Originally published March 28, 2008 in the Pelham~Windham News and Salem Community Patriot.
Editors note: Patricia Altomarie came to the Area News Group five years ago when we started the Pelham~Windham News. She set the bar higher for us and we have continued to achieve many great things because of her commitment to you, the reader and us. She has received many, many e-mails, cards, letters, and requests and has developed a strong following. At this time we have to say a bittersweet goodbye to our friend.
The goodbye is bittersweet, because we are loosing her to a syndicated publication that will expose even more readers to her talents and stories.
We wish her all the success she deserves and congratulate her accomplishments. Thank you, Patricia, and enjoy your new adventure!
Thank you to Cathy D., a reader who sent me this recipe last August. I saved it as I thought it would be a nice dessert for Springtime; light and refreshing. Cathy says it is a quick and easy dessert to prepare, given to her by a friend where she works. Her words to describe it, simply "very yummy.”
Mix 1 stick of butter and 1 1/2 cups of flour until crumbly. Press into bottom of 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees until light brown, approximately 15 - 20 minutes.
Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar till blended. Add whipped topping and stir till blended. Spread on cooled crust.
Mix 3 packages of instant lemon pudding with 4 1/2 cups of milk. Spread onto cream cheese layer.
Spread second 8 ounce tub of whipped topping. Garnish with walnut halves, blueberries, or lemon zest.
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line the unpricked pastry shell with double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake for five minutes; remove foil. Bake five minutes more; remove from the oven and set aside. Cook asparagus in a small amount of water until crisp-tender, about three-four minutes; drain very well. Arrange asparagus in the crust. In a bowl, beat eggs; add cream, 1/2 cup of the cheese, sugar, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour over asparagus. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce hear to 350 degrees; bake 23-25 minutes longer or until knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Makes about six servings.
Note: You can spice this up a bit by adding crumbled, cooked bacon (six strips). Put it in the crust when adding the asparagus.
And you can add one tablespoon sliced green onions to the cream mixture.
If you can freshly grate the parmesan cheese, all the better, but if not, pre-grated is fine.
Several readers have sent e-mails indicating the amount of white sugar was missing from the Applesauce Honey Cookies recipe in the February 29 issue. My preference would be to use less white sugar and more honey. However, if white sugar is not an issue for you, then add 1/2 cup white sugar, decrease the amount of honey to one tablespoon, and decrease the amount of unsweetened applesauce to 1/2 cup.
These are cake squares, chocolate frosted and rolled in coconut. A mainstay in Australia, commonly found in school bake sales, morning teas and all kinds of get-togethers, much like our brownies or chocolate-chip cookies would be.
A reader from Hudson has been cutting out the recipes each week and sending them to his sister who lives in Queensland, Australia. She enjoys getting them and he put her in touch with me. Barbara moved to Australia in 1970 with her two children and American husband. Her first invitation to come for morning coffee with a few of the wives, was welcoming, but being a “new Australian” she wanted to do the right thing, so asked what she could bring. “Oh just a few pikelets or lamingtons would be nice”, it was suggested. Say what? She asked what they were. Pikelets are tiny pancakes, probably like crepes, served with a spread of jam and whipped cream. She says she has since lived in many parts of Australia, and found that these two items are very popular.
Barbara stays very busy teaching, raising Dexter beef cattle, and being very involved in her church.
The recipe she sent came out of a cookbook for high school students called Everyday Cookery. These sound delicious and I intend to make them myself for my next family get-together.
Makes 16 individual squares
Beat eggs together until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until mixture is thick and sugar is completely dissolved. Sift dry ingredients together three times. Melt butter in hot water. Lightly fold dry ingredients into egg mixture. Fold in butter and water mixture quickly. Pour into a greased 7x10-inch shallow baking pan. Bake in moderate oven, 350 degrees, approximately 30 minutes or till inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Sift confectioner’s sugar and cocoa into a bowl or top half of a double boiler. Add soft butter and milk. Stir with a wooden spoon and mix thoroughly. Stand over hot water stirring constantly until icing is of good coating consistency.
Trim cake and cut into 16 squares. Hold each cake on a fork and dip into the chocolate icing till coated. Drain off excess.
Put cakes individually into a bowl of coconut and sprinkle coconut evenly over. Let stand on a wire rack until dry.
