Apple Pudding

Pudding with a bread-like density and texture.

Original recipe:

1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped apples
1/2 cup chopped nuts
6 tblsp. flour
salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
stir & bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour

 

Lisa’s blender adaptation:

3 small apples, chunked
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup nuts (cashew, almond, pistachio trail mix)
12 tbslp. flour
1 tsp. baking power
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
blend & bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour

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Corn Fritters – Mary Schmidt Schwaller

mary

“I only eat Corn Fritters with butter and syrup – simple and delicious.” Mary Schmidt Schwaller, niece of Betty Wrysinski

This recipe for Corn Fritters came from the 1949 edition of Joy of Cooking. (My mom wrote it out by hand for me as part of a wedding shower gift.)

1 cup cooked green corn or canned corn.

Drain and mash with a potato masher.

Beat until light and add:

2 eggs

Add:

6 tblsp. flour

1/2 tsp. any baking powder

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Melt in a small skillet:

2 tblsp. butter

When it is very hot, add the batter by the tablespoonful. Permit the bottom of the cakes to brown, reverse them and brown the other side.

 

In the Joy of Cooking, the recipe begins with this story.  My mom used to read to me.

When I was a child, one of eight, my father frequently promised us a marvelous treat. He, being an amateur horticulturist and arborculturist, would tell us of a fritter tree he was going to plant on the banks of a small lake filled with molasses, maple syrup or honey, to be located in our back yard. When one of our children felt the urge for the most delectable repast, all we had to do was to shake the tree, the fritters would drop into the lake and we could fish them  out and  eat fritters to our hearts’ content.

My mother was a good cook and a good helpmate, so she developed the fritter that was to grow on and fall from the tree into the lake of molasses or maple syrup or honey, as the case might be. Mr. William N. Matthews.

Joy of Cooking, 1949 excerpt, reprinted with publisher permission.

 

Guest Post by Mary Schmidt Schwaller

bud-and-ginger

Adrian (Bud) and Virginia (Ginger) Windus Schmidt

While researching genealogy, I found Lisa’s Shared Tastes blog. It had pictures of my Aunt Betty as well as some of her recipes.  It was clear that she left her mark on her family. I wish I had known her.  We both entered apple pies in contests.  She won first place, I won second.

bud-and-ginger2

Adrian (Bud) and Virginia (Ginger) Schmidt on their wedding day. (Mary Schmidt Schwaller’s parents.)

There is a picture of a birthday celebration; the meal was pork roast and sauerkraut.  My dad Adrian, Betty’s younger brother, loved that meal.  He used to say, “If I die today, I will die a happy man,” after eating it.  This tradition lives on in Park Falls as this meal is served at most restaurants for “Sunday supper.”

We didn’t have much money so my parents had to be inventive when trying to create special treats.   I clearly remember Sunday evening Disney movies on the TV and the dining room table full of homemade deep fried potato chips and French fries.   The recipe would be as you would expect, fresh potatoes, boiling oil, and lots of salt.

I was asked to share a Wisconsin Schmidt recipe.  Every recipe I considered was already there from Grandma Betty.  Potato dumplings, casseroles, pork roast, etc.

Through the blog, I was able to connect with my California family.  I have gotten to know my cousin Mary and was lucky enough to meet my cousin Peggy in October, 2016.  It is odd how similar our lives have been even though we lived so far apart.

 

__________________

Lisa’s Notes about Names:

I asked my Aunt Mary (family historian) to help sort out the names for this post. Her response clarified why the confusion exists:

“Bud equals Adrian.  Betty equals Elisabeth.  Josie equals Joanne.  Stanley equals Gus.”

“I asked Uncle Bud (Adrian Schmidt) once if anyone was ever called by their given name.  He said the German community in Park Falls had nicknames for a lot of people.  Below is part of an article he wrote for 100 Years on the Flambeau, a local history book about the Price County area in upper Wisconsin.  Apparently nicknames were a tradition.”

uncle-bud-article

 

 

 

 

 

Group Cooking Challenge – Mock ‘Chopped’

Here’s how to organize a group cooking challenge in your kitchen. (Roughly based on the TV show ‘Chopped.’)

Goal: Create a social experience, experiment, learn something new, and have fun!

Mystery Items:

Each participant brings 3-5 strange, unusual, foreign, untried, or previously unknown food items.

At the beginning, the challenge master collects these, groups them, and distributes them evenly among the chefs.

‘Rule’ Guidelines:

We decided not to attempt timed rounds. (Too much pressure!)

As a group, open and taste all the ingredients.

Everything in the kitchen pantry, spice cupboards, and refrigerator / freezer is available for use. (Or clearly define off-limits areas.)

