Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pumpkin Poem and Cheese Cake

Orange, big, small
Pumpkin pie cooking
Seeds are good to eat

By, Kayla

Ms. Butler's Class
Dry Creek Elementary
Port Angeles, Washington
Assorted Poetry

I love this time of year.
The rich colors of the harvest promise flavor and comfort, plus a good dose of healthy nutrition.
This cheesecake is a delicious reward to share with your loved ones. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake

2 Graham Cracker Crusts
(I use pie pan shape, sometimes I make them: recipe below, sometimes I buy them pre-made)

1 small pumpkin 1 3/4 cup pulp
 or 1 can pumpkin (15 oz.)
1 lb cream cheese
1 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon black strap molasses
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
a pinch each of allspice, ground cloves, nutmeg

Beat softened cream cheese until smooth.
Mix pumpkin and maple syrup.
Add to cream cheese. Mix.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix.
Pour evenly into crusts.
Bake at 375° for about one hour.
Allow to cool and refrigerate for several hours before serving

Graham Cracker Cheesecake Crust

1 package (1/4 lb.) graham crackers
1/2 cup butter

Make crumbs of the graham crackers in a food processor.
Melt butter.
Mix with crumbs.
Press into pie pans.
Bake at 375° for 5 minutes.
Let cool before filling.

And of coarse, there is always the option of creating a pre-baked pumpkin master piece. Happy Halloween! 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Heritage Food In Our Family - Rosolje - Beet and Potato Salad

We have so many ethnic food choices in the USA.  At any given meal, we can eat cuisine with influence from almost anywhere in the world at a local restaurant. We can eat take-out of almost any kind and most of us know at least a recipe or two to cook up in our own kitchen that isn't originally from our own ethnic background.

My husband, Avo, is Estonian. Both of his parents immigrated to the USA following World War II. His first language was Estonian, his early years were spent in a thriving and tight knit Estonian community in Chicago. As in most ethnic communities, opportunities to get together included traditional food.
Estonian Flag

One Estonian side dish that I delight in is Rosolje [row-sohl-yeh]. My appetite for Rosolje may be one of the little things that contributed to my change of status from out-law to in-law in my husband's family. I love this salad. I consider it a complete meal in itself. It contains all kinds of wonderful and nutritious goodies; pickled beets, apples, dill pickles, and sour cream, meat and eggs for protein.

When I've questioned my mother-in-law about the origins of Rosolje, she shrugs with the common response of someone being questioned about their own cultural traditions "It's just always been there. My mom made it, then I made it." Too familiar to question, we had to do a bit of research to learn the history.

Traditionally served in the fall, you may also find this amazing salad at any gathering, including the summer solstice, Jaanipaev celebration. Rosolje became popular in the 1920's, originally made with herring (common Estonian fare), it has evolved and each cook adds the meat of her choice. The measurements of each ingredient were hard to pin down, even the published recipes vary in individual amounts per ingredient. When I make it, I have done the same and fortunately, my results have been given the nod of approval from both my kids and mother-in-law, from where I was gifted the recipe.
Thanks, Tiina.

Here's the recipe.
Rosolje - Serve cold.

Cube the following ingredients:
2 cans of pickled beets (Aunt Nellie's) Save the juice.
5-6 dill pickles
4 apples (Granny Smith or Golden Delicious)
6 big potatoes - boiled and peeled
3 hard boiled eggs
Cooked cold meat - cooked cold pork roast, smoked turkey or smoked ham are a few of the possibilities. I use ham and have never tried it with the traditional herring. Cube about 1 - 2 cups.

Get some help for cubing (it takes awhile). The expert Estonian cooks say, whatever size you cube the ingredients into, to try to get all of the cubes the same size.

For the dressing:
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (Colman's)
Add beet juice until you have the desired pink.
Mix it all together. Refrigerate for several hours.
Serve cold.
Mix dressing to desired pink.

Handing down a traditional recipe.
Adah and Grama Tiina.

This recipe shared on Creative Muster.

Monday, October 5, 2015

'City Moms' Dairy Farm Tour Highlights

Dairy farming educator extraordinaire,
Linda Drendel talks about the farm.
Brian J Gerloff, DVM
Gracious and generous hosts, Linda and Dale Drendel welcomed the Illinois Farm Family 'City Moms' to their farm to share a bit of their extensive dairy farming knowledge with us. With 40 years of dairy farming experience, they have more to share than we could possibly absorb in our afternoon visit. Linda talked about their champion Holstein cows and the meticulous care given to their animals. She is passionate about dairy farming and the well being of the cows.
Brian shows us feed for the cows.

Beautiful weather for a farm tour.

The Holsteins on the Drendel farm are monitored and cared for regularly by veterinarian Brian J. Gerloff. Brian has years of experience with dairy cows. He grew up on a dairy farm and began his vet practice caring for dairy cows in 1985. He has witnessed the number of dairy farms in Northern Illinois decrease substantially since he began his practice.

Brian showed us the feed and described how feed is selected for the best nutrition for the cows. What I remember is that a totally mixed ration (TMR) is created to address the nutritional needs of the dairy animals. One of the ingredients is made from the whole corn plant (corn silage), another ingredient is hay. Another fun fact is that cows have four stomachs.

Despite the lovely weather on the day we visited, the cows chose to stay inside. There was an open gate on the side of the barn for them to exit at will, but they remained in the barn. Silly cows.

Beautiful baby cow.

Seeing the young ones of any species is usually a treat. The calves were all really beautiful, each with their own distinct markings. They were also generally very friendly.

Born to latch on.
Baby mammals are born with the survival instinct to suck. These calves will be fed their mother's colostrum and milk, but long term, they will not be getting their nutrition directly from the cow themselves. A calf will be separated from the cow approximately 6 -8 hours after birth due to safety concerns.The cow can pose a physical danger to the calf by her size and potential for laying on the calf. A calf in open pasture can wander off and get itself into trouble. The separation of the calf from the cow, also allows for better monitoring, by the farmer, of the health of the calf and it's food intake.
I'm a lactation consultant,
but this was a whole new suck assessment.

Each of the 'City Mom' farm tours has been a delight for me. With the opportunity to meet the farm families, each tour has served as a reminder of just how easy it has become for most of us to buy and consume safe, high quality nutrition for our families. I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of the farmers that goes into making such a wide range of healthy food available to the rest of us.

The fun continued discussing the dairy tour on radio.

Following the farm tour, I  had the opportunity along with Marla Behrends, from the Midwest Dairy Association, to join radio hosts Rita Frazer and DeLoss Jahnke on R.F.D. Illinois radio to share my experience as a 'City Mom' visiting the Drendel farm. Thanks, Rita and DeLoss, fellow Runza fan, for the opportunity, it was a pleasure talking with you both.

For a lovely cookbook with great recipes containing dairy, plus a brief introduction to the different breeds of dairy cows, checkout; A Dairy Good Cookbook edited by Lisa Kingsley.