Holm Family Cookbook

Some eat to live, we live to eat!

Cowgirl's Foodie Blog

Cranberry Salsa

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on November 24, 2013 at 10:40 PM

Cranberry Salsa has become a family favorite. Introduced to our family by Sandy Sports Holm, the recipe was given to her by a friend. Sandy brought it to Christmas as an appetizer, it looked so beautiful - bright cranberry with flecks of green upon white cream cheese!

Then the flavor, a sweet tartness, very refreshing. Cranberries, a fruit with a very short season, are harvested between the end of September and early November. Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberries in the U.S., and I thought it was Massachusetts!  When I see them start to appear in the grocery stores, my mouth starts watering for this salsa recipe. Cranberries can be frozen for several years - which bodes well with me. Last year I had frozen some cranberries, and pulled them out in early September to make this recipe. I took it on a wine tasting excursion, all the guests loved it! The salsa tasted as delicious as when I used the fresh cranberries.

The recipe is simple, and can be frozen. It actually makes enough for two batches. Enjoy!

Cranberry Salsa

1 - 12 oz bag of cranberries, rinsed and drained (3 cups)
1/4 cup minced green onion
2 small jalapeño peppers, cored, seeded and minced
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cilantro leaves minced (save some to garnish)
2 tbs finely grated fresh ginger
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 - 8 oz cream cheese

After rinsing the bag of cranberries, put in food processor and pulse until finely chopped, not mushy.

Place in bowl with onions, jalapeños, sugar, cilantro, ginger and lemon juice and stir.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours so the flavor develops. Serve over cream cheese with crackers or chips.

~ Cookin' Cowgirl Susie

Pickling Party

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on May 13, 2013 at 12:00 AM

It's asparagus season here in Northern California, which means it’s time to pickle! Plus, I just finished off the final jar of asparagus from last year. Five of us gathered together for the task that lay ahead, we find that there’s strength in numbers! We were discussing our grandmothers who we had all helped out in the kitchen when we were young; they did their canning and pickling all by themselves, jars and jars of fruits and vegetables, well into their 70’s and 80’s. They were tough cookies. We find that it's more fun and motivating to pickle together, and doesn't take as long to clean up! Last year we pickled three lugs of asparagus, this year we moved up to four, you can find our asparagus recipe in our pickling blog from last year.

I'm a one click shopper with Amazon, which can be rather dangerous. In preparation for the pickling party, I got a bit carried away with new canning books. It doesn't help that my mother was a librarian, books seem to be in our genes! I ordered a variety to peruse in advance of the big day, and pulled a couple of recipes to use this year... Canning for a New Generation, The Art of Fermentation, Put 'em Up!, Pickled, and Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving.

If you haven't canned before, it's get to do some research in advance. Ball has a great website to get you started, www.freshpreserving.com, or any of the books listed above will give you the details on preparing the jars, lids, and all of the equipment you will need.

This year we planned in advance to make some giardiniera, last year we just threw it together with the vegetables we found in my fridge and freezer, using leftover spices from the asparagus. I also love pickled beets, so I picked up a couple dozen beets to experiment with. My sister and cousin despise beets, say they smell like dirt, it’s one of those love ‘em or hate ‘em vegetables. We also tested out putting asparagus in the jars raw compared to blanching the asparagus in advance, possibly saving us some time. We won't be able to give you the taste results for at least 6 weeks, so stay tuned!



2 pounds beets

1 cup distilled white vinegar

½ cup water

½ cup sugar

½ tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon cumin seed

¼ teaspoon whole cloves


Prep the beets by boiling or roasting them until nearly tender. Slice into ¼-inch slices (I used a mandolin).


Combine the vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a medium nonreactive saucepan, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt, and then remove from the heat.


Pack the beets into 3 clean, hot pint jars, arranging them snugly but with enough room for brine to circulate. Divide the cumin seed and cloves among the jars. Pour the hot brine over the beets to cover by ½ inch. Leave ½ inch of headspace between the top of the liquid and the lid.


Use the boiling-water method. Process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and set aside for 24 hours. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Recipe came from Put ‘em up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton




We adapted this recipe from Paula’s mother's recipe, and a recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. You can use a variety of whatever vegetables your family prefers.



NOTE: The amount of spices listed below go Into EACH quart sized jar:

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon mustard seed

1 teaspoon dill seed

2 cloves garlic chopped or more (we used more because we love garlic!)

½ bay leaf

6 whole black peppercorns



Small cauliflower florets

Pearl onions

Carrots, cleaned or peeled and cut into ½ inch slices

Tri-color bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips

Small Brussel sprouts

String beans

Artichoke hearts, halved or quartered


Pickling Brine

4 cups white vinegar

2 cups water

2 cups granulated sugar

1 tbsp. Salt


Prepare canner, jars and lids.


In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt. We chose to put the spice in the jars as we do with the asparagus, because last year we just threw a bunch of vegetables in the extra jars the we had prepped for the asparagus and it turned out great. The Ball recipe calls for a spice bag to go in the brine.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat, cover and boil gently for 5 minutes. Add vegetables and return to a boil. Pack vegetables into hot jars within a generous ½ inch of top of jar. Ladle hot pickling liquid into jar to cover vegetables, leaving ½ headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.


Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.


Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving by Judi Kingry, Lauren Devine

 Nancy, Merry, Paula, Kim & Wendy, the Pickling Princesses


Almost Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on November 26, 2012 at 9:45 AM

My daughter, Laina, has been making the pumpkin pies for our extended family's Thanksgiving dinner for the last three years. She started making them when she was 16-years old.  The tricky part about her pie making is that she doesn't open a can of pumpkin puree to make them; she actually cooks the pumpkins and purees them herself. She does take a shortcut and uses frozen pie crust.

A pie pumpkin used to make pumpkin pies

Laina uses pie pumpkins to make her pies. You can usually find these pumpkins in the produce section of the grocery store before Halloween and until after Christmas. The pie pumpkins are smaller than the pumpkins used for jack-o-lanterns. The pie pumpkins are also sweeter and the texture is not as grainy as the larger pumpkins.

Baked pie pumpkins

To make the puree, she bakes the pumpkins, scrapes out the seeds, and purees the cooked pumpkin--she does not use the shell.  It is not as complicated or time consuming as one might think.  And, the results are so much tastier than store bought pies and puree.

One of Laina's pumpkin pies

Laina uses the frozen pie crusts from Trader Joe's, which taste and look homemade. So, Laina's pies are almost homemade . . . .

Pumpkin Pie - Makes one pie


One pie pumpkin

1/2 can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 can evaporated milk

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 tsp. ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pie crust


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Wash and dry the pumpkin. Cut pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds and strings.  Place the pumpkins cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Allow pumpkin to cool and then scrape the cooked pumpkin out of the shell.

Place the cooked pumpkin into a blender and puree until smooth. Laina likes to put the evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk with the cooked pumpkin in the blender on the liquefy setting to make the texture smoother. Pour the pureed pumpkin into a bowl and mix in the eggs, then the salt, sugar, vanilla, and the spices. Mix well to make sure there are no spice clumps.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a 9" pie plate with a pie crust and crimp the edges. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pie crust. 

Bake the pie in the 425 F oven for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Bake 40 more minutes or until the pie is no longer jiggly in the center.

