|4/16/2021 11:26:00 AM|
Sharing childhood food
Last week, I did a dessert column that featured recipes from some of the ladies in my life: my wife, my grandma, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.
I didn’t feature my own mom, Loni, for a couple of reasons. One, she has been battling early-onset dementia for years and she can no longer cook. Following recipes and times and keeping track of details isn’t something she can do any longer, but that got me thinking last week while doing my column. While she can no longer cook, she made my family meals for years and years and I fondly remember some of her recipes, so I wanted to share some of them on their own here!
She didn’t have a ton of homemade recipes, probably because she had (sorry mom) boring taste growing up. She liked her steaks well done, she didn’t like garlic, and she didn’t like any heat or spice. Sometimes I wonder where I even got my palate from! But, I picked a few that stood out and a little turn on another one I had growing up a lot.
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OVEN BAKED PORK CHOPS AND RICE
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1 1⁄2 c. water
1 c. long grain rice (uncooked)
1⁄4 onion, sliced
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
3-4 pork chops
salt and pepper (to taste)
Stir together soup, water, rice and 1/4 teaspoons pepper in a 3 quart casserole. Add onions. Salt and pepper chops and place on top of rice.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hours or until meat is done and liquid is absorbed. Remove from oven and let rest five minutes.
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I’m cheating a little bit on this one... My parents loved bagel dogs from Schwans and we had them regularly. My mom never made homemade ones, but it was such a staple of my youth that I’ve made them a few times in my adulthood from scratch, and they are even better when made from scratch.
3/4 c. warm water
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tbsp. butter melted
6 hot dogs
12 cups water
2 tbsp. baking soda
1 egg beaten
Optional: toppings such as sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried onion or coarse salt
Mix together the warm water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or until yeast has started to bubble.
Add the flour, salt and butter to the yeast mixture. Place the bowl on a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix the dough on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until the dough forms a ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough seems a little dry, add a bit more water (1/4 teaspoon at a time)
Remove the ball of dough from the bowl; spray the bowl with cooking spray and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap.
Place the bowl in a warm area until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a sheet pan with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper.
In a large pot, combine the 12 cups of water and baking soda and bring to a boil. I find a deeper pot works best to prevent the dogs from sticking to the bottom.
Place the dough on a floured surface and divide into equal pieces. Each piece should be about 3 ounces.
Roll each piece of dough into a rope about 10-12 inches long. Wrap the dough around each hot dog, pinching the ends of the dough together to seal. Place the hot dogs on the lined sheet pan.
Using a slotted spoon or flat strainer, dip each hot dog into the baking soda boil for 30 seconds per side. Place each hot dog back onto the sheet pan.
Brush the bagel dogs with the beaten egg. At this point you can add any bagel toppings if you desire. Bake until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes.
A side note on this recipe: if you want to skip the bagel making process of this recipe, a decent and very easy substitute is some cut up, rolled out crescent roll dough that you can buy premade at the grocery store. It cuts a lot of time and effort from this recipe.
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The last one here was her crowning achievement for desserts. She didn’t even like it that much because she doesn’t like coconut, but everyone in the family devoured it, so she still made them fairly often.
GERMAN CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
1/2 c. unsalted butter (1 stick)
6 oz. dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/2 c. full-fat evaporated milk
1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened and quartered
2 large egg yolks (discard whites or save for another use)
1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. sweetened shredded coconut flakes
3/4 c. chopped Fisher Pecans, lightly toasted if desired
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang and spray with cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
To a large microwave-safe bowl, add the butter, chocolate, and heat on high power to melt, about 2 minutes. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute. Heat in 15-second increments until chocolate has melted and mixture can be stirred smooth. Allow mixture to cool momentarily before adding the eggs so they don’t scramble.
Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla, optional coffee, optional espresso granules (neither make brownies taste like coffee and both enhance and round out the chocolate flavor), and whisk vigorously to combine.
Add the flour, salt, and stir until smooth and combined without overmixing.
Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula as necessary.
Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes, or until center has just set and is no longer glossy. A toothpick should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
Allow brownies to cool in pan on top of a wire rack while you make the topping.
For the toppuing, use a medium saucepan, add the evaporated milk, butter, egg yolks, brown sugar, salt, and heat over medium-low to low heat for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until mixture has thickened. Whisk constantly or there’s a high likelihood you’ll end up with scrambled eggs in the bottom of your saucepan. The mixture should be boiling gently while whisking.
Remove pan from the heat, add the vanilla, and whisk to combine using caution because the mixture could bubble up.
Add the coconut, pecans, and stir to combine. Allow topping to cool in pan for about 5 minutes. Turn topping out over brownies, using a spatula to spread it as necessary.
Allow brownies to cool uncovered for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. I prefer to cover the brownies with foil and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight because they’re much easier to slice when chilled and I prefer the taste when chilled.
TFD: As my mom’s dementia starts to take over, I’ve had to remind myself of a lot of things lately. I heard a quote not long ago in regards to the disease that has stuck with me when I’m talking to her. “We remember their love when they can no longer remember us.”