BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Super Bowl a good excuse to throw a party

Did the old groundhog see his shadow yesterday? Don’t depend on his forecast to plan your next few weeks. Anything can happen when old Mother Nature is concerned, good and/or bad. We just smile and take whatever we get. The winter clothes have not been packed away yet.

Today is Super Bowl Sunday. It is a good excuse for a party even if you don’t like football and don’t plan to watch the game. The commercials are as important to watch as the plays of the game. No one has ever topped the ones with the animals, though. At the price that is paid for each minute of air time, one has to ask if it is really worth it. Must be, or they wouldn’t do it.

The Pro Bowl last Sunday was more to my liking as my favorite players were in it. Of course, they played against each other, but it was fun to watch both of them, and it didn’t matter to me which one won. Go, Eli and Payton. Today’s game should be interesting as the rival coaches are brothers. Some families just seem to have that special group of genes. I haven’t yet discovered any special traits in my family tree. At least, not any that I want to talk about.

It is already the second month of the year and I haven’t made any headway in the “clearing out” of the computer room that I had promised myself to do the first of the year. I used to have just one room that was a disaster but now I have two as I tried to switch my “office” into another room. The more I look at it, the more I think maybe just moving would be easier. The “someday cookbook” is still in several boxes, waiting to be sorted out and put into order. I think my self-conscience has the opinion that I can’t leave this world until that work is finished. If that is true, I am good for another fifty years, at least. Of course, now I can’t find any particular recipe I want to use – they are all lost in those boxes. It wouldn’t be any challenge if they were all neat and in order. It does keep me cooking new ones and adjusting them to my liking, so maybe it is a learning experience.

Husband Norm has been having a “learning experience” in getting another room heated. First, the old heater decided not to let anyone change the temperature, then the replacement was defective and didn’t work, so he put in the fireplace logs like we had originally planned to do. It works great and looks nice. If you need help with your heating problem, just call him – he knows all the words needed to use. Just don’t let any tender ears be around.

Next week is Mardi Gras. Fastnacht Day (Doughnut Day) is Tuesday. Grandma Semon always made a large bowl of doughnuts for us on that day. I probably will, just in memory of her, and there are some old recipes today if your family has that tradition.

The next day is Ash Wednesday. If you see a friend with a spot on his/her forehead, don’t tell them they have a dirt spot – they have just been to church to receive ashes and intend to follow a Lenten program. Many Christians, not just Catholics or Episcopalians, use this season for spiritual growth, and we all could use that. No one is perfect and we need to correct ourselves before we start to criticize others. Of course, sometimes we all think we don’t have anything to talk about if we don’t talk about others. Shame on us.

If you have never been to someplace like Mobile or New Orleans to see a Mardi Gras parade, then go if you can. The crowds are horrible, but it is an experience like no other – even better than being in New York on New Year’s Eve. The floats are out of this world. It is the final time before the seriousness of Lent starts and some really need the confessions of Lent after celebrating Mardi Gras. One can enjoy, though, without too much celebrating.

Another seed catalog just came, so it is a reminder to get serious about the gardening plan. I have a devious plot in my mind and will discuss it if it works. I love that garden, but Norm really doesn’t enjoy the work of putting it in, and taking care of it after it is in. It really is easier to let younger ones do the work and just go to the markets and pay them for the produce. I can still put up the veggies as I like, without all the added ingredients that can’t be pronounced from store-bought cans. It is fun to do, too. We’ll see, as the season progresses.

Enjoy Super Bowl today and celebrate Valentine’s Day next weekend before Lent starts. Time marches on – don’t put off what you want to do today. God Bless us all.

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SPUDNUTS (Potato Doughnuts)

One cup mashed potatoes -no additions to potatoes

One cup potato water

Three-fourths cup shortening

One teaspoon salt

One-half cup sugar

One envelope dry yeast

Three-fourths cup warm water

Two eggs, beaten

Five to six cups flour

Oil for deep-frying

Six cups powdered sugar

One cup boiling water

Mix potatoes, potato water, shortening, salt and sugar. Dissolve yeast in warm water, and then add to potato mixture. Stir in eggs and enough flour to make a stiff dough. Knead on floured surface until smooth. Cover. Let rise for one and one-half hours. Pat dough out to three-fourths inch thick and cut with a doughnut cutter. Let rise again until doubled in bulk. Fry doughnuts in three to four inches of oil that has been heated to 375-degrees until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper toweling. Mix powdered sugar and boiling water to make a glaze. Dip doughnuts into glaze while warm and place on a wire rack to drip off excess. (Place waxed paper under racks to cut down on the mess.)

