Sunday, October 27, 2013

Potato Soup aka The Cure for the Common Cold [The Cookbook]

[Apologies for the lack of pictures. Blame the congestion brain.]

It's been a rough week. First full week back in the office after a few off and of course I come down with a nasty cold. Not able to stay home, I had to turn to more unorthodox methods to manage the symptoms. Number one of which is my Bisnonna's potato soup. This soup never fails me.

It's pretty basic: just potatoes, chicken broth, onions, carrots, and some seasonings.

The key to this soup, unlike the usual potato soups, is the lack of milk (dairy is awful when you have a cold). The potatoes are cooked until they break down somewhat which adds a level of thick creaminess to the broth.

I also recommend adding garlic and cayenne pepper to the broth (sorry, Bisnonna, but they help clear my sinuses).

Potato Soup
[via The Cookbook]

Bisnonna writes: Brown an onion. Add some water with chicken base (creating a broth), chop up a few carrots, cube some potatoes, add to the broth and let cook for a good while so that the potatoes start to break up a little and the broth thickens. The amounts depend upon how much you want to make. Use your own judgement.

Madre adds: Grandma used to laugh and say that she could tell if an American made the soup; they always add milk to it.

Prozia Lena's Sore Throat Cure

shot whiskey + black tea + honey

Monday, October 21, 2013

Apple and Corn Datch

This week we're going to explore a different side of my heritage.

I grew up in Eastern Ohio, the land of the Pennsylvania Dutch. One of my favorite childhood treats (which I have definitely brought into adulthood) revolved around a trip out to a restaurant called Dutch Valley for the breakfast buffet. The memory of this recipe originates there.

"I should make apple fritters," I thought looking over the still massive number of apples left from apple picking.

"Anything like corn fritters?" My boyfriend asked, offering to make corn fritters.

I hadn't made either before. But somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered a combination pancake of apple and corn from days long gone by. I decided to begin the search.

The internet brought up a few apple fritters and corn fritters, but few apple & corn fritters in combination. Still, I refused to give up. Soon I came across a dish referred to as "datch" and began to wonder, could this be the long lost apple/corn pancake from the breakfast buffets of my youth? The recipes still mainly included apples or corn, but by this time I had decided to throw them together and see what stuck.

What resulted was an intriguing combination of savory and sweet that is heavenly with a little bit of butter. I'm not sure if it really counts as datch or it's the same foodstuff I remembered, but below is my attempt to recreate it.

Amy's Apple & Corn Datch
inspired by Pennsylvania Cooking and Goodreads user Valerie with adaptations by me

2 apples, diced
3 ears of sweet corn
1 egg
2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
oil for frying

[What to do]
  1. Dice apples and cut the kernels off the ears of corn
  2. Beat together egg, flour, and salt. Then slowly stir in apples and corn. The batter will be thin. Resist the urge to add flour. [I kept trying to, but my boyfriend stopped me saying that corn fritter batter is supposed to be thin...but he's the pancake chef after all. He would know.]
  3. Fry much as you would a pancake: add a spoonful to the pan, flip when edges start to bubble.
  4. Serve with butter and salt (to taste)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Comfort Food: Fried Squash

Apples and pumpkins aren't the only perfect fall ingredients. There's another beautiful vegetable that has been popular lately and is my own personal favorite food of fall: butternut squash.

There are many ways to prepare butternut squash. Countless recipes abound. A personal favorite of mine is probably the least healthy, not going to lie, but that's way we call it comfort food, right?

One fall weekend afternoon, a few years back, my mother and aunt brought by a squash and started a tradition. We fried up the squash together and probably ate it all before it got anywhere near the table. It became something we did together and now whenever I make this dish, I think of my mother and aunt and I standing around the stove in the kitchen, sneaking way too hot discs of squash directly from the pan.

Fried Butternut Squash
As far as I know: via Madre and Zia Leslie

[Ingredients] - Amounts vary depending on desired yield
Butternut Squash
Italian Breadcrumbs
Olive oil

[What to do]
  1. Peel squash and cut into discs (the thinner the better)
  2. Mix egg and milk into a bowl (you need less than you think)
  3. Dip each disc into milk/egg mixture and then into breadcrumbs (Bisnonna would say that you have to use separate hands for this task. getting milk/egg into the breadcrumbs or vis-versa is a huge no-no).
  4. Fry discs in a flat pan with about a 1/2 inch of olive oil.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Nonna's Applesauce Nutbread [The Cookbook]

Since the apple picking adventure, apple dishes have been unusually abundant in our kitchen. This recipe in particular intrigued me though I do not recall any one ever making it before.

According to The Cookbook, this was my grandmother's recipe and since I had plenty of freshly made apple sauce and apple butter around, I was intrigued to give something new a try.

It was pretty new. I've had apple cakes before and banana and/or zucchini breads, but never apple bread.

It turned out to be just as tasty as my madre claimed in The Cookbook, so I say "Go for it!" too.

Applesauce Nutbread
Via The Cookbook

2 c. flour, 3/4 c. sugar, 3 t. baking powder, 1 t. salt, 1/2 t. soda, 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1 c. coarse chopped nuts, 1 well beaten eggs, 1 c. medium thick unsweetened applesauce, 2 T. melted shortening

Mix sifted dry ingredients and nuts together. Combine egg, applesauce and shortening. Add to dry ingredients and stir until blended. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake in a 350 iver for 50 mins.

Madre adds: Grandma and mom made this recipe a lot. It was great warm out of the oven with a little bit of butter on. Go for it!