Fresh Cut Fries Not From a Freezer

 

French Fries, Pommes Frites, Chips, Fries.  These are fresh cut fries, fried to perfection.

The frozen, thinner ones from the freezer have been around since the 1940’s,  You can find these frozen fries in plastic bags in the grocery store freezer section and they are served in most diners and fast food restaurants. There is no comparison to fresh cut potatoes, plunged into hot oil, drained and sprinkled with salt.

Sometimes fried twice for that extra crispy exterior and light creamy interior. Soggy and limp is the worst.  The type of potato will affect the end result.  Russet/Idaho potatoes are mentioned in many recipes and if you want to become a student of types of potatoes click this Guide to Every Potato You Need to Know

Eating fries may clog your arteries and make one fat, but they can certainly satisfy the palate.  Some people accompany them with ketchup, vinegar, mayonnaise and slather them with cheese or gravy and even tomato sauce. You’ve probably heard of the famous Pittsburgh Primanti Bros sandwich with the fries and slaw right inside the sandwich. (photo of one here)

Here’s Bon Appétit Magazine’s Kelly Dobkin’s “culinary school method” for fail-proof, perfect French fries Secret to Perfect French Fries recipe 

Need less fat, you can bake crispy fries in a 450 degree oven (recipe here)

Babka or Paska for Easter

This loaf was purchased at Weiland's Market in Clintonville Ohio
Babka or Paksa.  That's what's on the Reinecker's Bakery label.

Babka 

“the Polish and Belarusian noun babka and the Belarusian,Ukrainian, Macedonian, Bulgarian and Russian baba means “grandmother” or “old woman”, and as applied to the pastry probably refer to its shape, a tall cylinder, sometimes with corrugations resembling a skirt’s pleats.[1]

or Paska.

“Paska breads are a traditional element in the easter holidays of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Romania, Moldova, Georgia and parts of Bulgaria” 

“Paska is made with milk, butter, eggs, sugar, except in Romania, where the recipe most commonly includes sweet cream, cottage cheese and/or sour cream with eggs, sugar, raisins and rum.  An egg and water mixture is used as a glaze.”

 

I can tell you that it tasted delicious.  It is said to have a Brioche-like quality and there is a richness due to those moist golden raisins and the bread has just a hit of sweetness.  Add a little butter.  Mmmmm.

Here is a recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker for Paska Easter Bread and it has FIVE egg yolks.

Here is a recipe for Polish Babka Easter Bread from King Arthur’s Flour with three whole eggs.

 

Good Butter is Key

Using good butter to make rolled sugar cookies is the key to successful taste and texture.

Since today was the official birthday, Charlie took rocket and star shaped sugar cookies to the playground for his playgroup friends. Laura sliced up a baby watermelon, too. The hardest part is rolling out the chilled dough to an even thickness.

Here’s the recipe we used

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/10402/the-best-rolled-sugar-cookies/

Mushy Peas

Mushy Peas. Never ate them or even heard of them until today. We were browsing in World Market. I’m sure making them at home is superior to the canned version. A recipe below. Hoping blog readers who are familiar with them will leave a word.

Looked up Mushy Peas on Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mushy_peas

And here’s a link to Jamie Oliver’s recipe for fish and chips and mushy peas.

https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/fish-recipes/fish-chips-and-mushy-peas/

Two Tangy Lemon Bars

It’s buttery crumbly shortbread on the bottom layer and a tangy sour sweet lemon curd- like top. I love lemons.

I met a friend for breakfast and she brought me these two delicious lemon bars. She knows they’re a favorite of mine. They were leftover from her book group gathering.

It’s the kind of taste that makes a mouth water. I opened the foil package and took this quick shot on my car’s console before I pulled out of the diner parking lot.

I nibbled at the first, my mouth watering with pleasure and then eyed that second bar. I managed restraint, wrapped it up in the wrinkled foil and put it out of reach, avoiding the temptation to make it disappear.

Steve certainly enjoyed it at lunch, unaware how vulnerable it had been to my midwinter gluttony.

