Saturday, December 19, 2015

Grandma's Coleslaw

In conversation with my friend M recently she said to me "Coleslaw? Who makes coleslaw for Thanksgiving?" As though it were an abomination. As though she had just opened her fridge and been blasted backwards by the overpowering smell of the cabbage within. I patiently explained to the poor bemused woman that no significant gathering of Bons, or Bon friends and neighbors, was complete without my mother-in-law's coleslaw. I'm sure all your ears are ringing from the praises being heaped on cabbage and other members of the cruciferous family these days for their valuable work in keeping us all healthy and out of the cardiac ward. The secret lies in not just reading these articles, saying "Hmmm..." and making vague mental notes to eat some cabbage soon, but rather in hying thee to the kitchen and making some coleslaw today!

And then, of course, eating it.

Having explained the reason for coleslaw at the Thanksgiving table to my mystified friend she has now requested the recipe.  In the interests of keeping hearts healthy everywhere I am waiving my usual procrastination period and supplying her with the recipe immediately.  Here it is:

1 head of cabbage --- hard and solid, like a small bowling ball
1/4 of a medium onion
2 medium sized carrots
1 clove of garlic
salt and pepper

Shred the cabbage finely. I do this with a mandolin, but use whatever works for you. Before I got the mandolin I muddled through with a grater though there was probably a larger percentage of shredded finger in that cole slaw, but my children are all still alive.

Next, grate the onion and carrots and mix with the grated cabbage.

In a small bowl mix together about 3/4 cup of mayonnaise with 2 large Tbsp vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper and an (optional) squirt of Tabasco. Blend the dressing with the vegetables. The easiest way is to mix it with your (clean) hands. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight, to blend the flavors.

As it turned out, I did not waive the procrastination period since I started this right after Thanksgiving and am only now, a week before Christmas, finishing it! But still in time for M to be daring and serve coleslaw with Christmas dinner.

Monday, November 23, 2015

French Silk Pie

French Silk Pie is one of my oldest recipes. Got it from the wife of one of the OC's colleagues when we were stationed in Montana almost 40 yeatrs ago. I have found and made recipes since then that are just as good but, at the time, since I could barely boil an egg, the ease and deliciousness of this dessert made me feel like a five star chef! My kids all loved it and California Girl just sent an SOS for it as she wants to bring it where she's invited for Thanksgiving. That way, and I quote "At least I'll be sure there'll be a delicious dessert and if no one else wants it I'll eat it all myself !" --- not recommended!


1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
6 Tblsps melted butter

Mix together and press into a buttered pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Cool.

(Can also use store bought graham cracker crust)


1/2 cup butter (not margarine) at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 sqs unsweetened chocolate melted
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, room temperature
2 Tblsp brandy

Cream butter and sugar. Add melted chocolate. Beat well. Add vanilla and beat some more.  Add eggs one at a time beating for two minutes between each. Beat in brandy.
Spoon into the prepared crust and refrigerate at least 5 hours or, preferably,  overnight.
Decorate with whipped cream, chocolate curls and 1/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

Servings:1-8, depending on your taste and/or tolerance for butter, sugar and chocolate. (Mine is pretty high.)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Reindeer Droppings

Reindeer Droppings

1/2 cup of butter [1/4 lb.]
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa[unsweetened]
1/2 cup milk

Mix all the above in medium saucepan until butter is melted. Simmer for one minute.
Remove from heat and stir in:

3 cups of quick cooking oatmeal
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup of peanut butter [smooth or chunky] ---optional
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup of nuts [walnuts or pecans]
You can throw in a handful of shredded coconut if you wish [I don't]

Drop by teaspoonfuls on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. You can put them very close together as they won't be growing. Lightly cover with more wax paper. Chill in fridge.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cecily Brownstone's Raisin Walnut Bread

1 pkg. dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
3 Tbsps. butter, soft
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1 1/4 cups golden raisins
3 1/2 cups (approx.)whole wheat flour---If I have wheat germ on hand I substitute 1/4 cup for 1/4 cup of the flour....

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm water.

Stir in remaining water, butter, sugar and salt.

Stir in nuts and raisins, then enough of the flour---about 3 cups---to make a firm dough.

Knead on a lightly floured surface about 10 minutes, until smooth and stretchy, working in as much of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour as needed to keep it from sticking.

Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top.

Cover and let rise in a warm, draught-free place 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled.

Punch down and divide in half. Form each half into a ball. Do not flatten.

Place well apart on a large, greased baking sheet (I just sprinkle mine with flour or cornmeal, skip the grease.)

Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise, as before, for 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled.

Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree (F) oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

*Cover with foil during the last 10 minutes to prevent raisins on the surface from overbrowning. (I forgot to do this so had some burnt raisins to deal with---lesson learned!)

Remove loaves to wire rack to cool completely (if you have more patience than I !)

Make a cup of tea. Cut a few slices. Butter lavishly, and enjoy....

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sour Cream Curry Dip

I got this recipe when we were at Edwards AF Base, out in the middle of the Mojave Desert in California, on our first Air Force assignment. I've been making it regularly ever since. It's always a big hit, served with an assortment of raw, fresh vegetables.

1 cup sour cream
6 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
!/2 tsp curry powder, at least
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, less if desired
1 clove garlic finely minced [I use 2 or 3]
dash salt

Mix all ingredients together and chill in refrigerator to allow flavours to blend.

The original recipe called for half of these proportions, but that would be like feeding buns to elephants, so....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easy Asian Chicken

8 chicken drumsticks, skin on
1 cup water 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
 1 clove garlic, peeled and bruised
1 small hot chili pepper, slit open, seeds removed

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over high heat.

Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for about 20 mins.

Remove any scum that rises to the surface.

Increase heat, turning drumsticks frequently in sauce, and cook until liquid reduces to a sticky glaze.

Arrange chicken on a platter, remove garlic clove and chili and spoon glaze over chicken.

Serve with rice and a salad, or refrigerate, and when cold, remove skin and bones and cut into bite sized pieces to use in stir fry.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Palachinki a la Maria

Every time I make crepes [once in a blue moon] I wonder why I don't do it every week! You'd expect that something so delicate and dainty and scrumptious would be difficult to make but they're super easy.......
My mother-in-law, Maria, who is gone to her hard-earned, eternal reward, R.I.P. called them palachinki, which seems to cover Ukrainian, Czech and Polish versions, and possibly others. She always made them with a sweetened cheese filling, and if she needed something from The Prince, making palachinki guaranteed she'd get it! Back in the Old Country,  The Prince's  mother went to what would now be called "culinary arts school" but was probably called plain old cooking school back then! He frequently waxes poetic about what a wonderful baker and cook she was. Maria, my mother-in-law, was the only cook who came close to being the equal of Mama!

He is 89 years old now. Mama is long gone, and so is Maria. And his teeth don't fit properly, and are uncomfortable, in spite of the small fortune he spent on dental work. He can't hear, and doesn't listen anyway, and keeps his hearing aid in the safety of a velvet lined box. He's on a mission to find a cure for old age, but he's not having much success. Everything but the blandest food upsets his stomach.  He laments loudly and frequently that Americans don't know what good cooking is. And me?  Can't refuse a challenge. He's probably manipulating me!  But no matter. Today I made palachinki. Because I can! I mixed up the batter last night which didn't take more than five minutes. The crepes are lighter if the batter sits overnight [or at least a few hours] in the fridge.

My first few are  usually not so good, but after I hit my stride [or the pan gets hot enough!] I'm as good as his Mama! Who's going to prove me wrong?!  I cook them just until the edges look dry,  then flip, or, if  not feeling courageous, turn them with a spatula, and cook a few seconds  more, until some freckles form on the underside.

I cool them on a wire rack, then stack them on a plate with wax paper between.

The cook always has to sample a few. Wouldn't want to go poisoning anyone! This cook tried a few, a la Blister, with a sprinkle of sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Oh, yum!

She did manage to restrain herself so there were a few left for The Prince! This last one, obviously, would not pass quality control....but the cook's not fussed. It tasted just as delicious to her as the perfectly round ones!

When the children were growing up palachinki disappeared as fast as they came off the pan! Sugar and cinnamon was the favourite topping.  Roll them up and eat them on the spot!  They also taste yummy spread with your favourite jam. And, if you want to get really fancy,  pour brandy on them, light a match and you have Crepes Suzette!  Leave the sugar out of the batter and you can fill them with vegetables or any other savory filling.

But for tonight---Maria's cheese filling, which mixes up in about five minutes. It consists of 1 lb.Farmers' cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 1-2 tsp vanilla, a handful of raisins, two egg yolks and a dash of salt. If Farmers' cheese is not available you can substitute half cream cheese and half cottage cheese, well drained, or half ricotta. If the mixture is too thick you can add a tablespoon or two of sour cream.

Mix  together, spoon onto the crepes, roll them up and place in a single layer in a baking pan. Sprinkle with sugar and chopped nuts and they're ready for the oven.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes. Remove the foil and bake five minutes more.

After his first bite The Prince gave me a thumbs up! Gasp! No complaints? I hope Maria is watching from the Great Kitchen In The Sky. I was never quite good enough, but damn! I can make palachinki fit for a Prince!