Mary’s Memo #2161


Even though it’s advisable for all of us to reduce the amount of sodium we consume, like peanut butter and jelly, some combinations are made for each other! Salty Sweets by Christie Matheson, is the first cookbook to bring the phenomenon home. Published by Harvard Common Press, Salty Sweets offers 75 delectable ways to enjoy this tasty twosome, proving that salty sweets don’t have to be complicated to be good. Take Sweet and Salty Pecans, for example: they’re easy to make and great for snacking, on ice cream, in cookie recipes or even as a topping for salads.


2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons water
1 cup pecan pieces

Combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and water in a small bowl; stir to dissolve. Place pecans in a large skillet over medium heat. Pour the sugar mixture over the pecans and stir to coat. Continue stirring as the mixture heats up and starts to bubble; let it cook until the moisture is almost gone, 5 to 7 minutes. Keep an eye on it and don’t let the water cook off completely. Remove from heat and spread on a baking sheet to cool. Let cool completely before using in recipes or eat out of hand as soon as they are cool enough! The nuts will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Recipe makes about 1 cup.

Source: Salty Sweets by Christie Matheson; Harvard Common Press, $19.95. Order from


A woman called recently and wanted a simple broccoli soup recipe but not a highly seasoned one. I replaced half and half with evaporated milk.


1 10-ounce package frozen chopped broccoli
3 cups milk
2 cups cubed American cheese
2 chicken bouillon cubes
½ cup flour
1 cup evaporated milk

Thaw broccoli and drain well. Combine milk, cheese, bouillon and flour in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into saucepan and over medium heat cook until thickened, stirring frequently. Add thawed broccoli and evaporated milk. Continue cooking until heated thoroughly. Leftover cooked ham can also be added.


Fresh Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins are made for springtime eating no matter what meal they’re served


2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
½ cup finely sliced rhubarb
½ cup sliced fresh strawberries

6 small fresh strawberries, halved

Preheat oven to 400oF. Line muffin cups with paper baking cups. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In a large bowl, combine flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder and salt. In small bowl, combine milk, oil and egg; mix well. Add to dry ingredients; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in rhubarb and strawberries. Fill paper cups ¾ full. Top each with a strawberry half and sprinkle sugar on top. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from muffin tin. Recipe makes 1 dozen.

Source: Pillsbury recipe.


Q: I’ve been making a peanut butter cookie with Crisco for years and suddenly, they’re not turning out right.
A: Crisco no longer contains trans-fats and I think the new formula might be causing the problem. To verify, I called Proctor and Gamble at 1-800-766-7309. Crisco has been around since 1911 and was the first shortening to be made entirely from vegetable oil. Trans-fats were removed from Crisco three years ago and yes, removal could cause a cookie to run rather than set up. I asked the P&G representative how to adjust the recipe if that’s the problem. She personally adds 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup more flour per cookie recipe. She also suggested checking out Crisco’s web site at I did and in addition to recipes there is information about all Crisco products and how to sign up for their weekly or monthly e-Newsletter.

For other questions about Crisco do call their 1-800 number. I can’t tell you how often I use food company 1-800 numbers. Stay on the line until you can talk to a “real” person, not a recording.
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