Sunday, December 27, 2009

Loucoum or Turkish Delight or Aplets and Cotlets or Fruit Candy

Many names; a nice candy. Mom made pomegranate/ blueberry loucoum this year, and it's quite lovely. The recipe originates in an MCP Pectin insert.

1 c fruit juice or pulp
1 package pectin
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t butter
1/2 c light corn syrup
1 3/4 c sugar
lemon juice (see chart)
1/2-1 c nuts, optional.

Measure fruit juice or pulp into a large kettle. Stir in pectin. Add soda; stir well to distribute thoroughly and to prevent soda from reacting in spots and darkening the juice. Place over heat. Add butter to reduce foaming. Heat to full boil. Add corn syrup and sugar; bring back to full boil, and boil vigorously for exactly 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and add the amount of lemon juice listed below for the specific fruit used. Add nuts. Pour into 8- or 9-inch oiled square pan. The depth should be about 1/2 inch. Allow to harden for 24 hours. Cut into squares. Dust pieces with sugar.

Lemon Juice Chart

Cranberry juice mixes, pomegranate 2 T
Blackberry, boysenberry, grape, loganberry, red raspberry 3 T
Apple (juice or pulp), Youngberry 4 T
Apricot (juice or pulp), Black raspberry, cactus, kiwi,
peach (juice or pulp), quince, strawberry (juice or pulp) 5 T


Mom likes her sugar aerated, seemingly, as she says this and the seafoam are her favorite candies. I like the marshmallow quite a bit too; I was apprehensive of it for a few years because of a few very minty batches. But now I'm quite converted. You can, I am told, flavor the marshmallow however. I think I like Mom's 1 t vanilla just fine. Interestingly, this recipe is taken from a lemon bar cookie recipe in the M-m-m-m More Cookies book.

1/2 c water
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 c sugar
1/2 c water
1 t vanilla

Combine 1/2 c water and gelatin in a large mixer bowl; set aside. In medium saucepan, combine sugar and 1/2 c water; bring to boil. Boil 2 minutes. Pour over gelatin; stir until gelatin is dissolved. Cool 5 minutes in refrigerator. Beat about 10 minutes at highest speed or until very thick. Add flavoring, beat well. Pour out in a 9 by 13 pan dusted lightly with sifted corn starch, spread it out evenly; refrigerate to set. After it has set, dust another layer of corn starch on the top. To loosen, run a knife around the edge. Cut with a sharp knife; don't be tempted to wet the knife. As you pull the squares out one at a time from the pan, coat the edges with starch from the bottom of the pan and the top of the confection-- you want to use up all the excess.

Butter Toffee (or "Dot's Candy") or Toffee Popcorn

This quite-nice toffee recipe comes through Grandma, and she got it from her friend Dot. Dot's candy was perhaps her first exposure to toffee, so she called it "Dot's candy," although it is really a traditional toffee.

1/2 lb butter
1 c sugar
2 T water
2 T corn syrup

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add sugar, water, and corn syrup. Boil, stirring constantly, until mixture pulls away from pan and desired shade of brown is reached-- it will pass a pinkish tan into an orangey tan. Darker is better (but, of course, not burnt). Pour onto buttered marble slab or into buttered pan to cool. While still warm, score into desired size and shape pieces. Break into pieces when cool. Also good poured over 5 qts corn while still golden.

Sponge Candy or Seafoam

This recipe is a great favorite of my mother's, and it is her mother's recipe. I have heard her reminisce about the big chunks of it available at the BYU candy counter back in the day. I think Iggy is quite fond of it too. It is quite like the Australian candy bar "Violet Crumble."

1 c sugar
1 c dark corn syrup
1 T vinegar (Mom uses apple cider)
1 T baking soda

Combine sugar, corn syrup and vinegar in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking, without stirring, to 300 F, or until a little of the mixture dropped in cold water becomes very brittle. Remove candy from heat. Quickly stir in soda; mix well. Stir thoroughly so that the cell size is small enough, or the candy will collapse. Every year, Mom is afraid that she has over-stirred it. But she has not. But she has had over-stirred seafoam, so it's possible. Pour into lightly buttered 8 by 8 or 9 by 9 by 2 inch pan. Do not spread as candy. To break into even pieces, score twice or more with serrated knife and break apart by hand-- this will yield relatively even pieces.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Spanish Rice

Take some rice. 2 c if you want to serve 8. Saute it in some fat for 5 minutes. Put either a can of diced tomatoes or a pint of home-bottled diced tomatoes. You want it to have onions and peppers and things like that in it. Add 1 t salt and 1 t cumin and 1 t chili powder, maybe a little can of diced green chilis. Cook it and stir it until the moisture is almost all evaporated/absorbed. Pour 3 1/2 c water over the rice. Boil. Lid on, heat to low. Cook 1/2 hour-ish, probably less if you are at a lower altitude than Utah.

Lemon Meringue Pie

This is perhaps the all-time favorite of the whole family. The buttery, salty crust with the tart lemony filling and the sweet billowy meringue: perfect. Prospective children-in-law must love it too in order to qualify.

Mom says: "I make it like the Joy, except I don't." Here is how she makes it.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Bake a nine inch pie shell.

Sift into a 2 or 3 quart saucepan:
1 1 /2 c sugar
6 T cornstarch
1/4 t salt
Gradually blend in:
1/2 c cold water
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
When smooth add, blending thoroughly:
3 well-beaten egg yolks
2 T butter
1 1/2 c milk
Bring mixture to a full boil, stirring gently. As it begins to thicken, reduce the heat and allow to simmer slowly 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in 1 t lemon zest or about 1/4 t lemon oil. Preheat oven to 325 or 350. Pour it into the pie shell and cover with meringue:

2 egg whites, whipped till frothy
add: 1/4 t cream of tarter
Whip till stiff but not dry; peaks should lean over slightly. Beat in 1 T at a time:
3 T sugar or 4 T powdered sugar and 1/2 t vanilla.

Pie should bake for 10-15 minutes.

Eat it that same day.

Banana Cream Pie

Basically a vanilla pudding, perhaps stiffer. Mommy "probably from the Joy."

Then just layer it in a blind-baked pie crust with bananas, one or two, depending on your taste. Put whipped cream on it and serve it.