Cool the pie before serving.  We store our pumpkin pies in the refrigerator.

~merry carter~


We must have pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.

- David Mamet


Danish Pickles (Asier)

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on September 4, 2012 at 9:05 AM

A Tilli Holm Calhoun painting of some of the Danish pickles served by our Grandmother

When we were growing up our grandmother, Ione Holm or Granny to us, would almost always set out a dish of her sweet and tangy Danish pickles at special family events. The pickles were not green like the dills or sweet pickles, but they looked like the white part of a watermelon rind cut into strips.

Making the Danish pickles took Granny a few days. First she had to round up all of the ingredients. The cucumbers that she used were much larger than the cucumbers used for other pickles. Local friend and farmer Augie Hagemann would leave the cucumbers on the vine until they were large enough (approximately 4 inches in diameter) and would pick them when Granny was ready to pickle. After picking up the cucumbers from Augie, she would visit another farm to get fresh dill. One of the farms she would buy the dill from was on Vineyard Avenue in Pleasanton. Although not much dill is used for the Danish pickles, she would use the rest of the fresh dill for dill pickles. Sugar, vinegar, and pickling spices would be the last on her list to pick up before she made her way back up to her home in the Livermore Hills.

The next day Granny would peel all of the cucumbers, cut them in half length-wise and scrape out the seeds. She would then lay all of the scraped and hollowed cucumber "boats" out on pans and sprinkle them with salt. The cucumbers would sit over night while the salt would draw the excess liquid out of the cucumbers. The following day would be pickling day. I can still remember the aroma of the cucumbers and pickling syrup that filled her house on those pickling days.

Salting the cucumber "boats"

The salted cucumbers the following day

The last time any of us had Danish pickles was probably about 20 years ago when Granny was in her 80's. For the last few years we've talked about making them, but were at a loss as to where we were going to get the cucumbers since Augie moved to Oakdale and no longer grows cucumbers. My sister Nancy started doing some research and talked to some of the farmers at our local farmer markets and found that Farmer Sean from Terra Belly Family Farm in Pleasanton (where she gets her weekly CSA) thought he had some cucumbers that might work, he could leave the cucumbers on the vine to get them to the size needed.

Nancy made arrangements with the farmer to pick up the cucumbers on a Saturday afternoon and that evening we gathered with some of our cousins and aunt Patsy to peel and scrape the seeds out of the cucumbers. Our 95-year old cousin Phyllis had made the pickles many times with Granny and was on hand to help out and provide guidance. Most of us had made the pickles with Granny at least once. The following day we cut up the cucumbers, packed them in jars with spices, and completed the pickling process. During the pickling day every time someone went outside and came back into the house they would say, "It smells just like Granny's house!"  It's great that some smells can bring back such wonderful memories.

Peeling the cucumbers


Drying off the cucumbers

Nancy was a pickling fool that day and in addition to the Danish pickles, we made dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, and pickled okra with her. Those recipes I will share in future blog posts.

After we were done pickling, Cousin Phyllis said that she was always told, "We make the pickles now and they will be ready to eat at Christmas time."  So now we wait for at least six weeks to try the pickles and see how close they are to Granny's.


I'm waiting . . . . albeit impatiently, but I'm waiting . . . . .

The Danish pickle pickling syrup being added to the jars stuffed with pickling spice and the prepared cucumbers

Danish Pickles (Asier)

8 pint canning jars, rings, and lids

4 very large cucumbers, 10 to 12 inches long

2 to 3 tablespoons noniodized salt

2 cups distilled white vinegar

16 sprigs fresh dill

Pickling syrup (makes 1 1/2 quarts)

3 cups distilled white vinegar

3 cups sugar

2 teaspoons pickling spice

Day 1:  Peel the cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Place the cukes in a nonreactive pot, salt heavily, and let them sit overnight.

Day 2: Sterilize the canning jars and lids. Wipe the cukes dry and cut into 1-inch slices. In a nonreactive pot, bring the vinegar to a boil. Slowly pour the boiling vinegar over the cucumbers. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

To make the pickling syrup, combine the vinegar, sugar, and pickling spices in a large, nonreactive pot and bring to a boil. Place the cucumbers in the boiling syrup. As soon as the boiling resumes, remove the cucumbers. Place a couple sprigs of fresh dill in each jar, fill the jars halfway with syrup, and pack the jars with the cucumbers. Top off each jar with the remaining syrup, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Seal the jars with the lids. Place the jars in a hot-water bath, cover, bring to a boil, and process for 5 minutes. Remove the jars and allow them to cool. Make sure all the lids have sealed. Store for 6 to 8 weeks in a cool, dark place before serving.

Still waiting . . .


Disney's Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue Cole Slaw

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on June 7, 2012 at 10:30 AM


The Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue at Disneyland; an outdoor, sit down and be served, all you can eat family style restaurant

Every November my family and I go to Disneyland and California Adventure. We usually head down to Anaheim the first or second Thursday of November when the kids are out of school for a teacher workday or Veteran's Day holiday. November has worked out well for us for a few reasons: cooler weather, the park is not too crowded, Christmas holiday specials are filmed during this time so we sometimes see stars performing, and the park is decorated for Christmas.

Cinderella's castle decorated for Christmas


Disneyland's Main Street decorated for Christmas

New Orleans Square

We especially like the Haunted Mansion at this time of the year because it is decorated in a Nightmare Before Christmas theme and it is a lot of fun to experience. One of my favorite parts on the ride is when we pass by a holiday party with a decorated Christmas tree and a festive table set for the party. Transparent ghosts dance around the room and you can smell gingerbread as you pass through the area. My youngest daughter had only seen the Haunted House decorated in this fashion until she went to Disneyland with a school group during the month of May a few years ago. She was disappointed by how drab it was in comparison to how it looks in November.

The Haunted Mansion decorated in the Nightmare before Christmas decor

We have encountered rain a few times, but rain usually means no crowds and shorter lines, so we almost welcome it. However, a lesson we learned several years ago is to bring a few pairs of shoes. If your shoes get wet, they are not going to be dry by the next day and a new pair of shoes at the park will cost you about the same price as a ticket into the park.


We usually park hop and eat most of our meals in California Adventure (besides good food you can also get craft beer, wine, and margaritas there), however, there are a couple of food stops that we make in Disneyland. Bacon wrapped asparagus is served at the Bengal Barbecue across from the Indiana Jones ride. Good stuff.  The other "must get once during our visit to Disneyland" is the Dole pineapple whip sold at the Tiki Room. More good stuff.


Two favorite foods at Disneyland:  bacon wrapped asparagus and pineapple whip

Last November we discovered the Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue in Disneyland. I'm sure plenty of people had discovered it before us. It just had never caught our attention before. It is an outdoor, sit down and be served, all you can eat family style restaurant. Barbecued chicken and ribs, cole slaw, beans, and corn bread are served by some young folks in hokey western garb (but we liked the food anyway).  After hours of walking and standing in line, sitting down and being served is a welcomed relief. Reservations can be made in advance. If you go to Disneyland during peak season, you might want to make your reservations early in the day or before arrival. Click here to find out more about making advance reservations.

I had the recipe for the Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue cole slaw and had been making it long before I ate there. I like the recipe a lot--it's is not mayonnaisey and has a bit of a zip. I have provided the recipe for you below.

