About Monica Kass Rogers

The "Lost Recipes Found" lady

Happy Thanksgiving, 2014!

Monday morning, Thanksgiving week. Gentle rain has colored the tree trunks black, there are drops on the window panes, and the wind swirls what leaves haven’t yet been raked, up on the stoop, where they mischievously clash with the winterberry-and-greens. It’s a good, quiet moment to reflect on the mountains of kindnesses and blessings I’ve received this year, the hard work, the trials, the risks, the failures, the triumphs and the many, many souls that have touched mine. I know you are doing the same. Here’s hoping the moments you spend here at Lost Recipes Found are a little blessing for you, a tribute to the cooks who have gone before, and a source for memorable recipes you can play forward, in your own holiday traditions. Thanks for being a part of this. Here are links (below with photos)to holiday-table favorites I’ve featured at Lost Recipes Found. Enjoy!

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Happy Thanksgiving, from Monica Kass Rogers.

 

 

 

Senator Russell’s Sweet Potatoes

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Melting Apple Cake with Maple Frosting

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Jalapeno Creamed Spinach

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Kentucky Beer Cheese Dip

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Savory Sage & Sausage Stuffing

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Pineapple Cheddar Bake

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Sunchoke Soup (Jerusalem Artichoke)

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Garnet Yam Souffle in Orange Baskets

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Potato Rutabaga Apple Pave

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Whitehall Club Creamed Spinach

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Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie: Pumpkin Spice Mousse, Pie Crust Twists, Maple Pecan Crunch

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Quince & Apple Pie

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Sweet Potato Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream

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Buttered Maple Black Walnut Pie

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Chocolate Pecan Pie

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Veggie Tray Soup (Crudite Soup)

We throw a lot of parties doing houseconcerts twice a month at our living-room arts incubator, the Pig & Weasel. After all the guests have gone and I’ve cleared out the wine & beer bottles, and whatever fell behind the bar, I survey the food table leavings. Invariably, there, next to the tray holding one sad, smushed brownie, and the half a cookie that fell in somebody’s ginger ale, I will find most of a tray of fresh veggies. They are still gallantly cheerful, the brightest color in the afterparty glow. It always makes me feel they deserve a good send off.  Sooooo….I came up with this day-after-the-party veggie tray–or if you prefer–crudite soup. Simply a saute of vegetable soup with the broccoli and cauliflower florets trimmed down to tiny, it’s really easy to make, (I mean, you’ve already done most of the prep work peeling & cutting the veggies to make the tray, right?) and it tastes really good with just a little crusty dunking bread and maybe a little cheese. Make this the day or two after Thanksgiving for anybody who can’t stand to look at more turkey. Happy Holidays!

Senator Russell’s Sweet Potatoes (Version 1 & 2)

Calling down to Georgia’s  State Capitol offices and the Culinary History Society of Georgia, nobody could comment on the gustatorial habits of Richard B. Russell, Jr. (1897 – 1971) the famous politician this dish is named for. But judging from its ingredients, one thing is sure: Richard Russell had a sweet tooth. Depending on the version you source, this sweet potato casserole—a mainstay going back for generations on Southern holiday tables, includes from two to three cups of sugar. That, plus plenty of butter and pecans, makes this more of a dessert than a side dish, in my opinion.  But sidedish, or dessert, there’s no denying that the butter-crunchy pecan crust and smooth, whipped sweets beneath taste delicious.

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I’m including two versions of the dish. The first, which may be the original, comes from Nicolette Bruner, who got it from her husband’s grandmother, Stella Roberts Russell, one of Senator Russell’s cousins. It has about half the butter, a quarter of the milk and a third of the sugar used in the second version.

The second version comes to us from Victoria Osteen, who, with her husband Joel, pastors Lakewood Church, of Houston, TX, one of the largest congregations in the country. Victoria’s mom’s family comes from Georgia and says the dish goes way back on their traditional holiday menu.

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The second version of the recipe is also one of many family favorites featured in Diane Cowen’s popular new book, “Sunday Dinners: Food, Family, and Faith from our Favorite Pastors.” Cowen kindly agreed to do an interview with LRF, about the book. We’re including that, here.

Original byline: Smiley N. Pool/Houston Chronicle Diane CowenLRF intro: The Houston Chronicle is the largest U.S. newspaper with a stand-alone religion section. It’s also got a James Beard award-winning food section. Diane Cowen is editor of both.  As such, Cowen has spent a lot of time analyzing Sunday traditions, including the dinner table where faith, family and food from many cultural backgrounds, intersect. Her book, “Sunday Dinners,” from Andrews McMeel Publishing, gives readers a window in to the Sunday meal traditions of some of the largest churches in America.

