessity, jarring, pickling, and bomb-shelter preparedness. We are no longer in war, at least not with another country, but we are still fighting dark times. Food can act as a binding to bring us together. This is why I’m sharing Libby’s Freezer Jam. Eat, share, freeze for a later date.

  • 3 cups strawberries
  • 4 ½ cups sugar
  • Mash berries or put thru a blender. Put sugar in and let stand 10 minutes.
  • Boil ¾ cup water with
  • 1 package Sure-Jell
  1. Boil 1 minute stirring constantly. Stir in fruit, then stir 3 minutes until granules dissolve.
  2. Pour in jars or plastic tubs and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Then to freezer.
Archival photo of Mary Elizabeth Irwin courtesy of Hillary Leftwich

Tomato Jam
Mikki Aronoff

Condiments rule my fridge and cupboards. Here’s a recipe for one, purloined from Mark Bittman. It’s delicious, easier than pie, and keeps in the fridge indefinitely. Notes with an * are mine.

Throw in a pot and cook for 2 hours:

  • 2 pounds plum or Roma tomatoes
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. grated fresh peeled ginger (from 1-inch knob)*
  • 1 t. kosher salt** 
  • ½ t. ground cumin***
  • ¼ t. smoked paprika
  • ¼ t. red pepper flakes

Voilà!

*Believe me, you don’t need to peel it
**Any ol’ salt
***Always better if you toast cumin seeds first and then grind them up. If you’re a fan of coriander seeds, as I am, you can sub or add those.
****If you prefer an onion-y jam, amping up the savory, sauté a red onion before adding all the other ingredients. No recipe should be written in stone. Play!

Here’s what I do with it and what you can do with it as well: Toast a thick slice of artisan bread (sourdough rye’s my favorite) and spread the tomato jam over it. Toss some arugula with a very light vinegar/oil dressing and throw some on top. S&P if you’re so inclined. If you have a ripe avocado, scoop some out in service of this open-face sandwich. This is a pick-up-with-a-hand-and-shove-in-your-mouth treat, or knife and fork if you have company. Would this go on a biscuit? Why not.



Fruits de Mer

Italian Cold Seafood Salad
Paul Beckman

  • 1 lb Mussels
  • 1 lb Calamari
  • 1 ½ lbs Large Shrimp
  • 1 lb Large Scallops
  • Diced celery and red peppers
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 Fresh lemons

Dressing

  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ⅛ to ¼ cup fine sugar
  1. Boil water w/white wine and 2 lemon or lime halves.
  2. When it comes to a boil put in calamari without tentacles for ½ min.
  3. When it returns to boil add scallops for 2 min.
  4. Add shrimp for 3 min.
  5. Add mussels until they open (about 1 min) toss out any mussels that don’t open.
  6. Add tentacles for 20 seconds.
  7. Drain.
  8. Slice calamari into thin rings.
  9. Quarter scallops.
  10. Cut shrimp into 3rds or quarters depending on size.
  11. Add mussels.
  12. Toss with dressing, celery, and peppers.
  13. Place over bed of mixed colorful greens and refrigerate.


Sweets

Apricot Custard Tart
Emily Luchetti

This tart has all the elements of a perfect dessert: Flaky, from the buttery crust, creamy, from the custard, and bright, from the fresh apricots. Like all tarts, this is best served the day it is made.

Serves 8

Tart Crust

  • 1, 9- 9 ½-inch tart pan
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 6 ounces cold unsalted butter
  • 3-4 Tbsp. ice cold water
  1. Combine the sugar, flour and salt. Cut in the butter until it is the size of small peas. Slowly add the water, adding just enough to make the dough come together. Press the dough into a flat disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll the dough into a circle and line the tart shell with the dough. Refrigerate the tart shells for at least one hour or up to a couple of days.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill with rice or beans. Bake until the edges begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the rice and the parchment paper and continue to bake until the bottom is lightly browned, about 10 minutes more. Set aside.

Apricot Custard

  • ¾ pound (about 5) ripe apricots
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ tsp. of kosher salt
  • ¼ cup (1 ounce) sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

  1. Halve and pit the apricots, then cut into slices ¾ inch thick. Arrange the apricot slices in the tart crust in a decorative pattern. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, and cream until blended. Stir in the flour and salt. Carefully pour the cream mixture over the apricots. Sprinkle the almonds evenly over the top.
  3. Bake until the custard is almost completely set, about 35 minutes. Let the tart cool until it is cool enough to handle, then remove the pan sides and place on a platter. Serve the tart slightly warm or at room temperature.

Apricot Jelly Cookies
Jan Elman Stout

This recipe is a family favorite. It calls for apricot jelly, but you can use any flavor jelly you like. If you stick with apricot, just be sure not to eat any seeds

Ingredients

  • ¼ lb. butter
  • ⅓ cup sifted sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. orange extract
  • apricot jelly

Preparation

  1. Mix all ingredients together—except for the apricot jelly—and roll into 1 to 2-inch balls. 
  2. Press your thumb down on the center of the dough ball and fill it with apricot jelly.
  3. Bake in a 350° oven for approximately 12-15 minutes until light or golden brown. 

