Went to the stupidmarket yesterday and the first things that caught my eye were …
GRANNY SMITH APPLES
Naturally, the first thing I had to do was core, peel and slice one of them and make …
OLD FASHIONED APPLE TOAST
This was something my Mom always used to make when the first apples of fall began to show up in the produce aisles of the store. Since I always helped her make them, it became on of the first unwritten recipes I learned. Since I was only cooking for myself, I only peeled and cut one apple today. That yielded two apple toasts, one for dessert at dinner and one for breakfast tomorrow morning. Back when my Mom was cooking for five , we used to fill an entire cookie sheet with the goodies.
While Mom’s recipe was easy, my updated version is even simpler. Mom used to peel the apple using a paring knife and then remove the core by hand before slicing the apple. I cheated and used and apple corer to zip the center out and a potato peeler to remove the peel. Then I cut the apple in half and sliced each half into thin slices. Mom used to cut the apple into wedges.
I also used whole wheat bread which I spread with whipped cinnamon sugar butter. It comes all mixed together in a little tub in the store’s dairy aisle. Then the apple slices are spread across the buttered bread. Mom always used real sugar, but since I don’t need the extra sugar I sprinkled granulated Splenda over the apple slices along with a few sprinkles of cinnamon. I baked it in the toaster over at 350 until were juicy and the bread toasty.
For dinner, I braised a pork steak in a pan with chopped red and green pepper and onions and a shot of bourbon whiskey. I also did a baked potato and a half cob of corn. The whole dinner was fantastic and I even made a cup of pumpkin spice coffee to go with the apple toast. It was a heritage cooking dinner almost like old times when Mom used to make it. Only I had leftovers for another meal.
It’s getting to be picnic time. And since I’m the only member of the immediate family with any interest in cooking, I’m the only one who knows the secret of preparing all wonderful summer dishes that were passed down for generations from mother to daughter. Unfortunately, my mother only gave birth to three sons, so see was stuck with me as the family recipe recipient. Actually most of the traditional recipes aren’t even recipes. They had to be learned by word of mouth and hands on experience.
So this past weekend I made a huge batch of the tradition family pickled beets. My grandmother’s family were from north-eastern Poland which bordered (from time to time Russia, Lithuania, and Belarus) — so red beets were a staple food item. And while my grandmother seldom made borscht or barszcz as it was known in Poland, she did cook up a mean buttered beets and an even better pickled beets. Back in her days fixing either dish called for a lot of work. The beets had to be trimmed, washed, cooked and then peeled before being cut, sliced or diced for what ever dish they were going to become.
The recipe is easy to put together sliced beets, thinly sliced onion, pepper, cider vinegar, sugar, water, and pinch of celery seed and ground mustard. There really are no given measurements, since the whole dish is put together by taste alone. Since I add the beets and the beet juice from the can, I usually don’t add extra salt. My Mom used to use yellow onions, but since Sweet Vidalia Onions became available I’ve been using them. Some people add a little olive oil to the liquid, but I’m a purest. My mother and grandmother would pack the beets in sterile Mason jars and store them in the “icebox” a couple of days before serving them.
Since they really don’t last long enough for leftovers, I just store them in a Tupperware dish with a lid.
Besides, I had to split the heritage with my two brothers. Rating … delicious!