Melt four tablespoons of the butter in your chowder pot. Add onion and diced potato, simmer for five minutes. Cover with water and cook until potatoes are tender. Add the white fish, cleaned shrimp, and scallops and simmer until the seafood is cooked (about eight minutes). Stir in the heated evaporated milk and add the remaining two tablespoons butter along with the salt and pepper. Heat through. Serve with fresh chopped parsley.
Easily serves four.
Recipe doubles or triples well.
Thank you to Barbara, a reader from Salem, who sent me this recipe that came from her family. She states it is “without a doubt, the best seafood ‘chowda,’ anyone has ever tasted.” She also says that if you can make it the day before you serve it, it will be at its finest, as it improves when made ahead and refrigerated.
Makes 3 1/2 dozen
I personally use honey for a sweetener whenever possible, preferring it to white processed sugar. And I am always looking for recipes where honey is used.
I am fortunate to have a cousin who is a beekeeper and has five beehives to make his own honey. The hives are kept in tall boxes near his garden. Each hive/box has several frames in it which is where the bees make honeycomb. The bees are busy doing three things; food for themselves, royal jelly for the queen, and produce new bees. At the right time of year, the beekeeper removes the frames, leaving some for food for the bees, and using an extractor, spins the honey off the frames. Raw honey is than filtered and jarred. Delicious, pure, and natural.
Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger,and salt.
Beat together soft butter, brown sugar, and white sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, applesauce and honey. At low speed beat in flour mixture until well combined. Shape dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets or use parchment paper.
On a floured surface, using floured hands, roll dough into one-inch balls. (Make a little larger if you like, cook another minute or two, careful to not over bake). Place cookies, three inches apart, on prepared baking sheets. Using a floured fork, firmly flatten each cookie, leaving deep grooves.
Bake cookies until just set and golden, about 14 minutes. Cool for one minute before removing cookies from sheets to wire racks or brown paper.
Note: Thank you to a reader who wrote me that the “Sour Cream Cherry Coffee-Cake” recipe (February 8) was in a book titled The Main Corpse published in 1996.
Makes 8 servings
This recipe comes from a small community cookbook out of Washington state. The town of LaCenter published some of the residents, favorite recipes to raise money for a scholarship foundation. I think that was a such a good way to raise some money for students, education, and to enjoy some favorite recipes from townsfolk.
This pear dessert is great for this time of year as pears are readily available, and a warm, fruit dessert just sounds good to me right now when it,s so cold out. I like it also because it is not too sweet and it,s easy to do. Hope you will like it too.
Place pears, cut side up, in a buttered 11 by 7-inch baking dish. Pour juice over the pears. Combine the crumbs, sugar, walnuts, and butter; sprinkle over pears. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until pears are tender. Best if served warmed, and topped off with a little cream.
I have always loved having crock-pot meals. Most of the time in the fall and winter, but also good in the summer when I don’t want to use the oven. We all have those days when we will be getting home late, either from work, doing errands, school appointments, etc., and it is so good to have dinner all ready. This recipe combines that convenience with a delicious pot roast and vegetables.
Use a four-quart crock-pot.
Serves 5 – 6
Trim excess fat from meat. Cut meat into large serving pieces; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place vegetables, bay leaves, and seasonings into slow cooker, toss to mix a little. Place beef on top, pour broth over. (The beef will make more juice as it cooks.)
Cover and cook on low 8 1/2 to nine hours. Remove and discard bay leaves.
Note: If you want to serve a bread with this, brown bread is a traditional “Yankee” accompaniment.
This makes two eight-inch square coffee cakes. Wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil, this freezes well.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray or butter two eight-inch square cake pans (if you don’t have square, use an eight-inch round pan and cut into wedges)
In a large mixer bowl, beat butter with sugar until well combined. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add sour cream and mix thoroughly. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture gradually. Batter will be stiff. Stir in the vanilla, lemon zest, and cherry preserves. Spread batter in pans. Bake 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and is puffed and golden brown.
This would be a nice treat for Valentine’s Day breakfast for anyone you care for. If it’s for your children or grandchildren, make it a little special by serving each piece on a plate lined with a red heart (cut out of construction paper), and lightly sprinkled with a little confectioners’ sugar. Tie a red balloon to their chair and you have a simple but special way to say, “I love you, Valentine!”
