Cooking With Patricia

Cooking Archives


Creamy Potato Casserole

This is a great side dish to serve with most any meat.  I find it to be an excellent accompaniment to roast beef and roast lamb, but also good with baked ham.  It's really a fancy mashed potato dish that can be made a day or two ahead, and saves last-minute mashing of potatoes.  Also, it is a dish that stays really hot, which is good when you have many people to serve at a holiday dinner or buffet.

Makes 10-12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 10 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Paprika

Boil potatoes to tender, drain.  Mash potatoes with 4 tablespoons butter, onion, salt & pepper.  Add sour cream and cream cheese.  Stir till smooth and cream cheese and butter are fully melted and mixed in.

Butter a 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish.  Spread potatoes in pan.  Melt remaining butter, drizzle over potatoes.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Bake in a 350 degree oven, covered, for 40 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 20 minutes.

If you refrigerate to bake later, bring to room temperature before baking.


This is a perfect recipe to make with your small children or grandchildren.  The dough is easy to shape, and no matter what you do to them, they taste buttery and delicious.  They do not really brown, they bake till "set", so be careful not to over bake. 

This recipe calls for tinting a small portion of dough red (for the red hats), and also a small amount of dough tinted yellow (for the neck scarf).

If you would rather, you can make the entire cookie plain, and than use tubes of red and yellow frosting for the hats and scarves.  Your choice!

When you bake cookies with any children, you are giving them such warm memories, so put on those carols and have fun this weekend.

Makes 2 dozen.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup softened butter (no substitutes)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Red and yellow paste food coloring
  • Mini chocolate chips (for eyes and buttons)

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Add milk and vanilla; mix well.  Gradually add flour.  Remove 1/3 cup of dough to a small bowl; tint with red food coloring.  Repeat with 1/3 cup of dough and yellow food coloring; set aside, keeping covered.

For snowmen, shape white dough into 24 balls, about 1 1/4 inch each, and 24 balls about 1/2 inch each; and 24 balls about 1/8 inch each.  For bodies, using the larger balls, place on ungreased baking sheets; flatten to 3/8 inch thickness.  Place the 1/2 inch balls above the bodies, for the heads; flatten to same thickness.

Shape red dough into 24 balls, 1/8 inch each, and flatten into triangle shapes (to look like a red knit cap).  Place above heads.  Attach the 1/8 inch white balls to the tip of the red triangle for the tassels.  Place small red balls on heads for a little red nose.  Divide the yellow dough into 24 pieces; shape into scarves and position on the cookie at base of head.  Add chocolate chip eyes and buttons.

 Bake at 325 degrees for 13 - 16 minutes, just until set.  Cool for 2 minutes before carefully removing to wire racks or brown paper to cool.


Standing Rib Roast with Roasted Potatoes

Serves 6 to 8

This is a classic beef roast for any holiday dinner.

Seasoning Rub

  • 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh rosemary leaves and chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Stir all ingredients together.
  • 3-rib standing beef rib roast (about 8 1/2 pounds) with all but 1/4 inch layer of fat removed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 pounds russet (baking potatoes, about 10)
  • Salt, pepper, paprika
  • Chopped parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Place roast, ribs side down, in center of roasting pan, 18 x 12 x 2 inches.  Rub oil on top and sides of beef so herbs will adhere.  Rub seasoning mixture on top and sides of beef.  Roast beef in lower third of oven 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel potatoes and halve crosswise.  After 20 minutes, remove roast from oven and skim all but about 1/2 cup fat from pan with a bulb baster or spoon.  Arrange potatoes around beef and turn with tongs to coat with drippings.  Season potatoes with salt, pepper, and paprika.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and roast beef for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted in fleshy part of beef registers 130 degrees for medium-rare.  Turn potatoes occasionally to brown.

When done, transfer to a platter, cover loosely with foil, and let rest about 15 minutes.  (If sliced too soon, the juices run out.)

Keep potatoes warmed.  If desired, sprinkle potatoes with fresh chopped parsley when serving.


Chinese Fried Walnuts

Holiday preparations are already in full swing in many homes ... or at least the "to-do" lists are being started.  A big part of the Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah holidays are the homemade food gifts.  This recipe is perfect and a little different; a slightly sweet and salty snack that once you start eating you can't put them down.

