Monthly Archives: November 2009

Mary’s Memo #2138


If a cookbook contains a recipe I think I can't live without I'll probably buy the book. That happened awhile back when I bought Nathalie Dupree's Southern Memories because of a recipe for stir-fried cole slaw (MM 10/19/09) and it happened again when I saw Eggs Florentine in the Illinois Bed & Breakfast Cookbook, edited by Becky LeJune and published 3D Press. There are a total of ten books in the series and I'm assuming more states will be represented in the future. In this cookbook B&B owners from around Illinois share their favorite and most requested recipes.

Because of doing fresh produce demonstrations at the Bryan Chief, I'm especially interested in recipes containing fresh produce and whether it's practical for me to serve at the Chief and include in a memo. Regarding the Eggs Florentine recipe, I took the liberty of adding 2 cups fresh spinach instead of 1 cup and reduced-fat cream cheese instead of regular, also reduced-fat sour cream.


4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
8 eggs
12-ounces cottage cheese
8-ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
8-ounces reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (reduced-fat kind if available)

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9x13-inch glass dish with Pam. In large bowl, mix together the cooked bacon, eggs, cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream and flour. Wash the spinach well and chop coarsely and ad to mixture along with cheese. Pour into prepared dish. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with additional cheese before serving. Serve hot. Recipe makes 8 servings.

Source: Adapted from recipe in Illinois Bed & Breakfast Cookbook; 3D Press 2009; $21.95/spiral bound.

The next cookbook, 500 Best Sauces, Salad Dressings, Marinades & More by George Geary, impressed me because store-bought products contain unrecognizable and unfamiliar ingredients (also MSG that I deplore). Geary covers everything from white and red sauces, marinades and rubs to butters and spreads and dessert recipes. The author, former pastry chef for the Walt Disney Company, is the author of several cookbooks including The Cheesecake Bible, The Complete Baking Cookbook, 125 Best Cheesecake Recipes, 125 Best Biscuit Recipes and 125 Best Food Processor Recipes. He is a sought-after cooking teacher.

Stuffed olives add texture to Sharp Cheddar Spread and I like anything with stuffed olives! Just try and find a commercial spread or dip without MSG. That's another reason to make this homemade one for the holidays! SHARP CHEDDAR SPREAD

12-ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into 6 cubes
1/4 cup green olives with pimentos
2 tablespoons fresh dill (available in the produce department at Chief or Rays)
1/2 teaspoon capers, drained
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process Cheddar cheese, olives, dill, capers and salt until smooth, about 20 seconds. Place in a ramekin, cover and refrigerate 1 hour prior to use. Recipe makes 1 1/2 cups.

Source: Used with permission of Robert Rose, publisher of 500 Best Sauces, Salad Dressings, Marinades & More by George Geary; September 2009, $24.95/softcover.

Order from or look for cookbook at your favorite bookstore. Finally, The Entertaining Encyclopedia: Essential Tips and Recipes for Perfect Parties by Denise Vivaldo (Robert Rose; October 2009; Softcover/$24.95) goes back to basics for parties anyone can host. There are all kinds of ideas, menus and recipes for a cozy movie night or an exotic dinner party. Best of all, none require excessive time or unusual mail-order ingredients.


13x9 glass or ceramic casserole baking dish, generously buttered
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs, beate
n 1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound firm, ripe pears, peeled and chopped
4 cups Italian bread 1-inch cubes, crusts removed
2/3 cup caramel sauce, warmed
In large bowl, using electric mixer, beat flour, sugar, cinnamon, eggs, cream, butter, almond extract and vanilla until well combined. Fold in pears and bread. Pour into prepared baking dish, cover loosely with foil and let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325oF. Bake, covered, in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for about 15 minutes or until top is golden brown. Scoop into dessert dishes and drizzle with caramel sauce. Recipe makes 6 servings.

Source: Recipe from The Entertaining Encyclopedia by Denise Vivaldo (Robert Rose, September 2009, Softcover/$24.95).


