23 April 2011

Weekend Cooking: Dinner with My Grandmothers

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Last year I kicked myself for not having enough free time to enter TLC Book Tours' contest to have tea with author Adriana Trigiani. Everyone who was lucky enough to win had a fabulous time, and they are still talking about it. This year the contest is for lunch and a walking tour with Adriana, and I can enter by following this guideline:
Make a recipe given to you by your grandparents, take a picture of the recipe you made, post about it on your blog, and then post the link on Adriana’s Facebook page.
I can do that! And I can go one better: Today's meal features a recipe from each of my grandmothers.

I will be forever grateful that I was able to really know my grandparents. In fact, I lost my last grandparent when I was in my forties. I loved knowing my grandmothers as peers and loved sharing recipes with them. My family has an abundance of great cooks who are easygoing and inventive in the kitchen. Because both my grandmothers lived nearby, I have many, many memories of helping them in the kitchen.

The lamb recipe comes from my maternal grandmother. My mother's parents liked to travel, and my grandmother told me that this dish was served on trains "going west to San Francisco" in the 1950s. On the train, diners also got rolls, peas, and new potatoes, but in my house, the lamb is often served with my paternal grandmother's famous noodle pudding. One taste of this dish, and you'll forget about the pile of dirty dishes left in its wake.

The recipes are exactly as I got them from my grandmothers.

Noodle Pudding
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup melted sweet butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pound creamed cottage cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 pound medium noodles, cooked
  • 1/2 cup cornflake crumbs
  • extra butter
Beat yolks with the melted butter and sugar. Fold in the cottage cheese and sour cream and then the noodles. Beat the whites until stiff and fold in with the rest. Place in a buttered 2-quart casserole and sprinkle with the crumbs. Dot with butter. Bake 45 minutes at 375F.

My dad's mom gave me this very cool egg separator!

Lamb Casserole
  • 2 1/2 pounds boned lamb
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 pound sweet butter
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium turnips, peeled and chunked
  • 1 heaping tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup tomato puree or sauce
  • 1 pint broth, lamb or chicken
  • salt and pepper
Cut lamb into bite-size pieces. Melt the butter in the pan, add the lamb and sprinkle with pepper. Let cook, but do not brown. Add the onion and celery and stir until the vegetables are soft. As the liquid evaporates, add the flour. Stir until it starts to brown and then add tomato puree and broth. Bring to a boil and add the carrots and turnips and let boil until sauce gets shiny. Taste and add salt as needed.

Pour into a casserole. Cover and bake until done.

My notes written on the recipe: Sauce doesn't really get thick, this is tasty even without herbs, bake about 40 minutes or so at 350F or 375F.

Enjoy!! Be sure to visit Adriana's Facebook page or click on the cute I ♥ Adriana button to learn more about the contest.


Marg 4/23/11, 5:54 AM  

What a lovely post. Thank you so much for sharing. I have no idea what my grandmother's specialty was, although I do know that she served up steak and kidney pie to my grandfather for many, many years before he finally told her that he didn't like it!

Rikki 4/23/11, 6:06 AM  

That noodle pudding sounds delicious. I will definitely try that one out soon.
Those egg separators are Tupper aren't they/ I think we used to have the exact same one. Very practical.

Beth F 4/23/11, 6:18 AM  

@Rikki: Yes, I think it is early Tupperware. I've had it a long while now.

Michelle 4/23/11, 6:25 AM  

Holy smokes, that sure does look fantastic! Your gourmet abilities amaze me.

Uniflame 4/23/11, 7:05 AM  

That noodle pudding sounds interesting. A bit odd for me though. What does it taste like? Is it sweet?

Beth F 4/23/11, 7:17 AM  

@Uniflame, no, it really doesn't taste sweet. It's kind of like a souffle -- we love it.

Zibilee 4/23/11, 7:31 AM  

Oh my gosh, these recipes look so good! I have been having a hard time finding recipes that I like that involve lamb, and now I know just what I am going to do with that lamb that has been in my freezer. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I hope that you take the prize in the Trigiani contest!

TheBookGirl 4/23/11, 7:47 AM  

What a fun coincidence...I had my post for my grandmother's cookies set to go up automatically, and then I went on the computer this a.m. and saw this :)
Hope you win the contest!

I love the fact that you serve a dish from one side of the family with a dish from the other side...that noodle pudding would be a huge hit in this house...can't wait to try it :)

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 4/23/11, 7:50 AM  

What a wonderful post! So fortunate to know your grandparents (and to grow with them - what a wonderful picture, cooking alongside them as peers).

Thanks for sharing your story and these recipes. Being less adventurous, the noodle pudding might be something I'd try (but what's *creamed* cottage cheese?)

