Northeast Times

Springtime holiday dishes

A tasty treat: Add a new dish to your fam­ily’s spring hol­i­day menu.

With­in the span of one month, our neigh­bor­hood got two new res­id­ents. My fam­ily moved in just weeks be­fore my next-door neigh­bor, Jean­nette, did. Be­sides be­ing a nice neigh­bor, Jean­nette is a won­der­ful artist who shares her tal­ents with many of us each week at art class. She’s a pa­tient teach­er and a gra­cious lady. I couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter neigh­bor, even if she were Mr. Ro­gers.

To trans­ition from the palette to the pal­ate, Jean­nette cooks, too. The fol­low­ing sweet potato re­cipe has been en­joyed by her fam­ily for many years at both East­er and at Christ­mas. Like many re­cipes that find their way to your hol­i­day table, the fol­low­ing re­cipe is a tra­di­tion­al one.

JEAN­NETTE’S SWEET POTATO CAS­SER­OLE

Sweet Potato Base:

½ cup evap­or­ated milk

2 eggs, slightly beaten

3 cups mashed sweet pota­toes

1 cup sug­ar

½ tsp. salt

1½ tsp. vanilla ex­tract

½ cup but­ter (1 stick) melted   

2-quart cas­ser­ole dish – Spray with oil. 

- Peel, cook, drain, and mash sweet pota­toes.  

- Com­bine mashed pota­toes with milk, eggs, sug­ar, salt and vanilla.

- Add melted but­ter and mix well.

- Pour in­to dish.

Top­ping:

1 cup chopped pecans (or wal­nuts)

1 cup flour

1 cup brown sug­ar, firmly packed

½ cup but­ter (1 stick) melted

- Mix to­geth­er the nuts, flour and brown sug­ar.

- Add melted but­ter and mix well.

- Spread top­ping over sweet potato mix­ture.

- Bake at 350 de­grees for 35 minutes.

Here is an­oth­er sweet potato dish fre­quently found on my East­er and/or Christ­mas din­ner table.  It was my mom’s re­cipe and we still love it.

SOPH­IE’S CAN­DIED SWEETS

6 yams, peeled, halved and cooked

1 cup brown sug­ar, firmly packed

¼ cup but­ter

¼ cup wa­ter

½ tsp. salt

- Cook yams un­til fork tender but not soft. Drain. Ar­range yams in greased bak­ing dish in one lay­er.   

- In a skil­let, com­bine re­main­ing in­gredi­ents and boil for four or five minutes.

- Pour syr­up over yams.

- Bake ½ hour at 375 de­grees, turn­ing and bast­ing oc­ca­sion­ally.

Sweet pota­toes are a healthy food. They are loaded with Vit­am­in A and also con­tain Vit­am­in C, mag­nesi­um, po­tassi­um, cal­ci­um, iron and fiber. Cooked and pur­eed in a food pro­cessor or blender, sweet pota­toes make a nu­tri­tion-packed baby food. Be­sides be­ing a hol­i­day food, they make great fries and pies, too. Sub­sti­tute sweet pota­toes for white when mak­ing mashed pota­toes. Bake whole sweet pota­toes in their jack­ets in the oven (350 de­grees for 45 minutes or un­til done—be­fore bak­ing, pierce potato in a few places with a fork) or mi­crowave (5 minutes or un­til done, de­pend­ing on size – be­fore mi­crowav­ing, prick potato in a few places with fork). Just be­fore serving, cut a 2-inch slit along the top of the potato. Squeeze the ends of the potato so that it opens along the seam. Add a little but­ter, and sprinkle with brown sug­ar, salt and pep­per. It’s quick, easy, and good.

It’s not only East­er sea­son but Pas­sov­er sea­son, as well. So, who makes the best ku­gel? Jew­ish grand­moth­ers, of course!  Just ask any kid from age 6 to 60 who has shared fam­ily tra­di­tion and ku­gel with Bub­bie. Since my en­tire know­ledge of Jew­ish ob­serv­ances, cus­toms, and cuisine ends right about here, I asked a Jew­ish friend for a good re­cipe that she of­ten makes at hol­i­day time.  

HELENE’S POTATO MUSH­ROOM KU­GEL

½ lb. fresh mush­rooms, sliced   

4 ribs of cel­ery, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove gar­lic, minced

4 Tb­sp. but­ter

4 eggs

¼ cup wa­ter

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pep­per

½ cup matzo meal (very finely crushed matzo)

2 large pota­toes, peeled and sliced

- Grease an 8-inch by 8-inch bak­ing dish.

- Saute mush­rooms, cel­ery, onion and gar­lic in the but­ter un­til onion is trans­lu­cent. Turn off heat.

- Beat eggs, wa­ter, salt and pep­per in a large mix­ing bowl.

- Add matzo meal and mix well.

- Add saut&ea­cute;ed ve­get­ables and sliced pota­toes and com­bine.

- Pour in­to bak­ing dish.

- Bake at 350 de­grees for 50 to 60 minutes.

Happy East­er and Happy Pas­sov­er!

Eat well, live long, en­joy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at Whats­cook­in­NEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the North­east Times, 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Drive, Tre­vose, PA 19053)

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