This recipe was given to me by Mike, my sister's significant other.  He got it from his sister who got it from a Korean church group in Pennsylvania.  Apparently it was used in a very successful fundraiser.  That is the way it goes with good recipes; passed on and passed on.

I suggest filling a pint jar with the finished walnuts, tightly cover, and wrap with a festive ribbon.  Don't forget to attach the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cups walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Salad oil
  • Salt
  • Will need slotted spoon and thermometer for heating oil

Can be made up to two weeks ahead.

In a 4 quart pan, heat water to boiling.  Add walnuts and bring to a boil.  Cook one minute.  Rinse walnuts under hot water.  Wash and dry pan well.

In a large bowl with rubber spatula gently stir warm walnuts with sugar until sugar is dissolved.  If needed, let mixture stand five minutes to dissolve sugar.

Meanwhile, in same pan over medium heat, heat about one inch of oil to 350 degrees.  With slotted spoon, add about 1/2 walnuts to oil.  Fry no more than five minutes or until golden brown, (I find that 3 to 4 minutes is best).  Stir often.  Be careful, walnuts will burn quickly.

With slotted spoon, place walnuts in coarse sieve or strainer, over a bowl to drain.  Sprinkle very lightly with salt.  Taste, adding more salt if needed.  The salt taste increases as the walnuts cool.  If you want a more sugary taste, add more sugar at this time.  Toss lightly to keep walnuts from sticking together.  Transfer to paper towels to cool.  Continue frying rest of walnuts.


Turkey Quesadillas

This is a good way to use up your leftover turkey.  Makes a quick lunch or light supper.  Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 8, 10-inch flour tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican mix (or any flavored cheese of your choice)
  • 2 - 3 cups of cut-up turkey
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream

In a medium-size non-stick fry pan, melt a little margarine or butter (or use spray) to cover bottom.  Put in one tortilla.  Sprinkle on 1/2 cup shredded cheese and about the same amount of turkey.  Lightly salt and pepper.

Top with another tortilla.  Brown on each side like a grilled cheese sandwich.  Turn out on plate, cut in fours.  Top each quarter with a tablespoon each of salsa and sour cream.


Sweet Potato Praline Soufflé

This would be a nice addition to your holiday dessert table.  This recipe is from the New Orleans Famous Praline Company, and many people I know who have tried it have made it an annual tradition.  This recipe makes about 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon cane syrup
  • 1/3 cup non-fat sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 orange, juiced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup raisins (I like to use the golden raisins)
  • 2 cups pecans, chopped
  • 8 ounces (about 6) large pralines, broken

Bake sweet potatoes in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour until tender and soft.  Remove peels.  In a large mixing bowl, mash the potatoes a bit, and add the cane syrup, condensed milk, butter, and brown sugar.  Add the orange juice, lemon zest, and juice.  Blend thoroughly until smooth.  Sprinkle in the cinnamon-sugar, nutmeg, raisins, and pecans.  Lastly, add the pralines, folding in gently into the mixture.

Transfer to a buttered 2 1/2 quart glass baking dish.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with Italian meringue.  Place under broiler for about 7 minutes until meringue is golden brown.

Italian meringue

  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 5 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

In a small pot over low heat, combine sugar and water.  Swirl the pot over the burner to dissolve the sugar completely.  Do not stir.  Increase the heat and boil to soft-ball stage (235 - 240 degrees on a candy thermometer).  Wash down the inside wall of the pot with a wet pastry brush.  This will help prevent sugar crystals from forming around the sides falling in and causing a chain reaction.  Prepare your meringue.

With an electric mixer, whip egg whites on low speed until foamy.  Add cream of tartar, increase speed of mixer, and beat till soft peaks form.  With mixer running, pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over fluffed egg whites.  Beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy.  Spread meringue on any hot pie and continue baking as directed.


Rye Appetizer Puffs

With the holidays right around the corner, do you find yourself looking for a new appetizer to serve, or bring to parties?  This prize-winning recipe is just perfect; delicious and different.  Pretty enough for a wedding reception or shower, and hearty enough for men who you will find really go for these.  The cream cheese-corned beef filling is scrumptious.  Makes about 4 dozen appetizers.

