Food for The Thomas

My Photo
Location: United States

... formerly known as Strider. It’s an old joke instigated by a girlfriend back in college. I used to be seen hiking through the snow wearing a floppy hat and carrying a walking staff ... the whole thing. Much has changed since then.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Bestemor's Julekage - Original Version

Regardless of whether you spell it Julekage, Julecage, or Yulecage it is our family's favorite breakfast bread during the Christmas season. This is the original recipe which makes three loaves that came down through our family from my father's Bestemor (Grandmother), my Oldemor.

The bread machine version of this recipe can be found here.

1 pint of milk - scald

½ lb - Sugar (1 cup)
¼ lb - butter
½ cup - Crisco
2 tsp - Salt
Combine these 4 ingredients in a bowl and add the scalded milk. Let cool, after stirring to dissolve the butter and Crisco.

Meanwhile put 8 cups of flour in a large bowl and add 2 tsp of ground cardamom.

When the scalded milk mixture has cooled, add 1 egg and stir lightly.
Add 2 packages of yeast that have been mixed with ½ cup lukewarm water.

Now slowly pour the mixture into the bowl with the flour, stir and beat like when you make bread.

Let stand until doubled in bulk. Then beat down and let it rise again, to double in bulk.
These two risings take a while. We normally set the bowl (covered by a sack-cloth towel and/or plastic wrap) in front of a heat vent to assist with the rising.
Next put the entire mixture on a lightly floured bread board. Push it around until it fills the board. Kneed into the dough 1 cup of raisins and 1 cup of Citron (cut up small).

Divide dough into three parts and put into pans that have been buttered. Let stand until doubled in bulk.

Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

If you use instant yeast, be sure and add the powder to the ½ cup of lukewarm water. Do not just add the powdered yeast to the mixture.
I normally "proof" the yeast by adding a pinch of sugar to the water/dry yeast mixture and waiting for it to foam before adding it to the milk/butter/sugar/egg mixture.
You can use Cardamom that has already been ground or you can buy the Cardamom seeds and grind them yourself. You need 32 pods to 2 tsp of Cardamom. Remove the pods and then grind the seeds that are inside, very fine. The cardamom taste in the bread is stronger by grinding the cardamom yourself as it loses its flavor in the already ground cardamom.
We purchase our cardamom in the spice isle of our local health food store. We have also taken to using a coffee grinder to grind the cardamon rather than the normal mortar and pestle. It is so much easier to measure the caramon into the grinder and punch a button than to play with the mortar and pestle.
We also soak the raisins in warm water and drain them before they get added before the third rising. This softens the raisins and makes for a nicer loaf of bread.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Remembering the Schnitzelbank

The Schnitzelbank was a German restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids for many years. It closed back on February 1st after a nearby hospital bought the land it sits on. The Grand Rapids Press ran a cover story today about the Schnitz' including several of their "famous" recipes. The following are links to the story of the restaurant's closing as well as the recipes.

Remembering the Schnitzelbank:
Traditional German recipes endure

Chef Karl Heinz Staeglich's cucumber salad

Schnitzelbank German potato salad

Schnitzelbank pork hocks

Schnitzelbank potato pancakes

Schnitzelbank red cabbage

Schnitzelbank sauerbraten

Schnitzelbank wiener schnitzel, Holstein

These links should stay good for a couple years. The Grand Rapids Press/Mlive leaves the articles up on their server, but only indexes the last 14 days.

Oddly enough, the retired long-time chef of the Schnitz', Karl Heinz Staeglich, died just last week.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bestemor's Julekage - Bread Machine Version ala James


Regardless of whether you spell it Julekage, Julecage, or Yulecage it is our family's favorite breakfast bread during the Christmas season. The original recipe (which I must find) came down through our family from my father's Bestemor (Grandmother), my Oldemor.

This recipe was reduced from the original 3 loaf recipe to fit in a common bread making machine. It still takes several hours to make, but we don't have to fuss as much to get the bread.

The original version of this recipe can be found here.

This is a 3½ cup sweet bread recipe that almost always rises too much, although not as bad now with the 'turbo' setting and fast yeast. Must be monitored and punctured with a toothpick around the top if it is rising too much. The problem is that the recipe still has too much sugar given that it does not have to go through multiple risings as with the original recipe, but if you put up with the minor hassles it makes a nice loaf. With a different machine you may need to adjust the liquid and/or sugar.
We have found that part of the problem with the loaf rising too much is due to the flour being compacted. The problem goes away if you sift the flour.
All measures are level.

