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Light & Runny Strawberry Jam

When I first started making jam many years ago, I was confused with the many suggested ways to cook (or not cook) jam. Some said to cook until done, some said not to use pectin, others called for too much sugar . . . you get the idea.
Being a bit of a perfectionist, I couldn’t just wing it and have the jam turn out a little different every year. I wanted it to be exactly right … not too sweet, not too hard, not too runny. . . so I've worked on it over the years and got it to where our family likes it, runny enough to use a spoon to spread a scone or fill that little hole on a Zwieback for Sunday Faspa.

Tools/Accessories:
  • blender or immersion blender
  • good quality, large stainless steel pot
  • wooden spoon
  • canning funnel
  • clean jars and new lids
Suggested amounts of ingredients needed for 24 - 30 cups of jam (12 - 15 pints):
  • 1 - 15 pound flat of strawberries
  • 4 kg sugar (10 pounds)
  • packages Certo light brand pectin OR 4 packages (other) regular pectin crystals
  • 4 teaspoons soft margarine

Ahead of time:  Wash jars and rings. While  jam is cooking, sterilize jars by heating in a 225° F oven for 10 minutes and keep warm until needed. Heat rubber lids in a small pot of boiling water and keep hot.

Berry Prep: Wash berries before stemming. Crush about 3 cups of berries at a time. With a good blender, pulse for 5 seconds, stopping to shake fruit to the bottom so as not to over-blend OR  fill an ice cream pail - a third full - and use an immersion blender to crush. If berries are very ripe you can use a potato masher. Pureed berries should still be of a thick and slightly chunky consistency. Collect crushed berries in a large bowl or ice cream pails until done. I usually do this in the evening and refrigerate the berries to cook the next day.  (15 lbs of berries will make 4 batches - or about 30 cups jam)

Measure and set aside seperately:
  • 6 cups mashed berries 
  • 4 1/4 cups sugar, separated
  • 3 tablespoons Certo light (or 1 package regular pectin crystals) mixed with ¼ cup sugar
To cook:
  1. Place fruit and pectin crystals mixed with 1/4 c sugar into a large pot. (Pot should only be about 1/3 full.) 
  2. Place over high heat on an element that keeps the most consistent heat,  and stir constantly with wooden spoon, until it comes to a bubbling boil.
  3. Stir in remaining 4 cups sugar. Continuing to stir, add 1 teaspoon margarine to keep the foam down and cook until mixture comes to a full, rolling boil again. (you can hear it) Set timer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn heat down slightly if it splatters too much, but keep the boil. 
  4. Remove from heat and continue to stir for a few minutes until clear and shiny. Crush any large floating berry pieces with a fork against the side of the pot if needed. Ladle hot jam into jars until 1/2 inch from rim. Cover with lids and screw rings to seal.

* The jam will be runny until it's completely cooled.
* Important note: Freezing the jam (once it's cooled) keeps it fresher tasting and it’s not necessary to seal the jars. Even keeping sealed jars refrigerated keeps the flavor fresher tasting than just having it sit in the pantry.
* You can freeze blended berries in 6 cup proportions, ready to cook in the winter, but you will need a bit more certo. (I freeze in 9 cup proportions, add 6 cups sugar and 1 package pectin with thawed mixture. This makes about 12 small jars)

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

 This is one of my favorite pancakes. If you like lemon, ricotta cheese and blueberries..you will love these fluffy pancakes. It doesn't take long to whip them up and if you have a griddle you can cook them all at once.

Batter: 
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 eggs, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  1. Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium size bowl combine the ricotta, egg yolks, milk, and vanilla. The ricotta I used was quite dry but if your brand happens to be on the runny side, just make sure to drain the liquid.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the ricotta mixture, mixing gently just until combined.
  5. Whisk in approx a cup of the egg whites to fluff up the dough, then fold in the rest of the egg whites just until combined.
  6. Heat griddle to medium high, brushing surface with a little butter. Using a ladle scoop the batter on the griddle. Using the back of the ladle push the dough outwards a bit on each pancake, so you don't end up with too thick a pancake.
  7. Cook pancakes approx 4 minutes, then flip over and cook until golden brown, approx another 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the size of your pancakes.
  8. Serve with lemon sauce, blueberries, a dollop of ricotta cheese and dust with icing sugar and a little lemon zest. Decorate your pancakes as you wish:) I couldn't resist having a little fun with them.
  9. Yields 8 to 10 pancakes. 
Lemon Sauce: you can make this ahead of time and reheat just before serving.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan.
  2. Stir in boiling water and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened.
  3. Stir in lemon juice, zest and butter.
  4. Serve warm.
  5. Yields: 2 cups

Lemon Basil Carrot Bundles


Here's a veggie plate suggestion fresh from the garden.  The carrots can easily be prepared in advance and reheated at the last minute.  They taste as good as they look!
  • 8 large carrots (about 2 pounds)
  • 8 stems of green onion
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  1. Pare or scrape carrots. Then cut into strips about 3 inches in length.
  2. Cook carrots over medium heat until tender crisp.
  3. Remove from heat.  Drain and rinse with cold water.
  4. Place onion greens in a covered dish in the microwave.  Cook on high for 30 seconds.  Cool and use limp onion greens as ropes to tie the carrot bundles.
  5. Gather carrot strips into eight bundles.
  6. Tie each with a green onion stem. Trim off ends of carrot bundles to even out lengths, if desired.
  7. Place bundles in a shallow bowl and drizzle with lemon basil mixture.
  8. Cover and chill until serving time. 
  9. Reheat in the microwave oven for about 3 minutes or until piping hot.
  10. Serve on a bed of steamed fresh green peas, if desired!
Serves 8


Enjoy!