Guests at the Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue sit at tables under canopies

Barbecued ribs and chicken (left), corn bread (right)

Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue cole slaw

Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue Cole Slaw

Serves 6 to 8

1/2 cup white-wine vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1 pound shredded green cabbage (about 1/2 large cabbage)

1 pound shredded purple cabbage (about 1/2 large cabbage)

2 carrots, shredded

1.  Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, celery seed, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne in a blender; blend on low speed until sugar is dissolved.

2.  With blender running, slowly pour oil through top of lid, processing until dressing is combined. Set aside.

3.  Combine shredded cabbage and shredded carrots in a separate large bowl. Add dressing, tossing to combine. Refrigerate for 2 hours, tossing occasionally before serving.


Reporting from the happiest place on earth,


Nonni's Ravioli

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on March 31, 2012 at 8:35 AM

Our friend Bruce Burton loves to cook for and with people, foods from scratch, that take hours and hours, such as ravioli, tamales (that's the next blog!), and the like.

Our Executive Chef

We had tasted his ravioli before, including butternut squash ravioli that just melted in your mouth, but we never had the opportunity to cook with Bruce. We finally found the time to “whip up” his Nonni’s (from Italy) ravioli. We passed out the ingredient list to friends, set aside a Saturday afternoon in the party barn, and got to work. We were making the dough, the filling, and the sauce. In hindsight, next time we may make the sauce, or filling, or both, the day before, as this was an all day process with multiple hands at work!

We really started from scratch by grinding our own meat. We had a couple of pork butts and a chuck roast that we sliced into strips and ran through the grinder.

The Meat Grinder

We didn’t follow the recipes to the tee (as usual!). We didn’t have chicken, so we doubled the pork, and for the sauce, we didn’t have canned tomatoes, we only used tomato sauce. Then the chopping began--lotsa chopping--and it had to be diced fine to fit into those delicate little pillows! Bruce’s Sous Chef, Joan (his wife!), was the chop master, with oysters, half a dozen fresh herbs, spinach, Swiss chard, onions, and, of course, lotsa garlic!

Our Sous Chef hard at work

We put our Italian friend Kristin (maiden name: Amicucci!) to work on the garlic.

The Italian Garlic Princess - Ms. Amicucci

Some of the same ingredients were used in the filling and the gravy (which we American’s would call sauce), we were working on those simultaneously. We needed to get the gravy on early so it could stew for about 3 to 4 hours. It was really amazing how much was happening on the party barn ping-pong table, multiple stations along the progress of our ravioli adventure.

Nonni's Gravy

Once we had the filling all chopped and mixed, and the gravy back in my kitchen on a slow simmer (the hot plates in the barn couldn’t cut the mustard), we got to work on the ravioli dough. Just like Mario Battali, Bruce started the dough with a pile of flour, made a well, dropped in the eggs, oil and salt and got to kneading.


Nonni's Dough

Three batches later, we were ready to starting rolling out the dough in the machine.

Once it was just about see-through, very thin, but not so thin it would tear, we placed it over the floured ravioli pan, made little divots, spooned a small amount of filling into the hole, watered the edges, and placed another layer of dough on top.

Then we used a small rolling pin to roll all the edges,

flipped the pan over onto a corn floured baking sheet, and got on to the next batch.

The final step was boiling the ravioli in a large pot of salted water. You dump the ravioli in and when they float, mission accomplished, about 5 to 6 minutes. We poured a bit of sauce on the plate, placed the ravioli on top, and poured more sauce over the top, and dug in.

My first bite was worth all the effort, these little pillows of loveliness melted in your mouth! I don’t remember ever tasting pasta that soft and velvety, I was so overwhelmed with eating that I never did get the “money shot” of the finished product! This picture doesn’t do those ravioli justice.

Nonni's Ravioli

So the next occasion you have multiple hands available, a lot of time, and the ingredients on hand, “whip up” some ravioli, it’s well worth the time and effort, and for those of you without an Italian Nonni like me, now you have a recipe!

Mangia! Nancy



1 – 28 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes

1 – 15 ounce can tomato sauce

½ small can tomato paste

1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tsp. red pepper

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. dried thyme

pepper to taste

Blend plum tomatoes in cuisinart. Put in a 6-quart pot with remaining ingredients.

In cuisinart chop:

½ bunch parsley

10 large fresh mushrooms

½ cup dried mushrooms (soaked in water, squeezed and chopped, use strained liquid)

Add ingredients to the pot.


1 pound ground beef

Chop in cuisinart to a fine texture and add to pot.

1 leg and 1 thigh of chicken

2½ cups water

1 pound boneless chuck roast

Cut big slices through the chuck but leave in one piece. Brown the chuck and chicken pieces. Cook with 2 ½ cups of water to make broth. Strain out the meat and chicken bones, add broth to the sauce and cook for 3 or more hours.


NONNI’S RAVIOLI FILLING (1/4 batch, 5 ounces = 1 dozen ravioli)

¼ pound sirloin

½ pound pork butt

¾ pound chicken (we didn’t use chicken, but more pork)

½ jar fresh oysters, chopped

¼ cube butter

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 bunch green onions, finely chopped

¼ cup celery, finely chopped

1 tbsp. Thyme and rosemary, finely chopped

½ bunch parsley, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

½ cup spinach, finely chopped and cooked

1 cup Swiss chard, finely chopped and cooked

6 eggs

3 tbsp. olive oil

8 ounces ricotta cheese

¾ cup Parmesan cheese

¼ cup breadcrumbs

Grind the beef, pork and chicken. Fry celery and onions in butter and olive oil. Fry the pork, then beef and chicken. Mix with the remaining ingredients to stuff the ravioli.



1¼ pounds of flour

3 eggs

2 tbsp. Oil

¼ tsp. Salt

Hot water if needed, use oil in hot weather

Make a well in the mound of flour. Place the eggs, oil and salt in the middle of the flour. Mix together, kneed, put in bowl, cover and let rest for 1 hour or so. Roll out, add filling, top with dough, cut into raviolis.


Posted by holmfamilycookbook on March 1, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Our friends the Blume’s hale from NOLA (New Orleans Louisiana), and boy do they know how to cook! We recently put our heads together during crab season, and decided it was time for a good ol’ fashioned crab boil. In the Blume's old neighborhood, blue crabs are king, in our ‘hood, it’s Dungeness all the way. So we met somewhere in the middle (that somewhere would be 99 Ranch Market in Pleasanton, this place is amazing!), and went a little overboard on the seafood.

Live Dungeness at 99 Ranch Market

We wanted everyone to feel at home, so we got a bit of everything…Dungeness AND Blue crab (we found them both live!), jumbo gulf shrimp, a pair o’ still kickin' lobster, crawdads (not so live), and of course, some okra. It was a shopping event to remember and we hadn’t even started cooking yet.



Crustacean Alert! Blue & Dungeness Crab, Crawdads, Lobster & Shrimp

For the crab boil, we threw everything in a huge pot o’ boilin’ water: corn on the cob, red potatoes, onion, lemon, garlic, artichoke, salt and pepper, and of course, a bag or two of Zatarain’s Crab Boil.

It's a crab boil with all the fixin's!

Oops, don’t forget the crab.


