DON’T MESS WITH FAMILY CHRISTMAS TRADITION Kate’s Journal


Episode 22 Oakland 1950

If I can ever pass along any words of wisdom to you, they will be: don’t try to mess with your family’s Christmas traditions.

Our first Christmas in our new house if you will remember, was spent holding our new baby girl after drinking Moscow Mules while listening to “Sam’s Song on the record player.

The Rasmussen Family Christmas Breakfast at my mother-in-law’s house was compulsory, but I wanted to do it myself at our new house. Getting past that hurdle meant choosing an impressive menu with a few awe-inspiring decorations thrown in. There is nothing more determined than a young inexperienced married woman trying to register her footprint.

As I was growing up, on Christmas we were often in some other city or state, in temporary lodgings, or part of a larger group of personnel on a Navy base. At Grandma’s on Christmas, I was more interested in grabbing whatever present had my name on it lying under the tree than paying attention to what she had made for breakfast.

In spite of her feelings of disinterest in my dear little Grandpa Jim, he was always invited, though directed to sit at the far end of the table. I was always told that Santa brought the tree on Christmas Eve. My own opinion is that we probably couldn’t afford it before then. Nevertheless, it was beautiful as all Christmas trees of whatever shape are, even if you aren’t a believer in the reason for having one. (I have lots of Jewish friends who just like the looks of them. One family kept one in a playpen so they could whisk it out of the room when their mother-in-law dropped in.)

The tree, fully decorated, stood in our living room in Long Beach, behind the sliding doors of the dining room. We usually had one roomer, Harry Hance, so Grandma’s crowded left-over bedroom was off the living room. I was never allowed in it before Christmas because it was the place where all the Christmas decorations were being prepared. So on the great day, probably at the crack of dawn, the doors slid open, the radio played a Christmas song, and we all piled in destroy the carefully wrapped gifts.

Matt & Brady SolvangRasmussen’s in Solvang

In the Rasmussen family, the Danish tradition prevailed, and one present was allowed to be opened on Christmas Eve, depleting the disgustingly overwhelming pile of gifts not at all. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

On Christmas morning, breakfast reigned supreme, with the bestowal of gaily wrapped packages following. My mother-in-law was nothing if not energetic, and somehow the Rasmussen Christmas Breakfast was loaded onto the dining room table.

Platters appeared filled with halves of broiled, sectioned grapefruit topped with brown sugar and a cherry, other platters contained ham, bacon, and sausage; accompanied by another platter heaped with hash-browned potatoes. Silky scrambled eggs glowed brightly on another platter, while hot biscuits rested in a basket. A large pitcher held hot country milk gravy for the biscuits, though it was a shame to cover them up because my mother-in-law was a superior biscuit maker. All they needed was the home-made preserves and butter sitting amongst all those platters.

The amazing thing was that we could drag ourselves away from the table to attack the tree, but we did, only after the dishes were washed and put away for the big dinner to follow in the afternoon. Amazingly, these were all skinny people.

The year that I chose to make my mark, I had studied cookbooks, newspapers and magazines, and came up with what I thought would knock their socks off. I had made our own Christmas cards, the house was decorated and filled with good cheer, and I began bringing platters out to the table.
kayti cooking
Making Ableskiver

I don’t really remember what it was I made that year, perhaps something containing chicken livers or creamed something or other. I’m sure it looked beautiful, and I’m just as sure it tasted good, but the entire table, including my lovely husband, turned their collective noses skyward. It wasn’t the Rasmussen Christmas Breakfast.

I’m nothing if not willing to take advice, and I don’t need a Christmas tree to fall on my head. I got their message, and thereafter, a replica of the Rasmussen Christmas Breakfast appeared on my table.

dANISH cHRISTMAS TREE

DOM PERIGNON DID NOT INVENT CHAMPAGNE


champagne

At the risk of going against popular opinion, Dom Perignon did not invent champagne. He was justly famous for his superb skills as a blender–but his legendary wines did not have bubbles.

He is supposed to have been so delighted with the bubbles that he turned to his sandal-shod brothers and called “Come quickly! I am drinking the stars!” This is one of the great deceptions of wine history. It only made sense that Dom Perignon wanted to rid champagne of its bubbles, since there was no market for sparkling wines yet. In France, nobody wanted them.

Over the course of the next decade, Dom Perignon dedicated himself to experimenting with ways to stop the development of bubbles.

