What’s cooking in these dark days of winter?

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We love stories. We love food. We love audience participation.

We put out a call to our readers, asking for special holiday and winter recipes and the stories that make those recipes so heartwarming. We’re sharing some of them here, but we’ll take more for our next issue of the Bugle.

Do you have a recipe and a story to share? Send it by Wednesday, Dec. 7, to editor@parkbugle.org or Park Bugle, P.O. Box 8126, St. Paul, MN 55108, ATTN: Recipes.

A warm welcome

By Barbara Swadburg, St. Anthony Park

Mrs. Gertrude Herman lived for many years in St. Anthony Park on the southwest corner of Raymond and Carter avenues. She was famous for calling on new neighborhood residents to welcome them to St. Anthony Park.

Mrs. Herman would give out her dressing as gifts but would never share her prized recipe. She left her calling card and usually brought them a half-pint of the famous homemade Roquefort Cheese Salad Dressing. She moved to be with her daughter in another state more than 25 years ago at about age 85. It was only as she prepared to move to a care facility that Mrs. Herman parted with her much-loved recipe.

It’s still a much-requested salad dressing by those who love blue cheese. It is a classic, and here it is:

Mrs. Gertrude Herman’s Roquefort Cheese Salad Dressing

1/2 lb. blue or Roquefort Cheese

1/2 small onion finely grated

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3/4 cup sour cream

1 cup good quality mayonnaise

Directions: Mash softened, room-temperature cheese into small chunks. Blend the cheese with the mayonnaise, grated onion and sour cream. When completely blended, stir in lemon juice.

Note: You may add up to 1/4 cup of sour cream and 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste.

A new mom, a new skill and a cherished friend

By Becky Kapell, Como Park

My friend Jennifer brought me a pot of this soup after I gave birth to my son in November 1991. I found it to be so tasty and hearty and nourishing that I asked her to teach me how to make it. Cooking was a bit of a mystery to me, but Jennifer was one of those people who had grown-up skills that no one else our age had at the time. She taught me to sew curtains, how to care for a baby, and most important, the basics for making any soup.

When my daughter was a baby, she was allergic to many, many foods, but she ate this soup voraciously with no allergic reaction. Twenty-five years later, it is still a family favorite, and Jennifer is still a cherished friend.

Lentil Sausage Soup

Sauté 1 medium onion, 2 cloves minced garlic and about 3 carrots (diced) in a large pot.

Add 1 kielbasa sausage cut into 1/2-inch chunks and sauté until slightly browned.

Add: 8 cups water

2 cubes beef bouillon

1 bag lentils

3 oz. tomato paste

Thyme, marjoram, bay leaf and oregano to taste

Then: Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for an hour or two.

Blue House Soup

By Karen Lilley, St. Anthony Park

The Blue House is a home for orphaned and vulnerable girls that was started in 2004 by the late Beatrice Garubanda, a Ugandan-American living in St. Paul. AIDS and other diseases had devastated Garubanda’s rural home village. The traditional family network that cared for orphans was overwhelmed.

Now at the Blue House, girls have safe housing, nutritious food, health care and support for education.

This soup is similar to a soup served at the Blue House, but the recipe is adjusted for American tastes. The main ingredients—carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and chicken—are raised on the Blue House grounds and are essential to the girls’ diet. Their chicken is fresh, the broth comes from the chicken, not a can, and bones and skin simmer with the meat and vegetables.

The soup will be served at the Blue House Boutique lunch on Saturday, Dec. 3, at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 2136 Carter Ave. The girls at the Blue House aren’t used to spices, so we’ve made this soup more flavorful for boutique shoppers.

The Blue House Boutique raises about a quarter of the orphanage’s operating funds annually. All gifts are handmade and donated. Shop on Saturday, Dec. 3, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 4, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Lunch—and this soup—will be served Saturday only, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Blue House Sweet Potato Chicken Soup

Serves 8-10

1 onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 squash, peeled and chopped

2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch pieces

½ tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. ground turmeric or curry

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. salt

*1 or 2 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes

* 1 or 2 (15-oz) cans chicken broth

* Tomatoes and broth should cover the rest of ingredients. Amount can vary depending on soup to vegetable proportions you desire.

 

Directions: Place onion, garlic, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash and chicken pieces in large cooking pot. In a bowl, mix together spices and sprinkle over chicken and vegetables. Mix. Pour in the diced tomatoes and chicken broth.

Bring to boil and then set to simmer, about 2 hours. Keep checking so that vegetables are firmly cooked but not mushy.

It’s tradition

By Audrey Estebo, St. Anthony Park

This is the one recipe that we must have for my extended family at Christmas, although almost no one will eat it and we’re Norwegian—not Swedish. The second recipe is a great holiday appetizer, and one that people will eat.

 

Swedish Fruit Soup

2 quarts boiling water

1/2 cup small pearl tapioca

1/8 tsp. salt

1 cup prunes

1 cup raisins

1 cup dried apricots

1 cup mixed dried fruit

3 cinnamon sticks

1 cup sugar

1 medium apple, peeled and sliced

1 lemon, sliced

1 1/2 cups grape juice

 

Directions: In a large Dutch oven, pour boiling water over tapioca and salt; mix well and let sit for 2-plus hours. Add dried fruit and cinnamon sticks. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add remaining ingredients and continue simmering covered for 30-45 minutes or until tapioca is clear and the fresh apple is tender. Remove the cinnamon sticks and lemon slices. Serve hot or chilled.

 

Burgundy Mushrooms

1 cup butter

1 bottle Burgundy or other red wine

2 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. dill seed

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 cups boiling water

3 low-sodium beef bouillon cubes or equivalent

3 low-sodium chicken bouillon cubes or equivalent

4 lbs. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed

 

In a large Dutch oven, combine butter, wine, Worcestershire sauce, dill seed, pepper, garlic power, water and bouillon. Bring to boil. Add mushrooms. Reduce to simmer. Cover and cook for 5-6 hours. Remove the lid and cook an additional 4 hours. When done, the liquid should just cover mushrooms. Serve warm. This can be frozen and reheated.

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