Pictured (from left) are Doreen Polking, Jon Tiefenthaler and Marlene Tiefenthaler.
Pictured (from left) are Doreen Polking, Jon Tiefenthaler and Marlene Tiefenthaler.
Monday, November 1, 2010

BREDA — The Tiefenthaler Family of Breda love coming together for a family dinner and have just as much fun preparing the meal. Three generations of great cooks bring their family favorites to the table. Doreen Polking, daughter, Marlene Tiefenthaler, and son, Jon Tiefenthaler, all learned to cook for their families at an early age and all three continue the tradition today.

Doreen’s three children all live in Iowa. She and her late husband, Ray, raised two daughters and a son. Sandy Gannon, is a licensed private therapist, and lives in Iowa City with her husband, Denny. They have two daughters, Rachel and Jessica. Tom Polking is an attorney in Jefferson and he and his wife, Karen, have four daughters, Tara, Sonya, Krista, and Laura. Doreen has always loved feeding her family large meals. Appearance is very important to her and she loves to make the food look appealing. She is involved in many clubs and enjoys making desserts for her friends.

Doreen taught Marlene to cook as a young girl. She gradually gave her more and more responsibility during meal preparation. Today Marlene finds much of her inspiration in Southern Living magazine.

Marlene and her husband, Alan, president of Snappy Popcorn, enjoy traveling and spending time with their children and grandchildren. Daughter, Gina Tiefenthaler, is an attorney with Huron Consulting Group in West Palm Beach, Florida. Jill Tiefenthaler, is Provost at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She and her husband, Kevin, an Economics and Statistics professor, have two children, Olivia, 12, and Owen, 9. Daughter, Jen Maystadt, and husband, Tom, live in Chandler, Arizona, with their two daughters, Grace, 9, and Lily, 5. Jen runs a branch of Snappy Popcorn called Iowa Popcorn & Concessions in Tempe. Tom is an assistant athletic trainer with the Phoenix Suns.

Son Jon, has been with Snappy Popcorn since 1996. Snappy Popcorn is a third generation company founded in 1940. The majority of all of its popcorn is grown and sold around Breda. Jon is vice president of Snappy and lives in Breda with his wife, Allisa, and sons, Raymond, 6, and Harrison, 4. Raymond and Harry like helping their Grandma Marlene decorate Christmas cookies. Jon is the cook of the kitchen and the grill and Allisa is the baker of the family. Jon first began experimenting in the kitchen in high school and also enjoyed cooking in college. Jon draws inspiration for spices and new recipe ideas from the Food Network, namely Alton Brown who is known for his scientific approach in the kitchen.

Popcorn Cake

The Tiefenthaler family has found creative ways to serve their popcorn and this cake is one of them. A friend of Marlene’s, Jane Kluver, of Breda, gave her this recipe over 15 years ago. Marlene loves to incorporate team colors and uses red and gold M&Ms for Iowa State tailgates.

Marlene and Alan are both ISU grads and have had season tickets for forty five years. She also makes this cake every Christmas and uses red and green M&Ms. She uses green food coloring to color the marshmallow mixture. The cake can also be made in mini loaf pans and given as gifts. Her daughter, Gina, and her daughter-in-law, Allisa, both love this sticky treat.

Mix together in a large bowl:
12 c. popped corn (Snappy white)
1 lb. M&Ms
8 oz. Reese’s Pieces
1 lb. salted peanuts
1 stick margarine
½ cup oil
1 16 oz. pkg. of marshmallows

When melted, stir until smooth, drizzle over popcorn mixture and mix well. Spoon into a greased tube pan (bundt pan or angel food cake pan) and press into sides. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours. Remove from pan and cut into slices. Leftovers do not need to be refrigerated.

Popcorn Snack

Marlene’s daughter, Jill, found this savory snack recipe and it’s become a family favorite. Even with the addition of brown sugar, the taste is more salty than sweet and the cayenne pepper adds a real kick. Marlene makes this snack for family get-togethers and has it on hand for munching.

Melt together in saucepan over low heat:
½ c. Worcestershire sauce
4 T. butter
2 T. brown sugar
½ t. salt
½ t. cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 300.
Mix dry ingredients in roasting pan:
12 c. popped popcorn (Snappy white)
1 12 oz. box corn cereal squares
1 8 or 10 oz. pkg. thin pretzel sticks

Pour wet ingredients onto popcorn mixture, stir and bake for 30 minutes. Stir mixture halfway through baking cycle. Let cool and store in ziptop bags.

Cornish Hens

The first year Doreen made this dish was at Christmas in 1970. At that time, there were only eight in the family. By the time the tradition stopped, it was 1998 and she made 24 Cornish hens, which was all that could fit into her two ovens. Marlene’s daughter, Jen, has taken over the tradition, preparing them each Christmas for her family in Arizona.