In fact, the idea that Dom Perignon invented champagne was always just imaginative marketing. It was a brilliant but misleading sales pitch. The popular legend has its origins in a late-nineteenth century advertising campaign.

In her book, When Chanpagne Became French, scholar Kolleen Guy shows how it wasn’t until the 1889 World Exhibition in Paris that the region’s champagne producers saw the marketing potential and started printing brochures about Dom Perignon. From that time on the celebrated monk became a legend.

For those who enjoy the romance of the Dom Perignon legend, there is even worse news. Wine historians now claim that champagne did not even originate in France. Champagne was first “invented” in Great Britain, where there was already a small commercial market for sparkling champagne by the 1660’s.

Monks like Dom Perignon knew that local wines could sparkle, even if they considered it a nuisance. If there was no market for bubbles, why try and sell them? The effect of unusually cold weather stalled the fermentation process in the winter and allowed for the natural unwelcome emergence of bubbles.

Even if Dom Perignon and his predecessors did not discover champagne, by the end of the seventeenth century the royal court at the Palace of Versailles certainly had. King Louis XIV of France now wanted nothing more than bubbles in his wine.

Suddenly winemakers on both sides of the English Channel were scrambling to find ways to make champagne sparkle.

A JUG OF WINE, A LOAF OF BREAD—AND THOU


450px-Pierre-Auguste_Renoir_-_Luncheon_of_the_Boating_Party_-_Google_Art_Project
“Luncheon of the Boating Party” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

We once ate a picnic in a small boat while floating down a river in the Perigord. I had hoped to eat an authentic Cassoulet for lunch. Instead, we opted for the nearby deli and a small rented boat.

We had expected the French families in boats alongside us to retrieve carefully made lunches from baskets. But all had brought potato chips and sodas or beer instead. They jealously watched us as we laid out chilled artichokes with mayonnaise, Bayonne ham, tiny sausages, a small baguette, Cabecou cheese, figs, little plastic tumblers and a bottle of rose, all tucked in a capacious backpack.

The Dordogne is a slow river and we drifted along amid small eddies and chirping birds. It was the best picnic I ever had.

The Victorians loved to picnic. They knew the joy of joining the wild and the tame while trudging through field and stream for lunch. Painters such as Renoir, Manet and Monet were among many who found the delights of eating outdoors worthy of a few dabs of paint.

The only difference between “picnicing” and “eating outside” which for most of history was just eating — is the pleasurable collision between human refinements and the energies in the natural world which have escaped them.

When I was younger I produced picnics as close to those in the abundant cookbooks as I could in spite of raising an eyebrow from Dr. Advice, whose idea of a picnic in the park is egg salad or tuna sandwiches and not a lot else. Not that he wasn’t happy to eat my potato salad, ham sandwiches and cold fried chicken, he simply felt it wasn’t necessary to “put on a show”.

The most committed picnickers can always find a new temple of nutrition, and after reading a glowing review of a local taco truck we tried it out yesterday. We chose well, taking both fish and carnitas tacos to the local park and then stopping by the corner ice cream shoppe for a butter pecan cone.

The food truck craze has proliferated all over the country, with fleets of them setting up on given days and offering fare from street food to banquet worthy cuisine.

We picnic often, usually with a couple of tuna or egg sandwiches washed down with a can of soda! Time changes all, except the joy of sharing the outdoors with a few chirping birds under a live oak or willow on a grassy knoll.

AMAZING GRAZING~~~~Beer Cheese Soup


A tuckedaway corner

I took my second cuppa out to this little corner of my back yard this morning, recipe folder in hand trying to think of something for dinner. This recipe for “BEER CHEESE SOUP—COBURG INN” fell out, making me wonder where I had originally found it at least 45 years ago. I made it often in the cold, rainy days in Seattle, Washington, along with good solid rustic bread and a crisp green salad, but it has remained hidden in the mess of clippings and scribbled notes till it hit the ground today.

Coming in to my computer, I Googled “Coburg Inn, and found that the recipe came from the Coburg Inn in Coburg, Oregon near Eugene, in 1877. But the really exciting thing for me is that a good friend of ours is from Coburg, Germany. I don’t think he knows about beer Cheese Soup, but I will make it for him. He is more of a sausage and kraut man, but I think he will like this one. It’s rather touching to see place names given to remind people of former homes. Of course we see that all over the States since everyone has come from somewhere else.