Homemade Flour Tortillas


I had been told that tortillas were easy to make..and now I know that they are! Fresh flour tortillas really taste better than store-bought. These can be made in a cast iron or a non-stick frying pan. I used my trusty old cast iron frying pan and the tortillas turned out great.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2/3 cup hot water
Method:
  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Cut in shortening until crumbly.
  3. Pour in hot water, a little at a time, mixing with a fork until dough comes together.
  4. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes until smooth.
  5. Cover and let rest 45 minutes.
  6. Divide dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece into a ball, cover balls with plastic wrap. 
  7. With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 6-7 inch circle, don't worry they don't have to be perfect circles. Cook one tortilla while you roll out the next one. 
  8. Preheat your pan on medium heat. Do not add oil.
  9. Place tortilla in hot pan and cook until small bubbles appear before flipping to the other side, cook approx one minute on each side.   
  10. Stack cooked tortillas and cover with a tea towel till all are cooked.
  11. Now they are ready for your favorite recipe.  Can be frozen for future use.



Ginger Chicken Wonton Tacos

These little bundles make a nice appetizer or light lunch over a bed of cole slaw.
Tender pulled chicken in a spicy sweet ginger sauce wrapped in Wonton Wrappers. 
Shredded poached chicken

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (this is enough for approximately 25) 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1 package Wonton Wrappers (Found in the fresh food isle of the grocery store. They come in a stack and are about a 3"x3" squares)
  • 1/2 cup of your favourite thick bottled spicy ginger sauce, plus more for drizzling over slaw
  • 1/3 cup finely grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  •  slaw mix, chopped very fine
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
  • avocado, sliced
  1. Poach chicken by placing both chicken breasts in a pot and covering with water. Add bay leaf, salt and pepper. 
  2. Bring to a boil, turn down and allow to slow boil for 10 minutes. 
  3. Remove from heat, cover and let chicken sit in water for another 10 minutes.
  4. Remove chicken from water to a cutting board and immediately shred chicken, using two forks. ***see photo above***
  5. Add ginger sauce, cheese, and cilantro to the shredded chicken. This can be made ahead of time.
  6. When ready to bake, assemble Wonton Tacos by taking one Wanton Wrapper in the palm of your hand and laying a strip of meat filling from one point to the next. (about 2 tbsp per wrapper) 
  7. Pull up other two points as shown in photo below and pinch together. 
  8. Melt butter and using a pastry brush, and lightly brush the outsides of each bundle.
  9. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake in 400º oven for 19 minutes.
  10. Finely chop slaw and red pepper. 
  11. Place baked Wonton Tacos on top of bed of slaw that has been lightly drizzled with more ginger sauce. Garnish with avocado slices and serve immediately.

Filled and pinched Wantons

Brushed with butter, ready to go into oven.

Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping


Here is a light, luscious and lemony 'no-bake' cheesecake that is the perfect ending to a special occasion meal.  Or forget the meal and just enjoy this dessert with good friends!
Crust:
  • 1 1/3 cups Oreo Baking Crumbs
  • 1/3 cup butter

Filling:
  • 1 envelope unflavoured gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • zest of 1 lemon (finely grated)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons) 
  • 1 - 8 oz /250 gr package cream cheese
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream

Directions:
  1. Combine chocolate cookie crumbs and melted butter. Pat into a 9-inch spring-form pan. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; then add hot water while stirring.  Stir in lemon zest and juice.  Allow to cool for several minutes (but do not let set). 
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until very smooth.  Add gelatin mixture and combine well. 
  4. In a separate bowl, whip cream until stiff. Gently fold whipped cream into cheese mixture.  
  5. Pour filling into crust.  Refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. 
  6. Remove from pan and serve, topped with raspberry sauce (below), fresh raspberries and additional whipped cream.

Easy Raspberry Sauce:



  • 2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Combine raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in blender and process until liquidy. (Add more sugar to taste, if desired.)
At this point, you can eliminate the seeds by passing through a strainer.  We like the seeds!
Store in closed container in the fridge for several days.

This dessert can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days.  It also freezes well.

Serves 8.


 


Raspberry Red Pepper Jelly


Raspberries are ripe in the Fraser Valley and yesterday I popped into Neufeld Farms and picked up beautiful berries to make some Raspberry Pepper Jelly which pairs beautifully with cream cheese and crackers for a quick appy or a perfect little hostess gift.  If you don't want to make the jelly now. .simply freeze soft packed berries into a small freezer bag and you will have them measured and ready to use in fall or winter.