Mom's Grandma Atkin made this, and she served it when the pudding was a little bit warm and the whipped cream was cold.

Maple Cream Pie

This year, everyone at home got jurisdiction over two pies. Mine were maple cream and coconut cream, so I was pretty happy.

Maple Cream Pie

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
1 1/2 c cream
4 eggs, well-beaten
1/2 c maple syrup
dash salt

1 c heavy cream
1/4 c maple sugar

Scald cream. Combine eggs and maple syrup and VERY slowly pour cream into egg mixture, stirring vigorously. Add salt and pour into an unbaked crust. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes and 350 for 30 minutes. After it is cooled, top with whipped cream mixed with the maple sugar.

Pecan Pie

Mommy wouldn't make this this year because it is "too sweet." It is rather sweet but I like it. This recipe is modified from one published in the Deseret News back in the day.

Pecan Pie

1/4 c butter
1 c light corn syrup
1 c brown sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1/2 t lemon juice
1 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c whole pecans
unbaked pie crust

Brown butter in saucepan till golden brown-- don't burn. In separate bowl, add corn syrup, sugar, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, salt. Roll pecans in cinnamon, coating well, and arrange in bottom of pie crust. Pour mixture over pecans. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then 325 for 45-50 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie

Prepare a bottom crust, but do not bake it.

2 eggs, well-beaten
3/4 c brown sugar
2 c pumpkin
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t nutmeg
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 2/3 c (basically a can) evaporated milk

Combine all filling ingredients and turn into a shell. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then a 350 oven for 30 minutes.

Mashed Potatoes

Mommy dictation:

Select your potatoes according to the number of eaters-- one potato per eater. Peel, wash, and cut them in quarter (or smaller) pieces. Cover them with salted water. Boil them for 25 minutes. Adjust the time depending on your altitude. While they boil put in a bowl (here's where you can get creative): salt, pepper, powdered milk, butter, and a little paprika for color. Pour the water off, saving a little in a cup. Put them in the bowl. Beat them up with the beaters and add a little extra water if you need to.


Reb says, "Now teach me how to cook a turkey."

Mom says:

That's the easiest thing in the whole wide world!

Thaw him in the fridge. Then take him from his packaging and rinse him all over and dry him and salt his cavities. Then heat up the oven to 325. Get out your roasting pan. Now salt him on his top side and his bottom side. Start him with his breast side down for half the time. Then turn him over and finish baking him.


This is pretty much quoting Mom's oral dictation:

First you have to cut up in cubes some corn bread and some rye bread and some whole wheat bread and some white bread, and how much you cut up depends on how much you want to make. For the quantity [Mom] usually makes, half a loaf of each will do. Dry it in the oven at about 200. Put all the bread cubes in a big bowl. Saute onion and celery in butter; maybe half an onion and 1-2 sticks of celery. Stir that in. Sprinkle in rubbed sage to taste. Lightly moisten with chicken broth-- don't make it mushy. Add it a little at a time so the bread can absorb it. Beat up an egg and stir it in. Season it to taste. Put it in a buttered 9x13 pan (or two 8x8's). After you have removed from your turkey drippings sufficient to make your gravy, baste the dressing with the rest of it. Or you can stir it in before you put it in the pans. Bake at 350 until crusty and hot, perhaps a half hour.

Dixie Salad

Invented in Utah's Dixie for the use of pomegranates. I decided this year in a poorly quantified comparison study that, in fact, the small, beige, sort-of-ugly pomegranates that Grandma sends (straight fromUtah's Dixie) are in fact sweeter than the kernels that come from the plump red supermarket fruit. Hmm.

Dixie Salad

cube some yummy eating apples
shell some pomegranates
chop some pecans
stir them all up with whipped cream

Daddy Dixie Salad

don't put in pecans.
put in pistachios
or almonds
or cashews
but don't put in yucky old cockroach pecans.

Sannali Dixie Salad

Play around with the matrix-- she claims yogurt works.

Reija Dixie Salad

Chop up a Snickers bar and put it in.

Oh, and that reminds me of a joke. What do you call a ticking cow?


I think these are a polarizing little cookie. I love them: I like how they are coal black. I like how they are spicy and chocolatey. I like how they are crisp but tender. But I think other people think they taste burnt because they look black and because the flavor combination is unusual to American taste buds. That's ok-- I'll eat them all. From Maida Heatter, these are supposedly German.


1 ½ c AP flour
1 ½ t baking powder
¼ t salt
¾ t cinnamon
¼ t allspice
½ t finely ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne
¾ c black unsweetened cocoa powder
6 oz unsalted butter
1 ½ t vanilla extract
1 c sugar
1 egg

Sift together dries. Cream butter. Add vanilla, sugar; beat. Beat in egg. Gradually add dries. Tear off a strip of wax paper 16 inches long. Place dough down the length, forming a heavy strip about 10 in long. Fold the long sides up around the dough. Pressing against the paper with your hands, shape the dough into an oblong about 12 inches long and 2 ¾ inches thick. Wrap the dough in the paper. Put in freezer or refrigerator several hours, until firm. Oven to 375. Line cookie sheets with parchment. Unwrap the dough. Cut with sharp knife to ¼ inch slices. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Ginger Cookies

From the M-m-m-m More Cookies booklet published by Pillsbury in 1987. I think we made these fairly frequently, and they are yummy to me.

Ginger Cookies

2 c sugar
1 ½ c butter, softened
½ c molasses
2 eggs
4 ½ c AP flour
3 t soda
½ salt
2 t cinnamon
1 t cloves
1 t ginger
½ t nugmeg
Sugar to roll

Cream sugars, fat, and eggs. Stir in mixed dries. Fridge 1 hr. Oven to 350. Roll balls in sugar. Bake 8-12 min till set (should flatten). 10 dozen.

Crisp Chocolate Snaps

I suppose this is a lesser cookie in the Matheson cookiesphere, but I remember them, and I like them. So here they are. From the M-m-m-m More Cookie booklet, published by Pillsbury in 1987.

Crisp Chocolate Snaps

2 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 ½ c butter, softened
2 t vanilla
3 eggs
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted, cooled
½ t red food coloring, optional
4 c AP flour
2 t soda
1 t salt
Sugar to roll in

Oven to 350. Beat sugars and fat till light and fluffy. Add vanilla, eggs, chocolate, food coloring, blend well. Stir in mixed dries. Can be refrigerated to facilitate easier handling. Roll balls in sugar. Bake 8-12 minutes until set (should flatten). 6 dozen.

