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The lore: This is a recipe from J's great-grandma, as far as we can figure it. She probably cut it out of a magazine or newspaper, because various aspects date it to 1910 or so, particularly the use of dates and coconut- these were starting to be popularized then, but were still really "fancy" and exotic ingredients. Also, the butter was initially listed as "1.5 inches"- and I remember seeing J's mom using a yardstick to measure that out of a quarter-pound stick of butter! The cookies were tasty, but TOUGH! and really, REALLY hard to mix up! So when I started thinking about it, I realized that about the time the recipe was created, butter was sold in 1-pound blocks (not quarter sticks), and that put the butter amount into normal territory for cookies.

Making: this works fine with GF flour, even the beany ones. The texture will be slightly different but not much. There is a lot of variability in how they turn out- sometimes they spread a lot and get lacy and chewy; sometimes they clump more... but they are delicious however! I think it has to do with the heat of the kitchen impacting how much they spread.

These are basically a granola in cookie form. I think they'd be great with any kind of dried fruit instead of the dates, and other nuts instead of the walnuts; I am contemplating a pina colada variation (HERESY!!!) with dried pineapple and macadamia nuts... I do NOT think adding chocolate, or other chips would be true to the history. And- especially if you went with raisins- cinnamon or a spice blend might be a tasty addition... but below is the purist version!

Traditional Fisher Family Xmas Cookies

2/3rds cup (0.67 cup) butter, or 1.5 inches!
1.5 cup brown sugar (10.15 oz)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.5 cups flour (gluten-free fine)
1 teaspoon baking soda
0.5 teaspoon salt

2 cups (5.25 oz) shredded coconut
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup walnuts, chopped to med pieces
1 pound chopped dates (buy already chopped; chopping dates is long and hard!)

Heat oven to 375F. Grease cookie sheets, or use parchment or silmat or similar.

Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat.

Mix flour with soda and salt. Add to egg mixture and mix.

Add coconut to mixture. Mix. Add oats; mix.

By hand, mix in nuts, then dates. The dough will be very stiff, and kneading them in by hand is usually the best method.

Drop from a spoon onto cookie sheet- roughly 1-2 tablespoons per cookie.

Bake at 375F for around 10 min, depending on oven, spreading, and taste.

Yield: quite a lot! And I don't know of anyone who hasn't liked them!
cissalj: (scribe)
This is also from the Cook's Illustrated Poultry cookbook, and makes a rich and exquisite gravy, though sadly not a lot of it. We are experimenting with how to adapt this part, but the recipe below is pretty much out of the book.

Red Wine Giblet Gravy for Goose

1 recipe Brown Goose Stock (~1.5 cups goose stock)*
0.5 cup sweet sherry

0.5 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken stock, if necessary

2.5 tablespoons melted goose fat

2.5 tablespoons flour

Cooked heart and gizzards (optional)

1 goose liver, cut into small pieces (optional)

Bring the goose stock to a simmer.

Remove goose from pan and let rest. Spoon most of the fat out of the roasting pan (reserving it for future potatoes!) Add sherry to pan (amount based on the amount of goose stock you have) and deglaze. Pour deglazing liquid into pan with goose stock and simmer 5 min.

Strain the mixture, pressing on solids, and discard solids. Let mixture sit until fat rises to the top; skim off fat. if you do not have 2 cups- based on a single recipe of Brown Goose Stock and no extra liquid- add broth to make up the difference.

Rinse out stockpot and add strained stock to it. If using, cut heart and liver into tiny dice and add to stock.

Heat goose fat and flour in a heavy, med saucepan over low-med heat until it starts to color, stirring (5+ min).

Whisking constantly, stir in hot stock all at once. Return to low heat; simmer 3 min. Add finely diced liver, if using, simmer 1 more minute. season to taste, adding much black pepper.

*At this time we are pre-cooking our goose by braising it in a flavorful and veg-infused liquid, which can be added to the above to make MORE GRAVY by doubling or whatever the rest of the stuff. I have never found an excess of gravy to be a problem without a solution...
cissalj: (scribe)
This is from Cook's Illustrated old "poultry" cookbook. It makes an excellent gravy base.