Ingredients:         

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • Caraway seeds

Corned Beef Filling

  • 2 (8 ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 (2 1/2 ounce each) packages thinly sliced cooked corned beef, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish mustard or spicy brown mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 10 small stuffed olives, chopped fine

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring water and butter to a boil.  Add flours, parsley, garlic powder, and salt all at once; stir until a smooth ball forms.  Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Beat until smooth.  Drop batter by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets.  Sprinkle with a few caraway seeds.  Bake at 400 degrees for 18 - 20 minutes or until golden.  Remove to wire racks and immediately cut a slit in the side of each puff to allow steam to escape; cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine the first eight filling ingredients; mix well.  Stir in olives.  Split puffs sideways, not quite all the way through, add filling.  Refrigerate till ready to serve.  Best if removed from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.


Spaghetti with Italian Sausage & Eggplant Sauce

This recipe comes from the famous New York restaurant, Mama Leone's.  Mama Leone opened her restaurant in 1906 with only 20 seats.  Enrico Caruso sang at her opening.  It became one of the most legendary Italian restaurants nationwide, with chefs trying to reproduce her recipes.  Presidents, visiting dignitaries, actors, visitors to New York, all wanted to eat there.  The restaurant grew to 1,500 seats by the 30s, serving up to 6,000 dinners nightly.  Sadly, after Mama Leone's death, the restaurant was sold in 1939.  According to her book, this is an old family recipe that Mama Leone had on her menu from the first night her restaurant opened, with her as the only cook.  Makes 6 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Italian sweet sausage
  • 1 eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, mashed
  • 10 fresh parsley sprigs, leaves only
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 ounces salt pork, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 green peppers, sliced very thin
  • One 1-pound can crushed or chopped plum tomatoes
  • 3 large very ripe tomatoes, chopped very fine
  • 1 pound cooked spaghetti
  • Parmesan cheese

Remove the casing from the sausage, and break into small pieces.  Cut unpeeled eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes.  Chop garlic and parsley together.  Combine olive oil, butter, and salt pork in a saucepan; heat.  Add onions and cook till lightly browned.  Add sausage, brown for 10 minutes.  Add garlic, parsley, salt and pepper, cook for 10 minutes.  Add green peppers and eggplant, cook for 5 minutes.  Add fresh and canned tomatoes, simmer for 30 minutes, than taste to see if sauce is cooked.  Add salt if necessary.

Drain cooked spaghetti, toss with a little butter and grated cheese.  Pour sausage and eggplant sauce over pasta, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Serve.

In the restaurant, this was served with an aged Barolo wine.  Enjoy!


Halloween Jiggly Pumpkins

   This spooky snack is a terrific finger-food that the kids will have fun making with you.  Whether for a party or just for your kids at home, they are as cute as can be and easy enough to make.  If you do not have a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter, use any round cutter.  Makes about 14 individual snacks.

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages (6 ounces each) orange Jell-O
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup cold whole milk
  • 1 package (3.4 ounce) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • Candy corn for eyes and black licorice or black gumdrops for candy mouths  

   Dissolve gelatin in water; set aside for 30 minutes.  Whisk milk and pudding mix until smooth, about 1 minute.  Quickly pour into gelatin; whisk until well blended.  Pour into an oiled 13" x 9" x 2" pan.  Chill until set.  Cut into circles or use pumpkin cookie cutter, place on serving plate.  Just before serving decorate with candy eyes and mouths.


Mississippi Mud Pie

   The Mississippi Queen is the largest river steamboat ever built.  It holds 400 passengers and a staff of 28.  It departs in St. Louis, traveling up and down the Mississippi River.  Its social program equals many cruise ships, with activities such as first-run movies, Hollywood Squares, small weddings, and renewal of wedding vows, cocktail parties, etc..  And the cuisine is absolutely first class.  What a memory that would be, to eat Mississippi Mud Pie while traveling down the Mississippi.

   This dessert starts with a pan of brownies, spread with a layer of mocha ice cream, followed by a layer of whipped cream, than put into the freezer till frozen.  When ready to serve, cut into servings, and top each serving with chocolate sauce, chopped pecans, and dark chocolate shavings.

   Below is the Mississippi Queen's brownie recipe or use any recipe of your choice.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces (4 squares) unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of each; salt, baking powder
  • 2/3 cup cake flour 

   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an 8" x 11" baking pan and line with waxed paper or parchment paper.

