Saturday, October 06, 2007

Tip # 6...Resurrect traditional family recipes from scratch

Ah, the weekend. I love the thought of it. After I finish my chores, I will STOP WORK and bask in a fun evening with my family. Maybe a bottle of wine, too?
Today tip's is a perfect fit for Saturday. One of my favorite ways to enjoy family is to center the time around a great meal.

When was the last time your family witnessed a meal made from scratch? With a bit of pre-planning, everyone can contribute to the meal. Invite everyone into the kitchen to cook. Assign tasks by age and ability. Leave the wine to the adults.

This is also an excellent time to reminisce about when and how your grandparents or great-grandparents cooked the meal. If the family recipe is not as health conscious as you like, try to adapt with new nutritious ingredients.
Need more encouragement to cook from scratch? Check out the book, In Praise of Slowness, how a worldwide movement is challenging the cult of speed by Carl Honoré. You gain nutritional benefits and reduce stress all in one easy step. Food made with love is healthier. I realize this sounds simplistic, and it truly is. Often we make life more difficult than it is. Honore recognizes it and offers real life solutions. His Web site,, counters the allure the speed.
If your family did not pass along recipes from scratch, consider one of my favorite German Russian recipes or check out the Web sites below and build a new tradition.

6 pork chops Vegetable, safflower or canola oil
4 quarts of water 2 tablespoons Pickling spice
Bay Leaf 1 medium onion
3 tablespoons butter Salt

Wash pork chops and place in 8 qt. pot with 4 quarts of water and a bay leaf. Heat to boiling and boil for 15 minutes. While boiling, peel whole potatoes and cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Place the potatoes round side up on one half of 13x9x2 inch pan.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in small pan on stove or microwavable dish in microwave. Mix butter with 3 tablespoons oil and pour over potatoes. Remove pork chops and bay leaf from pot. Place pork chops on the other half of the pan. Distribute the two tablespoons of pickling spice evenly between the two corners of the meat side of the pan. Quarter the onion. Place one quarter of the onion in each of the four corners of the pan.

Add broth from pot to pan to fill approximately up to 5/8 of the height of the pan. Save remaining broth.

Cover only the meat side of the pan with aluminum foil. Bake at 450° F. for one hour. For browner potatoes, adjust the heat to broil for the last 5 minutes. Add extra broth to pan as needed during or after baking.

Modern, healthy alternatives for Broda:
· Use Smart Balance instead of butter and use extra virgin olive oil in place of regular oil
· Use sea salt, seasoning salt, or onion salt in place of regular salt

· Make the meal ahead of time and refrigerate up to eight hours and then bake. For vegetarians, make a separate pan of potatoes with the same seasoning. Use a 14 oz. can of vegetable broth instead of broth from the pork chops.

Beverage Recommendation:
Anything goes. However, I would choose a favorite wine followed by a shot of schnapps after the meal.

For additional German Russian recipes, check out my book Value Meals on the Volga.

For other traditional family recipes, visit these Web sites.

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