Linzer Cookies

We just barely made these. They're on the cooling racks. They smell delicious and I am liking to eat them, so even though I do not have a special linzer cookie cutter, I'll keep the recipe anyway. The recipe, I believe, came in the box of Fox Run brand linzer cookie cutters.

Linzer Cookies

1 1/4 c almond flour, or hazelnuts and almonds, ground fine
1 c unsalted butter
2/3 c sugar
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla
2 c AP flour
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1 t lemon zest
powdered sugar for dusting (I haven't used this yet)
1 c jam (the recipe suggests seedless raspberry. We're using guava right now, which is surprisingly not too tropical. The jam needs to be fairly smooth.)

Pre-heat oven to 375. Cream butter and sugar till light and creamy. Add eggs, then vanilla. In separate bowl, mix dries and spices. Add dries to wets, beat to combine. Place in freezer till firm, 30-40 min. Dust a surface with flour, roll dough to about 1/8". Cut even amounts of tops and bottoms. Bake cookies 8 minutes. Cool. Use about 1 t jam per sandwich cookie.

Yellow Turkey Casserole

A great favorite of ours for leftover turkey. If I post this on the blog, perhaps no one will have to ask for it again. Maybe if I get the courage I will ask Mom for the recipe for the other yellow turkey casserole. The other yellow turkey casserole? Yes. It has a creamy sauce, and I like it too. But this is the one with the little noodles and the rice.

Yellow Turkey Casserole

Butter a 9X13 glass dish.
Cover the bottom of the dish evenly with 2 c. raw rice.
Sprinkle evenly across the rice
1 t. salt and 1 t. curry powder. You may use more curry powder if you like.
Chop or dice
3 c. of leftover turkey or chicken meat.
Spread the turkey evenly across the rice.
Mince 1
/2 to 1 onion, 2 stalks celery and saute in butter until soft. Spread the vegetables evenly across the turkey.
Make according to package directions
one packet of the dry chicken noodle soup which wants 4 c. of water, with this change: use 5 c. water. You may substitute part or all of the water with chicken broth.
Ladle the hot soup over the stuff in the dish. Be careful so that you disturb things as little as possible. Save the noodles until last so that you can distribute them evenly over the surface of the dish.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for one hour.
Uncover and serve.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Making Beef Stew

The harvest from the garden turned out to be really meager. We had a couple decent potatoes and lots of pathetic ones, about four beets the size of marbles, a single beautiful zucchini, a nice handful of carrots that Milly ate pretty fast (she said they tasted just like carrots from Ghana!), and some cherry tomatoes that we think weren't supposed to be so "cherry." And one mournful, twisted, tiny purple pepper. But the time had come! And so we harvested and cooked it all up into a stew and fed it to our favorite masses. Also with some pumpkin soup, courtesy of "our pumpkin" (we nabbed it off of U of R campus), lots of nice autumnal bread, a blueberry tart that turned out weird, and a pumpkin-cream cheese pie.

Honestly, I haven't eaten any stew so I don't know if it turned out well. For some reason, yesterday, I had no appetite for meat. But I think it turned out well-- a lot of it got eaten (then again, there were 11? people there). It looked and smelled wonderful! So I will transcribe Mom's stew instructions. Thanks Mom!

Beef Stew

If you want to thicken the stew:
Mix about 2 T. flour with some salt and pepper and paprika in a gallon zip lock bag. Put your meat cubes into the bag and toss them about until the meat has picked up all the flour. Brown the meat in your stew pot in 1 to 2 T. oil or fat. Then add your liquid (beef broth or water) and stir until the flour is all distributed in the liquid. You can also saute your onions, but it isn't necessary.
If you prefer a clear broth:
You don't need to cook the meat first. Fill your pot about halfway with liquid of your choice. Turn on the heat fairly high and add your meat. As the meat begins to cook, prepare your vegetables.

Add the vegetables as you get them prepared (in most cases). Carrots are hardest, so add them first. Then onion, then potato. Bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down to let the stew cook at a high simmer. Count on 1 1/2 to 2 hours total cooking time. Add fresh green beans and fresh corn and bell pepper about 40 minutes before the end. Add herbs about 1/2 hour before the end, except for bay leaves, which should be added at the beginning. If you used canned tomato, you can add it at about any time. I would wait until about half way through, so that the carrot and potato have a chance to soften. Add garlic at the beginning. At any point you can add more broth to attain sufficient liquid. Remember also that anytime you add something you will cool down the stew, so the temperature needs to raised temporarily to maintain simmering. Salt according to taste, but a rule of thumb is 1 t. per quart.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bruschetta alla Caprese

Continuing to build the entertaining repertoire. Amy and I fed the Elders and some friends a few days ago. She wanted Italian, and we both wanted to create a menu that, though plentiful, would create the impression of lightness and coolness. We didn't want anyone sweating over soup or slogging down fettucine alfredo-- our house can get quite warm and muggy on summer nights, especially when it's full of people, which it so often is. Amy made some turkey-vegetable skewers, and I made a dish I remembered eating at restaurants, a bruschetta (toast) topped with a cut caprese (tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad). I thought it turned out quite tasty and sophisticated, and it got eaten quickly. For dessert I made the lemon curd and berry pavlova that I made for Mother's Day, and people seemed to really enjoy the looks and flavor of that too.

Brushcetta alla Caprese

somewhere around 2 c chopped (into 1/2 inch dice) well-flavored roma tomatoes
about 8 oz fresh mozzarella (not low-moisture pizza cheese), in 1/2 inch dice
a handful of fresh basil, shredded with scissors
1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Blend topping ingredients and season to taste. Refrigerate about 2 hours. Before serving, drain of excess moisture.

a long, thinnish crusty Italian-style white loaf, cut into 1/2 inch slices
garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half, as needed
extra-virgin olive oil

Broil the bread until it is crisp on both sides. Rub one side of each piece of toast with cut garlic. Sprinkle with olive oil. I think guests should be allowed to spoon on their own caprese topping, so that the toasts don't get soggy.