Frosted Cookie Cake Pops
Amy Cipolla Barnes

Ingredients

  • One container grocery store (Lofthouse) frosted sugar cookies
  • 1 brick of cream cheese
  • Bag of candy melts
  • Sprinkles

Equipment

  • Cake pop/lollipop sticks
  • Cookie sheet
  • Waxed paper

Method

Put the cookies and the cream cheese in your mixing bowl. Mix until it becomes a dough. Roll cookie/cream cheese mixture into cake pop sized balls. Put sticks into balls. Melt candy melts in the microwave. Dip cake and cover cake balls with melted candy melts. Roll in sprinkles. Put on a waxed cookie sheet. Let sit. And voila, you have cake pops, maybe not worthy of a pink box but they can do in a pinch.

Grandma’s Rugala
Lori Sambol Brody

Every Jewish grandmother has a rugala recipe. This was my grandmothers, with some edits by my sister.

Ingredients

  • ½ lb cream cheese
  • ½ lb butter
  • 2⅓ cup flour (Grandma had 2)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • For the filling: Raisins, sugar, and cinnamon. Or, cocoa and sugar. Or nuts. Or jam/jelly. My favorite is apricot jam.

Directions

  1. Leave cream cheese and butter out until soft. Mix well. Gradually add flour and sugar. Form ball. Divide in 4 or 5 pieces, wrap up and freeze overnight.
  2. Take out when ready to use and let soften. Mix filling of choice. Roll out into a circle and then cut in triangles. Add filling and roll to the shape of a crescent/horn. Rub on cold water. Cook at 350° on cookie sheet for 20-30 minutes, until lightly browned.

Haupia
Melissa Llanes Brownlee

I would love to give everyone all of my favorite Hawaiian food recipes that I am able to make when I am not in Hawai’i, but today, I am gifting you the deliciousness that is Haupia, a usually firm pudding made from coconut milk. In Hawai’i, I would make it from fresh (frozen) coconut milk but not everyone has access to that, not even me.

Cook Time: about10 minutes
Refrigerate: about 2 hours
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16 squares

Equipment

  • 8” or 9” Non-Stick Pan
  • 2.5-Qt Sauce Pan
  • Whisk
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board

Ingredients

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk about 14 oz (don’t use coconut milk in the carton).
  • 5 Tbsp. cornstarch or less (less cornstarch, less firm)
  • 5 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup water (or milk if you want it to be richer)

Instructions

  1. Prep an 8×8 inch (9×9) pan. Pour coconut milk into a small saucepan over medium heat. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Then, add the water. Whisk until completely combined.
  2. When the coconut milk just starts to simmer, add the sugar/cornstarch mixture and whisk. Keep whisking until the coconut milk thickens and starts looking slightly translucent. This can take about 10 minutes. When you bring up your whisk, the haupia should flow off and you should see the trace of it for a few seconds before it disappears.
  3. Pour the mixture into the 8×8 (9×9) pan and allow to cool on the counter before refrigerating. Refrigerate until solid and completely cooled for about 2 hours. If you want it to firm up more quickly, you can put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
  4. If you used the full 5 tablespoons, you should be able to pull the sides away from the pan and invert the whole thing onto a cutting board. If it’s too soft, just cut it in the pan.
  5. Cut into 2-inch pieces (16 pieces total) and enjoy!

Judy D’Isa’s Fudge
Margaret D’Isa

Image of Judy D’Isa’s recipe cards courtesy of Maggie D’Isa

Kringla
Georgiana Nelsen

For most Midwesterners, measuring cups and spoons are merely suggestions, not instructions. Nevertheless, church cookbooks reflect the heritage of a community, and often include several variations of the same thing. Here is my Mother-in-law’s Norwegian Kringla (adjusted by me to actually work as written) (I’m sure she didn’t INTEND to leave anything out!). There are seven different recipes for Kringla in her church cookbook. Served at holidays, sometimes frosted, usually buttered.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ⅓ cup Butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3½ cup flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt

Instructions

Cream 1 cup of sugar with ⅓ cup of butter. Dissolve 2 tsp. baking soda in the 1 cup of Buttermilk, whisk together 3 ½ cup all-purpose flour with 4 level tsp. baking powder

Combine with

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Chill dough overnight!

Quickly roll heaping teaspoons of dough onto floured board into pencil thin pieces about 6 inches long (warm dough will fall apart.). Form each roll into a figure 8 (Or infinity if you prefer!) Bake at 350° on lower rack for 5-6 minutes, then brown under broiler until LIGHT brown. Don’t overbake.