LRF: Diane, you’ve said, the more you think about religion and food, “the more I see what they have in common.”  Say more about that.

DC:  Well, I think there’s just such a sense of community with both. And we can’t forget the family traditions. When I was growing up, Sundays were about going to church in the morning and then having dinner together as a family afterward. Sometimes it was at home with immediate family, but many times it was about traveling to the next county over where my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins lived. There such a sense of community in going to church, whether it’s Sunday school as a child, Bible study as an adult or simply worshipping regularly with people who share your faith. That’s true regardless of where you worship, whether it’s a church, temple, synagogue or mosque.

LRF: Houston is home to three of the nation’s largest churches: non-denominational Lakewood Church; Second Baptist– the country’s largest Southern Baptist church; and Windsor Village–the country’s largest United Methodist. You feature interviews and family recipes from the pastors of each of these churches. As huge and busy as these churches are, were you surprised that the pastor families at the helm still keep the tradition of Sunday dinner alive?

DC: Yes, a little bit, to be honest. Those families have so many demands on their time that I was worried they might not have energy for Sunday dinners. They all talked about how important it had been to them growing up and how they wanted their children and grandchildren to have the same experience. It was really heartening to hear their stories. They’re all at different places in their lives and they’re very different families, but the Sunday dinner thread between them was strong.

LRF: How did you decide which churches and pastors’ families to feature in this book?

DC: I began with making a wish list of people I know and/or admire. In Houston my list could have been very long but I asked four pastors and they all said yes. Then I thought about other Texas cities and immediately wanted the Frazees and Jakes. From there, I wanted some geographic and ethnic diversity so I simply did my homework as any journalist would. I had interviewed Matthew Barnett and Floyd Flake and really admired them so I asked them for interviews. I lived for a long time in South Bend, Ind., so I knew I wanted a Notre Dame priest. From there it was really about trying to get different parts of the country included. I researched dynamic pastors and found videos of their sermons online to gauge how engaging they would be. I was pretty happy with how all of the interviews turned out.

LRF: Do you have a favorite recipe from the book?

DC: I have a few, for sure. The recipes I make the most are the pulled pork tacos, whole roasted chicken and strawberry cake. One that I really love, but make less often, is Senator Russell’s Sweet Potato Casserole. It’s rich and fattening and I make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas. When the holidays are over I can’t wait for them to come around again so I can make the dish. One more thing I love about the sweet potatoes is that I’ve made it with Splenda in place of the sugar and it’s just as good. I have a friend with diabetes and he seems to get shut out of all of the good stuff at holidays, so I make a special version of it just for him.

LRF: Can you share a favorite pastor-family Sunday dinner story that came out of the research you did for this book?

DC: There were so many that it’s hard to whittle down to just one. I really enjoyed my interview with  Victoria Osteen and her brother, Don Iloff. They are so, so funny together. I also had a great time with the Jakes family; they really have a special bond. I interviewed the Jakes in their Dallas-area home and when I was done my face hurt from laughing so much. On the other side, my interview with the Rev. Martin Nguyen at Notre Dame was completely humbling. This is a man who could have died many times over, who thought he could die in Communist Vietnam every single day for years and yet he had such hope, founded in God and his dream that someday he’d be reunited with his family. The time I spent with him was really incredible.

LRF: What do you hope people will take away from this book that they might not get from the typical cookbook?

DC: I hope that it prompts readers to gather the people they love and cook for them. There’s nothing more fun – to me anyway – than spending several hours in the kitchen and then watching my friends and family devour it and ask for the recipes! My sisters just visited me from Indiana, and I made some new things for me and they each took home three or four new recipes.

Very Airy Vintage No-Bake Cheesecake

Cheesecakes come in dozens of flavors and textures. Contrasting with the dense, baked cheesecakes many know, this vintage 1959 no-bake version is so light and airy, it about levitates above the plate. If you have cheesecake lovers in your holiday dining crowd, definitely try this one. You can make it two days in advance–keep it well-covered in a domed cake-keeper in the fridge until service.

Short Rib Stroganoff

The years Chef Rob Hurrie spent as executive chef at the American Club’s Blackwolf Run & Whistling Straits, and at his Margaux Bistro & Wine Bar, inform the comfort foods he serves at his new 2-unit concept, The Black Pig.

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Yes, burgers, fries and mac ‘n’ cheese appeal to daily-dining Sheboyganites & regulars at his newest Elkhart Lake, WI, location, but Hurrie’s hold-the-bar-high sourcing standard and savvy for finding the best-ingredients used even in those dishes gives The Black Pig universal foodie appeal.