If someone is stumped about what to prepare, everyone helps to brainstorm until they have a direction.

At the conclusion, everyone shares the meal.

Judging (if desired) can be accomplished by an individual, with a panel, or as group.

 

Ideas for Group Kitchen Challenge Themes:

All organic

Appetizers

Breakfast foods

Egg based

Ethnic cooking

Foodie specialists

Foods of color – purple, orange, green, etc.

For people around the age of ten (scrambles, healthy snacks, smoothies)

For people over twenty-one (food and beverage / wine pairings)

Movie / game night foods

Pasta & toppings

Picnic fare

Salads

Soups – freezer container portioned for make-ahead meals

Vegetarian

Wraps

 

__________________

 

 

Kettle Corn

1 cup popcorn

1 cup sugar

1 cup coconut oil (with 2 tblsp. ghee)

Add oil to pan +  three unpopped popcorn kernels. Turn heat to medium.

Once the three kernels have popped, add all other ingredients to the pan.

Slide the pan around to mix sugar with the oil. Continue sliding the pan until finished.

Remove from heat right before the peak the popping.

popcorn-755303_1920

 

Very Berry Cordial

Verry Cordial1 tblsp. dried rose hips – crushed
10 oz. bag frozen blackberries – thawed
1 tblsp. dried gogi berries – crushed
4 tblsp. dried currants
6 oz. fresh raspberries
3 oz. fresh blueberries
1 large double sized basket of fresh strawberries
10 oz. fresh cherries

Wash fresh fruit.

Place all ingredients into a 1-gallon glass jar.

Cover fruit with brandy.

Let sit, in a cool, dark place for at least 1 month. (For this batch, I let the concoction sit for 2 months.)

Check it periodically and add more brandy as needed to keep the fruit submerged.

After the waiting period, pour the contents of the jar through a cheesecloth that is several layers thick. (I fold the cloth two or three times and secure it over a large measuring cup with a rubber-band. The goal is to strain out all of the solids.)

Carefully and gently squeeze the fruit within the cloth to get as much of the liquid out as possible.

Once you have the liquid strained, measure how much you have.  Divide that number in half. This is how much sweetener you will add…give or take.

I had a little over 8 cups of decanted liquid.

I added 5 cups of honey – but could have added one more cup if I wanted it just a little bit sweeter.  Taste test for sweetness levels.

The final step is to add 40 drops of food-grade lemon essential oil. Taste test for desired result.

 

Cordials made with fresh fruit should last for up to a year. The high alcohol content acts as a preserver.

Enjoy and Toast to your good health and happy taste buds!

 

A Missed Onesalzburg-708762_640

We happened upon the shop in Salzburg toward the end of the day.

“Look!” We said, seeing the silly crow figures in the window. It was the same artist who had several pieces hanging in the apartment where we were staying.

We entered and chatted with Michael Ferner for a while. After telling us a few background stories about his art, the conversation led to his newest project – partnering with a local brewer to create a drink that features one of his fanciful crows on the label.

We bought several tiny sample bottles and a few small pieces of his work.

Back at our apartment, we cracked open one of the bottles to sample it. It was like drinking a bite of pie! It burst with sweet, fruity flavors and was highlighted by hints of lemon.

The train that we had to catch the following day was scheduled to leave early – before the shops would open. Thinking fast, my travel partner jogged several blocks back to Michael’s shop to buy a much larger bottle of the special drink.

I regretted not doing the same. Especially later, when I found out how much overseas shipping charges were going to be!

Fortunately, I was able to turn to one of my favorite food preparation staples. The Herbal Kitchen, Kami McBride

By following Kami’s basic cordial preparation instructions and using the fruits that I thought would work, I was able to get very close to that delicious flavor that I remembered.

**The amount of honey and the addition of lemon essential oil at the end makes all the difference.

Best of all, there is still enough time to make another batch before Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

The difference between Half & Half and Heavy Cream

Wonder no more about the difference between half and half, light cream, whipping cream and heavy cream.

milk fat scale

Milk Fat Scale

In one word, it comes down to one thing – fat.  The percentage of fat content is what differentiates how each product performs in recipes.

 

Heavy Cream and Light Cream are best used for adding to coffee or pouring over fruit.coffee-563800cocktail-glass-545371
soup-570922

Whipping Cream thickens soups and sauces.

* In order to make a whip, a minimum of 32% fat content is required.

Heavy Cream, at 36-40% fat content, is the most widely used in the making whipped cream and ice cream.whipped-cream-354174

Author’s Opinion: I haven’t researched who originated the fat scale and how each grade of milk was named, but it would make more sense to me if the last two – Heavy Cream and Whipped Cream were switched.

