By Karin Glendenning
Community News Writer
Nanci Crewe is just as enthusiastic about cooking as she is about music, traveling and golf, other interests she fervently pursues. She and her husband, Stan, entertain often, hosting large and small groups in their interesting home.
Mrs. Crewe said she didn’t learn to cook until after she was married. “When we got back from our honeymoon, I realized that I didn’t know how to cook anything,” she said with a laugh.
The Crewes have lived on Signal for 42 years and have contributed to this community in numerous ways. Mrs. Crewe directed the Signal Mountain Glee Club for years and also led the choir at Signal Crest United Methodist Church. Mr. Crewe, who worked at DuPont before retiring, can build absolutely anything and is the creator of the wonderful Christmas Train that sits at the top of the mountain each December. He recently completed building a beautiful patio addition to their home.
The couple love to travel and have done so extensively. On a world map they have hung in their home hundreds of stick pins indicating the many places they’ve visited on every continent. Fascinating souvenirs from their journeys are evident throughout the house, and they are always planning yet another jaunt to see some marvelous place they yearn to explore.
Last year they took their whole family —; son David and his wife Keeli and daughter Allison Phillips, her husband, James, and their daughter, Emily —; to Europe. “I’m probably the luckiest mother in the whole world,” Mrs. Crewe said about the fact that she sees both her children and her granddaughter almost every day, since they all live on the mountain.
On the day we visited with her she was preparing a dinner party as a send-off to some good friends who were leaving soon on a trip to Russia. Her menu for the evening included Beef Rolls, Bran Bread, Pork Tenderloin, Twice-Baked Potatoes, a green vegetable, Blue Cheese Slaw and Fried Corn with pound cake for dessert.
Mrs. Crewe believes that “If you use good ingredients, the food will be good.” She said she enjoys trying new dishes and loves to cook for company.
Mrs. Crewe said most of her best recipes have come from friends and from her mother. She also faithfully reads Cooks Illustrated magazine, the genesis for her pork tenderloin recipe.
When asked what her favorite meal is, Mrs. Crewe admitted that it is one she calls “the white meal.” It consists of a Boston butt pork roast, boiled until tender. To the pot, she adds sauerkraut and then makes dumplings and cooks them in the broth. With this she serves mashed potatoes and cole slaw made with mayonnaise dressing. Though not colorful, she said it is delicious.
For holidays, her family insists on having a turkey that is stuffed with a buttery dressing, “mashed potatoes with lots of butter, candied sweet potatoes with lots of butter and scalloped corn with lots of butter.” Mrs. Crewe said she always fixes a little salad, creamed onions, cranberry sauce and broccoli casserole, but all her family really wants is the turkey, dressing and potatoes. For dessert she serves pumpkin and pecan pies.
The recipes she shares with readers today are ones she uses frequently.
(Mrs. Crewe said she often serves this sweet bread instead of rolls or biscuits at dinner parties. She slices it into rounds and provides butter for spreading. She also makes sandwiches of it with softened and cinnamon flavored cream cheese as a filling.)
1 1/2 cups All-Bran
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup raisins or combination of raisins and dried cranberries or cherries
1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine bran and buttermilk. Allow it to sit for a couple of minutes. Add raisins, molasses and sugar to bran mixture and stir well. Combine flour, soda and salt. Add to bran mixture. Put into 3 well-greased 16-ounce cans. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.
(Mrs. Crewe said this recipe has become her signature hors d’oeuvres and is frequently requested by her guests.)
Dried beef (in a jar)
Unroll beef slices and set aside. Trim green onions into lengths the diameter of the beef slices. Slice onions lengthwise into small strips. Spread each beef slice with cream cheese and top with onion slices, using about 1 onion per slice. Roll up and cut rolls in half. Refrigerate until serving.
(Mrs. Crewe said that this recipe is time intensive, but worth the effort. She said she uses big shrimp and cuts them in half after sauteing them. She also often adds to the dish at the last minute, parboiled, fresh asparagus, cut into short pieces.)