I've already started buying Christmas baking supplies when they're on sale. Make a list of the foods you plan to serve during the holiday ahead and then buy accordingly! I guarantee that just about everything (if not all) will be on sale so take advantage of the savings you'll make by shopping early. Download PDF of Memo #2138

Mary’s Memo #2137


Published this month by Chronicle Books, The New Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan gives you creative recipes for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, wherever you live! This cookbook covers the entire meal including appetizers, soups and salads, main course entrees, stuffing, casseroles, side dishes, desserts and even recipes for the day after. There'll be no famous green bean casserole on Morgan's table Thanksgiving Day. Instead she'll be serving Green Beans with Lemon Butter Bread Crumbs and Toasted Almonds. The green beans can be blanched one day in advance. Spread the cooled beans on dry paper towels, roll up jelly-roll style and place in sealed plastic bag. Remove from refrigerator 2 hours before sauteing. The panko topping and toasted almonds can also be prepared a day ahead.


5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3/4 cup panko dried bread crumbs
Zest of one lemon
Kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted

In a small skillet over medium heat melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the panko crumbs and toast. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Fill a large saucepan two-thirds full of water over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Add the beans and cook about 2 minutes until bright green and still very crisp. Meanwhile fill a large bowl two-thirds full of ice water. Using a slotted spoon, immediately transfer beans to the ice water. Let cool in water two minutes and drain thoroughly, blot dry with paper towels and set aside. In 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and swirl to coat pan. Add the green beans and saute, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes until the beans are heated through and crisp-tender. Add lemon juice and almonds and saute 1 minute longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl. Sprinkle with panko topping and serve immediately. Recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.

It's regrettable that in this age of casual dining most children will never experience a tea party. That's what attracted me to Princess Tea by Janeen A. Sarlin and Noelle Shipley. Also published by Chronicle Books, Princess Tea is full of fun and festive ideas about staging a tea party that little girls will never forget! Color photos make it easy to make decorations and dainty edibles like Fishy Tuna Sandwiches.


2 10-ounce cans olive oil packed tuna fish, drained
1 to 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 to 3 scallions, minced
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon pickle relish, drained

2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
12 thin slices whole wheat bread
About 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 to 3 pimiento-stuffed olives cut into thin slices

With a fork, break up the chunks of tuna into medium mixing bowl. Season to taste with lemon juice; add the scallions, a pinch of salt, a grinding of pepper and the pickle relish. Stir in just enough mayonnaise to bind mixture together. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Cover and refrigerate. Using a cookie cutter, cut bread into fish shapes. Butter each of the fish, spreading to the edge of the bread. Spread an even layer of tuna salad out to the edge of half the fish, cover with another fish and gently press together. Cover with a damp cloth, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time. Just before serving, position an olive slice on each fish to resemble an eye and arrange on platter.

Source: Above recipes used with permission of Chronicle Books. The New Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan is a hardback for $24.95. Princess Tea, also a hardback, sells for $19.95. Order from, or buy at your favorite book store.


It's safer to bake stuffing outside the bird, something I've been doing for several years. I love any kind of dressing including this one made with wild rice.


1 cup wild rice (3 cups when cooked)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups day old bread cubes
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups beef stock (I use Swanson brand)
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 8-ounce can mushroom stems and pieces, drained

Wash rice three times or until water comes of clear. Drop rice in 4 quarts boiling water. Simmer 20 minutes (do not stir). Add salt. Saute celery and onion in butter until soft. Mix rice, bread cubes, celery, onion and broth together. Season with sage and add mushrooms to mixture. Spoon into 2 1/2 to 3-quart casserole dish sprayed with Pam. Bake in preheated 325F oven until set, about 45 minutes. Recipe makes 8 servings.

PS: My herb bed is in a protected area and if you still have fresh herbs like parsley, sage, thyme and rosemary, stuff sprigs inside the turkey and remove before carving.

Although I'm trying to do things "green" I roast turkey in a disposable pan. Just be sure when the turkey is done to slip an aluminum cookie sheet under the foil container so it won't buckle when removed from the oven. Download PDF of Memo #2137

Mary’s Memo #2136


You don't have to be a cowboy to find many good recipes in Cooking the Cowboy Way: Inspired by Campfires, Chuck Wagons and Ranch Kitchens (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $29.99, October 2009). Authors Grady Spears and June Naylor take us on a journey across the continent to amazing places full of food, history and the people who have an appreciation for the land. From the Lone Star State to the Grand Canyon State, and from Florida to Canada, cowboys have a way with the land and the food that comes from it. On the menu at the Perini Ranch Steakhouse, a working ranch at Buffalo Gap, Texas, treat yourself to Tom's Ranch Beans made the old fashioned way.

