Wednesday, November 30, 2011


My father was born and raised in New York City, but when I was a kid we moved out to the "wilds of New Jersey". Although he was happy with his decision, he still had every morning and afternoon New York paper delivered to the house. His favorite was the New York Times food section edited by the renowned food editor Craig Claiborne. This recipe is my father's adaptation from one of those columns.

Dad's Whole Wheat Molasses Bread
2 packages active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup warm water (100º to 110ºF)
2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups to 2 cups unbleached flour
2 Tablespoons caraway seeds
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons shortening (I use a Crisco cooking bar)
1 Tablespoon salt.

To proof the yeast, add 2 teaspoons sugar to 1/2 cup warm water (100º to 110ºF). Stir in 2 envelopes yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons). Let stand 10 minutes. If the yeast foams to the 1 cup mark, it is active and can be used. (Note: RapidRise yeast loses its fast rising capabilities if dissolved in liquid and will require two complete rises)

In a large mixing bowl (I use my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook), combine whole wheat flour, 1 cup of the unbleached flour, and the caraway seed.

In a small saucepan, heat water, molasses, brown sugar, shortening, and salt just till warm (115º - 120º), stirring to melt shortening. Add to dry ingredients in bowl. Add in yeast.  Beat at low speed with an electric mixer for 1/2 minute, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Then beat 3 minutes at high speed. By hand, stir in enough of the remaining unbleached flour to make a stiff dough. 

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth, 5-8 minutes. Shape into a large ball and place in a greased bowl, turning once over to grease dough ball. Cover. Let rise in a warm space until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch dough down. Divide into two halves, then cover loosely with a damp towel and rest ten minutes.

Shape into two slightly flattened 6-inch balls. Place both halves on a greased baking sheet. Cover. Let rise till double, about 45 minutes.

Bake loaves in 375º oven till well browned, 30-35 minutes. For a more chewy crust, brush each loaf with warm water several times during the last 10 - 15 minutes of baking. Remove from baking sheet immediately and cool on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves.
Can be eaten warm, or cooled and frozen for up to 3 months.

I serve this bread with my Dad's Turkey soup.

Other soups in the Recipe Journal collection which go well with this bread include: Fall Vegetable SoupChicken Noodle Soup, and Chicken Corn Chowder.


Monday, November 28, 2011


My father was a wonderful cook. As one of six Depression-era children living in a New York City tenement, he grew up in a household that wasted nothing. Especially food. This soup was his favorite recipe, not just because it's delicious and uses up the last of the Thanksgiving turkey, but because it was the only one of his mother's recipes he could remember. For me, the best thing about Thanksgiving  (besides the leftover sandwiches served with hot tea) is making this soup, along with his wonderful whole wheat molasses bread. 

Dad's Turkey Soup

From leftover turkey:
Peel skin off legs and wings (if not eaten), cut apart carcass and keep meatier parts (back and ribs) Throw away main cavity. (Don't forget to pull out the wishbone for later!)

1 onion, peeled and cut in half
1/2 green pepper, cut into three pieces
3 large carrots, peeled and cut in half
2 cans Cream of Tomato condensed soup
Pepper (1 teaspoon, approximately depending on how the turkey was seasoned)

For the next day:
1/2 cup barley (better less than more)

Fill a pressure cooker (or stockpot) 1/2 way with water. Add the turkey legs, wings, and all leftover meat. Toss in the onion, green pepper, carrots, soup, and pepper.  
Cook in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes, then remove from heat for 1/2 hour.
If using a large pot instead, simmer for 2 hours. Then cool for 10 minutes. 
Once cool, strain all the solids from the liquid. Transfer the liquid to a stockpot. Peel meat off legs, wings, etc. and add to liquid. Discard all other solids. 
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Next day, skim off fat from top of liquid. Add barley and cook for 1 more hour. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve with bread and butter. I love to serve this soup with my dad's homemade whole wheat molasses bread. (recipe to come soon!)

Other soups in the Recipe Journal collection include: Fall Vegetable SoupChicken Noodle Soup, and Chicken Corn Chowder.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Since I can't afford to send flowers to my friends and family on Thanksgiving, here's my version of a virtual bouquet.

I hope you all have safe travels and a blessed Thanksgiving.