Fresh off the California Coast - Dungeness Crab

We made an awful mess of their kitchen, but well worth it. We decided for next season, it would be necessary to get a big gas burner for out of doors and really do things right. It was a bit too cold to rollout the newspaper on tables outdoors for the gang to crack and eat at the same time, so a few of the fellas did the crustacean crackin’ outside, and brought it ready to eat inside..

You may have read about my foray into okra last summer, the only kind of okra we didn’t cook was fried. Well, we took care of that! The fried okra was absolutely delicious, and really easy, again, thanks to Zatarain’s seasoned Fish-Fri, Crispy Southern. We had every burner going on the stove, so we brough in the electric frying pan to get the job done.


Crispy fried okra

Just toss the sliced okra rings in the Fish-Fri and into the hot oil, voilà! Delicious crunchy little morsels that melt in your mouth, and to dispel the myth to those in California that don’t eat okra, it wasn't slimy at all!

The only thing we didn’t need Zatarain’s for was the dirty rice, our Southern friends whipped up a batch from scratch, with a dash of Tony Chachere’s! (I cheat at home and do use Zatarain’s Dirty Rice in a box, I'm from California after all.)


We really didn’t use any recipes for this meal, just threw it all together. I couldn't write fast enough as Deana was making her dirty rice, there were too many pots and pans boilin', I'll get that recipe next time! We served the crustaceans with pounds of melted garlic butter, spicy cocktail sauce and my family's thousand island crab dressing. This was definitely a meal to remember, and to repeat!

Laissez le Bon temp rouler…in California!


Clam Dip -- Still Tasty After All These Years

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 20, 2011 at 11:25 PM

For nearly 50 years clam dip has been served at my parent's parties and family events

When I was a kid in the 1960's my parents belonged to two dinner clubs. Each month the members of the clubs would take a turn hosting a dinner party at their house. When it was my mother's turn to host "club" it was quite a production getting the house ready. I can remember using the electric floor polisher to polish the hardwood floors in the living room. The polisher was taller than I was. It had two rotating felt pads on the bottom and a long pole with handles to hold to control the polisher.  There was an electrical cord attached to the top portion of the pole and the other end would be plugged into the wall. I can remember polishing the floors a few times with no parental supervision. At least twice I lost control of the polisher (I think I may have lost control when I tried to ride it). It spun wildly around and around, the cord wound around me and the polisher. I don't remember how the polisher was stopped. Apparently I did not get hurt, but I have to wonder why as a small child I was operating it in the first place.

An Electrolux floor polisher just like the one I used to polish the living room floor

Another big job that needed to be done for the dinner parties was polishing the silver. My mother had a set of Wallace Grand Baroque sterling silver flatware that would always be tarnished when it was time to entertain. We would use silver polish and cloth diapers to polish the silver. The silver polish would always get into the ornate handles and it would take some work to get it out. While this job was tedious, it was much safer than polishing the hardwood floor.

Wallace Grand Baroque sterling silver flatware

Prior to the guests arriving, ashtrays would be set out around the house and a silver cup with cigarettes in it would be placed on the coffee table in the living room so the guests could help themselves to a cigarette. I really can't remember what my mother would serve for dinner for "club," but I do remember that a lot of highballs were served along with clam dip and ridged dip chips before dinner was served.

A cup like this would be filled with cigarettes for the guests

Highballs made of whiskey and carbonated water were served

While the highballs aren't flowing nowadays like they used to in the 60's and you won't find cigarettes at my parent's parties or our family events, clam dip is still being served. On Christmas Eve our cousin Lori usually makes clam dip for us to eat while we wait for Santa to arrive and sometimes two family members bring it to our Fourth of July family reunion. The clam dip is almost always served with ridged dip chips and is gone before you know it. Below is Lori's recipe from our cookbook.

Clam Dip


1 6-ounce can of minced clams

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped green onion

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Dash of Tabasco


Drain the minced clams, reserving some of the clam juice in case it is needed later. In a medium bowl combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, green onion, lemon juice, garlic salt, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. Add the clams and mix thoroughly. If the dip is too thick, add some of the clam juice and stir well. Serve with chips or crackers.


So I have a confession to make. In the morning after "club," I would take sips of the highballs that were still on the coffee table and end tables. The highballs with the cigarette butts floating in them really didn't taste that great.


For a Fun Time, Boo Your Neighbors or Coworkers!

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on October 8, 2011 at 10:15 PM

A "BOO!" bag

Several years ago I was in the kitchen fixing dinner and the doorbell rang. It was still light outside and the kids and I went to the front door and opened it. No one was there. We looked up and down the street, but did not see a soul. However, sitting on the doormat was a black bag and attached to it was a piece of paper with a ghost and the word "Boo!" printed on it. We opened the bag and inside there was a piece of paper that said:

The air is cool, the season fall,

Soon Halloween will come to all.

The spooks are after things to do . . . . .

In fact, a spook brought this to you.

"Boo" is a shield from the witching hour,

Just hang it up and watch its power.

On your front door is where it works,

It wards off spooks and scary jerks.

The treats that came with this crypted note,

Are yours to keep--enjoy them both.

The power comes when neighbors like you,

Will copy this and make it two.

Just a short day to work your spell,

Or a big zap will strike your tail.

And don't forget a nifty treat,

Like something cute and something sweet.

Please join the fun, let's really hear it,

And spread some treats and Halloween spirit!

The bag was also filled with candy, some wax teeth, and temporary Halloween tattoos. We followed the cryptic note's instructions and put the picture of the ghost on our front door, made two bags filled with Halloween treats and surprises, and copied the picture of the ghost and the cryptic note. We left the bags on two unsuspecting neighbor's doorsteps and rang the bell and ran. Days later, nearly every house in the neighborhood had a ghost on the front door or window.

We lived in a newly developed area and the following year we had lots of new houses and neighbors in the neighborhood, so as soon as October rolled around we booed some of the new neighbors. We've never figured out how the first person that booed us was out of sight so quickly in the daylight. My daughters would wait until dark, always dress in black, and had a plan of where to hide after running from a house they had just booed so they would not be seen.

Some of the things that we've put in the boo bags over the years have been candies (usually well wrapped so that people don't think this is a plot to poison them), Halloween decorations, glow necklaces for the kids to wear trick or treating, pumpkin candle holders, Halloween tea towels, pumpkin carving kits, pumpkins with the names of each child painted on them, and a bottle of wine for mom and dad (wouldn't want them to miss out on the fun!).  I've also used plastic buckets and plastic pumpkins instead of bags.

For years it's been our tradition to boo the neighbors and then every night until Halloween we would walk around the neighborhood to see how far and quickly the boo's spread. This year sadly for me, my oldest daughter is away at college and the younger one isn't thrilled with the thought of going without her. So, I decided to boo my workplace. The people that I work with like to have fun, so I'm hoping that they will all have a great time with it.

On Thursday I made my two boo bags and left them in front of a couple of coworker's doors before they got to work. One of the coworkers promptly put up the decorations that were in the bag and posted the ghost. I saw the other one take his bag home, I assume to show his small children.

The items for an office Boo! included pumpkin pie flavored candy corn, pumpkin carving kit, candies, flashing spider, candies, and window stick-ons

The bags stuffed and ready to Boo!

