Breads, Uncategorized

Banana Bread

LaVerne and I baked this Banana Tea Bread recipe from the good old Good Housekeeping Cookbook on one of the last days at her house when we were spending lots of time looking and cooking through her recipes. I couldn’t find the one she had shared with us years before, but she chose this as the one to use.

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The recipe she gave my husband when he left home is still my favorite banana bread ever, and when I compared them after I got home, I found that they are identical.

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I’m posting this with many thanks to my friend Selena for her donation to my Walk to End Alzheimer’s this past fall.

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Mom’s Banana Bread

Ingredients:

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup soft shortening

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, unbeaten

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 or 3)

Nuts (optional)

Instructions:

Start heating oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9”x 5” loaf pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Cream shortening with sugar. Then add eggs and continue to beat until very light and fluffy – about 4 minutes altogether.

Blend in flour mixture at low speed alternately with bananas just until smooth; turn into pan.

Bake one hour or until done. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove and cool on rack.

Notes:

There are many variations included in this cookbook recipe which we’ve never tried.

We peel and freeze ripe bananas. When it’s time to thaw them for bread, they’re already halfway there. It always takes one more banana than I think to make up the 1 cup of mashed fruit.

A toothpick inserted into the center of quick bread comes out clean when it is cooked through.

Both the cookbook and Mom’s recipe say to cool overnight before slicing, but we all know that will never happen.

Traditionally, the Steins put pecans into this banana bread (1/4-1/2 cups chopped) when nuts are desired.

Do you have a favorite quick bread recipe?

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Side Dishes, Uncategorized

Five Bean Barbecue Bake

The Stein family traditionally turns to this dish for those big family gatherings in summer, but we recently made it on a cold drizzly October weekend and it’s really good comfort food.

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I’m not even sure I met cousin Barb at the gathering with which I most closely associate my introduction to this dish, but I’m posting this as a thank you for her generous donation to my recent Walk to End Alzheimer’s event.

I was newly married into the Stein family when a reunion was hosted at the folks’ Washougal house on a 4th of July weekend. As always, we were there and pitching in. It rained buckets the day of the gathering and instead of overflowing onto the deck and into the yard, we set up rows of tables in the garage and Mike grilled burger after burger with the grill tucked under the eaves.

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We doubled this recipe at least: ten cans of beans (well, not really – we always used Mike’s own home canned green beans, so one of these was a quart jar) and all the other ingredients went into LaVerne’s vast cooking pot, so huge that James carved her this spoon for cooking in it.

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Five Bean Barbecue Bake

Drain one can each:
Green beans, Yellow beans, Kidney beans, Lima beans (baby limas are best).
Open but don’t drain one can pork and beans.
Brown then dice six slices bacon, and sauté one chopped onion in the drippings. Drain off fat.

Combine above ingredients and add 1/2 cup ketchup , 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 – 1/2 cups brown sugar, and 1/4 pound diced cheddar cheese. Place in casserole, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake 350°F for one hour.

Notes

Because of the richness of this dish, it really is a side and not a main offering. Our advice is to save it for that crowd. It was a really big commitment for just the two of us.

We found that if you pack the brown sugar as usual for measuring, it can make the beans very sweet.

When this dish was created, canned baby limas were a thing. For quite some time they were not available and we doubled the green beans. Now they are available frozen, but yellow wax beans are very tough to find. Substitute your favorite beans if you can’t find the ones suggested here.

Do not use shredded cheese. The cheddar gets chewy and wonderful in the cubes, and is an important aspect of this dish.

I remember feeling that I must really be a true part of the Stein family that weekend, cooking a favorite recipe for an army of folks, sharing laughter and good food in spite of the miserable weather.

Cousin Barb, do you remember this long-ago party?

 

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Desserts, Uncategorized

Nestle Toll House Cookies (Stein Style)

Especially toward the end of her time with us, LaVerne would begin to worry about what to serve as soon as she knew folks were coming to visit, but she could relax as soon as I told her we’d either bake these cookies before a visit, or pull some out of the freezer. Many batches of cookies have passed through Stein ovens, but this is probably the recipe that has been baked most.

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Many thanks to Barbara for supporting my fundraising effort in The Walk to End Alzheimer’s. You can support my walk here.

Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened. The Stein family recipe replaces with shortening, as in the original Nestlé recipe
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
One 12 oz. package Nestlé Toll House semi sweet chocolate morsels (2 cups)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In large bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract; beat until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in chocolate morsels and nuts. Drop by spoonfuls onto on greased cookie sheets. Bake: at 375°F 9 to 11 minutes. Makes: about five dozen 2 1/4 inch cookies.
Pan cookie variation: prepared though as directed. Spread into greased 15.5 x 10.5 by 1 inch baking pan. Bake: at 375°F. 20 to 25 minutes. Cool; cut into 35 2 inch squares.

