Side Dishes, Vegetables

Dad’s Guacamole Dip

This wouldn’t technically be called guacamole, I don’t believe, with its many extra ingredients. However, it is a delicious dip, creamy and smooth. It accompanies other food well, as we discovered when I made it to go with dinner recently, but Mike made it purely as a snack to enjoy on chips. He shared the recipe with me, handwritten on a sheet of plain paper.

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I can’t currently find it, but thankfully Mom had this version taped inside a cupboard door in her kitchen so I could post this while I frantically search for the treasure of his handwritten version.

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Guacamole Dip
1 large ripe avocado, cubed
1 8 inch stalk celery, cut into 1” pieces
1/4 small onion
1 small clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 small hot green pepper (optional)

Put all ingredients into Osterizer container. Cover and process at level one until smooth.

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** Notes

For Mom’s sake, we omitted the hot green pepper this time, but usually I’d add it. It still has plenty of great flavor without.

We used Frank’s Hot Sauce in place of the Tabasco. Use your favorite.

For those of you too young to know, an Osterizer is just a brand of blender. Use anything you like to blend it. A food processor works well, too.

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What’s your favorite creamy dip?


Chocolate Zucchini Cake

It must be stated right away that this is not a historical Stein family recipe. I was just about to gather ingredients for Mom’s best chocolate chip cookies when the gargantuan zucchinis came through the door this past week. That’s when the garden stories began to flow and Mom’s cookbooks came out.

We chose a recipe that looked tasty from one of the most-thumbed books and gave it a try. The result was a moist cake with a big chocolate punch that’s not too sweet. The chopped pecans got tender in the baking and added a nice chewy texture. Based on its short life, I think it’s safe to say that it’s a new family favorite, and it was obvious then that I’d have to include this recipe in the collection.

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon each salt and ground cinnamon

3/4 cup (1/4 lb plus 4 tablespoons) butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons each grated orange peel and vanilla

2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini (about 4 medium-size),lightly packed

1/2 cup milk

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Glaze (recipe follows)

In a bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In large bowl of electric mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in orange peel, vanilla, and zucchini.
Alternately stir flour mixture and milk into zucchini mixture, including nuts with last addition.
Pour batter into a greased and floured 10 inch tube or Bundt pan. Bake in a 350° oven for about one hour until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 25 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.
Prepare glaze and drizzle over cooled cake. Let glaze harden.
Makes 10 to 12 servings

Powdered Sugar Glaze (included with recipe)

In a bowl, combine 2 cups powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth

Chocolate Glaze (what we used)
In top of a double boiler, combine four squares (1 ounce each) semi-sweet baking chocolate and 1 tablespoon butter or margarine; stir over barely simmering water just until melted. Remove from heat and let cool, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.

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** Notes:

This recipe comes from The Sunset Cook Book of Favorite Recipes II.

Several of Mom’s other cookbooks seem to be old enough not to include many zucchini recipes, if any at all.

I replaced the powdered sugar/milk glaze with a chocolate glaze from another cake recipe from the same book.

I always use butter.

I used dark cocoa powder, and lemon instead of orange peel because it was what we had.

I seeded this zucchini because the mature seeds were quite large and tough.

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Do you make a favorite dessert from vegetables?

Main Dishes

Cheese and Chili Burgers

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Cheese and Chili Burger
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons salad oil
2 pounds ground beef
Sautée above ingredients together until browned, then stir in:

18 ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
Half teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
Simmer 10 minutes
Spoon meat onto bottom half of 10 hamburger buns laid out on a cookie sheet; top with grated cheese. Close with top bun.
Bake 350° 20 minutes or less (serves 10-ish)

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As I’ve said before, we don’t use salad oil to sauté ground beef, and we prefer to cook the meat first. Otherwise, we made this recipe exactly as directed. This one serves a loarge group, and can be suplemented with numerous side dishes.
Do you have a favorite recipe that serves a crowd at your house?


Millionaire Cookies

I haven’t gotten any input from the boys, so I’ll ask here if anyone can clear up a memory: was this Grandma Marie’s recipe, which is what I remember, of was your Mom the first to make these? They were a part of Stein family gatherings, Christmas in particular, for years, I do know that much.

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Millionaire Cookies

1 cup white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1-1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
4-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup nuts
Mix together and form into 2 long round logs.
Let stand overnight or freeze.
Slice thin and bake in 375° oven.
Brown and white sugar amounts may be interchanged.
Makes 13 dozen 2 inch cookies

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** Notes
This is a HUGE recipe. Making a half recipe seemed more trouble than it was worth, though, so we went for the whole thing. We made the dough into two logs, reserving one in the refrigerator to bake the next day as instructed, and the other in the freezer to bake on my next visit. What a brilliant move. I’m going to try preparing more cookie dough of various kinds to bake at a moment’s notice this way. Mom enjoyed helping when we needed something to do of an afternoon.
We made about 12 1/2 dozen cookies total, and the frozen cookies were only slightly drier than the ones we made first.

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Do you have a favorite family cookie recipe? Please share!

Main Dishes

Tamale Pie

Speak the words “Mom’s Tamale Pie” around the Stein boys, and to a man their eyes light up. The reminiscent sigh that follows is the same.

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This is one of those recipes – fragrant, flavorful and satisfying, and I always think of how those hungry boys must have filled up on it when it comes to mind.

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Tamale Pie

Meat mixture:
1-1/2 pounds ground lean beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or mashed
1/4 cup shortening or salad oil
1 can (about 15 ounce) tomatoes
1 can (12 ounce) whole kernel corn
2 teaspoons salt
4 to 6 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup water
1 cup pitted black olives

1-1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

Note: while this mixture is cooking, make the topping (see below).