Zucchini Bread

The garden yielded up big sudden zucchini a couple weeks ago, good pretty much only for zucchini bread. Our first zucchini bread making appointment happened before I could get Mom's recipe, so I used the one from the Joy. It was a well-tested, successful recipe, but it wasn't the same. The next time, I used Mom's recipe. The beautifully domed, finely crumbed and very tasty loaves were vastly superior, even though about 6 cooks worked on the recipe, which can spoil even the best of recipes.

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
2/3 c. oil
2 c. sugar

Beat the above together. Stir in

2 c. grated zucchini
2 t. vanilla

Mix together.

3 c. flour (can use part whole wheat)
1 t. salt
3 t. cinnamon
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder

Stir into the liquid mixture. Add

2 c. chopped nuts if you like.

Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 60 minutes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Stromboli Chop Bread

This is a particular specialty of my friend Melissa's, and we have enjoyed it together many times during our three years together in Rochester. Sadly, she's moving to Texas, so I thought I would gather the recipe to carry on the flame of Stromboli Chop Bread.

Stromboli Chop Bread

1 loaf's worth bread dough; Melissa uses frozen, thawed, about 6 hrs
1 t oregano (not ground)
1 c shredded mozzarella
1/4 lb hard salami, cut thickly
3 cloves garlic

Preheat oven to 350 F. Chop up all the ingredients aside from the dough and mix together. Punch down dough, spread it out, and put the other ingredients upon it. Fold it up into a little closed purse. Chop loaf in thick strips one way, and then again on the perpendicular axis. Move the clump of dough to a greased baking sheet (or, I imagine, a sheet with parchment paper). Adjust its form as necessary. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Soba with Smoked Salmon

A dish representative of my healthy-eating quest. I like smoked salmon, but this time I got a different variety which was a little too fishy for me. But I really liked the soba, especially with the pea shoots, and I'd like to eat this again with normal smoked salmon. The earthiness of the buckwheat with the smoke of the fish, the fresh crunch of the sprouts, and the sweet spiciness of the dressing is really quite nice. This recipe is from The Every Day Chinese Cookbook editted by Linda Doeser. The picture of soba is, in fact, the brand I used.

Soba with Smoked Salmon

8 oz soba (buckwheat noodles)
1 T oyster sauce
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 T light olive oil
4 oz smoked salmon, cut in strips
4 oz young pea sprouts
2 ripe roma tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded, cut into strips
salt, pepper, chives

Cook soba, it shouldn't take long. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain. Season them with oyster sauce, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add salmon, sprouts, tomatoes, chives. Serve.

Chicken Riggies!

This is a specialty of Utica, NY. A few friends and I had a small dinner party a few days ago and Josh, who is from Utica, made this for us. It may have been how he made it and perhaps I couldn't reproduce how delicious it tasted to me that night, but I sure enjoyed it. The name is silly, as often names of regional dishes are; "riggies" comes from the use of rigatoni.

Chicken Riggies

1 pound rigatoni
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken meat; half white and half dark
black pepper
6 T extra-virgin olive oil, in total
1 large onion, chopped
7-8 cloves garlic, finely chopped, in total
2 large cubanelle peppers, seeded, chopped
3 roasted red peppers, chopped
6 pickled hot cherry peppers, seeded
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
about 1/2 c cream
1/2 c grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Cook pasta al dente. Reserve 1 c of the cooking water. Cut chicken to bite size pieces, season with salt and pepper. Heat 3 T oil in a large skillet over med high to high heat. Add chicken; brown 7-8 minutes, remove. Add onions, about half the garlic, and cubanelle peppers; season with salt and pepper and cook 6-7 minutes to soften. Add roasted red peppers and cherry peppers. Stir in tomatoes and chicken. Simmer sauce and add about a cup of the pasta cooking water and up to half a cup of cream. Bring heat to low and simmer for a few minutes. Stir in cheese and pasta.

Monday, July 6, 2009


1 1/2 c sugar
1 t water

Over medium heat, stir sugar till hot. Add water, keep stirring, and break up any lumps. When sugar is liquid amber, pour in a custard dish. Coat the dish.

1/4 c sugar
8 eggs
1 t vanilla
12 oz sweetened condensed milk
12 oz whole milk
14 oz evaporated milk

Beat eggs. Mix in sugar, vanilla, and milks. Bake 1 to 1 1/4 hours in the custard dish, set in water, at 350. Cool and unmold.

Mom's Stovetop Rice Pudding

1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 T cornstarch
1/8 t salt
2 c milk (part condensed)
2 beaten eggs
1 c cooked white rice
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon

Cook and stir over medium heat for 15 minutes. Reduce heat and cover. Stir occasionally. Cook 8-10 minutes. Add eggs slowly; cook and stir 2 minutes. Add rice. Remove from heat; add vanilla and cinnamon

Marshmallow Treats

Yes, Mom's are better.

7 T butter
16 oz big marshmallows
9 c crispy rice cereal

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir in cereal. Press into a buttered dish-- but do not press very hard. Cut in squares. I like these with chopped dried apricots added, and even slivered almonds.

Thanksgiving Cranberry Jell-O

I only trust Jell-O when mom makes it. I can't even touch it if a non-nuclear-family member makes it. But for all that, I do love the handful of things Mom does with Jell-O, especially this Thanksgiving standard.

6 oz raspberry Jell-O
2 c water
1 cans whole cranberry sauce
1 c sour cream
1 c chopped pecans

Swirl in sour cream when the rest is partially set.


2 c sugar
1 c corn syrup (2 c for popcorn balls)
1 12 or 13 oz can evaporated milk
1/4 lb butter

Boil sugar, syrup, and butter for 5 minutes. Slowly add milk. Don't allow the boil to stop. Cook to firm ball. Pour into greased 8"x8" pan.


I got this recipe from a King Arther catalog and have made it a few times. I think it's fun, and it's always impressive. The cookies are really cute. Although it must be said that at a cookie contest in my BYU ward they lost to a concoction made out of Saltine crackers with evaporated milk poured on them.

