These past couple days, I've been spending time with my dear granny Urbanski -Dots they call her- Listening to stories about bootlegging, farm days, work at the deli, memories of her family... Grandma's eyes would sparkle every time she mentioned her husband Donald. It's obvious she loved -still loves- him. Sadly, I did not have the pleasure of knowing, nor meeting, my grandpa. He sounded like an amazing person.
Together, Dots and I looked through old recipes. When I asked her about grandpa's favorite's she said bread and sour cream pie. Her children would say fanny farmer fudge, molasses cookies or Regenia's Schepu chocolate cake. Looking through her recipes, it was apparent that desserts dominated above all else. Savory foods were less often documented, with the exception of hot dish and Polish classics like dumplings.
Rather than recreate or modify recipes from my grandmother; I've decided to post the originals, stains and all! Sorry if they are illegible, but I didn't want to take away from the history and love that clearly went into creating these desserts.
You will also notice names associated with some of the recipes. They are people within the community of Glendorado Church in Minnesota who developed the recipes. Those that are not labeled are Grandma Dots.
It was difficult to select recipes with such a large selection to choose from. You'll need to stay tuned to future blog posts on other classics from my family's past, except next time I'll be sure to attempt the recipe!
Wife: "More accidents happen in the kitchen than anywhere else"
Husband: "Yes, dear, and the worst of it is, we men have to eat them"
Take 1 large filed, half dozen children, 2 or 3 small dogs, a pinch of book and some pebbles. Mix the children and dogs well together; ....put them on a field, stirring constantly. Pour the brook over the pebbles... sprinkle the filed with flowers.....spread over all a deep blue sky and bake in the sun. When brown, set away to cool in the bath tub.
Subjectively, I love radishes, and why not? They come in so many varieties, are quite versatile and can be enjoyed at all meals...if given the chance. When I was a child, I usually picked around them on veggie platters because I thought carrots were sweeter and above all else tastier. But as I've grown, I realized I didn't give them much of a chance. No one in traditional Midwest cookery (MN country living) prepared recipes with radish. Instead, they were, and still are, typically eaten raw with ranch dip.
-Yes, you know what I'm talking about-
It wasn't until I moved out of my hometown & into a more diverse city, Minneapolis, when my appreciation and taste for radish developed. They began appearing in salads, thinly sliced, used as a garnish for fish, and were beautifully orchestrated in slaws.
Quickly, I discovered the versatility from working in restaurants throughout MN, IL and France and while traveling/eating in Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and South America. Many varieties include, but are not limited to, watermelon, white icicle, French Breakfast, easter egg, daikon, & black Spanish. What you typically find in bodegas or on veggie platters in the states are called cherry belle's. They all have different notes of flavor, but typically exhibit a horseradish-like-bite and crunch. Each differ in pungency, spice and sweetness. Nowadays, you may even find some of the more obscure varieties mentioned in your local co-op or farmer's market. Most are available year-round and are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, Fe, and folic acid.
Here are pictures I pulled from the world wide web to give a visual look at the plethora of radish varieties, something I bet you are missing out on...
Image on left is from Specialty Produce and the remaining are Dorling Kindersley Limited photos
Images are from Specialty Produce
This is a super quickie; by the time you finish grilling the radishes, you'll have the dip complete. The best part is you could make this recipe with just about any root vegetable (or variety of radish) and/or alternate herbs in the dip for vastly different flavor profiles. Even the lemon could be swapped out for lime, orange, grapefruit, tangelo...so many options!
grilled radish & yogurt
-my version of a veggie platter with radish-
1 bunch radish, cleaned and sliced in half (I used French breakfast here)
1 tsp olive oil
s & p to taste
1 1/2 cups greek yogurt
2 tbsp. garlic chives (flowers included, if possible), chopped
zest & jus from 1 lemon
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1. heat grill to medium low
2. toss radish with olive oil, s & p and grill for a few minutes on each side until tender -or- to your desire (I like some to be crispy)
3. meanwhile, mix your dip ingredients in a bowl until well combined
4. serve & eat when radish are cooked
s & p* salt and pepper
This is a great appetizer or side and can be eaten warm or at room temperature.
-Another idea! Grill the radish and mix with grains, greens or have as a side with lamb, chicken or fish.
......so what do you say? will you give radish a chance
This past weekend was absolutely beautiful in Duluth; the sun has never felt so good! With that said, I didn't want to spend all my time in the kitchen slaving away over the stove. I wanted something without having to use a heating element for too long -rice noodles only need a few minutes to cook- that's also refreshing and light. After digging through my pantry and fridge, it came to me, shrimp noodle salad!
There are many ways to prepare this recipe with ease and little effort, such as using cooked, cleaned shrimp, pre-mixed salad greens, or using a salad dressing from your fridge. Except in this recipe, the vinaigrette is a sinch and doesn't require much effort.
Make sure to devein the shrimpy's if it has not been done. You might think, "Devein...what does that mean?" Well, the vein in question is actually the digestive tract of the shrimp, so you can image why you'd want to remove it. Simply take a pairing knife and run it along the backside of the shrimp in the center. You'll see the black vein (you may be able to see it in the image on the left) just beneath the surface. Pull the vein out and toss. The finished product looks like the one on the left. Much cleaner and tastier.
Recipe serves 2, easily can be doubled or multiplied
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
12 large-jumbo sized shrimp*
1/2 cup cucumbers, aka cukes, medium-diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, julienne cut (thin strips)
2 oz. rice noodles, cooked according to package
4 cups mixed greens, cut to bite-size
S & P to taste
2 tbsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted for more flavor
3 drops hot chili oil, or more
*Note: Shrimp come in a many non-standardized sizes, meaning what one store labels "large" might be labeled "jumbo" at another store. Therefore, it's best to go by count. If you read further, I've put together a chart on count/pound which may be more useful. A typical serving/meal is anywhere from 2-4 oz. Do the math to plan your meal if you want to get real precise.
1. Juice 1/2 lime and combine with half the cilantro and cooked, deveined shrimp. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes - 1 hour (if you're patient); however, you're welcome to skip the marinade for sake of time.
2. Combine all salad dressing ingredients in a jar with a closed lid & shake vigorously.
3. Slice remaining half of lime into wedges for garnish - extra squeeze of lime is always nice -
4. Toss cucumbers, bell pepper, noodles, greens and shrimp with vinaigrette; adjust seasoning with salt and pepper
General chart showing counts per pound, where the "U" means "under" or "less than"
chart is from cookingfishmonger.com