Brown Goose Stock

3 tablespoons goose fat, removed from cavity and chopped
Goose neck and wing tips, and arguably flats, cut into 1-2 inch pieces (this is hard), patted dry
Goose gizzards and heart (reserve liver), patted dry

1 med or 2 sm onions, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 med carrot, washed and chopped coarsely
1 celery rib, chopped coarsely

2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups full-bodied red wine, not tannin-y

0.5 cup chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium commercial
6 large fresh parsley stems
1 large bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
0.5 teaspoon dried thyme

Heat the goose fat in large saucepan over med heat until it renders leaving small browned bits.

Heat fat until it starts to smoke (turn on exhaust fan), then add the goose pieces as above. Saute, stirring often, until the goose is a deep mahogany color. recipe says 10 min; more like 20-30.

Add onions, carrots, celery. Add pinch of salt. cook, stirring often, till veg browns around the edges, 10-20+ min.

Add sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until it caramelizes and begins to smoke. IMMEDIATELY pour in wine and stir to deglaze.

Add stock, parsley, bay, peppercorns, and thyme.

Bring to a bare simmer and turn down heat. Simmer partially covered at least 2 hours, adding water if solids are exposed.

Strain and discard solids, except for giblets. Chill and remove fat cap, saving fat for cooking potatoes.
cissalj: (scribe)
This a weird, ostensibly Swedish dessert. it translates as "cheesecake", but is more of a rich- VERY rich!- pudding, with some cheesecake flavors. It is a family recipe through my family, and I am excited that I can make it with the appropriate raw milk! serve in small portions, ideally with lingonberry jam to contrast with the richness.


1 gal milk: raw preferred, but non-homogenized works
1 cup flour
0.33 cake cheese rennet (unsure of equivalences; will use enough for 1 gal milk)
0.75 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream, pref NOT ultrapasteruized
pinch salt

Heat milk until lukewarm. Mix some of it with the flour, then add to the rest, stirring it in. Dissolve rennet if you need to; add to milk and stir in. Let stand until thickened, about 1 hour.

Stir; let sit an additional 15 min.

Drain in colander or cheesecloth, etc.

Put in baking dish. Add sugar, cream, a bit of salt, and some vanilla (1 teaspoon?). Bake 1.5 hours, at 350F, stirring once or twice.

Serve warm or cold, with lingonberries.


Dec. 23rd, 2016 09:44 pm
cissalj: (scribe)
In the Twin Cities, MN, julekaga was to be had EVERYWHERE. Here in MA- never see I had to make my own. After 35 years or so, this is what we do. (I still miss poppyseed kolaches; maybe this year...)


Makes 3 loaves

6.25 cups flour + 2 tablespoons flour
0.25 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons sugar
1.5 tsp salt
0.75-1.5 tsp cardamon
3 Tablespoons shortening, oil, or butter

3 pkg OR 3 scant tablespoons instant yeast

1 cup warm water
1 cup milk

3 eggs: 1 yolk reserved for glaze, the rest beaten

0.5 cup currants
0.75 cup raisins
0.75 cup fruitcake mix

1 Tablespoon cold water (glaze)

3 candied cherries

Mix flour, sugar, salt, cardamon, yeast, and shortening/oil/butter.

Mix milk, eggs (except for reserved yolk), and water. Add to flour mix and knead 3-5 min.

Toss fruits with flour. Knead into dough until dispersed.

Put in greased bowl, Turn over to grease the top. Let rise until doubled.

When doubled, deflate. Divide into thirds. Form 3 loaves. put on parchment or silpat to rise, covered.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix reserved yolk with 1 Tablespoon water. Paint loaves with this glaze. Indent the center top slightly; add cherry, glaze top.

Bake for 20min. remove, re-glaze, return to oven rotated 180 degrees. Cook 10+ more minutes, until golden.

Once out of oven, paint again with glaze if there’s any left.

Cool, slice and enjoy!

