Mary’s Memo #2221

     I haven’t read a Culinary Institute of America cookbook that I didn’t like and the newest, Cooking for One, by Mark and Lisa Erickson, is no exception! For countless people, cooking for one is a fact of daily living. While it might appear to be a daunting task, with some key strategies and a bit of creativity, cooking for one can become a fun and rewarding
activity. Chefs Mark and Lisa Erickson, both Culinary Institute of America alumni, have not only assembled an impressive collection of recipes and techniques but Cooking for One shows you how to plan and create satisfying meals which are as simple to prepare as they are delicious! They’ve also followed the seasons taking full advantage of the bounty of ingredients available throughout the year.
     Summer recipes include Mediterranean Rice Salad with Spinach. This salad can easily become an entrée with the addition of a few cubes of feta cheese and slices of tomato and cucumber on the side.


3/4 cup rice, preferably basmati1 small scallion with 2 inches green top, thinly sliced1 tablespoon currants1-1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice1/4 teaspoon lemon zestSalt and ground pepper as needed1 teaspoon toasted pine nuts     Combine the rice, scallions and currants in a bowl. Set aside. Heat 1/2 teaspoon olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and cook, stirring until just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, lightly squeezing out excess moisture. Add the drained spinach to the rice. Whisk remaining teaspoon of olive oil together with the lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then pour over the rice-spinach mixture. Toss to coat evenly and adjust seasoning if needed. Sprinkle the salad with toasted pine nuts. Serve at once. Source: Culinary Institute of America Cooking for One by Mark and Lisa Erikson, Lebhar-Friedman Books, 2011, $24.95/soft back.

      Many of you are familiar with Anne Byrn, the Cake Mix Doctor, and her series of award winning cookbooks featuring recipes that start with a cake mix. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that she has her own cake mixes now, Anne’s OldFashioned Yellow Cake Mix and Anne’s Deep Dark Chocolate Cake Mix. Her cake mixes contain only the best ingredients (just 5 or 6) with no additives, but they cannot be called “all natural” because she’s used bleached flour instead of unbleached. Anne thinks bleached flour is an essential ingredient in light cakes. For more information on how to order the cake mixes send questions or comments to or call toll free 1-855-225-3649.

      I see a lot in the Bryan produce department, some
of it good and some of it appalling! First, I never tasted grapes or cherries before the e-coli scare because I don’t taste anything without washing it first. But many of you do and seem to think that rubbing a grape or cherry with your fingers makes it safe to eat but not me! A company called Joseph Joseph has a colander that I bought recently that hooks onto my double sink divider and it’s even better than a strainer because it hangs over the sink, not in it. For other fruits and vegetables I could not be without a vegetable brush and I run the brush through the dishwasher frequently.
      I haven’t done sprouts, alfalfa or bean, for a long time and they’ve been implicated in an outbreak that has killed 31 people and sickened nearly 3,100 in Europe. Though they add a nice crunch and are loaded with protein and vitamins, they carry a real risk. To be safe, cook or stir-fry them.


     Have this dessert in the freezer for unexpected company. Ice cream is always good but Ice Cream Dessert is even better!


1/2 cup butter (1 stick)1/2 to 1/3 cup slivered almonds1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar1 cup flaked coconut1-1/2 cups Rice Chex®, crushed fine2 quarts vanilla ice cream, softened     Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Lightly brown the almonds in butter. Add brown sugar and stir until melted. Add coconut and crushed Rice Chex®. Pat half the mixture into 2-quart oblong dish. Spoon softened ice cream evenly over crumbs. Top with remaining crumb mixture. Cover with foil ands freeze 24 hours. Recipe makes 12 servings. Download PDF of Memo #2221

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