Mom recipe

Mom’s Duck Fat Bread

Mom’s Duck Fat Bread

Today would be my Mom’s birthday. I still miss her. I thought I would share some of her favorite recipes this week. She was a wonderful cook and I learned a lot from her. Here is a bread she was famous for in our family.

My Mom used to make this wonderful sweet bread. Made it for every family occasion. The recipe uses butter. She was a very frugal person. One day, she decided to render the skin from a duck she was using in soup. She didn’t want to just toss it. Too wasteful. Once it was cooled, the duck fat looked like butter. She was making her sweet bread and substituted the duck fat for the butter in the recipe. When my brother-in-law, Bob, tasted it he declared it was the best bread yet. My Mom told him what the secret ingredient was, and from that day on, we always called it duck fat bread, even when it was made with butter. Here is the recipe- wonderful even if made with plain old butter.



Mom’s Butter Coffeecake Braids aka Duck Fat Bread

4 1/2 c. flour

2 T. sugar

1 t. salt

½ c. butter or 1/2 c. cooled rendered duck fat

1 packet yeast

¼ c. warm water

2 t. sugar

1 c. evaporated milk

2 eggs, beaten

Combine flour with sugar and salt. Cut in butter or duck fat and set aside. Dissolve 2 teaspoons sugar in warm water. Dissolve yeast in warm water mixture and set aside. Allow to become bubbly, about 5 minutes.  Combine milk with eggs. Stir in yeast mixture and add to flour mixture stirring well. Knead dough in bowl until smooth, about 10 minutes. Place on lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1½ hours. Divide dough in half and then each half into thirds. Roll dough into ropes and braid three ropes together. Repeat with remaining 3 ropes.  Place braids in 9×5 inch greased bread pans and cover with a towel. Place in a warm, draft-free place and allow to rise until doubled, about 1½ hours. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. If you like glaze loaves while warm with a mix of powdered sugar, a little milk, butter, and vanilla. Toasted almonds or walnuts can be added, if desired. Makes 2 loaves.

Note: You can also refrigerate the dough after kneading it if you would prefer. Just place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Roll and shape dough into braids when cold from the fridge.  Rise, covered, until doubled in bulk, about 2-3 hours. Bake as directed.

Note: You can also place loaves on a greased baking sheet for a longer, flatter bread rather than in loaf pan.

Mom’s Strawberry Crepes

Mom’s Strawberry Crepes

Since Mother’s Day is fast approaching, I thought I would share some of my favorite “Mom” recipes.

My mother was a great cook. I learned a lot from her. I still make many of her recipes. When I make crepes, I always think of her.

I have fond memories of watching my mother make crepes when I was a little girl. She would add the batter and tilt the pan to get the crepes smooth and thin. She made it look effortless. With a little practice, they actually are.  Crepes are easy to make and versatile, too.

They can be served for breakfast, brunch or dessert and can be sweet or savory.  I made a slightly sweet crepe batter, perfect for a fruit filling. I used strawberries – you can use your imagination to fill them any way you like. These make a wonderfully elegant dessert, yet are really easy to make.


Strawberry Crepes

1 recipe dessert crepe batter- see below

2 lbs. fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced

sugar to taste- start with 1/2 cup, then adjust to your taste

1 t. vanilla

1 t. grated orange peel

powdered sugar

whipped cream, optional

Make the crepe batter (recipe below) and cook the crepes. Toss the berries with the sugar, vanilla and orange peel. Place a crepe on your work surface and spoon berries down the middle. Fold up the sides of the crepe and move to serving dish. Repeat with remaining ingredients until you run out of something. I tend to put a lot of the berries in each crepe so I run out of berries and have left over crepes. How much fruit you put in each one is completely up to you and your taste. Dust filled crepes with powdered sugar and top with extra berries- if you have any left. You can also add some whipped cream on the top. I list it as optional- but I really think you’re going to want that whipped cream. Makes about 12 crepes, give or take.

Dessert Crepes

1 c. flour

4 eggs

1 1/2 c. milk

1 T. sugar

2-T. orange-flavored liqueur or orange juice concentrate

1/4 c. butter, melted and cooled

Mix all ingredients in blender (except butter) until smooth, scraping sides often. Add butter and blend well. Let stand for 30 minutes before using, or batter can be refrigerated, covered, over night. Beat again, just before using.Heat 6 or 7 inch skillet. Brush with butter or oil and pour in about 2 teaspoons of batter, tipping pan to cover bottom of pan completely with batter. Cook until edges start to brown, turn over and cook until lightly browned (about 2 minutes per side.)Crepes can be made day ahead or even frozen between sheets of waxed paper and frozen.Makes 20.

Fresh Spring Salad

Spring Salad

I learned at an early age to appreciate a good salad. My mother really knew how to make a salad. Her prepping a tossed salad was a ritual I observed often as a kid.

My mother was a big believer in a tossed salad. She wasn’t fond of salad where the dressing was just poured over the top.

She also was a firm believer that most people over dressed their greens. She said when you tossed a salad properly, there should not be a puddle of dressing in the bottom of the bowl. She was right.

Mom also liked to serve salad on its own, not with the rest of the meal. She said that way you really enjoyed your salad. We always ate salad before the rest of the meal. I still prefer to do that.

When I was making this salad for dinner the other night, it made me remember the first time I bought her a one pound box of Spring greens. She was not a fan of iceberg lettuce and used assorted greens in her salads, along with other veggies. I knew she would love the mix of greens.

The problem was, as she told me later, that she couldn’t empty the box. She said every time she grabbed a handful of greens out to make a salad, the rest would just expand. She said she had made several salads and the box didn’t appear any emptier.

So here is the salad I made the other night. Just the perfect starter for any Spring dinner.


Spring Salad

4 c. Spring mix  greens

6 asparagus spears

4 oz. sugar snap pea pods

1 carrot- shredded finely

3 broccoli stems, shredded finely

1/2 c. diced sweet onion

fresh parsley, chopped

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

salt and fresh ground pepper

4 oz. feta cheese crumbles

Wash and spin dry the greens and place in salad bowl. Trim tough ends off asparagus and steam 4 minutes. Place in cold water to stop cooking and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add to greens. Add remaining vegetables to salad bowl. Drizzle with oil- not too much- and then toss. Add salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Toss again. Serve in individual bowls and add cheese to taste. Serves 3-4.


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