Saturday, September 25, 2010

Palstchinken or Palacinka

Here is the Palstschinken recipe I promised to write for my Grandies . Both my son and daughter know how to make Palstschinken or Palacinka and have added their own distinctive touches to the Austrian Crepes. My daughter has the Palstschinken pan that my parents brought over  from Europe and we used growing up to make our Palstschinken.  The pan shows the wear and tear of being used for over 80 years.

Palacinka or Palstschinken are the Austrian style of crepes  that my mother and I would make together every Sunday during the Winter months. During the summer months Sunday breakfast was Sunday Special served on Thomas's English Muffins. Palstschinken was a two persons operation. My main job was to twirl the wooden spoon between by hands since we didn't have an electric mixer. We only used a wooden spoon for the entire cooking procedure.
 From start to finish the twirling sometimes would take over 60 minutes and I got tired. I didn't complain because these Austrian Palstchinken were the most delicious food I had all week. After we cooked the Palstchinken,   my parents would eat their pancakes in their bedroom reading the Sunday paper and I would read Brenda Starr my favorite comic strip and other books in my bedroom.  It was the most peaceful time in our household usually punctuated by problems of one sort or another.
 Raspberry Jam was carefully spread on each Palstschinken and then sugar was sprinkled on top of the Jam. Finally the thin pancakes were rolled up like a Swiss Roll and cut into 1" slices. I am getting hungry right now.
 This is the basic recipe and directions on how to make the pancakes. You can make them quicker using an electric mixer which I do nowadays and you can substitute margarine for butter but each thing you do different makes the Palachinka taste different.
4 Eggs
1 cup of milk (You can substitute margarine in an emergency.)
1 cup of sugar
1 stick of butter at room temperature
1 cup of sifted flour ( I have been known to use pre-sifted flour)
(We didn't use salt in the house because of my father's high blood pressure, so I grew up not putting salt in my recipe.
 Raspberry Jam (Jelly if the seeds bother you) and sugar
                            Crepe Pan or skillet, various bowls and measuring equipment, wooden spoons ( you can use a mixer ) and the perfect Flipper, ( Thin but capable of supporting a Palachinka - I have been searching for the perfect Flipper all my life.), Paper Napkin

1. Separate the eggs and put the egg whites in one bowl and the egg yolks in another small bowl.
The egg whites will be beaten later.                  I have placed the egg yolks temporarily in the measuring cup.

2. Cream the butter and the sugar using a wooden spoon or fork. This is really the hardest part to get. If the butter gets too warm, the sugar will not mix well and you will see sugar granules.  If this happens, use it anyway,   You can use an electric mixer and there are instructions on the web.
This is the traditional way to cream butter and sugar together. It is also amazingly tiring.
Basically you use room temperature butter. Cut the butter into small pieces. Then you beat it with a wooden spoon until it becomes soft. Next you add the sugar. Keep beating them together (creaming), until it becomes fluffy, similar in texture to whipped cream, but a bit denser.
3. Mix in the egg yolks.

4. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Make sure you get all the liquidity egg whites on the bottom of the bowl and Set Aside. You will put the beaten egg whites in the last step. (Can you imagine doing this using a wooden spoon, I made famous the words: "Are I done yet?")
5. Slowly pour in 1 cup of milk and mix well.
6. After the milk is added, Very Slowly add the flour mixing the entire time. (Can you imagine doing this by twirling the wooden spoon between your hands, - it seemed to take hours. 
6a.  At this point I begin to warm up pan on the stove, eventually you are going to want it at Medium High.
7. Slowly and gently fold in the beaten egg whites.
8. You want your Palstschinken batter to be more liquidity then yogurt and pour easily. Most times you have to add small amount of milk to get the matter thinner and more pourable. You want the Palstschinken to be thin. If your batter is too thin , then the pancakes will not hold together when you try and flip them. Monitor and Adjust your batter pourability.
9.Your pan should be medium high to even higher. Spread the butter on the pan using a napkin. The butter should sizzle but not burn and there should be enough so that the butter leaks out of the edges of the Palstschinken.

10. Pour the batter into the pan and lift up and tilt the pan so the batter spreads almost to the edges of the pan.

11. The Palstschinken will cook very quickly. Bubbles Form. Flip the Palstschinken.
12. When the temperature of the pan is correct, this beautiful irregular lacy pattern forms. Often there is still liquid batter on the top of the Palstschinken when you are flipping it over which you can see in the picture above.

