Archive | December, 2012

A Baking Tradition — Swedish Rye Bread

23 Dec

Once or twice over the course of this blog’s short existence I’ve written about some of my traditional family recipes.  If there was an urtext that was the ultimate and prototypical family recipe growing up, then it was the recipe for Swedish Rye Bread.  My mother’s family is 100% German and my father’s is correspondingly 100% Swedish.  So, one might naturally think that it was my father responsible for introducing and making this bread.

Reality however is much less clear.  It was an ongoing debate in my house as to whether my mother or father is responsible for learning this recipe from my Grandmother on the Swedish side.  Each one claims credit for the original making of the bread.  I, not wanting to get in the middle of such an amusing (and not entirely in jest) feud, will take no position.  Not that I really have any basis to weigh in with my opinion anyway.

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Christmas Treat — Lebkuchen Christmas Cookies

9 Dec

Many of my family traditions involve food. (See this earlier post about Chicken Szechwan and Peanuts.)  This food-focused sense of tradition is especially true around the holidays.  Christmas cookie baking was always a big deal growing up, and no Christmas season would be complete without a full complement of different cookie varieties.  And it wasn’t just the resulting sweets that made holiday cookies so special; it was the process of making the cookies itself.


Every year around Christmas, just as school was letting out for break, my aunt and granddad (my grandfather on my mother’s side) would come for an extended visit.  At some point early on in that visit, me, my sister, my mom, and my aunt would spend a day or two crafting the Christmas cookies for that year.  While some of the varieties we made would vary from year to year, there was some staples that we always made: spritz, snowballs (better known as Russian tea cakes), and befitting of the German heritage on my mom’s side of the family, lebkuchen. (The recipe I have actually spells it lebkucken, but knowing a bit of German myself, I know that just can’t be right!)

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Well Dressed — FlipSide Burger (at Easton Town Center)

6 Dec

About the last place I ever plan on being around the holidays is out at Easton.  One time a couple of years ago I was forced out there because I needed to get a new vegetable peeler, and the only place I knew for sure that would have it was Sur la Table. (It’s an awesome vegetable peeler by the way.)

Just last weekend though, Tania and I found ourselves out there and thought we’d take advantage of the opportunity to try out the (relatively) new FlipSide burger location.  I was especially interested in trying it out because, in the not-too-distant future, the currently vacant former home of Yankee Trader will be home to the second Columbus FlipSide location.

For those of you not already familiar with FlipSide, its first location was up near Cleveland in Hudson, OH.  Their focus is on burgers and shakes, and boy do they have a lot of both.  The list of burger options was quite extensive, and picking one required more than a little bit of deliberation.

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I’m a fan of spicy things, and ultimately decided on the Chili Pepper Burger.  The combination of pickled jalepeanos, pepper jack cheese, smoked chili ketchup, sriracha sauce (not listed on the menu, but described by our waitress and, as you can see, appearing on the burger), and onion rings was the combination that ultimately swayed me.  There were many other burgers, including ones with brisket, shaved prime rib, and brie with date aioli that were also incredibly tempting.

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Warm and Hearty — Crock-Pot Moroccan Chicken Stew

3 Dec

It’s winter time, which means ‘tis the season for hearty meals—like soups and stews.  Actually, apparently Mother Nature has made a liar out of me.  The calendar may read December, but here in Ohio it feels like anything but.  With the warm, rainy, days we’ve had recently it feels more like April than anything else.


This past weekend, pretending that it was winter, I hauled out the Crock-Pot.  Crock-Pots (or slow cooker for those of you with models from other brands) seem to be perfectly designed for winter meals.  You can get them started, head out into the cold for some exercise or other event, and then return to a ready and waiting meal.

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