   Microwave chocolate and butter, stirring, till melted and smooth. (Or, heat in a double boiler.)  Set aside to cool for a few minutes.  Add the vanilla, eggs, sugar, and salt to the chocolate mixture and beat till well mixed.  Add flour and baking powder and mix well.  Spread into the pan and bake 40 to 45 minutes, until toothpick put in center comes out nearly clean.  Remove from oven, let sit 5 minutes, then turn out onto a baking sheet, peeling off the paper.  Spread with one quart mocha ice cream, then a layer of 2 cups of heavy cream that has been whipped with 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Cover and freeze 6 - 8 hours or overnight.  Makes 8 servings.


Roasted Pork Loin

   This makes a warm, satisfying meal anytime … and good enough for Sunday dinner or a holiday.  Serving suggestion:  serve with potato pancakes, homemade chunky applesauce, and carrots.  4 - 5 pound roast makes approximately 10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup each chopped onion, chopped celery, chopped green pepper.
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon each dried thyme, paprika, ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 boneless pork loin roast (4 - 5 pounds)

   In a skillet, combine the first 12 ingredients; sauté until the vegetables are tender.  Untie roast and separate.  Randomly cut 20 deep slits, 1 inch wide on inside surface of roast.  Fill slits with some of the vegetable mixture; retie roast.  Place on a rack in a shallow baking pan.  Spread remaining mixture over the roast.  Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 2 - 3 hours or until a meat thermometer reaches 160 - 170 degrees.  Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Chunky Applesauce

Peel, core, and cut into chunks 8 - 10 apples.  Put into a saucepan.  Sprinkle with a little lemon juice.  Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/3 cup sugar.  Simmer stirring occasionally until apples are soft.  Add sugar (or Splenda®), if needed, to your taste.


Zucchini Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

Makes 18 to 24 cupcakes.

   There are dozens and dozens of recipes out there to use zucchini in, so many different ways to use it.  Those of us who grow it in our own gardens usually have a plentiful crop by now, and looking for ways to use it.  If you do have an abundance it is easy to freeze by cutting into large chunks (no need to peel or remove seeds, unless seeds very large), and shredding in your food processor, or chopping in your blender.  Place in a paper-towel lined colander for a few hours to drain all the liquid out.  Then spoon into freezer bags, in two-cup amounts.  Freezes well for about eight months.

   These are irresistible spice cupcakes with a delicious frosting.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini

Caramel Frosting

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

   In a mixing bowl beat eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice, and extract.  Combine dry ingredients, add to egg mixture, and mix well.  Add zucchini and mix well.  Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes or until cupcakes test done.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

       For frosting, combine brown sugar, butter, and milk in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla.  Cool to lukewarm.  Gradually beat in confectioners sugar until frosting reaches spreading consistency.  Frost cupcakes.


Shrimp & Feta Greek-Style Pizza

Serves 5 - 6

   This recipe was passed on to me by a friend who happened on it years ago.  She was looking for a pizza without the traditional tomato sauce.  The recipe was entered in a national contest and made it to the finals.  It is delicious and is a quick-and-easy Friday night supper treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • One 10-ounce package refrigerated all-ready pizza crust (such as Pillsbury® brand)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound uncooked fresh medium shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion, some green tops included
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed dried rosemary or 1 tablespoon fresh
  • One 2 1/2-ounce can sliced, ripe olives, drained

   Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Sprinkle greased 12-inch pizza pan or 13” x 9" pan, with cornmeal.  Unroll the dough and place in the pan, starting in the center and pressing out to the sides.  Sprinkle with mozzarella.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the shrimp and garlic.  Cook only till shrimp are pink, about 1 minute, stirring frequently.  Don't overcook.

   Spoon the shrimp over the mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle evenly with the feta, green onion, rosemary, and olives.

   Bake until golden and bubbly, 18 to 22 minutes, till crust is lightly browned.


Pork and Ginger-Pear Stir Fry

Makes 4 servings.

