Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Snowball Cookies


SnowBall Cookies
Dorcas Annette Walker

I always love it when there is snow on the ground for Christmas. Snow flurries floating down from the sky turns an ordinary day into magic while a dusting of snow produces a winter wonderland of enchantment. Holidays are great for trying out new recipes. My Snowball Cookies are brand new that evolved from experimenting with two different recipes. This Christmas I decided to ensure that I would have some snow. You can too by making up a batch of my Snowball Cookies.

Cookies are small sweet finger foods that are generally flour based. There are six basic kinds of chookies: bar, drop, brownies, cut outs, molded, sliced, and no bake. Cookies can be soft, chewy, or crisp. They can be big or small, plain or fancy. They can be simple or complex, but they started out long ago, not as a treat, but as an oven regulator. A small amount of cake batter was dropped onto baking pans to test the temperature of the oven before the cake was baked. Rather than ruin an entire cake, a "little cake", or cookie, was tested first. At the time, not one thought these "test cakes" would become a treat with charms of its own.

The earlist cookie-style cakes are thought to date back to Persia in the 7th century where bakers made luxurious cakes for the wealthy. The developing spice trade, cooking techniques, and ingredients of Arabia soon spread to Northern Euorpe. By the end of the 14th century, one could buy filled wafers on the streets of Paris. English and Dutch immigrants brought the cookie to America in the 1600's. During the 17th, 18th, and 19th century, most cookies were baked at home as speical treates because of the amount of labor and high cost of sugar. An explosion of cookie recipes took place in the early 1900's, parallelling the introduction of modern ovens with thermostats.

Cookie facts: Biscotti are really just "twice baked" cookies. Americans consume over 2 billion cookies a year or 300 cookies for each person annually. Chocolate chip cookies are the msot popular kind of cookie in the United States; Massachusetts and Pennsylvania consider the chocolate chip cookie their official state cookie.

Cookie Tips:
- Flouring a greased cookie sheet will yield thicker cookies.
- Do not mix cookies too much as it will make them tough.
- Dough that is too dry will cause cookies to crack when baked.
- Too much flour and re-rolling results in tough, dry cookies.
- If your cookie dough is dry and crumbly, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk.
- Cookies may spread if the dough is too soft. Chill the dough or stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour and be sure to cool and clean cookie sheets between batches.
- Parchment paper for cooking can replace greasing.
- A dark colored cookie sheet may result in over-baked cookies; always use a shinny aluminum cookie sheet.
- Most cookie dough freezes well up to three months.

Snowball Cookies

1 c sugar
1 c shortening
2 eggs
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla and almond extract
3 c self-rising flour
1 c chopped pecans
blue sugar crystals
powdered sugar

Cream sugar, shortening, and eggs. Add milk and extracts. Stir in flour and chopped pecans. Take a teaspoon of dough and roll in blue sugar crystals. Bake for 10 minutes at 350º on a greased cookie sheet. While warm roll cookie in powdered sugar and let cool. This recipe makes 3 dozen Snowball Cookies.

Weekly Tip: Store crisp, thin cookies in a container or tin with a loose-fitting cover. Store unfrosted or frosted soft cookies in an airtight container to preserve moistness!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Grandma's Soft Sugar Cookies


Grandma's Soft Sugar Cookies
Dorcas Annette Walker

I can remember when there wasn't any play dough except the kind your mother cooked up and colored with food coloring. In the summer a mixture of dirt and water made a lovely mud batter, different sized tin cans were bowls, and sticks made a perfect spoon. My sister and I would spend an entire afternoon in our bakery whipping up all kinds of cookies- small rocks were used for chocolate chips- carefully spreading rows of cookies on a long board to bake in the sun. No matter how hard we tried or how pretty we decorated our cookies with wild flowers, we never could convince our brother to sample one of our treats. I'll never forget the Christmas I received a store-bought set of play dough in colorful cans with matching plastic lids. My imagination went into overdrive with the lovely soft dough of bright colors. I would carefully put the play dough back into the cans after each use in order to keep it nice and soft. That set of play dough gave my sister and me years of pleasure.

