Tag Archives: holiday recipe

Gram’s Cranberry Salad Sauce

Photo of a totally gratuitous California sunset, because well, it’s pretty.
OK, super lucky readers, my auntie, the daughter of my third grandma, is kindly allowing me to share her mother’s salad sauce that normally accompanies her amazing cranberry salad (I think hers does not have cinnamon). So here it is!
GRAM’S CRANBERRY SALAD SAUCE
 
COMBINE in medium bowl:
1 cup canned (evaporated) milk
2 TB sugar
1 TB yellow mustard
 
ADD, very slowly, via tiny drizzles from bottle, 
cider vinegar to bowl of milk, sugar and mustard,
to thicken the mixture.  
 
OPTIONAL: Add small dollop of sour cream or
plain yogurt to mixture.  
 
SERVE OVER CRANBERRY SALAD.  
 
 
–Gram (Jacqueline Barnard) c. 1950’s
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Shiitake Stuffing for a Minnesota Holiday Potluck

Zojirushi

Once upon a time, I attended a potluck, with a savory bread pudding in tow. It was much, much loved. And my hopes of eating the leftovers were not to be – it was entirely demolished! I was so proud of myself because I thought I had completely invented the recipe, and it was the first time I made it (not something I recommend when cooking for others – my backup plan was to buy something if it didn’t turn out). But now I realize – the dish reminds me a little bit of the chawanmushi my grandmother would make. Everything “new” is actually old.

Shiitake Stuffing

Ingredients: (I don’t remember the exact measurements…these are very approximate)

  • 1/2 loaf of decent quality San Francisco style sweet Italian bread – the kind with sesame seeds on the crust;
  • 2 cups of dried shiitakes;
  • 3 medium yellow onions or 2 large yellow onions;
  • soy sauce;
  • 3 eggs;
  • 1 24 oz can of chicken stock;
  • milk? (I can’t remember if I used milk or not…*)
  • dashes of white wine;
  • dashes of ngouc mam;
  • dash of sugar;
  • cooking oil/butter.

1. Soaking

The mushrooms were the stars of this show. I soaked them in warm water for a few hours before I cooked. Usually, I soak them in a deep, narrow container with a small dish that fits inside the container mouth to keep the mushrooms submerged nicely.

2. Chopping

The onions and mushrooms needed chopping/slicing. Each went into their own bowls, waiting their turn. I wanted to show off the beautiful shape of the shiitake, so, I sliced them (sans stem of course) from the top to the gills in 1/8″ wide pieces.

3. Bread Frying

This was the longest part – frying 8-10 pieces of bread on each side, to get some slight browning.** After frying, I chopped each slice into four strips. I think I chose against cubes, in the hopes that the pudding would be more textural.

4. Sweating the veggies + deglazing

To a hot, hot skillet, I added the onions, then the mushrooms. They sweated for a good few minutes, without burning. Then, I poured the chicken stock to deglaze and quickly scraped all the veggie fond from the bottom of the skillet. Now, I can’t quite remember how much white wine, soy sauce, ngouc mam, and sugar I added, but, they went into the mix during the deglazing. Everything simmered and smelled amazing as it all reduced a little bit.

5. Cooling the mushroom mix/Preheating oven

I knew I would need to add egg to make the stuffing, and did not want scrambled eggs, so, I let the mixture cool down a bit. Very important! I think I separated the liquids and stored them in the fridge or freezer for a little bit. This is probably when I preheated the oven (likely to 400).

6. Egg mixture

I beat the three eggs and incorporated the cooled liquids (and possibly the milk, if I used it!). The egg mixture was not watery in consistency – when I was mixing, likely with some chopsticks, the mixture was a little bit resistant/elastic.

7. Baking

I think the glass baking dish was 9″ x 13″ or so. Well, I buttered it. Then, loosely arranged the bread and the mushroom mix. Then poured the egg mixture, which almost covered the bread/mushroom mix. A few pieces stuck up here and there, for textural interest. Into the oven it all went, for about 1 hour at (probably) 350 Fahrenheit.

8. Costs

Most of the ingredients were pretty cheap, but the shiitakes usually aren’t.  The shiitakes came from a package I got from Costco, a really great deal – I think it was like 1/2 lb for $10.00 or so. Probably used less than 2 dollars’ worth or so. The quantity of onions might be 2 dollars. The bread expense…hm…maybe 2 dollars? Half a loaf, for four dollars or less (two dollars’ worth). Three eggs…roughly 50 cents – 75 cents, depending on how fancy the eggs were. That’s seven dollars so far, not counting the dashes of this and that. Using store-bought chicken stock brings up the cost to ten dollars. It serves more than ten, so, it’s probably less than a dollar per serving.

How did it taste? Oh, I remember it well! First, the nearly custard-like bread/egg foundation is rich and savory. Then a bite of the shiitakes makes the brain so very happy. Shiitakes are pure umami to me.***

*I usually use milk when making stuffing…so…I probably used it for this recipe…

**I don’t remember why I fried the bread, it’s been such a long time since I’ve made any kind of stuffing/pudding , but I’m pretty sure I’ve always done that for bread stuffings.

***Science journalist Robert Krulwich has a charming 8 minute story about Kikunae Ikeda and Escoffier discovering umami contemporaneously. One as a chemist, the other as a chef.

My Grandma’s Cranberry Salad – holiday recipe

People love this salad. It’s my third grandma’s. Red-headed woman from Nebraska. Force of nature. And cook extraordinaire. Here’s my rendition.

My Third Grandma’s Cranberry Salad

  • 1 bag of fresh cranberries;
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts;
  • 3 organic navel oranges, sectioned and chopped broadly after removing pith and skin – save the skin for zest*;
  • 3 Granny Smith or other tart apples, chopped broadly (I like to leave the skin on for color);
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of orange zest;
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar; and
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.

Wash the fresh cranberries. Throw out any berries that are discolored or soft. Throw them into the food processor. Put them into a mixing bowl and add everything else. Mix. Be sure to taste-test for sweetness – you might want more or less sugar. Refrigerate overnight (if possible). At least for 4 hours, to let it all come together. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving 2012 Update: check out the sauce for this salad!

Photo credit: a friend’s son took the picture above (and I cropped the picture to make for the extreme closeup effect) at my friend’s 2007 Christmas party, where I served this salad. I think I also served it at their 2006 Thanksgiving!

*I like for these to be organic especially because I am using the zest, and I’m guessing the peel has the greatest potential for exposure to pesticides and herbicides.