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This Week's Scuttlebutt

Cooking and Culture: Recipes

The following recipes have been shared by visitors to the Sharing Ideas Open Forum and reflect the ongoing relationship between cooking and culture.
Recipes listed:

Bread Pudding
Originally posted by Anne W. on Shared Ideas, Sept. 02, 1999:

We've been making this in the family for many years.

My maternal grandmother, who lived with us while I was growing up, was a very good baker who never used a written recipe. Fortunately, before I left home years ago, I wrote down most of her specialties. When I moved away from Chicago in the 80s, I gave dad a copy of the recipe and he made it for mom. This week, wanting to use up an old loaf of bread, I decided to make bread pudding.

Remember, this is an old-time recipe. You make it as much by "feel" as you do by following directions. For instance, the number of slices of bread used will vary depending on the type of bread. It is very simple, though!

Grandma's Bread Pudding

Mix ingredients in actual bowl being used for baking; personally, I use a 9" glass casserole. (I do set the casserole on a cookie sheet when I place it in the oven.)

In your casserole, tear approx. 9 slices of STALE bread into bite-size pieces. Depending on the dryness of the bread, you may use 8 slices or 12 slices.

Pour approximately 1 cup milk over the bread. (I use low-fat milk.) Smoosh the bread down into the milk with a fork and let the bread soak for three or four minutes. When the bread has formed a moist mass at the bottom of the bowl, it's ready.

While the bread is soaking, measure out approximately 1/4 cup of fine brown sugar and 1/4 cup of granulated white sugar. (I just add both to one measuring cup.)

Stir the bread. Add more milk OR more bread as needed. If it's okay, leave it as-is.

Add the brown sugar to the bread/milk. Stir gently with a fork.

In your measuring cup, crack one large egg.
Add 1 tsp. vanillin. Mix.
Add egg/vanillin mixture to bread.

Optional: Toss in some raisins. I use anywhere from 1/4-1/2 cup. Stir.

Dot top with margarine.

Bake in hot oven anywhere from 1 hour to 1-1/2 hours. I start checking it after one hour. The bread pudding is done when the color is golden brown and the pudding has swollen in the casserole dish. Like a quiche, it will collapse as it cools.

If I'm putting the bread pudding in the oven with dinner, I set the oven for 350 degrees. If I'm baking it by itself, I usually set the oven for 375 degrees.

The bread pudding is great served warm. After it has cooled, though, it should be refrigerated. Refrigerated bread pudding can be eaten cold or rewarmed in the microwave.

Midwestern Jello Salads
Originally posted by Cass on Shared Ideas, Sept. 02, 1999:

Midwestern Jello Salads
… lime Jell-O, cut into a square with an embedded pear half, topped with a dollop of mayonnaise and some shredded American cheese, is the regional salad of the Midwest. Or maybe it's the orange Jell-O, with the crushed pineapple and shredded carrots....

Reply to Cass:
Originally posted by Lynn on Sept. 03, 1999:

I've heard it said that Midwesterners consider the term "Jell-O Salad" to be redundant. Born and raised in Milwaukee, I remember your:

: orange Jell-O, with the crushed pineapple and shredded carrots....

very well. But I have terrific recipes for Strawberry Sour Cream Jello and Orange Sherbet Jello that might convert even those who look down their noses at mere mention of Jello as a food! And don't get me started on Broken Glass Torte -- with cut squares of Jello...

Reply to Lynn:
Originally posted by Anne W. on October 7, 2000:

Here is a link to a non-commercial website that features the history of Jell-o, as well as Jell-o poetry, recipes, and trivia. The site also includes links to Kraft's commercial Jell-o site.
Dedicated to Jell-o

Originally posted by Steve Tiano on Sharing Ideas, Sept. 02, 1999:

Steve's Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh, clean basil leaves
  • 4-12 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled (actually 4, but I use 12)
  • 1 cup pignoli nuts or walnuts (I prefer the latter)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese*
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh romano cheese*
  • * I prefer 1-1/4 cups Locatelli romano
  • Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Process first 3 ingredients in a food processor for about 60-90 seconds, turning on and off a coupla times and scraping down sides.
  2. With processor running, slowly pour--in a thin, steady stream--the olive oil in.
  3. Turn off food processor and add grated cheese and freshly-ground black pepper.
This is NOT heated, but is served over hot or cold macaroni--it's trés rigeur [sp?] to say "pasta" these days. You can also spread it on Italian bread, focaccio, French bread--hell, pita pockets--and broil.

Or on fish or chicken cutlets and grill or broil.

There's something I kind of concocted with a friend's help. She liked to make fresh mayonnaise--essentially raw egg yolk, olive oil, and lemon juice (sometimes a touch of anchovy paste)--I add a cup or so of pesto to that--and toss into a cold salad of tortellini and pieces of smoked salmon or broiled/grilled chicken, salmon.

Garlic Pesto
Reply to Steve Tiano's post on Pesto
Originally posted by Cass on Shared Idea, Sept. 02, 1999:

[Your pesto is] good as a baked potato topper, too. Shelled, unsalted sunflower seeds are an excellent substitute for the pricey pignoli. Okay, Steve, here's a pesto an Italian is bound to love: Garlic pesto.

Cass' Garlic Pesto
You'll need to grow your own garlic or visit a good Asian food store during garlic top season (mid- to late June in most of the United States and Canada). Garlic tops are the flower scapes of the garlic plant.
  • One bunch of garlic tops (6 to 10 scapes), chopped coarsely.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil.
  • 1/2 cup good Parmesan cheese.
  • 1/2 cup nuts. (For this one, I use dry-roasted peanuts).
Run it through your food processor. This makes a thickish pesto -- great for dipping or spreading on crackers. Add a bit more more oil if you want to use it as a pasta sauce.

Reply to Cass' Garlic Pesto recipe:
Originally posted by Steve Tiano on Shared Ideas, Sept. 02, 1999

Interesting, Cass. I never heard of this. I'll file it till next year when I've a shot at my own garlic. I must say that I've never had luck growing garlic.

For the first time in 20 years, when I had one at my parents', I had a vegetable garden this summer. The basil was so-so as far as yield goes. I got enough for pesto 3 times. The tomatoes were the really successful thing. My wife was pleased by that.

I, unfortunately--Italian or not--do not eat fresh/whole tomatoes. I'll eat sun-dried--or oven-dried, if I make them. And ketchup and sauce--gravy, I remember we called it when I was a kid, not distinguishing it from gravy gravy.

Thanks for this food respite!

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Saturday, April 19, 2003 15:25