  • 3 cups raspberries (use a one cup measuring cup and pack them lightly, don't press them down flat. .they shouldn't squish)
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 10 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 8 cups white sugar
  • 2 boxes of 170 ml liquid certo  (this means 4 pouches)  170 ml is about 5.75 ounces for American measuring
  1. Sterilize lids and  jars with boiling water. Amount of jars depends on what size you use. The batch of jelly is about 10 cups.
  2. Put the raspberries in a large cooking pot.
  3. Roughly dice the red bell peppers and the jalapeno peppers  (use rubber gloves) and put them in a food processor and pulse until they are a fine dice.  Alternately. .finely dice them by hand.
  4. Add the peppers into the pot.
  5. Add the cider vinegar and the sugar and bring to a light boil.  Simmer for 8 minutes.
  6. Add the certo liquid and boil hard one minute.
  7. Pour the hot liquid into a large sieve. You might have to do this in batches, dumping out the pepper and raspberry seeds in between. 
  8. This should leave you with about 10 cups of jelly.
  9. Skim the foam and pour into little jars.
  10. Wipe the rims to be sure you haven't dripped and top with lids and screw hand tight.
  11. Process the jelly in a canner in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
  12. Using a canning jar tong, remove to a draft free area and let them cool.
  13. Be sure all the jars have sealed and then store in a dark cool place.
For safe canning instructions. .please have a look at this link here.

Fancy Egg Scramble



We enjoyed this make-ahead breakfast dish years ago and I finally revived it for brunch recently. Everyone enjoyed it.

  • 1 cup diced ham 
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion (scallions)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 12 eggs beaten
  • 1 6oz. can diced Green Chiles
Cheese Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Method:
  1. Melt butter in heavy large skillet. Saute ham and green onions in butter.
  2. Add beaten eggs and diced green chiles.
  3. Mix ingredients and cook until eggs are just set. Remove from heat and prepare cheese sauce.
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy bottom pan.
  5. Add flour, salt and pepper to butter and cook on medium heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the 2 cups of milk gradually and blend well. Cook to a gentle boil.
  7. Add the grated cheese and mix well until cheese is melted. Add the cheese sauce to the egg mixture and fold in till combined.
  8. Pour mixture into lightly greased 9x12 casserole dish.
  9. Cover and refrigerate overnight until 30-40 minutes before you want to serve the dish
  10. Cook uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Serve with fruit and muffins or toast.  Serves 6







Ginger Chicken with Hot Potato Salad

 
 Along with this chicken, I served a German Potato Salad and thought I'd share it as a meal combo idea. It's a nice menu for four adults or you can multiply as you like.
Ginger Chicken Marinade
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sherry cooking wine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger root*
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Montreal Chicken Spice
  1. Mix all ingredients and let sit for an hour or so to blend flavors. Pour over 8 boneless chicken thighs and allow to marinate for about one hour before grilling.
* An easy way to have fresh ginger on hand is to peel a piece and freeze it. To use, simply grate on fine part of grater while still frozen and return the unused portion to the freezer.

Hot German Potato Salad
  • 16 - 20 nugget potatoes (about a pound)
  • 4 - 5 slices bacon, fried, drained and  diced (keep drippings)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 - 3 tablespoon cream (optional)
  1. Cut potatoes in half and cook, leaving the skin on. This will take about 10 - 15 minutes. Drain.
  2. In the meantime, prepare bacon, set aside and cook onion in drippings until golden/transparent looking. Stir in sugar, mustard, vinegar, water, salt and pepper. Let simmer.
  3.  Just before serving, add bacon, then add mixture to potatoes in the pot. Stir in cream and reheat.
  4. Garnish with parsley or minced green onion.

Bread For The Journey

He Shall Have Dominion

 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea.
Psalm 72:8

The founding fathers of this country were convinced that Canada should be a nation under God.  The country was officially called the Dominion of Canada....based on the verse found in Psalm 72:8.  The leaders acknowledged that God would have dominion in this great nation from sea to shining sea  The national motto as it appears on our Coat of Arms is 'from sea to sea' (“A mari usque ad mare”) was also adopted at that time.  That was the framework on which this great country was built.  In 1867 Canada's first prime minister, John A. MacDonald explained to Queen Victoria of England, that the name was a tribute to the principles they earnestly desired to uphold.  On July 1, 1867 Canada was a country built on the Word of God.
 

Many things have changed over the years.  Our motto remains the same, though  most Canadians likely have no idea that it is based on scripture.  Many of the values that were accepted at that time have been discarded along the way.  What the future holds for us as a nation, we do not know.  May  "God keep our land glorious and free" as stated in the lyrics of our national anthem.   Let's not forget to pray for our country and our leaders, who are leading at a most difficult time in history.

If my people, who are called by my name, 
will humble themselves and pray
and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, 
then will I hear from heaven
and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:4 NIV

Happy Canada Day...
from someone who feels most privileged to call Canada home!

And to those of you who live south of the border...
Happy Fourth of July!


Canada Day Cake


God Keep Our Land...

I thought a Bodentorte which we have posted recipes before here on our blog would be a beautiful canvas to showcase the local berries that are ripe and available at farm markets in the Fraser Valley.
While I was baking this cake I thought of how I have always taken for granted how easy it is for us to make a cake here with fresh fruits that pair beautifully with our flag.
If I lived in the US...I'd toss some blueberries in with this and I'd instantly have a perfect July 4th cake.

Happy Canada Day!