Notes: In the Twin Cities julekaga is generally glazed with a powdered sugar/water icing, but that makes it harder to toast. It’s great toasted with butter and cinnamon sugar! so I do not do the sugar glaze. If stale, it makes great French toast and/or bread pudding!

The main difference with this compared to other Northern European fruited sweet breads is the use of cardamon.
cissalj: (scribe)
This is a recipe we make most years. It tastes like the Danish butter cookies that one buys in the tins, but is very easy to make, and makes a LOT! It is a "traditional family recipe" that I clipped from the paper many years ago. :)

Danish Strips

Makes a LOT- 150-200?

2 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups or 1 pound butter, and quality matters here!
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups AP flour
1 scant teaspoon salt

Decorations: sugar- colored or not, pref big crystals; finely chopped nuts; small choc chips; various seasonal sprinkles, etc.- we usually use colored sugar and/or seasonal sprinkles

Separate 1 egg, reserving white.

Mix other egg, yolk, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Beat until fairly light. (This is very forgiving, and while the end result will differ, they are all yummy!)

Stir in flour and salt. Can be refrigerated or frozen here; if frozen, thaw before proceeding.

Grease cookie sheet. Roll 3-3.25 oz dough into a cookie-sheet-long cylinder. Put 3 such cylinders on sheet. Pat out until they are roughly 1.5 inches wide and 0.25 inches thick.

Beat reserved egg white with 1 teaspoon water till frothy. Brush patted-out dough with wash; sprinkle on decorations. Do not go too heavy; these are delicate cookies!

Bake at 350F for 8-10 min (more like 12-15 min in our oven). I like the edges somewhat browned, though that is not supposedly not ideal; go with what you prefer! It will take longer if the dough has been chilled than if you are doing it straight from the mixer, and straight from the mixer it will spread more.

Remove when at your preferred doneness. While hot, use a pizza wheel cutter to slice them into diagonal strips. Allow to cool till stiff, remove from pan with a long flexible spatula.

Cool completely, and store in closed container.
cissalj: (scribe)
Here is our traditional clam chowder Xmas eve recipe. It's not a brilliant recipe, but it's convenient (meaning, no fresh clams necessary!). Adapted from a recipe from Bon Appetite, if I recall correctly.

4 oz fatty ham, or bacon (note: NOT highly flavored maple bacon; lots of smoke OK)
3+ medium onions, chopped
2 med celery stalks, chopped

3-4 medium potatoes- I like red or golds

2 ~10 oz cans baby clams, drained with liquid reserved

2 cups water (optional)

0.5 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
white pepper to taste
salt to taste (we usually do not add extra, except a wee amount when sauteing the veg)

2 cups milk, or 1 can evaporated milk (around 1.67 cups)*
1 cup cream (unnecessary with evap milk)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour

Brown ham or bacon till almost done. Pour off fat if you have more than 1-2 tablespoons. Add chopped onions and celery, and a tiny sprinkling of salt. Saute slowly until the veg is soft but not browned.

Meanwhile, cube the potatoes, in roughly 0.5-0.75-inch chunks.

When the onions and celery are softened, add the potatoes, plus the liquid from the clams, the water (start with 1 cup), thyme, bay leaf, and pepper. simmer slowly until the potatoes are just done, probably 15-35 min.

Meanwhile, melt the butter. Add the flour, stirring and cooking until it's bubbly. Add the milk/cream or evap milk slowly, stirring it in. Once it starts to thicken, add some of the liqiid from the soup.

When the milk mix is thick, and the potatoes are done, stir them together. Add the clams and heat until warm.


*I usually use the evap milk- skimmed or not, as you prefer- it then re-heats better. Depending on the consistency you want, you may want to add more water if you go this route.
cissalj: (scribe)
We are still working on the leftovers for dinner! Although tonight I do need to make julekaga for us and for Game Night tomorrow.

And here's the recipe I use, slightly tweaked from previous versions:

This is the recipe for the Norwegian Xmas bread I always make. The traditional version uses fruitcake mix, but a very yummy alternative is the diced fruit mix Trader Joe's has sometimes had, with apple, apricot, and cherries.

