Category Archives: Recipes

From My Mother’s Recipe Box: Five of Five Christmas Puddings


On the fifth day of puddings I’m posting a Jewish recipe from My Mother’s Recipe Box, or so it says on the recipe card.

Kugel is a baked noodle pudding or casserole, according to Wikipedia. It’s similar to a pie and often made with egg noodles.The name comes from German kugel meaning “sphere, globe, ball”; the Yiddish name likely originated as a reference to the round, puffed-up shape of the original dishes. Nowadays, however, kugels are often baked in square pans.
Kugel Noodle Pudding recipe

So, it’s really not a Christmas pudding. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention. Plus, I was running out of pudding recipes.

Happy holidays!

From My Mother’s Recipe Box: Four of Five Christmas Puddings


What’s the big deal about pudding anyway? I wonder if it was all the rage before ice cream was a possibility–that is, before the ice box or refrigerator made it possible to keep things cold and frozen. I remember Jell-O pudding when I was a kid. It was a yummy dessert that was easy to eat. Chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch…all yummy. Maybe it’s time to try making pudding again!

Caramel Custard recipe

By the way, I have no idea what Hyannis sauce is. I assume it’s something from Massachusetts.

From My Mother’s Recipe Box: Three of Five Christmas Puddings


For the third of five pudding recipes in the countdown to Christmas, I posted this one for Orange Pudding from My Mother’s Recipe Box. If you can decipher my grandma’s handwriting, you might enjoy this citrus treat. My guess is the recipe comes from California, where my grandma was born.

Orange Pudding recipe

Orange Pudding recipe

From My Mother’s Recipe Box: Two of Five Christmas Puddings


Dates and Christmastime automatically go together. I’m not sure why, but they have appeared in desserts during the holidays as long as I remember.

Date pudding? I’ve never had it, but why not go retro this year and make a recipe for the holidays that brings you back to the 1960s?
Date Pudding recipe

Date Pudding recipe

From My Mother’s Recipe Box: One of Five Christmas Puddings


Where have all the puddings gone? I found several pudding recipes in My Mother’s Recipe Box that I wanted to share, and I figured the holiday season is the perfect time. So watch for a recipe a day during the five-day countdown til Christmas.

On the first day of pudding….what could be more intriguing than the Mystery Pudding? This recipe is from my great-grandmother. I think you can still find fruit cocktail in the grocery store!

Mystery Pudding recipe

Hutterite Bean Soup


Hutterite Bean Soup recipe

I haven’t posted in a while because of some life changes so I was excited to try a new recipe and have the time to write about it!

Hutterite Beans from Shady Side FarmI’ve never made Hutterite Bean Soup. I had never even heard of Hutterite beans until I saw them at the Holland Farmers Market. Locally grown by Shady Side Farm, the Hutterite variety is a white bean that’s not quite as soft as a navy bean.

Inspired by a recipe I found online, I took the Tuscan route, as I once did with another bean recipe I made.

First I soaked the beans overnight. If you don’t have the opportunity to plan ahead, you can always do the quick soak method, which is written on the back of the bean bag. Just put the beans, well covered in water, into a large pot. Bring to a boil for two minutes and remove from heat. Cover pot and soak for an hour. It’s a handy trick!

Hutterite Beans

Here they are all plumped up with water, rinsed and drained.

Hutterite Beans

In the stock pot I sautéed a whole onion (chopped) and a couple cloves of garlic (minced) in olive oil.

Chopped onions and garlic

Then I added a ham hock. This one happened to be fresh, not smoked, so the meat looks more like pork than ham.

Fresh ham hock for Hutterite Bean Soup recipe

I browned the ham hock in the olive oil after pushing aside the onions and garlic. Then I added about 2 1/2 quarts of water. It would be great to use stock if you have it. Instead, I added a teaspoon of organic chicken bouillon, which is my back-up plan when I don’t have stock on hand. I also added dried sage (fresh would have been better!). Then I simmered the soup on the stove about two hours, until the ham hock meat was tender.

