Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mom's Recipe Box

I was going through my mother's recipe box this morning.
She had gotten very confused around  the time they moved off the farm, and complained a lot about not finding her recipe box after the move.  About not finding anything after the move, dammit!
However, when my sister and I were cleaning out the house later, I came across it in a kitchen cabinet.
I was hoping to find many of the everyday recipes that she cooked often; but of course those weren't ever written down, ...she just cooked!  Maybe I could find her recipe for chile con queso?  Nope.
What I did find were about 13  variations on chicken/broccoli casserole,  11 kinds of  "impossible" or "unbelieveable" pie,  8 kinds of apple cake (I wonder which one was her favorite?) , and lots of praline, brittle and fudge recipes.  Mom had a sweet tooth, for sure.
A good many of them were cut out of the newspaper.  That Ann Landers must have been some cook.  And Heloise had some goodies, too.  I am definitely going to make that Jamaican Barbeque sauce.
Also,  almost every single one of these recipes calls for either "oleo" or "Crisco".   It's a wonder we are still alive,  having consumed so much trans-fats in all that time.
In the end, what I found that interested me the most were recipes from her lady friends that had their names on them, in their own writing, or else written by my Mom on a scrap of paper.  Now, you know that if Mom had asked right then for the recipe, it was good.
So, first up, Esther Claire Brown's "Flemish Steak".  This just sounds wonderful.

Flemish Steak, serves 6
Melt 1/4 c. butter and pour it into a large covered casserole.  (Restaurant supply steam tray pans are fabulous)
Slice 3 onions and put them over the butter.
Pound 1/4 c. flour (and I added some steak seasoning) into 3 1/2 lb. of round steak, (trimmed, of course)  I learned the hard way that pounding flour into a piece of steak could turn into an "I Love Lucy" mess if you didn't put the steak into a plastic bag before you pounded it.
Place on top of of onions and bake at 450°, uncovered 35-40 minutes until browned.

Reduce heat to 325° and add:
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves (I used a pinch of ground clove)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. rosemary and......
2 bottles of beer. (all the recipes I found that remotely resembled this used good Ale)
(I added 1 tsp. of dijon mustard)
Cover and bake at 325° until tender.  This might be 1-2 hours.  Or more.
Arrange on a platter, top with juices and chopped parsley and chives. (or serve on a plate)

Really rich mashed potatoes are called for with this, dontcha think?  This recipe actually turned out to be  all I thought it would.  The Ale and the spices made it so flavorful!  Mom, thanks for asking for this recipe.  And  I'm so glad you kept it.


Kaye S said...

Griggs, La Hacienda and H&H recipes... OMG! How we l-o-n-g for the Doniphan green enchiladas and Paisano rellenos w/sauce. Such great memories.

My sister & I have enjoyed your food blog for a few months now, Jan, and we couldn't help but wonder if you were near our former hometown. But, the pine trees in two photos threw us elsewhere. Then, along comes a photo with a rockwall (!) and a very familiar name from my childhood ~ "Esther Claire". Low & behold, she's the daughter of JB and Esther Claire!

The grandchildren of Pete & Effie S. have fond memories of your kind parents. You are also every bit the wonderful cook your mom was.

My best to you & yours,
Kaye S.
Plano, TX

Jan said...

Hello, Kaye.
Thanks so much for your nice comment.
I hate to disappoint you, but I am not the daughter of Ester-Claire, the Browns were neighbors of ours in the valley. She was a wonderful cook. I found her recipe in my mother's recipe box and wanted to honor her memory by cooking it.
There is something special about food in our part of the world, isn't there? I hope you can get back our way sometime but in the meantime, I'll try and be of some assistance!
Thanks again.