I'm not Norwegian by heritage, but Swedish (in part). I grew up in a heavily Norwegian part of the country, though, and hey- it's all Scandinavia, right? :)

This recipe is designed for hand mixing, but I usually make it in a Kitchenaid, except I knead in the fruits by hand.

Makes 3 loaves

6.25 cups + 2 tblsp flour
6 tblsp sugar
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 teaspoons+ cardamon*
3 tblsp oil (optional)
1 heaping tablespoon yeast
1 cup warm water (for yeast)
1 cup milk (warmed speeds up rising)
3 eggs, 2 plus 1 white beaten, yolk reserved
6 tblsp currants***
3/4 cup raisins***
3/4 cup candied fruit, chopped (aka fruitcake mix or alternative)***
1 egg yolk, reserved (for glaze)**
1 tblsp cold water (for glaze)
3 candied cherries (decoration)

Mix flour, sugar, salt, and cardamon. Dissolve yeast in water. Add yeast mixture, oil, milk, beaten eggs, and fruits to dry ingredients**. Knead 3-5 minutes, put in greased bowl, turn over to grease top, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punch down; let rise again (this second rising can be omitted, as I usually do.) Shape into round loaf, place on greased cookie sheet, cover, and let rise till doubled. Preheat oven to 350F (don't know centigrade equivalent; it's a medium oven). Mix yolk and water to make wash; brush over loaf. make indentation in center of loaf, put in cherry, brush lightly with wash. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes; remove from oven, brush again with wash, turn cookie sheet around, and bake 10 more minutes. Give it one more coat of wash immediately after removing from oven, if you like.

Let cool, preferably on rack, slice, and serve. It makes great toast with butter and cinnamon sugar, and great French toast.

Where I grew up it was always sold with a powdered-sugar and water icing, but that makes it impossible to toast so I don't do it. The wash gives it a lovely sheen.

* Cardamon loses its flavor quickly at room temperature. I store mine in the freezer. some extra doesn't hurt- it loses potency in the baking.

** If making in a bread machine or mixer, DO NOT dd the fruits; knead the dough, then knead the fruits in by hand.

*** More fruit is always better.
cissalj: (Default)
This came to us through J's dad's family. The non-revised version called for "1.5 inches" of butter! I remember seeing J's mom measuring a stick of butter with a yardstick... Thing is, this made tasty but, er, STURDY cookies; they took some serious gnawing, and could probably be described as tasty granola nuggets.

Since I am fascinated by both the formulae of cooking, and food history, I re-thought this. At the time the recipe was written, it seemed likely that butter was sold in 1-pound blocks, not 0.25-pound sticks... which would mean 4 times the butter. When I checked this against other cookie recipes, the quantities looked reasonable, so I tried it- and the results were very cookie-like (and LOTS easier to mix!).

Gluten-free flour, like from King Arthur, makes more tender but just as tasty cookies.

Fisher Christmas Cookies

0.67 (2/3rds) cup butter (1.5 inches, or 5.33 oz.)
1.5 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
0.5 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups all-purpose or gluten-free flour
2 cups shredded coconut (5.25 oz.)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 pound chopped dates

Heat oven to 375F. Grease cookie sheets, or use Silpat or parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix in.

Mix baking soda and salt with flour; add to butter mixture and mix.

Slowly add the rest of the stuff, mixing by hand (and often, just using your clean hands to stir it up is fastest and easiest!).

Drop from spoon (or fingers) in roughly 1 tablespoon+ blobs. Bake for around 10 min- it may be a bit shorter or longer. Cool on rack or whatever, and when cool, put in bowl or tin.
cissalj: (Default)
This is a Secret Family Recipe* that I clipped out of the Boston Globe probably 15+ years ago; it was published as a Rosh Hashannah turkey-stuffing recipe, but I looked at it and said to myself "This would be PERFECT in goose!" and so it is.

I joke that it involved throwing the kitchen at it, and it rather does... but it is REALLY good, and very suitable for fatty birds like goose and duck, since there's nothing to absorb extra fat.