 

Additional Resources:

Southern Living  – Difference between Whipping Cream and Heavy Cream and how to use them.

Related Article by Emma Christensen : Difference between Half and Half,  Light Cream, Heavy Cream and Whipping Cream
http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-halfandha-73203

Emma is the recipe editor for The Kitchn and a graduate of the Cambridge School for Culinary Arts. She is the author of True Brews and Brew Better Beer (Spring 2015).

Martha Stewart Explains the fat scale. *Cream information located between 4:55 – 8:16 on the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4epI_4YYPZE

About.com – How to make your own heavy cream  substitute at home with milk and butter. *Not for whipping.

Whipping Tips by Alberta Milk

Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

 

Mini – Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

IMG_2412

The Cake

eggs

2/3 cup sugar (can substitute applesauce….but may need to add more flour if it makes the mixture too ‘soupy.’)

4 tablespoons pineapple juice

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

The Topping

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick or 4 tablespoons)

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 (14 ounce) can pineapple rings or crushed pineapple (drained)

maraschino cherries

Set oven at 350°. Spray or coat muffin tins with oil (nut oils such as almond or hazelnut work well.)

In a mixing bowl, blend together wet ingredients; eggs, sugar, and pineapple juice. Beat for 2 minutes. Add dry ingredients and mix till smooth.

In a sauce pan on low, melt  butter then add the brown sugar – stir constantly.  Remove heat once sugar is melted. *Watch this step closely so that the sugar doesn’t burn.

Build your mini cakes from the bottom up. 1st add a tablespoon of the butter / sugar mixture to each muffin tin. Next, place  cherry in the middle, top this with the pineapple then add enough batter to fill the muffin up to the half-way mark.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a wooden pick in the center of cakes comes out clean.

five minute ficitonShort Fiction paired with the Recipe

Sarah’s Words – a woman uses baking to express her feelings

Sarah picked up the salt dish. As she held the small, decorative container in the palm of her hand, her thoughts drifted to another time. Aunt Rose gave this to me when I was twelve. She laughed so hard when I told her how I used to make fairy stew in it with the long-handled glass spoon. The fine lines at the edges of Sarah’s eyes deepened when she smiled.

Glass_salt_cellar_1720

Sarah gathered a small mound of the crystals between her forefinger and thumb. She gently rubbed them together over a pile of four so that that the Celtic Sea Salt would distribute evenly. In Aunt Rose’s, day the salt in this container would have been Morton’s.

These Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes are going to be so cute!  she thought as she hefted the bowl into the crook of her arm. Her hand and arm began to move in circular motions. The happy family recollections faded. A small frown appeared b as Sarah thought about why she was making the cakes.

Sarah didn’t consider herself an overly emotional person. She was proud of the fact that she was known for being ‘on point,’ extremely focused, dependable and very hard working. When people around her were suffering, her standard response was a pat on the back, and a gruff, “Just keep going, it will pass,” type of comment.

But this time was different.  Sarah had a hard time grappling with the reason for the gathering that she and her family were about to attend. Her standard responses would not apply here. For a well-educated and well-spoken person, Sarah was at a loss. She, truly, did not know what to say. So she poured her love, comfort and concern into the little cakes. She hoped that showing up, and the care that went into the baking of them would make a difference.

Coconut Pudding – Cocada

Fantastic coconut flavor…but the texture needs some improvement.pudding

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

2 large sticks cinnamon

1/4 pound grated cocoanut

1 quart milk

3 egg yolks, well beaten

3/4 cups cold milk

Boil sugar, water and cinnamon together for 10 minutes. Remove cinnamon, add coconut and cook until the coconut absorbs all of the syrup and is dry. Bring the quart of milk to a boil in a deep saucepan, add coconut and cook mixture for an hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Mix beaten eggs with cold milk, add to pudding and continue cooking slowly, stirring constantly, until thick, about 15 minutes. Pour into buttered platter and chill before serving. This pudding will keep a long time in a cool place. Serves 6. A nice variation for Cocada is to use 1 cup chopped walnuts instead of coconut.

*Lisa’s notes – I used 3 cinnamon sticks during the boiling process, coconut milk instead of cow milk, and added a teaspoon of vanilla. The flavor for this pudding is fantastic!

However; the chewieness (from the coconut) didn’t work. I like a velvety, smooth, melt-in-your mouth texture. Because the coconut and cinnamon/sugar water were very coarse, Blending it in the blender helped…some.

The coconut milk did not set up like dairy, so I used tapioca and chia seeds as thickeners.

In this case, I think the encaustic (hot wax) art piece that I created with this recipe turned out better than the real thing.  The taste was great but the texture needs more experimentation.

