Soft Pretzels

Soft Pretzels

INGREDIENTS
1½ cups warm water
1 packet (2¼ tsp) active dry or instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
3¾-4 cups all-purpose flour
coarse sea salt
½ cup baking soda
9 cups water


DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 400°.  Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Mix yeast into warm water. Allow to bloom for +/-1 minute. Stir in salt, sugar, and butter. Add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough is thick. Add additional flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If dough bounces back after being pressed, it is ready to knead.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface; knead for +/-3 minutes and shape into a ball. Cover lightly with a towel rest for 10 minutes.

Cut dough into sections, roll into a rope approximately 20″ long.  Twist into pretzel shape.

In a large pan, bring baking soda and water to a boil.  Drop pretzels, 1-2 at a time, into the boiling water for 20 seconds.  Remove pretzels from water and place on prepared baking sheet(s); sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Grandma Honey’s Cream Puffs

Grandma Honey’s Cream Puffs

PÂTE À CHOUX PASTRY
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
4 eggs

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 400º.  In saucepan, bring water and butter to a rolling boil.  Add flour in one installment; stir vigorously over medium heat until mixture no longer sticks to the side of the pan and forms a ball (about 1 minute).  Remove from heat.  By hand, beat in eggs, one at a time.  Beat until mixture is smooth and velvety.  Drop from spoon onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake until dry (approximately 45-50 minutes).  Allow to cool slowly.  Makes eight puffs.

Cut cooled pastries, fill with Custard Filling and ice with Chocolate Icing.


Custard Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
4 egg yolks (or 2 eggs), beaten
2 tsp vanilla (or other flavoring)

In a saucepan, mix sugar, salt, and flour; stir in milk.  Stir over medium heat until mixture boils; boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Stir a little more than half of this mixture into beaten egg yolks.  Blend into hot mixture and bring just to boiling point.  Cool and blend in vanilla.


Chocolate Icing
1 square unsweetened chocolate (1 oz)
1 tsp butter
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tbsp boiling water

Over a double boiler, melt together chocolate and butter.  Remove from double boiler; blend in sugar and water.  Stir until smooth but not stiff.


Chocolate Éclairs
Place dough mixture in a pastry bag and pipe 12 fingers approximately 1-inch wide and 4-inches long.  Bake as above; fill with custard and frost with chocolate icing.

Brown Sugar Blondies

Brown Sugar Blondies

INGREDIENTS
2 cups brown sugar
1 ⅔ cups flour
½ cup butter, melted
3 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt


DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients and spread evenly into a greased 9×13 baking dish.  Bake at 350º until the top is dry and edges begin to pull away from the sides (25 minutes).  Remove from oven and cool completely before slicing.

Ginger Cranberry Bars
½ tsp ginger powder
¼ cup crystallized ginger, chopped
¾ cup dried cranberries, chopped
8oz white chocolate chips

Grandma’s Lasagna

Grandma’s Lasagna

In the 1960s and 70s, most of our family parties included the Berg family.  Tom, Evie, and their daughter Donna were always there.  Their son Tommy was serving in the military, so we didn’t see him and his wife Linda as often, but all of the Bergs have always felt like a part of our family.  Grandma’s Lasagna recipe actually came from Donna Berg sometime in the 1970s.  Donna served this at a birthday party and it was such a hit that our family has since used this lasagna recipe exclusively.


INGREDIENTS
Lasagna:
⅓ cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground chuck beef
1 can (8-oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6-oz) tomato paste
1 cup water
½ tsp oregano
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tsp salt
½ tsp basil
1 whole clove, crushed
2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese (or 1 cup of each)
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
8 oz lasagna noodles, prepared

Besciamella:
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
small pinch nutmeg


DIRECTIONS
Lasagna:
Sauté onion and garlic in oil until tender; add meat and brown.  Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and seasonings and simmer covered for 30 minutes.

Place ½ of the cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a buttered 9×13 pan.  Spread ½ of the ricotta (and/or cottage cheese), Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese over lasagna,  Cover with ½ of the meat sauce.  Repeat layers.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

Besciamella:
Thoroughly heat butter and flour.  Whisk in remaining ingredients; cook until thickened.

Slice and serve lasagna topped with besciamella.

