Readers submit a variety of recipes

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Once again, the readers of this column have sent in some amazing recipes to share with you this week. I enjoy getting readers' mail, and this week you all came through nicely. Keep up the good work, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with in the weeks ahead.

Pear Cake

Roy Rhodes of Cape Girardeau recently took this pear cake to an American Legion chicken dinner and it must have been the hit of the dessert table. I was given the recipe by a dinner attendee who enjoyed the cake and asked that we recognize Roy for a job well done.

1 (15-ounce) can pears, drained reserving the juice, diced

2 egg whites

1 whole egg

1 white cake mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and flour a Bundt cake pan. Combine the juice from the pears with the cake mix, the diced pears, egg whites and the whole egg. Mix well until all combined. Pour cake into prepared Bundt cake pan. Bake until done. Remove from oven, turn out of pan and allow to cool. Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting.

Potato Soup

Lois Crites is a greeter at Wal-Mart and she shares one of her favorite soups with you today. She loves to visit with shoppers as they come into the store.

12 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

6 tablespoons bacon fat

1 1/2 cups diced onion

4 heaping cups chopped potatoes

2 cups water

2 cans cream of chicken soup

4 cans milk, use the soup can to measure

2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons parsley flakes

Brown onion in bacon fat. Boil potatoes in water until tender. Combine onion, potatoes and bacon with remaining ingredients and heat thoroughly, but do not boil.

Old-Fashioned Tapioca Pudding

Harry Rust of Cape Girardeau and I were visiting at church last Sunday and he suggested I search out a recipe for old fashioned tapioca pudding. I found many different recipes, mostly similar to one another, but all agreed to not use instant tapioca. It is well worth the time to use the regular pearl and not instant.

1/2 cup pearl tapioca

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 fresh vanilla beans

1/2 cup sugar

1 pinch salt

2 egg yolks

Soak the pearls in water overnight, covered well with water. Drain the water off. Heat the milk, cream, vanilla bean (split and scraped) and tapioca to a slow simmer in a heavy pot and cook for 1 hour, stirring often. Add the sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer being careful not to let the tapioca stick to the bottom of the pan. Put the yolks into a bowl and stir in some of the tapioca mixture to temper the eggs. Then add yolks to the pan while stirring. Pour into a bowl and cool. You can eat it warm, as it is often served in the colder months, or after it has chilled several hours in the refrigerator.

George Washington's Favorite Corncakes

Today being George Washington's birthday, I thought it might be fun to Google his favorite recipe and low and behold, several actually came up. The Cornbread Gospels cookbook carried this statement and recipe.

Nelly Custis, Martha Washington's youngest granddaughter, gave an account of the first president's morning routine, which included getting up before sunrise, reading and writing until 7 a.m. or so, and then breakfasting on three of these cakes, "swimming in butter and honey."

2 cups stone-ground white cornmeal

1 1/2 to 2 cups lukewarm water

1 package active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

Mild vegetable oil, for greasing the griddle

Honey and butter, for serving (optional)

The evening before, combine 1 cup of the cornmeal, 1 1/2 cups of the lukewarm water, and the yeast in a medium-size nonreactive bowl. Whisk well; the mixture will be thin. Cover bowl tightly; let sit out overnight in a warm place. The next morning, whisk in the remaining 1 cup cornmeal, the salt and the egg. Re-cover the bowl; let it stand 15 to 20 minutes (allowing the just-added cornmeal to absorb some of the liquid and soften a bit). Check consistency; it should be close to a thin pancake batter, neither nearly liquid nor as thick as heavy cream. If need be, add a little more lukewarm water to achieve this. Start heating a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Moisten a paper towel with vegetable oil. Once skillet is hot, rub its interior quickly but thoroughly with the oiled towel. Pour batter into hot skillet, turn and cook until cooked through. Repeat until batter is all used. Serve with honey and butter, if desired.

Pepper Jack Potatoes

Sometimes you might be looking for something a little different to do with your potato side dish. Along with a juicy steak, these might work out nicely. Jodi Thompson of Jackson shares this recipe.

1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

Salt

4 ounces pepper jack cheese, thinly sliced and cut into strips (or you can use shredded)

1/2 cup cream

Place peeled, cut potatoes into a two-quart-sized pot. Cover with an inch of cold water. Add a tablespoon of salt to the water. Cover and bring to a boil. (Keep your eye on the potatoes, it's easy to overcook them.) As soon as the water is boiling, uncover and boil for 6 minutes, or until the potatoes are just tender enough so that you can insert a fork into them. The potatoes should be on the slightly underdone side. Drain the potatoes and put them immediately into a serving bowl. Layer the cheese slices over them and put a plate over the bowl to cover, so that the steam from the potatoes melts the cheese. Let sit for several minutes, then gently fold over with a spoon to spread the melted cheese around. Pour cream over and cover again until served. If the potatoes are on the overcooked side and fall apart as you toss them in the cheese, you can add the cream anyway and mash them. If the potatoes are still not quite cooked enough and the cheese is not quite melted enough, you can put them in a microwave for 20 seconds or so. Yield: Serves 4.

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 news@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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