I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Whatever You Call It Soup

This is such a comforting recipe at any time but especially now with the cold weather returning. The hot steamy broth and the soft chewy dumplings are just a match made in heaven. I am not sure how this recipe found its way into our family from what I understand this soup was a staple of Bavaria and a friend of mine said Germany as well.
I cannot pronounce these too well but liver dumpling soup is also called; “Leberklosse or leberknodel”, whatever your family calls it; it still feels good going down.

Liver Dumpling Soup

4 to 6 cups of homemade or canned chicken, vegetable or beef broth
Season to taste

Put in pot and set to a medium simmer


1 lb. liver, ground, (may use either chicken or beef liver, the chicken tends to be milder in flavor.
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp. minced onion, brown in 1/2 cup of butter
2 eggs
1 tbsp. flour
Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients. Mold in balls the size of walnuts, using flour on the fingers. Drop into simmering broth and let simmer for 25-30 minutes then enjoy.

Add scallions or fresh parsley at the end for a little extra flavor.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Great Gift Find for Those With Noshtalgic Tastebuds

We just found the most amazing cookbook with so many of the comfort foods that we love and remember from our past, it is called “Endangered Recipes Cookbook”. You will not believe some of the recipes in here; “Macaroni and cheese, tomato soup, banana pudding, ginger bread” the list goes on and on and brings with it so many great memories. My grandmother is going to love adding this to her collection.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

May I Please Have Your Turkey Carcass?

When my friend Pamm was little her mother always made turkey carcass soup with the Thanksgiving Day dinner remains. This became one of Pamm’s favorite things and a tradition that she did not take lightly.
One thanksgiving Pamm’s father decided to give his wife a break from cooking and took her and Pamm out for thanksgiving dinner. This did not make Pamm happy, nothing tasted good at the restaurant, it just wasn’t like her mother’s especially when it came to the pumpkin chiffon pie that she was accustom to.
But it wasn’t until they got home that it hit her that because her mother hadn’t cooked a turkey that there was no carcass for her to make Pamm’s favorite turkey soup. Now poor Pamm who is in absolute panic mode did the only thing that a little girl could do in desperate times to keep a tradition alive………she got a brown paper bag and went door to door and asked her neighbors if they had any turkey carcasses and if so could she have them so her mother could make turkey soup. Four of these neighbors took pity on Pamm and gave up their dinners skeletal remains. Now happy and skipping back home with four turkey carcasses in her bag so pleased with her ingenuity all was right with her world again, until..... Apparently while Pamm was out telling her sad story and gathering her carcasses, people were calling her mother asking if they had fallen on hard times and was there anything that they could do. This highly embarrassed her mother and made her a little angry at first and Pamm did get sent to her room. But in the end she got her soup and all these years later Pamm is still getting her turkey carcass soup, the only thing that has changed is the person who prepares it (that would be me).

Turkey Carcass Soup
In Memory of Pamm's Mother

1 turkey carcass
2 onions, chopped
6 stalks celery, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup of rice or pasta
Salt & pepper to taste

In enough water to cover carcass boil carcass for 2 hours. Pick meat from bones. Strain broth and return broth and meat to pan. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 1 hour.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Noshtalgia Turns A Year Old Today!

I cannot believe a whole year has passed since publishing my first post.
I’ve had the best time traveling through this blogosphere and have met some truly wonderful and talented people along the way. I would love to thank each and every one of you who have visited and shared your stories and recipes. But I have to give a special thanks to a few people who at the very beginning believed in what Noshtalgia had to offer and began spreading the word to others. Because of their belief and generosity Noshtalgia has been able to grow into this wonderful keepsake of memories and recipes to be shared by all.

A special thanks to: Glenna from; “A Fridge Full of Food”
Mimi from; “A French Kitchen in America”
& Chef John from; “Foodwishes”

I will always be grateful and look forward to
another year down memory lane.

Sincerely, Julie

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sweet Roots

One thanksgiving many years ago we took a diversion from our traditional thanksgiving celebration and spent it with a group of cousins that we hadn’t seen in years. They had chosen to do a potluck type dinner. Our cousins provided the turkey and ham and a place for all of us to gather. The rest of us were in charge of bringing the sides, desserts and a wide array of family favorites. It was a good time had by all, many of us trying to figure out our connection to each other and what branch of the family tree we dangled from. The food always seemed to provide many of the answers to some of those questions. When those familiar tastes would melt over our tongues and all at once across the table all you could hear was a chorus full of sighs and ummmmmms and I remember this and didn’t aunt so and so or grandma so and so make that when we were children?
Everything was so delicious and each bite brought back the memories of those who had touched our lives so deeply.
I enjoyed the entire experience and one particular side dish that kept me going back for more was a dish that was actually made by a friend of one of my cousins. This was a recipe for a sweet potato casserole that was created by her aunt who had found a delicious use for cornflakes.

