By Jane Henegar
Today's challenges go from appetizer to dessert:
* Marinated artichokes made from canned artichokes
* Upside-down spice cake with applesauce
* Artichoke chicken casserole
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"Adelaide E." loves the taste of canned marinated artichokes but finds them tough and more expensive than the plain canned kind. She is hoping you can help her make marinated artichoke hearts from canned artichoke hearts.
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This one came from "J.M." in Delano, Tenn., who is "looking for a long-lost recipe for an upside-down spice cake that has no liquid except egg and applesauce. I don't remember which spices it had, but it was very dense and moist."
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Henry Meraz tasted a delicious chicken casserole that had artichoke hearts in it "and a lot of other ingredients, so I was told," he said. "It sounded like too much trouble, but now I would like to prepare it for a big dinner we are having. I know it has wild rice and spinach and cheese in it."
I'm beginning to think that grits are a particular love of men because a recent request for really good grits came from a man, and this week Jim Fortune offered an answer. I just came back from a brunch that included two different batches of cheese grits, one made by a man, and he and another man were drawing comparisons and sampling plenty.
This is Mr. Fortune's version, which is the plain version, without cheese.
Quaker Quick Five-Minute Grits
1 cup quick grits
11/2 cups water
11/2 cups milk
Salt, to taste
Cook slowly according to package directions, and stir often to avoid scorching the milk. Using half water and half milk instead of all water makes the grits smoother, creamier and tastier.
One version of the peanut butter pie recently requested came from Peggy Reeves.
Peanut Butter Pie
4 heaping tablespoons crunchy or creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
4 ounces cream cheese
7 ounces Cool Whip
1 chocolate crumb pie crust or graham cracker pie crust
Beat together first 3 items until creamy. Add Cool Whip and mix well. Add to chocolate or graham crust. Chill. Top with more Cool Whip if desired. Recipe may be doubled.
Our prolific correspondent "Barbara" has a simple version of chow mein. My guess is that one would serve it with rice.
Chow Mein Chicken
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup margarine
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup fresh-sliced mushrooms
1 can chow mein noodles
1/3 cup cashews
Sauté celery and onion in margarine. Add soup, broth and soy sauce. Add chicken and mushrooms. Transfer to a baking dish. Sprinkle with chow mein noodles and cashews. Bake uncovered 20 minutes until heated through at 350 F.
Here's a green tomato pie, made with ginger and sugar among other ingredients, just right for the green tomato season that is upon us. Thank you, Sue Doyle, for sending it.
Green Tomato Pie
11/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons flour, divided
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
6 to 8 green tomatoes, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
Pastry for double-crust pie
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
Mix brown and white sugars, salt, 4 tablespoons flour and ginger. Stir into sliced tomatoes. Add lemon juice and leave sitting while preparing the crust.
Line pan with crust. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over bottom crust (this keeps bottom crust from becoming soggy). Pour filling into crust and dot with butter. Roll top pastry and seal edges to edges of bottom crust by brushing with water and pressing edges together so juice will not ooze out around pie. Make a vent hole in the center.
Place pie in a preheated 450 F oven for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 F. and bake 45 to 60 minutes.
Until next week ...