2 1/4 c AP flour
1 T dough relaxer (I did not use this. King Arthur always calls for crazy things.)
1/4 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
3/4 c butter, cut into 1/4 inch dice and frozen for 30 minutes
3/4 c sour cream
1/2-3/4 c sugar (crystal sugar OK)

Combine dries, cut in batter to even crumbs, stir in sour cream. Gather in ball, half, and set in fridge for 1 hour or more. Take one half. Sprinkle work surface with sugar and roll to 12x10 inches. Sprinkle sugar over, and gently roll from both long sides to create an ear shape. Repeat with other half. Wrap logs and refrigerate 1 hour or more. Use a serrated knife to cut into 1/3 inch slices. Lay on parchment. Bake in 425 oven for 9-10 minutes or until sugar on bottom begins to brown. Turn over, and bake 3-5 more minutes. Watch carefully!

Gingerbread Cookies

These are a favorite of mine at Christmas.

3 1/2 c flour
1 t soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cloves
1/2 t cinnamon
3 t ginger
1/4 t cardamom or allspice
1/2 c shortening
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c dark molasses
1 egg
2 T milk

Roll and bake at 350.

Beth Cox's Sugar Cookies

3 1/4 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 c milk or sour cream (without additives)
1/2 c shortening
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 t nutmeg
2 t flavoring

Bake at 350.

Spice Sugar Cookies

3 1/2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 c milk
1 t vanilla
1 t lemon flavoring
1/4 t anise extract
3/4 c butter
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t mace
1/2 t cardamom
1 t nutmeg
(1/2 t cloves)

Molasses Chews

These are a polarizing cookie, but I adore the bitter/sour/sweet taste of molasses.

1 1/2 c shortening
2 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c molasses
4 1/2 c flour
2 t baking soda

Cream fat with sugars; add eggs. Mix dries separately. Fold dries into wets. Dip dough balls in plain sugar. Bake at 375.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 c shortening
1 c peanut butter
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 c sifted flour
1 t baking powder
1 t soda
1/2 t salt

Cream fats and sugars. Add eggs. Mix dries separately. Fold dries into wets. Form X's with a fork in cookies. Bake at 350.

Soft Coconut Macaroons

Mom, is this your current recipe?

1/4 c flour
2/3 c sugar (+2 T, if the coconut is unsweetened)
1/4 t salt
2 2/3 c coconut
4 egg whites
2 t extract: vanilla or almond or whatnot
1 c chopped almonds or additional coconut

Mix all except egg whites. Stir in whites and flavoring. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes.

Tea Cakes

1 1/3 c shortening or butter
2 1/2 c sugar
4 eggs
4 t vanilla
6 T milk
5 c flour
1 t salt
4 t baking powder
1 t nutmeg

Mix. Chill 30 minutes. Roll THICK. Bake 15 minutes at 350 on lightly greased cookie sheets. Makes about 3 dozen.


4 oz butter (1/2 c)
1 T maple syrup
4 oz flour (1 c)
1/2 t baking powder
4 oz rolled oats (1 c)
4 oz shredded coconut (1 c)
4 oz sugar (1/2 c)

Soften butter slightly, cream with syrup and sugar. Add remaining ingredients. Roll in small balls, bake at 350 for 15 min on greased sheets.

Dinner rolls

Mom makes the best dinner rolls in the whole world.
This recipe makes 2-4 dozen, depending on size.

2 3/4 c water
6 T sugar
2 T yeast
3 t salt
1 c dry milk powder
1/2-3/4 c yellow shortening
2 eggs
~9 c white bread flour

Buckwheat Pancakes

These have grown on me over time.

1 c buckwheat flour (toast 1 T)

1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c white flour
2 T sugar
2 t malt powder
2 t baking powder
2 c milk
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
4 T oil
2 eggs

Cinnamon Rolls

A great Matheson specialty.

For the filling:
2 c brown sugar
4 c sugar
1/4 lb butter (1 stick)
1 c cinnamon

Cut together. Use 2/3 c., packed, per dozen rolls.

For the glaze:
1 1/2-2 T butter
3 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
3-5 T warn water, added 1 T at a time.

Enough for 2 dozen rolls.

Cardamom Rolls

Makes 2 dozen.

2 1/2 c water
1/2 c sugar
2 T yeast
1 T salt
1 c dry milk powder
3/4 c yellow shortening
3 eggs
1 1/2 t ground cardamom
3/4 t orange oil

Corn Bread

I vastly prefer the large-grained, crusty, not-very-sweet-at-all corn bread Mom makes to the cake-like "Northern-style" cornbread which is just silly.

FOR 8" square or 7"x11" pan FOR 9"x13" pan
1 c corn meal 1 1/2 c
1 c flour (white, rye, or whole wheat) 1 1/2 c
1-2 T sugar (white or brown) 1 1/2 - 3 T
1 T baking powder 4 1/2 t
1 t salt 1 1/2 t
1/4 c shortening or oil 1/2 c
2 beaten eggs 3
1 c milk or buttermilk 1 1 /2 c

Bake for 25 minutes at 400 F.

Basic Bread

2 T sugar
1 c very warm water
1 T yeast
~3 c flour
1 t salt
1/4 c powdered milk
1 egg
2 T oil or shortening

Pour water over sugar. Dissolve yeast. When foamy, add milk. Alternate 1/2 c additions of flour with salt, eggs, fat. Knead 10 minutes. Double. Punch, form, or rise twice. Bake at 350; rolls: 25 minutes, loaf: 50 minutes.


I like mine with rosemary.

4 c flour
1 1/3 c warm water
1 1/3 t salt
3 T olive oil
1 T yeast
Parmesan cheese

Mix salt and flour. Dissolve yest. Stir water, yeast, oil into flour. Knead 5-10 minutes. Double. Divide in 2, press into 14" pans. Brush with olive oil; sprinkle on salt, pepper, herbs, and cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes.

Coconut Cream Pie

A tremendous favorite of mine; I tried to make it once my first year of med school and the filling did not set up. It was pretty good deeply chilled (frozen and thawed a little). For a 9" shell.

3/4 c sugar
4 T cornstarch
1/4 t salt
2 1/2 c milk
3 beaten egg yolks
3 T butter
2 t vanilla
1 c coconut

Put sugar and salt in 2 1/4 c milk. Scald while stirring. Mix starch into 1/4 milk; stir this in to the rest. Stir and cook till it coats a spoon and looks translucent. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 10 minutes.

In the shell, you can top this with whipped cream or a meringue. It is fun to sprinkle toasted coconut on top.

