Friday, September 16, 2011

Cooking with Jean - A Lifetime of Love & Laughter

Jean White
June 16, 1919 - July 7, 2011

Jean White, a dear friend, devoted Mother and adoring Grandmother, passed away on July 7, 2011 at the enviable age of 92. Over the ten years that I had the good fortune to know her, we would chat about life, family, friends, adventures and of course, recipes. Jean grew up in an era when families generally did all their own baking and made their own pickles and preserves. Jean excelled in each of these areas and her baking in particular, won her many devoted fans. Her homemade hors' d'oeuvres, fruit pies and lemon squares were always eagerly anticipated, quickly devoured and requested over, and over again. My friend Chris and I were delighted when Jean agreed, after much persuasion, to write a cookbook featuring many of her treasured recipes. 

The deal was: I would design Jean's cookbook and Chris would type up all of Jean's copious handwritten recipes and e-mail them to me. After a year of the three of us working together on this noble enterprise, Jean's cookbook was finally printed and delivered. Unfortunately, Jean passed away before she could see it, but her cookbook — Cooking with Jean White — lives on, for her friends, her family and the next generation. 

Jean had a recipe that was posted on her fridge for years. It was reproduced and framed for her memorial. It was a recipe, that in my heart, represents what Jean was all about...

- A Recipe for the Garden of your Daily Living -

Plant three rows of peas:
1. Peace of mind 
2. Peace of heart 
3. Peace of soul 

Plant three rows of squash:
1. Squash gossip 
2. Squash indifference 
3. Squash grumbling 
4. Squash selfishness

Plant four rows of lettuce:
1. Lettuce be faithful 
2. Lettuce be kind 
3. Lettuce be patient 
4. Lettuce really love one another 

No garden is without turnips:
1. Turnip for meetings 
2. Turnip for service 
3. Turnip to help one another 

To conclude, in our garden we must have thyme: 
1. Thyme for each other 
2. Thyme for family 
3. Thyme for friends 

Water freely with patience and cultivate with love. 

Of all of Jean's appetizers that she made over the years, there is one that was my favourite — her famous Sausage Rolls. I know it's often easier to just buy prepared hors' d'oeuvres these days, but Jean's recipe is simply the best. Just like her. 

Jean's Famous Sausage Rolls
Makes about 48

1 sheet puff pastry

16 breakfast link sausages

Preheat oven to 350°F. Boil sausages in a medium saucepan of boiling water and cook about 20 minutes. Remove the sausages from the water and let cool; cut them into thirds, and set aside. Unfold the puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface and roll into about a 12”x12” square, then cut into 4"x4" squares. Cut the pastry squares into triangles and roll each sausage, tucking in the ends, like a small package. Place them seam side down, on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Using a small sharp knife, make a couple of slits on the top of each sausage roll. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. These sausage rolls freeze very well. Simply reheat and serve with Dijon mustard.