Fruit and Nut Stuffing

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
0.5 cup orange juice
0.25 cup sugar
1.5 cup cranberries (frozen or frozen/thawed OK; rinsed and picked over)
12 seedless prunes, chopped (quartered)
6+ dried apricots, chopped (quartered)
1 cup raisins or currants
3 med or 2 lg apples, diced (I like Granny Smith)
1.5 cup slivered or sliced almonds (or other nuts)
2 lg eggs, lightly beaten
0.5 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon cinnamon
0.25 teaspoon ground cloves
0.125-0.25 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt, pepper to taste

Melt butter. Add celery and onions; cook till tender and maybe just barely browned. Add a TINY bit of salt to help them tenderize. Set aside.

In the same pan, heat the orange juice and sugar slightly. Add the cranberries and cover. Simmer slowly until the cranberries are all or mostly popped. Add to the veg.

Meanwhile, chop the prunes and apricots (kitchen shears are easy). Add them and the raisins to the veg.

Wash the apples well (I use soap to get rid of wax), or peel them. Quarter, core, cut the quarters in half, and dice the slices. Add to rest.

Add almonds.

Add eggs and parsley, Stir some to start mixing. Add the spices, including pepper, and mix well. I do not add more salt- it's really flavorful- but do so if you wish.

Stuff into bird, close ends, truss, and cook.

If you make it ahead, maybe leave the eggs out, warm it up in the microwave, then add and mix in the eggs right before you stuff.

* ETA: I am not a fan of Secret Family Recipes that people adore, but because the cook is secretive, they die with her/him. As a cook, I am in dialog with other cooks, and sharing and adapting recipes is lots of what makes that FUN!
cissalj: (Default)

O Cissa of wonder, Cissa of might,
Cissa of royal beauty bright.

We Three Kings Of Orient Are
from the Christmas Song Generator.

Get your own song :

cissalj: (Default)
My basic approach to goose cooking is the several-pages approach described in the Cook's Illustrated book on poultry. I am not a good enough typist or copyist to duplicate that here. If you want the details, I recommend borrowing a copy from the library or a friend, and maybe photocopying the pages. if you send me email, I might be willing to do the latter and send them to you, depending on what else is going on in my life.

With that in mind... here is a more general set of details and approaches to cooking goose.

The main thing to keep in mind about goose is: it's all about controlling the fat. Geese are fat. (They're also all dark meat, if you didn't know that... but the meat is pretty lean; the fat's all under the skin.)

The 3 things that I find most important about cooking goose are based on this:

1. Avoiding serving up a grease bomb.

2. Avoiding getting your oven so spattered with grease that any subsequent cooking or self-cleaning involves smoke detectors and possibly unexpected guests from the fire department.

3. Keeping the fat rendered in as good shape as possible, for use throughout the year in cooking potatoes and roasting veg, and maybe even confit.

Fortunately, there is an approach that combines all these: the CI one. There are 2 main elements to this: a pre-treatment that is based on techniques for Peking Duck that help render the fat- which are optional; and the roasting technique, which avoids all the flaws of high-roast goose, and high-roast goose is the approach I've seen most usually in recipes. High-roast goose does make lovely goose (to a point)... but it damages the fat, AND it requires a serious oven-cleaning after doing so. And maybe the fire department responding to smoke alarms. I prefer to avoid these.

Other principles: In general, the heavier the fowl compared to the average, the more meat there is compared to bone. This is true of goose. I browse the frozen poultry section of the supermarkets in search of an 11+ pound bird; one year we had company and got 2 8-pounders, and they were very scant in terms of meat. But remember: an 11 pound goose has a lot less meat, and a lot more bone and fat, than a similarly sized turkey would; turkeys are bread for meat rather than fat, and geese are pretty much not messed with.

Optional: 1-2 days before cooking the goose (and you'll need to thaw it before this), bring a huge pot of water to a boil. Ours is 5 gallons. Prick the goose all over, through the skin but ideally not into the meat. Remove any large fat deposits from the cavity. Immerse the goose in the boiling water until it has "goosebumps" all over. You may need to do the front, and then the back, in 2 operations. While the recipe says 1 minute, it usually takes us more than that, and I think I'm going to do it longer next time (2007 note).

