Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 10, 2012

Taste of Home cooking school coming to area

Lee Ward
The Independent

ASHLAND — Many cooks in the area love their Taste of Home magazine, website and cook books.

The home-cooking institution will bring its program to the area with the cooking school and showcase expo on May 1 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

 The interactive event puts Chef Michael Barna in the spotlight as he demonstrates 10 new recipes easily created at home, along with culinary tips and techniques.

Those attending also receive a gift bag full of products and coupons as well as two Taste of Home magazines. The expo gives visitors a chance to do a little shopping with local businesses. There also will be drawings for door prizes.

General admission tickets are $12 and area available at Big Sandy Superstore Box Office or at the Magic 97.9/Big Buck Country 101.5 studios at 919 5th Ave.,  Suite 210 in Downtown Huntington. Limited Edition V.I.P. tickets are $25 and available only at the Magic 97.9/Big Buck Country 101.5 studios.

 For more information about the event, visit TasteofHome.com, Magic979.com, or BigBuck1015.com.

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Whiskey in a jar takes on a different personality when it’s cake.

This recipe, from culinary.net, not only makes a delicious cake but makes individual servings, each on in its own jar.

IRISH WHISKEY CAKE IN A JAR

Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups brewed, strong coffee

¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons Irish Whiskey

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whiskey-Butter sauce

1/4 cup Irish whiskey

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup water

Whipped Cream topping

1 cup cold, heavy whipping cream

¼ cup confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or  1 teaspoon Irish cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees).  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla; set aside.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine coffee, whiskey, butter, cinnamon and cocoa powder. Over medium heat, whisk until combined and butter is completely melted.  Remove from heat and add sugar.  Whisk until the sugar is incorporated and starts to dissolve. Pour mixture into a large bowl and allow to cool slightly, about 5 to 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare your jars by placing them on a large baking sheet. There is no need to butter or flour the jars.

Once slightly cooled, slowly pour the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, whisking continuously. Add the flour mixture and whisk vigorously until just combined. The batter will be thin.

Pour batter into the jars, filling them no more than half full. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a cake-tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

While cakes are cooling, prepare the whiskey-butter sauce.  Simply combine the butter, whiskey, sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  Stir frequently, until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat.

Using a skewer, poke holes in the tops of the cakes.  Pour the whiskey-butter sauce over the tops of the cakes, evenly distributing until all of the sauce is used.  When ready to serve, prepare the whipped topping.

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, beat the cream until stiff peaks form.  Add confectioner’s sugar and Irish Cream and beat until just combined. Place a generous dollop of cream on top of each jar and drizzle with caramel for serving. Serve within 24 hours.

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Home cooking goes to the extreme in the book “Cooking with the Juggs” by the Jugg Sisters, two Nashville women who have parodied Ashland’s Judds with live musical comedy shows for years. The pair have toured on the Big Pink Bus and appeared on CMT, CNN and the Travel Channel, but it’s their cooking that’s important to my column.

Most people love home cooking and this cook book focuses on recipes and techniques that are common in country cooking but every page contains the kind of tongue-in-cheek humor the Juggs are known for.

For instance, in the appetizers section, the first recipe is for Fancy Cheese Hors d’Oeuvres, calling for one can of squirt cheese and a box of small, round crackers. You can figure out the rest.

There are actual recipes, like this one.

ERMA’S HOT SLAW

2 tablespoons butter

1 quart shredded cabbage

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ cup water

5 tablespoons sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon flour

½ cup milk

2 tablespoons vinegar

Melt butter in saucepan and add cabbage. Stir. Add water and salt and cook 10 minutes Mix sugar, egg, flour and milk. Add cabbage. Cook one minute. Add vinegar and serve.

Then, there are recipes that cross the line – recipes that, on the surface, might seem a little bit white trash, but upon reflection, appear to have the taste potential and maybe even the elegance to be served at a party, especially if you serve it on a silver platter and pretend most of it did not come from the freezer.

There is one such recipe.

BACON AND TATER TOTS

1 pound bacon

1 package frozen Tater Tots

Cut bacon slices in half. Wrap each tater tot with a half strip of bacon while frozen. Stick toothpick through the whole thing. Place on pan with sides. Bake at 325 degrees until bacon is crisp (about 20 minutes). Serve hot.

TIP: It would class up this recipe to come up with a name for it other than Bacon and Tater Tots.

It’s not necessary to class up anything, though, according to the Juggs, as demonstrated by this recipe.

TENNESSEE ROAD KILL JERKY

 ½ to 2 pounds road kill

1/3 cup soy sauce (or liquid smoke)

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Slice kill lengthwise (with the grain) into ¼-inch strips. Combine soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix with kill and let stand about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and arrange in single layer on rack set in shallow baking pan. Bake in 150 degree oven overnight or 12 hours, until meat is dry. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Store in tightly covered container.

Notice  the kind of meat to be used in the recipe isn’t determined, so you could use this treatment for non-roadkill meat, too.

The book has a section called “Balls,” with the explanation from the authors: “We love the convenience of serving food in ball form.”

Everything from appetizers to dessert is available in ball form in this collection or recipes. I’m choosing the safe route, though; I’m going to share the very traditional Porcupine Meat Balls. Beware: This recipe makes enough for a party.

PORCUPINE MEAT BALLS

5 pounds ground beef

1 package onion soup mix

1 onion, grated

1 green pepper, chopped finely

1 pound brown sugar

1 16-ounce jar picante sauce

2 48-ounce bottles ketchup

2 18-ounce jars sweet and sour sauce

Mix ground beef, soup mix, onion and green pepper. Make into 150 small meatballs. Brown; do not overcook. Mix brown sugar, picante sauce, ketchup and sweet and sour sauce Add meatballs and cook on low heat for 45 minutes, stirring often. Serve in chafing dish and use toothpicks.

This breakfast casserole is a little bit different from the quiche I like for breakfast, but it’s easy, quick and sounds like it would be tasty, especially if you’re in the mood for a country breakfast or brunch.

WHOP IT BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

1 can (5 count) biscuits

4 slices American cheese

4 or 5 slices of ham

4 large eggs

First off, whop the can of biscuits on the counter, take them out and mash ’em flat like pancakes. Next, put them in a glass pie pan (spray it with non-stick baking spray first) and spread them out to form crust. Lay the ham on top of the dough, then tear up the cheese and lay it around on the ham. Now, whip them eggs up for three or four minutes and pour them on top of the ham and cheese. Add a little salt and pepper. Put in oven preheated to 375 degrees for  30 minutes¸plu or minutes five minutes¸until golden brown and firm Take out and let it rest for five minutes.

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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 e-mail to lward@dailyindependent