Pork Chile Verde

Pork Chile Verde

INGREDIENTS
1 picnic pork shoulder
1 recipe salsa verde
cumin
salt
pepper


DIRECTIONS
Cut pork into 2-inch chunks.  Spread out and sprinkle liberally with cumin, salt, and pepper; massage into meat.  In large porcelain or stainless steel Dutch oven, brown pork in small batches so as not to overcrowd pan.  Return all pork to pan and cover with salsa verde.  Simmer until tender.

Serve with tortillas, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, sliced avocado, pickled jalapeños, refried beans, and cilantro lime rice.

Rick’s Salsa Verde – the Real Deal

Rick’s Salsa Verde – the Real Deal

Taquitos are high on the list of Huggins Family most loved foods. And, our favorites come from the little stand on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, Cielito Lindo, where taquitos were invented in the mid 1930s. Every trip home to Southern California includes a trek downtown for Combination #1: 3 Taquitos, Beans and Cheese. The taquitos are smothered in “guacamole”. Cielito Lindo’s version of guacamole is a delicious green salsa that you can’t help but dream about. This recipe is the closest I’ve come to replicating its flavor.


INGREDIENTS
1 can (28 oz) tomatillos
1 bottle (40 oz) roasted green chiles, mild
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1-2 avocados (optional)
½ onion, chopped
1 bunch cilantro
2 tsp salt


DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients and blend with emersion blender.  Serve with tacos, taquitos, or chips; or to make chile verde.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

INGREDIENTS
Rolls:
1 cup water
1 cup milk
½ cup butter
2 tbsp yeast (instant)
½ cup sugar
2 tsp salt
4 eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten with fork
8-10 cups flour
butter, softened
brown sugar
cinnamon

Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese
2 cups butter
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
3-3 ½ cups powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp cream or milk


DIRECTIONS
Rolls:
Combine water and milk to a saucepan and heat to near boiling.  Pour water/milk mixture into bowl of stand mixer; melt in butter.  Add sugar and salt; mix to dissolve.  Mix in 4 cups of flour; check temperature (should be approximately 99°).  Mix in yeast; add eggs.  Mix in 4-6 cups flour, until is elastic, and not sticky.  Knead for 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove dough to an oiled bowl; roll dough over to coat and allow to rise in a warm place until dough has doubled in size.  Punch down; divide in half.

Roll out two rectangles of dough to ⅓ to ½ inch in thickness.  Rub softened butter over dough; sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Roll and slice into rolls and place on large parchment-lined baking sheet.  Let rise a second time covered with a moist cloth.  When doubled, bake at 350° for 15 minutes.

Frosting:
In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter.  Mix in salt, vanilla, and powder sugar.  Add cream (or milk) until spreadable consistency.

Dinner Rolls

Dinner Rolls

INGREDIENTS
2 cups water, near boiling (or 1 water, 1 milk)
½ cup butter
2 tbsp yeast (instant)
½ cup sugar
2 tsp salt
4 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten with fork
8-10 cups flour


DIRECTIONS
Pour water (or water/milk mixture) into bowl of stand mixer; melt in butter.  Add sugar and salt; mix to dissolve.  Mix in 4 cups of flour; check temperature (should be approximately 99°).  Mix in yeast; add eggs.  Mix in 4-6 cups flour, until is elastic, and not sticky.  Knead for 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove dough to an oiled bowl; roll dough over to coat and allow to rise in a warm place until dough has doubled in size.  Punch down, form rolls and let rise a second time in two 9×13 baking dishes covered with a moist cloth.  When doubled, bake at 365° for 10-15 minutes.  Rub tops with butter.

Chocolate Pecan Strata

Chocolate Pecan Strata

Crust
2 cubes butter, melted
1½ cups flour
1 cup pecans, chopped

Combine ingredients and spread in 9×13 cake pan; bake 20 minutes at 400º, cool.


1st layer
1 pkg (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cool whip

Fold together and let set for a few minutes; spread carefully on crust.


2nd layer
1 pkg (6 oz) instant chocolate pudding
2 cups milk

Mix as per instructions on box. Be sure to use only 2 cups milk; spread on first layer.


3rd layer
1 pkg (6 oz) instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk

Mix as per instructions on box. Be sure to use only 2 cups milk; spread on first layer.