5 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup white wine
4 tablespoons butter (no substitute)
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper
Heat chicken broth and 1/4 cup white wine in saucepan and keep hot. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in skillet. Add garlic, pepper flakes and shrimp. Saute 2 minutes. Add wine and simmer 2 minutes. Drain shrimp reserving broth.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large saucepan. Add onion and garlic. Cook 4 minutes. Add rice and cook 2 minutes. Add 2 cups hot broth. Cook and stir until absorbed. Add broth, 1 cup at a time, until all is used and absorbed. Stir most of the time, about 20 minutes. Stir in reserved shrimp cooking liquid. Cook and stir until rice is tender and creamy. Stir in shrimp and parsley, salt and pepper. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with parsley. Makes 4 servings.
(“This is a rather strange combination of ingredients, but don’t knock it until you try it,” said Mrs. Crewe.)
1 pound Bob Evans sausage
16 ounce can sauerkraut, well drained and squeezed dry
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 cups mashed potatoes (made with butter and milk)
Fry sausage until just cooked. Drain and crumble. Place sausage on bottom of 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Put kraut on top of sausage. Sprinkle 2 cups cheese on kraut. Top with potatoes and sprinkle with remainder of cheese. Bake at 400 for 20 to 30 minutes, until casserole is bubbly and cheese is melted.
12 ears fresh corn
8 slices plain Hormel bacon
1/2 cup butter (no substitute)
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Cut corn from cobs and scrape the cobs with a paring knife. Set aside.
Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and crumble. Reserve 1/4 cup bacon drippings in skillet. Add corn, butter, sugar, salt and pepper to skillet. Cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Spoon corn into serving dish and sprinkle with bacon.
GRILLED PORK TENDERLOIN
(Mrs. Crewe said she has tried many recipes for pork tenderloin, and this one is her family’s all-time favorite.)
1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 green onion, including tops, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pound package pork tenderloins
Combine first 9 ingredients in a jar and shake until well mixed. Place the tenderloins in a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the meat. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours (no more!). Grill over medium-hot coals about 20 minutes. Time depends on thickness and temperature of meat. Do not overcook.
MACARONI AND CHEESE SOUP
(Mrs. Crewe said her whole family loves this soup, and that it has become a staple for them.)
1 cup elbow macaroni, cooked, drained, rinsed and set aside
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 onion, chopped
4 cups whole milk
6 ounces Velveeta cheese (no substitute)
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1 8-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 cup frozen peas
Melt butter in skillet. Add carrots, celery and onion and saute until vegetables are just tender. Set aside.
In a large heavy pot, combine milk and cheese. Heat until cheese melts. Add bouillon and pepper. Combine cornstarch and water. Stir into milk mixture and cook, stirring until thickened. Boil 1 minute. Stir in macaroni, sauteed vegetables, corn and peas. Cook over low heat until thoroughly heated. Recipe may be halved.
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 squares baking chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
Melt butter and chocolate. Take off heat and add remaining ingredients, mixing well. Spread in greased pie pan and bake at 325 for 25 minutes. Serve topped with ice cream.
SCOTCH APPLE PIE
(Mrs. Crewe said this is a quick and delicious dessert.)
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup chopped pecans
Arrange apples in 9-inch pie plate. Add 1/2 of the sugar and mix well. Mix remaining ingredients together. Spread over apples, pressing down around the edge. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes. Serve with hard sauce or vanilla ice cream.
1 row of Oreo cookies
1/4 cup melted butter
25 large marshmallows
2/3 cup half and half
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
4 tablespoons creme de menthe
4 tablespoons white creme de cacao
For crust, crush Oreos. Mix with melted butter. Press into 9-inch pie plate. Chill.
For filling. Place marshmallows and half and half in saucepan. Cook over low heat until marshmallows are melted, stirring. Cool. Fold both liqueurs into whipped cream and then fold into cooled marshmallow mixture. Pour into prepared crust and freeze.
E-mail Karin Glendenning at email@example.com