Sauté meat, onion, green pepper and garlic together in heated shortening until onions are golden, about 10 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes, corn, salt, chili powder, and pepper; cover and simmer 5 minutes.
Stir in the cornmeal blended with the water; simmer 10 minutes more.
Add olives and turn mixture into a 9 x 13″ baking dish.

Spread topping over meat. Bake uncovered in a 375° oven for 40 minutes.

To cook cornmeal topping:
Scald 1 1/2 cups milk with half teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons butter. Gradually add 1/2 cup cornmeal and cook, stirring until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in 2 beaten eggs and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

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**We don’t sauté ground beef in oil, nor cook the onions and the raw meat together anymore. You can follow the kitchen guidelines and routines you’re most comfortable with.

**This seems like an awful lot of salt, and I reduced the total by a generous 1/2 teaspoon. Taste the meat mixture after it has the other seasonings, then salt to taste.

**We use frozen sweet corn at our house.

**We used 1 pound of leanest ground beef for this recipe and it was really great.

**We bake the finished product right in the frying pan nstead of a separate 9×13 dish.

**We served this dish with a salad. Three of us (Mom was visiting again!) had two dinners and there was still another small meal plus some lunch sized portions for the freezer. In other words, it made a LOT. The fragrance as this dish cooked was so delightful!

** When I was getting ready to cook this dish, I found my own grandmother’s recipe for Tamale Pie as well. That one (pictured above with Mom’s recipe card) includes raisins. Ew.

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Is there a filling, flavor packed meal you enjoy cooking for your family?

Breads, Desserts

Dad’s Sweet Rolls

My husband’s Dad and I used to joke that he was the Lady of the house, because my mom taught me the etymology of the word lady, which means, “Baker of the bread.”
James’ Dad was the bread guy, the grill guy, and the supreme scrambled egg guy.
He taught me everything I know about amazing, fluffy scrambled eggs, and we lovingly critiqued each other’s bread textures over the years. What an honor to have him compliment my efforts!

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Everyone loved Mike’s sweet rolls, and he would often make some when a crowd was set to descend upon the house for a weekend. He shared that recipe in a handwritten letter, in his own sort of shorthand, so this is not exactly taken from a cookbook.

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He said, “The recipe for these sweet rolls basically comes from the Fleischmann’s New Treasury of Yeast Baking of about 1968. It’s been modified slightly. Good luck with it.
Practice at least once before we next come up then allow me to critique your product.”

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Dad’s Sweet Rolls

4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 packages yeast (1 tablespoon +1-1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 stick margarine or butter
2 room temperature eggs

Liquids and margarine – warm together
Mix sugar, salt and yeast, and 1 cup flour together. Add liquids in, beat for 2 minutes.
Add the eggs and 1 more cup flour. Beat at speed 2 in the mixer 2 minutes.
Put on the dough hook add enough flour to produce dough.
Raise until doubled in bulk.
Punch down and divide into two halves.
Roll each half into long rectangle. Roll thin, 18″ x 9″. The dough will probably be half inch or less in thickness.
Brush with melted butter or margarine-will probably require about half stick. Leave one long edge of dough uncoated
Spread dough with one half of filling.
Roll out the dough toward unbuttered edge. Seal edge.
Cut roll every inch or so. Place cut rolls in greased pan. Don’t crowd them too much. Allow them to raise until they look about right.
Bake in 350° oven for 25 minutes. Cool and frost with mixture of confectioners’ sugar and milk or orange juice.

For Cinnamon Rolls
1-1/2 cups of sugar (I use half and half white and brown)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2/3 cups raisins
I also add chopped nuts if available

For Orange Rolls
1-1/2 cups of sugar
Grated rind of a large orange
Chopped nuts

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From Dad: The original recipe called for 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. I don’t like that much so cut it and see no affect but flavor on the product. You may find you can get by with a bit less oleo to grease the dough and or a bit less filling (sugar component). I use it all and what leaks out when I cut the rolls gets thrown in the pan wherever it hits.

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From us: Mike preferred the orange rolls. I prefer the cinnamon rolls, so that’s what we’ve typically made over the years. Watch how much flour you use rolling out the dough. A little sticky is okay it will be easier to get at the size you want if it’s not too elastic.

The steps given here assume the use of the Kitchenaid mixer we all have in our kitchens thanks to James’ folks. Use whatever tools you have to get the job done – but this is easy and fast with the dough hook.

Roll the log even tighter than you think you should. Stretch the outer layer around the roll to capture everything tightly. When it says “don’t crowd too much,” really, don’t. This batch came out tiny on one end of the pan because they didn’t have quite enough room to rise. Tiny just meant a person could eat two, but the texture of the bigger ones was nicer.
What sweet treat do you favor?

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Side Dishes, Vegetables

Coleslaw Dressing

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Until I met this coleslaw, I wasn’t a fan. They were always too sweet or too goopy…

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This one is crisp and carries a bit of a bite. The dressing can be made ahead and that does give the flavors time to blend. It’s mixed with the cabbage right before serving and that makes it the best!

Coleslaw Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons celery seed
1/4 cup vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped onion
Blend well and chill. Mix with one shredded cabbage just before serving.

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As always, it’s really fun to make these dishes with Mom, especially at her house (note the nifty salt cellar in the picture above. It has always been a part of her kitchen).

We often make a half recipe of this dressing for a half cabbage, which suits our smaller crew just right. A whole cabbage makes a lot of coleslaw.

If you want it to look funny, use red cabbage. I love the taste (just a tad different), but it does look a bit strange.

Do you have a favorite make-ahead dressing or sauce?