   This is a full-flavored stir fry using the wonderful combination of tender pork and sweet, ripe pears.  It has a spicy sauce that adds just the right amount of zest.  Pork is economical right now and more so in a stir-fry where you use less.  And pears are in season right now.  A lot of our local apple orchards also have pear trees, where it is fun to pick your own, and than come home to fix this delicious dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plum preserves (may substitute apricot)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium okay)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 sweet yellow or green pepper, julienned (cut in thin strips)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon minced fresh gingerroot
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 medium ripe pears, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/4 inch strips
  • 1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • Scant 2 cups of fresh or frozen snow peas
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
  • Hot cooked rice to serve 4

  In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients; set aside.  In a large skillet or wok, stir-fry yellow pepper and ginger in oil for 2 minutes.  Add pears; stir-fry for 1 minute or until pepper is crisp-tender.  Remove and keep warm.  Stir-fry half of the pork at a time for 1 - 2 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.  Return pear mixture and all of the pork to pan.  Add water chestnuts and reserved sauce.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Add peas; heat through.  Sprinkle with almonds.  Serve over rice.


Zippy Corn Salad

   Mid-September.  Harvest time.  This is a great way to use some of those vegetables from your garden or from your local produce stand.  My memories of this time of year, living on a farm, are of a long back porch continuously packed with bushels of corn, tomatoes, peppers, etc., that my father and brothers had picked each day, ready for my mom, sisters, and me to can.  Our supper table at harvest time always included a platter of thick-sliced tomatoes and cucumber sticks.

   This recipe not only uses several vegetables, but has a bold southwestern kick to it.  Grill some hamburgers, hot-dogs, or a juicy steak to serve alongside this salad, and that's all you need for a nice supper.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups corn, cut off the cob (canned or frozen works also)
  • 1 cup each, finely chopped, green pepper & sweet red pepper & celery
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions (scallions)
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon each; salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine the above in a serving bowl.

Dressing:

   In a microwave bowl, combine 3 tablespoons olive oil and 2 minced garlic cloves.  Microwave on high for 1 minute and let cool.  Add 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce.  Whisk in 6 tablespoons lime juice.  Pour over corn salad and toss.

   Note:  You can use a little less of the "heat" ingredients; cumin, cayenne, and hot sauce, and add lastly, according to your taste.


Chewy Natchez Bourbon-Pecan Pie

   This recipe comes out of a 1993 cookbook given me as a gift.  One section is "America Celebrates Southern Cooking", and I thought that is just what I want to do this week.  This recipe was chosen as one of the best recipes from a small community cookbook that the Women of Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans, Louisiana had published.  So, in light of the present tragedy in New Orleans, let’s remember the people of that church and all of New Orleans.

Ingredients:

  • one unbaked 9-inch pastry shell
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 cup firm-packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

   Combine first six ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well.  Pour pecan mixture into pastry shell.  Bake uncovered at 225 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.  Increase oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until pie is set.  Cool on a wire rack.  Serve with fresh whipped cream, if desired.


Orange Creamsickle Cake

   Using a store-bought pound cake, this can be made up in an hour.  It’s a refreshing summer dessert.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pound cakes
  • 5 cups orange sherbet, softened
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered, confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

   Line the bottom and two Iong sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan with waxed paper.  Trim the crusts from the pound cakes and cut each cake lengthwise into three even slices.  Line the bottom and long sides of the loaf pan with three of the pound cake slices.  Trim two of the remaining slices to fit the short ends of the pans and reserve the leftover cake.  Pack the sherbet into the cake lined pans, and top with the remaining slice of cake.  Use the cake scraps to fill in any areas with exposed sherbet.  Cover the cake with waxed paper.  Freeze until firm at least 3 hours.  

       In a mixing bowl combine cream, sugar, and vanilla.  Beat until stiff.  Invert the cake onto a serving dish and frost with the sweetened whipped cream.  Return cake to the freezer until ready to serve.


Camp Foil Dinners - Deluxe

   Make sure you share this recipe with any hikers and campers in your family.  It’s a complete out-of-doors-meal that can be prepared ahead, kept cold in refrigerator or cooler, and then thrown on to the grill or campfire for 20 minutes.  Makes two foil dinners.

Ingredients:

  • 2 potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 slices cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (such as Lawry’s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup pineapple chunks
  • 6 slices crisply fried bacon, broken into pieces
  • Barbecue sauce, to taste

   Par boil potato and carrot slices for 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  Split ground beef into two oblong patties about 5” x 2” x 2”.  Split each pattie in half and tuck in a slice of cheese, sealing the meat around the cheese.  Place in the center of a 12” x 18” piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Sprinkle with seasoned salt and pepper.  Place over the meat in this order:  potatoes, carrots, onion, pineapple, and bacon.  Pour favorite barbecue sauce over all.  Fold and seal foil securely.  Keep cold till ready to cook over hot coals for 20 minutes, sealed side of foil up.


