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Archive for the ‘mennonite’ Category

(Note: This post was originally published in February 2013 in the Okanagan Sunday, Kamloops This Week and Prairie Post. The time and date of the reading mentioned has come and gone. But! You can join author Astrid Blodgett on Tuesday evening, October 8 instead. You can contact the Peachland Library or Astrid, via her blog, for further information.)

 

In my grandmother’s kitchen, there were many plastic bags.

Although I never knew her to buy a loaf of bread, somehow the bread bags of other families made their way to her.

She used and reused them, washed and hung them to dry from clothespins suspended on a string over the kitchen sink.

When they’d dripped dry, she stored her own bread in them. White bread, soft as down pillows, the dough for which rose daily in an enameled bowl, covered and set on the kitchen table.

february10.foodpic.darcie     Meanwhile, Grandma would do her other baking. Cookies and doughnuts and buns and roll kuchen.

As many of these goodies as might have been for her and Grandpa, many more were for visitors who dropped by, usually unannounced. Or they were sent home with children and grandchildren.

With the homemade bread in bread bags, the twist ties long ago stripped of their red or green paper ribbons, the cream cookies were packed in one of dozens of kept ice cream buckets.

Salvaged grocery ware, after all, were Grandma’s Mennonite “Tupperware.” A thrifty measure that predated our modern “Reduce/Reuse/Recycle” movement. And one that, some twenty-plus years later, has lately served me well.

While writing and rehearsing the talk and reading I would deliver at the book launch for Mennonites Don’t Dance more than two years ago, I wanted, also, to do something special, and sweet, for readers who have followed this column for so many years.

Arriving at the downtown library an hour ahead of the event, Chefhusband and I brought in ice cream buckets stuffed with pink-frosted cream cookies, the same as my grandmother used to bake. We put on the library’s conference-sized coffee urns. And when the reading was over, we invited the sixty or so people who’d come to listen, to join us for a Mennonite treat.

On tour in Alberta a few weeks later, my mom, sister and niece did the baking, while an aunt and uncle provided the Mennonite “Tupperware” I brought to the library in Lethbridge.

Across Canada, libraries (and independent book stores) have been very good to me: The Ontario Library Association nominated Mennonites Don’t Dance for their annual Evergreen Award, while local librarians have made me feel at home among their stacks.

In the end, the honours went, last week, to Linwood Barclay who wrote The Accident (Doubleday Canada).

Today, however, I’m getting ready for another reading, at another library. This time in Peachland, on Tuesday February 12th at 7pm. A bit of a drive, but all are welcome. And there will be cream cookies, made from my grandmother’s recipe, with a twist, and carried in Mennonite “Tupperware” from my own collection.

“Your aunt says she  needs those back,” my mom said to me when she delivered the cream cookies for Lethbridge.

I’m sorry to say that when I returned them, it was minus one.

 

Mennonite “Whoopie Pies”

2 large eggs

1 cup whipping cream

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

pinch salt

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1tsp baking soda

 

Filling:

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sifted icing sugar

2 tsp cocoa powder

3 cups marshmallow “Fluff”* (store bought or homemade)

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Whisk together eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla and salt. Whisk together remaining ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet, one cup at a time, mixing to form a soft dough. Divide into two parts. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate to chill.

Preheat oven to 350F. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/2-inch. Cut cookies using a medium round cutter. Place 1-inch apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes (cookies should remain white, but be set in the centre). Cool completely.

Meanwhile, for filling, cream together butter, icing sugar and cocoa until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add Fluff* and vanilla. Mix until combined.

Spread undersides of cookies with filling and press together into sandwich cookies.

*Marshmallow Fluff

3 egg whites

2 cups light corn syrup

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups icing sugar

1 Tbs pure vanilla extract

 

Using the whisk attachment of an electric beater, beat egg, syrup and salt on high speed for 10 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla and beat on low to combine.

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This is an old Mennonite recipe. Though I didn’t learn it from my Grandma Friesen, it still reminds me of her kitchen in Schoenfeld, Saskatchewan.

2 cups milk
1/2 cup warm water
1 tbs active dry yeast
1 tbs granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp kosher salt
4-5 cups flour
12 oz Farmers sausage (about 1 1/2 large)
Grease an 11 by 11 by 3-inch baking pan.
In a  small pot, scald milk by warming it over med-high heat until barely simmering. Allow to cool until it is warm but no longer hot (baby bottle temperature).
Meanwhile, proof yeast in water with sugar.
In a large bowl, beat eggs well. Stir in milk and yeast mixture.
Whisk salt into flour and add, one cup at a time into the wet mixture (whisking at first, then changing to a wooden spoon), until mixture is thick and slightly elastic. (It should be like a very heavy muffin batter, but not so thick or overworked that it becomes a dough).
Chop sausage into bite-sized pieces. Fold into batter.
Scrape batter into prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 hours, until nearly doubled.
Bake at 350F for 45 minutes.

