Season for abundance at the Kremers
If you’re reading this on an empty stomach, go get a snack. Prepare to salivate!
My friend Gloria Kremer is a divine cook who loves to try new recipes while maintaining family traditions. And from the sound of her menu…well, talk about a groaning board!
“For Thanksgiving I like abundance,” she said when I called to ask what’s cooking. “Our Thanksgiving menu is very traditional. Many of the recipes are from my Italian mother’s wonderful cooking.”
Planned so far are mashed potatoes, herb stuffing, corn, glazed sweet potatoes, carrots with caramelized pearl onions, Brussels sprouts with Hollandaise sauce, green salad with mesclun mix, thin apple slices, caramelized walnuts, feta cheese and raspberry dressing, another salad she calls “simple” Caesar salad… “and for good measure a frozen fruit salad the little ones love with banana slices, fresh pineapple, cherries, sour cream, sugar and lemon juice that I freeze in paper-lined muffin tins.”
And let’s not forget the appetizers. Daughter-in-law Amy’s sister will make a wonderful layered spread with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts. “I’ll probably do a hot artichoke dip or maybe caponata, plus crudités and dip,” Gloria added.
Then of course there’s the turkey. “I always use a big Butterball,” she told me, “although my mother preferred a hen. I think years ago the Toms really were tough, but I don’t think that’s true anymore. And besides, hens are smaller, which means I’d have to get two, and I don’t want to tie up two ovens.”
The Kremers’ San Diego relatives usually bring the pies. “However, I will do a dessert tray with pumpkin bread, Italian walnut-orange biscotti, a pecan-chocolate bar and a butter cookie. I’ll have a fruit tray too. There are always people who try not to eat sweets.” (Oh, right. Stay on your diet for this meal!) Full story with recipe
A family tradition from Gloria’s childhood is cracking nuts. “Italian families like to sit around the table after dinner, and we always have a pile of nuts to shell and eat. It really is conducive to chatting a little bit more.”
One old family tradition is just a memory, however. “My mother always served homemade ravioli filed with spinach and ricotta that she made Thanksgiving morning using her three-foot long rolling pin. That’s where I draw the line!”
Plans are underway to rearrange the furniture to accommodate her guest list of 23. “It’s really important to us to have the whole family in one room,” she said, “so we move the couches and use the family room as a big dining room.”
A Fullerton resident, Gloria has been a realtor here for 27 years and at one time owned the Century 21 Sunny Hills office at Rosecrans and Gilbert. These days she and her husband Jay are associate brokers at that location.
I think I can tell you her happiest sale. When the Fullerton home came on the market in which her three sons (John, Mark and Brad) had been raised, John and wife Amy grabbed it up. Now they are raising Sarah and Emma there, continuing a Fullerton family tradition.
Gloria’s pumpkin bread recipe is from “Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers” published 30 years ago. “It is a well-worn book,” she said.
GLORIA KREMER’S PUMPKIN BREAD
3 cups. sugar
1 cups corn oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 can pumpkin (2 cups)
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cloves (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or 1 tsp. each cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cups water
1 cups pecans, chopped
Combine sugar and oil; add beaten eggs and then pumpkin. Sift together all dry ingredients and add to first mixture. Add water. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased loaf pans or 1 lb. coffee cans. Fill half full. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes to 1 hour.