This year I found a great website that has a poem and a picture of a ghost. The website also includes a poem and ghost that can be used for the office. Downloading the poem from this website is perfect, because you don't have to find a copier to make copies of the ghost and poem--you can just download and print! The poem also mentions the website so that the people that get booed can download and print too or find out more about what just happended to them. There are also links to other blogs and stories about booing. Here is the website: http://www.beenbooed.com/

On Monday I leave for a couple of business trips, so I will be gone for two weeks. I'm looking forward to seeing how far the boos have gone when I get back!

NOTE:  Booing is not recommended for all neighborhoods, especially if you are dressed all in black and running from someone's house in the dark. Please use caution.


Fish, Fish, Fishin'

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on September 7, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Over Labor Day weekend we headed out for the annual Mueller family camping trip on the Tuolumne River and Turlock Lake in Stanislaus County. This was a banner year with over 30 campers and boaters, ages 2 to 79.

The Tuolumne River in Stanislaus County

A fleet of boats are towed along, one of which is a bass boat, so there’s usually some fishin' going on. In the past, we haven’t cooked fish that often, the river is catch and release for trout, and nobody has ever been too excited about cleaning and cooking those critters at the end of the day. This year we took things a little more seriously, and I came prepared with my “tool box” for camp cooking.

I visited Green Leaf BBQ, our local specialty BBQ shop ahead of time to look into buying a 16-18” cast iron frying pan, after seeing the behemoth in use on our last camping trip. I left the store without the frying pan (it’s a specialty order) but came out with “The Brothers” Tangy Original BBQ Sauce and “John Henry’s” Wild Cherry Chipotle dry rub, upon recommendation from the owner. I was also packing a salt, pepper and garlic house spice mix that I had picked up at the Lockeford Sausage Company.

The river was flowing fast and furious into the lake and along the campsite, and fishing was good. The Mueller and Miller boys brought in a full stringer of rainbow trout, the assembly line of fish cleaning got rollin’ and the BBQ was sparked. I brought along an arsenal of ideas…


Nephew Matt and the Sangervasi cousins with the "catch of the day"!

I started by sprinkling every fish, inside and out, with the salt and pepper mix, and we tried the trout four ways:

1) I soaked two of the fish in buttermilk that I had brought up for pancakes, then dipped the fish in some flour and spice mix and fried it up on the camp stove the good old fashioned way. It came out crispy and delicious - heads began to turn.

2) We threw one trout directly on the grill, about 5 minutes on one side, flipped it, poured on “The Brothers” sauce inside and out, flipped it again after 5 minutes, brushed the other side with the sauce, cooked a few more minutes and served. At this point we won over another 3 nay-saying fish haters!

3) I laid a pair of fish individually on heavy duty tin foil, rubbed olive oil inside and out and sprinkled with a little more spice mix, stuffed the fish with sliced red bell pepper, garlic and shallots, laid a bit of the veg mix alongside the fish, wrapped them loosely and threw them on the grill, about 10 - 12 minutes each side. Now we were cooking! Another success, and another couple of skeptics were brought to the other side.

4) We rubbed the last fish with olive oil and heavily sprinkled it with John Henry’s Wild Cherry Chipotle dry rub inside and out, threw it on the grill, 5 minutes each side, and boy oh boy, this was the winner in my eyes, it was absolutely delicious! One of the 11 year-olds came over from the darkside at this point, we had the whole team eatin’ fish, and actually enjoying it.

At this point we were wondering if “fish” had another name, maybe kids would be more tolerant, and move beyond the average fish stick! Mission accomplished, my fly-fishin’ dad would be proud!

~ Nancy Calhoun Mueller

The Birthday Party at Hebgen Lake

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on July 30, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Grilled marinated tri-tip

My family and I just spent an amazing week with our cousin Becky Foster and her family at Hebgen Lake in West Yellowstone, Montana. Becky's parents have owned a beautiful log cabin that overlooks Hebgen Lake for many years. The first day we arrived was Kelsie Foster's 17th birthday. A few of the neighbors from the surrounding cabins were invited to the cabin for Kelsie's birthday dinner.  One of the neighbors brought some great sauteed green beans, another family supplied fireworks, and we provided Livermore Valley wine (a Cuda Ridge cabernet). Becky had been marinating some beef tri-tips from California for a couple of days, which her husband Harold grilled to perfection. She also made some outstanding mashed potatoes, pasta salad, and green salad.  While waiting for dinner, our daughter Laina gave the other teens henna tattoos.

Hebgen Lake near West Yellowstone, Montana

One of the henna tattoos

The teens amusing themselves before dinner

During dinner there were lively conversations and lots of laughs. We enjoyed a delicious cake from a bakery in West Yellowstone and after dinner we were treated to an incredible fireworks display that was provided by the neighbors from Kansas. What a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday!  Below is the marinade recipe that Becky used to marinade the tri-tips. It is a recipe that Becky had provided for our cookbook. I often use the recipe at home and really enjoy it. I hope you will too. 

The birthday cake

Meat and Game Marinade - Makes about 1 1/4 cups

We used to have this growing up when dad would go deer hunting. It was so good with fresh venison. About 2 pounds would be cut into 2-inch cubes, coated well with the marinade and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. It is much better if you can let it marinate overnight. You can also marinate a whole flank steak or tri tip and then barbecue it. Be sure to slice it on the diagonal. Also try dredging cubes of marinated meat in flour and frying them in oil, turning once, until cooked. -Becky Calhoun Foster


3/4 cup salad oil

2 tablespoons vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

3 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)


In a nonreactive pot or bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, honey, garlic powder, and garlic. Place the meat to be marinated in a glass pan or gallon sized freezer bag and cover with marinade. Let meat sit in marinade for at least 6 hours. Turn meat occasionally during marinating to ensure all sides are marinated. 

~merry carter~

July 17th is National Ice Cream Day - Get Ready!

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on July 13, 2011 at 8:46 AM

In preparation for National Ice Cream Day on July 17th, we wanted to share our Granny’s famous ice cream recipe. Our cousin Lori and her family came out from Texas this 4th of July and she whipped up a batch of the strawberry ice cream for the family reunion on the Circle H Ranch.

A good time was had by all, and the ice cream was quickly inhaled.

Taking a dip in the cement pond - holding water since 1938!

Granny saved ice cream making for special summer occasions—such as birthdays, Father’s Day, or the Fourth of July.


Before she got an electric ice cream maker, the cousins would all get to take turns turning the crank on the old ice cream machine. I can remember all the cousins fighting over who would get to lick the dasher from inside the ice cream machine.


The famous ice cream dasher

Here are my favorites from Granny’s ice cream recipes.

Granny’s Strawberry Ice Cream

6 pints ripe strawberries, cleaned and hulled

2 pints heavy whipping cream

1 pint half-and-half

3/4 cup sugar

11/2 teaspoons vanilla

In a food processor or blender, process 5 pints of the berries until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the fruit with the cream, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Mash the remaining pint of strawberries with a potato masher and stir into the cream mixture. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Makes 5 quarts.

Granny’s Peach Ice Cream

8 ripe medium-size peaches

2 pints heavy whipping cream

1 pint half-and-half

3/4 cup sugar

4 tablespoons amaretto

Drop the peaches into a large pot of boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and cool. Slip the skins off of the peaches, cut in half, and remove the pits. Process 6 of the peaches in a food processor or blender until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the fruit with the cream, half-and-half, sugar, and amaretto and mix well. Cut the remaining 2 peaches into 1/4-inch dice; stir them into the cream mixture. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Makes 4 quarts.