8 Cornish hens
1 pkg Uncle Ben’s  long grain and wild rice mix (original plain)

1-1/2 c. diced celery

1-1/2 c. sliced mushrooms (canned)

1/4 lb. oleo

1 -  4oz. jar sliced pimentos

1 c. hot water

1 - 8 oz. package seasoned croutons (or seasoned bread crumbs)

Cook rice as directed on package. Saute celery and mushrooms in butter for 2 minutes.  Add croutons or bread crumbs and hot water. Add pimentos. Mix well. Add hot cooked rice and mix. Stuff each hen with rice mixture.   
Bake Cornish hens 2 hours in 350-degree oven. Put backs of hens up for one hour then turn with breast up for another hour.  If the hens brown too quickly, cover with foil.

Oven Roasted Prime Rib

Jon enjoys preparing prime rib for birthday parties and it has become the new main dish at Christmas. He has found salt and pepper to be the only seasoning necessary and serves au jus or creamy horseradish sauce on the side. The last fifteen minutes of cooking are very important to create the crust on the outside of the meat.

1 ribeye loin

vegetable oil

kosher salt

black pepper

Preeat oven to 210. Rub oil over entire loin. Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper over entire loin. Place loin in oven. Using meat thermometer, probe meat until temp reaches 140 degrees (150 - 160 if you like more of a well done loin). With meat still in oven, increase oven temp to 500. Once at 500, cook meat for 15 minutes. Remove meat and wait 15 minutes before slicing. (Cooking time will vary with weight of meat. For example, an 8-10 lb loin will take 4-5 hours and a 14 lb loin will take about 6 ½ hours).
Note: Oven must be very clean before cooking meat to prevent smoking.

Grilled Pork Loin

This is another one of Jon’s specialties for birthday parties, tailgates, and dinner guests. He highly recommends the Durkee Chicken and Rib rub that can be found near the spices. He says it is a great taste blend of smoky and sweet.

1 pork loin
1 Jar Durkee Chicken and Rib rub

Score the fat on the pork loin. Liberally sprinkle rub over fat top and sides. Turn on all grill burners and heat until 350 degrees. Once this temperature is reached, turn off one set of grill burners. Place meat fat side up over burner(s) that are NOT lit. Grill for approximately 1 – 1.5 hours or until meat is done (use a meat thermometer). Remove and let meat rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Sausage Wontons

Jon’s wife, Allisa, introduced the Tiefenthaler family to this tasty appetizer. It’s a popular snack at family gatherings.
1 package (12 oz.) wonton wrappers
1 lb. bulk pork sausage
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Colby cheese
½ medium yellow bell pepper (chopped) ½ medium red bell pepper (chopped)
2 bunches green onions (sliced)
½ cup ranch salad dressing

Lightly press wonton wrappers into bottom and up the sides of greased miniature muffin pan. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes or until edges are browned. In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in cheese, peppers, onions, and salad dressing.  Spoon a rounded tablespoonful into each wonton cup. Bake for 6-7 minutes or until heated through.

Pecan Tossies

When Marlene and Alan were married in 1962, Doreen, and Doreen’s late mother, Mary Poen, made these to serve at the wedding reception. This is a tradition that continued for many other family weddings. It’s estimated the family has made over 1,200 pecan tossies.
1 ½ cups margarine

2 cup sifted flour

Two 3 oz. pkgs. cream cheese

1 cup ground pecans

Blend first 3 ingredients with a pastry blender or fork.  Set up paper nut cups (48 small cups) on jelly pan. Shape dough into nut cups. Fill with half the pecans.

Mix together:
2 eggs beaten

2 T. melted butter

¼ t. vanilla

1 ½ cups brown sugar

Spoon filling into cups. Top with remaining pecans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 250 and bake for 10 minutes more.

Date Steam Pudding

Marlene has made this fancy dessert for thirty years. She makes it each Christmas and serves it on a cake pedestal surrounded by holly. It’s always the centerpiece of the holiday table.

1 c. boiling water

2 T. butter

1 c. packed brown sugar

1 tsp. salt
1 c. chopped nuts

1 c. chopped dates

1 egg

1 ½ c. sifted flour

1 tsp. soda

Pour boiling water over dates. Add butter and mix. Beat egg.  Stir in brown sugar. Add date mixture and stir well. Sift flour, salt, and soda together. Add to date mixture. Add nuts. Pour into a well-buttered ring- shaped or wreath mold and place in stock pot with about three inches of water in the bottom. Cover with lid and steam for 2 hours over medium heat. Pudding can be reheated in oven.
Sauce for date pudding:
1 c. real butter

1 c. sugar
drop of almond extract

1 c. whipping cream

1 tsp. vanilla

Cook in a double boiler until bubbly and starts to thicken. Add extract. Serve hot sauce on hot pudding.