Sweet Potato Casserole

8 already baked sweet potatoes with skins removed (Just place whole sweet potatoes on a cookies sheet, prick with fork, lightly rub skins with oil and bake at 400 degrees for one hour).

1/2 cup of white granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup of milk

Lightly smash the sweet potatoes and stir in the next four ingredients. Place all of this into a buttered 3 quart casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sprinkle with topping mixture (below) and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

1 cup of brown sugar1 cup of pecans, chopped2/3 cup of crushed cornflakes
1/2 cup of butter, cut into pieces

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Crinkle, Crinkle Little.........Cookie

There was this little cookie shop in one of our local shopping malls that use to make the best chocolate crinkles. They were a really good size cookie, about 4 inches in diameter and about 3/4 of an inch thick. I bring up the size merely to point out the fact that one cookie should have been enough to satisfy me but they were so good I have actually eaten 3 or 4 at a sitting (Just call me El Pork-O). After awhile it was easy to get this cookie monster thing under control, I would just stay away from the shopping mall.
But then one fateful day, while taking a healthful well paced walk through town this wonderful aroma came wafting my way. Well what do you know, someone opened a really cute little bakery and what’s that in the window along side all the other mouth watering goodies? Crinkles! Chocolate Crinkles, Lemon Crinkles, Vanilla Crinkles and my new favorite, Ginger Crinkles. I’m going to have to do a lot more walking and preferably in a different direction.

Ginger Crinkles

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Extra granulated sugar, for rolling

Pre-heat oven to 350

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Blend in molasses and egg. Sift together the dry ingredients; add to butter mixture and beat well. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour.
Form dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for at least 3 minutes, until cookies are set, makes about 4 dozen.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Relishing the Thought of Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and it’s time to start deciding on which of the family favorites will be gracing the table this year. I was going through my cupboard and noticed a can of the jellied cranberry sauce which I do like but I thought this year I would much rather have my grandmother’s uncooked version of cranberry relish. It has such a nice bite to it. It’s not too tart and not too sweet; it has a wonderful crunchy texture and does a great job at cutting through some of the richness of the other foods and creating a nice balance. What is also great about this relish is that it can last way beyond the thanksgiving fare and grace many different dishes and still be around for Christmas (well maybe if you make a double batch).

Meema’s Uncooked Cranberry Relish

1 lb. cranberries
1 whole orange
2 cups sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon of salt, this is optional but the salt really does heighten the flavor.

Grind cranberries. Grind all of orange (skin too) except inner white part, just the colored zest in food processor or blender. After grinding place in bowl add sugar, salt and walnuts then stir together well. Place in covered jars or covered plastic containers, refrigerate and allow to sit 2 days before using.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Here's a "Rarebit" of Nostalgia For All To Enjoy

Here is something that came up in conversation the other day. How many of you remember taking home economics class in high school? Talk about a blast from the past; “sewing, cooking, entertaining, housekeeping even learning proper etiquette”. I remember not minding home economics as long as we were doing something related to the kitchen and cooking. I absolutely hated sewing, I never felt a desire to sew and besides all that I had an aunt who was a seamstress, so I felt that I was already pretty secure in the sewing department. Plus the fact that the blouse we had to make to be graded on required both sleeves to be the same length……unlike mine which was a combination of a long sleeve on one arm and a much, much longer sleeve on the other arm. For some reason I got a very poor grade on that blouse but I always knew I was guaranteed of bringing my grade up when we got to the cooking portion of class. One of the first recipes that we were taught was for “Welsh Rarebit”. Up to that day I had never had Welsh Rarebit before, I had heard of it……granted I could have sworn that it was called; “Welsh Rabbit…….a meat dish”? Imagine my surprise when I realized that it was really toasted bread with a delicious cheese sauce poured over it.
Anyhow, I got an “A” on my Welsh Rarebit technique and discovered a new and delicious food to eat in the process.

Welsh Rarebit

4 tablespoons of butter
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of prepared mustard
1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated ( Swiss Cheese also makes for a great rarebit)
1 cup Ginger Ale or beer (During my school days it was ginger ale, now I go straight for the beer).
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Melt butter, seasonings and cheese in a double boiler until cheese is soft. Add beer and slowly add eggs. Cook until thick. Serve very hot on toast points, will serve 6 people nicely.

Friday, November 9, 2007

They've Turned Me Into a Flan-atic

My family in California taught me their recipe for “California Flan”. I believe that the only reason that it is called this is because the people who are making it are from California. This recipe is similar to a great many flan recipes that are already out there. Don’t get me wrong this is a really good recipe, I have had flan on different occasions and some were better than others. I find some recipes for flan to be overly complicated, this one is not and it is also very smooth and creamy unlike some that are a little gelatinous. I would have to say that my family turned me into a big fan of flan.