~ Lori Neely South

A Reason to Celebrate...National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on May 15, 2011 at 8:57 AM

You may not realize this, but today is National Chocolate Chip Day, who would have known?!

An entire day set aside for America’s favorite cookie. No one has been able to discover any congressional records or presidential proclamations for the occassion, but the chocolate chip cookie is certainly deserving of the accolades.The marvelous, melt-in-your-mouth treats haven’t been around all that long. According to wikipedia.com the stories goes like this...

The chocolate chip cookie was accidentally developed by Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1930. She owned the Toll House Inn, in Whitman, Massachusetts, a very popular restaurant that featured home cooking in the 1930s. The restaurant's popularity was not just due to its home-cooked style meals; her policy was to give diners a whole extra helping of their entrées to take home with them and a serving of her homemade cookies for dessert. Her cookbook, Toll House Tried and True Recipes,

was published in 1936 by M. Barrows & Company, New York. It included the recipe "Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie", which rapidly became a favorite to be baked in American homes (that included the Holm family, this is by far our mother's FAVORITE cookie of all times, she was 7 at the time of publication, no wonder!).

When googling “chocolate chip cookie recipe” you discover 1,300,000 pages dedicated to the chocolate treasure, that’s a lot o’ chocolate chips!! Some of the mainstays that popped up were Betty Crocker’s “Ultimate” Chocolate Chip Cookie, Sunset Magazine’s “Perfect” Chocolate Chip Cookie, Hershey’s also had the “perfect” cookie (how's a woman to choose??). Of course Martha Stewart has a recipe, “soft and chewy” as she brings up the age old question, “thin and crispy or soft and chewy?” Land O’ Lakes Butter touts a gluten free recipe, and just to cover our bases, and there is no shortage of vegan chocolate chip cookie recipes, 344,000 vegan chocolate chip recipes can be found on google, and supervegan.com had “The best vegan chocolate chip cookie ever. Serious." And then we really need to remember the source, Nestle Toll House, the original recipe. But when it comes right down to it, we stick with our Granny’s recipe, found in The Holm Family Cookbook!!

Granny’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ione Teeter Holm

Makes 4 dozen cookies

1 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco), plus more to oil the pans

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup firmly-packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

21/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 (12-ounce) package chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375˚F and oil (or spray) several cookie sheets. In a bowl, cream together the shortening and both sugars. Add the eggs, water, and vanilla and mix until well blended. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed shortening mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the nuts and chocolate chips and mix again. Drop spoonfuls of the dough onto a cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until light brown.

Happy Baking!! Nancy

Portuguese Family Reunion - Broche!

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on May 8, 2011 at 2:55 PM

The paternal side of our family hales from the Portuguese island of Faial in the Azores, and put down roots in the San Francisco Bay Area and Livermore Valley at least 5 generations ago.

Our dad, Wayne Calhoun, and his brother Ken. They grew up fishing on the Alameda Creek in Niles, and the Arroyo Mocho at the Calhoun Ranch on Mines Road in Livermore

Our grandmother died before any of the grandkids were born, and our dad and uncle didn’t pick up many Portuguese traditions other than linguica, so we have been researching and trying out new Portuguese recipes for the last few years.

Ruth Calhoun Brown, our 99 year old family matriach, with nieces Sylvia & Noel

After spending 10 years researching, testing, and publishing our Danish family cookbook, we were in need of a change! Our cousins all bring old and new recipes to our Calhoun family reunion, some Portuguese, some not.

This year I wanted to try a few vegetarian recipes out, along with a huge pot of pinto beans and linguica, all four burners were goin’! I had purchased a couple of Portuguese cookbooks a few years back, and this year found all the recipes in Portuguese CookingThe Traditional Cuisine of Portugal by Carol Robertson. I made a Piri-Piri sauce in advance, Fragrant Rice, Peas Algarve Style (without the linguica), and everybody’s favorite, Tomato Acorda.

Portuguese Tomato Acorda (Tomato Soup) with Piri-Piri

Acorda is a rustic Portuguese soup that includes a piece of crusty bread at the bottom of the bowl. It turned out to be an unseasonably cool afternoon, so the soup really hit the spot! It’s a very simple and healthy recipe; you probably have the ingredients in your cupboard. I am definitely not a scientific cook, not always measuring, and I’m always adjusting recipes, especially if I don’t have an ingredient or two. For the acorda, I used less olive oil, and a lot more garlic than the recipe called for, so this is my adjusted version from the cookbook.


Tomato Acorda

Serves 8

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup chopped onions

4-6 cloves minced garlic, to taste

1 28-ounce, and 1 14.5 ounce cans whole tomatoes with their liquid

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried

2 bay leaves

¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

2 32 ounce boxes Vegetable Broth

Sliced whole wheat sourdough bread

4 cloves of garlic, peeled

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and lightly brown the onion and garlic. Add the tomatoes and their liquid, oregano, bay leaves and parsley. Break up the tomatoes (I use a potato masher) and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the vegetable stock and simmer, uncovered, for one hour. Stir occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Before serving, grill (for the best flavor), broil or toast slices of sourdough bread, rub a whole clove of garlic across the rough bread. Place the bread at the bottom of each soup bowl. Spoon soup over the bread. Drizzle with a bit of Piri-Piri sauce if you’re looking for a bit of added heat and flavor!



¼ cup fresh hot chili peppers

2 garlic cloves minced

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup olive oil

Coarsely chop the peppers, discarding the tops. Thoroughly wash hands, knife and cutting board afterwards. Combine peppers, salt, garlic, and oil in a glass bottle. Cover tightly, refrigerate. Use as needed.


Fragrant Rice

The aroma from the rice was incredible during the cooking process! Serves 6

1 ½ onions, chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1 inch of cinnamon stick

4 whole cloves

1 teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic, minced

½ teaspoon ginger powder

2 cups basmati rice (I used brown basmati rice) rinsed once and soaked for 5 minutes in water

3 ¾ cups boiling water

½ teaspoon turmeric

In a deep saucepan, sauté the onions in the butter. Add the cinnamon, cloves, salt, garlic and ginger. Gently fry for 1 minute.

Drain the rice and add it to the spices. Toss to coat with butter.

Measure 3 ¾ cups of boiling water into the rice mix. When it returns to boiling, add the turmeric, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Shut off the heat and leave rice covered for 5 more minutes before serving.


Saúde!   Nancy

Confetti Eggs or Cascarones

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on April 14, 2011 at 1:19 AM

Confetti eggs can make your Easter very eggciting!

Every so often I have some eggs that have really passed their expiration date and instead of throwing them away, I use them to make confetti eggs for Easter. Several years ago someone brought some confetti eggs to a Cinco de Mayo party at my house. I saw how much fun the kids had throwing them and breaking them on each other's heads that I have been making them to liven up Easter ever since.