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2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup sour cream
3 tbs melted butter, plus more for iron
In a large bowl, whisk together first five ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and sour cream. Add to dry ingredients and bring together with a fork until moistened. Stir in melted butter.
Ladle batter onto a very hot, buttered waffle iron, following guidelines for its make and model.
Sweet White Sauce
2 cups whole milk
2 1/2 tbs all-purpose flour
3 tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Heat 1 3/4 cups of the milk in a double boiler until simmering.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and sugar. Gradually add remaining milk and vanilla, beating until well blended. Add to double boiler and whisk, constantly and vigorously, until mixture is thickened and cooked (no taste of the flour).
Cook’s Note: My grandmother used to serve these waffles with custard bowls of the Sweet White Sauce on the side. My sister and I would dip, swirl and scoop the heart-shaped waffle pieces into the sauce. Now I serve them with warm, stewed prune plums, with the sauce ladled on top.

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(recipe courtesy of Lori Bradstock)
Stock:
1 cooking onion, quartered
1 parsnip cut into 3 or 4 chunks
4-5 new carrots, cut or whole depending on size
celery heart with leaves
1 smoked ham hock
3-4 bay leaves
Put all ingredients into stock pot. Fill with water. Put on stove on high until it comes to a rolling boil. Then turn down heat and simmer for 4 or more hours. Remove all solids, discarding everything except the ham hock. Remove the meaty pieces from the ham hock and reserve for the soup.Put the pot of stock into the fridge to cool until the next morning. When cool, scoop off the layer of fat that has risen to the top and discard.
Soup:
10 cups of ham stock
1 large cooking onion, chopped
8 cups (approximately) of fresh green and yellow beans, cleaned and chopped into 1 inch pieces ( I break, not chop)
large bunch of summer savoury, well rinsed,  but still on stems
2 cups of fresh garden carrots, if small enough they are just scrubbed but not peeled, chopped into coins
2 cups of freshly shelled green peas (optional- generally only added if there are still a few peas left in the garden to pick)
6 (or so) new potatoes, cubed into bite size pieces (again generally just scrubbed but not peeled if fresh from garden)
Cream (if desired)
Bring the stock to a boil and add onion, beans and summer savoury. Allow to return to the boil, and then reduce heat slightly so just barely boiling. After 10 or 15 minutes, add the carrots and peas and keep simmering. When the carrots are tender, add the potatoes and continue simmering for 20 minutes. While the potatoes cook, add in the meat from the ham hock plus one or two farmer’s sausages, sliced into bite-sized pieces. When the potatoes are tender, the soup is ready. Before serving, remove the herb stems, which will have left all their leaves behind in the soup. Season to taste. Sweet cream can be added at the table to individual taste.

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1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 fresh egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 lb fresh rhubarb, chopped
In a large pot, stew rhubarb with 1/2 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar (less or more) for 20 minutes, until softened.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and baking powder. Cut in butter until the mixture is crumbly. Whisk together milk, egg and vanilla. Make a well in the centre of the crumbs and add milk mixture. Bring together with a fork until just combined.

Spread batter into a prepared 9×13” baking dish.
Make the crumb topping:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar


Whisk together the flour and sugar. Cut in butter to make crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Bake at 350F for 35 – 40 minutes, until a tester inserted into the centre of the platz comes out clean. Cool completely.

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1 quart Saskatoons
2 quarts water
2/3 cup sugar
4-5 tbs flour
1 cup sweet cream
Cook fruit and water until soft.
Add half of the sugar.
Add the other half of the sugar to the flour and mix with cream until smooth.
Add mixture to the pot and stir constantly until thickened.
You can serve this warm or cold.

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about 6 large red potatoes
1/3 cup lard, bacon fat or canola oil
kosher salt, fresh ground pepper
Scrub potatoes and slice into quarters. Cook in a large pot of salted water. Drain, slice thinly.
Heat fat in a large cast iron skillet until it sizzles when a bit of potato is introduced. Add potatoes. Cook until golden brown. Remove from fat with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season generously and serve.

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