Warm meals and memories: DePaul community members share their family recipes

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Shannon Suffoletto, Director of Health Promotion and Wellness

Shannon Suffoletto created a way to bring food and friends together with a staff cookbook. She asked staff members send three recipes and a personal story.

“The story along with the recipe was a way that we would learn about each other and have a great cookbook,” Suffoletto said. She shared a banana bread recipe that her grandmother would make.

“I loved being able to share a recipe that meant so much to me growing up. ” Suffoletto said.“Food is a great way to learn about people and to come together.”

“I made the banana bread recipe, and I am going to try and make the fudge recipe for the holidays,” Suffoletto said. “No, not all the recipes were healthy.”

Banana bread

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup brown suger

2 eggs, beaten

2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into a prepared loaf pan.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center.

Noah Levitin, Sophomore

Hanukkah is a holiday spent with family time and food. For the Levitins, this means get out of Bubbe’s — the term of endearment Levitin uses for his grandma — way so she can prepare her traditional Russian and Polish dishes. Bubbe cooks everything from scratch, which sometimes means cooking two days before the holiday.

“Bubbe is the matriarch of the family. All of her food is premade but from scratch,” Levitin said. “She slaves over the stove, assuming the position of head honcho in the Levitin family.”

Some of Bubbe’s traditional and favorite dishes include kugel, (a noodle dish made of ricotta cheese and raisins) brisket in brandy sauce, latkes, sufganyot (Yiddish for jelly donuts), and her famous matzoh ball soup. Every time Bubbe sees Levitin, holiday or not, she brings this shared mandel bread recipe to Levitin and his family.

Though she will not share her sacred bread recipe, passed down from her mother, she will share her latke recipe.

Latkes

6 potatoes

2 eggs

2 table spoons of flour (uses more than that often)

1 teaspoon of salt

pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1. Wash and peel potatoes.

2. Cut potatoes in quarters.

3. Place cut potatoes in food processor until they are shredded, but not completely decimated.

4. Put the potatoes in a colander to drain the excess water and ensure firmness for the frying process.

5. Add the eggs, flour, salt, pepper, potatoes and baking powder in a bowl.

6. Put ¼ of an inch of oil in a pot and drop the potatoes into pan and fry them.

7. Let them brown on one side and turn them over once to make sure they are not soggy.

8. Serve with apple sauce, sour cream or any other preferable condiment.

Veronica Quintero, Junior

Christmas Day for the Quinteros means a lot of work, at least from the women and children. Cooking begins bright and early and is not ready until midnight.

“The women and children in my family spend all day slaving for tamales, and we wait and wait to eat them until we burst at midnight,” Quintero said.

The Quinteros make two types of tamales: beef and cheese. “The kids eat the cheese because they are kids and of course they are picky,” she said.

Although time-consuming, there is never a dull moment during the cooking. The classic Christmas tunes playing in the background compete with the arguing and playful jokes of the women and children.

“The kids find bugs in the corn husks while washing them and cause shinanigans with one another throwing bugs” Quintero said.

When asked about the men’s role in the festivities Quintero joked about the men being lazy and not taking part in the cooking.

When midnight comes around, a satisfying mix of presents and tamales are opened. This routine is not new for the Quintero.

“It has always been this way: My extended family of 10 or 12 people working on tamales and everyone being happy,” Quintero said.

Tamales

15 dried corn husks

2 large poblano peppers

1 standard recipe of tamale dough

8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Salsa verde, to serve

1. Place 12 husks in a large bowl, cover with hot water, and weigh down with a plate to keep husks submerged. Soak until soft and pliable, about 2 hours; drain. Peel remaining husks into thin strips.

2. Place poblanos directly over open flame and char until blackened on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, steam 10 minutes. Using a paper towel, peel skin from peppers. Remove stems and seeds; coarsely chop.

3. Place a corn husk in your flattened palm. Pinch 1/4 cup dough with other hand and press into center of husk to make a 4-by-3-inch rectangle.

4. Press 1/4 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons chopped poblanos into center of dough. Close palm to seal edges of dough and place on a clean work surface with a long side of husk facing you. Roll husk away from you to form a tight log. Fold stem end of husk over and tie with a strip of corn husk. Twist thin end of tamale and tie with another strip of corn husk. Repeat this process to form remaining tamales.

5. Insert a steamer basket inside a large pot with 1/2 inch boiling water. Place tamales in basket, cover pot, and steam for 1 hour, checking occasionally and adding hot water as needed to prevent scorching.

Sam Schenk, Resident Director of Corcoran and McCabe Halls

Christmas time warms Sam Schenk up not only from her grandma’s traditional homemade quiche, but also from the memories of Christmas at her grandma’s house. Her grandma would host a large Christmas gathering beginning early in the morning.

“(The quiche is) really easy to make, quick, and feeds a lot of people. She could make tons of them.” Schenk said. “It was warm cheesy goodness, kind of comfort-y because of the Bisquick, and combined with the presents was just amazing.”

After her grandma died, it became more difficult to have large family gatherings.

“I asked my mom to continue to make the quiche, and it is something that is a comfort food for me and makes me think of my grandma,” Schenk said. “Whenever I am feeling sad and want to be reminded of home or when I have holiday parties here at DePaul for residential education, the quiche is my go-to dish.”

Quiche

1/2 pound sliced mushroom

2 cups of milk

1 cup of shredded cheese (swiss or cheddar)

4 eggs

1/3 cup of finely chopped onion

1/2 cup Bisquick baking mix

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon thyme (fresh is best)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lightly grease 9- or 10-inch pie plate.

3. Sprinkle mushroom, cheese and onion evenly atop bottom of pie plate

4. Place remaining ingredients in blender, cover and blend on high for 1 minute (or whisk by hand until mixed well).

5. Pour into pie plate.

6. Bake until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean (50 to 55 minutes).

7. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

8. Refrigerate leftovers.