Coburg, Germany has an impressive history as the birthplace of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who married Queen Victoria of England. (It is not known if they ever ate Beer Cheese soup.)

300px-Coburg-Ehrenburg1
Ehrenburg palace, Coburg

Our friend Bill and his twin brother were twelve years old when the war ended, and the Americans marched through town. They were enthralled with the chocolate bars and conviviality of the American soldiers, and at the age of twenty they sailed for the “New World” with twenty hard earned dollars between them. For many years they made an annual migration back to Germany for the Octoberfest celebration in Munich, and of course, a trip down memory lane to Coburg.

240px-Schloss_Rosenau_1900
Schloss rosenau, 1900 Coburg

BEER CHEESE SOUP, COBURG INN

3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup 1/8″ diced celery
1/2 cup 1/8″ ” onion (Trader Joe’s has cartons of Mirepois, which saves the chopping)
1/2 cup 1/8″ ” carrot
1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 pints chicken stock (5 cups)
2 Tbs. parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
6 oz. grated cheddar cheese
12 oz bottle beer
salt and pepper to taste

Saute vegetables until done, but not browned. Blend in flour, dry mustard and chicken stock; cook 5 min. Blend in cheddar cheese and beer. Let simmer 10 mins. Season and serve.

This recipe for JALAPENO CORN BREAD fell would go well with the soup.

JALAPENO CORN BREAD

2 cups yellow corn meal
2 cups cream-style corn
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cubes melted butter
1 cup buttermilk
1/4-1/2 cup drained, canned green chilies
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp baking soda

Mix it all together
Melt 1 Tbs butter in each of 2 cast-iron or some other heavy baking pans. Divide the batter between. Bake for about 45 min Serves 10

AMAZING GRAZING~~~~Tacolicious Si!


068
“Mexican Grandmother”, stoneware sculpture by kayti sweetland rasmussen

A woman’s kitchen is like her lingerie drawer—don’t try to rearrange it! No sensible “abuela” (grandmother) would tolerate someone such as a recently retired husband with no culinary experience entering her kitchen with the primary idea of change. The kitchen is her domain, where she rules unchallenged.

I have been fortunate, but I know people who, coming home from work or an afternoon away, find their kitchen completely turned around. It takes a lifetime to find the most efficient arrangement in a room used so often, but apparently only an afternoon to change it. But as Norman Cousins once said: “Life is an adventure in forgiveness.” So an occasional foray into unknown waters is OK. Most husbands are excellent dishwashers.

My family moved to Quadalajara, Mexico in the ’60s, my mother learned to speak Spanish and my father didn’t, and they found that what we had been calling tacos and enchiladas were strange and exotic food to the average Mexican. Sitting in a lovely shaded outdoor restaurant in Tlaquepaque surrounded by happy people drinking pitchers of sangria while tapping their feet to the rhythm of a mariachi band, we ordered tacos, and were puzzled after waiting for sour cream and grated cheese to arrive with our order. Our waiter was quick to tell us that what we had been eating for years was “Tex-Mex” tacos. Not that it wasn’t good, it just wasn’t “authentic” Mexican.

Mexico was good to my family. People came to visit, some even stayed awhile. My daughter came to climb a mountain by moonlight. My aunt and uncle moved there too, so they had their own little commune complete with shared maid service and barber.

People have been eating food wrapped in tortillas for more than 1,000 years, but the first known meaning of the word “taco” was seen in 1895. The taco is the best known street food—something you can pick up and eat with your hands. As such, it can contain anything you like; meat, cheese, fish, chicken, scrambled eggs, whatever.

Having a taquisa or taco party is the easiest way to entertain. Line up tortillas, 2 to 8 per person,, and keep them warm, have dishes of 3 or 4 fillings and let everyone make their own. This type of party has become very popular, and is really quite simple. People take a flat tortilla, put whatever they like on it, and fold it over.

Shredded chicken, pork or beef moistened with a bit of sauce, a big pot of chili beans and another of rice are good accompaniments, and beer to wash it all down with.

Making your own tortillas is easy, but if you live near a Mexican market or tortilla factory, they are a lot easier. Tortillas come in either corn or flour depending on what you like. I like the flour ones if you are going to fry them, but otherwise I like the corn. Sauces are all over the place. The El Paso brand sauces in the market are OK if you don’t want to make your own. The idea of a taquisa is to keep it simple and have a good time.