Throughout the year I clean out the insides of the expired eggs and store them until Easter-time when I bring them out to color them and fill them with confetti. On Easter morning our next-door neighbors have an Easter egg hunt, so I bring a couple of cartons of confetti eggs with me. After the hunt, I hand them out and the kids (and some of the adult kids) have a great time breaking the eggs over each other's heads. Later in the day we have an Easter egg hunt at our family ranch in the Livermore hills and again, the eggs are passed out after the hunt for another egg smashing melee. From what I have read, most people hide the confetti eggs with the hard boiled eggs and candy, but knowing my family as I do, I think the hard boiled eggs would get smashed on heads along with the confetti eggs, so I think it is safest to leave them separate.

The confetti eggs are fairly easy to make and can be very inexpensive if you use eggs that would otherwise get thown away or you can try to preserve the shells while using the eggs for cooking. Instead of buying confetti, you can use the circles left in hole punches or shredded paper from shredders. I have been making my own confetti for several years because I don't like to use mylar confetti and I could not find paper confetti in the stores. This year I found paper confetti at Walmart in the Easter section. The tissue paper used to cover the holes is tissue paper that came in gift bags and boxes.

Confetti Eggs

Supplies needed

Raw eggs, fresh or past expiration date

Knife or other object with a sharp tip


Food coloring or Easter egg color


8" x 11" piece of paper folded in half

Piece of tape

Paper confetti (you can also use the circles from hole punches)

Tissue paper


White glue


Friends and family that would appreciate an egg smashed on their head



Making the Hole in the Eggs: Remove an egg from the carton. Puncture the bottom of the egg and carefully chip away at the shell until you have a hole between the size of a nickle and a quarter.


Cleaning Out the Egg: Puncture the membrane and pour out the contents of the egg.

Wash out the egg.

Coloring the Eggs: You can use this color formula to color the eggs or just use an Easter egg coloring kit. If you use this color formula, follow these directions for each color used. Mix 3/4 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and 6 drops of food color in a glass cup.

Place the empty egg shell in the food color mixture. Leave it in the color formula until it gets to the desired color. Remove the egg shells from the color formula and let them dry. Instead of dyeing the eggs, you can also use Sharpie pens to decorate them.

Filling the eggs with confetti: Fold the 8" x 11" peice of paper in half and roll into a funnel shape. The hole in the bottom should be small enough to fit into the hole in the egg and large enough for the confetti to pass through. Use the piece of tape to keep it in place.


Place the funnel into the hole of the egg and pour the confetti into the funnel to fill the egg.

Cutting the tissue to cover the hole in the egg: Make a fold in a piece of tissue paper that is at least double the size of the hole. Continue to fold the tissue until it is a long strip as seen in the photo above. Cut off one square from the strip and the cut a circle from the square. You should now have several circles.


Covering the hole: Mix water with the white glue. Start out with 1 part water, 1 part glue and adjust as necessary. The glue mixure should be watery enough to easily paint onto the egg and adhesive enough for the tissue paper to adhere to the egg. Place one of the tissue paper circles over the hole and the glue and press down the edges. Glue down any loose edges. Place the finished eggs back in the carton tissue paper side up so that the glue can dry and the eggs do not get stuck in the carton.

The Finished Eggs. Notice the eggs that were decorated with Sharpies instead of being dyed.

Smash the eggs on some unsuspecting person's head!


Aebleskivers - The Danish Pancake

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on February 19, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Many of the families of Danish heritage I know make aebleskivers for special breakfasts. It's very common to find aebleskivers being made on Christmas morning at the homes of these families. The Rasmussen family of Pleasanton would host a large New Year's Eve party every year and start making aebleskivers for the revelers after midnight. At my house it's aebleskivers with a side of linguisa on Christmas morning to keep up with our Portuguese and Danish heritage traditions.

Aebleskivers - The Danish Pancake

Most of these families of Danish descent have cast iron aebleskiver pans that have been passed down the generations and I wouldn't be surprised if there are families that have been divided from fights over grandma's cast iron aebleskiver pan. I bought my pan at William-Sonoma and it works just fine for me.

A couple of weekends ago I made aebleskivers for breakfast for my daughter Whitney and her friend that had spent the night. Her friend is a swimmer and always has a voracious appetite. I couldn't make the aebleskivers fast enough to keep up with the demand. They loved the aebleskivers I filled with Nutella. My daughter Laina grabbed  a few aebleskivers on her way out to a school event and my husband ate a few. By the time I was done cooking and cleaned up the mess, they were all gone and I didn't get one!

Left: Aebleskivers almost ready to turn. Right: Aebleskivers turned.

Below is the aebleskiver recipe that's in our cookbook and was submitted by our cousin Carol Jorgensen Miller.


This recipe was given to me by my dad, Stanley Jorgensen, who always made aebleskivers at Christmastime. Now we make them for our grandchildren on Christmas morning because they were one of our children's favorites. Aebleskivers are cooked over medium heat on the stove in a special Aebleskiver pan.

Carol Jorgensen Miller


3 eggs, separated

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

Butter for oiling the pan

Applesauce, nuts, jam, raisins or other fillings

Maple syrup, jam or powdered sugar


Beat the egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl. Add the sugar, salt, and buttermilk and mix

well. Sift together the flour, soda, and baking powder and combine them with the egg mixture. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold them into the egg flour mixture.

Heat the aebleskiver pan over medium heat and butter it, being careful not to burn yourself. The batter will sizzle when added. Fill each hole of the pan 2/3 full. Cook until bubbling, then add a tablespoon of applesauce or other fillings on top of each one.

Turn the aebleskivers with a fork or small knitting needle and cook the other side until

medium brown. Serve with butter and maple syrup or jam, or generously sprinkle with

powdered sugar.

Merry's note: When I make Aebleskivers and fill them, I fill the holes less than 2/3 full. I drop the filling in the middle and cover the filling with a little batter.  Since I don't knit or crochet, I use a shisk kabob skewer to turn mine.

Danish Proverb:

"Kryds ikke vejen når du ikke kan finde ud af køkkenet"

Translation: "Don't cross the road when you can't find your way out of the kitchen."

Not sure what it means, but I reckon there's alcohol involved. Those Danes love their schnapps.


Did someone say cookie?

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 19, 2010 at 10:32 AM

I'm worried, is this enough dessert???

Our family has never been shy when it comes to dessert - as the 1960's table above paints quite a picture! As we were gathering recipes for the cookbook, we realized we had as many dessert recipes as all the other sections combined. Some of the mainstays from the table pictured above include Sophie's Danish Cookies, Gingerbread Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cowboy Cookies, Oatmeal Crisps, Russian Tea Cakes, Rosettes, and Spritz (I think our all time favorite) pictured below with the recipe. All of these recipes, and many, many more our found in The Holm Family Cookbook.



Spritz Cookies


Granny carried on the Danish tradition of celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve by inviting friends and relatives for lunch. She served traditional foods such as her famous Danish pickles,open-face sandwiches, and spritzkage or butter cookies. This is her recipe. She used a cookie press (we still use her's, shown in the picture below), which is needed for these cookies. In the evening, the Holm children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren opened presents and sang discordant carols. Ione’s granddaughters have carried on her tradition of making spritz cookies at Christmastime. In true Holm fashion, they make a party out of it. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

 - Ione Teeter Holm


21/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

3/4 cup sugar

Dash salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract


Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Sift together the flour and baking powder. In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well mixed. Add the dry ingredients, a little at a time. Put the dough in a cookie press using the 1/8-inch ridged cookie design disk and press the dough out onto cool, unbuttered cookie sheets.