Auntie Betty's Torte 
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Place butter in Bodentorte pan and place in oven just until butter melts. Remove from oven and use a brush to evenly spread butter around the bottom and sides of the pan.  
  2. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until just beginning to bubble, remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  3. If your eggs are not room temperature, place them in a glass of warm water for a few minutes. Combine the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and whip on medium speed while you measure the dry ingredients. If you don't have a stand mixer, whip the eggs and sugar for 2 minutes.
  4. Combine the flour and baking powder and sift into the egg and sugar mixture.  Stir gently to combine along with the vanilla.
  5. Pour into the Bodentorte pan and place in the center of oven.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and center tests done when a toothpick is inserted.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes and then flip over onto a serving plate.  You may need to gently use a thin knife to ease the cake out.  
Custard Layer
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • dash salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Stir in the egg yolk and milk and whisk to remove lumps.  Stir over medium heat or heat at 2-minute intervals in the microwave until thick and bubbly.
  3. Add vanilla and butter and stir to blend.
  4. Stir every few minutes until warm to touch.  You can also place plastic wrap over surface and set aside to avoid a skin from forming on the surface.
  5. Once room temperature, spoon into the Bodentorte.
Berry topping and Glaze
  • 2 1/2 pints fresh berries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water
  1. Wash and dry berries.  If berries are small, arrange in a symmetrical pattern over the custard.  If they are larger, slice and arrange in a pattern.
  2. Crush 2 cups berries or put in food processor. 
  3. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch, add water and crushed berries.
  4. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil.  Remove from heat and put through a sieve to remove seeds.  Set aside until it comes to room temperature and then carefully drizzle over berries.  Chill until ready to serve.
Serve with sweetened whipped cream.
Serves 8.  


Raspberry Cake


I love Flashback Fridays...it's fun to see how things have changed over the years and we get to post yet another tried and true recipe.  This will be one of those that is seasonal and you will want to try it this month while we have the fresh raspberries. This cake is sure to give you the royal raves as you whip it up and share it with a large scoop of ice cream.


"My walking partner phoned this morning and said she needed a day to catch up. Fair Enough!
I totally agreed and while we were quickly talking about our activities, I told her I needed a quick fix for coffee. "Do I run to town or make something?" She responded, "Do you have raspberries?"
"I sure do." Thanks, Laurie for this suggestion."  (July 2008)
We enjoy this recipe every year during berry season.


Raspberry Cake
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 cups fresh raspberries
Method
  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Cream your margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and add to creamed mixture.
  4. Mix with hand mixer until texture is light and fluffy.
  5. Add milk and vanilla, beating well after each addition. (enough milk so it is spreadable)
  6. Spread cake batter into greased 9x13 greased pan.
  7. Add about 4 cups of fresh raspberries on top of the cake.
  8. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes
Glaze
  1.  1 1/2 cup icing sugar
  2. 1 tsp vanilla
  3. 3 tbsp cream or milk.
  4. Mix ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over cake.
  5. Add a scoop of ice cream and you are ready to go! 
 
 Little did I know 8 years later, that  I would have a little princess helping me pick these berries.  Thank you Ivy!

Greek Lemon Roasted Potatoes




Our family loves the flavours of lemon and the Mediterranean or Greek food.
I have tried a few variations of recipes for lemon potatoes that I have come across, but this is what I have finally tweaked together from a variety of ideas. Make sure you make lots when you have company, it disappears fast.

  • 6 large potatoes cut into wedges (peeled is optional)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice (more or less depending on taste, freshly squeezed is always best)
  • 1 tbsp chicken bouillon dissolved in
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves pressed (or garlic powder to taste)
  1. Peel and cut potatoes. (When I make a big batch I omit the peeling).
  2. Place in a 9x13 pan combine remaining ingredients together and pour over potatoes stirring well to coat every piece.
  3. Bake at 425 for 1 hour. You may cover them for the first half hour. Stir every 20 minutes or so.
I personally don't cover them because I like the crisp edge, but that is an individual choice.
Also, my oven is a little hot and I find that they are done in about 40-45 minutes depending on how big the potatoes are.
Go ahead, squeeze just a little more fresh lemon juice on if the flavour isn't intense enough.

Blueberry Mango Verrines



The idea of a verrine is to layer different flavours and textures in a glass.
My version uses a velvety mango flavoured custard, fluffy whipped cream, crunchy granola
 and fresh, juicy fruit.

For the Custard:
  • 1 package of vanilla pudding (the kind you cook - NOT instant)
  • Substitute one can (1 cup) of mango nectar (I bought this at Costco) for 1 cup of the milk.
  1. Cook according to package directions and let cool.  
  2. I surround the custard bowl with ice and cold water to cool it faster. Just be careful you don't get any of the water into the custard!
Or: Make a custard from scratch:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk (you can substitute 1 cup mango nectar for 1 cup of the milk)
  • 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt.
  2. Stir in milk and mango juice (if using) until combined.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and comes to a boil
  4. Cook for 2 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, combine slightly beaten egg yolks with a little of the hot mixture 
  6. Stir warmed egg yolk mixture back into the remaining hot custard.  
  7. Cook 1 minute longer.
  8. Stir in butter and vanilla, blending well.
  9. Cool, stirring occasionally.
To assemble:
  • prepared pudding
  • 1-pint whipping cream, whipped with 2 tablespoons icing sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • crunchy granola purchased or homemade (I used Quaker Harvest Crunch)
  • 2 mangoes diced (same size as the blueberries)
  • 1-2 cups fresh blueberries
  1. Find your prettiest glasses. or use parfait or wine glasses. 
  2. Spoon mango custard into each glass using about 1/2 - 3/4 cup for each serving.
  3. Cover with a layer of whipped cream.
  4. Sprinkle granola over cream
  5. Add several spoons full of mango and blueberries.
  6. Top with a little more cream and a sprinkle of granola.
  7. Refrigerate until serving.