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Organic produce, cheese and microbrews are locally sourced from multiple growers & producers. And The Black Pig is one of the only places up this way doing whole-hog cooking. Hurrie and staff process Berkshire pigs from Golden Bear Farms into signature menu features such as the cider-glazed pork belly on the jalapeno & aged cheddar cornbread egg sandwich, the Berkshire pork egg rolls (with braised red cabbage, bacon, apple and sweet & sour dipping sauce,) and the P.A.T. sandwich (house-cured pancetta with arugula, tomato jam, parmesan and garlic aioli on house-made bread.

But for anybody opting out on pork, both gourmet french fries and gussied-up mac ‘n’ cheese, are each served four different ways. Plus, there are seasonally-changing poultry & veg options like this Fall’s Butternut squash risotto with roasted Brussels sprouts, sautéed kale, Sartori parmesan cheese and sun-dried cranberry gastrique, and, the flat bread with duck confit & brie, a roasted garlic and caramelized onion sauce, spinach and sun-dried cherries. And Hurrie does lovely things with beef.

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His deeply-flavorful short-rib bourguignon, for example, is a 2014 menu highlight you can try at the restaurant. But to tide you over between visits? Hurrie kindly gave us this home-cook-scaled spin on that dish, a shortrib stroganoff that honors his own favorite childhood dish. “My affinity for rich foods started early,” Hurrie laughs, describing his Mom’s “2-cans-of-condensed-soup with ground beef, bacon & sour cream” stroganoff. Hurrie’s update is a short rib slow-braise with soooo many good things: red wine & sherry, rosemary & thyme, mushrooms & bacon, crème fraiche and truffle oil.

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When you’re ready to make this, you could go all-out and order Golden Bear Farm bacon through the Goodside Grocery Co-op in Sheboygan (call or e-mail them at the number on the site to let them know what you’re after.) Or just use good quality applewood-smoked bacon. Either way, this is one of the best “Chef Recipes with Vintage Flair” dishes we have featured at LRF.

Best-of-the-Midwest Chili (with Oneida White Corn)

Kirby Metoxen has the unenviable position of being tourism coordinator for the Oneida Nation in Oneida, WI. Unenviable, because–as with any closeknit community– there will forever be a push-pull between those who want to welcome the outside in for a deeper understanding of customs and traditions, and those who want to keep traditions quietly to themselves. The feeling is somewhat akin to a church community, with a few folks focused on outreach, and the rest of the flock focused on…all those other things flocks focus on. Kirby takes that in stride, cheerfully driving the journalist of the day (me) to meet with one tribal member after another, chatting up anyone and everyone willing to talk about Oneida foodway traditions. Chief among these? Oneida white corn. One of the three sisters, corn figures prominently in the Oneida creation story–a story that makes it very clear that Oneidas need to nurture their corn and keep it growing. Decades ago, Green Bay Oneida’s traveled back to their original homelands in Eastern New York to get the seed for the white corn that they cultivate today.

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Jeff Metoxen, director of the Tsyunkehkwa (joon-hey-qwa) agricultural site where the corn is grown, harvested and dried on the Oneida reservation near Green Bay, WI, says the heirloom variety–sometimes called “110-Day Corn”– is planted each year, producing 8 to 10,000 pounds of corn for the community (and anybody like you or me who knows about the stuff) every season.

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Everything about this corn is a labor of love: Each corn plant produces only one cob. Because the corn has such a high moisture content, it has traditionally been harvested by hand (!) and then braided into bundles for drying–problematic when you get to bigger production. While the corn can’t be harvested by combines, Oneida has been working with agronomists and Brown County extension offices to find other mechanized ways–such as one-row pickers–to keep up. “We’re still balancing out how to maintain traditions and customs, while bringing in today’s technology and advantages to make sure that white corn is always around for our future generations,” says Jeff Metoxen.

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Processing the corn is equally labor intensive. Jamie Betters, who heads that up at the Oneida Cannery explains that some of the corn is roasted and ground into flour, but most is processed like hominy. First, the dried corn is boiled with hardwood ash, or, baking soda to remove the hulls, and then rinsed and dehydrated to make it shelf stable, or, boiled again until tender and sold refrigerated in fresh-packs. Betters says most of the community still uses the corn in traditional non-spicy recipes like corn-and-bean “bread”, corn mush and corn/bean/&side meat soup.  But, like Betters, who uses the corn in her posole, to make tamales and in chili, “more people are broadening their perspective on what you can put Oneida corn in.”