Sunday, February 3, is Super Bowl Sunday and I did not choose this recipe lightly for this weekend. Only because I have made it many, many times am I sure of its popularity. No one can believe it when they read the ingredients, but when they taste it they are surprised at how good it is. Whether you make it just for a family supper or for a Super Bowl get-together it is a one-dish meal that is easy to prepare, and then you can enjoy the game, or just have some time to yourself if you are not a football enthusiast. Just as good when made the day before.
Serves six to eight depending upon appetites
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 13-inch x 9-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix cheese, soups and mayonnaise. Cook pasta, drain well and add to cheese mixture, mixing all very well. Put into buttered baking dish and top with crushed crackers. Bake covered 45 minutes, uncover for 20 minutes, till hot and bubbly.
Depending upon the occasion, I have put small smoked sausages on the top of the casserole, all around the edge, the last 30 minutes of baking.
When trying to decide what recipe to put in the paper for Super Bowl Sunday, it was a toss-up between a hot appetizer or this, and I kept going back and forth. I asked one of my grown sons (Patriot fans) which he would prefer at a Super Bowl party, and with no pause he said “put in your mac n’ cheese!”
These are too good to be “healthy and light.” They make a nice sweet treat, only 125 calories and very low fat. I found this recipe in a cookbook in 1994, which was written by “Rosie,” Oprah’s cook at the time. She created 50 recipes for people who were trying to lose weight, eat healthier, but tasted good, too. If you like, have them with a little apple butter. Makes 12 normal-size muffins (don’t use jumbo size muffin tins).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly coat muffin tins with cooking spray.
Warm the molasses and honey in a small saucepan over low heat just until it begins to steam. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool. Whisk the egg whites, yogurt, and milk together in a large mixing bowl until blended. Whisk in the molasses/honey mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the bran, flour, baking powder, and spices. Fold in the walnuts and raisins.
Spoon batter into the 12 muffin cups and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the muffin center comes out clean. Best served warm.
This week I would like to share a letter that I received from Barbara, a reader in Salem, regarding the recipe in the paper December 21 for a Crown Roast of Pork (recipe re-printed at bottom of letter). Not only do I want to thank her for her very nice comments, but also thank her for taking the time to write and let me know her experience with the recipe. What I particularly thought was great was how she made the recipe her own, making a few simple changes to fit her and her families needs.
A Very Happy New Year to you and yours. This e-mail is to comment on just one of your recipes (all of them are good). I am a senior who has cooked many meals during my lifetime but never a crown roast of pork; I think I was intimidated by them.
One day your recipe appeared in my local newspaper, the Salem Community Patriot (December 21, 2007), Christmas came and went with a traditional tenderloin roast, then the day after Christmas I was out and about, sale shopping you know and went into Shaw’s Market and lo and behold, what should appear was a beautiful 11-rib crown roast of pork in the meat case. I had never seen one there before and remembered your recipe. I think someone ordered it for Christmas and did not pick it up. My neighbor, more like a daughter and good friend to me, celebrates a New Year’s Day birthday. Her whole family is very special and she is always inviting me to dinner. Well, I checked out that roast and even asked the butcher how to cook it, he was honest and said he didn’t know, but recommended 20 minutes a pound at 350 degrees. The roast looked beautiful and there was a sticker on it for $3 off, and your recipe was in my head.
I decided to buy it, placed it in my basket, wheeled it to the cash register, and en route I bet I got at least five comments as to how beautiful it looked, how would I cook it, and even suggestions as how to cook it, so I don’t think I was the only on who at one time or another was intimidated by the elusive crown roast. I had to make the decision to freeze it when I got home as New Years Day was still five days away, I did freeze it, took it out of the freezer, and put it into the fridge on the 28th; it was thawed on January 1.
In the meantime I went on the Internet to check alternative cooking methods, some were gourmet, one even wanted me to put an empty clean can in the center of it to act like a chimney. So many variations I felt like a contestant for the Iron Chef. I went back to your recipe, but with a few exceptions. I seasoned it with some thyme and sage along with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. That was it. I covered the tips of the ribs with aluminum foil. Followed your directions for roasting, but didn’t stuff it at all.