Bake until set but not brown, 10 to 12 minutes.



Remove from the oven and cut the strips into 3-inch lengths while they are still hot.


The End!

Edible Gifts

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 13, 2010 at 1:04 AM

During the holidays I often make peanut brittle or English toffee to give as gifts. I also make canning jar bread, which is pumpkin or zucchini bread made in wide mouth canning jars and sealed. People really seem to appreciate receiving homemade gifts and for those people that have everything, consumables are usually the best gifts. I have already made six batches of peanut brittle to give as gifts during this holiday season.

Tins filled with peanut brittle and ready to give as gifts

The thought of making candy used to scare me as I mistakenly thought making candy would be a very long, complicated process. I have since discovered that as long as you can follow instructions and read a thermometer, you can make candy. In most cases it is not a long process. The peanut brittle that I make takes less than an hour. The English toffee is a two step process because you have to wait for the toffee to cool before you put the chocolate on it, but in total it too takes less than an hour and the outcome is very impressive.

The recipe that I use for the peanut brittle is from our cookbook. The ingredients are very common and you probably have most of them in your pantry, with the exception of the raw Spanish peanuts. Many grocery stores carry the raw Spanish peanuts during the holiday, but if you can't find them at a grocery store, try a health food store. Here is the recipe with very detailed instructions.

Mimi's Peanut Brittle - Serves 12

Equipment needed:

Candy thermometer

3-quart pot

Silicone or heat resistant spatula--don't use metal utensils or you could burn yourself

Measuring cups and teaspoon

14-inch by 20-inch baking sheet


2 cups sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup hot water

Pinch of salt

2 1/2 cups raw peanuts - Spanish peanuts work well

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

The Peanut Brittle Ingredients


Lightly butter the baking sheet. I don't have 14-inch by 20-inch baking sheet, but I have a 10-inch by 16-inch pan with sides. The sides are important if you don't have the larger cookie sheet--without the sides the hot molten candy will spill onto your counter.

Lightly Buttered Cookie Sheet

Before you start cooking, be sure to measure out the baking soda and vanilla into separate containers. If you have to take the time to measure them out later, the peanut brittle will burn.

In the 3-quart pot, combine the sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and salt. Mix well. Cook over high heat until the mixture reaches 300 degrees F or the hard crack stage. It will take at least 15 minutes from the time the sugar mixture starts to boil until it reaches 300 degrees.

The Boiling Sugar Mixture

Slowly add the raw peanuts to the boiling sugar mixture and stir in the peanuts. Reduce the temperature to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns a soft yellow. Note:  This is the trickiest part of making the peanut brittle. Adding the peanuts to the mixture will reduce the temperature of the sugar mixture. The peanuts will become a cluster that you will need to keep stirring and mixing or the peanuts will burn. It is important to maintain the 300 degree temperature. Keep mixing the peanuts until the peanut cluster loosens up and all of mixture is boiling again. It is easier to stir the peanuts if you don't have the thermometer in the pot at this time, but be sure to make sure the temperature doesn't get too hot or too low.

Once the sugar mixture has turned a soft yellow and the peanuts have become a shade darker, stir in the baking soda and the vanilla, and still well until it is all mixed in. The mixture will boil up to the top of the pot. This is why it is very important to have a 3-quart pot--to prevent the candy from boiling up all over the stove.

The Yellow Peanut Brittle Mixture Boiling Up to the Top of the Pot

Continue to stir well or the bottom will burn. Turn the candy out onto the baking sheet and spread the peanut brittle mixture into a thin sheet. When cool, break it into pieces and store in an air-tight container.

When I give the peanut brittle as gifts, I put the peanut brittle it into quart-size or sandwich-size ziploc bags and put the ziploc bag into decorative tins. One batch of peanut brittle will yield about three 12-ounce quart-size bags or four sandwich size bags.

Peanut Brittle Turned Out onto the Lightly Buttered Cookie Sheet

The Peanut Brittle Broken Up into Bite Sized Pieces


Blessed are those who can give without remembering, and take without forgetting.

 ~ Princess Elizabeth, Asquith Bibesco

'Tis the Season . . . Pheasant Season That Is

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on November 28, 2010 at 8:48 PM

In Northern California, when the chill hits the air, not only is it crab season, it’s pheasant hunting season. When we were young, all the males in the Calhoun family would head out to hunt pheasant in rice fields outside of Yuba City on Thanksgiving weekend, and would usually bring home a boat-load of pheasant. Below is our Uncle Ken and Aunt Vivian Calhoun’s recipe for pheasant.


Calhoun kids with Grandpa Reg

Wild Pheasant


Here is a recipe for preparing wild pheasant. I think three pheasant serve eight people nicely. I have used five pheasant, doubled the recipe, and served sixteen. The recipe also works well with chicken. Be sure to use the broth left in the bottom of the roasting pan to make gravy. A little California wild rice alongside is great, too.


3 pheasant, cleaned and cut into pieces

Olive oil for frying

Flour for dredging

2 cups chopped green onion

2 cups chopped celery

2 cups chopped fresh parsley

1 cup low-salt chicken stock

11/2 cups sauterne or sherry (or any dry, white wine)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika


Preheat the oven to 350˚F.


Flour the pheasant pieces. In a frying pan over medium heat, brown the pieces on both sides. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the green onions, celery, and parsley. When the pheasant pieces are browned, transfer them to a 2- to 3-quart ovenproof casserole with a lid, and evenly cover them with the vegetable mixture.


In a small bowl, combine the chicken stock, sauterne, salt, pepper, and paprika. Pour the mixture over the pheasant. Cover and bake for 2 hours. Check occasionally to make sure the broth does not boil away. If it does, add a little water or wine, or both. Bake until meat is tender and cooked through.


Ken and Wayne Calhoun with a boat-load of ducks

The headline we've been waiting for...Dungeness Crab Season Opens!!

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on November 24, 2010 at 9:07 AM

On the news last week, the long awaited announcement on the Pacific Coast finally came - "a bountiful crab season is open" - woohoo!! Then I received my Chowhound email with a list of Go-To Spots for Dungeness Crab, that included a great list of Bay Area restaurants sporting crab on the menu - from Vietnamese to the classic crab steamed with butter to Chinese Salt & Pepper Crab served at the R & G Lounge in Chinatown. I’ve had the Salt & Pepper Crab on my “to eat” list since I saw it on Anthony Bourdain’s trip to San Francisco on No Reservations a couple of years back.


Below is the family recipe from our cookbook for crab dressing, to serve with freshly steamed crab. I'm getting ready to whip up a batch and get crackin'!


Crab and Dressing for a Crowd

Serves 15 to 20 as an appetizer


Our Uncle Richie would bring ice chests full of fresh crab to Christmas Eve gatherings and would be busy cracking them from lunch until dinner. This is the dressing he served with the crab. The recipe makes about 3 cups of dressing.


2 cups mayonnaise

1 cup ketchup

2 teaspoons Worcestershire

10 to 12 large, cleaned, cooked, and cracked Dungeness crab


In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce, and blend well. Serve the dressing in small bowls along with the crab.


"Is this enough crab??"

- Niece Nancy the Crab Nosher

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