Categories
Green Thumbs Up!

Family History Recipe

Family history needs to always be preserved. There are many ways to preserve your family history. The first few are telling stories about who, what and how your family tree was built and when it started. Another way that I feel is the best way is by passing down recipes. Your family recipes are what shaped your family and kept it together so the next generation and grow and prosper.

My great grandmother on my mother’s side of the family is the only great grandmother I knew or can remember. I was her third great grandchild. My sister and brother being the one and two. We use to go down to her house during the summers as much as we could before she passed away when I was probably around 10 years old. I can remember walking into her kitchen and be fascinated with all the smells she had brewing. She would tell me I could stay as long as I didn’t ask too many questions or try to steal a taste or lick the spoon she just used to stir her food with. I really and truly miss her. She was a funny lady, that smelled or fresh bread and Cherry Almond Jergens lotion. To this day I can’t smell Jergens and not tear up.

Enough of that melodrama, let me tell the other reason I loved my great grandmother. She raised 4 boys and 1 girl during the Great Depression in the small town of Biscoe, NC. The town was so small there wasn’t even a stoplight and the main job there was the sawmill. My great grandparents didn’t have much but made do with what they had. Because meat and flour was sparse my great grandmother had to make the food stretch for a week. She created several recipes that have now been passed down to my grandmother, mother, aunt, and myself. I will pass them onto my son when he moves out so he can cook them. Being from the south, two major cooking utensils were a frying pan and a large stock pot. Major staple would also be lard. Flour, meat, and vegetables was rationed like everything else in the Great Depression, so families learned to ration their limited foods.

Getting back to the family recipes. My great grandmother created a steak and bread mixture that could make the food stretch longer. My family has called it Onion Battered Steak for as long as I can remember. The recipe when created contained simple ingredients : steak that was pounded thin, grated onions, milk and flour. Today we can use cubed steak instead of the pounded steak and it works just as well.

The recipe is simple. Mix flour, grated onion and milk into a mixture. Dredge the cubed steak into the mixture. Fry the dredged meat in oil for about 8 minutes on each side. There is no true actual measurements for the recipe. But I will try and give my best guess.

Ingredients:

  1. Cubed steak 3-4 pieces depending on your family size (you can use more)
  2. 1 cup Milk
  3. 1 ½ cups Flour
  4. 1 medium size Onion
  5. salt/pepper

Prep:

  1. Grate the onion : use every part of the onion only throw away the top peel
  2. Get a deep mixing bowl
  3. Combine salt, pepper, flour and milk (it should look like thick pancake batter)
  4. Add the onion
  5. Dredge the meat
  6. Fry in oil
  7. Serve with your choice of vegetables like green beans, corn, or mashed potatoes.
Onion Batter Mix
Cooking of one side
Completed Meal
Categories
Green Thumbs Up!

My Dream Spice Racks

My Dream Spice Rack

Spices make life interesting. I’m not much of a spice person cause too much spice hurts me but when I do use spices I to use what is the best available at the time.

When spices are called for in most recipes it is for fresh this and fresh that. When fresh isn’t available I use the best brands available. But after all is said done with my schooling I going to try and create my dream spice rack that can hold both fresh and store bought spices.

I’m hoping that I can get my plans for a medium size spice rack created and built within the year. I’m looking to purchase a house or at least rent a better place than where I’m at now. I don’t have enough sunlight to grow anything in my window sill plus I have cats that would try and eat the plants. Guess I’ll have to build a spice rack with glass panes and a door so they can’t get into it. My world is small but I like to think big. I’m hoping that I can bring my dream spice rack to life.

My spice racks will have at least 3 rows for the spice bottles and 2 rows for the plants that I will be planting. The rack will probably be 4 inches wide, 36 inches tall and long. Each shelf, with store bought spices, will hold at least 6 to 8 bottles depending on the bottle size. The shelves for the growing plants with need to be at least 8 inches wide to hold the pots properly. These shelves will have an open likeness so the plants can grow and flourish when in season. From what I’ve read most spice plants can grow year round especially if maintained properly.

Spices like parsley, chives, rosemary, basil, and oregano can be grown on my window sill. Spices like cumin, paprika, sage and ginger might need to be purchased from the store. I like a variety of flavors and colors with my spices. Curry powder, white pepper, black pepper, fennel seed, celery salt and sea salt are also going to have to purchased at the store. There are some spices that are combinations of different spices. I had Italian seasoning to my pasta sauces to give a little more kick than what is already in the premade sauce. I had cajun salt seasoning to my potato dishes such as chips or fries. The spice combination like herbs de provence that I will make myself will contain a mixture of both fresh and dried ingredients.

