Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

September 16, 2013

Lee Ward: From the vaults of good cooks in town, recipes for the newbies: 9/17/13

ASHLAND — You might wonder why a bunch of old women would give young brides a collection of their recipes.

Aren’t there more recipes available online than anyone could want?

Besides, what young bride cooks nowadays?

Sure, there are plenty of recipes available for the Googling, but there are young men and women who enjoy cooking and welcome recipes.

As for covens of old hags compiling a cookbook for young brides, well, to my knowledge, I’m the only old hag who does that.

However, I do incorporate recipes other women share with me.

And I don’t just share with the betrothed.

We have had interns on occasion and I’ve given them the recipes and I’ve given them to friends who expressed interest.

It has become sort of a tradition for me to give them to newlyweds. Although I fell down on the job for a while — sometimes life gets in the way of even the most important things, like food — I’m trying to do better and make sure everyone I know getting married is armed with some of my favorite recipes.

Why are these recipes so special, you might wonder. They are special because I or someone I know made them time and time again and they have become family favorites to somebody’s family.

That doesn’t mean you’ll love every one of them, but there is a good chance.

Yes, you see recipes here every week, but they are not tested by someone you know — me, that is. We don’t have a test kitchen at The Independent or a budget that would allow me to shop for all those ingredients every week. We also can’t spare me, a professional writer and editor, to cook for a few hours to test out all these recipes.

But because I cook, I can read a recipe and get a pretty good idea whether it would be worth the trouble of making. You can trust me that far, anyway.

Here are a few of the recipes I like to share with newlyweds or young college students — anyone I can get to listen to me for a few minutes while I tell them how good these recipes are.

My friend and former co-worker, Jenny Stout, gave me her mother’s recipe for scallopped cabbage. It’s delicious.

SCALLOPPED

 CABBAGE

Small head of cabbage, cleaned and sliced

Water

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

Salt, pepper

1⁄2 cup Velveeta cheese

half stick of butter

Six slices of bread

Put cabbage in Dutch oven and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 or 3 minutes.

Remove from water and place in lightly greased casserole, reserving the water.

In another pan, melt four tablespoons of butter. Add flour and a little salt and pepper. Add some of the water from the cabbage, enough to form a smooth paste. Stir and cook until thick.

Add cheese and stir until smooth. Pour over cabbage.

Melt remaining butter. Cube bread and mix with butter. Top the cabbage with the bread and butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

t

A couple of friends rave about this dish, which I make only occasionally. It’s a good vegetarian main dish or side dish. I don’t remember where I got it, it’s so old.

SKILLET EGGPLANT

1 small eggplant

1 large jar meatless spaghetti sauce

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon pepper

Mozzarella cheese slices

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Wash and peel eggplant. Slice into 1⁄2-inch slices.

Place eggplant and next three ingredients into a skillet and cook on medium heat about 15 minutes or until eggplant is tender.

Arrange slices of mozzarella on top to cover and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover and cook until cheese is melted. Serve with pasta of your choice.

t

This recipe comes from a former college roommate who was an award-winning cook. The traditional way is to make this in a square pan and cut small square pieces to serve as appetizers, but you also can make it in a round pan and cut wedges to serve as a side dish.

ZUCCHINI BITES

2 eggs

2 medium zucchini, shredded

1 tablespoon minced onion

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄8 teaspoon pepper

1⁄4 cup fine dry bread crumbs

1 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Grease an 8-inch square pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix everything together except 1⁄2 cup of the cheese and spoon into pan; sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes until set. Cut into appetizer-size bites.

CHICKEN ROMANO

2 tablespoons canola or olive oil

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper

1 large onion, halved and sliced

1⁄4 cup water

1⁄2 cup chili sauce

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed

grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and brown on both sides (about five minutes per side). Drain fat from skillet. Salt and pepper the chicken.

Add onion and water to chicken. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in chili sauce and oregano. Cook, uncovered, over low heat to about 10 minutes, basting frequently.

Serve chicken with plenty of the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

KUNG PAO CHICKEN

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 egg whites

dash of garlic

6 tablespoons cornstarch

4 chicken breasts, cut into cubes

Crushed, dried red pepper flakes, to taste

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch

4 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup peanuts

1 cup chopped green onions

White rice, cooked

Marinade cubed chicken in a mixture of 1 tablespoon soy sauce, egg whites, garlic and 6 tablespoons cornstarch.

In small bowl combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 4 tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon sugar.

Put 3 tablespoons oil in wok; heat and stir-fry chicken until meat turns white.

Drain off all but one tablespoon oil, leaving chicken in pan. Add crushed, dried red peppers to taste.

Add sauce, stirring until glaze forms. Add 1 cup peanuts and 1 cup chopped green onions.

Cook until heated. Serve with steamed white rice.

t

While I don’t claim to be an expert cook, I do like to cook and love to eat. Readers are encouraged to send questions about food and cooking; I’ll try to find the answers. Also, if you’re looking for a specific recipe, send your request, or if you can offer a recipe to someone looking for something specific, please send email to lward@dailyindependent.com.

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