Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Honoring the Past: My Maternal Grandparents


Last October, I did a post paying tribute to my paternal grandparents and their favorite recipes.  Today, I thought I would share a few from my Mom's side of the family.

My Grandma Salazar was pretty much 100% Irish.  But she married someone who was 100% Hispanic (or is the current preferred term "Latino" these days?).  Quite a mix.  My Grandma Salazar was an amazing cook.  She loved to try all sorts of recipes...the trickier and fancier, the better.  She paid tribute to her husband's side of the family through her recipes.

I actually already shared a few of her recipes last September.  You can find those here.  If you go to that link, you will find the best ever recipe for Chicken Cacciatore.

Also, when I say "maternal grandparents," I pretty much only mean my Grandma because to my knowledge, my Grandpa never cooked anything.

So, without further adieu, here are a few more of my Grandma Salazar's most wonderful recipes.

Grandma Salazar's Enchiladas



2 cups chopped cooked meat (she traditionally used beef--such as beef stew meat, but pork, chicken, crab, or even shrimp would work in this dish.  To get the most tender meat, the slow cooker is probably the best way to cook it)
1/2 can minced green chilies
1 cup mashed avocado
1 small can chopped olives
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
Garlic powder, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup salsa


Flour tortillas
Hot oil, for dipping
1 can enchilada sauce


Sliced black olives
Cheese (shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack)
Sour cream
Green olives, if desired
Lettuce, if desired
Diced tomatoes, if desired
Green onions, if desired


Combine meat, chilies, avocado, onion, chopped olives, cheeses, spices, and salsa.

Dip tortillas in hot oil for 1 second.  Dip in enchilada sauce until coated.  Place 1/4-1/2 cup filling on tortilla and roll up.  Place in 9x13" pan.  Brush ends with remaining enchilada sauce

Sprinkle with cheeses and olives.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Top with sour cream and green onions, lettuce, green olives, and diced tomatoes, if desired.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Source: To the best of my knowledge, my Grandma made up this recipe.

Notes: I cheated and used leftover shredded pork that I had made awhile back and frozen.  I also skipped the step where you dip the tortillas in hot oil (I figured I didn't need the extra calories).  As a result, they didn't taste exactly like the enchiladas my Grandma used to make.  But they were still pretty darned tasty!

For the meat, place cubed beef stew meat into a slow cooker with a little water (about 1/2 cup) or beef broth and cook on low heat until tender, about 8 hours.  You may season the meat with a little salt and pepper, if desired.


Grandma Salazar's Homemade Tortillas

Note: Don't double this as it will make the dough too hard to mix.  If a doubled amount is needed, make separate batches at the same time.


3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup lard (not shortening)
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon water


Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Rub in the lard using your fingers.  Rub until it is well blended and it will feel grainy. Add water gradually and mix constantly until dough forms a ball.  Put the dough on a lightly floured board.  Knead until it is elastic and smooth (about 5 minutes).

Dough might be a bit lumpy, but it is okay as long as it is mixed well.

Divide dough into 16 pieces, all the same size. Shape into balls and cover with a damp towel and let rest for 15 minutes.

On floured board, roll out one ball of dough to form a flat round. Roll it from the center out to the edge. Turn the tortilla 1/4 turn each time you roll. Keep rolling until it is thin and about 8" round.

If you get confident, you can pat the tortilla between your hands.

Dust off excess flour and stack between wax paper sheets while you make the remaining tortillas.

Heat a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat. When the pan is ready, a few drops of water will dance off the surface. Cook a tortilla just until brown spots appear on the underside and the tortilla looks cooked and bubbles form (about 30-40 seconds). Press the bubbles down as they form. Flip over the tortilla and cook other side until it looks done.

Cool on wire rack and cover with a dry towel to keep from drying out.

Cook the rest and ENJOY!

Source: I think my Grandma got this recipe from her mother-in-law, but I'm not sure.

Notes: I am also not sure if this recipe was used as the base for the enchiladas above.  But knowing my Grandma's cooking, it probably was.

Grandma Salazar's Pizza

Grandma Salazar's Pizza Dough


1/2 pkg. (1 teaspoon) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 cup warm water
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour (divided in 2 cup increments)
1 teaspoon salt


Soften yeast and set aside (combine yeast and 2 tablespoons water and set aside). Meanwhile, pour 1 cup warm water into a large bowl.  Blend in 2 cups all-purpose flour and salt.

Stir in softened yeast, and add to flour-water mixture, mixing well.

Add about one cup of flour to the yeast-flour mixture and beat until very smooth. Mix in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn mixture onto a lightly flowered surface.  Allow to rest 5-10 minutes. Knead.

