Tag Archives: Recipe

Confessions of a Homeschooled Cook

By: Mary

This past Sunday when making the traditional Sunday noon meal that all family who live here in Wisconsin come over for, I thought about why I like to cook and bake so much, and why it is something that I can do with ease. I realized that what it boils down to is that when growing up I was homeschooled for 10 years. There are two highlighted areas that I came to excel at from this time in my life. I can’t say that I came out of as a science wiz, or that I became an educated Shakespearian pro. As far as the study of math is concerned uh, I will confess to having learned that if I burned my undone math sheets in the wood stove, then well, they would be gone forever!

What I really got good at doing were 2 things: I learned to compose stellar book reports. Doing book reports meant that I could read books. My gosh, I think that I used to crank out like 2- 3 of those reports a week.

The other thing that I got really good at was learning escape from the food that was always staple in the house and make things that I liked instead. We always seemed to have 3 things around besides my Mom’s great homemade bread. One was spaghetti. It’s been years since those homeschool days, but I still cannot tolerate pasta. We also made tons of brownies. (I still do like brownies but have found a recipe of my own.)  And last but not least, chicken. Chicken was a very, very usual staple at the Slattery table. While my Dad was still a full-time journalist, he was also experimenting with farming ventures that involved raising, butchering and selling home-grown meatbirds. Because my Dad is a gregarious marketing kind of person, he decided to go one step further than simply growing, and selling chickens. He ended up collecting recipes from farm wives and old church ladies that he would encounter while out on story assignments. His cookbook  ” Fifty Thrifty Ways To Cook Homegrown Chicken” still makes me laugh every time I see it collecting dust on a shelf. My laughter is caused by the sheer fact that the cover model for the book is a scrawny highschool girl named Kate Slattery!! On the cover, Kate is beaming at the camera while holding a huge roaster pan full of Home Grown Chicken. Needless to say, it is far less flattering to hold roasters of meat in an old apron, than to be a glamorous harpist in full costume….

Anyhow, yes, I do know a thing or two about putting together some good recipes. Thank you homeschool education. In the future I would like to share more of my favorite recipes with you Readers. Be prepared to use lots of vegetables and sugar. I LOVE produce and unfortunately, I also love to bake. Perhaps one day I can have my own recipe book floating around the house like my Dad’s with Kate beaming from the cover and a dish in her hand. Just kidding! Before I close my laptop though, I will include the current favorite cookie that I have been making this fall. It has oats, nuts and apples in it, so just tell yourself that it is healthy and enjoy the goodness of using freshly ripened apples just like the ones in the photo below from one of my favorite trees.

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 Cup  Butter, 1 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar, 1 Large Egg, 1/4 Cup Milk, 1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla, 1 Cup Flour, 1 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon, 1/2 Teaspoon Salt, 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg, 3 Cups Oats, 3 Apples or so diced, 3/4 Cup Raisins or Chocolate Chips, 3/4 Cup Walnuts.

Preheat Oven to 375. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar, egg, milk,and vanilla. Combine melted butter next. In separate small bowl add dry ingredients together. Alternate the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Stir in oats, nuts and chocolate chips or raisins last. Drop rounded Tablespoons onto greased cookie sheet with about 2 inch spacing. Bake 13 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes then move onto a rack. When cookies are cool, put onto plate.

I hope you like this recipe. Also, if you ever want to read a good book report….I am more than willing to share….!

Sincerely, Mare

Fried Green Tomatoes

by Mary

My best friend and sister-in-law, Aurora Slattery and I have quite the habit of trying to figure this universe out. To date, about as far as we have gotten in the realm of figuring out deep universal mysteries and problems is:

Red tomatoes are good.

And fried green tomatoes are better.

Ok, I know that is not so deep, but oh, is it ever delicious! A few years ago I came across the recipe that I am about to share with you, and got Aurora hooked on this late summer to early fall global solution. My bossy eldest sister Kate has been wanting to incorporate more recipes into this blog, so I hope some of you may find this particular one to be of interest.

For this recipe you will need: 3 medium green tomatoes, 1/2 Cup of Flour, 1/4 Cup of Milk, 2 Beaten Eggs, 2/3 a Cup of Cornmeal, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon Pepper. An ample amount of oil, grease or butter to fry tomatoes in.

Cut tomatoes in thin rounds.

Mix tomatoes in a bowl with salt and pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes or so.

Put way too much awful/wonderful butter, bacon grease or oil into a skillet. Set heat to medium.

Eat, forget about solving the worlds problems, and enjoy!

Sheboygan Style Beer Brats

by Kate

My father grew up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Michigan.  My grandfather was an Irishman from Chicago, stationed in Sheboygan during the Second World War. He fell in love with the order and beauty of the place.  He loved the pristine Germanic neatness of the town on the lake, the lawns clipped and swept and groomed and the houses bright and painted and trim, the children well behaved. Luckily for him he also fell in love with my Czech grandmother, who was able to help him live as much like a German as an Irishman ever could. This meant he was priveleged to consume the most incredible bratwurst known to man on a regular basis.

My grandmother is an amazing woman. She is bright, stylish, well read and informed regarding the issues of the day, and an impeccable hostess. Her home is immaculate and welcoming. She turned 92 last month.

Luckily, we were able to visit her and spend some time in Sheboygan back in June. The Sheboygan area was settled by German’s in the mid-1800’s, and retains a strong Germanic flavor to this day. Every summer, the town hosts a Bratwurst Festival and boasts the best brats in the land. Johnsonville brats are made in Sheboygan County, in a town just a few miles away. The best bratwurst in the world, however, is definitely made in my Grandmother’s backyard. On this visit, I felt that it was crucial that I learn how to make my Grandma Dorothy’s Sheboygan Style Brats. Luckily for me, she had just purchased a couple dozen Johnsonville brats on sale. That is the first step, she told me. Wait for a sale, and then load up on the Johnsonville brats.

