Sylvia’s Chicken Salad

In Sylvia’s generation, most women didn’t work outside the home. She did. As a single mother, she had to. Nonetheless, she always made it look easy. Sylvia may have appeared serene, but she was paddling like mad beneath the surface.Waldorf-Chicken-Salad-3_thumb

Cashew Chicken Salad

From the kitchen of Sylvia Jordan

This is a lovely salad served on a bed of lettuce or croissants as a sandwich. Make it in the morning and let it chill while you are getting yourself and the house ready for company. 


 

1 whole cooked chicken, cooled

3-4 cups seedless grapes, halved

4 stalks celery, chopped

4 green onions, chopped

1 cup cashews, coarsely chopped

1/8 tsp. tarragon

3/4 tsp. celery seed

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/8 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (substitute some plain yogurt for part, if desired)

  1.  Pull all the meat off the whole chicken. Cut into ½ to 1 inch chunks. Place into a large bowl.
  2. Add celery, onions,  grapes, and cashews to the bowl.
  3. Add in mayo and seasonings. Mix well.
  4. Cover and chill at least an hour before serving.

 

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French Toast Casserole

Lighter Fruitier French Toast Casserole

From the kitchen of Libby McCormack Cooper

I hope the directions are clear and accurate enough. I can’t remember where the original came from, but I’ve adapted it and made it so often, I don’t even follow a recipe any longer.  This is essentially bread pudding and many recipes I’ve seen call for half & half, but seriously, this recipe doesn’t need it. So if you’re watching your weight (like me, usually) here is a pretty painless place to cut back on fat.  Whole grain bread and Eggbeaters can make this not only tasty but also a pretty healthy dish.  And of course, you can use other fruit, alone or in any combination you fancy.


2 cups milk (skim or 2% works just fine)

3 whole eggs (or 3/4 cup EggBeaters)

1 tsp each, vanilla and almond extract

12 slices good, sturdy bread, cubed (don’t tell, but here’s a good place to sneak in whole grain bread)

2 tablespoons butter, melted and divided

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, divided

2 cups fresh raspberries, blueberries, or other fruit, divided

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup sliced almonds or chopped pecans, optional

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. In small bowl combine milk, and eggs. Beat until blended.
  3. Layer half of the bread in bottom of the baking dish. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. of the melted butter over bread. Cover with half of the fruit. Sprinkle with half of the sugar.
  4. Repeat with the rest of the bread. Top with the other half of butter and remaining fruit.
  5. Pour the milk and egg mixture over all. Top off with the rest of the sugar. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nuts. Cover with foil.
  6. You can now refrigerate overnight if you like. Just be sure to let it sit out on the counter while the oven is heating up in the morning.
  7. Bake covered for 25 min. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 or 15 min. Serves 6 to 8.

Novel Tamale Pie

Why novel? Because the cornmeal is mixed in, not made into cornbread batter and spread on top. Well, that and the fact that this food memory comes from one of the characters in my novel.

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Tamale Pie

From the kitchen of Libby McCormack Cooper

While this wasn’t necessarily my favorite thing when I was growing, it now definitely qualifies as comfort food. I’ve adapted it a bit here–using Rotele tomatoes makes up for other seasoning–but it’s still pretty much as my mom made it. We like it topped with a little sour cream and served on a bed of shredded lettuce. Mom served it with a wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with a dollop of mayo that she called a “salad.” Times and food tastes have changed.

1 pound ground beef or turkey

1 small yellow or white onion, chopped

1 large can of diced tomatoes, with liquid

1 regular can of Rotele tomatoes with the added chilies, with liquid

1 regular can of corn, with liquid

1 regular can of whole or sliced large black olives, drained

yellow cornmeal (approximately ¾ to 1 cup)

1 cup or more shredded cheddar

  1. Brown the meat with onion. Drain.
  2. Add the contents of all the cans. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Start sprinkling corn meal in the while stirring. Just add in small amounts until the mixture thickens and the boil bubbles make a very distinctive pfff sound.  There is no exact measurement for this. Sorry. As soon as it pfffs, remove from heat.
  4. Grease or spray a 9×13 baking pan. Scoop the mixture in and smooth it. Or if you are using an ovenproof skillet, you can save washing up an extra pan.
  5. Sprinkle top generously with cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. It does not have to bake long because it is already hot.

 

 

Soft Ginger Cookies are a snap

 A second helping from Annie Cooper’s Recipe Scrapbook. ginger cookieSoft Ginger Cookies
From the kitchen of Libby McCormack Cooper
My mom adapted this recipe from my Grandmother McCormack’s original that made
crispy gingersnaps. My mom preferred softer, chewier cookies. So do I. These were always the first cookies she made once the weather cooled off in the fall. They make the house smell wonderful. As long as you’re in the mess, you might as make a double batch and put half in the freezer.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Measure flour, ginger, cinnamon, soda, and salt into a medium bowl.
  3. Cream butter until soft, gradually adding sugar, creaming until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in egg and molasses. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture a bit at a time to prevent flour from flying everywhere. Blend well.
  5. Form rounded tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Or do what I do, use that little cookie scoop that’s just the right size.  Roll balls in granulated or fancier Demerara sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. GingerMolassesFifteenSpatulas-640x424
  6. Bake in 350 oven for 12-15 minutes or until tops are slightly rounded, crackly and lightly browned.
  7. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely on wire rack or waxed paper. Store in airtight container.

Novel food: Claire’s favorite breakfast

This is the first installment of what I hope will be a regular feature here under the category “Annie Cooper’s Recipe Scrapbook.” Second and third helpings will be available in coming weeks.  I’ve wanted to include recipes in my book for some time because I love how Laura Kalpakian included them in her wonderful novel, American Cookery . However, I haven’t been able to do so as elegantly as she did. Yet. For now, consider this an archive (and maybe a teaser) for my book.

Annie, the twenty-something daughter of one of my main characters creates a scrapbook of her family’s favorite recipes as a gift for her mother, Libby McCormack Cooper. Libby’s best friend is Claire Jordan, whose mother contributed this yummy recipe. Each recipe will be accompanied by a few cook’s notes from one of the characters.


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Dutch Babies
From the kitchen of Sylvia Jordan
This big puffy pancake was Claire’s favorite Sunday breakfast. She thought it was magic the way it puffed up in the oven, but was always a little sad when it deflated. It’s the same basic recipe as for Yorkshire Pudding or Popovers. I think the original came from Betty Crocker, but I adapted it for the high altitude of Carson City, Nevada by adding more eggs. For breakfast, serve it with syrup, jam, fresh berries or applesauce. A dollop of whipped cream or yogurt doesn’t hurt.

¼ cup vegetable oil or butter (or combination)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs (2 at lower elevation)
Preheat oven temperature to 450°F (425°F for a glass pan.) Place oil and/or butter in 9-inch square pan or cast iron skillet. Put pan in oven and heat until hot. Meanwhile, beat flour, milk, salt and the eggs with wire whisk just until smooth. Pour batter into hot pan of oil. Bake 18 to 23 minutes or puffy and golden brown. Cut into squares or wedges.

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