Select a deep bowl just large enough to allow the dough to double. Shape dough into a smooth ball and place in greased bowl (drizzled with a little olive oil to coat the bowl). Turn dough to bring greased surface to top. Cover with waxed paper and towel and let stand in warm place (about 80 degrees) until dough is doubled (about 1 1/2-2 hours).

Punch dough down with fist. Fold edge toward center and turn dough over. Divide dough into two equal balls. Grease a second bowl. Place each ball of dough into a greased bowl. Turn greased side up. Cover. Let rise again until almost doubled (about 45 minutes).

Roll each ball of dough into a 14x10-inch rectangle 1/2 inch thick and place each on a prepared baking sheet. Shape edge by pressing dough between thumb and forefinger to make ridge. (For round pizza, roll dough into rounds.)

Note: Lightly flour the baking sheets or pizza pans to prevent the dough from sticking to the pan. You can also sprinkle cornmeal on the baking sheets or pizza pans in place of the flour to achieve the same purpose.

Source: I'm pretty sure that this is from The Culinary Arts Institute's "The Italian Cookbook" published in 1955 where the Chicken Cacciatore recipe came from.

Whew!  Now, it's time for the sauce!

Grandma Salazar's Pizza Sauce


1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3/4 cup chopped onions
3 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
1 1/2-2 cups water
3 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper


Cook garlic cloves and onion in olive oil until browned. Slowly stir in tomato paste, water, salt, and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until thickened.

Pizza Toppings:

Homemade sauce
Shredded mozzarella
Diced bell pepper
Diced tomatoes
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese
Crushed oregano, to taste
Finely sliced pepperoni
Italian sausage

Pizza Cooking Directions:

Bake pizza at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes (until cheese is melted and crust is nicely browned).

Source: I believe my Grandma made up the recipe for her Pizza Sauce, but my Mom will have to verify that.

Notes: I don't have a picture of this one yet.  We made it for New Year's Eve a few years back and it is a great pizza recipe.  I'll have to tackle it all from scratch sometime soon and post the pictures of the finished product.

Grandma Salazar's Rice Stuffing


2 1/2 cups long grain brown rice
7 1/2 cups chicken bouillon (broth or stock)
2 Tbsp. oil
1 cup chopped celery
Chopped giblets
1/2 cup diced onions
1/4 cup dried parsley
2 cups chopped pecans
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. poultry seasoning


Cook rice according to package directions in chicken bouillon/broth/stock. Saute celery, giblets, onions, and parsley in oil.  Mix wirth rice mixture and add pecans, sage, and poultry seasoning. Makes enough to stuff a 20 pound turkey.

Source: I don't know if Grandma made this one up or found this recipe somewhere.

Notes: This isn't your traditional bread stuffing, but my Grandma didn't like to go the traditional route for holiday foods.  Besides, this is really tasty!  I need to add a picture of this one too!

Grandma Salazar's Macaroni Salad


2 Bay leaves
1 Tbsp. salt
2 cups elbow macaroni
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 tsp. grated onion
1/2 cup flaked cooked salmon (fresh or canned)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar
Dash of cayenne
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. MSG
3/4 cup whipping cream


Boil water, bay leaves, and 1 Tbsp. salt. Gradually add elbow macaroni. Boil for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Rinse with running cold water.

Prepare the celery, onion, and salmon and set aside. Once the macaroni is cooled, mix these ingredients with the macaroni.

Blend together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, sugar, cayenne, 1/2 tsp. salt, dry mustard, white pepper, and MSG.

Whip 3/4 cup whipping cream until stiff. Mix the mayonnaise mixture with the cream. Mix together with the macaroni mixture and chill.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Again, as far as I know, my Grandma made this one up.

Notes: These flavors and ingredients seem like such a quirky combination to throw together, but this salad is soooo good.  It's really addicting.  But you have to like salmon to enjoy this salad.  Darn it, this one needs a picture as well!

Crab Dip


2 cups coconut
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp lemon juice (fresh)
1 cup sour cream
2 cups crab (cartilage removed--canned works great)


Mix all ingredients. Chill and serve with crackers or vegetables. Makes 3 cups.

Source: I believe my Grandma found this recipe in the newspaper.  It was in an article about President Kennedy's favorite recipes.

Notes: Again, this sounds like it would be so weird.  But trust me, this dip is FANTASTIC!  One of my holiday guilty pleasures.  I just can't leave this stuff alone.  I think it is particularly tasty on celery sticks.

1 comment:

  1. FYI: The tortillas are from my father's mother, Margaret Salazar. She lived in Lincoln, New Mexico, and ran a ranch into her late 80's or early 90's. She had a cast iron stove that she cooked the tortillas on the top off. They were so good. So I would recommend a cast iron skillet to cook them on.

    The recipe comes by way of Mona, who spent a summer at the ranch with my grandma. By the way, she had only an outhouse on that ranch in the early 60's when I visited her. Don't know if she ever did get indoor plumbing.