13. Lift the pan off the stove, gently turn the pan over and the Palstschinken will fall on to a waiting plate.

14. When I was little I would spread a thin layer of raspberry jam and sprinkle on some sugar. We would roll them up and cut them in slices or I would sneak and eat the whole pancake like a pressed fruit roll. Over the years we have added blueberries, strawberries, peaches, maple syrup, chocolate pieces, even peanut butter at my Sweet Sixteen Party.

I wonder if Gabba will try them with olives?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nanaparents Day

This is Grandparent's Day at Parkersburg Catholic School which started off with a Mass. The entire side of the gymnasium bleachers were fillled with  grandparents and excited students.

The Handbell Choir played beautifully 3 Hymns: Kyrie, Let There Be Peace on Earth"  - can never say that without finishing up with and "Let it begin with me" and Onward Christian Soldiers
After the Mass several hundred grandparents lined up for the Lunch Brunch from Tim Horton's in the cafeteria. This is nana, gabba and sillie face. 
We missed having our picture taken with the Crusader, their mascot, so we took this picture with the"BF's".

Mrs. McBrayer - Language Arts 

I was also introduced to Ms. Vincent the science teacher and I was proud and impressed with the projects that Gabba shared with me;  I loved the stamens and pistils on the flower model and the Solar System model was excellent.
We went and looked at the lockers. Gabba's was very neat and organized. She showed me her beautiful binder that she had decorated with sequins and sparkly decorations.

This is Michael C. When Gabba was little she had an imaginary brother named Michael.
Guess who showed up at Catholic School.
The teachers assume they are brother and sister but they are not, just very good friends.
I was glad to hear that Michael looks after his "little sister"

We were challenged to take on the Academic Challlenge Team. The lovely lady sitting next to me turned out to be Michael's Grandmother. She told me that 3 generations of her family have attended this Catholic School.  She did, Michael's mother and now Michael.  She knew an incredible amount about the early settlers to Mid Ohio Valley and answered many questions that no one else knew the answer to.
Now I want to address some of the questions that I knew the answers to. Because I had listened to my children practicing music, I knew about Steven Foster - even my grandies recognized his name when they practiced their instruments and saw his name on their music. I knew the two sequels - acutally more of them to Star Wars, because our family has been watching Star Wars for over 20 years.  For many years it was a Christmas Tradition to watch all the movies when the kids came home from college. My favorite hard question was about equi hippos,  I remember seeing that at the York County Museum where my daughter went to college.  I freely admit to being a dork and love to go to places and learn about new things.

My grandie and adopted grandie said goodbye and I hope to get an invitation next year. I was really impressed with the school and the professionalism and graciousness that the teachers and staff exhibited during Granparents' Day Celebrations.

The special events did not stop happening. My son in law made me a special breakfast, Banana Split waffles which I really loved and thanked him for.

And finally the Piece de Resistance. Still yet another surprise and this was the biggest one of all.

My very own  shocking pink Chuck Taylors which I have worn since Grandparent's day and am thinking about wearing to Gabba's wedding.

Thank you all so much for all the caring and sharing you did with me on this special weekend.

National Museum of American Museum Smithsonian

This summer my daughter took my four granddaughters and I to the National Museum of American History part of the Smithsonian Museum complex in Washington DC. We began the day by attending mass at the National Cathedral and then she led us on an ambulatory of the radiating side chapels. We prayed at some of the chapels and identified Saints. My favorite chapel is Our Lady of Guadalupe where over the years I have sought solace.

We then drove over to the National Museum of American History and went on a Scavenger Hunt using the Brochure we were given to find the dozen or so items. The Grandies had a lot of fun doing a full museum search. We also got to see some very special exhibits. Here they are in front of the favorite First Ladies Dress - Michelle Obama's- and you can see them holding their scavenger hunt brochure.

One of the girls' favorites was the First Ladies Exhibit in which we saw their inaugural gowns, jewelry, shoes and personal items. They loved Michelle's Obama's Dress which was designed by Jason Wu. It was made out of chiffon with the fluffy feather like appliques that made the dress look like it was floating. The dress, jewelry and shoes were stunning.

What surprised me the most is how big her feet are - maybe a size 12? This is very significant to me because I also have very large feet, now a size 11 and was rather ashamed of them growing up until I found out that Jacqueline Kennedy had a size 10 when I had a size 10 in high school.

This was the inaugural dress that of Jacqueline Kennedy wore - my favorite First Lady. They even had her pearls which I have loved and admired always. The day is coming when I will wear only pearls. Don't they just make you feel dressed up and elegant?

Notice she chose not to display her shoes however.