Notes

I put a note about shortening into the actual recipe above because the Steins are so opinionated about that difference, and we wouldn’t want you to get your butter ready in vain.

Our recipe card is simply the recipe from a bag of chocolate chips taped to an index card and family lore says that there is a very old card made the same way showing the shortening as an ingredient, but I am unable to provide photo evidence.

The Steins use pecans when they feel like using nuts as there is walnut allergy in the family.

What is your favorite cookie?

PS I hope this isn’t a repeat post! My records show that I have recorded the recipe but had not yet shared it with you. My apologies if I have – but you know, it’s always good to make a good cookie time and time again.

Do you have a  favorite cookie?

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Side Dishes, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Onion Roasted Potatoes (AKA Case-Hardened Potatoes)

My apologies for not having a photo of the finished recipe. We photographed as we cooked and ate through these recipes the past year, but toward the end of our time at Mom’s house, it was not an organized effort to match photo to recipe we were capturing, as we were taking more care of the mother than the project.

Many thanks to Trudi for your support for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. This one’s for you!

If you, too, would like to support my fundraising efforts for the Walk on October 1, you can donate to my page here.

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Onion Roasted Potatoes “AKA Case Hardened Potatoes”

Preheat oven to 450°F

Ingredients
One envelope onion soup mix
Half cup olive or vegetable oil
Quarter cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon marjoram leaves and 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
Quarter teaspoon pepper
2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, cut into quarters

Steps

Blend ingredients (except potatoes) in a roasting pan.
Add potatoes, turn to coat thoroughly.
Bake, stirring occasionally, 35 minutes.
Garnish with fresh parsley.
Makes about eight servings.
Notes: Original recipe says 60 minutes. This is crossed out, replaced with 35, as you can see in the photograph of LaVerne’s copy in her recipe journal, seen above.

Notes

This recipe also works quite well in a cast iron skillet. It is one of those recipes that makes everyone in each family generation smile, I think, whenever we mention it. There was a time when LaVerne bought Lipton’s onion soup mix by the case. We make our own blend with bouillon granules, garlic powder, ground black pepper and dehydrated onion now.

What is a recipe that makes you smile?

 

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Desserts

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!

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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

Topping:
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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Notes
**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?

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Side Dishes, Vegetables

Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce

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Here’s the cookbook that still resides on Mom’s counter. It’s missing the title pages and the tape that reattached the last page of the index, but the duck tape repairs on the spine still hold.

It’s been a part of the Stein kitchen as long as the boys can remember, and it’s filled with treasures and memory.

Mom didn’t ever share a recipe for this, but it started with a classic white sauce and a high quality cheddar, so this is the one from the Good Housekeeping Cook Book.

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I always marvel at how simple this really is.

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Stirring and stirring is the  key to smooth white sauce – while adding the milk slowly.

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Medium White Sauce (cream sauce)

2 Tablespoons butter or margarine

2 Tablespoons flour (some people prefer to reduce flour to 1-1/2 T)

Speck pepper

1/2 tesaspoon salt

Dash paprika

1 cup milk, or part milk and part light cream

1. In double boiler (or in saucepan over low heat), melt butter; add flour, pepper, salt, paprika; stir until blended, smooth.

2. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

3. Cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened. Makes one cup.

To make cheese sauce, add 1/2 to 1 cup grated cheese and dash cayenne pepper. *

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Our cauliflower was cooked in chunks. Not nearly as lovely as that whole globe.

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*Notes

This original recipe calls for mustard powder here but I never remember that being used in the Stein kitchen. In my memory, maybe my own Mother’s addition of cayenne makes its way in here, but I’m fairly certain it was a part of LaVerne’s sauce, too.

A double boiler was never used, just a good heavy saucepan.

Always use a high quality cheddar. In the Stein’s house, it was invariably Tillamook.

My husband and I couldn’t agree on how the cauliflower was cooked, though it was always whole. Was it boiled or steamed? It was always lovely in the serving dish, that warm pale yellow cheese sauce flowing down the sides of the head of cauliflower.

He doesn’t remember this, but as I recall, his Mom made cheese sauce for broccoli sometimes, too. When our daughter disdained all vegetables except raw ones, she would eat cooked broccoli this way with pleasure. All the various Steins can correct me if I’m wrong…

Do you remember a sauce that made everything better?

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