Libby Recupero’s Vinegar Cake
Jolene McIlwain

This recipe for “Vinegar Cake” is one we use in my family for our birthday cakes, celebrating long life and sweetness, sometimes conjuring up barking by my long-gone-from-this-world family dog, Zorro, a black Labrador retriever who loved to sing along to “Happy Birthday” (or at least give a final “woof” at the end of the song). My Mom, Libby Recupero, tells me it’s the recipe from a friend named Ruthie, who brought the cake to the funeral of my Mom’s dear nephew, who’d died of crib death, just months old. Ruthie used a chocolate icing that was the best Mom ever ate, but as her handwritten note suggests, we use a white, fluffy “Gob Icing” to make it our own special treat.

Image of Libby Recupero’s recipe card courtesy of Jolene McIlwain

Mrs. B’s Cherry Chocolate Cake
Georgia Bellas

My mother has baked this particular cake as long as I can remember, but she adds chocolate chips to the batter, makes it with a cream cheese frosting dyed pink, and decorates it with more chocolate chips. She also spoons out as much of the cherry pie filling as possible to hand mix into the batter with the chocolate chips after beating so that the cherries remain whole. Three of us four grown-up daughters still request this cake for our birthdays. She found the cake recipe on the side of the box but doesn’t remember where she got the frosting recipe. She used to also frost Christmas cookies shaped like trees and bells and candy canes (I can still picture the colorful plastic cookie cutters), but she stopped baking those cookies a long time ago and now just occasionally makes the frosting, a little dish for each of us.

Image of Mrs. B’s archival newspaper recipe
courtesy of Georgia Bellas

Mrs. B’s Coveted Cream Cheese Frosting
Georgia Bellas

  • Approx. 4 oz. cream cheese (½ package), softened
  • 1 lb confectionary sugar (you might not need all of it)
  • 1 or 2 Tbsp.. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Soften cream cheese to almost liquid texture. Add in some of sugar, mix, add first Tbsp. milk, vanilla. Mix in rest of sugar gradually. Add second Tbsp. milk as necessary. Total amount of milk and sugar will depend. You are looking for a smooth, spreadable consistency that isn’t too thick or too drippy. Refrigerate.

Optional (not really): Carefully mix in 2-3 drops red food coloring.* Add additional drops one at a time as necessary to achieve your desired pinky pink.

*Although I don’t recommend red food coloring and personally would suggest beet juice or some natural alternative, I absolutely eat this frosting and have great nostalgia for its particular pinkness, which somehow my mother manages to replicate perfectly every time.

Pikelets
Alex Reece Abbott

I don’t remember ever seeing either of my grandmothers use a recipe. I suspect this recipe was either handed down or inspired by a traditional kitchen stand-by, like the recipe book from a baking powder manufacturer (e.g. Edmonds Cookery Book, New Revised Edition, 1992). You’d find a copy in most New Zealand kitchens, and it has constantly remained in print, evolving over more than a hundred years.

Pikelets are bite-sized, about 8cm or 3 ½” across (or less) when cooked. Best eaten warm, slathered with butter and/or homemade jam, or lemon curd, or drizzled with honey or golden syrup—and served with strong tea. Enjoy!

Ingredients

(makes 8-10)

  • 1 cup of self-raising flour
  • ¼ tsp. of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TB of caster sugar or golden syrup
  • ¾ cup of milk (approx.)
  • Vanilla to taste

Sift flour into a bowl. In another bowl, beat egg and sugar until thick. Add vanilla to your taste and add this mix with milk to the beaten ingredients. Mix until smooth.

Drop tablespoons of batter on a medium heat greased griddle or a non-stick frying pan. Turn pikelets over when bubbles start to burst on top surface. Cook (maybe another minute) until golden.

Pumpkin Bread
Chelsea Stickle

Since my story includes a recipe, I thought I’d share this recipe for pumpkin bread with you. It was given to me by my kindergarten teacher, and I’ve made it every Thanksgiving since. Though now I add chocolate. There’s no measurement for that. You’ll know when you’ve added enough!

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda

Beat 1st six ingredients together until combined. Add rest of ingredients one at a time in order. Pour and bake.

Bake at 350 degrees for ~20 minutes for muffins. Mini loaf pans 40-45 minutes. 9x5x3 for 60 minutes. Bake ~30 minutes for two cake rounds.

Schnitten
Eva M. Schlesinger

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. dark chocolate with raspberry bits (I recommend Chocolove and Amano)
  • ½ cup butter
  • All fruit raspberry jam
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla 
  • ½ tsp. salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. 
  2. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate with the butter. Allow to cool. 
  3. Beat eggs and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and vanilla, a little at a time. Continue beating until it is thoroughly mixed. Remove bowl from mixer and, with a spatula, add the melted chocolate and butter, folding it in. Before the mixture becomes 100 % chocolate brown, add the flour, combining it with the other ingredients.
  4. Pour the batter into a buttered 9x13inch pan. Put pan on rack (for Slanted Schnitten, adjust the rack so that one end tilts downward). Bake for 25 minutes (or until brownies test done). Cool slightly. Top with a thin layer of raspberry jam. Yields 18-24 brownies.

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking and From Manna To Mousse