Bernice Zurawski’s Bread

Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 1.27.54 PM Here is my Polish grandmother’s signature bread, and no one in the family, no one, had the recipe. She was an elegant lady who also was a fabulous cook, including dishes such as tender venison steak and walnut-stuffed turkey.  But she made this always round, hard crust bread almost daily, sometimes adding raisins and topping with sugar. This bread was treasured, especially at my mother’s swanky Christmas parties. And, one summer, a grandson entered her bread at the Wisconsin State Fair, where it promptly won a blue ribbon.

My grandmother never used a recipe for her bread, of course, and would gently laugh while raising her shoulders when we asked how to make it. But we could watch.

This “close-as-we-can-get” recipe comes through my uncle and aunt. He was the second youngest of her nine children, and saw her make bread countless times. I’m so grateful, for as I follow it, grandma comes to life, there in her small kitchen, brewing strong black coffee as she scalds the milk with butter and sugar, then softens yeast for her bread.  Then she stops, turns, and in her wonderful Polish accent, asks me to “wait a minute,” as she pulls ginger cookies down from the pantry for me before turning back to her bread.

Bernice Zurawski’s Bread
Ingredients
½ lb. butter, and more to generously grease the bread rising bowl and bread pan
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Oxtail Stew, an heirloom recipe

This is a classy, rich, amazing dish. It’s an heirloom, for it was handed down to me from my Polish mom from her mom. But it is one of those, “they never used a recipe,” recipe. That means it was assumed you had seen how it was made before, tasted it, knew what you were doing and, certainly, made it slightly differently each time. (And you serve it on top of mashed   potatoes or wide egg noodles.)

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This “unwritten” recipe for Oxtail Stew is really just the “bones” of the dish, the basic instruction. The cook uses it as a start, then simply tastes and adjusts as he goes along. So feel free to take this instruction, and note of some of my italic adjustments I made today when preparing this stew; then make your own. ~But know, the next time you, or I, make it, it will be different!

Anyway, I introduced this Stew to my hubby when we were dating, and swear, that introduction led to the 20 years of marital bliss we celebrate today!

Oxtail Stew
2 lbs. oxtails, cut in 1½” lengths
flour for dredging1 med. onion, sliced
1 can condensed beef broth
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Creamy Peasant Turkey Soup with Waldorf Noodles

Roasted turkey stock, rustic vegetables and cream sent over the top with the handmade soup noodles as described Waldorf Astoria Maitre D’Hotel Oscar Tschirky in his 1896 cookbook, Oscar Of The Waldorf.

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Creamy Peasant Turkey Soup
Ingredients
2 tbsp. butter
6 stalks celery with inner, tender stalks and leaves, cut in 1″ square pieces
6 carrots, cut in 1″ square pieces
I med. or lg. onion, cut in ½-1″ square pieces
1 lg. turnip, ½-1″ dice
2-3 bay leaf
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Pecan & Peanut Butter-Chocolate Bonbons, circa 1983

Fancy peanut butter cups, with pecans! A recipe from the early 1980s, and a classic, perfect for St. Valentine’s Day.

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Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 9.49.33 PMPecan & Peanut Butter-Chocolate Bonbons

2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
3/4 c. pecans, chopped
½ c. flaked coconut
½ c. peanut butter
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Raspberry Creams, The White House Cookbook, by Ziemann, Gillette

Victorian era candy for St. Valentine’s Day.  And these come from America!  They appear in the first cookbook to reveal how The White House entertained; The White House Cookbook.

Published back in 1887, it is still a stand-out cookbook, as it features Chef Hugo Ziemann.  As noted by the cookbook, Ziemann was caterer for Prince Napoleon (the Napoleon who died fighting Zulus in Africa), steward of the famous Hotel Splendide in Paris, “conducted” the celebrated Brunswick Café in New York, and the Hotel Richelieu in Chicago.

Mrs. F.L. Gillette co-authored the cookbook, adapting recipes “to the practical wants of average American homes.” Here is the recipe as printed, except Trumpeterhill separated ingredients, added explanations and suggested substitutions, in italics.

The 1887 White House Cookbook Raspberry Creams
Confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. raspberry jam
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Grey Goose L’Orange Cosmopolitan

A lovely way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

This recipe first appeared in a magazine ad for Grey Goose L’Orange.  It has been very slightly revised to add a squeeze of a fresh orange alongside the lime juice, and it is garnished with an orange peel instead of a lime peel.  That slightly revised cocktail can be found at http://www.greygoose.com/en/us/cocktail-recipes/cosmopolitan

Since we’ve enjoyed the original, and find it apt for a lovers’ holiday, we post it here:

Grey Goose L’Orange Cosmopolitan
3 oz. Grey Goose L’Orange
1/2 oz. Cointreau, or Grand Marnier (sweeter than Cointreau)
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Belgian Cherry Bon-bons

Pretty little melted bon-bon cookies with a crimson cherry in the center.

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Belgian Cherry Bon-bons
1 c. butter, softened
2 c. confectioners’ sugar (also known as 10x or powdered sugar)
½ tsp. almond extract (may substitute vanilla)
1½ c. walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
2½ c. cake flour, shifted
2 (3½ oz.) containers candied cherries
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New England Poached Salmon with Dill, Caper & Egg Sauce

IMG_1124A little wild salmon for post Valentine’s Day brunch. The lightest and, perhaps healthiest, way to gently coax the flavor from the fish.

This dish, is a slight variation (~we just add dill and capers and punch up the flavor of the sauce) of the Salmon with Egg Sauce that was a favorite of President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams, the first family to entertain in the White House.  Poppy Cannon and Patricia Brooks’ 1968 The President’s Cookbook, reveals, Mrs. Adams thought the dish “so memorable she decided the ‘American’ quality of it made it perfect as an Independence Day dinner.” It was served with Green Turtle Soup and Apple Pan Dowdy for dessert.”

So, here is Abigail Adam’s original recipe, with a boost of flavor in italics.

New England Poached Salmon with Dill, Caper & Egg Sauce
4-6 lb. center-cut piece salmon
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The Old Fashioned

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This is my father’s coveted Old Fashioned, served lovingly and on trays at the best of family celebrations.  Each drink is made individually.

Dad’s Old Fashioned
1. Put a sugar cubes into an old fashioned glass.
2. Shake the bitters over the sugar cubes so the bitters soak into the cubes. Then smash the sugar cubes and fill the glass with ice.
3. Pour over with 2½ shot of any whiskey or brandy (recommend Jack Daniels).
4. Add selzer to fill the glass ~ more whiskey than selzer.
5. Garnish with a slice of orange, a maraschino cherry and cinnamon stick.

Endive Cups Filled With Cheese, Mango & Toasted Pecans

This appetizer comes from Fast Appetizers by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison, published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 1999.

Endive Cups Filled With Cheese, Mango And Toasted Pecans
1/2 c. pecans
1 sm. ripe mango or 1/2 c. mango chutney
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, finely minced
2 tsp. Asian chile sauce, or hot sauce
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