1 pound dried pinto beans
4 ounces salt pork
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 jalapeno, sliced (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Rinse beans and remove any stones or dirt. Cut the pork into thin strips and rinse. In a large pot, combine the beans, pork, garlic, salt and chili powder and cover with water. Boil over medium heat until the beans are tender, about 2 hours. The beans should always be covered with water, so add hot water as you're cooking if necessary. When the beans are tender add the jalapeno and the cilantro. Allow the beans to sit for about 30 minutes to absorb these flavors before serving. From the Taylor Ranch, Marfa, Texas, near Big Bend National Park, Apple-Walnut Slaw fits right in with Northwest Ohio cooking.

4 Granny Smith apples, cored and julienne sliced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup red gapes, halved
1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted
3 green onions, green and white parts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and fresh ground black pepper 1/2 cup creamy blue cheese salad dressing Toss apples with the fresh lemon juice so the apples don't turn brown. Mix all remaining ingredients together with the apples in a large mixing bowl, adjusting the seasonings to taste. Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Source: Above recipes from Cooking The Cowboy Way by Grady Spears with June Naylor (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $29.99, October 2009.

Just in time for the holidays, author Denise Vivaldo shares 200 tested recipes and even more party ideas and tips in The Entertaining Encyclopedia: Essential Tips and Recipes for Perfect Parties (Robert Rose; October 209; Softcover/$24.95). The Entertaining Encyclopedia has everything needed to put together a great event as well as enjoy the process!

LA-based, Denise Vivaldo has been educating people on all things culinary for more than 20 years. She has been featured in Coastal Living, First for Women, Martha Stewart Christmas magazines and on HGTV, The Food Network and the Learning Channel.

The cookbook contains practical sides like Red Cabbage and Apples, the perfect accompaniment for pork this fall.


4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 green apples, chopped
1 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup red wine
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
Salt and fresh ground pepper In large heavy saucepan, saute bacon over medium heat until about halfway cooked. Add onion and saute about 3 minutes or until soft. Stir in apples, cabbage, brown sugar, wine, vinegar and caraway seeds (if using); bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or until cabbage is very tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. (If there is still quite a bit of liquid in the pan after 1 hour, let simmer uncovered until liquid is gone.) Season with salt and pepper.

Source: The Entertaining Encyclopedia; Essential Tips for Perfect Parties by Denise Vivaldo (Robert Rose; October 2009; Softcover/$24.95).


Diane Grimes tells me that 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained, is missing from Cowboy Salsa on the September 14 Mary's Memo. She also told me that a friend entered the recipe in a contest and won first prize.


Here's another reason for eating your vegetables: A nutrient abundant in vegetables, glutamic acid, may be linked to lower blood pressure. In a globe-spanning study of 4,680 patents, researchers found a consistent relationship between glutamic acid intake and blood pressure. Glutamic acid is one of the most abundant amino acids in the human diet. To assess its possible effect on blood pressure, the researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of patients, ages 40 to 59, from 17 random population samples in China, Japan, the UK and the US. The subjects' blood pressure was measured eight times over four visits. Dietary information was obtained from questionnaires and two urine collections. Though other amino acids also were measured, glutamic acid showed the strongest relationship to lower blood pressure.

Source: Tufts Health&Nutrition Letter, October 2009. Download PDF of Memo #2136

Mary’s Memo #2135


Readers on special diets often ask me about cookbooks related to their health problem. So I'm excited to report that Bake Deliciously Gluten and Dairy Free Cookbook by Jean Duane (Alternative Cook, May 2009, $24.95) is must reading for those with Celiac disease, gluten or dairy intolerance, food allergies, Autism, ADD, Crohn's disease, asthma, IBS, ADHD, Aspergers or anyone looking for a healthier approach to baking. The book also has many money-saving tips as well as a host of baking techniques unique to gluten and dairy-free baking.


4 cups puffed corn cereal
1 T. (gluten-free) Cajun seasoning (Chief and Rays have Luzianne brand)
Spray-on olive oil

Preheat oven to 300F. Spread cereal on a cookie sheet. Generously spray with oil. Sprinkle Cajun seasoning to coat corn. Bake 10 minutes. Source: Baking Deliciously by Jean Duane.