Now let’s cool off with a nice lemon dessert, PARFAIT PIE. I first made this about 45 years ago and loved it. It was delicious but I misplaced the recipe until last week. While screening for a lemon cheesecake recipe, there it was! So I’m sharing.

PARFAIT PIE

Butter crust:
Combine 1/2 cup butter with 2 Tbs. sugar (do not cream). use pastry blender.
Add 1 cup flour and mix just until dough forms. Place 1/4 c. crumbs in small pan. Press remaining crumbs evenly in a 9″ pie pan with well floured fingers.
Bake at 375 until light golden brown. Crumbs 10-12 min (mine took 7) pie crust 12-15 min. Cool
Filling:
Combine in small mixing bowl 1/3 c. (1/2 of 6 oz. partially thawed frozen lemonade. Add several drops yellow food coloring
1/2 cup sugar
1 unbeaten egg white. Beat at high speed until soft peaks form.
Beat 1 cup whipping cream until thick and fold into lemon mixture.
Spoon into cool baked shell. Sprinkle with crumbs and freeze until firm 4-6 hours covered.

NOW LISTEN TO ME: When it says 4-6 hours that’s what it means if you want to serve it for dinner, otherwise it gets too hard. I left it in over night and it was frozen so hard we had to wait awhile to enjoy it. Just freeze it and then put it in the fridge covered until you can’t stand it any longer.

OLE!

AMAZING GRAZING~~~~Pork Medallions With Grapes


Charlie waits patiently for a morsel of food to fall at his feet. He has an oral fixation. When I am cooking what I call “weekend food”, which means a bit more labor intensive than weekday meals, he cannot be driven out of the kitchen. Years ago I developed what I call the “puppy shuffle”, which involves sliding your feet around the dog who cannot seem to keep out of your way. Most of the other dogs we have had got the idea pretty quickly and stayed out of the kitchen, but a JRT is like no other dog; they seem to be resistant to human body language.

We missed out on a bite of the new Trader Joe’s mini coissants because I forgot to read the directions: let rise overnight. They had received a grand review in the paper, so I bought them as a treat I didn’t have to make. Now I’ll make them for tomorrow’s breakfast. I believe in giving these new things a try. Some are good, some not so good. Just like people or dogs.

My birthday was last week, and I made these pork medallions with a side of rice pilaf and grilled asparagus. Cook them quickly while still slightly pink inside and they are meltingly tender.

Silver In The Barn asked for a carrot cake recipe, so here is one I like a lot.

Disaster struck the other day, and for some unknown reason, I suddenly lost over 4,000 photos. That computer is now having a vacation in the repair shop to see if anything can be retrieved. I decided not to make a big deal out of it even though it tore my heart out. If the house had burned down, we would start all over, so that’s what I’m doing.

Meanwhile, get busy on the pork medallions:

PORK MEDALLIONS WITH GRAPES IN POMEGRANATE SAUCE

1 large pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
3/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 pomegranate juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs. ketchup
1 cup seedless grapes
3 Tbs. dried cranberries

Trim pork of most of the fat and silverskin and cut crosswise into 1 inch thick medallions.
Heat butter and oil in large heavy skillet. Salt and pepper meat and arrange in skillet and cook over high heat about 2 1/2 min. on each side. Transfer to plate and keep warm in oven.
Add pomegranate juice and broth to skillet, bring to boil, reduce heat to low cover and cook 4-5 min. Add ketchup, grapes and cranberries. Boil for about 1 min. or until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened.
Arrange medallions on 4 warm plates, coat with sauce and grapes and breathe a happy sigh.

Remember that cooking is like life: you have to make do with what’s in the fridge! Make sure it’s something you will like.

TROPICAL CARROT CAKE WITH COCONUT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

CAKE:
2 1/3 cups flour (260 g + 1/3 cup)
1 cup flaked coconut
1 c dry roasted macadamia nuts
3/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
3 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp.baking soda

2 cups sugar (400 g or 14 oz)
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups finely grated peeled carrots
2 8 oz. cans crushed pineapple in its own juice, well drained

FROSTING

3 8-oz packages cream cheese
3/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (such a Coco Lopez, find it in a liquor store)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp coconut extract

(Grind coconut, nuts and ginger in processor and add with dry ingredients)

Bake at 350 in 3 9-inch cake pans or 3 8 x 2″ for about 45 min.