Glazed Yeast Donuts


Who doesn't like a yeast donut with a sticky yummy glaze?
A family favorite..our children and grandchildren love them! They were also popular with a friend and her children many years ago. When I knew they were coming for an afternoon visit I would often make these donuts. I remember us all sitting around the table munching away on donuts with a couple of wet wash cloths on the table for face and hand wiping. I think I need to plan another donut day this summer and invite them all down again!

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 cups water, lukewarm
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 8 - 8 1/4 cups flour
  1. Scald milk, stir in butter, sugar, salt, and lukewarm water. Whisk till butter is melted and sugar dissolved.
  2. Whisk eggs till foamy and add to the warm milk mixture.
  3. Add 4 cups flour, yeast, and mix well.
  4. Add the rest of the flour one cup at a time and knead until dough is smooth, it will still be slightly sticky.
  5. Place in a covered bowl in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down.
  6. Divide the dough into 3 balls. Roll out each ball to 1/4 to 3/8" thick on a floured surface, using just enough flour so dough doesn't stick to the surface. I don't re-roll the scraps, instead just let them rise along with the 'donut holes' and fry them like the donuts. (The fried donut 'scraps' are often grabbed first!)
  7. Using a donut cutter, cut donuts and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with oil, leaving space between each donut for rising. Let rise until almost doubled in bulk, approx 25 to 30 minutes.
  8. Deep fry in hot oil on medium high heat (375º) till donuts are golden on one side, flip over and fry till golden or done. Cut into the first one to give you the timing for doneness.
  9. Glaze while warm.
Sticky Syrupy Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Boil first 3 ingredients for 4 to 5 minutes, till glaze is syrupy.
  2. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Dip warm donuts in glaze and enjoy!
I only glaze as much as I want to serve, as they are best eaten fresh!
The leftover glaze and unglazed donuts freeze well.
Reheat frozen donuts in the oven and glaze with reheated glaze.





Jelly Roll



I pulled this recipe out of my mom's recipe book not that long ago
knowing it would be a hit. My husband is not a big dessert lover,
but mom knew that this was one he would enjoy.
After the first bite, we both said at the same time...
"this tastes just like being at mom's".

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, sifted twice
  • 1 1/4 cups jam

  1. Beat together very well, eggs, baking powder, and salt until creamy yellow and thick.
  2. Gradually add sugar, beating well.
  3. Sift flour several times. Add sifted flour to egg mixture and gently fold together until all the flour is incorporated.
  4. Line a 13"x18" baking sheet with wax paper. Lightly rub it with softened butter and then sprinkle it sparingly with flour. Pour batter into the pan.
  5. Bake in 350º oven for 25-30 minutes. The cake will be light in colour and spring back when gently touched in the centre, or toothpick inserted comes out clean. Do not over bake.
  6. Immediately invert onto a clean cotton tea towel that is generously sprinkled with powdered sugar. Pull off wax paper.
  7. Working quickly spread jam over hot sheet cake and starting at the short end, roll hot cake using the tea towel to help roll. Some of the jam may run out the ends...not to worry.
  8. Once you have it rolled up, keep the tea towel over it and 'tuck it in'. The steam from the hot cake helps to keep the cake moist as it cools.
  9. As soon as the cake has cooled remove the towel and place on a serving tray. Dust with more powdered sugar.

Rustic Potato Salad

This Potato Salad is an easy and comforting side for any protein you choose to barbecue or bake. We've enjoyed it with hamburgers and smoked pork. Even though summer is over there is still time for a picnic, potluck or barbecue.

Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 pounds of small red potatoes
  • 4 eggs hard boiled
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1/2 small white onion diced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cooked bacon bits
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 handful chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:
  1. Boil unpeeled potatoes in salted water until fork tender, drain and chop into bite sized pieces and add into large bowl.
  2. Shell and dice the eggs and add to the potatoes.
  3. Add the diced celery and onion to the bowl.
  4. While the potatoes and eggs are still hot add the mayonnaise and mustard and mix well.
  5. Mix in the parsley.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Because you cook the potatoes in salted water you might not need too much extra salt for the finished product. I added a 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper to start and then tasted to see if it needed more.

Raspberry Custard Pie

Raspberries are ready for picking. Our favorite Raspberry Pie has a combination of silky custard that the raspberries lay on with a tender flaky crust.

Dorothy's Pastry 
  • 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 pound of lard
  • In a one cup measuring cup  beat one small farm fresh egg
  • add 2 teaspoons of vinegar or 1 tablespoon to double the recipe
  • and fill to the 1/2 cup line with ice cold water.
  1. In the food processor, put all the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the cut up lard, pulse this until the big pieces are all gone.
  3. Add the liquid quickly while the machine is going.
  4. Stop it as soon as it starts to come together.
  5. Turn it out onto a counter and knead it a few times until it comes together.

