Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cooking up Memories

This week turned out not to be a week for genealogy, it turned out to be a week for cooking. For several hours yesterday and all day today, I was in the kitchen cooking. It was a long day and a half, but I now have 35 meals for four in the freezer and more time for genealogy in the next couple of months.

My other cooking project for the week was making, at my father's request, two of his favorite dishes. First was "cheesey potatoes" a potatoes au gratin dish from his mother's oldest sister, Ann Eldridge Leake.  Nothing wrong with cheese and potatoes, so I was excited to make those. 

The second requested dish was his mother's ham loaf. I remember eating it once or twice when I was young - I was not impressed. The only part I liked was the top as it was where the sauce of brown sugar and vinegar made the loaf all nice and crusty. I think I there were many unhappy faces since I refused to eat the middle of the loaf. I was not looking forward to this making the ham loaf.

Apparently, the ham loaf recipe also came from Aunt Ann. It was super easy to make. It was also surprisingly yummy. I voluntarily took left overs for dinner the next day. My mom and dad said my Mamaw used to serve it when she entertained. I can understand why: it's inexpensive, easy to make, and easy to serve.

Cheesey Potatoes

Aunt Ann's Cheesey Potatoes
There is not proper recipe for this dish. Basically its cubed potatoes covered in a white sauce with lots of cheddar cheese mixed in.  Mamaw would first parboil the potatoes before baking.  She’d place the potatoes in a large glass casserole dish, pour the white sauce over the potatoes and add the cheese.  Bake until dish was hot and chees was melted. 

Ham Loaf
 Mamaw's Ham Loaf
      1 1/2 lbs. cured raw ham, ground
      1 lb. fresh pork, ground
      1 cup dry bread crumbs
      1 cup milk
      2 eggs

      1 cup brown sugar
      3/4 cup water
      3/4 cup vinegar
      1 teaspoon dry mustard

      Mix ingredients together and form into loaves.  Cover with more bread crumbs.  Bake in slow oven, (300 - 325 degrees for about 2 hours).  When crumbs begin to brown, baste with sauce.
I think this makes more sauce than can be poured over the ham; I threw about half of it out and half ended up at the bottom of the oven.  Afterwards, my dad suggested that I reduce the sauce so it could be dribbled over the load a la fancy restaurant style.


Free Genealogy Guide said...

I think it's pretty impressive to get 35 meals done in a day and a half. I saw that the ham loaf alone baked for two hours. Surely some of the meals were quickies in order for you to get that many done in that amount of time.

Amanda E. Epperson said...

Thanks. The ham loaf & cheesey potatoes were actually done on a separate day altogether. As for the rest, it was a ton of work and I could barely move on Sunday. What helps is that I made at least two meals of each recipe, and in most cases three. Its a sad and exciting day when we start taking them out of the freezer.

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