Hutterite Bean Soup recipe

Once the meat was done, I removed it from the pot, pulled the meat off the bone, and returned the meat to the soup.

Hutterite Bean Soup recipe

Then I added a bunch of lacinato kale, stems removed, leaves chopped.

Hutterite Bean Soup recipe

Simmer another half hour or so until the kale is tender, and it’s soup! Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This could easily have been an excellent vegetarian recipe. With the beans and kale, you have a very nutritional meal easily devoured from a bowl.

Hutterite Bean Soup recipe

For Your Picnic: Tuscan Feta Salad Sandwich


Tuscan Feta Salad Sandwich

Tuscan Feta Salad Sandwich

If you’re going to the beach, on a hike, for a bike ride, or on a road trip, the Tuscan Feta Salad Sandwich is a good companion for a picnic lunch. And now is the perfect time to buy its ingredients in season at the Holland Farmers’ Market.

You can buy everything there (except for olives). Seriously. Even the feta cheese and the bread. And if you need oil and vinegar to make the vinaigrette, just run up the street to Fustini’s.

What I love about this recipe is that it begs for improvisation. Don’t like tomatoes? Try fresh Bell peppers instead. Not a fan of olives? Leave them off and add some capers. Substitute chevre for feta cheese. Numerous combinations are possible!

I was headed to Pereddies’ restaurant and deli in Washington Square to buy kalamata olives for the sandwich, so I decided to try their olive oil bread instead of a big round loaf of sourdough like the recipe suggests. It’s the perfect vehicle for this sandwich!

Below is the original recipe from Southern Living, along with a slideshow of the ingredients and process. It serves 4-6 people.

Tuscan Feta Salad Sandwich

Ingredients

2/3 cup vinaigrette

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed

1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 (8-inch) round sourdough bread loaf (about 16 ounces)

2 cups shredded romaine lettuce

1 large tomato, sliced

1 (4-ounce) package crumbled feta cheese

1 medium cucumber, sliced

1/2 medium-size purple onion, sliced

1/4 cup sliced ripe olives

Whisk first 4 ingredients. Cut bread in half horizontally. Scoop out inside of bread halves, leaving 2-inch shells; brush inside with 3 tablespoons vinaigrette mixture. Layer lettuce and tomato in bottom half of bread, brushing tomato with remaining vinaigrette mixture. Layer cheese and next 3 ingredients over tomato. Cover with plastic wrap; chill 2 hours. (Place a large plate on top of sandwich, weighting it down with cans, if necessary, to compress sandwich.) Cut into wedges.

Wrap it up and go!

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Asparagus Leek Soup


It began with asparagus season this year. I had learned that you can, in fact, freeze asparagus without blanching it, if you’re going to use it in something for which texture doesn’t matter. Like soup! So I spent most of June freezing bags of asparagus and decided, after eating many meals of fresh asparagus, I’d better try out a soup recipe to make sure I like it. I’ll be making plenty of asparagus soup later in the fall and winter with what I’ve got stored in the freezer.

My recipe was inspired by Jim LaPerriere’s Asparagus and Spring Garlic Vichyssoise. Jim is a local chef who participates in the Chef Series each summer at the Holland Farmers Market. I picked up this recipe from him three years ago.

Since I had missed the window for spring garlic, I decided to substitute sweet candy onion. I also used olive oil instead of butter and homemade chicken stock instead of water. (But this would make a nice vegetarian soup if water were used for the base.) Plus, I skipped the potato. And, I opted for raw milk (with fat skimmed off) rather than heavy cream.

Here’s the recipe:

Asparagus Leek Soup

2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 small leeks, chopped
1 lb. asparagus, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
4 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup lowfat milk

Rinse the asparagus and snap off the bottoms. (Jim’s recipe, as well as several others I found online, suggest saving the tips and blanching them to use as garnish when serving. Me, I’m too lazy to add another step!)