If you don't have a food processor, put the dry ingredients into a large bowl. 
  1. Cut the lard into tablespoon pieces and then cut into the flour mixture until it looks like oatmeal. Add all the wet ingredients and stir with a fork until it just comes together.
  2. Divide the pastry into 3 equal pieces, flatten into round discs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

  1. Roll one disc of pastry onto a floured counter. Roll pastry out about 1/8 inch thick and line your pie plate. This recipe will do two 9 inch crusts. 
  2. Roll the pastry onto the rolling pin and unroll it onto the pie plate. Trim the edges and prick the bottom and sides of the pastry. 
  3. Put a piece of foil over the crust, pressing it slightly onto the crust. Put it into the oven and bake 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake a few more minutes until lightly browned. Let cool.
  4. Refrigerate the remainder pastry discs a few days or freeze.


Custard (enough for one 9 inch pie)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Blend the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in the medium saucepan.
  2. In a measuring cup, measure the milk and then add the egg yolks and stir.
  3. Add to sugar and cornstarch mixture.
  4. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until bubbling and thickened.
  5. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  6. Cool for 5 minutes.
  7. Pour into cooled pastry crust.
Add one layer of berries on top of the cooled custard.
Glaze
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  1. In a small saucepan, stir together the jam, water, and cornstarch. Heat until just bubbly and clear. Drizzle over the berries. You don't need much .. just a bit to add a bit of sweetness.
Whip 1 cup of heavy cream with 2 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form. Slice the pie and top with whipped cream.

Waffles with Vanilla Custard



As a young bride I searched the Mennonite Treasury Cookbook for any recipes that would impress my husband and his large extended family. I did not realize at that time how special this particular meal would become to our kids and now even our grandkids. It begins with a hot, light and fluffy Belgian waffle, gets smothered with a runny, warm vanilla sauce and drizzled with raspberry syrup. I have long felt at ease about the vanilla sauce (as opposed to the usual syrup) because it is not very sweet and is made with milk and eggs. Good for growing kids! I like to think that some Mennonite family brought the original recipe  from Holland or Belgium to Russia and to North America, where it has become quite Canadian/American. Since I end up tripling this recipe for our family now, I place the cooked waffles in the oven ( 175°F) right on the racks, to keep warm and crispy until they are all done.


Waffles (makes about 5 round deep Belgian Style)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg and
  • 2 egg whites - save yolks for sauce
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 5 tablespoons oil
  1. Preheat waffle iron.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Add buttermilk, oil and eggs; mix until smooth (with hand held mixer). It will rise as it sits for a minute. Do not stir down as you scoop out and into the waffle iron.
  4. Spread onto hot waffle iron. (leave room around edge for batter to spread) You may want to spray or wipe the Teflon with an oily paper towel, just before cooking the first waffle. It should be fine then for the batch.
Vanilla Sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups milk, divided
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla powder or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  1. In a small pot, heat 2 cups milk until it begins to boil. (medium heat)
  2. While you are doing this: mix dry ingredients in a small bowl, add just a little of the reserved 1/2 cup of milk, blend the egg yolks in well, and then the rest of the 1/2 cup milk.
  3.  Stir mixture into the milk in the pot just as it begins to boil up (you will see skin forming) and stir with whisk until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken. 
Raspberry Sauce/Syrup
I buy half a flat of raspberries when they’re in season, put them in a blender and measure them out. For each cup of berries I mix in 1 cup of sugar. Stir that for about 5 minutes and let it sit for a few hours, stirring several times. Pour into small jars and freeze. Thaw just before serving. Keeps a week or two refrigerated. Sliced strawberries with a sprinkle of sugar are also a great topping.

Leafy Lettuce Salad



I remember this salad, as a small girl growing up. My mother lived off a mere $50 a month budget for groceries. She needed to feed a family of 7 plus all the hired hands. She had a gift of hospitality and knew how to make her pennies stretch. Actually, she always asked God how she could make her budget last. She worked hard and always had a garden and since I'm not working out of the home,
I've made every effort to grow a garden again. I love sharing this with the grandkids.
We've made some raised garden beds this year, which takes away from all that back-breaking work.
This week I called my sister to see what Mom's secret recipe contained.

Leafy Lettuce Salad
  • 8 cups of Leafy garden lettuce.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 vinegar

  1. Blend the sugar and cream together and then add the vinegar.
  2. Pour over the leafy lettuce and serve.

Pour over your leafy lettuce.Yum!!! Do any of you remember this lettuce salad?


Rollkuchen


 
Rollkuchen are a tasty, deep fried pastry that are a wonderful accompaniment to cold watermelon on a hot summer day.  How well I recall childhood picnics with big tubs of fresh Rollkuchen.  Let's just say that eating them is rather like eating peanuts...you can't stop at just one! Sometime over the years, Rollkuchen became paired with Roger's Golden Syrup (definitely a Canadian thing) on my table; they make a great team!

My mother-in-law made the best flaky, crispy Rollkuchen. Mine never quite measured up, so I have always made the thicker, softer variety and they have become a family favorite. Hers were all uniform in shape; mine are rather 'free-form'. Each recipe seems to differ slightly but I've never met a Rollkuchen I didn't like!

