Saturday, May 9, 2009
Happy Mother's Day!
My friend Barb had a perfect idea to do a Mother's Day Tribute and include some favorite recipes. Go check out her great post here along with links to some other wonderful posts. There are some great stories and some tried and true favorite recipes that shouldn't be missed.
It's days like today I really wish I lived closer to my Mom! I did give her a call and send some flowers but it's not the same as being there which I know she'd prefer. I do miss her EVERY DAY though and not just on Mother's Day. One thing that comforts me when I do miss her and home is to make something to eat like she would! My mother is an excellent cook and I would suspect learned at least some of what she knows from my grandmother, MaMa Nezat (say it like MawMaw). Here is my mom when she was just a little girl..maybe 6 or so, with her Daddy and her cousin or aunt..I forget which, Noelie (at first I thought it was my grandmother but my Mom corrected me! lol) My PaPa was a red head and although this is black and white maybe you can see that my mom took after him!
Here she is when she was a little bit older with her grandfather...my grandmother's Dad. The little boy with the sailor hat is my mom's little brother who my grandparents called Junior most of the time. The baby is my mom's cousin.
Here she is looking happy and cute in her graduation gown. She and my Dad grew up and went to school in a very small town in Louisiana called Port Barre. Their graduating class had I think 19! They still get together with many of them for little mini reunions. My mom went on to become a nurse before marrying my Dad who had joined the Air Force. Took me a while but I followed in her footsteps.
I always thought she looked like Claudette Colbert when she was younger. What do you think?
I was the baby of 4 kids and well let's just say very unexpected! My sister is the closest to me and she's 9 years older! My mom was always there for me no matter what! I just love this picture. My mom in her movie star sunglasses and 70s pant suit.
Here she is in more recent days on my wedding day.
I've learned that as much as she did for me and still does for me, she will do even crazier stuff for her grandkids. Like putting on crazy hats!
I really struggled with narrowing down a recipe of my Mom's to share but ultimately it came down to her chicken. It really doesn't have an official name..it was chicken in the electric skillet when I was growing up. Sometimes we call it Sticky Chicken. I can never do it exactly like her for some reason. But I do try!!!!
My Mom's Chicken
Chicken pieces, with bone
Seasoned to taste (she uses Tony's)
Put your seasoned chicken pieces in an electric skillet. Cook on med-high to high browning well on each side of chicken. Add water to the skillet to cover the bottom. Turn heat down and cover the chicken and cook it till the chicken is cooked inside and the rest of your meal is ready to serve.
We usually had green beans with this and either rice or maybe smothered potatoes which she loves and makes really good too. What I did when I made the chicken and potatoes pictured above is when I added the water to the skillet I also added sliced potatoes and some onions and bell peppers then cooked it all down until the potatoes were soft. I added more water as necessary.
Along with a terrific mother, I've been blessed with two wonderful mother-in-laws..a rarity I'm sure! Randy's Mom Darleen is a great cook and especially loves baking cookies. She has some tried and true recipes that I will be sharing soon. Since Randy isn't the biggest sweet eater I'm going to share his most requested main dish, his Mom's Farm Chili.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my former mother-in-law, Louise. She too was a great cook and I learned an awful lot from her in both the kitchen and the garden. I'd like to throw in a little bit of the garden in memory of her. She found some of these growing wild near a home they built and she started many more by division and from seeds. I can't see a coneflower without thinking of her.
And of course I need to mention my two grandmothers who were both excellent cooks and bakers. Here they both are, at what must have been my MaMa Robin's 80th birthday. (She's on the right with the coursage). That's Mama Nezat on the left. She's my Mom's mom.
Here is Mama Nezat in younger day's She looks like a flapper! I think this must have been the early 30s before my mom was born.
MaMa Nezat was well know for quite a few things from her Kitchen. Her Pralines were unique in that they didn't contain milk of any kind. For some reason she always called them Plarines. :-) She also made the best gumbo and was famous for her Pecan Cake which was requested at most family functions and holidays. But what you could count on being available most often were her Teacake Cookies. Crispy but tender make them different than many teacake recipes which are often cakier. I had the recipe that was supposed to be hers, but I really had to do some tweaking with the flour until I got the right texture. They aren't too sweet and not exactly pretty, but they were a favorite of her kids and grand kids and probably many a visitor. She'd make huge batches then store them for later in plastic bread wrappers she'd saved for the purpose.
Vanilla Wafers ~My MaMa Nezat's Tea Cakes
¼ cup margarine
¼ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg, well beaten
2 tsp vanilla
¼ cup milk
2 ¼ cup flour, and more for rolling
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350°. Cream butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture and milk to creamed mixture, alternating. Mix well. Form into a ball of dough. Add more flour as needed to make a stiff dough. Roll out very thickly on a floured surface – about ¼ inch. Cut out circles and transfer to greased cookie sheet. Cook for 12-14 mins or until starting to get brown. Remove from oven and leave on sheets to cool – this is my note and I think it’s what makes them harder on the outside like MawMaw’s. These keep for a very long time and they only get better! To be authentic store in old Evangeline Maid plastic bread wrappers.
Here is my MaMa Robin on her 90th birthday with her sister, Aunt Helen. They were two sisters that married two brothers.
My MaMa Robin married when she was very young and had her first child by age 15! She was the sweetest lady and lived to cook! There was always something good cooking when you got to her house and always some sweet thing to eat too. She and my Auntie Gussie who lived with her were always trying new recipes and buying the latest store bought goodies. At Christmas time there was always a spread of many different kinds of candy on the table. And usually everybody's favorite Banana Cake. It was a giant moist cake often a little bit lopsided but SOOOOO good. It was made in the large round pans..not 9 inchers..12 probably. I'm sure at one time she made the cake from scratch, but in later years she used yellow cake mix for the layers. The filling is what made it so good though. Make a cream cheese icing..enough to frost the whole cake and in between the layers. Mash 3 bananas and mix in a glob of the cream cheese icing. (very scientific huh). This becomes the filling. Ice cake with the rest of the cream cheese icing. There isn't anything better.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there!