4th layer
1 cup cool whip (or more)

Spread Cool Whip vanilla layer; top with shavings from Hershey’s chocolate bar. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours.

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

INGREDIENTS
Filling:
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
4 tbsp butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 lg egg
2 tbsp flour
2 tsp vanilla

Cake:
1 pkg red velvet cake mix
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
½ cup water
½ cup oil

Frosting:
1 pkg (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
1 ½  cups powdered sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla extract


DIRECTIONS
In stand mixer, make cream cheese filling by beating cream cheese, butter and sugar until fluffy (+/- 2 minutes).  Mix in egg, flour and vanilla; beat until smooth and set aside.  Mix all cake ingredients.  Pour half of the cake batter into greased bundt cake pan.  Top with cream cheese filling, leaving about a 1″ cake border around the edge.  Pour remaining cake batter into bundt pan.  Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes (until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).  Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.  Combine frosting ingredients.  Drizzle over cake.

Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro Lime Rice

INGREDIENTS
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
2 tsp olive oil
1¾ cups chicken broth
1 tbsp butter
Zest of 1 lime
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt to taste


DIRECTIONS
Place rinsed rice to a hot sauté pan and sauté in olive oil until it begins to brown.  Place rice in rice cooker and combine with chicken broth.  Cook rice; unplug cooker when complete.  Leave rice undisturbed for 5 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients.

Tamales

Tamales

INGREDIENTS
1 lb cornhusks, soaked

Meat
3 lb chicken or pork shoulder, cooked and shredded
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
½ cup flour
½ cup vegetable oil
5 cans (8-oz each) tomato sauce
1 can (28-oz) Los Palmos red enchilada sauce

Masa
2½ lbs yellow corn masa
chili powder
1 tsp salt
2½ tsp baking powder
½ cup Crisco shortening


DIRECTIONS
Soak cornhusks in water.

Place meat in a large pot; add water to cover meat plus about 3 inches.  Add garlic, salt and pepper; boil until meat is tender and fully cooked (olives can also be added).  Remove meat from pot, reserving liquid.

In a large pan, lightly brown flour in oil; add tomato sauce, enchilada sauce, and cooked meat.  Bring to a boil.

Mix masa, salt, baking powder, and enough chili powder to change the color of the masa mixture light pink (2 tbsp).  Melt shortening  and add to masa mixture along with enough of the reserved liquid (approximately 7 to 8 cups) to moisten the mixture.  Masa should be moist enough to stick together when rolled into balls and/or patted out.

Lay out cornhusks.  Place an egg-sized scoop of masa on each cornhusk and pat flat.  Masa should be about ¼” thick.  Place approximately two large tablespoons of meat mixture in the center of the masa; roll cornhusk from the sides until ends of masa touch.  Flatten corn husk and fold up from bottom and in from sides; place in steaming pan.  Steam for approximately 1 hour; check for doneness.

Remove cornhusks and serve with remaining red sauce.

Aunt Laurie’s Salsa

Aunt Laurie’s Salsa

Aunt Laurie’s mom, Janet, and her step-dad, Monty, have always been two of our favorite people!  Family holidays and get togethers are even more fun because of the time we spend talking with Laurie’s parents.  I’ve always had a special spot in my heart for Laurie’s mom! 

This recipe came to us from Monty’s good friend, George.  Laurie begged for the recipe after enjoying it for years . George came up with the recipe and entered it in many Salsa contests . The salsa won just about every time it was entered. In 1981, Laurie and family were at a chili cook off in Arizona where George entered the salsa plus his chili. He won in both categories yet again. George gave Aunt Laurie his secret recipe at that chili cook off.  She grabbed a piece of paper and jotted it down, and still has the original paper to this day!


INGREDIENTS
1 lg can peeled petite diced tomatoes with juice
½ to 1 bunch green onions, chopped
½ brown onion, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp cumin
½ tbsp oregano
¼ bunch cilantro (to taste)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper pepper


DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients.

Southern Sweet Potatoes

Southern Sweet Potatoes

SweetPotatoesThis recipe comes from Great Grandma Lena. Grandma was a proper southern lady.  Born 11 August 1901 in Missouri, at three years old her family moved by covered wagon to Dover, Arkansas.  The slow journey took over a week.  At 17, she married Wilmer.  Grandpa was the youngest of their four children.  In 1936, the family moved to Southern California.  They made the trek in a car with a rumble seat. 

