Clearing out some older recipes

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

July is over, the summer school break is winding down and our children are ready to go back to school. They have had a busy and wonderful vacation, but I think they are ready for a routine and schedule again. Or maybe it's just me.

We have gone shopping for school supplies and their backpacks are ready to go. So now we just get ready by going to bed on time and getting up earlier to get used to the schedule. We look forward to another great year.

Once in a while I have to clean out some mail and share recipes that have been sent in and held for a while. Today there is dessert, entr*es and salad. Enjoy these and be sure to send in your favorite recipes to share with other readers.

Blueberry Pound Cake

1/2 cup butter

3 eggs

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

4 cups fresh blueberries

1 cup milk

Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a 10-inch tube pan; set aside. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until mixture is well combined. Beat in eggs. Stir blueberries into flour mixture. By hand, stir blueberry mixture into butter mixture. Stir in milk just until combined. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 60 to 75 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen cake from edge of pan with a narrow metal spatula. Remove cake from pan; cool completely on wire rack. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Taco-Seasoned Chicken Salad with Crispy Tortilla Topping

Enjoy a twist on traditional chicken salad in a recipe featuring fresh Mexican flavors and crisp tortilla strips.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 flour tortillas for soft tacos and fajitas (from 10.5-ounce package), cut into thin strips

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips

1 package (1.25 ounces) taco seasoning mix

1/4 cup water

4 cups mixed salad greens

1 medium tomato, chopped (3/4 cup)

1 small onion, chopped (about 1/3 cup)

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained, rinsed

1/4 cup ranch dressing

1 cup shredded cheese (4 ounces)

Thick 'n Chunky salsa

In 10-inch skillet, heat one tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add tortilla strips; cook six to eight minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp and golden brown. Remove from skillet; set aside. In same skillet, add remaining tablespoon oil and the chicken; cook and stir over medium-high heat until chicken is no longer pink in center. Stir in taco seasoning and water; cook two to four minutes, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, in large bowl, gently toss salad greens, tomato, onion, beans and dressing. Spoon the salad mixture onto individual serving plates. Arrange chicken over salad; sprinkle with cheese and tortilla strips. Serve with salsa. Makes four servings.

Island Fruit Salad

2 medium ripe bananas, sliced

1 medium mango, peeled and cubed

4 kiwifruit, peeled and cubed

1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened pineapple tidbits, drained

1 carton (6 ounces) Yoplait pina colada yogurt

1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted

In a large serving bowl, combine the bananas, mango, kiwi, pineapple and yogurt; toss to coat. Sprinkle with coconut. Serve with a slotted spoon. Yield: 8 servings.

Coconut Tart

This coconut tart is a diabetic recipe, but would be a great treat for everyone.

1 cup cornflakes, crushed

1 can (3 1/2 ounces) sweetened flaked coconut

2 egg whites

1 can (15 1/4 ounces) pineapple chunks in juice

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 packets sugar substitute or equivalent of 4 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)

1 mango, peeled and thinly sliced

1 medium banana, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Combine cornflakes, coconut and egg whites in medium bowl; toss gently to blend. Place coconut mixture in prepared pan; press firmly to cover bottom and half-inch up side of pan. Bake eight minutes or until edge begins to brown. Cool completely on wire rack. Drain pineapple, reserving pineapple juice. Combine pineapple juice and cornstarch in small saucepan; stir until cornstarch is dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cool completely. Stir in sugar substitute and coconut extract, if desired. Combine pineapple, mango slices and banana slices in medium bowl. Spoon into pan; drizzle with pineapple juice mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate two hours. Garnish with pineapple leaves, if desired.

Mixed-Berry Chiffon Cake with Almond Cream Cheese Frosting

The crust can be made 24 hours in advance, if desired.

Almond cream filling:

1 cup half-and-half

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 large eggs

1/2 (7-ounce) roll almond paste (scant 1/2 cup packed)

Diced 6 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker's)

finely chopped 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

2/3 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

Cake:

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

5 large eggs, separated

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1 cup raspberry preserves

Almond cream cheese frosting:

2 1/2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon almond extract

Assorted fresh berries (such as strawberries and blueberries)

Currant jelly, warmed

For almond cream filling: Pour half and half into medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean and bring cream to simmer. Remove from heat; cover and steep 15 minutes. Blend sugar and flour in medium bowl. Whisk in eggs, then warm half-and-half mixture; return to same pan. Add almond paste. Whisk over medium heat until almond paste dissolves and custard boils, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate and butter; whisk until melted and smooth. Press plastic wrap onto custard; chill three hours. Remove vanilla bean. Beat cream to peaks; fold into custard in three additions. Cover; chill at least six hours. This can be made two days ahead; keep chilled.

For cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour two 10-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Sift flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt into large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup lukewarm water into dry ingredients; beat in oil, egg yolks, both extracts and peel. Using clean dry beaters, beat whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff but not dry. Fold whites into batter in three additions. Measure 4 2/3 cups batter into 1 prepared pan and 3 1/3 cups batter into second pan. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes for thinner cake and 30 minutes for larger cake. Cool cakes in pans on racks 10 minutes. Cut around cakes and turn out onto racks; cool completely. Place thinner cake on 9-inch-diameter tart pan bottom. Spread with 1/2 cup preserves, leaving 1/2-inch plain border. Spoon 1 and 1/2 cups filling in dollops atop preserves; spread evenly. Chill until filling is firm, about 15 minutes. Cut larger cake horizontally in half. Place one half, cut side down, atop chilled filling. Spread with 1/2 cup preserves, leaving 1/2-inch plain border. Spoon 1 1/2 cups filling in dollops atop preserves; spread evenly. Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down . Cover cake and remaining filling; chill three hours.

For almond cream cheese frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, sugar and both extracts in large bowl to blend. Beat in 3/4 cup remaining filling. Spread one cup frosting thinly over sides and top of cake. Spread cake with remaining frosting, building high rim around top edge. Can be made one day ahead. Cover with cake dome and chill. Mound berries on top of cake. Brush top of berries with warm jelly to glaze. Serve immediately, or chill up to six hours.

I know this last recipe looks time consuming, but I think it would be well worth it.

I am all out of room, and I hope you have a terrific week. So, until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at smcclanahan@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701.

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