Spices that are dried can also come from my spice garden I’ll just have to learn how to dry them properly. I’m hoping that when it comes time to start my own food truck or catering business that I learned this and can incorporate them into my foods. My food might not be spicy like mexican or italian foods but it will still have a slight kick to it. Because as most people know Southern girls have a unique spice anyway. The spice kick isn’t in the first bite but will get hit you after the last.

I’m not the best drawer but I hope my design shows what my dream might look like in a few months.

Dream Spice Racks

Categories
Green Thumbs Up!

Easter Traditions

Easter traditions are the best. Getting up early Sunday morning for the sunrise service at church having the service then going to the fellowship hall for a huge church breakfast. Afterwards the children would take over the church yard for the easter egg hunt. It was crazy but fun except when the weather hadn’t warmed up. Being in a cute pink dress that didn’t cover your legs meant running around crazy was the best way not to be cold.

My family did have a tradition in which we gathered after church at grandma’s house. My grandma would have a brown sugar/honey baked ham in the oven, homemade mash potatoes, green beans (cooked forever in a crockpot) , glazed carrots and homemade rolls. Looking through all the cookbooks and handwritten recipes, I never found her recipe for her ham. I guess she didn’t want us to know.

Tradition is defined the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice. (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/tradition) Theology(religious traditions) :
(among Jews) body of laws and doctrines, or any one of them, held to have been received from Moses and originally handed down orally from generation to generation.
(among Christians) a body of teachings, or any one of them, held to have been delivered by Christ and His apostles but not originally committed to writing.
(among Muslims) a hadith.

Recipes are a great tradition to pass down to every generation. I have so many to choose from but I decide to look over the web to find older recipes to use for this assignment. Being that my family has roots in Germany and France, I’m going to pull several recipes from those areas. I believe that knowing your roots help when creating recipes to pass through the generations. While comparing German and French Easter recipes, I discover that lamb is the main meat that is cooked for dinner. Several side dishes such as potatoes, eggs, and soups are served plus rolls, bread, and dessert. This is the German lamb recipe from https://germanfoods.org/recipe/brandenburg-lamb/

Brandenburg Lamb or Brandenburger Lammfleisch
Ingredients:
1 ¾ lbs Fresh Lamb
2 medium onions
Butter
Oil
½ cup Red Wine
Salt & Pepper
2 cups Broth
1 ⅛ lb Green Beans
⅞ lb Potatoes

Instructions:

  1. Dice lamb into even cubes and slice onions. Heat concentrated butter in a pot and then roast gently the fresh lamb in it. Extinguish it with red wine. Add onions and spices. After that, infuse it with the broth. Cover up the pot and braise it for one hour over medium heat.
  2. Clean beans and slice them. Peel and dice the potatoes. 20 minutes before the meat has reached desired tenderness, add the sliced beans and diced potatoes to the pot. Serve with savory.
  3. Guten Appetit!

Here is the German version of brioches https://germanfoods.org/recipe/easter-bunny-brioches/

Easter Bunny Brioches or Osterhasen Brioches
Ingredients:
1 cube Fresh Yeast
2 tablespoons tepid milk
20 ounces Flour
3 ounces Sugar
½ teaspoon Salt
1 Egg Yolk
1 tablespoon Cream
A few raisins
5 ounces Confectioners Sugar
A little water

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter and allow to cool. Break up the yeast and dissolve in the tepid milk. Put the flour, sugar, 4 eggs, salt and the melted butter into a bowl and pour in the milk with the dissolved yeast. Using a food processor with a dough hook, knead the ingredients together to smooth dough for about 5 minutes. Cover and leave in a warm place until the dough is double in size.
  2. Knead the dough again on a surface dusted with flour. To make the bunny, make 6 larger tennis ball sized rounds for the body and 6 smaller rounds for the head. Make ears and arms out of the rest of the dough.
  3. Assemble the bunnies on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Mix the egg yolk with cream and brush the surface of the bunnies with the mixture using a pastry brush. Bake in preheated oven at 350ᣞ F for 30 minutes.
  4. To make the glaze, mix together the confectioners sugar with a little water and fill a plastic sandwich or freezer bag with the mixture. Cut corner off the end of the bag. Squeeze out the glaze to glue raisins as eyes and noses and pipe whiskers on the bunny.