Beth F 4/23/11, 7:53 AM  

@Dawn just use regular cottage cheese. In the old days you could by creamed cottage cheese or dry cottage cheese (curds without much whey). Perhaps you can still buy dry cottage cheese? I haven't looked for it for a while.

caite 4/23/11, 8:17 AM  

oh, that noodle pudding sounds like something that I have to try.

Ever memory of my grandmother cooking was her standing at the stove in her little kitchen, with a cigarette hanging out of the corner of her mouth, a long ash growing.

that ash, and the possibility that it would fall in the food, fascinated me as a wee one...

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) 4/23/11, 8:22 AM  

Oh, I wish, so badly, that I had cooking talent. Alas, "skills" are limited to about boiling water. Sigh.

Margot 4/23/11, 8:30 AM  

I love this post. What a rich heritage you have. You are indeed fortunate to know your grandparents into adulthood, and fortunate for them too. I hope you win one of the prizes because I'm sure you'll tell us about it and that means we all win.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity 4/23/11, 9:43 AM  

How wonderful that you were able to know your grandparents into your 40s. Most of my grandparents are still alive and I'm grateful for the relationships! And also the tasty recipes that are passed down. ;)

Never cooked lamb before--way too intimidated by it for some reason! (think it's knowing what to buy). Mom has the same egg separator, though! Ha!

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook 4/23/11, 9:44 AM  

Both recipes look delicious and go so well together. I love the gravy of the lamb swirling onto the noodle pudding. Delicious! Good luck, looking forward to reading that you won!

bermudaonion 4/23/11, 9:56 AM  

What a fabulous way to keep your grandmothers' memories alive. You are so lucky to have known them so well. I've heard both of my grandmothers were great cooks, but I have no memories of it. Good luck in the contest - I hope you win!

Peaceful Reader 4/23/11, 10:16 AM  

Such interesting recipes passed down to you. One of my grandmothers was a fantastic cook-she made the best groundcherry rhubarb pies!

Nise' 4/23/11, 10:26 AM  

You were indeed blessed to have your Grandparents well into your 40s. My Grandfather (last surving) died when I was 48. I am not a confident enough cook to attemt my Grandmother's (maternal) specialites. She never wrote anything down!

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove 4/23/11, 12:22 PM  

What a nice post Beth! I am going to make that noodle pudding soon! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter!

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick 4/23/11, 4:05 PM  

Such a cool post! I just started listening to Very Valentine, and this is my first time soaking up the worlds of Adriana Trigiani, and I am loving it!

Anonymous,  4/23/11, 4:29 PM  

What a blessing to know your grandparents so well. I only knew one grandfather and he died when I was young. The other grands died before or a few years after I was born.

Heather 4/23/11, 7:21 PM  

I still have one Grandmother. she's now 93. She cooked until the day she moved to the retirement home. Everything she made was wonderful, specially her cakes. My other grandmother used to make a steak and kidney pie. Too bad my mother didn't learn to make it. I was still young at that point. She did teach me to decorate cakes. Great post.

Julie P. 4/24/11, 9:45 AM  

I absolutely love noodle casserole! That sounds wonderful! So nice to share family recipes.

Julie Goucher 4/24/11, 9:49 AM  

What a great legacy and a wonderful way to remember your grandparents.

Anonymous,  4/24/11, 11:50 AM  

Great recipes! I only knew one grandmother and she was senile before I was old enough to know her well (she lived far away, too).

So, no recipes from my grandparents, then.

The noodle pudding looks interesting. Like Uniflame, I thought it might be sweet. But it's for the main meal, then.

Beth Hoffman 4/24/11, 11:53 AM  

Ooo, I can make the noodle pudding with gluten-free noodles! It sounds wonderful and I can't wait to try it!

Louise 4/24/11, 12:44 PM  

How appropriate with a lamb recipe for Easter-time :-) I am not the biggest lamb-fan myself, but my mother in law made a fantastic leg of lamb the other day, and I have to admit it was wonderful.

I liked the story around your recipe, and I hope you win the contest and get a chance for lunch with A. Trigiani.

Marie 4/24/11, 1:18 PM  

I'm pretty sure my mom made that noodle pudding (she had the recipe in her collection and had submitted it for a local cookbook), but I don't remember having it at all. I'm definitely going to have to try it.

I definitely recognize that egg separator. My mom had one. It's very cool.

Dorte H 4/24/11, 3:36 PM  

You wouldn´t call poisonous mushrooms foody, would you? I love eating good food - which is why I rarely cook ;)

Happy Easter!

Chinoiseries 4/24/11, 5:24 PM  

Really a lovely post. It makes me think of my grandparents, two of them I sadly have never known, and one of them recently passed away. You are very fortunate to have known yours! And their memory lives on in these beautiful dishes :) (Noodle pudding sounds interestng!)

Sheila (Bookjourney) 4/25/11, 1:33 AM  

I was at that tea with Adrianna and it was wonderful - I hope you get to be a part of this! Good luck :)

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