I made my own traditional pork stuffing, baked it in a loaf pan and when presentation time was imminent, I had the roast carved but still able to maintain the crown appearance on a round, with edges, serving dish and placed my stuffing in the center, packed loosely, with the remainder in a serving dish.
I made an apple style “chutney,” Comstock apple pie filling, Ocean Spray cranraisins, and walnuts, didn’t smash the apples, and served the entire dinner with, Yukon gold mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, smashed turnip and carrots and the best gravy with onions I ever made. Hot biscuits and butter completed the dinner which was so well received I didn’t have to do a lick split of the cleanup. I told you they were a wonderful family, and just because I can’t find the bowl I served the potatoes in, it doesn’t matter.
A wonderful family, a wonderful way to start the New Year, a too long letter, but a sincere one and I thank you for making is so simple.
I have tried other recipes you have published and have good luck with all of them.
An elegant choice for your holiday dinner, but surprisingly easy and quick to do. The hardest part is ordering from the supermarket and picking it up. Your meat man at the market will tell you how big a roast you will need for the number of people. This recipe is based on a five- to six-pound roast with about 10 ribs, which is approximately six to eight servings.
The mushroom-bread stuffing goes great with the pork, and the apricot preserves glaze is simple ... just brush it on out of the jar.
Place roast, rib ends up, in a shallow roasting pan; sprinkle with seasoned salt. Cover rib ends with foil. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, sauté mushrooms and celery in butter till tender. Stir in bread cubes, salt and pepper.
After 1 1/2 hours, remove roast from oven and spoon stuffing into the center of the roast. Brush sides of roast with preserves. Bake 1 hour longer or until a meat thermometer inserted into meat between ribs reads 160 degrees. Remove foil.
If you want to do a cranberry garnish, string cranberries on a 20-inch piece of thin string or thread. Loop the cranberry string in and out of the rib ends. Place roast on serving platter. Garnish around bottom with some fresh curly parsley and a few red cranberries. This makes it look so festive, especially for Christmas.
Makes six to eight servings
I haven't put in many recipes for side dishes, but in continuing the theme of eating light this month, I thought it would be good to have a simple vegetable dressed up a little, as is this one, taking green beans and cooking them with some shallots, orange zest, and a few chopped pecans (all healthy ingredients). Pair it along with a lean roast beef or boneless pork or chicken, and a salad, and you have a heart healthy meal that is not heavily calorie laden. It is important to remember that portion size is key to healthy eating.
Toast pecans in a nonstick dry skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring, until fragrant. Stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and the salt, cooking about another minute. Transfer to another plate and set aside.
Wipe out skillet. Heat remaining olive oil, adding shallots, orange zest, and cayenne, and cook till shallots are soft, about two minutes. Toss in green beans, chicken broth, and orange juice. With heat at medium high, cover and cook until beans are partly tender, about five minutes. Uncover and cook until beans are as tender as you like them. When done, adjust salt and pepper to your taste, transfer to serving dish and toss with the pecans.
Don't be intimidated by this delicious main dish soup. I chose it for this week as so many people want to eat lighter now after the holidays of a lot of sweets and heavy calorie-laden foods. Most of my friends and family are afraid to get on a scale!
This is perfect, especially for you seafood lovers out there. As you can see, there is no fat, except for a little olive oil, no sugar, flour, or dairy. There is a lot of flavor though with tomatoes and seasonings. The recipe calls for a little of several seafoods, including lobster, scallops, clams. You can make it your own by using the white fish, shrimp and clams. Also, if you can find monk fish, it is somewhat like lobster.
Cut fish into large pieces, halve scallops.
In a soup pan, heat oil over moderate heat. Add onions, garlic, fennel or celery. Cook about 5 minutes till tender.
Stir in tomatoes, wine, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, than simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the fish, scallops, lobster, and clams. Return to a boil, than reduce heat and simmer or about 5 minutes till fish flakes, stir occasionally. In a small bowl, gradually stir additional chicken broth into 1 tablespoon cornstarch until mixture is smooth and blended. Stir into soup slowly and heat just to boiling. After adding the fish, if soup is too thick, thin with chicken broth.
Serve with whole-wheat crusty bread or rolls.
Note: I want to thank Dean, a reader from Hudson, who gave me this recipe that was from his family’s collection.
To all readers, I hope that this coming year 2008 will be one of good health and good food, for you and your families and friends.