My mother always said “it’s better to have a hankering for more, than to regret you had too much.”

Here’s a Lemon Bar recipe I found online, a woman says they’re the best. The 50 year old recipe from Wisconsin.

https://www.yourhomebasedmom.com/best-lemon-bars/

Zero Nutritional Value

It might even be in the negative column for nutrition. Those maraschino cherries alone, with the preservatives and dye, could do you in but I remember this colorful combination from childhood. Bright green lime, white pears, red cherries. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon to cut the intense sweetness!

My mother always made this Christmas Jello. She’d buy a large green labeled can of Bartlett pear halves. She’d put a cherry in each indentation and hope they didn’t float away.

I don’t even know anyone who makes Jello anymore. Well, maybe a strawberry pretzel salad at a shower or potluck or picnic buffet?

For Easter she’d put together the yellow lemon Jello with grated carrots and a can of crushed pineapple to which she added a pinch of salt.

Because the green, white and red one reminded me of my growing up, I had my granddaughter Anna help put it together and it graced our Christmas dinner table at my son and daughter-in-law’s home.

Hopkins County Stew

My neighbor up the street made a vat of Hopkins County Chicken Stew.(recipe)

She served it at their New Year’s Eve Party Saturday night.

I sent a text to thank her for the nice time and she texted back and invited me to come up around 4, bring an empty container, fill up! I took up a quart jar but she had a couple of gallons.

Yum.

When I got there, I was in awe of the huge pot she made it in. She was in the midst of major clean up from the party.  Steve and I  ate the warm penne and sweet sausage she sent home along with some stew.  Thanks for sharing your leftovers.

I’d never even heard of Hopkins County Stew from Texas.

Turns out there’s a big festival in Sulphur Springs Texas  (the fourth Saturday of October) and here is an excerpt from their webpage

“The cooking competition began in 1969, but the roots of the dish date from the late 1800s, The county had approximately 100 schools back then and it became customary to celebrate the end of each school year with stew suppers that were cooked in iron pots over open hardwood fires. 

There were no recipes.  Families just brought what they had and threw it in the pot.  The meat most likely was squirrel, and typically the most dominant vegetables were potatoes, onions, corn and tomatoes.

There is still no authentic recipe for Hopkins County Stew.  For the annual cook-off, contestants may use chicken or beef (no squirrel) and there are separate prizes for the best stew with each meat.”

Here is another link to a recipe   I will have to ask Susanne which one she used.  The ones listed above (potatoes, onions, corn and tomatoes) are still the dominant ingredients.

 

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Friends in Florida AND Massachusetts Bake Aunt Rhea’s Lebkuchen

Aunt Rhea’s Lebkuchen recipe  and this recipe was handed down from her mother’s father. (So from the 1800’s)

A double guest blog today!

This evening I heard from two dear friends.we met at Fort Knox, Kentucky in 1975. (Both were Army midwives -now retired, one delivered my son Mark in 1976)

Baked by Linda in Massachusetts – used light brown sugar she had on hand and it came out fine

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And this batch baked by Kristin in Florida whose husband says it tastes like his mother’s -baked in Germany

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Thanks for sharing your photos with me and all my blog followers,

Love,

Ruth

P.S.

and here is a response to the to the Annual Lebkuchen Baking post of 2016

Ruth,

My lebkuchen recipe is really a lot different….has honey and a bit of baking soda and is rolled into rectangle cookies. Then the icing has lemon juice and grated lemon peel. I think I’ll try your recipe along with mine this year. Oh, mine has chopped blanched almonds along with the chopped fruit. Different part of Germany, probably. Mine is from Bamberg and Wurzburg area. Pat Kelly

 

Cranberries, Granny Smiths and Navel Oranges

I made fresh cranberry relish for Thanksgiving in New York City then realized I wanted to eat it again.  This recipe makes about 6 cups.

A pound of cranberries,rinsed and drained

two Granny Smiths, quartered and cored

two navel oranges cut up

1 cup of sugar

pulse ingredients, one at a time  not to mush or purée  -chopped up, coarsely

mix together in large bowl.  Add sugar

chill

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