Sunday, 25 November 2012

Over the Moon for Mun Bagel (aka Moon Cookies / Poppyseed Cookies)



He's here!  He's here! ...  He's gone.

It took me too long to write this post, and in a blink of an eye, my Uncle Jim's brief visit is over...

Who, you might ask is Uncle Jim...he's Mom's brother.  Although we are in touch regularly, I hadn't seen him since April 2011 (he lives on the west coast), and he finally made it back for a visit!

Mom and Jim (1947)
Growing up, we visited Regina regularly.  Mom was very close with her family, and my parents made sure we spent as much time as we could with them.  Visits to Regina were always fun...Bubbie and Mom would cook up so many delicious treats, laughing and chatting the whole time.  There were trips to the cottage at Sandy Beach, and best of all, I could spend time with my good friend Kathryn who lived down the street, hanging out in her basement, playing billiards and listening to 45's (records for those of you too young to remember).  

Mom and Jim (1948 or 1949)

And then there was Uncle Jim.  He was no ordinary uncle...he was so patient, and kind and relatable...he would talk to us and take the time to rediscover us as people, finding out what are latest interests, likes and dislikes were.  Above all else, he loved us and we knew it.  Other than our parents and grandparents, he was the only adult in our lives that we knew would do anything for us, would always protect us, and put us first.

And he did, and still does.  I do not want to turn this into a sad post, but suffice it to say, in our darkest hours  of Mom's Alzheimer's, and Dad's emergency bypass, and all the other challenges life has brought us, Jim is always there, providing support and encouragement, an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on, even hopping on a plane on a moment's notice, just to be with us when we needed a rock during Dad's emergency surgery and Mom's crisis placement in long-term care (all on the same weekend).  He doesn't let us "go it alone".  He is more than an uncle, he is family.

Mom and Jim (1960s) - doesn't she
bear a strong resemblance to my Sara?!

We had a family dinner the (Saturday) night of Jimmy's arrival.  Dad, Davie, Lena and Abby came over, and Carlo and the kids had a good chuckle (at my expense, of course) as we reminisced about yesteryear - the people and the food, and some of the more unusual dishes that would be consumed in Bubbie's house.  She was not always a gourmet cook - some meals were as "mangia cake" as you can get!  I wish I took a picture of their faces when they heard that Bubbie Lou and Mom actually fed us canned spaghetti on toast.  I'd totally forgotten about that until Jimmy mentioned it.  I don't know what mia familia were more horrified by - the fact that we ate spaghetti on toast, or the fact that it was canned - come on, what do they think alphaghettis are?!?!  Then Davie and I both recalled the most "delicious" canned macaroni & cheese (hey, give us a break, we were kids, what did we know?!).  There was Zaida's cheese (Velveeta) and lest we forget the home-made specials - stewed figs and red river cereal for breakfast.

I had the best of intentions to make some of Bubbie's special dishes for Jimmy to taste again, and luckily had a couple on hand...he seemed to really enjoy the tuna antipasto and dill pickles.  Unfortunately, it was a whirlwind weekend and I never actually baked the mun bagel cookies - the dough is chilled in my fridge, but that's as far as I got.

Mun Bagel, otherwise known as "moon cookies", are little round bagel-shaped twisted cookies with poppy-seeds.  They are a dense and crunchy cookie that go well with tea, and that is exactly how I remember us eating them in my younger days, sitting around Bubbie and Zaida's dinner table.  They were not very sweet, and did not boast a sticky or gooey icing, but after a few bites, they became addictive - you couldn't just eat one.
This is the photo originally posted on Facebook
So, this weekend we had friends coming for dinner and I decided to serve an array of cookies for dessert, mun bagel being one of the assortment.  On Friday evening I made 100 cookies (they are small) and posted the photo to Facebook.  Imagine my shock and delight when my cousin Jessica (Jim's daughter) commented on the photo just minutes after it went up:
 Now those bring back memories. I could probably eat that whole pan. I probably could have when I was 5, nevermind now.

Then another comment, this time from my cousin Erin (my uncle Van's daughter):
Oh my goodness!! My favorite. I think I need to learn to make these just so I can dip them in my tea.

Now I was on cloud 9.  I didn't think anyone other than Davie or me would hold memories about these cookies.  I was a happy camper.

Fast forward to dinner last night.  I was trying to make kid-friendly sweets - so I whipped up some mandelbroyt and Bubbie Lou brownies in addition to the mun bagel...image my surprise when I turned to the counter where my dessert tray was sitting and discovered that the kids kept coming in to grab a handful of mun bagel!  Seriously, I had to refill the plate and they finished every last one I had made!   My kids loved them!!!!    I guess I know what I am doing after Hebrew school today - baking more mun bagel.

And when they are done, I will take that first bite with my "glaizl tea" (glass of tea), I will think of my Mom, Bubbie Lou and the matriarchs before her. Y

PS - I guess I will have to overnight courier the cookies to Jim!

So from my family to yours, I hope you enjoy this cookie as much as we do.  Until next time, I wish you a wonderful day filled with family, fun, friends and fantastic food.  B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!