Next we have two cookbooks dedicated to pasta cooking including 250 True Italian Pasta Dishes: Easy & Authentic Recipes Inspired by Quartino Ristorante Pizzeria Wine Bar by John Coletta with Nancy Ross Ryan (Robert Rose; September 2009, Softcover/$24.95) and Giuliano Hazon's Thirty Minute Pasta 100 Quick and Easy Recipes (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; September 2009, Hardback/$27.50). Coletta and Ryan have included an abundance of recipes for many different kinds of pasta such as Penne with Tomatoes.


3 T. extra virgin oil
1 tsp. sliced garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
6 hand-torn basil leaves (available at Chief and Rays)
1 T. salt
1 lb. dried penne
6 T. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided

In a covered pasta pot large enough to hold 6 quarts of water and pasta, bring to a rapid boil. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring until garlic is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove garlic and discard. Add tomatoes and basil. Stir, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tomatoes are soft and tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. While sauce is simmering, add 1 tablespoon salt and penne to the boiling water and cook, uncovered, and over high heat until pasta is al dente. Scoop out about 1 cup of pasta cooking water and set aside; drain pasta. Return saute pan with tomatoes to high heat and add 2 tablespoons pasta water.Stir and heat through. Add penne and, using a wooden spoon, toss to coat evenly, adding more pasta water if necessary. Add half the cheese and toss well. Transfer to a large serving platter and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Serve immediately. Recipe makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: 259 True Italian Pasta Dishes by John Coletta with Nancy Ross Ryan.

Winner of the IACP Cooking Teacher of the Year Award, Giuliano Hazan and Thirty Minute Pasta bring Italy to home kitchens everywhere. With Hazen's guidance anyone can create an inspired Italian meal without spending hours in the kitchen. To prove it, try Fusilli with Sausage and Zucchini, a tasty budget-saving entree.


1/2 medium onion
3 T. butter
8-oz. plain pork sausage
12-oz. zucchini
1 lb. fresh tomatoes
1 lb. fusilli
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Fill a pot with about 6 quarts of water, place over high heat and bring to a boil. Peel and finely chop the onion. Put the butter in a 12-inch skillet, add chopped onion and place over medium-high heat. Saute until onion just begins to turn a rich golden color, about 5 minutes. While onion is sauteing, remove casing from the sausage and break up into pieces. When onion is ready, add the sausage to the pan. Break the sausage up into small pieces with a wooden spoon and cook, stirring often until the sausage is lightly browned. While sausage is cooking, wash zucchini, remove ends, cut into quarters lengthwise and then cut across into ?-inch chunks. When sausage is lightly browned, add zucchini. Season lightly with salt and cook until the zucchini begins to brown and is mostly tender, 6 to 8 minutes. While zucchini is cooking peel tomatoes and coarsely chop them. When zucchini is ready, add tomatoes, season lightly with salt and cook until most of the liquid the tomatoes release has evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. When tomatoes are halfway done, add about 2 tablespoons salt to boiling pasta water, add fusilli and stir well. Cook until al dente. When the pasta is done, drain well and toss with tomato sauce and grated cheese. Serve at once. Recipe makes 4 servings.

Source: Thirty Minute Pasta, 100 Quick and Easy Recipes by Giuliano Hazen.


It's fairly easy to avoid gluten in obvious products such as bakery goods that use wheat, but gluten can be found in some unlikely places such as vinegar, soy sauce, snack foods with seasonings, lunch meats, beer, some frostings and candy, maltodextrin and dextrin (common additives) and some gravies and instant cocoas. Check packaged foods for the gluten-free symbol (a bundle of wheat inside a circle with a line across the wheat). Download PDF of Memo #2135

Mary’s Memo #2134


With the arrival of November my thoughts turn to the holidays ahead, both Thanksgiving and Christmas. During the weeks ahead I'll be telling you about a variety of cookbooks suitable for gift-giving. "Comfort food" means different things to different people but I think we'd all agree that the phrase evokes a warm fuzzy feeling in the majority of us and author Judith Finlayson is counting on her latest cookbook, Slow Cooker Comfort Food: 275 Soul Satisfying Recipes, being welcomed by all who yearn for the simple things of life. Judith Finlayson's other slow cooker books have sold 750,000 copies. She is also the author of 125 Best Rotisserie Oven Recipes, The Convenience Cook and the Complete Whole Grains Cookbook. Published by Robert Rose; September 2009; softcover/$24.95, Finlayson provides the reader with an array of recipes such as Old Fashioned Beef Stew with Mushrooms. Can a food be more comforting than this one? I think not!