Cinnamon Plum Cake

   This recipe comes from a church cookbook put out by the Hope Lutheran Church in Moose Lake, Minnesota.  I chose this recipe as it takes advantage of fresh plums, which are plentiful right now.  You'll find them in your local fruit/vegetable stand or in the supermarket.  What a delicious way to get your servings of fruit for the day.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 12 small ripened plums, pitted (halve or quarter depending on size)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 - 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

   Beat butter at medium speed with a mixer until fluffy; gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Combine flour and baking powder; add to creamed mixture, beating well.  Spread batter in bottom of a greased 9-inch spring form pan.  Place plums, cut side down, on top of batter.  Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over plums.  Drizzle lemon juice over plums.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for one hour or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Carefully remove sides of springform pan.  Serve warm (with softened vanilla ice cream if desired).  Makes 6 - 8 servings.


Tomato Tart

Use an 11 inch tart pan or 10 inch pie plate.

   The season of fresh, home-grown vegetables is here.  Our gardens and farm-stands are full of locally grown tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, corn, and so much more.

   Today's recipe takes advantage of the abundance of tomatoes right here in our backyard.  This tomato tart is wonderful for a luncheon, summer supper, for company or for family.  Feta cheese and pesto give it its rich flavor.

Ingredients:

Pastry crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon each; dried thyme, dried basil, dried rosemary
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold)
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons ice water

Filling:

  • 3 - 4 ripe medium to large tomatoes.  For color I use one yellow tomato.  Slice tomato thin and drain on paper towels for 30 minutes, on each side.
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons bottled, prepared pesto
  • 3 ounces crumbled feta cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Fresh basil (optional)

Crust:

   In processor or by hand, combine flour, salt, thyme, basil and rosemary.  Blend.  Add cold butter pieces and process or cut in with pastry blender till resembles coarser meal.  Add water and mix till dough comes together in a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Roll dough out into a 13 inch circle.  Press into tart pan or pie plate.  Prick bottom of crust with a fork, line shell with foil.  Fill with some dried beans to weight down.  Bake in bottom of oven for 15 minutes.  Remove and brush crust with egg white.  Bake in oven for 5 minutes and remove.  Let cool a little.  Spread crust with pesto sauce.  Sprinkle with feta cheese.  Arrange tomatoes in a circle, over-lapping.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and crust is golden brown.  Brush with olive oil.  Garnish with some coarsely chopped fresh basil.


Company Cookout Recipes

Weekly cooking columnist Patricia has requested that staff recipes from the Area News Group summer cookout be shared with our readers this week.  After much discussion, the staff chose an appetizer and dessert to be shared with our readers.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups unsifted flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/12 teaspoons vanilla

   Grease and flour two 8 inch round cake pans.  Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, stir in mayonnaise.  Gradually add water and vanilla.  Pour into cake pans, dividing mixture evenly.  Cook approximately 40 minutes at 350 degrees.  Let cool in pan for 10 – 15 minutes.  After cooling turn cake over on flat side otherwise it will break.  Use your favorite chocolate frosting.

Summer Shrimp Appetizer

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs 16/20 raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp or orange peel
  • 1 Jar of Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

Heat the olive oil and spices (garlic, bay leaves, orange peel) in large skillet.  Add half of shrimp and cook approximately 2 minutes on each side or until the shrimp is white all the way through.  Complete with second half of shrimp.  Place shrimp and remaining sauce in bowl to cool.  Add lemon juice (equal to 2 lemon slices), pan drippings, and 1 tsp of yellow mustard to a whole jar of shrimp cocktail sauce.  Mix well.  Serve shrimp on a bed of lemon slices w/1 large sliced avocado.  Put cocktail sauce on the side for dipping.


Toasted Hazelnut Frozen Yogurt

   I love premium vanilla ice cream, but when I have to watch fat content, I use vanilla frozen yogurt (non-fat if I'm really watching calories). What's fun is using it as a base and mixing in fruits and flavorings. Below are listed 3 different flavor combinations that you can choose from.