Grandma Lena’s recipe for Southern Sweet Potatoes is a Thanksgiving tradition.  The celebration just wouldn’t be the same without them!


INGREDIENTS
4 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup white sugar
4 eggs beaten
1 ⅕ cube butter melted
2 cups half-and-half
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves (optional)
2 tsp vanilla (optional)

Topping
3 cups corn flakes (not crushed, or slightly crushed)
2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups light brown sugar packed
3 cups melted butter


DIRECTIONS
Combine sweet potato ingredients; pour into 9×13 pan and bake for 30 minutes at 375° to 400°. Remove from oven. Combine topping ingredients and spread over sweet potatoes. Return to oven and bake an additional 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot.

(Revised Dec 2015)

 

Wheat Waffles

Wheat Waffles

This, our favorite wheat waffle recipe, comes from Grandma Honey. When our kids wake to the sound of the wheat whirling in the blender they know that Grandma Honey’s wheat waffles will soon be on the table.


INGREDIENTS
3⁄4 cup whole wheat
1 1⁄2 cups milk
2 tbsp corn meal
2 tbsp oat meal
2 tbsp oat bran
2 eggs
1 tbsp raw sugar
1⁄4 cup butter
1 tbsp baking powder


DIRECTIONS
Blend whole wheat and milk in blender for 3 to 4 minutes. While still blending, add corn meal, oat meal, oat bran, eggs, raw sugar and butter. Turn off blender and add baking powder. Blend for 3 to 4 seconds. Cook in waffle iron. If batter rises too much, stir with spoon.

Stuffing

Stuffing

INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp marjoram
1 tsp sage
½ cup dried minced onion
⅔ cup dried minced celery
5 cups water
1½ cubes butter
⅓ cup chicken Better than Bouillon
16 cups bread, cubed and dried
2 lbs sage sausage, prepared
2 cans (4-oz each) water chestnuts, chopped
1 lb mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
pine nuts, roasted


DIRECTIONS
Combine Italian Seasoning (or substitute Herbes de Provence), black pepper, marjoram, and sage in a spice grinder and grind into a fine powder; pour into a small mixing bowl.  Stir onion and celery into the herb mixture.  In a large stock pot, bring water, butter, and better than bouillon to a boil; stir in herb mixture.  Remove from heat; add bread crumbs and stir to moisten.  Cover with lid and allow the stuffing to sit for five to ten minutes.  Stir in all remaining ingredients, reserving some of the pine nuts and dried cranberries.  Place mixture in two 9×13 pans and heat under broiler until the top is slightly browned.  Top with reserved pine nuts and dried cranberries.

(Updated 12/23/2018)

Grandma’s Popcorn Balls

Grandma’s Popcorn Balls

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays, and our neighborhood on Tudor Street knew how to do Halloween right.  Each year the parents got together to organize a haunted celebration for the kids.  The annual party included a spook alley, games, and traditional neighbor treats–we all have great memories.  Grandma’s homemade popcorn balls were a big hit every year! 


INGREDIENTS
1 cup sugar
⅓ cup white corn syrup
⅓ cup water
¼ lb butter
¾ tsp vanilla
¾ tsp salt
3 to 4 quarts popcorn, popped


DIRECTIONS
Boil until soft ball stage (in cold water); add vanilla and pour over pepped corn and make into balls. Wrap balls in wax paper and put in brown paper bag to store.

Fresh Cranberry Relish

Fresh Cranberry Relish

INGREDIENTS
1 pkg (12 oz.) fresh cranberries
1 orange, peeled
1 cup sugar


DIRECTIONS
Wash cranberries and place in food processor. Pulse until cranberries are in small, approximately equal pieces. Place in cranberries in a mixing bowl; cover with sugar. Place orange in food processor and process until liquefied. Pour orange juice and pulp into cranberries and mix well. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

This Sweet Potato Pie is a modified version of Grandma Lena’s Southern Sweet Potatoes.


INGREDIENTS

2 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs beaten
½ cup butter melted
½ cup half-and-half
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp cloves (optional)
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
1 uncooked pie crust


DIRECTIONS
Place pie crust in pie tin.  Combine remaining ingredients; pour into pie crust.  Bake at 350° for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.