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

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Windus Macaroni Casserole

grandma-windus-reciep

Lisa’s modified version of Windus Macaroni Casserole made with white rice angel hair pasta. *A short style pasta – on the bottom layer – is the optimal way to prepare this hearty one dish meal.

1 lb ground beef

1 whole onion – chopped

1 – bulb garlic – cloves peeled & chopped

3 tblsp. Italian herbs

2 –  16 oz cans chopped tomatoes (*drained or with liquid – see notes below)

4 – 6 cups cups macaroni (partially cooked) – enough to fill whatever sized baking dish you have

Pour macaroni into greased / sprayed casserole dish. Top with remaining ingredients and back uncovered at 350 degrees 30-45 minutes.

 

Lisa’s additions:

2 fresh zucchinis thinly sliced

one bunch of fresh, chopped parsley

juice from one lemon

pinch of salt

Notes: For the version that I prepared (photographed above), I used an entire 8.8 oz package of white rice angel hair pasta. (This is what I had on hand.)  It worked, but with the added zucchini, a short pasta would have been better to soak up the extra juice. Pasta on the bottom, as the recipe instructs, is the right way to go. short-pasta

*Include the juice from the chopped tomatoes or drain it depending on how much liquid you need to make this dish moist.

 

Upon receipt of the recipe, I noticed several things. There was only an ingredients list – no measurement amounts, and like the other family recipe collections that I’ve studied, casserole cooking used to be popular.  The lack of measurements told me that Virginia was a cook, like my Grandma, who could get the proportions right by ‘feel’ or eyeballing it. She had a lot of mouths to feed and casseroles were an economical way to satisfy it.

Casseroles in the US became popular after World War II, when the Campbell’s Soup Company distributed a booklet entitled Helps for the Hostess, published in 1916. Recipes from this book became staple meals in Baby Boomer homes. Click on this link to learn more about the history of condensed soup and its impact on American culture.

 

 

margaret-windus

 

This recipe is from the Adrian (Bud) Schmidt collection. (Betty Wrysinski’s younger brother.) It was passed down through the family from Margaret Windus, maternal grandmother to Mary Schmidt Schwaller. Margaret was a neighbor to Betty’s mother, Lillian Schmidt.

 

 

Sauce Series – Taste Testing – 1 of 5

Learn the skill of sauce making.

To begin this process, start with an exercise program…taste testing. By exposing your taste buds to a variety of seasonings, you’ll increase your flavor recall and you will know what to add to develop the flavors that you desire.

(Start with items that you have on-hand in your cupboard or pantry.)

Set up a side-by-side comparisons to discover the subtle differences between varieties of sweeteners, salty flavors, and vinegars.

Sweet flavors – maple syrup, honey, agave syrup, molasses, etc.

Salty flavors  – soy sauce, tamarind sauce, liquid aminos, Worcestshire sauce, etc.

Vinegarsfruit vinegars, balsamic, white wine, rice, red wine, white, etc.

Arrange the tasting items from mildest to strongest; taste them in this order.

*If you begin to loose sensation in either your taste buds or in your sense of smell, take a break. Drink some water or milk, eat a few plain crackers, bits of bread, or sniff coffee grounds to clear your pallet.

The Sauce Series is organized into three basic sauce categories; red, brown, and white. Each blog post contains recipes for several simple sauces to make and taste.  Number three in the series includes in-depth tutorials about working with thickening agents. Finally, the series is wrapped up with a humorous cooking challenge modelled after one of my favorite cooking shows, ‘Chopped‘.

Sauce Series #1 – taste bud training

Sauce Series #2 – red sauces

Sauce Series #3 – brown sauces & thickening agents

Sauce Series #4 – white sauces

Mock ‘Chopped’ #5 – group cooking challenge how-to

 

 

 

 

 

Sauce Series – Red Sauces – 2 of 5

Red sauces (tomato based) are some of the easiest sauces to start learning to make. Typically, they don’t require thickening agents and can be ready in minutes.

 

Quick Tomato Sauce

1 can condensed tomato soup

½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/8 tsp. salt

Pinch of pepper

¼ tsp. sugar

Combine ingredients and heat to boiling.

Makes 1 /4 cups

 

Quick Red Pasta Sauce

2-4 tbslp. Olive oil

6 cloves to and entire head of fresh garlic, crushed and chopped

1 can chopped tomatoes

Salt as needed

Italian spices

Sauté garlic in olive oil till just brown around the edges. Add the other ingredients and heat till bubbling. Server immediately over pasta

 

BBQ Sauce

1 can tomato paste

2 tsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. Caro Syrup, Molasses or Honey

2 tblsp. Vinegar

¼ tsp. salt

Pinch of pepper

Dash of red pepper

¼ tsp. paprika

¼ tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. mustard

¼ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Dash tabasco scauce

Clove of garlic chopped.