Grandma's Baked Philly Pie

2 8-oz packages cream cheese
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t vanilla

Add and blend:
2 eggs

In 1 cup of the above batter, stir in:
1/2 c canned pumpkin
1/2 t cinnamon
dash cloves, nutmeg

Layer batters in a 9" graham cracker crust. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

Grandma's Cream Cheese Pie

I think I need to ask Mom some questions about this one.

9" Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 OR 1 c crumbs
6 OR 4 T melted butter
1/4 c OR 3 T powdered sugar
1 OR 1/2 t cinnamon

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

8 oz cream cheese
1/3 c sugar
lemon flavoring
8 oz Cool Whip

Mix. Chill.

3 T cornstarch
1 pkg unflavored gelatin
1/4-1/3 c sugar
1 3/4 c fruit juice
dash salt
dash citric acid

Sour Cream Apple Pie

For a 9 inch crust.

2 T flour
1/8 t salt
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1 c sour cream
1 t vanilla
1/2 t nutmeg
1 c chopped apples

1/4 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 c butter
1/3 c flour

Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes. Add topping and bake for 10 more minutes; or bake at 325 for 30-40 minutes.


I love homemade tortillas!

4 c flour
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 c shortening
1 1/4 c water

Mix flour and salt. Cut in fat. Add small amounts of water while mixing. Knead. Form into 15 balls, cover, rest 15 minutes. Roll out thin, bake on griddle.

Peanut Buttered Popcorn

My favorite sweet treatment of popcorn (along with grandma's toffee popcorn). Why would anyone make Kool-Aid balls with so many other superior options?

3 qt popped corn (1/2 c unpopped)
1 1/2 c dry roasted peanuts
1 c sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
1/2 c honey
1 c peanut butter
1 t vanilla

Butter sides of a 1 1/2 qt saucepan. Boil sugar, honey, and syrup, stirring constantly. Boil hard 2 minutes, remove. Stir in peanut butter, vanilla. Coat popcorn.


Great memories of fudge, but I'm afraid that the culture of cheat fudges has made me scared to try to make real fudge myself (I don't make the cheat fudges, either, because I like real fudge better).

12 oz condensed milk
2 c sugar
4 T corn syrup
1/2 t salt

Stir until chocolate is melted and sugar is dissolved. Cook until 234 F and/or it forms a "soft ball" in cold water. Add:

4 T butter

2 t vanilla

Do not stir. Cool to 120 F and beat 5-10 minutes until no longer glosssy. Spread out on a buttered plate.


As a Matheson, I believe in crisp snickerdoodles which yield to a chew when eaten. In fact, it is the remarkable and unique texture of a snickerdoodle I find so appealing, and it is a very sad thing to me that so many people are stuck eating underdone, grainy snickerdoodles.

1 c yellow shortening
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
2 3/4 c flour
2 t cream of tartar
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
cinnamon sugar

Cream shortening with sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Mix dries separately; fold together. Chill. Roll in balls. Dip balls in cinnamon sugar. Bake at 375.

Cheese Bread or Rolls

2 3/4 c scalded milk
4 1/2 c grated cheese
4 1/2 T sugar
3 t salt
3 T butter
2 T yeast
1/4 c warm water
9 c flour

Melt cheese in hot milk, along with sugar, salt, and butter. When lukewarm, mix in yeast proofed in water. Proceed as usual for bread or rolls.

Recipe Organization! Or: Why You Will See Lots of Recipes You Know

Over the past few weeks, I've worked hard to organize all my multitudes of papers, etc. I even got a filing cabinet and file folders and everything. Now I'm down to the dreaded "do something else with this" pile. Of course, even this pile can be parsed further, and from it I made a pile of recipes I've collected from Mom, either over the phone or directly from her recipe box when visiting. So I will begin putting them here. Hopefully I'll also be able to develop a tag system that works for me, so I can find the recipes when I want them.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Poppy Seed Bread

While organizing my various files, documents, and papers, I came across a copy of Mom's poppy seed bread recipe. So in the spirit of keeping everything in one place, I'm putting it here! I adore poppy seed bread. Now I, and you, can make it whenever we want.

Poppy Seed Bread

2 c sugar
1 c oil
1 t vanilla
1 t lemon (optional)
3 c flour
3 ½ t baking powder
1 t salt
1 large can evaporated milk
1/3 c poppy seeds

Beat eggs. Add sugar, beat well. Add oil and vanilla, beat well. Combine dry ingredients, add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Mix in poppy seeds. Bake in 2 greased and floured loaf pans at 325 for 50 to 60 minutes, or until done.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Maple-Ginger Salmon

Another Mother's Day dish. This was actually meant to be cedar-planked, but that turned out to be a no-go (for various reasons). Also, we had to use frozen salmon fillets! I could not find any fresh salmon! I suppose I went to the store(s) too late. There was a lot that was compromised about preparation of this recipe. The fillets did not thoroughly thaw before we wanted to bake them, and to compensate, we baked them longer. I think this was a bad idea, because in my opinion, they were overdone and dry.

But we did in fact like the condiment! I would like to try it again and cook the fish better. If I do ever really cedar-plank a salmon, I might delete this post and put up a report of that. I think I would use this recipe, because I did like this yummy maple-ginger-scallion glaze. It tested Asian-fusion and modern. I'd like to spread it in some maki rolls.

The recipe comes from Epicurious; but I didn't make everything in the recipe and I obviously didn't plank it, so there you have it. I give you what I made.

Maple-Ginger Salmon

1 c maple syrup
2 T finely grated peeled fresh gingerroot
4 T lemon juice
3 T soy sauce
1 1/2 t minced garlic
2 1/2 lbs salmon fillet
greens from 1 bunch scallions

In a small heavy saucepan, simmer condiment ingredients. Simmer until reduced to about 1 c (about 30 minutes). Salt and pepper, if desired, to taste.

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil a baking pan. Arrange scallion greens in a layer in the pan. Put salmon, skin-side down, on scallions. Brush on about half the glaze. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the middle oven until just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Serve with additional warm sauce.

Lemon Curd Pavlova

For Mother's Day this year my bros. and I made dinner for Mom. There were some crises, some of which were dramatic. Dinner was late, but at least everything was finished pretty much at the same time. I think that we had fun; I know I enjoyed spending this time with my brothers as friends and peers. Thank you, brothers, for your patience, hard work, and good humor! I can see that you are your mother's sons.

