Diana Holland Shafroth, my mother-in-law and flavorista, died January 6, 2009 at the age of 80 with family around. There are many wonderful things I will always associate with her: gin, bridge, Cape Cod, her love of people and travel – and of course her family.
There are wonderful dishes I will also hold close: chili rellenos casserole, watermelon pickles, homemade jalapeno pepper jam, fresh rhubarb, her deviled eggs, swordfish (but only from the East coast and really fresh), ginger and Pepperidge Farm very THIN white bread for cucumber sandwiches (with the crusts cut off).
As a family, we all love to cook. We have a list of some of the comments she used to make when we were hosting her like when making vinaigrette – “You know not everyone likes Dijon mustard (or garlic)” but always with a wry smile on her face as we proceeded to dump it into our salad dressings. My husband remembers the holidays by the smell of her making mustard and cod fish balls. I will always remember her toffee. She made really good toffee. We shared a love for dark chocolate almond bark – specifically from the Belgian Choclatier Piron, of Evanston, Ill. We often exchanged recipes. This is one in particular I love for its simplicty and elegance. She never told me it’s origin.
Lady Di’s Oatmeal Lace Cookies
Melt 2 sticks of butter with 2 Tbsp. water and 2 Tbsp. maple syrup. Add 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. of baking powder and 2 1/2 cups of regular old fashioned oats. Stir together well and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make walnut size pieces of the dough with 2 teaspoons and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Be sure to leave plenty of room. Bake for 12 minutes turning the cookie sheet around every 4 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from baking sheet.