Rollkuchen

  • 5 - 6 cups / 1150 - 1350 ml flour
  • 3 teaspoons / 15 ml  baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon / 5 ml salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup / 250 ml sour cream
  • 1 cup / 250 ml milk
 
  1. Combine 5 cups / 1150 ml  flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Beat eggs, sour cream and milk together and add to dry ingredients
  3. Continue to add flour to form a soft dough ... usually about 1/2 cup more.
  4. Allow the dough to chill for an hour or two before rolling, for easier handling.
  5. Divide the dough in half and roll out quite thin on a floured board ... if you prefer them soft, then not quite so thin.
  6. Cut strips of dough about 2x4 inches / 5x10 cm ... with two slits cut in center of each.
  7. Stretch the pieces somewhat before dropping into the hot oil.
  8. Fry in deep hot oil over medium heat until golden on one side. Turn and brown the other side.
     

The rollkuchen puff up beautifully while cooking and are really mostly air pockets by the time they are ready to eat. A totally a healthy choice!  Who am I fooling?


Serve with cold watermelon and Roger's golden syrup.  Grilled farmer sausage is also a nice touch!

Large Basic Platz Mix


This Platz mix can be used as a base mix for near any kind of fruit Platz, muffin mix or coffee cake. Having the dry ingredients pre-mixed with the butter is a time saver when you need to make something quick for coffee or dessert. This amount makes about 13 cups of mix and will yield about 4 recipes, depending on what you make. The total recipe would serve 48 - 50. For more variations on how to use this mix check here.

Ingredients:
  • 8 cups flour (I use unbleached)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cold butter
Method:
  1. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients and use a grater to grate in the butter, like cheese.
  2. Stir well, if too chunky, use pastry blender to stir and finish it up.
  3. Store in refrigerator for up to three months.

 For Basic Platz:
  • 3 cups mix
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups sliced fruit
  • crumbs made from 1 cup mix and 2 - 3 Tbsp cream
  1. In a small bowl, whisk egg with fork and add buttermilk. Add to dry mix in a larger bowl , stirring with a fork until blended.
  2. Spread into greased 9x9 inch pan and cover with sliced plums, apricots, apples or finely chopped rhubarb. Sprinkle with about 2 Tbps of sugar if desired or cinnamon sugar for apples.
  3. Top with crumbs using your hand to mix them.
  4. Bake at 350 F for 35 - 40 minutes.

Ten Years of Mennonite Girls Can Cook



Ten years ago, this blog began on a whim that blossomed into an extraordinary compilation of our Mennonite recipes. Ten women volunteered to make, photograph and post on this blog so that our families and future generations will have this integral part of our heritage preserved.

The first idea for MGCC began during a sleepless night on June 5th, 2008.  By 9 AM the next morning I had sent out a casual invitation on my personal blog. It was Vee who commented on that post saying "Sounds like great fun! I know you Mennonite gals know how to cook!!" 

 That is how the name Mennonite Girls Can Cook came to be.  There was no business plan or goal as to how many recipes we would post.   It is because of how it all fell into place that we have known in our hearts that God provided an opportunity for us to use the gifts He gave us,  to bless others,  and to give Him glory.  





I love telling the story of how we were so thrilled to realize that our blog was being read.  Within the first week, we were tracking several hundred visitors per day.  Later we admitted it was only the ten of us coming back over and over to see if we had any comments on our recipes.



It wasn't long though and you really did come to visit our blog and you kept coming back and your encouragement took us from the beginning idea of posting our Mennonite heritage recipes to also include our family favorite recipes and experiments from our own kitchens.

It is now not unusual for us to welcome over ten thousand page views on any given day. We are so delighted that this has become a place where recipes are searched, and where we have been able to freely share our faith.



We also recognize that God led us to make some decisions back when it all began.  We decided that if there was ever a way for us to raise money from anything connected to the blog, we would feed hungry children.  We decided we would keep our blog beautiful without automated advertisements.  Our sponsors on our sidebar quietly have donated to our charities and we have appreciated them for their generosity. 

We also decided that we wouldn't pursue a publisher but if one approached us we would welcome an invitation to do a cookbook.  In the spring of 2010, we were approached by Amy Gingerich the Editor of Herald Press, to see if we wanted to do a cookbook with them.  

Our original Mennonite Girls Can Cookbook featuring Mennonite Recipes and our family favorites became a Canadian bestseller within a few months thanks to all of you who bought up books everywhere they were available. 


Early in 2012, we started to work on our Celebrations book which was a delight to create as we reflected all the seasons that we have experienced in life.  During that summer, we met together once more to take photos and have a very special tea time that we shared with you in the pages of the book.  


Our Bread for the Journey book was published to coincide with the opening of the play Mennonite Girls Can Cook.  This book has been a place where we have shared our Mennonite family history stories and have shared what our faith means to us in daily living.   We used that opportunity to put into print some of the recipes that have been most searched on the blog. 


We have been reflecting in our daily chats with one another how we had never ever imagined the opportunities to share.  Television interviews across Canada, newspaper and magazine interviews, traveling for book signings,  cooking demonstrations, speaking opportunities, and the play called Mennonite Girls Can Cook have all had an impact on increasing our visibility.  
We are so thankful for all those that donated to projects on our behalf. 


