Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

Mom’s Oatmeal Lace Cookies

These are great, easy party cookies that I’ve been making since I was a kid. The hardest part was keeping them in one piece: they are fragile and break easily if not handled gently. Probably not the best cookie to make if you’re sending cookies or traveling with them.

If you do lose a few to breakage, that’s OK: these cookies also make a fantastic topping for ice cream.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups oatmeal (preferably not the instant kind)
2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Put the oatmeal, sugar, flour, and salt into a medium-large mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and stir well, then mix in the egg and vanilla. Blend well.

Place teaspoon-sized balls of the dough onto cookie sheets. Leave at least 2 inches between each piece, these cookies spread a lot while baking.

Bake for 7 minutes or until the cookies are light brown.

Notes

  • These cookies tend to stick to the tray unless you either use a Silpat baking mat or grease the trays. Waiting for the cookies to cool a bit before pulling them off the cookie tray also helps get them off without breaking.
  • If you really want to go for sugar overload, add chocolate: drizzle a little melted chocolate on top of the cookies, or even go all-out and dip the cookies into melted chocolate.

Grandma B’s Latkes

Just in time for Chanukah, here’s my maternal grandmother’s latke recipe. Grandma B was born in the Lodz ghetto, and came to America as a child, fortunately long before the horrors of WW2. She loved parties and gathering her family around her, and Chanukah was no exception.

Ingredients

2 lbs potatoes
1 large onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons matzo meal
2 eggs (yolks and whites separated)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
oil for frying

Preparation

Wash, peel, and grate the potatoes, drain over a large bowl. Discard the potato water but keep the starch left at the bottom of the bowl.

Grate the onions.

Beat the egg whites with a fork until well mixed.

Mix the onion, garlic, egg yolk, salt, and pepper all together with the potato starch. Add the matzo meal and beaten egg whites, continue mixing until all ingredients are nicely mixed together.

Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a heavy skillet. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter into the oil and fry until golden brown on the bottom. Flip, continue frying until second side is also brown. Remove from heat, drain on paper towels.

Eat and enjoy!

Notes

  • Frying oil. Grandma’s recipe calls for corn or peanut oil for frying the latkes, but as The Jew and The Carrot reminds us, these are not the healthiest possible choices. Canola oil is a good alternative.

Cornbread and Sage Dressing

Cornbread and Sage Stuffing

I originally found this dressing recipe on, of all places, the now-defunct webvan.com site back in the fall of 2000, when Scott and I were getting ready to cook our first big Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve made it pretty much every year since then, although I’ve tweaked it a little over the years to suit my tastes. It’s tasty and not at all difficult; the biggest challenge is the prep time, which can take a while with all the chopping and bread drying.

Ingredients:

1 9″ x 9″ cornbread
1 16-ounce loaf sourdough bread
2 cups diced bacon
1 cup diced onion
1 cup shredded carrot
2 tablespoons thinly-sliced fresh sage
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup chicken stock

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut the cornbread and the sourdough bread into 1/2 inch cubes. Spread onto baking trays and bake for 15 minutes or until the bread has dried out. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.

Cook the bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat until it begins to crisp. Add onions. Cook until the onions soften and start to turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the carrots, sage, salt and pepper. Turn heat to low and cook an additional 10 minutes.

Add the stock and the half-and-half to the contents of the pan and stir. This dissipates the heat and breaks up the fat. Then pour the contents of the pan into the mixing bowl and gently mix with the bread cubes until the dressing is moist and well blended. I usually use my hands for this but a large wooden spoon is good too.

Put the mixture into a 13” x 9” x 2” greased baking pan. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the top is crispy.

Notes & Substitutions:

  • Can be prepared one to two days before and reheated in the oven. Make sure the dressing has reached room temperature before reheating.
  • Cubing and drying the bread can be done a day before and the bread kept, loosely covered, overnight. Use day-old bread for faster drying.
  • If you want to add more turkey flavor, use turkey stock instead of chicken.
  • Substitute 1 teaspoon dried sage for fresh sage if you can’t get fresh.
  • Kosher alternative: use beef bacon instead of pork, and more stock to replace the half-and-half.