1 C milk (scalded low fat, very warm but not still hot, of course)
5T butter
¼ C fake eggs (or 1 egg white or 1 egg)
¼ C + 1 T sugar
½ t salt
16 pods of cardamon, hand ground (1-2 t)
3½ C bread flour (sifted)
2¼ t yeast (or 1 packet of regular yeast)
    (Jim originally had this at 1T)
We normally scald the milk, then add the cut up butter to the scalded milk while waiting for the milk to cool enough for baking. We also mix the ground caramon with the sifted flour so that we are not left with clumps of caramon in the bread.

This goes in the machine as milk/butter, egg, salt/sugar, flour, cardamon, yeast. Obviously grinding the cardamon requires starting some time in advance if you want it fresh.
We have taken to using a coffee grinder to grind the cardamon rather than the normal mortar and pestle. It is so much easier to measure the caramon into the grinder and punch a button than to play with the mortar and pestle.
The following are added when our machine beeps about 5 min from the end of the second mixing stage (before the last rising). The citron can go in earlier if you like since it is only the raisins that get mashed up if they go in too soon.

3/8 C citron (I chop it to 1/4 original size)
3/8 C raisins (soak in water, then pat dry on paper towel)
I start this stuff after loading the machine, so the raisins have time to plump and dry off, and usually dump in the citron when the second mixing starts.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Janet's Sweet and Sour Sloppy Joes


1½ to 2 pounds of Ground Beef
¾ cup Celery
¾ cup Green Pepper
½ cup Onion
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tablespoons Regular Mustard (or 1 Tablespoon Dried Mustard)
2 to 4 cups of Ketchup
Brown Ground Beef along with the Celery, Green Pepper, and Onion.
Drain excess fat after browning.
Add Vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, Mustard, Brown Sugar, and Ketchup.
You may vary the amount of Ketchup depending on how soupy you wish the sauce.
Simmer over Low Heat for 15 minutes.
Serve in Hamburger buns.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Fables II Steak Kebobs

A bunch of years ago there used to be a small chain of restaurants known as the Fables Family Restaurants. The partnership was formed between a Mister Faber and a Mister Boyles. They took parts of their two last names to form the name of the company. The original restaurant was once part of the “Kewpie” chain and served hamburgers. Most of the restaurants operated cafeteria style, but a couple of the restaurants were called “Fables II” and offered normal served seating. We got this recipe for this “Steak Kebob” from the chef just before they closed the last Fables II in the mid to late 80s. The whole secret was in the sauce.

(We normally use larger pieces, but this is the description for the original article.)

Basic ingredients:

Cherry Tomatoes
Sweet Onions (like Vidalia Onions)
Green Pepper

Special Sauce: Kraft Catalina Dressing
Cut steak into 1-inch cubes and marinate in the special sauce for two or three hours

Cut the onions and peppers into 1-inch pieces for the kebobs.

Using wood or metal skewers, build the kebobs – alternating between ingredients.
Remember to start and finish each kebob with a chunk of steak so the ingredients don’t fall off when they are being grilled.

Grill the kebobs, basting them with the special sauce. I normally use a brush to remove the remaining sauce from the marinade pan and then just pour the sauce straight from the bottle when I need more.

Warm additional special sauce to serve with the kebobs.
This recipe is a favorite in our family even though our (no longer teen aged) children can't remember eating at Fables II.

Sadly none of the Fables remain in operation. Perkins bought up the Fables II buildings. After the other Fables closed, their buildings were bought by New Beginnings.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Melt In Your Mouth Cookies

There are sugar cookies and then there are sugar cookies.
This cookie is like making a Martini by showing the Gin bottle the Vermouth.
Only enough flour is used so that the sugar is formed into a cookie.

½ cup butter (or oleo)
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
¾ cup sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Mix well and drop a teaspoon onto cookie pan.
Bake at 400° F for 5 minutes.
These cookies become very flat when they are baked. Makes about 8 dozen cookies.

One could use a tablespoon for the measure, but then you could only eat one cookie without going into sugar shock.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Grandma Hop's Raisin Cookies

Back to cookies.
This is a spice/raisin cookie. The date on this recipe is August 1951.

1 cup butter (or oleo)
1½ cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
½ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp cinnamon
2 level tsp baking soda in ¼ cup hot water
3¼ cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup ground raisins

Mix well and drop a tablespoon onto cookie pan.
Bake at 400° F for 9 to 10 minutes.
Makes 6 to 7 dozen cookies.

You may wish to soak the raisins in hot water before grinding them.
My mom used a cast iron meat grinder to grind the raisins. I now use a similar attachment on my food processor.