  • 2 pints vanilla frozen yogurt, softened (non-fat yogurt if you wish OR vanilla ice cream)
  • 2/3 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur
  • chocolate syrup

   Leave ice cream out for 10-15 minutes to soften.

   In a small, dry skillet, toast hazelnuts over low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

   In a mini food processor or blender, grind nuts and brown sugar, scraping down sides as necessary, until mixture forms a thick paste. Place in a mixing bowl and stir in liqueur.

Add frozen yogurt to the bowl. Use a potato masher to mix in the nut paste. Cover and freeze for 15 minutes. When ready to serve scoop into dishes, and top with chocolate syrup.

   Peach Bourbon Frozen Yogurt: Combine 4 chopped peaches with 6 tablespoons bourbon and 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar. Add1/4 cup chopped pecans. Mix into vanilla frozen yogurt.

   Pineapple-Rum Frozen Yogurt: Combine two 8-oz. cans crushed pineapple, drained, with 6 tablespoons dark rum and 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes. Mix into vanilla frozen yogurt.  Top with toasted coconut (toast in dry skillet till golden, about 5 minutes.)


Grilled Swordfish with Pineapple-Chipotle Glaze

1 to 1 1/4 pounds swordfish for 4 servings

Spice-rub for fish:

   2 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander

   1 tablespoon paprika

   1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

   1 teaspoon brown sugar

   1/2 teaspoon each, salt & pepper

   Mix all in a small bowl and rub on each side of fish.  Grill over medium-hot coals or gas grill about 3 - 4 minutes each side, depending upon thickness.  About 30 seconds before done, brush each side with glaze.  Serve with additional glaze.

Pineapple-chipotle glaze:

   3 cups pineapple juice

   1 cup wine vinegar

   1/3 cup apricot preserves

   3 tablespoons minced chipotle peppers (you can find these packed in adobo sauce)

   1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano (or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano)

       In a small saucepan, combine pineapple juice and vinegar; bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until mixture has reduced to 1/2 cup, about 45 - 60 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add apricot preserves, stirring until dissolved.  Stir in peppers and oregano.  Season with a little salt.  Set aside.  (This will keep in refrigerator for two days if made ahead,)


Sugar Snap Pea & Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad (4 - 5 Servings)

   There is something about a summer day that is awesome.  No matter how old one gets, there is always that school-is-out feeling that you never get over.  And what would summer be without a picnic.  There's a spark of adventure in the very notion.  And picnics can be relaxing and comforting, even if it's under a tree in your back yard.  So fix some barbecued chicken to go along with this great salad, and indulge in some more memory-making.

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for cooking 8 ounces of bowtie pasta, al dente
  2. Meantime, make dressing.

   Ingredients:

  •    1/2 cup cottage cheese
  •    1/2 cup buttermilk
  •    1 tablespoon olive oil
  •    2 tablespoons dill (fresh is best, but dried dill can be used)
  •    2 tablespoons fresh or dried parsley
  •    2 1/2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  •    1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  •    1 teaspoon lemon juice
  •    Salt & pepper to taste 

   In a blender or mini food processor puree cottage cheese until smooth.  Add buttermilk and oil; process till smooth.

   Scrape into a storage container and stir in remainder of ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate.

       Cook, drain, and cool pasta.  Cook about a half-pound of fresh sugar snap peas in salted boiling water for no more than 60 seconds, so that they remain crisp-tender.  Rinse under cold water and drain well.  Place pasta and sugar snaps in a large container and toss with 2 cups of red and yellow cherry tomatoes that you have halved.  Add 4 chopped scallions.  Just before serving toss with dressing.  (The dressing and salad will keep in a refrigerator or cooler up to 8 hours.)


Stars & Stripes Parfaits

Serves 4

   Made with a creamy rice pudding mixture, these parfait desserts are cool and delicious.  The fresh red and blue berries, combined with the white pudding mixture, make this a nice dessert to celebrate July 4.  

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 cups strawberries (sliced) or raspberries
  • Whipped cream or whipped topping such as cool whip - optional

   In a saucepan, simmer rice, milk, cream and sugar, uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat.  Stir a small amount into egg yolks, than return all to pan.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for two minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla.  Cool.  Spoon half of the blueberries into four parfait glasses (or any tall clear glass).  Top with half of the rice pudding mixture and half of the strawberries or raspberries.  Repeat layers.  Top with whipped cream or whipped topping if you desire.

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