In a large saucepan, saute the onion and leeks in olive oil until tender, about six minutes.

Add the chopped asparagus and saute for one minute.

Pour the chicken stock into the saucepan and bring to a boil.

Cover pan with a lid, reduce heat, and simmer soup for about ten minutes.

Puree in batches. Season with salt and pepper, then add milk.

It’s best to make this soup a day ahead for the flavors to blend. My chicken stock was made from a Spatchcock Chicken so it was full of fresh herb flavor. You may want to consider adding a little parsley or thyme to this soup as it simmers on the stove.

I think this is a delicious summer soup because it’s so light that it doesn’t make you warm and sleepy. Although it’s not an authentic vichyssoise recipe, you could try serving this soup cold. The leeks and asparagus nicely complement each other.

From My Mother’s Recipe Box: Fruit Cocktail Torte


When I think of summer, I think of picnics. And when I think of picnics, I think of the occasions back in the 1970s when my grandma would make two birthday cakes in September: one for my sister and one for me. Our birthdays are three days apart. Each was a sheet cake made in an aluminum 9×13 pan with a lid that slid on for transporting. My grandma, aunts, and cousins would meet our family at a state park halfway between their homes and ours where we would feast on potato salad, sandwiches, pickled eggs, and birthday cake.

This recipe reminded me of those days because it’s a sheet cake that could be easily baked in a pan that travels well. Plus, I had completely forgotten about fruit cocktail in a can. Did you know its original purpose in the 1920s was to find a use for “imperfectly shaped pears and peaches sorted out of the regular canning operation”? It also helped find a market for a surplus of seedless grapes. Apparently, you can still find it in the grocery store today. One brand is Del Monte.

Fruit Cocktail Torte recipe

Fruit Cocktail Torte recipe

I was fascinated to learn that in 1977 the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service published an 18-page Grading Manual for Canned Fruit Cocktail. It’s everything you ever wanted to know about grade standards, specifications, and procedures for producing fruit cocktail in a can.

If you’re wondering what a #2 or #303 can is (as mentioned in the recipe above), see page 17 of the Grading Manual. Apparently, it refers to the size of the can, in this case more than 15.5 ounces.

Nothing says retro like a can of fruit cocktail baked in a sheet cake!

Lavash Pizza Over a Fire


One thing I love to do is camp, but that doesn’t mean I have to roast processed hot dogs on a stick over the open fire. Having a one-burner camp stove is handy for rainy days when it’s difficult to start a fire, but when the weather cooperates, why not make pizza over the open fire?

The “pizza” I’ve been make is Bill-friendly, meaning it’s wheat-free, corn-free, and pasteurized-cow-dairy-free. Using Sami’s Bakery Millet & Flax Lavash (flatbread) as a base, all I do is brown the bottom on a griddle or in a skillet. You could do this right on a fire grate, camp stove, or grill.

Then, add toppings. For ingredient inspiration, check out my other lavash pizza recipes. The two I made on a recent camping trip with my friend Sandy are Caprese and Manchego with Parsley.

I brought along some Stinging Nettles Pesto that I made and stashed in the freezer. This became the base for both pizzas, which were placed on a piece of foil to easily move them onto the fire grate.

On one, I added sliced tomatoes from the Holland Farmers Market and dollops of Dancing Goat Creamery goat cheese.

On the other, Sandy added small chunks of Manchego sheep’s cheese and chopped parsley from Sandy’s herb garden. (Grating the cheese would have been nice but who has a cheese grater in their camping supplies?)

I drizzled olive oil over both and sprinkled each pizza with salt and pepper. Then I put them on the fire grate, which had hot coals underneath. The key is to create an oven-like effect by tenting with another piece of foil.

Tented foil over lavash pizza

After a few minutes, the pizzas were warm and crispy, and the cheese was melted.

Easy and delicious, but perhaps not the best choice if you’re cooking outside on a windy day!