California Flan

3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup water
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla

Place sugar in a small heavy skillet. Heat slowly until sugar melts and turns golden brown (watch carefully, it will caramelize quickly). Pour into a warm 1 quart baking dish. Tip and turn the dish quickly to coat the bottom and sides thinly. Beat the eggs in a large bowl until foamy. Stir in the milk and beat it until well blended. Add the water and vanilla. Stir again. Pour into the caramel coated dish. Set the dish in a larger baking pan on the oven shelf. Pour 1 inch of boiling water in the larger pan. Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour at 300 degrees until almost set, but still soft. Do not over bake, as it will set as it cools. Remove at once from the pan of water and cool on a wire rack. Chill. When ready to serve, loosen sides with a knife and invert onto a plate.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

That Doesn't Taste Like A Tomato.....

Yes they do look an awful lot like tomatoes but that is definitely where the similarity ends. I think the flavor varies a little by variety but for the most part they taste like a spicy pumpkin, I mean spicy like cinnamon and clove.
In America we call them Persimmons but in Israel they are known as the Sharon Fruit. Persimmons have been historically labeled as the fruit of the Gods.
They can be eaten like an apple but their skin tends to be a little tough but is quite easy to peel.
I have tried persimmons at different times in my life and haven’t always enjoyed the experience. I think mainly because I may not have always had them at their proper ripeness. But those poor experiences have only been when eating them as is. I have always loved their flavor when used in recipes. I think one of the most common uses is a pudding which tends to be served as holiday fare for some families. But persimmons can be used in just about anything; “Breads, cookies, salads”. As far as the pudding goes I have heard people talk about many variations. One friend said that their family makes their persimmon pudding with corn meal rather than white flour. My family has never made persimmon pudding that I know of so I had to pick the brains of those around me and this is the recipe that I landed on, it is really quite good.

Persimmon Pudding

3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
2 cups persimmon pulp
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 stick butter,melted

Wash persimmons well, removing stem and force pulp through a colander. Beat together first four ingredients. Add persimmon pulp. Sift dry ingredients together and add to persimmon mixture. Stir in vanilla and butter. Bake in greased 9 x 13 inch pan at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Where's The Beef?

Until spending time with an old friend many years ago I had never heard of any other style of stroganoff other than beef stroganoff. While at my friends house her and her mother got to reminiscing about the stroganoff her mother made using ham. They went on and on about how good it was and it made us all so hungry just talking about it we ended up having to run to the store for the ingredients. It took her mother no time at all to put this meal together and let me tell you it was delicious. Now I have another great use for leftover ham.

Ham Stroganoff

1 lb. cooked ham, cut into strips
1/2 chopped onion
2 tbsp. butter
1 small can cream of mushroom soup (do not dilute)
1 (4 oz.) can sliced mushrooms, not drained
1 (8 oz.) sour cream
1 pound bag of Extra Wide Egg Noodles

Sauté ham and onion in butter until onion is tender. Stir in soup and mushrooms; cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sour cream and cook just until thoroughly heated. Serve over Egg Noodles

Friday, November 2, 2007

Empanadas for Dessert

I had the pleasure of meeting a gentlemen who runs a very successful Empanada business along with his family. Luckily for me he sells his delicious empanadas at our public farmers market, so now I know where to stop for a delicious little nosh while shopping. His main focus is savory empanadas; beef, pork and chicken. There are also a few breakfast varieties and meatless versions as well. But what really caught my eye was one of his seasonal dessert empanadas made with apples. Being right in the middle of the farmers market, surrounded by all those fresh picked apples I knew this was going to be good. It came to me still warm with just a light dusting of powdered sugar. A nice crisp day, a warm apple empanada and a steaming hot cup of dark roast coffee……there’s really nothing left to say.

Apple Empanadas

8 cups sliced apples
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons of apple pie spice

2 tablespoons of butter
3 teaspoons of cornstarch plus ½ cup of water

Filling: Bring first four ingredients to a boil for 45 minutes until apples are soft. Add cornstarch to 1/2 cup of water, add cornstarch mixture to filling to thicken, add butter and allow filling to cool before making your empanadas.

6 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons apple pie spice
1 cup shortening (Crisco)
1 cup of Warm water

Dough: Make dough like you would for flour tortillas (just mix ingredients together and knead until dough is smooth). Let it stand for 10 minutes. Make balls (whatever size you wish your empanadas to be, then roll out into a flat round disk) Put filling in center, fold one side over. Press sides with fork to seal. Place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until done.