Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Favorite Family Recipes

If you follow my blog at all over the past three years, then you know that I absolutely, positively love Adriana Trigiani! Last year, I was one of the lucky bloggers who won the chance to have tea with Adriana during the week of BEA. I had the most amazing time and Adriana is definitely one of the most vibrant people I've ever met. She's so full of life and, at the same time, so wise. I truly treasured each and every minutes I spent with her! (You can read more about the tea here.)

Adriana and her books have inspired quite a few posts here at Booking Mama, but the one that means the most to me is the tribute I wrote about my grandmothers. After I read Adriana's book, DON'T SING AT THE TABLE: LIFE LESSONS FROM MY GRANDMOTHERS, I was so touched by how she honored her grandmothers that it inspired me to write my own "What I Learned from My Grandmothers" post.

I'm excited to say that Adriana has once again inspired me to write a post, and this time it's still about my grandmothers..... and a few of my favorite recipes that they shared with me. I mentioned earlier that Adriana has a passion for life. Well, she also has a passion for food! In fact, she published a family cookbook, COOKING WITH MY SISTERS, a few years back. Family recipes are near and dear to my heart, and I love that I have a few of my grandmothers' tried and true favorites!

Grandma Stasik's Risotto

This isn't your typical risotto --it's a tomato based rice dish and low-fat!

1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves, garlic (crushed)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 lb. sirloin steak
1 small can tomato paste
1 to 1 1/2 cup raw rice (I used arborio)
3 cups chicken broth (or more if needed)
grated parmesan cheese

In a large stainless steel pot, heat olive oil until sizzling. Add celery, onion and garlic and cook until tender. Add sirloin and brown. Add tomato paste and 3 tomato paste cans of water. Stir until sauce is thick. Add raw rice and stir.

In another pot, heat chicken broth. As rice mixture absorbs liquid, keep adding chicken broth in 1/2 cup increments. Keep stirring so rice doesn't stick on bottom of pan. Continue to add broth until rice is tender. Add parmesan cheese to taste.

Grandma Bender's Lemon Squares
This is more of a lemon dessert with a crust, a cream cheese layer, a lemon layer, and whipped cream topping. It's one of my all-time favorite desserts!

2 cups flour
2 sticks butter (or oleo as her recipes reads!)
2 Tbsp. sugar

Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Pat down in an 11 x 15" pan. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cream Cheese Layer
12 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar and spread over cooked crust.

Lemon Layer
2 pkgs. lemon pie filling (not instant)

Make lemon pie filling according to package directions. Only use 1/2 the amount of sugar. Let cool and spread over cream cheese layer. 

Spread either Cool Whip or Dream Whip for top layer!


I have exciting news to share with you! This year, TLC Book Tours is partnering with HarperCollins to provide 5 bloggers with a chance to have lunch with Adriana Trigiani and experience an abbreviated version of her walking tour of Greenwich Village during Book Expo America (BEA) in New York City in May 2011. You must already be attending BEA to participate. The walking tour will start at 11:00am, with lunch to follow at 12:30pm on Thursday, May 26, 2011 at The Standard Grill.

You can read all of these details, including how to enter, here.


Beth F said...

Two of my favorite things! Risotto and lemon bars. Yummmmm. Both of these variations are new to me, though. I have a lot of food memories associated with my grandmothers.

bermudaonion said...

What a wonderful post! I only have a few recipes from my grandmothers, but hope to post one soon.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I agree - risotto and lemon bars - great combo! And what cute pictures!

Karlie said...

I love both of these recipes!Now I am hungry for the lemon squares :)

TheBookGirl said...

How nice to have recipes from your grandmothers. I have some hand-written ones from my maternal grandmother that I make every year.

I am a huge fan of Adriana Trigiani's books; my favorite is Lucia, Lucia :)

Peaceful Reader said...

Both recipes sound delicious! It is always wonderful to hear about grandmothers-they are often such an inspiration! Love the photos.
p.s. I've never read this author...:(

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Oh, thanks for sharing these recipes, Julie - yum!

I have to write a post about this new blogger contest for BEA -- Adriana Trigiani is so generous, and, yes, with a passion for life and love of her family!

The Glorious & The Brave said...

Both recipes sound yummy!

Heather said...

Now you have me wanting to make risotto, only with lots of mushrooms. yummy. I don't know that I have any of my grandmother's recipes. My cousin took her cookbook, promising to share, but I haven't seen any copies. hmmm.And that cousin doesn't even cook.