Easter Bunny Brioches

Now is time for the French portion of my Easter traditions. I have chosen French Onion Soup and a simple Orange tart. Both recipes found at The Spruce Eats website https://www.thespruceeats.com/french-easter-menu-1375386

Easy French Onion Soup (https://www.thespruceeats.com/easy-french-onion-soup-3062131)
Ingredients:
3 tablespoons Butter
4 cups Thinly sliced Onions, about 4-5 medium onions
4 (10 ½ oz) cans Condensed Beef Broth
4 slices French bread, 1 inch thick
4 tablespoons shredded Gruyere cheese and Parmesan cheese, plus more serving

Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet or saute pan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Saute onions until very soft and golden brown in color, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the beef broth with the cooked onion and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the broiler and place the French bread slices on a foil lined baking pan. Toast the French bread about 4 inches from the heat until golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle each slice evenly with the Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses; broil just until cheese is melted and bubbling.
  4. Pour the onion soup into 4 individual soup bowls; float a slice of toasted French bread, cheese side up, in each bowl and sprinkle with extra cheese.

Easy French Onion Soup

French Orange Tart (https://www.thespruceeats.com/orange-tart-recipe-1375193)
Ingredients:
Pastry:
1 ¼ cups Flour (all-purpose)
2 tablespoons Sugar (granulated)
½ teaspoon Salt
7 tablespoons Butter (cold)
3 tablespoons Water (cold)
Orange Filling:
¼ cup Sour Cream (or crème fraiche)
2 Eggs
3 Egg Yolks
⅔ cup Orange Juice (fresh)
⅔ cup Sugar (granulated)
4 teaspoons Zest (orange)

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix flour,sugar, and salt.
  2. Using a pastry cutter, large-tined fork or a food processor on pulse setting, cut the chilled butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand with a few pea-sized pieces of butter still visible. Sprinkle the cold water onto the mixture and toss a few times gently, just until it forms a ball that holds together.
  3. Separate the dough into two balls, flatten slightly into thick disk shapes, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for several hours before working with it.
  4. Preheat an oven to 375ᣞ F. Roll and trim the dough to make circle large enough to fit a 10-inch fluted tart pan. Fit the circle into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Line the dough with pie weights or dried beans and bake it for 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and bake the shell for an additional 5 minutes. Set aside the pastry shell, still in the tart pan, to cool.
  5. In a double boiler or medium-size saucepan set a large pan of simmering water, stir together 8 tablespoons and the crème fraiche. Once this mixture is thoroughly combined, set it aside.
  6. In a separate pan set over the double boiler, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar. Stir the orange juice into the mixture and cook, constantly stirring for 3 minutes. Add the orange jest and butter-crème fraiche mixture to the eggs and cook, constantly stirring for 3 minutes.
  7. Pour the orange filling into the prepared pastry and bake it for 25 to 30 minutes until it turns golden brown and filling is set.
  8. Allow the tart to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Serve a room temperature, or chill in the refrigerator before serving.

French Orange Tart
Categories
Green Thumbs Up!

Edible Weeds in the Triad of North Carolina


Taraxacum platycarpum (yellow one) and Taraxacum erythrospermum (white one)

Dandelions are weed that most people look at and kill them. I always thought of them as beautiful flowers.There are different types of dandelions : the yellow topped one, which is the weed that everyone kills and the other that I was able to find is the white topped one, which is the one everyone picks up and blows. I live in an area where dandelions grow in clusters as can be see in my pictures. The scientific name for dandelions is Taraxacum platycarpum (yellow one) and Taraxacum erythrospermum (white one).
Dandelions have several potential uses but the best for eating. Bet you are thinking, how can a weed be nutritious and tasty. From root to flower, dandelion are highly nutritious plants, loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. This weed can be eaten raw or cooked. Dandelion leaves can be harvested at any point in the growing season, and while the smaller leaves are considered to be less bitter and more palatable raw, the bigger leaves can be eaten as well, especially as an addition to a green salad. If raw dandelion leaves don’t appeal to you, they can also be steamed or added to a stir-fry or soup, which can make them taste less bitter. The flowers are sweet and crunchy, and can be eaten raw, or breaded and fried, or even used to make dandelion wine. The root of the dandelion can be dried and roasted and used as a coffee substitute, or added to any recipe that calls for root vegetables. I guess if I run out of coffee, I can try drying out the roots and brewing dandelion. Here is a recipe I found, however it does contain dandelion greens that are harvested and sold in stores.

Sauteed Dandelion Greens with Eggs https://www.abeautifulplate.com/sauteed-dandelion-greens-with-eggs/

Yield: 2-4  servings Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups chopped dandelion greens, thick stems removed (about 1-2 large bunches)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, clarified butter, or ghee
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the chopped dandelion greens and blanch for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the greens thoroughly, using a wooden spoon to drain and press out as much liquid as possible.
  2. Melt the butter or ghee in a 10-inch sauté pan set over medium heat. Sauté the leeks until tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the drained dandelion greens one handful at a time. Cook each handful until wilted, then add more.
  3. When the greens are wilted, crack the eggs into the pan on top of the greens. Top with feta cheese and cook uncovered until the whites of the eggs are set, about 5 minutes.