Anyway. We made salmon with a maple-ginger glaze; a salad of spinach, grapefruit, and avocado; ginger ale Jell-O (an homage to Mommy cuisine past); a pistachio rice pilaf; and lemon curd pavlova.

Pavlova will not supplant a good cake or pie for deliciousness to me, but I did think it made a fun party dessert. Bang for the buck. Pretty, different, yummy. Nice textural contrasts. Although I'm told some people like their pavlova to sit and turn marshmallow, at first experience, I would suggest eating all your pavlova right away.

The idea for the pavlova came pretty much all from my brain, but my brain of course has zeitgeist influences, and Epicurious had a pavlova recipe which is exactly what I'd dreamed up: lemon curd and berries. I used their meringue, but not their lemon curd, which reviewers complained about. I got that from, but were I too make it again, I'd try harder to find a recipe that used just yolks (to balance using the whites for the meringue). Then I just sugared some raspberries and strawberries and plunked them on top.

Lemon Curd Pavlova


1 c sugar
1 T cornstarch
3 large egg whites, ideally held at room temperature for 30 minutes
3 T cold water
t t vinegar (recipe said distilled white; I used apple cider and liked the flavor)

Preheat oven to 300°F with rack in middle.
Whisk together sugar, cornstarch. Beat whites with a little salt at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Add water (whites will loosen); beat until they hold soft peaks again.
Increase speed to medium high and add sugar/starch 1 T at a time. After it's all added, beat 1 minute more.
Add vinegar; beat at high speed until glossy and holding stiff peaks, about 5 minutes or more.
Spread meringue on parchment on a baking sheet; make a nice circle with its edge slightly higher than the center.
Bake until pale golden and with a crust, about 45 minutes.
Turn oven off and prop door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Cool in oven 1 hour.

Lemon Curd

3 eggs
1 c sugar
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
1/4 c melted butter
1 T grated lemon peel

In the top of a double boiler, beat eggs and sugar. Add lemon juice, butter, and zest. Cook, stirring, over simmering water 15 minutes or until thickened.

Final Assembly:
Spoon (at least partially cooled) curd into the crater of the cooled meringue. Sugar about 4 c of berries and put them on top.

Victory Ice Cream

Mom has made ice cream since I can remember. A few days ago we were browsing an edition of Family Letters from 1984-1988, and there were a couple of discussions about the ice cream of the past. Back in those days, Mom experimented with different flavors and kinds of ice cream. Of particular note in the letters were "Malt Ball" and a perfect raspberry sherbet. I have heard Mom lament many times since that she can't make her raspberry sherbet anymore because nobody sells 100% raspberry juice. I regret that I was too young then to remember now the perfect flavor of that sherbet. I do remember her making sherbet and ice cream, though. I loved ice cream days. I liked scooping the remnant ice cream off of the dasher. When I think of that process, the flavor-memory is unique because sometimes a bit of rock salt would get in my spoon, too.

Anyway, some years ago, Mom got a smaller ice cream maker, so she can make a batch of ice cream just the right size for one meal's dessert, with perhaps a little leftover. Also some years ago, she inherited a couple of her Aunt Carol's cookbooks. In one of these she found a recipe for ice cream that has now (with adaptation) become her standard, and it is very creamy and delicious and good. The cookbook in question is The Victory Binding of the American Woman's Cook Book: Wartime Edition, edited by Ruth Berolzheimer, which I imagine had a much simpler title in more peaceful times. This old blue cooktome, whose first page is a large portrait of General Douglas MacArthur, is a lot of fun to browse. Some of the recipes seem hopelessly outdated, and it's easy to dwell on how much tastes seem to have changed. But it's recipes like this one, which I am only calling "Victory" ice cream for fun, which make me realize that things haven't changed that much. Whoever made the recipe sure knew what yummy meant, even back then.

Mommy's Victory Ice Cream

2 T flour
3/4 c sugar
1 c 1% milk
2 egg yolks
1 c half & half
1 c heavy cream
1 t vanilla OR 2 t lemon extract

Stir flour in with sugar. Blend yolks with milk thoroughly with a handheld blender. Mix yolk/milk mixture with flour/sugar. Stir in half & half. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, till it reaches a boil/is thickened. Remove from heat and add the cream and flavoring of choice. Cool and freeze.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake

I'm not very strict about my Passover rules. In fact, you can see in the picture that we didn't even do matzo. To me, "unleavened bread" may as well mean whole-wheat tortillas. I have an easier time imagining Moses with something a lot like a whole-wheat tortilla than with a big box of Manischewitz matzo.

So really, there's no reason I should have avoided flour in the dessert. But who can resist the tradition of flourless chocolate cake? I find that much more enticing than the tradition of matzo. So : I served this orange-flavored flourless chocolate cake with mango and raspberry sorbets and whipped topping.

I love the flavor combination of orange and chocolate. In fact, I have a signature sundae at the local ice cream joint: a scoop of dark fudge ice cream on bottom, covered with a scoop of orange sherbet, with "swiss chocolate" (like marshmallow topping, but lightly chocolate) on top. I think if I were a starlet in LA, some restaurant I frequent would name a chocolate/orange dessert after me, or (since it's an alternate reality anyway) a cocktail-- you know how they're always named after somebody-or-other? Or like how the French have code words for flavors and flavor combinations-- if it's "florentine," you know you're dealing with spinach and probably cheese. It would be like that.

Anyway, I got this recipe off of, and it in turn got it from the book All the Presidents' Pastries: Twenty-Five Years in the White House, by Roland Mesnier with Christian Malard. In that book, the name of the cake is "Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake for the Reagan Family."

Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing (I'm sorry! I used butter in a meat meal!)
flour, for dusting (so ok, there was a little flour)
6 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 c plus 2 T sugar
zest of one large orange
4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter and flour a 10-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then butter and flour the paper. Gently melt the chocolate over a double boiler (or a make-shift double boiler). Stir the butter into the chocolate to melt, and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk the sugar and orange zest into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and yolks and whisk well. Sift the cocoa powder over the chocolate mixture and whisk the batter until totally smooth. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for approximately 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top has formed a good crust. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a serving platter.


This is the recipe that my mom has always used for our seder charoset.