Optional: put the goose on a rack, naked, in the fridge. Leave for 1-2 days to dry the skin.

These supposedly cause the skin to tighten and dry, helping the fat to render in the roasting. I think they do work... to a point. I am hoping a somewhat longer blanching time will help them work better (2007 notes), but am not entirely convinced.

At any point in this, you can make stock: cut the goose neck and wingtips into smaller pieces. You will need a cleaver, and maybe a rubber mallet to drive it through the bones, since goose bones are tough. Make sure that whatever is UNDER this cleaver is something that you are OK with getting permanently scarred in the process. Roast in a hot (400F) oven for about an hour, along with roughly chopped carrots, celery, and onions. Add the innards if you like- though the liver might be something to keep for another use. Stir every 10 minutes. When browned, put into a stock pot with equal amounts of good-quality (i.e. low-sodium) chicken stock and water, and a cup or 2 of red wine. Make stock for the gravy. This will smell like heaven. :)

On Goose Roasting Day: stuff the goose. DO NOT use any stuffing that involves bread, crackers, or the like. You want non-absorbent. You really, really do! Absorbent stuffing sucks up LOTS of grease. Mine uses onions, celery, dried and fresh fruit, and spices. Tie or sew the bird closed. If you have not previously pricked the skin, do so.

Cook at 325F for about 1.5 hours, on a rack and in a deep roasting pan, breast side down. Periodically remove the rendered fat. Then, remove from oven, flip bird to breast side up, and cook another 1.5 or so hours. An 11+ pound bird needs more time. This cooks the meat and renders most of the fat, without spattering it all over your oven. (2007 note: I am planning on increasing the cooking times for a big goose for at least an hour this year, as I've adjusted previously.)

Then, remove pan. Put goose on rack on jelly-roll pan, increase the oven to 400F. Cook goose thus for 15 min. or so, to crisp the skin. Remove from heat and let sit, uncovered for a half hour. Carve and serve.

High-roast goose makes a lovely goose and trashes your oven. This way is better. I am hoping that tweaking the process- using my 2007 (and other) notes- will make the skin even better without trashing my oven or summoning the fire dept.

Notes: save the fat. Goose fat makes astonishingly amazing potatoes, using any cooking method, and is also good for roasted veg. You can render the hunks of fat from the interior by cooking them slowly at a low temp (start with some water in the pan, and LOW AND SLOW is what you want), and save the fat. I usually get about 4 cups of goose fat from a goose. It is a treasure. Keep it in the fridge or freezer, and use a tablespoon or 2 for roasting veg or cooking potatoes. This roasting method keeps the fat in better shape than the high-roast techniques, too- a nice plus!

There is not a whole lot of meat on even a large goose. Discourage people from filling up on meat. Make lots of enticing sides, and maybe dole out the meat (and skin!) on individual plates rather than passing a platter.

I generally pull as much meat as possible off the goose, then boil up the bones for soup. It makes a lovely soup, with winter root veg and a modest amount of goose meat. You can throw in other poultry bones, too, if you have them.

Goose bones are very, very tough. If you're making the stock described above, you'll need a cleaver. And maybe a weighted rubber mallet. :)

2010 notes: Do cook longer. Duck breast is delightful served rare; goose breast is tough.

I am not really convinced that the blanching/drying helps that much, and it's a nuisance.

I am not now convinced that high-roast makes the best goose; goose needs low and slow cooking to make it succulent (plus to avoid trashing your oven), and to get the best fat off it.

To save the fat: put it in GLASS (not plastic) jars in the fridge. That way it'll keep for potato and veg-roasting for at least a couple of years. If you put it in plastic, it'll likely go rancid in 6 months or so, and you do not want that! If you compare the cost of goose/duck fat bought per se, and the cost of a goose, the cost of the fat that you'll get (if you're careful and frugal) will mean that your goose will in effect cost about half of its nominal price- IF you want goose fat. And really, you do want that. :) Its effect on potatoes alone is miraculous.
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