Recipe Swap: Satisfying readers' recipe requests

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Recipe requests seem to come in spurts. I'll go a long time without a request, then get several in one week. This week it seemed like every time I turned around there was someone needing a recipe they were hoping to make. I hope these recipes fulfill the need of those looking and entice others to try them.

'Dilly' Green Beans

Scott Sprandel shared with me how he enjoys pickled vegetables, especially wax beans and okra. He asked if I could share a couple of recipes so he might make his own canned beans.

4 pounds table-perfect whole green beans

1 3/4 teaspoons crushed dried hot red peppers

3 1/2 teaspoons dried dill seed, or 7 fresh dill heads

7 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled

5 cups vinegar

5 cups water

1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon pickling (noniodized) salt

Wash beans thoroughly, remove stems and tips, and cut them as much as possible in uniform lengths to allow them to stand upright in 1-pint canning jars, coming to the shoulder of the jar. Have jars clean and very hot, and lids and sealers ready in scalding water. In each jar place 1 dill head or 1/2 teaspoon dill seed, add 1 garlic clove and 1/4 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper. Pack beans upright in jars, leaving 1 inch of headroom. Heat together the water, vinegar and salt. When the mixture boils, pour it over the beans, filling each jar to 1/2-inch from the top. Run a table knife down and around to remove trapped air, adjust lids, and process in a boiling-water bath, 212 degrees, for 10 minutes after the water in the center returns to boiling. Remove jars, complete seals if necessary. Makes 7 pints. Note: If you substitute ground cayenne pepper for the crushed hot red pepper, halve the amount of cayenne: Use only 1/8 teaspoon cayenne to each jar. Wait at least two weeks for these beans to develop their flavor.

Dandelion Salad

I happened upon Pat Renard in a store and she asked if I could share a recipe for dandelion salad. I have never made dandelion salad but found that all recipes were simple ingredients with a variety of dressings. Some included hard-cooked eggs, bacon crumbles and tomatoes, while others included fresh ripe mango and blue cheese. Here are a couple for you to try.

3 cups dandelion leaves

2 thin slices red onion, separated into rings

On a sunny day, grab a basket and venture out on a foraging expedition. Be sure to choose dandelion leaves from areas that have never been sprayed, and are at least six feet from roadways, to avoid heavy metal contamination. When you have about 3 cups of young, tender leaves, bring them indoors and wash them gently. Serve, chilled if you like and topped with onion, along with the following dressing:

Zippy Salad Dressing

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons flaxseed oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon anise seed (optional)

2 teaspoons fresh peppermint, chopped

2 teaspoons tamari

2 1/2 teaspoons honey mustard or miso

Combine all ingredients and whisk thoroughly to blend.

Dandelion Salad with Cooked Dressing

4 slices bacon, cut in small pieces

About 2 cups chopped new dandelion leaves

2 hard boiled eggs, sliced or chopped

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup cream or milk

1 egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon flour

Toss together chopped dandelion, chopped onion and fried bacon pieces. Set aside. In skillet, warm butter and cream until butter melts. Beat egg and then add salt, pepper, vinegar, sugar and flour. Blend the egg mixture into the slightly warm cream mixture. Increase heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Pour hot dressing over the greens and toss gently. Add eggs before tossing. Serve at once. Gather the dandelion leaves early in the spring before the plants flower or they will be bitter.

Chocolate grits

Our computer tech guy at the senior center asked me about chocolate grits. I found several recipes; some more difficult than others. When our children were young they liked chocolate cream of wheat cereal, and I would just stir in some butter, milk and Nesquik chocolate milk powder and they loved it. This recipe calls for cocoa and sugar, which is basically the same thing.

3 tablespoons quick-cooking grits

3/4 cup water

1 teaspoon unsweetened baking cocoa

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon butter

Combine grits and water in a bowl. Microwave on high for approximately 3-4 minutes until it reaches the desired consistency, or as your quick grits label suggests. Remove from microwave and stir in cocoa. Add butter and sugar. The butter and sugar measurements can be adjusted for your taste; you can add more or less as needed.

Kentucky Hot Brown

An avid Recipe Swap reader and recipe collector asked me for a really good Kentucky Hot Brown recipe, so quickly I resorted to the Internet and found this recipe to be the most popular and many sites referred to this recipe as the "real" hot brown recipe.

2 ounces whole butter

2 ounces all-purpose flour

1 quart heavy cream

1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish

Salt and pepper

14 ounces sliced roasted turkey breast

2 slices Texas toast (or any thick-sliced toast), crust trimmed

4 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced or halved

Paprika and chopped parsley, for garnish

In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk whipping cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For each hot brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately. Serves 2.

Have a wonderful week and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at 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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