AMAZING GRAZING~~~~Chicken and Pea Enchiladas


Jardins2

This time of year we sweep the patio, bring out a few more tables, make sure the outdoor lights work, drag a few more umbrellas out of the shed, polish up the bar and hope it doesn’t rain. I think Spring is finally here. With all the warm weather we’ve been having, who can tell? We have lost a few plants during this weird weather, and Dr. A is playing catch-up with them trying to replace.

The last big party we had was the 65th Anniversary. I must admit it becomes harder and harder to cook for a crowd as we age, but the good intentions remain and since we still like good food, I make smaller amounts. I refuse to see a good recipe and not try to cook it.

Mexican food is always top of my party list for a crowd. It’s easy, you can make it early and put it in the freezer, most people like it, and after all, it’s California! Trays of enchiladas, a big pot of beans, rice, and a really big salad are all you need. Sometimes I will do a tray or two of baked chilis relleno as well. Normally, I fry the chilis, but for a crowd you can coat them with bread crumbs and bake them. A pitcher of Margaritas or Sangria and a tub of ice with cold beer and soft drinks for the kids make it a party. Dr. Advice loves my carrot cake so there is dessert, and it too can be put into the freezer to wait for the big occasion. This cake has chopped macadamia nuts, coconut and pineapple in it and trust me, it will knock your socks off. I made three large cakes for our 65th anniversary when there were 65 people.

I am a great fan of freezers, and there are very few things you can’t store in the freezer—one friend of mine always answered her husband’s query of “What’s for dinner?” by saying “Whatever falls out of the freezer.”

chicken & pea enchiladas

A big thank you to chef Josef Centeno and his great-grandmother Ama for whom he named his restaurant, Bar Ama, in Los Angeles.

Don’t wrinkle your noses and decide you would hate the mashed peas in this recipe. Josef Centeno’s great-grandmother knew what she was talking about. I made it and gave it a gold star.

CHICKEN AND PEA ENCHILADAS

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, roasted and shredded (I used a rotisserie chicken)
Heat 2 Tbs. oil in saute pan over medium heat. Saute 1 large carrot, diced small
1/4 med. onion diced small, and 1 med. potato peeled and finely diced, till fork tender. Stir in 2 minced garlic and cook abut 2 min. Turn off heat and stir in 2 Tbs. chopped cilantro, juice from 1 lime and salt to taste. Set aside. In a small pot of boiling water, blanch 1 1/2 cups frozen peas 2-3 min. Transfer immediately to colander and run cold water over to stop cooking. drain well and pat dry. Using a potato masher or fork, lightly crush peas. Stir in 20 chopped mint leaves, shredded chicken and 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco. Salt and pepper to taste.
Gently warm 1/4 cup oil and dip a corn tortilla and cook until puffy. Repeat with 8-10 tortillas.
Assemble enchiladas: Spoon 1-2 Tbs. chicken-pea filling down center of each tortilla. Roll tortillas up around filling to form tight cigars, then transfer enchiladas to a serving platter and top with sauteed carrots, onions and potatoes. Top with garnish of chopped cilantro and 1/2 small red onion finely diced, and more queso fresco. Serve with sour cream on side.

You can make however many you need of this recipe. I found that this amount served 8-10.

ONE LUMP OR TWO?


coffee
I see the sunlight dripping through the small kitchen window over the sink, leaving puddles of yellow light across the linoleum floor. We ate breakfast at the wood table in the large old kitchen of my Grandmother’s home in Long Beach. It had a drawer where the kitchen silver was kept which always seemed a good idea to me. The morning smell of coffee permeates my memory, but it troubles me that I can’t remember if my mother took cream in her coffee.

This has nuzzled my memory for a long time. Surely one should remember if their mother drank cream in her coffee. I could always remember who took cream and who did not. I always thought it was the mark of a good hostess. Why can’t I remember if my mother did or did not?

It’s a matter of staying in the moment. To pay attention to the everyday things which make up the pattern of our lives.

Searching for my eight year old brain as I sat reading the Wheaties box with Jack Armstrong’s picture on the front, I see my Grandmother with her cup of coffee, not a mug like today, but a Blue Willow cup. Her sister, my Great-Auntie, has a whole set of Blue Willow. My mother is heating the curling iron on the gas stove to coax my stick straight hair into ringlets. I stiffen in anticipation of the hot iron so close to my head. My Aunt’s indolent shuffle into the kitchen brings a frown to Grandma’s face. You can see who runs this house. My Aunt came in after midnight from a date last night, and will be late for her job which she is lucky to have in the Depression. Wrapped in a flowered silk kimono and mules with a fur puff ball on the toe, I think she is glamorous. These are the three women who raised me.