We realize that God gave us this journey of ten women for a purpose. God gave each of us a gift and we have sought to be faithful in sharing that gift with you through our recipes, our books and through our devotionals. 

So I ask you to make full use of the gift God gave you when I placed my hands on you. Use it well. 
2 Timothy 1:6 



There is still a lot for us to accomplish on our blog. While we will not be posting new recipes, we will continue to tweak our past recipes, redo some old photos and rework our recipe index to make it easier to find your favorites. Our best recipes will be highlighted during the different seasons of the year. You can be sure that the new year will begin with Portzelky, Paska will be front and center at Easter, Rollkuchen in summer, harvest recipes in fall and Oma's cookies at Christmas.  We feel certain that there are many recipes that you haven't tried and we hope that by making the recipe index easier to navigate, you will feel inspired to search and try something new to you. 



There are many things that we will miss, most of all, our connections with you through your faithful comments.  Thank you for your encouragement that kept us motivated to do our work to the best of our ability.  Thank you also, for all the cookbooks and devotional books that you have purchased in the past and will continue to purchase.  Every dollar that we earn through those cookbooks will continue to provide clean water for the thirsty, and food for the hungry.  Because of your support, we have been richly blessed to give where God has led us. 


Before I press the publish button for the last time, I want to tell you about the beautiful women that have worked alongside me.  They have all had such a vital impact on my life.  They have encouraged me in my walk with God.  They have encouraged me to strive for excellence.  They have opened their hearts to friendship and unity.  They have allowed me to glean the wisdom they have and they are faithful to pray for needs within our group and are quick to bring praise to God. 


None of them signed up to take turns posting recipes every day for ten years and yet as this project grew, their hearts were open to using their gifts knowing that it could help others. I pray that wherever God leads them in the years to follow that they will continue to inspire others with the beautiful gifts they have.  

When I tell you how each is unique, you will understand how we have needed each other and how our group was brought together by God.
 We have become faithful friends because we have been thankful for each other. 


Anneliese opens her home with joy to host and to serve. Anneliese has the gift of creative writing.  She has used her gift to edit our books and to write poetry and stories that warm our hearts with truths. She has often helped me in thinking through how to communicate something in writing. 

When you have reached out to us on our contact page, it has been Anneliese who answered your questions.

 In Anneliese, I value her sincere heart, her example of hospitality, and her attention to detail.


Betty delights in serving. She is well known for treats she brings to appointments, workplaces, and is a source of take-out meals for those she loves.  Every Saturday morning, Betty has sent out an email to all of us, reminding us of our scheduled recipes. She never missed a Saturday and she never forgot to post her own recipe. 

 In Betty, I value her cheerfulness, her patience, and her humility. 


Charlotte has the gift of caring deeply about people with compassion and empathy.  She is gentle and kind and looks for ways to bless others. Her large friendship circle is a testimony to the way she treats those she knows.

Charlotte has forwarded the comments and questions that you have made on our posts to us. 

  In Charlotte, I value her capacity to love unconditionally, her listening ear and her empathy.


Bev somehow manages to juggle many things in a day and still host neighbors, family, friends and those that stop by, without exhibiting any bother or fuss.  She truly loves to host and does it with flare.  Bev also is generous and willing to help wherever help is needed.  
Bev has diligently indexed all the recipes making it easy when you are wondering what to make.

In Bev, I value her willingness, her honesty and her heart of reconciliation. 


Ellen has the gift of hospitality that she shares with family and friends and their church group.  
Ellen has been our voice on Facebook, always introducing each mornings recipe in a way that will pique your interest.

In Ellen, I value the twinkle in her eye, the way she listens before speaking and her discernment. 


Judy is our calm and steady peacemaker who encourages and sees the best in everyone. 
She has a keen eye for detail and has often quietly tweaked our spelling and grammar in the morning when necessary. 
Judy has been faithful in posting our daily recipes to Pinterest. 

In Judy, I value her sense of diplomacy, her logical thinking, and her kindness.


Julie is a prayer warrior.  If you have ever requested prayer on our blog, it has most often been Julie that has led us in prayer with her tender compassion and empathy.  Julie is always cheerful and gives the best hugs.  Julie is faithful to teach the gospel wherever God gives her opportunities.

In Julie, I value her joyfulness, her love to understand scripture and her imaginative mind.


Kathy is encouraging and has a joyful spontaneity that is enjoyed by all who know her.  Her gift of hospitality spills out of her home and into wherever life takes her.   She is a skillful communicator and efficient in managing her time. 

In Kathy, I value her inclusivity, her words that encourage and her sense of responsibility.

Kathy and Marg have been our sponsor liaisons.


Marg has a delightful adventurous spirit. She has shown us what courage and faith look like when tragedy strikes.  Behind the scenes, Marg has organized our schedule for our Bread for the Journey Sunday devotionals. 

In Marg, I value her joy in nurturing, her generosity and her authenticity. 


We are so very thankful for you our readers that have given us a platform to share our joy of hospitality!

   We want to leave you with a blessing from the Bible.


"The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face towards you
and give you peace."

Numbers 6:24-26 NIV