We then went to see the iconic National Treasures of Popular Culture. My youngest granddaughter was fascinated by Kermit the Frog in a display case and thought Dorothy's red sequin shoes very pretty.
I was fascinated by the Scarlett O'Hara's green velvet curtain dress worn by Carol Burnett in an episode I actually saw.

This is what the actual dress looked like in the movie,
Notice the golden tassels.
If you would like to watch the Carol Burnett Episode on You Tube here is a link: Carol Burnett episode on You Tube
 When I was about 10 years old, my mother took me to the original Radio City Music Hall complete with the Rocketts in New York City to see Gone With The Wind. I will never forget the images of Atlanta burning on that giant screen. My mother was particularly enamored of the GWTW movie. Having lost everything in a war torn country and seeking refuge in a new country, she could easily identify with Scarlett. Not only did she sew drapes, she also had lost a young son from which she never really recovered.
So after seeing the movie she hands me GWTW and says SO now you need to read. Have you ever seen the size of the book?  I had to prop it up with pillows balancing it on my small chest. I had to regularly report to her what I read. Accomplishing what I considered a miracle, I finished the book.  I have since read it again. One profound affect GWTW had on my life was that I have been very attached to my homes and mourned their passing out of my life.
My friend Ethel and I have recently finished reading Julie and Julia and then saw the movie which was one of the best movies I ever saw. Merill Streep was fantastic as Julia Child.  There in the museum was Julia Child's Kitchen.
The Kitchen is super tall to accomodate her height of over 6 feet.

Here she is demonstrating the different size fowls while smacking them soundly on their bottoms  You can see this episode of the introduction of the chicken sisters here: Jula Child actually introducing the Chicken Sisters.
                                                                                                        My young son loved to watch Julia Child on PBS. It was one of his favorite programs after Mr. Rogers.  I think that is the reason he is such a good cook it that he was facinated with Julia Child's cooking show as a young child. 
Julia Child  played by Dan Aykroyd on Saturday Night Live. Dan Akaroyd does an hilarious parody of Julia Child and if you want to see it click on the link above.

There are so many other things we saw and a story of how I lost my grandchild that I am not allowed to tell.  However Gems you did good and you held onto her no matter what happened.

Bon Vision.


Tromboni Girls

The last time I was at my daughter's house I was treated to a musical fete by the grandies.
Gabba , the Irish Elf child plays the flute and Gems plays the trombone. The two sisters are leaning on each other and Gems is laughing which makes it extremely hard to play the trombone. I have nicknamed Gems The Sunshine Girl.

Gems is the cheerleader of the family and you might wonder why she would choose a trombone to play. Well if you have ever heard a trombone, you know that the notes tickle you right down to your toes. Gems"s mom says that she has made it her own. I love it!!!!
Her trombone is almost taller then she is when she extends it and she has to be able to hear the stops to play the notes.

Moms are always the number one supporter of their children's endeavors.
Gems makes sure that her Mother is paying full attention at all times.

The duet they played was very pretty.

This is a a picture of their mother in her outfit she played her concerts in. P.C. played the cello. She said the best thing about playing the cello was that she couldn't take it home on the bus. She was doing that for a while, but then two boys got into a fight on the bus and we had to fix the cello. After that she no longer had to bring it home everyday.
Eventually she was chosen for All State and I got to attend a performance. They played beautifully and I am tearing up thinking about it now how proud I was. This picture was taken of P.C. around her daughter's age.

These pictures were taken at my son's performance around the age of Gems. He is playing violin with Bennie Woods.
I really loved listening to my son practice Suzuki. He really doesn't know how happy I was listening to him practice.

Bennie Woods played the meanest classical piano I have ever heard. He also was my music 101 teacher at Francis Marion University when I went back to school for my teaching degree. I had Music 101 first thing 8:30 in the morning . Now I am not much of a morning person and now that I am retired generally avoid the morning at all costs. However, Bennie walked in the first day of class and set down at his concert piano in the very hall you see above. He said that he was going to introduce us to classical music especially encourage us in a love of opera. He then proceeded to accompany himself while he sang the main excepts of Carmen to us hitting the highest parts of the major arias for us. He of course sang the title role in a slightly higher voice then his usual pitch. I was then instantly an opera fan.
Now it would be nice to say that this music is third generational on my side. Unfortunately that is not the case. I am generally considered tone deaf and can only play piano if you put smiley faces on the piano keys. But what is generational is the love that parents have for our children and the support we give them.
I would love to hear your comments. Inorder to do that you have to register with Google. It only takes a few moments and then you can post comments.