Grandma lives large, and without a doubt she has cream in her coffee and probably 2 spoons of sugar, the cream poured from the small bottle on the table, probably lots of it. The smell of coffee blends with the hot toast in the broiler with the butter making soft brown spots all over it. My aunt is sleepy, but between sniping at Grandma, who shakes her head and looks cross, I know she probably puts cream in her coffee.

But I can’t remember if my mother put cream in her coffee. She has been gone over thirty years and it still bothers me. I should remember.

AMAZING GRAZING~~~~Red Flannel Hash


Some people cook corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m one of them, although I don’t know why. It’s the only time of year I buy it and other than the first day dinner, it makes lovely sandwiches, and of course, hash.

On this St. Patricks’s Day, Dr. Advice showed up early wearing something green. The temperature was 80 that day, and the only thing green I had was a green turtleneck sweater. The Irish song, “The Wearin’ of the Green” is a lament about the times when the British forbid people to wear green. You need to be careful about those things.

We weren’t Irish, and when as a child I wore green and insisted upon singing all the Irish songs I knew, my grandmother harshly reminded me that “We AREN’T Irish”! as if there might be something wrong with being Irish. Although when Dr. Advice and I traveled in Ireland, we were assured that everyone had a little Irish in them. Singing in an Irish pub on a typically rainy night, with fires burning in a large fireplace and pints of Guinness at hand, you were hoping people thought you were Irish even if you weren’t. The Irish had so much fun. Who else could have thought to name a big rock a “Blarney Stone and make people climb a ladder to the top and then lie on their backs to kiss it?

Grandma to my knowledge never cooked corned beef, but she and my mother made hash from Sunday’s roast beef often. My mother spiked it up by adding cooked beets to the mix which turned it all a devilish shade of blood red and gave it additional flavor. Interesting to ponder: you can make a hash of any meat including chicken.

The quantities depend upon how much meat you have left over,

RED FLANNEL HASH

Corned beef (or roast beef) cut into small chunks and coarsely chop in processor with onion and a couple cooked beets. Hand grate an equal amount of raw potatoes. Heat oil in large frying pan medium hot. Keep flipping hash to get a nice crust. When nearly done, you can put an egg per person on top of hash.

Even your Irish Grandmother would approve.

OATMEAL RAISIN MUFFINS

1 c. oatmeal, 1 cup buttermilk, Mix & soak 30 min
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup brown sugar packed (or less)
6 Tbs. melted butter
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Makes 1 dozen

QUEEN OF THE CASSEROLE~~~~Porcupine Meatballs


My Grandma was Queen of the casserole. She almost had to be to make dinner stretch for the paying guests. We always seemed to have an extra room to let, and Grandma never let anything go to waste, and according to her if it was good by itself then several things together would probably be just as good and maybe better.

I’m always wary of cocky recipes. You know the sort. They swagger right off the page–or screen–all braggadoccio and conceit. They promise the best chocolate cake or they oversell themselves as the only mac and cheese recipe you will ever need. They’re the culinary equivalent of an overly enthusiastic end zone dance by a preening football player who managed to stumble his way to his only career touchdown.

And I think we all like to smirk a bit after we make one of these recipes. It’s only human nature to take a bite or two and ask, hey, is that all you got?

Having said that, today’s recipe isn’t a casserole, but it does contain ground beef and is a go-to for me, and will even stretch in a pinch. I know you’re going to roll your eyes and say “More meatballs?”, but trust my grandma, they’re good.

PORCUPINE MEATBALLS”

2# ground beef
1 package onion soup mix
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup uncooked rice
1 cup water

Gravy
1 can French onion soup condensed
2 can condensed golden mushroom soup
1 can water

Brown meatballs, mix soups and pour over, cover and simmer 30 min.
*********************************************************************************
After this, you will need dessert, and my friend Judy’s Grandma has a good one.

GRANDMA RICHARDSON’S APPLE CRISP

4 cups peeled, sliced apples
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Mix apples, sugar and cinnamon together and place in baking dish

CRUMB TOPPING
Combine 1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup sugar
12 tsp. salt
1 egg unbeaten

Mix with fork, sprinkle over apples. Pour 1/3 cup melted butter over crumb topping.
Bake 40-45 min. at 350