We are going to grill these in a moment, but first we will prepare the crucial marinade. For 12 brats, you will need one large white onion and a stick and a half of butter. Slice the onion in half, and then slice lengthwise. Melt the butter in a deep saucepan, and then gently saute the onions on medium low. You just want to soften them up a bit. As soon as they have softened slightly, pour in 2 cans of beer. Yes, cans. You may be a sophisticated bottle beer drinker, but the beer we are looking for here is a light, Milwaukee style canned beer, not a deep dark bottled malty fancy shmancy beer of any sort. Remember that you are making Wisconsin beer brats. Try Miller, or Pabst.

Turn the buttery beer down as low as it can go and leave it on the burner while you head out to your hot grill- preferably your charcoal grill. Grandma recommends a classic Weber grill.

She has been grilling brats for about 70 years, so I tend to respect her opinion quite a bit.

You can throw some patties on the grill as well. Hamburgers love the buttery beer brat marinade as much as brats do.

My grandmother dusts her hamburger patties with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt.  

As soon as the brats and burgers are done grilling, they are ready to meet their match. Pull them off the grill, bring them into the kitchen, and place them one by one into the (still bubbling) beer, butter, and onion mixture.

Turn off the heat entirely and let them luxuriate in all that beer and butter. And here’s the thing. You can pull the brats out, and put them on buns. It would be best if you had these incredible rolls from the German bakery down the street in Sheboygan, but if you don’t you can make do.

You can slice the rolls and butter them and place them on a tray and slide them into a hot oven for a little while, like my Grandma does, and pull them out when they have reached the point of perfection. This sounds like it is leading to a picture, but I don’t have one because at this point my documenting ceased and I ate a couple brats.

BUT

If you eat the brats now, they will not really be my Grandma Dorothy’s Best in the World Beer Brats. That is because she generally makes a massive batch to prepare for the future hordes of Slattery grandchildren, so she lets the batch of brats in the beer marinade cool, and then she gets out a few gallon sized freezer bags. She places four to six brats and a couple burgers in each one, and she pours a cup or two of the marinade over each of them.

Then she sends all these bags down to the freezer in the basement, lays them out carefully so they freeze evenly. She pulls them out when the grandchildren or great grandchildren come to town, or in the middle of the winter when it is important to taste a bit of summer. She sent a bag with me on my way back to Pittsburgh. I pulled it out of the freezer a couple days later and heated up the brats gently on low heat in a cast iron pan. The time the grilled brats spend marinading in the beer and butter mixture adds an amazing complexity and richness to their flavor. This is definitely Casey’s favorite summer lunch. I highly recommend the process. You’ll be glad you tried it. Butter and beer and bratwurst- you can’t go wrong. Try it, and let me know how it goes!

Grandma Dorothy’s Best Beer Brats

1-2 onions

1 1/2 stick butter

12 Johnsonville brats

2 cans Milwaukee style beer

Slice the onion in half, then continue to slice lengthwise. Heat butter slowly in deep skillet and saute onions gently till soft. Pour in two cans (or more if you’ve got more brats) beer and leave on lowest heat to barely simmer. Grill brats, and Burgers if you’d like. Drop brats into beer, and leave to marinade till cool. Bag up the brats in gallon size freezer bags, pouring 1-2 cups marinade over each batch. Freeze until you need them. Pull out brats and burgers and frozen marinade, and heat slowly. Serve with fresh onions and mustard on a sliced, buttered bun slightly browned in the oven. Enjoy.

Sunday Sugar Doughnuts

by Mary and Colleen

This Sunday morning, two bakers set out to saturate the kitchen at Sweet Ridge Farm in sugar and butter.  Due to a lack of sugar intake on typical weekdays in Lent, and a huge family gathering and meal after mass, Sunday is the day to bake! Later we run several miles to work off the sugar and catch up on the weekly happenings.

Mary decided on doughnuts for her Sunday contribution, and Colleen settled for the unbeatable allure of chocolate chip banana bread (loved by all Slattery boys). What did these stylish bakers wear?

Mary sported a daring apron, created in a dual effort of Mom’s sewing power and Mary’s design and cussword creativity.

And Colleen went with her favorite apron, a donation from her musical aunt. Mary does not like said apron. Colleen has no shame, and will probably be taking it with her to college.

Mary got the doughnuts frying in no time at all.

Main ingredient? We live in Wisconsin, duh! Butter!! Not just any butter- this is a bucket of pure ghee from Organic Valley.

As per Slattery tradition, Colleen shook the newly fried doughnuts in paper bags filled with powdered sugar and a cinnamon sugar mixture. (This part is always the most fun)


The doughnuts were a great success.

Of course, one can’t go to mass looking like an apron clad pajama princess! Let me assure you, we  know how to clean up.

Here is the recipe for our Lenten Sunday sugar doughnut feast.

Sunday Sugar Doughnuts

2/3 cup white sugar
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg

in a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients:
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup raw milk
1/4 cup organic valley melted butter

Gently fold together wet and dry ingredients. If you are not too impatient, chill for two hours. (We are always too impatient and have never actually done this, but we hear it is helpful.) Drop spoonfuls into a cast iron pan full of heated butter (or cooking oil if you are not from Wisconsin and don’t have a bucket of butter handy) and fry over medium heat. When bottom is nicely browned, flip and fry remaining side. Shake with powdered sugar in a brown bag from the food co-op.