I purchased spoon-size Shredded Wheat and used an equivalent amount, because I figured I would be more likely to eat the cereal later in this form. I didn't have the heart to buy the rose water or orange water, either, as my Passover bill was already very hefty, so I went without. I didn't add ginger or cardamom; although these are two of my favorite spices, I wanted to keep this new culinary experience as accessible as possible. It still produced a very flavorful, complex charoset. I actually have to eat charoset very slowly because it is so sweet and full of flavor.

Charoset represents the mortar the Hebrew slaves used to make the bricks for Pharaoh. Angry at the thought of his slaves pursuing liberty, Pharaoh increased their levy of bricks. Although it represents an exquisitely painful trial and bondage, charoset is also very sweet. This sweetness reminds us that sweet lessons can be learned from even bitter experiences.


1 1/4 c diced apple
1/2 c honey
1/4 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 c sliced almonds
1 Shredded Wheat biscuit
1 1/2 t orange water
1 1/2 t rose water
optional: cardamom, ginger

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 4 minutes. Cool.

Lemon Lamb

I waffled for a long time about whether or not to host a seder for my friends this year. But, in the end, I decided it would after all be an opportunity to eat lamb.

I have always enjoyed the lamb at Passover. I know that Mom has prepared it in a handful of different ways, but her preparation of lemon lamb was particularly memorable for me. I decided to prepare it this way for my guests, also. I love the fresh tang of the lemon against the gaminess of the meat, and the cinnamon, which is both fun and earthy, bridging the divide. My guests seemed to really like it, too.

Thanks to guest Ben for trimming the meat. I was intimidated by the directive that the lamb be "well-trimmed." Fortunately, Ben wants to be a surgeon, and he did a brilliant job with the leg of lamb. I expanded the recipe by 150%, so that was a lot of lamb.

Lemon Lamb

4 lbs well-trimmed lamb cut into 3 inch lengths
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 t salt
3/4 t pepper
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
2 cinnamon sticks, each 3 inches long
1 c water

Cover the lamb with the water in a large pan and bring to a vigorous boil for 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold water. This first boiling will remove excess fat.

Put the oil in the pan, add the lamb, and stir-fry over moderate heat for 5 minutes.

Add the salt, pepper, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, and water. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 1 hour, or until the lamb is tender and the liquid is reduced to a thick, lemon flavored sauce.

Serves 8.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Sandwiches I Love

Things are going well. Mostly. But I feel very deprived of bread. There is no bread at all in my meal plans. Everything else is pretty taken care of: proteins, vegetables, milk; I do not find that sweets are my greatest temptation anyway (in the absence of Mom's baking). But bread! I find myself dreaming not just of bread, but specifically my memories of bread and sandwich bliss through time.

Specifically, a slice of my Mom's sourdough, toasted, and dripping with butter. I don't know that my Mom makes sourdough the way she used to anymore. She used to make these really super-sour round loaves, with wonderful chewy crusts. This bread prepared in this way was one of my first moments of gustatory bliss.

Also, a slice of my Mom's dark rye bread, spread with cream cheese, and topped with cucumber. A humble and quite perfect trio that I could eat for hours.

I reminisce too about BLT's, which I was always a little skeptical of (it was the 'tomato' part, I think) until I tried it late in high school.

In college I spent a summer in St. Louis, where I tried another sandwich with no small dose of skepticism: the St. Paul Sandwich, Wonder bread, mayo, tomato, lettuce, and an egg foo yung patty. Someday, when I'm allowed to try, and not scared of cooking eggs anymore, I will make myself St. Paul sandwiches.

My first year in medical school I was delighted to see at all the local delis the fabled bagel and lox, and I gave it a go. I had to trim down the lox a bit, but I understood entirely why it was a classic. And now (I confess!) I'll get it in the airport on long layovers.

And lastly, so recently: just last fall I invented a sandwich for myself that I probably ate 20 pounds of (although, in retrospect, the poor thing needs some crunch): nutella and lemon curd (or marmalade).

Ah, bread! Bread.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ginger-Apricot Panettone

Mom likes fruitcake, and I recall vaguely a time when I thought I did, too. In general, my tastes are expanding, not narrowing, and I'm learning to appreciate various things Mom has always liked that I haven't (avocado, squash [in limited contexts], mushrooms [in even more limited contexts]). So I keep trying fruitcake at Christmas, thinking that either 'Hey! I like this stuff, don't I?' Or: 'I'll like it now! I'm an adult!'

And it just keeps getting weirder.

This is not a recipe for fruitcake. It's a recipe Mom made this Christmas that I think makes fruitcake completely obsolete. It's a lightly sweet yeast bread with delicious sparkling chunks of apricot and ginger. Mom brought this out mid-way through the break, but I think it would make a nice Three Kings treat, because the apricots and ginger are both sort of exotic and remind me of nuggets of gold, frankincense, myrrh. ...Especially as Mom used half dried pineapple instead of all apricot, making it three components.

The recipe comes from the King Arthur Flour catalog, and this is their photograph, too.

Ginger-Apricot Panettone


1 c. all purpose flour

pinch of yeast

1/2 c. cool water

Combine the starter ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Cover and allow the mixture to rest overnight (8 to 12 hours) at room temperature.


all of the starter

2 c. all purpose flour

1/4 c. potato flour

1/4 c. water

2 large eggs

6 T. butter

1 1/4 t. salt

2 t. yeast

1/4 t. vanilla extract

1/4 t. lemon extract

1/4 c. sugar

1 c. chopped dried apricots (Mom used 1/2 c. apricots and 1/2 c. diced dehydrated pineapple)

1/3 c. diced crystallized ginger

Combine the starter with the remainder of the dough ingredients (except the fruit). Mix and knead them together until you have a soft, sticky dough. Knead in the ginger and apricots. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until it is puffy (though not necessarily doubled in bulk).Gently deflate the dough, and shape it into a ball. Place it in a panettone pan (6" diameter x 4 1/2" tall). Cover the pan and let the dough rise until it's just crested over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.Bake the bread in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for 15 minutes; reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 35 minutes, tenting the top with aluminum foil if the crust appears to be browning too quickly. Remove the panettone from the oven and cool completely. Dust with confectioners sugar, if desired.Yield: I loaf, about 16 servings.