 

Dip meats in sauce before broiling, use as baste during roasting or BBQ on the grill.

 

Ketchup

__________

Check out the other videos in this Sauce Series

Sauce Series #1 – taste bud training

Sauce Series #2 – red sauces

Sauce Series #3 – brown sauces & thickening agents

Sauce Series #4 – white sauces

Mock ‘Chopped’ #5 – group cooking challenge how-to

French Onion Soup

blog graphic

15-20 small to medium onions – sliced
(both red and yellow)

Water for broth (as much as desired) with enough bouillon added to taste.
( 1 1/2 tblsp. beef bouillon + 2 tsp. chicken bouillon)

Saute onions in a generous amount of olive oil until translucent and slightly browned.

3/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar

Add flour – 2 – 4 tblsp. blended to smooth paste with water

Mix into stock pot – add other spices as necessary.

Additions:

*Liquid Aminos, Port,  herbs of choice

Croutons:

Cut bread of choice into 1/2 inch cubes. (Sourdough)

Spread out into single layer on baking sheet.

Liberally coat with olive oil.

Generously sprinkle with italian herbs and a pinch or two of salt.

Place in 350 degree – 400 degree, preheated oven.

Watch closely – flip bread crumbs once browned on one side.

Immediately upon removal from the oven, sprinkle bread crumbs with your favorite grated cheese.

cache_240_240_0_0_80_16777215_KerrygoldDubliner
boulion

 

Here’s another good crouton variation.

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

 

Sourdough Starter – Grandma

A cousin, who is just about to turn 21, has been experimenting with making sourdough starter recently. We’ve enjoyed times together in the kitchen experimenting with making different foods – especially salsa.

When a recipe for this just turned up in Grandma’s things (as I was searching for something else) I took it as an ‘attaboy!’ cooking sign for Brennan from Grandma.

________

To make starter, place 1 cup milk in a glass jar or crock (nothing metal) and allow it to stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

Stir in 1 cup flour (to speed the process, place in front of an open window to expose the dough to the wild yeast cells floating in the wind). Leave uncovered in a warm place (80 degrees) for 2 to 5 days, depending on how long it takes to bubble and sour.

fermented flour and milk

*If it starts to dry out, stir in enough warm water to bring it back to the original consistency. Once it has a good sour aroma and is full of bubbles, it is ready to use.

Try to maintain 1 12/ cup starter. Each time you use part of your starter, replenish it with a mixture of equal parts of milk and flour. Leave at room temperature until it again becomes full of bubbles, the cover and store in the refrigerator.

home made bread

 

Here’s a step-by-step sourdough starter making video series by Food Wishes.

Updates:

“I had a slight resurgence in interest in sourdough a couple of months ago and looked up “how-to” on the internet. What’s written below is repeated over and over with very little variation (i.e. maybe mix the flour in originally) in many, many places. So this is the method. My bacteriology and mycology training just can’t seem to settle with this. It seems dangerous. Yet this is how people have done it for generations. ….There was one time when I sustained a sourdough culture for about 4-6 months and it worked great. But it was from a purchased “starter kit.”

“Wayne has some experience with sourdough starter I think. I clearly recall him talking about “throwing it a biscuit” every now and then, meaning replenishing it with flour & water to keep it going if you didn’t bake any bread for a while.” – Jeanette

“Sourdough is a wonderful hobby, it doesn’t take much luvin’ but one needs to keep it fed so it doesn’t go bad and get “ugly” and die. I’m told, though I never tried it, if you grow weary of your friend you can add enuff flour to make a pretty hard ball and just put it away. Then ,when you feel inspired again . you just squish it up in some water and VILOA! yer back in bidness 🙂 What a great friend !! Better’n a dawg or cat even.” – Wayne

“Thanks Jeanette.  I was hoping you might have an explanation about how letting the milk “sour” sets up a fermentation process that kills germs.  Now I know skepticism is okay.   I have discarded sourdough starter that had the “pink, green or dark brown” look.  It probably happened because I failed to “feed” it.  In any case, I don’t like to experiment with my intestinal tract.” – Mary

Jeanette’s Online Research:

I “Googled” it and here’s the link:  http://motherhood.modernmom.com/can-sick-baking-bread-bad-starter-9205.html

The use of a starter when baking bread shortens the rising time and gives the bread a complex, developed flavor not ordinarily available through the use of only yeast. Making your own sourdough — or starter-based — bread is not hard, but it is an act of commitment; the use of a bad starter is not only dangerous but could be deadly.

Bad Starters

Starters work by creating an ideal place for wild yeast and friendly bacteria to settle and populate. If treated correctly, these friendly microorganisms will make the dough untenable for unfriendly germs — the friendly bacteria will produce lactic acid, which will make the bread tangy and the starter toxic to most microorganisms. However, if you allow the yeast in your starter to die, room will become available for germs and toxin-forming bacteria — such as E. coli — to settle in. While many bakers would argue that almost all starters can be saved — considering that there may be a chance of serious contamination — discard starters that show signs of distress to be safe.

