Go over the rainbow with these dishes

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Central Junior High School has just finished this year's production of "The Wizard of Oz." It was a spectacular show, as you would expect under the direction of Mike Dumey. Hundreds of hours were spent by dozens of volunteers, cast and crew to see that the show was better than could be imagined. The costumes and set were over the top this year, and special work done by lighting and sound people made the show so much more enjoyable.

In thinking about the play, I remembered my Wizard of Oz cookbook tucked away in our daughter's large collection of Wizard of Oz collectables. The cookbook, "The Wizard of Oz Cookbook: Breakfast in Kansas, Dessert in Oz," is a great walk-through of the movie version, and I just had to share a few things from that today.

Hats off to everyone who participated in any way to see that the show went on; and how well it did, in the grandest of style. Congratulations!

Auntie Em's Crullers

At the beginning of the show, the farm hands are in the barnyard with Dorothy and Aunt Em brings in some fresh crullers because "you can't work on an empty stomach."

1 envelope or 1/4-ounce dry yeast

3 tablespoons warm water

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

3/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or for nuttier-flavored crullers, substitute 1/4 cup whole wheat flour for 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

2 quarts vegetable oil for frying

Honey or confectioners' sugar

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add granulated sugar and let stand until yeast bubbles, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile gently heat milk, sour cream, honey and brown sugar. Do not boil. Stir eggs into yeast mixture, and then stir in warm milk mixture. Add remaining ingredients and beat with an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours. Heat oil to 350 degrees in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. On a floured surface, roll golf-ball-sized pieces of dough into 5-inch lengths using floured hands; dough will be sticky. Then twist and pitch edges to seal. Lower crullers one at a time into hot oil and fry about 3 to 4 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve with warm honey or sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 1 /2 dozen crullers.

Lemon Drop Muffins

When Dorothy sings the famous song, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," the words are "Someday I'll wish upon a star, And wake up where the clouds are far behind me, Where troubles melt like lemon drops ..."

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper. Beat butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add lemon juice, zest and vanilla bean seeds. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk and dry ingredients alternately into butter mixture until they are incorporated into a smooth batter. Spoon into muffin pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

Horse of a Different Color Jell-O

At the Emerald City, the Horse of a Different Color makes his appearance. In the movie version, six white horses were sponged down with green, blue, orange, red, yellow and violet Jell-O powder. This worked great, but in between scenes the horses usually managed to lick off most of the Jell-O.

2 (3-ounce) packages lime Jell-O

1 (3-ounce) package grape Jell-O

3/4 cup sour cream

1 ripe banana, peeled and thinly sliced

1 (8-ounce) can pineapple chunks, rinsed and drained

Prepare 1 package lime Jell-O according to package instructions for molding. Pour immediately into a 2-quart mold. Let cool in freezer while preparing the second layer. Prepare grape Jell-O and pour over layer of lime Jell-O when lime is firm to the touch. Let cool in freezer to set the second layer. Meanwhile, prepare the third layer. In a medium bowl, mix 1 package lime Jell-O with 1 1/4 cups boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in sour cream. Fold in fruit. Pour over second layer. Let mold set in refrigerator for several hours or overnight. To unmold, run knife around edges. Dip bottom of mold in warm water for 30 seconds. Place plate on top of mold and turn over. Shake gently to unmold. Makes 12 servings.

Beautiful Blondies

When the main characters arrive inside Emerald City, they get all fancied up to get ready to meet with the Wizard. Dorothy has her own beautician to make her even more beautiful with the promise to "dye my eyes to match my gown."

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

9 ounces white chocolate chips

Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and light brown sugar until creamy. Add eggs and continue to beat until well blended. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Stir until incorporated. Fold in remaining ingredients and spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until cake is golden brown. Let cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Makes 24 squares.

Homeward Bound Berry Pear Crumble

Throughout the cookbook, the story unfolds page by page, with lines from the movie and recipes to go with the lines. The last recipe in the book is from Dorothy reciting over and over again, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home."

3 medium pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

1/2 pint raspberries

1 pint blueberries, washed and stems removed

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup sugar

Topping:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

Grease a 2 1/2 quart baking dish. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, gently toss fruit with vanilla bean seeds, lemon juice and sugar. Arrange evenly in baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together ingredients for topping. Sprinkle over top of fruit. Bake for about 30 minutes, until top is golden and pears are cooked. Makes 6 servings.

This is especially good served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

The curtain closes once again on another fabulous Central Junior High School production. And if I were a betting person, I would say that Mike Dumey is already thinking about next year.

I'm all out of room, so have a great week and, 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. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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