I have a lot of cookbooks. Cookbooks on two shelves in my kitchen, cookbooks on a bookshelf in my den, cookbooks stacked on the cedar chest at the foot of my bed. And even more cookbooks at work.
When it came time for the newspaper to move from our Downing Street location to our current home on Nash Street, I had to decide which cookbooks to keep and which ones to donate to the library or give away to co-workers.
The move also gave me a chance to get re-acquainted with cookbooks I hadn’t opened in years. One of those was a 2005 edition of “Mama Dip’s Family Cookbook.”
The cookbook is the second one written by Mildred Council, founder of Mama Dip’s Kitchen in Chapel Hill.
I first wrote about this book the year it was published. I made her pumpkin muffins before writing that column.
The book is filled with home-style Southern recipes from grits casserole to dark chocolate stack cake. When I looked through the book again a few weeks ago, I wondered why I had put it on the shelf and forgotten about it. There are so many treasures in this book!
When my son was in town earlier this month, I decided to make potatoes au gratin. And to top off the meal, I chose apple pie crumble.
The potatoes are super easy to make. You basically make mashed potatoes, add in some grated cheddar cheese, then pour it in a baking dish and heat until the peaks start to brown. We loved this easy side dish with our supper that night!
The pie was another winner. Son Robert loves apple pie and apple cobbler. And I like spoiling him with homemade food when he is in Wilson. He picked apple pie with a crumb topping that particular weekend. I pulled out “Mama Dip’s Family Cookbook” and found just the recipe I wanted.
I used three kinds of apples for this pie, but any variety of cooking apple will do. The apples cook on the stovetop with some water, sugar, butter and nutmeg until soft. I added some cinnamon as well. The crumb topping for the Mama Dip’s recipe included cheddar cheese. I’m sure it’s delicious that way, but I didn’t want cheese in my topping. Instead, I added some sugar and another sprinkle of cinnamon.
This pie smelled so good as it baked.
We loved the au gratin mashed potatoes with our meal, but we couldn’t wait to eat the pie. It didn’t disappoint either. The crumb topping was a nice complement to the apples, and it all tasted even better with some vanilla ice cream on top.
Give these recipes a try. And do yourself a favor by thumbing through your old cookbooks again. I bet you find recipes you had forgotten as well.
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Potatoes Au Gratin
2 pounds white potatoes (I used red)
1⁄2 stick butter or margarine
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
Wash and peel potatoes. Put in pot, cover with water and boil until tender. Drain the potatoes and mash them with butter, milk and salt. Stir to mix, and then blend in half the cheese. Pour into a baking dish and spread with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
“Mama Dip’s Family Cookbook”
Apple Pie Crumble
5 cups sliced apples
1⁄2 cup water
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon nutmeg*
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
Cheese Crumble Topping:
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1⁄2 stick cold butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add the apples, water, sugar and salt to a pot over medium high heat. Cook until just tender. Stir in the butter and nutmeg. Cool and spread into the pie shell.
Mix all the topping ingredients together and spread over the apple filling. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
“Mama Dip’s Family Cookbook”
* I also added about a 1⁄2 teaspoon of cinnamon, maybe more. I cut back to around 3⁄4 cup of sugar. For the topping, I omitted the cheese and added a little less than 1⁄4 cup of sugar. This is delicious served with a little vanilla ice cream on top.