Signs of Contamination

A starter should be white, light gray or light tan. It should smell like bread dough, of yeast or of its ingredients. It should bubble subtly and occasionally burp. If the starter has liquid on top of it — this is called hooch, and it is the alcohol the starter’s yeast produces from fermentation — it should be clear, white, light gray or light brown. If the starter or its hooch is pink, green or dark brown, discard the starter. If it smells or looks moldy, discard the starter. If the starter is fizzing or the starter has spots or patches — which are signs of foreign bacterial growth — discard the starter.

Additional Resources:

Lactic Acid Gone Bad

Lisa’s recommended Fermentation books:

click on the image to visit the book’s Amazon page.

art of fermentation art of fermentation2

nourishing traditions fermentation for beginners

 

 

 

Gumbo

image by: Jmprouty, wikimediacommons

image by: Jmprouty, wikimediacommons

Okra as a thickener?  I must say it is a little ‘weird’ to observe the clear slime (mucilage) that interconnect slices of okra like spider webs when they are moved around in a saute pan. [It is also interesting to note that the viscosity of this substance increases with heat.]

No matter – the okra entertainment value is a ‘plus’ and it is delicious when combined with the other ingredients that make Gumbo!

 

Gumbo is a stew that originated in southern Louisiana during the 18th century. It consists primarily of a strongly-flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and the vegetable holy trinity of celery, bell peppers, and onions. Gumbo is often categorized by the type of thickener used: the African vegetable okra, the Choctaw spice filé powder (dried and ground sassafras leaves), or roux, the French base made of flour and fat. The dish likely derived its name from either the Bantu word for okra (ki ngombo) or the Choctaw word for filé (kombo). – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Basic Gumbo Components:

Sauce:

6-8 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1 med. or lg. onion – chopped
meat | protein of choice chopped into bite sized pieces (my favorite is chicken thighs)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard (regular mustard also works fine)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Combine all and refrigerate for several hours to overnight.

In a large soup pot start with 2 tbslp. olive oil . Add 1 large package of frozen okra (thawed). Saute until brown. Add whatever other vegetables you wish to include.

In the version pictured at the far right, I used broccoli, turnips, carrots, onions and green beans. Cut these into bite sized pieces and saute with okra for about 10 minutes. gumbo

Spices:
1 tblsp. thyme
1 tblsp. oregano
1 tblsp. basil
2-3 bay leaves
salt to taste

*2 bunches of fresh cilantro – finely chopped – added right before serving

To soup pot, add 1 large can of diced tomatoes and 2 cups chicken stock –  set on low while you work on stage two.

Stage Two:

In a saucepan, saute sauce mixture from above until meat is cooked. Add this to the soup pot.

Stage Three: Additional thickener – roux

In a saute pan, melt 1/4 cup butter over low heat. Slowly, whisk in 1/4 cup flour until it is smooth and smells slightly nutty (about 3-4 minutes). Add to soup pot.

Simmer until Gumbo is the consistency of gravy.

Shrimp_gumbo

“Gumbo isn’t so much a recipe as it is a state of mind, complete with secret language and poetic license.” – Peggy Lampman, author of Simmer and Smoke and culinary food blogger. [click here to see Peggy’s Gumbo ya-ya reicpe]

 

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

 

Yellow Cauliflower & French Green Lentil Soup

In my house there are some who think that they do not like cauliflower (they shall remain nameless). When a nose was crinkled at the cauliflower answer to, “What are we having.”

My response was, “Just wait.”

We sat down for dinner, the first bites went in….a pause…

And then the phrase that always brings out my cook’s Cheshire cat smile, “This is good!”

Another win for Mom.

Yellow Cauliflower and green lentil soup

 

4-6 tblsp. olive oil
6 oz. Applegate Genoa Salami (or other nitrate free salami)  [6 oz is a pack and a half] – chopped
1 medium onion – chopped
2 large carrots – chopped
4-6 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
1 tbslp. Celtic sea salt [or to taste]
2 tblsp. thyme
1 medium to large head yellow cauliflower
3/4  – 1 1/2 cups French Green Lentils

Place olive oil and salami into a soup pot.

Saute over medium heat until you can smell the salami (about 5 minutes), add onions & carrots, saute until they are tender.

Add the chicken broth / stock, salt & thyme.

Cut out and finely chop the thick stem parts of the cauliflower and break floweretes into small pieces.

Add cauliflower and lentils to pot and cover.

Let it cook at a rolling bowl – make sure to check that liquid doesn’t evaporate – for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until lentils are soft.

 

*The bold salami and chicken broth flavors dominate this dish making the cauliflower more of a texture rather than a central feature.