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NEW ORLEANS BEIGNETS

One-half cup milk, warmed to body temperature

Two teaspoons dry yeast

One egg, beaten

One-eighth cup sugar

One-half teaspoon salt

One and three-fourths cups bread flour

One-eighth cup butter, softened

Oil for deep-frying

Confectioners’ sugar

Dissolve the yeast in warm milk, then add the sugar, salt, and beaten egg. Gradually add half the flour, stirring until well blended, then mix in the softened butter. Gradually add the rest of the flour until dough is very stiff and can only be mixed with your hands. Place dough in a warm bowl and cover with a towel. Leave it to rise in a warm place for about one hour or until it has doubled in bulk. Knead gently on a floured surface, then roll out to a one-fourth-inch thickness. Cut the dough into rectangles approximately two and one-half by three and one-half inches and place on a lightly floured pan. Cover with a towel and let rise about thirty-five minutes. Fry in 360-degree oil, turning once when the bottom has browned. Drain on paper towels, then dust generously with confectioners’ sugar.

Serve while hot, with a cup of chicory coffee, and you will think you are in New Orleans.

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FASTNACHTKUCKEN (Bismarcks)

One envelope dry powdered yeast

Water

One teaspoon sugar

One cup milk

One-third cup butter

One-fourth cup sugar

One teaspoon salt

Grated rind of one lemon

Three egg yolks

Three to four cups flour

Oil or melted butter

One and one-half cups jam or marmalade

Fat for deep-frying

Sugar (preferable Vanilla sugar)

Soften yeast in a little water according to instructions on package, adding one teaspoon sugar to speed the process, if you like. Let stand in a warm place until bubbly. Scald milk. Cream butter with sugar, salt and lemon rind. When blended, add scalded milk and stir until butter melts. When cooled to lukewarm, mix in egg yolks and one cup flour and dissolved yeast. Add remaining flour gradually until dough is soft and light but smooth and not sticky. Knead on floured aboard until elastic and smooth. Shape into ball and place in buttered bowl. Brush top of dough with oil or melted butter, cover with thin kitchen towel and set to rise in a warm, draft-free corner of the kitchen. Let rise one hour or until double in bulk. Punch down and roll on floured board to one-fourth-inch thickness and cut rounds with a three-inch cookie cutter. Put a generous dab of marmalade or jam in center of half the circles, then top each with a plain circle of dough. Pinch edges together with a little water or egg white to help them bind. Cover with a towel and let rise about forty-five minutes or until again double in bulk. Heat fat to 365-degrees and deep-fry doughnuts, a few at a time, keeping fat temperature constant. Fry about three minutes on first side, then turn so second side can brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper. When cool, dredge with sugar.

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RAISED DOUGHNUTS

One cake compressed yeast or one package granulated yeast

One-fourth cup lukewarm water

Three-fourths cup milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm

Four cups flour

Three-fourths cup sugar

Two eggs, well beaten

Two teaspoons grated lemon rind

One-half cup shortening, melted and cooled

Three-fourths teaspoon nutmeg

One-half teaspoon salt

Soften yeast in lukewarm water, stir and combine with cooled milk. Add one-half of the flour and two tablespoons of the sugar. Beat until smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place (80 to 85-degrees) about one-half hour. Stir in beaten eggs, lemon rind, shortening and remaining flour that has been sifted with the remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt. Beat for ten to fifteen minutes by hand (or four to five minutes by electric mixer) or until bubbles appear on the surface. Cover and let rise about one hour. Turn out on floured board and roll out one inch thick. Cut with doughnut cutter. Cover and let rise about an hour or until doubled in bulk. Drop, raised side down, into deep, hot fat (365 to 370-degrees) and fry about two or three minutes, turning doughnuts to brown on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper. While still warm, sugar by shaking them with granulated or confectioners’ sugar in a brown paper bag. They can be dipped in thin confectioners’ sugar icing or iced with any thinned icing for an iced instead of sugared doughnut.

Contact Patty Christopher at jkoenitzer@aol.com