Grandparents Day is September 9th and it has me thinking about how my grandparents influenced my love of food. My mom's mom, who I call Grammy, once asked me what I liked to do in my free time and I told her I liked to cook and try new recipes. She laughed and said, "honey, you'll get over that!". Maybe one day I will, but for now I love to cook and recipes from my grandparents are some of my favorites. Here's a picture of my Grammy with my favorite food on wheels, the Wienermobile!
Last time I went to visit my Grammy I asked her about all of her best recipes. Grammy isn't a huge fan of cooking but she has three specialties: pazel cookies, beet pickled eggs, and Italian wedding soup. The pazel cookies are a flat italian cookie with amaretto flavoring. I've never learned to make them since they require a special waffle iron type contraption. The other two recipes are great for sharing, so here they are!
Grammy's Beet Pickled Eggs
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of vinegar (I used cider vinegar but you could also use white vinegar or red wine vinegar)
1 can of pickled beets, with juice
12 hard boiled eggs, shells removed
Put the sugar and vinegar in a small sauce pan and heat on medium-high, stirring frequently until the sugar is melted. Let the mixture cool. Put the eggs and beets (with liquid from the can) in a large, clean jar and then top with vinegar/sugar mixture. Stir it up and let it sit for at least 48 hours before enjoying. Shake the jar to mix up the contents regularly.
Grammy's Italian Wedding Soup
Italian wedding soup consists of chicken broth, tiny meatballs, greens and pasta. You might have tried it from a can, but that doesn't count. Nothing compares to homemade wedding soup on a cold day. This recipe is adapated from Giada's recipe to be as close to Grammy's as I can get. She doesn't have it written down, she just wings it.
1 small onion, grated
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 large egg
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 slice of fresh white bread torn into small pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
8 oz ground beef
8 oz ground pork
Freshly ground black pepper.
12 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 pound escarole (you can use endive or spinach but Grammy recommends escarole)
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan OR 1 Parmesan rind, plus extra grated Parmesan for garnish
8 oz (1/2 a box) of ancini di pepe or other teeny tiny pasta
salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make meatballs: Stir the first six ingredients ina large bowl. Stir in the cheese, beef and pork. Get your hands in there and squish it around for the best results. Now form the mini meatballs, they should be about 1 inch in diameter. Put them on a baking sheet for later.
To make the soup: Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot. Drop in the meatballs, the endive, the pasta, and the parmesan rind if you're using it. Simmer until meatballs are cooked through, endive is tender and pasta is cooked- about 8 minutes. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper if necissary.Take the parmesan rind out before serving.
Ladle the soup in to bowls and top with lots of grated Parmesan.
As you can probably tell Grammy is Italian. For recipes from Swedish Grandma's kitchen, check out the Grandma's Home Kitchen cookbook. It has tons of tasty recipes like this one for Swedish meatballs.
What is your grandma's favorite dish to cook?