2 pounds trimmed stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes and patted dry
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 onions, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
12-ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef stock

Finely chopped parsley In a plastic bag, dredge beef in flour until evenly coated. Set excess flour aside. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add beef, in batches, and cook, stirring until lightly browned on all sides, about 4 minutes per batch, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer to 5-quart slow cooker as completed. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining tablespoon of oil to pan. Add onions, celery and carrots and cook, stirring until carrots are softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, bay leaves, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add reserved flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and toss until coated. Add wine, bring to a boil and cook, stirring and scraping up brown bits from pan, for 2 minutes. Stir in stock and bring to a boil. Transfer to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours, until beef is very tender. Remove and discard bay leaves. Garnish liberally with parsley. Serve on mashed potatoes. Recipe makes 6 servings.

Source: Recipe from Slow Cooker Comfort Foods by Judith Finlayson (Robert Rose, September 2009, softcover/$24.95). Look for cookbook at your favorite bookstore or order from

The next book is The Berghoff Cafe Cookbook, Berghoff Family Recipes for Simple, and Satisfying Food by Carlyn Berghoff with Nancy Ross Ryan (Andrews McMeel Publishing, fall 2009; hardback/$24.95). Carlyn Berghoff McClure, a 4th generation Berghoff, was also the author of The Berghoff Family Cookbook: From Our Table to Yours, Celebrating a Century of Entertaining, a cookbook I gave to my sister-in-law, Marty, since her maternal grandmother's maiden name was Berghoff. She was the daughter of

Henry, one of the Berghoff brothers who resided in Fort Wayne. Family is important to the Berghoff clan including Berghoff relatives still living in Germany. In the past they celebrated their heritage every five years and Marty and my brother along with Marty's family attended these events wherever they were held. The last one was in Chicago.

Founded in 1898 by Herman Berghoff, the Berghoff Cafe in Chicago has come to symbolize the American Dream and the joy that comes from sharing food with family and friends. Although Herman Berghoff, Carlyn's great grandfather, was born in Germany, he lived in Chicago throughout his life in America. But the beer he served with the restaurant's corned beef sandwiches was Berghoff beer made in Fort Wayne.

Talk about comfort food, The Berghoff Cafe cookbook's 80 recipes plus variations represent the full range of food that work in the restaurant as well as the home. Color photography and interesting historical and cooking-related sidebars complete the book. Coleslaw or some form of shredded cabbage with dressing has been eaten since ancient Rome. But coleslaw as we know it was not invented until the 18th century when mayonnaise first made its appearance. This is the original Berghoff Cafe recipe from 1914. It keeps up to 4 days and only gets better with age!


3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 pound finely shredded green cabbage
1 cup finely shredded carrots
1 cup finely shredded red cabbage

In a 4-quart bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and Dijon mustard until the sugar dissolves. Add the green cabbage, carrots and red cabbage. Toss until well mixed and coated with dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap for at least 2 hours before serving. Recipe serves 8.

Source: The Berghoff Cafe Cookbook by Carlyn Berghoff; Andrew McMeel Publishing, fall 2009, hardback/$24.99. Buy at your favorite bookstore or


Phyto is the Greek word for plant so phytochemicals are the chemical compounds that form naturally in plants. Although we usually think of chemicals as being unhealthy, these are good chemicals that our bodies need, explains Lane Bower, RD, CDN, a dietitian at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. "Eating fruits and vegetables is no longer just about getting vitamins and minerals." Bower explains the actions of phytochemicals in this way: "How does a fruit or vegetable stay alive when it has to fight weather, bugs and other environmental hazards that may prevent it from achieving maturity? The phytochemicals function as a sort of armor that protects them. When we eat foods that contain phytochemicals, they help protect us as well." Bower advises consuming a wide variety of differently colored fruits and vegetables. Also go for whole foods, not pills to get your phytochemicals.

Source: Weil Cornell Medical College Food & Fitness Advisor, October 2009. Download PDF of Memo #2134