Recipe from ‘Life at Home in Mexico’ cookbook 1944.cocada - coconut pudding

Ultra Chocolaty – Chocolate Coma Cake

Ultra Chocolaty - Chocolate Coma Cake

Ultra Chocolaty – Chocolate Coma Cake

Three 8″ round cake pans lined with wax paper.

Cake:

5 oz. (1/2 a bag) Ghiradelli bitter sweet baking chips
16 oz. (two 8 oz. bars) Ghiradelli semi sweet chocolate bars
2  1/2 sticks butter
1 heaping cup of sugar
1/2 cup flour
12 egg yolks – slightly beaten
12 egg whites whipped into stiff peaks

Filling:

Apricot Pineapple (or any other type of fruit) Jam
**fruit pie filling would also work well
Fresh pineapple (or other soft fruit) slices

Preheat oven to 350˚
Whip the egg whites and set aside.
Beat egg yolks set aside.
Have the sugar and flour measured and standing by in their measuring cups.

Break up chocolate bars into small pieces. On low heat, melt chocolate and butter. Constantly stir with wire whisk until everything is melted and smooth. Immediately remove from heat.

Pour chocolate / butter mixture into a large bowl. Slowly stir in egg yolks till completely mixed. Add sugar in the same manner followed by the flour. Once this is completely blended, add half of the whipped egg whites. Gently fold this in until thoroughly mixed. Repeat with remaining egg whites.

Pour batter into wax paper lined pans. Trim wax paper excess (otherwise it will smoke inside the oven).
Bake for 35-40 minutes until a thin crust forms on top (when it smells and looks done –  i.e. ‘spongy,’ gently and quickly tap on the top of the cake with with a finger to check for the crust. ( Caution: DO NOT try this if it still looks like batter as it will cause a burn.)

**the toothpick doneness method does not work with this cake.

Remove cakes from oven and let cool until the centers appear to sink. (This is normal….the sink holes are a perfect place to fill with wonderful things…) While still warm, flip them over onto a wire rack. Gently pull away the wax paper.

cake out of oven

Ganache Icing:

24 oz. (three 8 oz.) Ghiradelli semi sweet chocolate bars
approx. 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Break chocolate bars into small pieces. On low heat use wire whisk to gently stir until mixture is smooth. Slowly pour in small amounts of the whipping cream while whisking until desired consistency is achieved.  Let it cool some before frosting cake. (But not too long as the icing will harden.)

Assemble:IMG_2232

Place first layer of cake on a decorative dish. Gently spread fruit (jam or pie filling) evenly over the top leaving enough space around the edges so it won’t squeeze out when the next layer is put on.  [On the cake pictured above, I put fresh pineapple slices on the bottom layer only.] Repeat with cake and jam layering leaving the top of the cake jam / fruit free.  Once the cake has been assembled, gently trim any jaggedy edges with a large serrated knife.

Frost.

Place cake in the refrigerator for a few hours to harden the frosting. (If you plan to put candles on…do that before it goes in the refrigerator.)

finished cake

E-n-j-o-y!

Tiramisu – Kid Style

This ‘kids version’ of Tiramisu was a great hit in my son’s classroom for the holidays….especially because he made it all by himself.

This is a simple recipe that comes together quickly.

It’s a real confidence booster for an up-and-coming foodie.

tiramisu kid style

2 pkg. lady fingers

2 pints heavy whipping cream

powdered sugar to taste

hot chocolate mix (made with hot milk or water) to taste

grated Ghiradelli Chocolate

Preparation:

Use a fine grater or a food processor to grate chocolate.

Prepare hot chocolate mix (sweeter than you’d usually drink it)

hot chocolate

In a deep bowl mix 2 pts. heavy whipping cream with about 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.
With an electric mixer, blend on ‘high’ or ‘whip’ until the mixture starts to thicken.  Do a taste test to see if the sweetness is to your liking. Add more if needed.
Continue blending until stiff peaks form.

whipping

Using a deep, clear sided bowl or baking dish, assemble.

1st. Put down a layer of lady fingers.sauce

2. Slowly spoon or pour liquid hot chocolate mix over the cookies until it’s absorbed the liquid (but not swimming)

3. {See note below for cream cheese variation} Spread a layer of whipped cream.

4. Repeat.

5. Top with grated chocolate.chocolate shavings

Note:

Almond /  ‘peppermint pattie’ variation

to the whipped cream & powdered sugar – add a few drops Almond extract

Peppermint Cream Cheese Filling

1 pkg. cream cheese – softened

powdered sugar – to taste

peppermint flavoring (food-grade Peppermint Oil) to taste

blend all together till smooth

carefully & gently spread over first layer of chocolate covered lady fingers

Additional Information:

Wikipedia – Tiramisu