Bubbie Lou's Handwritten Recipe
Another recipe card (I believe it's also Bubbie's,
otherwise it belongs to Mom - their handwriting is so similar)
Mun Bagel (Moon Bagel/cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • ¾C white granulated sugar
  • ¾C Mazola oil (or other oil you prefer - I use Canola)
  • ½C poppy seeds
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3C flour
  • ¼ tsp salt


Method:
Preheat oven to 300˚. Mix eggs and sugar. Add oil.  Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Slowly add dry ingredients and poppy seeds to mixture.  (I actually toss my seeds into the flour mixture).  Chill the dough if making round cookies, leave at room temperature if making mun bagels.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.  

How to roll mun bagel:

Dough should be at room temperature  Roll into 6" to 8" rope

Fold in half 
Gently pinch together

Gently holding 1 end down, use other end to twist



Bring ends together to form a circle and pinch to secure

Monday, 12 November 2012

Tuna Antipasto - A Tasty Treat!


My mother comes from a social family...many of my childhood memories are of dinner parties, with  beautifully-dressed adults milling about, plates and glasses in hand...chatting and nibbling on delicacies prepared by Bubbie Lou and/or Mom.

Davie and I were usually bored stiff at these events - they were loud (couldn't hear the television or fall asleep) and boring (we were allowed to come down for food but then were expected to retreat to our own space and leave the adults to visit).  

Looking back, I smile as I recall the tastes and sounds associated with fond memories of a time and era that has since disappeared.

One dish that stands out is an appetizer that my matriarchs would make - tuna antipasto...a dish with which I have a love-hate relationship.  It is chock-full of yummy ingredients: pickles, mushrooms, green olives, tuna, ketchup, Worcester sauce, chili sauce & cocktail onions.  Placed on a triscuit, this canape is refreshing and delectable.   But too much of a good thing is exactly that - too much.  So, I like to enjoy this in small doses.  It's a good thing that it keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks!  

Looking back, I wonder if this could also be the reason that both Bubbie Lou and Mom served it when hosting buffets: luncheons, brunches and buffets (like Break the Fast).  

Anyways, I found the recipe amongst Bubbie's collection of handwritten recipes in My Golden Recipes, and finally got around to making it last weekend.  Imagine my surprise when I went to the cantina to collect the ingredients only to discover that Sara and Carlo had pilfered my stash and eaten both jars of cocktail onions!  Oh well, that is the one ingredient I can easily live without!

So, from my family to yours, I hope you enjoy our Tuna Antipasto recipe.  

Until next time, I wish you a wonderful day, filled with family, fun, friends and fantastic food.   B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!


2 tins of button mushrooms (halved because mine were big)

4 celery twigs/stalks (cut into bite-size pieces)

3 carrots (peeled and sliced into thin rounds)

1 medium jar of mixed pickles (drained)

1 jar of green olives with pimentos (drained & halved)

Chili sauce & ketchup
(Worcester  & lemon juice not pictured)

Presenting...Tuna Antipasto!

Jarred and ready for the fridge!

Tuna Antipasto

Ingredients:
  • 1 jar silver cocktail onions
  • 1 jar (medium size) sweet mixed pickles
  • 1 jar (medium size) stuffed small green olives
  • 2 tins white solid tuna
  • 2 tins whole baby button mushrooms (if larger, slice)
  • 1 bottle (large) ketchup
  • 1 bottle (large) chili sauce 
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 4 celery twigs, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • juice from ½ lemon

Method:
Drain all ingredients, cut all ingredients (as noted above), except for onions and cauliflower (from mixed pickles).  Add tuna last.  Mix gently and seal in mason jars for the fridge.  Freezes well (in Tupperware) too!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Chicken Salad on Brown, Toasted - A Mom Memory Moment

Good morning everyone!

I am sorry I am not blogging as often - life seems to be getting busier all the time, and at the end of the day I flop into bed (not to mention the fact that my old eyes just cannot bear to look at a computer screen past 8:00 pm anymore!).

So I was thinking...there are many Mom moments that I would love to share...short and sweet anecdotes about Mom, me, us...when I was growing up - moments that are usually connected to food in some way, shape or form.

And so the "Once Upon a Time  Mom Memory Moment" post is born... short & sweet stories about "vat vas, vas"...

I was perusing my Facebook news feed earlier today, when I came across a photo that stopped me in my tracks - it was the creamiest, thickest chicken salad sandwich I had seen since I was a young thing in the early 1980's.

Below is my post from My Mother's Treasure (Facebook), with a link to the recipe from "Sharing Recipes".
 


When I was a tween and teen I spent many school vacation days working at my parents' office. Mom and I would go across the street to "111 Avenue Road" where there was a little family-owned and operated "diner". We would both get the chicken salad on brown bread, toasted, with lettuce. It was the most delicious sandwich I'd ever tasted and I looked forward to those lunches with Mom.

111 Avenue Road has long since closed down, and I have never managed to replicate their chicken salad...but this sandwich looks like it may bring me closer to the recipe...doesn't it look amazing!?!