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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Guests the Meehans: Weird Food Traditions

Seasonal Recipes of the Week
Yes, the things your family eats — specially for the holidays — do seem strange to everyone else! Monica and Bram Meehan and Bram's parents Jim and Marsha Meehan share some favorites. Feel free to add your family food traditions to the comments below!

Lee's Salad

Jim's aunt Lee always made this "salad" for family events, and always served it in the same cut-glass bowl.

1 16-ounce can of fruit salad
1 11-ounce can of Mandarin orange segments
1 16-ounce container of cottage cheese
1 small package of Jell-O (your favorite flavor)
8-9 ounces of Cool Whip, thawed

Drain fruit well. Make Jell-O with 1 cup water or juice from fruit. Let Jell-O cool. Add fruit and cottage cheese to Jell-O and mix well. Fold in Cool Whip. Pour into serving bowl and chill several hours.

Cardamom rolls

Marsha fell in love with the bread that her childhood friend's grandmother made every Saturday. Here's the recipe as she adapted it for to serve on Christmas morning. (Note: this is not altitude-adjusted.)

1 16-ounce package hot roll mix
1 cup hot milk (120 to 130 degrees)
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened
2 teaspoons cardamom
1 egg
32 raisins
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons coarse sugar

In large bowl, combine flour mixture with yeast from foil packet; mix well. Stir in hot milk, margarine, cardamom and 1 egg until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. With greased or floured hands, shape dough into a ball. Knead dough 5 minutes or until smooth. Cover dough with large bowl; let rest 5 minutes.

Grease cookie sheets. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece into 8-inch rope. Shape each rope into an "S" shape; place on greased cookie sheets. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and cloth towel. Let rise in warm place for 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375. Uncover dough. Press one raisin in both curls of each roll. Brush with beaten egg; sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at for 12 to 17 minutes or until golden brown.

Herring Salad

This German salad was traditional in Monica's family for New Year's Eve.

24 ounces Vita brand pickled herring in wine sauce, cut into half-inch dice
2 cooked pork chops, trimmed of fat and cut into half-inch dice
4 15-ounce cans sliced beets, drained and cut into half-inch dice
2 medium cooked potatoes, cut into half-inch dice
4 McIntosh apples, cored, peeled, and cut into half-inch dice
several German-style dill pickles, cut into half-inch dice
(enough to equal the amount of diced apples)

Optional ingredients
onions from the pickled herring jar, cut into half-inch dice
1 cooked celery root, trimmed, cut into half-inch dice (reserve cooking liquid)
capers to taste
mayonnaise to taste

Gently combine all ingredients in a BIG bowl. If mixed ingredients seem too dry, use some pickle and/or herring jar brine (or mayonnaise or the cooking water from the celery root) to taste. You'll usually want to add about 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid. Refrigerate for one day before eating... if you can wait! Garnish with hard boiled eggs and/or parsley sprigs at the table.

Salad will keep about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Ziploc freezer bags work well for storage.

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