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Chili, for example! With a more pronounced roasty-corn flavor than any hominy I’ve tried, Oneida white corn is really nice mix-in to my favorite Midwestern-style chili made with a rich meaty-bone stock, ground beef, onion, chili peppers, cumin and chili powder. You can buy the corn fresh from the Oneida Market next time you’re in Green Bay, or, they will ship it to you dehydrated.

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One more word on the corn: It’s a matter of pride with  Oneida housewives to be sure every single hull and “eye” (the black speck on each kernel) is removed from the corn before it’s mixed in to a recipe. The black specks don’t affect the flavor, it’s just a visual thing, says Kirby. “But everybody wanted to be sure their soup was “clean.” That’s one of my earliest food memories–taking turns with my brothers standing on a kitchen chair by the sink picking out every single eye from every single kernel of corn.”

Simple Apple Cake (Gina DePalma’s Mom’s Hubba Hubba Apple Cake)

Ten years ago, New York baker Gina DePalma shared the recipe she thinks her mom gleaned from a ’50s women’s magazine for this gorgeous, not-too-sweet apple cake. When Gina was little, her mom made it Saturdays, for Sunday supper, which meant hours of tortured anticipation for Gina. These days, Gina makes it year round and affectionately calls it her Hubba Hubba Apple Cake.

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For me, it brings back memories of a church-basement youth, when the coffee urns were perking, Ladies Aid members were dishing, and there were plenty of fresh-baked cakes like this one lined up on the buffet.

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It’s basically a dump cake–just whisk and stir liquid ingredients with the dry ones, layer with cinnamon-sugared apples, bake it off and presto: you’ve got an impressively tall and gorgeous cake.  Orange juice in the batter makes the crumb tender; sugared apples in the middle and on top add flavor and texture.

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At Gina’s request, we have not adapted the recipe at all from the tattered recipe card she still has from her mom. Gina stresses that you must use a 10-inch tube-cake pan–not a bundt cake pan, to bake this. The batter rises nearly to the top of the pan.

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Concord Grape Tart (& Pie)

My lovely friend Kathleen S. grew up 15 miles from Silver Creek, NY, where they still have the annual Festival of Grapes during the concord grape harvest in September, complete with grape stomping, pretty-baby contests, and Jr. Miss, Little Miss, and Miss Festival of Grapes pageants. She shared a grape pie recipe family-friend Audrey C. made every year during the festival. Here’s that recipe, along with my favorite vintage grape filling recipe that I like to use for grape tarts.

Corn Dogs

Corn dogs! Sausages dunked in thick, cornmeal batter, fried and served hot and crispy, with mustard. Like all other American fried food on a stick, corn dogs have their state fair connections. Vaudeville actors Carl and Neil Fletcher abandoned their Dallas song-and-dance act tent show in 1938 when the Texas State Fair offered them the chance to operate a food booth. According to a 1988 story in the Dallas Morning News, the two had read about a man in the Oaklawn neighborhood of Dallas who was baking corn-battered hotdogs in molds, and the idea intrigued them, so the brothers set out to improve on the product. They perfected their batted dipped and fried corn dog in time for the 1942 Texas State Fair.

Easy, portable and quick, corn dogs soon became fast food restaurant darlings, too. Cozy Dog Drive-in in Springfield, IL claims first-to-market status (1946) but restaurateur Dave Barham started selling at Hot Dog on a Stick in Santa Monica, CA, that same year.

No one knows which of these had the “best” corn dog recipe, but one thing’s sure: fresh made, batter-dipped, fried corn dogs have a wonderful crunchy outside & hot and juicy insides that frozen reconstituted just can’t match. Our recipe is a slight adaptation of the 1981 California rendition the Los Angeles Times published in its first official LA Times cookbook. You can swap buttermilk in for the milk and add a little spice, but we like them fine plain. For the sausages? Use whatever you like! We chose short, fat German links. Some people stick with their favorite brand of hotdogs, or do a breakfast version with pork sausage. One note: Choosing a sausage with a tougher casing is fine—but you’ll have to chomp harder to bite through.

 

Honey-Dipped Chicken

The basic idea for this recipe came from Bonnie Harvey, a grandma from Merkel, Texas, who shared how to make her favorite tailgating chicken in a collection of “grandma bests” close to 20 years ago. We’ve adapted it to make it honey dipped, and switched up the crumb coating to panko, rather than cracker crumbs–although you can use crushed saltines if you like. There are several steps to getting the chicken coated and crisped to perfection before dunking it in a sherried honey/soy glaze and baking low and slow to sticky, tender, doneness. But, wow! So worth it. You’ll definitely need to make some for your next tailgating party.