Pots de Creme

Chocolate pots de creme in an espresso cup
I thought these teeny espresso cups were the prefect size for this rich dessert.

My mother always talked about the “Meissen ware” that she hoped she would inherit from her parents. One Christmas, she got boxes full of dishes, much to her delight. They never got unwrapped and then time and things happened and they made their way to me. It’s not actually Meissen ware, it’s Minton, and quite a bit of it was broken. I was just finally getting around to unpacking it (we moved to our “forever home” a bit more than a year ago) and was reminded of how elegant they are. It only seemed appropriate to make a fancy dessert.

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Cheese Dish

Cheese dish on a plate with asparagus
It certainly doesn’t look controversial, does it?

This is possibly the most controversial dish in my father’s family. It was an invention of the days when meat wasn’t to be eaten on Fridays. It seems a little strange to serve rice and cheese as a main dish, but it’s quite similar to macaroni and cheese in that regard. So how is it controversial? I think people either loved it or hated it. Continue reading “Cheese Dish”

Stuffed French Toast Strata

A casserole dish with baked stuffed french toast strata
Golden brown, crunchy, buttery, sweet. So good.

I’m almost positive that my mom got this recipe from the proprietors of a B&B we stayed in in Seward, AK. We stayed there as part of a trip to catch some salmon during a visit to my Aunt Kathy who lived near Anchorage at the time. I remember eating something like this for breakfast and my mom asking for the recipe, but I certainly wouldn’t swear on anything that this was it. While we’re on the subject, does anybody else find B&Bs awkward? That was the only time I’ve stayed in one and I felt like they thought I was family…but in a weird way. Like they would eventually realize we weren’t. Would make for a great movie script, but not such a great real experience.

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Barbecue Pork Chops

A pan of cooked barbecue pork chops.
You can see from the rings on the pan now much the sauce reduced. The crater in the front and center chop was from a little over-zealous basting.

This was a dish that was a true favorite of one of my uncles. He says:

I also loved Barbeque pork chops. On our birthdays, Mother would often ask us what we might want to eat for the meal. I very clearly remember Mother asking me one year on my birthday, when I was about 12 or so, what I might want to have for the family birthday meal. I immediately replied, barbeque pork chops.¬† I was quite disappointed when Mother said that it was too hot to have them. I was so surprised to hear that. It had not occurred to me that with the temperature in the 90’s that day, July 12, that working in a hot kitchen cooking meat, in a house without air conditioning, might be a difficult thing.

Today wasn’t too hot to be in the kitchen. It’s spring in Minnesota (or “second winter”) and there are still piles of snow on the ground and the highs are barely above freezing. Having the oven on a long time for a low and slow cook time was just perfect.

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Orange Sweater

Orange crocheted sweater with white, black, and red buttons.
The first article of clothing I’ve crocheted! It’s sassy.

I finally finished the sweater I’ve been working on for my daughter. It’s a cardigan from the book Little Crochet. The pattern calls for switching yarn to make stripes and adding a pocket, but I opted for a simpler look. My goals were simple: to have it fit my daughter and be done before it was too warm to wear. I succeeded!

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Chocolate Revel Bars

 

Close up of the bars shows the melty chocolate.
Crunchy topping and ooey-gooey chocolate. Good when cooled, but ah-may-zing when still warm.

When I mentioned that I was going to be making “chocolate revel bars,” just about everybody I told got a quizzical look on their face and asked “what’s that?” I wasn’t sure if that meant that this was an original recipe to the family or not. Turns out not. Google turns up several places with the exact recipe you’ll find below. Now let’s all pretend we don’t know that and continue on.

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Lola’s Famous Beans

A bowl of the beans showing the pork that was cooked in it.
See those big chunks of pork in those beans? So satisfying and good.

My mom’s mom’s mom (my great grandmother), Lola, was born in 1882 and was apparently a rather good cook. It’s difficult to imagine how she got most tasks done that seem simple to me today. The whole landscape of cooking was different. Different ideals of health, ¬†different availability of foods, different tools. So I’m fairly confident, despite what the recipe I have says, that the original method for her famous baked beans didn’t involve a slow cooker. It’s far more likely that they were put in a low oven all day. Continue reading “Lola’s Famous Beans”

Port Cake

Bundt cake with a bottle of tawny port.
Use a tawny port for this cake…or any other booze that strikes your fancy. Whatever floats your boat.

As far as baking goes, this recipe is a bit of a cheat. It’s an easy and tasty cheat, however, so I don’t mind sharing it with you. You take a box mix, add a box of instant pudding, and then make it according to the cake’s package directions. With one exception: you substitute the water with alcohol. You may have had rum cake made this way, but I saw one made with tawny port recently and decided to give it a go.¬† Continue reading “Port Cake”

Dishcloths

The yarn did that all on its own!

A dishcloth is a relatively easy project to crochet. The problem is that “easy” can quickly turn to “boring.” Making little squares of fabric isn’t that exciting. I generally like to make washcloths when I’m trying to learn a new stitch or technique.

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Rhubarb Pie

A rhubarb pie with a slice removed
Can you tell what the secret is by looking at this? Come back after you’ve read the whole post and look again.

My grandma made the best rhubarb pie. The best. It was tart and absolutely full of wonderful rhubarb flavor. No strawberry to get in the way of tasting just pure rhubarb. Or at least I thought it was pure rhubarb. It wasn’t until very recently that I was informed that grandma added something else to her rhubarb pie. Most people are surprised when they hear what it is. Continue reading “Rhubarb Pie”