Today is an important log. Will you use it as often as cutting an onion? No. Will you like it is as much as chocolate chip cookies? Maybe. Will you treasure it forever? YES!!
A terrible thing is happening in this world: family recipes are getting lost! We must stop this! It's so important to know where your family came from and yes, what they ate. Food can tell a beautiful story and don't let it be one you miss hearing from your family. Ask your grandparents and parents about what they love to eat, about what they love to cook and what they most remember eating when they were kids. Try some of their old recipes. It's fun! The difference in ingredients is so funny! Unless your Grandparents grew up on a farm, they didn't have the resources to fresh produce or exotic foods like we do these days. It was pretty limited. So, I say take advantage! Use those weird looking beans you found at the farmers market; you may love them! Also, lots of family recipes get lost because no one ever wrote them down. Before cookbooks took up a whole section at Barnes and Noble, recipes were taught by showing. A handful of this, a pinch of this and a glass of this. There was very little formal measuring. I feel very lucky to have gotten to see my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother cook this way. I also have the pleasure of having a mother in law who is a superb Indian cook. (a whole Indian post will be coming soon!) I've broken down the recipes by person, so here goes! My Great-Grandma Gurissi was a neat lady. Every memory I have of her was her teaching me how to cook, how to crochet or having my dad pick her up and sing opera around the house. She had some great recipes! This is one of my favorites!
Grandma Gurissi's Stuffed Artichokes
4 medium Artichokes
1/2 cup dry Bread Crumbs (Italian of course)
1/4 cup Grated Italian Cheese
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper
Cut off stalk at base of artichokes and trim off some of the tough leaves. With scissors, trim the tips to make for easier handling. Wash thoroughly. Fill with stuffing. When stuffing, seperate the leaves to get the mixture evenly distributed. Drizzle olive oil down the middle of each. (sparingly) stiff a chunk of mozzarella cheese on top (optional) Place in a dutch oven or any deep pot. Fill with water half way up the artichokes. Cover and simmer slowly about 1 hour or until leaves pull out easily. Serve at room temp.
My Grandma Durso. She is amazing! Every time you walk in her house it smells like something wonderful cooking! I love that smell! She puts so much love into everything she makes and you can taste it! You really can! My family spends a lot of time out on Long Island every summer. This always means there will be clams involved for dinner. My Grandpa takes my cousin Joe and my brother John out and they rake up fresh clams. My Grandmother and Great Aunt Rose will then make baked clams and spaghetti and clams. Here is one of those recipes and her making clams:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Partially freeze clams to make them easier to open
Open clams with thin knife
Place clams on a cookie sheet on the half-shell
Using kitchen sheers cut the clams inside the shell while saving the juice within the clam
Pour a slight amount of olive oil onto each clam
Add fresh parsley
Grind fresh pepper over them
Sprinkle with garlic powder, Parmesan cheese.
Finally lightly sprinkle with breadcrumbs
Cook for about 15 minutes or when cooked all the way through
My Grandma Rubel was the quintessential hostess! Every meal at her house was like a fancy dinner party. There would always be a huge roast and beautiful flowers. She taught me a lot about the importance of presentation. Here are some of my favorite recipes she would make and are very easy.
Preheat oven and popover pan to 450 degrees
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
2 t. oil
½ t. salt
Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until bubbles form, about 10 seconds. Fill popover pan ½ to ¾ full of batter. Bake 20 minutes at 425 degrees and then turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake an additional 20 minutes. Prick popovers when removed from oven.
These are great for brunch served with butter and jam or you can serve them with a roast and au jus poured over them or you can add some cheese on top like gruyere, parmesan or cheddar before you bake them. All roads point to yummyness! Here is another one of my favorites:
3 large bags frozen chopped spinach (or fresh! Just wilt it in a pan with a little olive oil)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup (or a little more) mayonnaise (or veganaise)
1 small can french fried onions
Cook spinach in saucepan. Drain spinach and then take a small amount at a time and squeeze against a strainer to remove as much liquid as possible. Put this spinach in a bowl. After squeezing out all the spinach, add mushroom soup and mayonnaise. Mix well to make sure there are no areas of plain spinach. Turn mixture into a baking dish and top with onions. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20-30 minutes until bubbling. This is really good at Thanksgiving or anytime you serve red meat. And my Mom. Where do I begin? I would know nothing about food if it wasn't for her. She is an inspiration! (and she is going to hate that I'm writing about her) My Mom raised 4 kids and made sure a full homemade dinner was on the table every night at 6 o'clock. I have no idea how she did it! I love everything she makes! I'll be sharing plenty of her recipes as this blog continues, but I wanted to share this recipe today. My Mom loves sweets like I do and she makes the best apple pie! Since it is apple season, here is her recipe:
For a 10 inch apple pie
Prepare a pastry for 10 inch two crust apple pie.
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
Dash of salt
8 cups thinly sliced pared tart apples
3 T. butter or margarine
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pastry. Stir together sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt; mix with apples. Turn apples into pastry-lined pie pan; dot with butter. Cover with top crust. Make slits in the crust to allow steam to escape. Seal and flute the top. Cover edges with 2-3 inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning of the edges. Remove foil the last 15 minutes of baking. Bake for 40-50 minutes until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through the slits in the top. (You may want to put a large cookie sheet on the rack below the pie, incase it drips the sugary mixture.)
I love you Mom!