Saving and Sharing Recipes–Passing Along Traditions

Several years ago, I was talking to my Grandma and she was recounting a story from when she was a young girl and how she spent the summer helping out at her aunt and uncle’s restaurant in Shelbyville, TN. She told me they had a really delicious BBQ sauce, a family recipe that was kind of famous in the small town. When I asked her if she had that recipe written down somewhere, she said “Darnit, no! I wish I had it…”. I’m sure it was a good recipe and I’m not upset over it. To me, it’s just another reminder to get and pass along family recipes. My grandma died in 2013….I miss her. A. Lot. There are recipes and questions and conversations that I wish I had with with her, but, I didn’t…

I was reminded of the above conversation while in the process of assembling a few binders of recipes that belonged to my friend’s mother. They are mostly handwritten on index cards all organized specifically and separated by labeled divider cards in a few metal recipe boxes. My friend’s aunt got the idea to put them all together, glued onto paper and put into plastic sleeve covers– into a few binders so my friend would have them and use them and maybe, pass along to others. These index cards/recipes were well used–you can tell by the worn edges and stray stains on the cards. (Something that all good cooks and bakers do with their favorite recipes).

Several binders of recipes later…I am now on my last one, the big one, which is all baking recipes and will probably require a second large binder. I’ve been writing down a few coveted recipes along the way, so I can attempt to recreate these recipes for pumpkin pie, biscuits and pecan-coconut cake, hoping that they will be as good as her mom’s (but, I’m sure my versions will pale in comparison). I am glad my friend is letting me put these recipes together in one place for her. I know she will use them and they will have a place on the shelf in her kitchen.

My point is….get those recipes from your mom, dad, grandma, aunt, uncle, whoever. Ask questions, write stuff down and pass them along to people you love. Continue to make those recipes and share them with people. Even though our loved ones are gone, the recipes and the flood of food memories will keep them around, forever.

Easy Raw Kale Salad with Preserved Lemons

Wow, seems I’ve not posted in a long time. I’ve still been baking and cooking, but apparently too lazy to write up posts for the blog. I need to write more! Anyway, ever since Xmas dinner–where my sister-in-law made this salad, I’ve been making it about once a week (my friends make fun of me for my kale consumption). It’s super simple and flavorful. You should be able to find a jar of preserved lemons a most gourmet food stores.Or, and I’m not sure why this never occurred to me until now: you could make your own! I’ve been wanting to make my own pickles (cue Portlandia’s skit, so I should also get some Meyer lemons and preserve them too. Now I have a project.

  • 1 package of cut kale
  • 2-3 TB of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 TB minced preserved lemons
  • dash of salt (optional)

Put kale in large mixing bowl (I use my glass Pyrex one) and massage oil into the leaves until they become tender. Add minced lemons and mix together. That’s it. I also tend to add a little (1 tsp.) of the liquid from the jar of lemons too.) If you’re like me, try to not consume the entire container of kale in one day. That’s not a bad thing, is it?

Sweet Potato Cookies with Raisins

I had one rather large sweet potato and considered making a small amount of baked sweet potato fries, but decided upon trying out this cookie recipe my friend found on youtube for mbatata cookies found here.

I did tweak it a bit by adding vanilla and a little bit of white sugar and pecans. My apartment smells like sweet potato pie. Oh, man!

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4TB melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2C dark brown sugar
  • 1/2tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 C flour
  • 2tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2C raisins
  • 2 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon
  • 1/4 – 1/2C chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Peel the sweet potato and cut into somewhat large pieces, put in glass bowl with a little bit of water, cook in microwave for about 4 minutes, or until tender. Mash potato with a fork, set aside to cool slightly. Using a stand mixer, add cooled potato, melted/cooled butter and mix for about a minute. Add brown sugar, vanilla, beaten egg, mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix for about 2-3 minutes until everything is well combined. At this interval, taste the batter, if you want it a bit more sweet, add 1/8-1/4 cup of white sugar and mix again. Stir in raisins with spatula. At this point you’ll notice the dough is more muffin-like in consistency, that’s ok, that is what it’s supposed to look like.

Using a large cookie scoop, place dough on parchment paper covered baking sheets and bake for 18-20 minutes. These cookies don’t flatten out and are soft in texture and more cake like. Not too sweet either.
A very tasty and healthy fall treat.

Coconut Lime Bread

I love coconut: fresh, shredded, coconut milk, water–it doesn’t matter. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why I had bought this (unopened) 6oz. bag of unsweetened, shredded coconut that I found in my fridge. I thought, ‘Was it for cookies? Cupcakes?’ Honestly, I have no clue. I got inspired this morning and I knew that I wanted to make more bread, because, well, I’m on an easy-peasy recipe kick lately. Easy, as in I don’t have to use my Kitchenaid mixer. Don’t get me wrong, I love that mixer, but if I can get away without using it at times, then cool. It’s a more hands on baking experience for me. I like lime zest/juice in this recipe. I think you could also make a lime syrup and top it, or, toasted pecans would be a nice addition as well. Now that I think of it, you could reduce the sugar and add a mashed banana too or, some applesauce for sweetness. I’ll have to experiment some more with this and get back to you. Ooh, maybe next time I’ll add some blackberries!.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray or Crisco.

  • 2 and 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (I used Vietnamese cinnamon)
  • 1 C. sugar (I think you could get away with 3/4C.)
  • 2 C. sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut (I used unsweetened)
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 and 1/4 cups milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk. You could use another non-dairy milk too)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • Zest and juice of one lime (or more if you want)

Combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl. In another smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla, milk and cooled melted butter together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix with a spatula until thoroughly combined. Add mixture to loaf pan (at this point you can sprinkle some turbino sugar/sugar in the raw on top too) and bake for approximately 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick when inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a plate or wire rack to cool completely.

I think I could also use this recipe in mini loaf pans or in muffin tins too. I’ve been cutting the loaf of bread in half and wrapping up one half and putting it in the freezer and keeping the other half for myself in the fridge. It’s a nice addition to my morning cup of coffee.

Oh, and sorry for the lack of a picture, but my iphone photo wasn’t up to par.

Blueberry Coffeecake

Right now the scent of Vietnamese cinnamon and baking blueberries fills my apartment. Freshly made baked goods are a perfect breakfast treat. Why buy coffee cake when you can easily prepare it and have it fresh from the oven in 45 minutes? This is a super simple and quick recipe that I got from my mom. I used fresh NJ blueberries, but I’m guessing you can use cherries, raspberries or blackberries. I love summer fruit!

Butter/grease a 9″ square pan and set aside


  • 3/4 C. Sugar
  • 1/4 C. Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 egg

Stir in:

  • 1/2 C. Milk
  • 2 C. AP Flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Then stir in well drained blueberries.

To make the streusel topping:

  • 1/2 C. Sugar
  • 1/3 C. Flour
  • 1/2 C. unsalted butter, (softened)
  • 1/2 tsp. (or more if you like) Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Combine the streusel ingredients with clean bare hands until the mixture resembles pebbles. Add topping to coffee cake mixture and bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is.

A few notes: I swapped unsweetened vanilla almond milk for regular cow’s milk (because sometimes it bothers me [lactose intolerant])–a little more than 1/2 a cup of almond milk. You can judge by the consistency of the mixture. and, I used Vietnamese cinnamon because it’s more flavorful and stronger than regular cinnamon.

it really was delicious. Trust me.