By Karin Glendenning
Community News Writer
Ann Brown may not cook as much as she did when she was raising her four children, but today she still cooks for her church and friends, earning her raves from those lucky enough to eat her creations.
On the Congregational Care committee of her church, Rivermont Presbyterian, when we visited with her she had just fixed a lemon pie to take to someone who had been in an accident.
“I take a day and cook enough to last all week. Then I put it in individual containers and freeze it,” she said about her current method of cooking.
Mrs. Brown has lived in the John Calvin Apartments for the last two years. After her husband died, she decided she needed to move from her large home and finds the apartments both safe and very convenient. Another plus is that two of her sisters live in the complex, too.
Mrs. Brown is busy with volunteer work at the Community Kitchen and for the Ronald McDonald House. She said she likes to help others and that when she serves food at the Community Kitchen she often has tears in her eyes, sympathizing with the plight of the less fortunate.
She said her 11 grandchildren always want her to make whipped potatoes and especially love her peach cobbler. Though three of her children and their families live out of town, she often gets together with her in-town daughter, son-in-law and their children for family birthdays.
“I don’t cook fancy things,” she said. “I really love a good meatloaf with whipped potatoes and green beans. I’d rather have meatloaf than lobster.”
The secret of her meatloaf is mustard. She said she puts the condiment in the meatloaf along with milk, an egg, onions, dry onion soup mix, green peppers and breadcrumbs and also mixes mustard with brown sugar to put on top. “If I don’t have any brown sugar, I use pancake syrup,” she said. She also uses this mixture, her homemade version of honey mustard sauce, for dipping when serving chicken. An onion lover, Mrs. Brown said, “I could eat onions three times a day.”
When she’s called on to take a dish to a church function, she said she often prepares Shell and Cucumber Salad or banana pudding, which she said is “easy to make, not expensive and everybody likes it.”
Though she has lots of cookbooks, Mrs. Brown favors her old copy of Betty Crocker recipes. “It’s well used, because it has everything in it,” she said.
A family tradition that she said her daughter now likes to fix for her sons is called Sugar Pie. “It’s an old recipe that my husband’s grandmother used to make,” she said, adding that it is good served with coffee. Simple to make with ingredients usually on hand, the pie calls for one pie crust in which you mix 8 tablespoons sugar with 2 tablespoons flour. Then add enough milk to make a paste. Spread the mixture in the pie shell and sprinkle with cinnamon and dot with about 1 to 2 tablespoons butter. Bake at 250 for just 15 minutes.
“I like to experiment with recipes,” she said, adding that the recipes she shares with readers today are all tried and true ones that she’s been preparing for years.
HAWAIIAN SESAME CHICKEN
(Mrs. Brown said she got this recipe from her daughter who lives in California. She serves it with Toasted Coconut Rice, whose recipe follows.)
3 or 4 pounds of cut up chicken
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 15-and 1/4 ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
Brown chicken and sesame seeds in oil in skillet. Combine sugar, cornstarch and ginger in saucepan. Mix well. Add next four ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Pour sauce over chicken, cover and simmer 45 minutes or until tender.
TOASTED COCONUT RICE
8 cups hot cooked rice
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups shredded coconut
Toast coconut on a cookie sheet under broiler. Watch carefully. Toss with rice and butter. Serves 8.
(Mrs. Brown said she often serves this salad with Hawaiian Sesame Chicken.)
1 bag fresh spinach
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped onions
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
1 can water chestnuts, drained and sliced
4 slices crispy cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup catsup
1/4 teaspoon salt
Toss spinach, chestnuts, eggs, bacon, onion and oranges together. Shake dressing in jar and pour over salad and toss just before serving.
SHELL AND CUCUMBER SALAD
(Mrs. Brown said this salad is perfect for summertime.)
1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 8-ounce package small shell macaroni
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup minced pimiento
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In medium bowl, combine cucumber and onions. Sprinkle with salt and let sit 15 minutes, then blot with paper towels to drain. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and cool. Stir in cucumber mixture. Stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, pimiento, vinegar, dill weed and pepper. Pour over shell mixture and stir gently. Chill. Garnish with tomato wedges, if desired. Makes 6 servings.
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3 eggs, well beaten
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups sour cream
Preheat oven to 325. Combine first 5 ingredients and pat in bottom of spring form pan. Combine rest of ingredients. (Mixture should be slightly lumpy.) Pour into pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool. Chill well, 4 to 5 hours.
Top with any canned pie filling or 3 tablespoons crumb mixture.
PUNCH BOWL CAKE
1 box yellow cake mix
2 large boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
1 large can crushed pineapple, drained
1 can cherry pie filling (can use 2 cans, if desired.)
1 large container Cool Whip
1 jar cherries, drained
1 cup chopped nuts.
Mix cake mix as directed on box and bake in 9- by 13-inch pan. When cake is cool, crumble half of it in bottom of punch bowl. Mix pudding according to directions on box and pour half of it over cake. Spread 1/2 of pineapple over pudding mixture and add 1/2 of cherry pie filling over pineapple. Repeat layers. Top with Cool Whip. Place drained cherries over Cool Whip and top with nuts. Refrigerate until serving.
OLD FASHIONED WHITE BREAD
2 cups warm water
1 package yeast
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
Scant 1/2 cup oil
1 tablespoon salt
4 cups flour
The night before, mix together water, yeast, 2 cups flour and salt. Place in large heavy bowl and cover with foil and let sit out overnight. The next morning, add sugar and oil. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough, about 4 cups. Knead on floured board for 5 minutes. Shape into two loaves, put in greased pan and let rise once, about 1 and 1/2 hours. Bake about 45 minutes.
6 medium tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped broccoli
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Wash tomatoes and cut off tops. Scoop out pulp, leaving shells intact. Sprinkle cavities with salt and pepper and invert on rack for 30 minutes. Cook broccoli and drain. Combine broccoli and next 4 ingredients. Mix well. Stuff tomato shells with broccoli mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 30 minutes at 350.
QUICK CHICKEN STIR-FRY
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
3/4 cup mayonnaise
16-ounce package frozen vegetables
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Cook chicken breasts in mayonnaise in large skillet on medium high heat for about 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Add frozen vegetables. Stir in soy sauce and garlic powder. Continue cooking 5 minutes or until vegetables are thoroughly heated. Serve over rice.
E-mail Karin Glendenning at email@example.com