When my daughter was still a toddler, I bought her play dough and set about to initiate her into the joys of pretend baking with play dough. Her set of play dough didn't get much use and before long completely dried out as every time I was in the kitchen baking, which was at least once a week, my daughter would perch her sturdy little body on a chair and beg to have a chance to stir. It seems like yesterday watching my young daughter carefully and with great concentration place Christmas cookies on a tray to bake and then sprinkle them with colored sugar. Invariably there were some unusual shaped stars and camels with only three legs, which make great sampling and wonderful memories. Today my daughter is grown and has a daughter of her own that loves to help in the kitchen.

This week instead of the rolled-out shaped Christmas sugar cookies that you sprinkle with colored sugar, I'm giving you an old recipe of soft sugar cookies where the batter is dropped by spoon, is easier, and faster to make. My Grandma's Soft Sugar Cookies are usually sprinkled with round candy sprinkles, but colored sugar can be substituted. Preparation time for my Grandma's Soft Sugar Cookies is only fifteen minutes- not counting baking time. For smaller cookies use a teaspoon. This recipe makes large hand-size four-and-one-half dozen Grandma's Soft Sugar Cookies.

Grandma's Soft Sugar Cookies

2 c sugar
3/4 c shortening
2 eggs
1 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 c self-rising flour

Cream sugar, shortening, and eggs together. Add milk and vanilla. Stir in flour until completely mixed. Drop batter by tablespoon on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350º for ten minutes until lightly browned. Cool and then store in an air-tight container!

Weekly tip: Place a slice of bread with your stored baked cookies to help keep your cookies soft and fresh tasting!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannetttewalker.com

Christmas Potatoes


Christmas Potatoes
Dorcas Annette Walker

Each year stores put out zillions of Christmas items to dazzle customers with new colors, garlands, lights, and tree-toppers. Store aisles are taken over with holiday decorations until it leaves a person floundering to find basic items that have been moved to make way for all the holiday merchandise. Now I enjoy decorating for Christmas and giving gifts, but unfortunately too many times the Christmas season becomes more a hassle than a celebration. Hopefully with the economic crisis folks will one again realize that it doesn't take a lot of fancy decorations and expensive presents to have a meaningful Christmas. Meanwhile my Christmas Potatoes are simple and easy to fix when you get feeling stressed out.

Our best family Christmas had nothing to do with lights or presents. It started when Dwight at eight months old got a mouth bleed that lingered despite numerous trips to the hemophilia clinic to get his factor level raised. The week before Christmas when I checked on Dwight during an afternoon nap, I found my son lying in a pool of blood struggling to breathe as we raced him to the emergency room. He was admitted, given blood, and factor, but the bleeding continued as nursing staff and doctors monitored our lifeless toddler. The head hematologist finally told us that they had contacted the drug administration to see how much factor Dwight's system could handle. He shook his head and said that there was nothing else they could do to stop the bleeding. People everywhere began praying while I sat by my tiny son watching him struggling to breathe as the hours passed. God spared our son's life and two days before Christmas we took Dwight home. Totally exhausted, I spent Christmas day in bed while my active little boy crawled all over me. My husband heated up a can of soup for dinner, but it was the best Christmas ever. I had my son.

My colorful Christmas Potatoes taste like summer with the blend of fresh herbs and seasonings. You can add vegetables, meat, or mix-match herbs to individualize this recipe for your family. These Christmas Potatoes can be prepared on a grill or cooked in a Crockpot and will fit with any holiday menu. This recipe takes ten minutes to prepare and serves six.

Christmas Potatoes

6 large red potatoes
3 tb vegetable oil
1 tb chopped dried or fresh rosemary
1 tsp dried or fresh parsley
1 tb dried or fresh minced onion
1 tb parmesan cheese
garlic & regular salt and pepper

Wash potatoes and cut into wedges. Drizzle the oil over the potatoes and then sprinkle on rosemary, parsley, onion, parmesan cheese, salts, and pepper. Cover and bake at 350º for thirty minutes then uncover and bake for another thirty minutes until the potatoes are lightly browned.

Weekly tip: When baking meats and potatoes line the baking dish first with tinfoil before baking to save on cleanup!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a publisher author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Friday, December 11, 2009

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake


Triple Chocolate Cheesecake
Dorcas Annette Walker

This week I'm giving you my Triple Chocolate Cheesecake recipe and telling about the cat that came back so if you don't like chocolate or can't stand cats please bear with me. For those of you who love chocolate in any form this column is for you; now about my cat, Eloise Mae.

Eloise came into my life as a wild kitten rescued by my sister from her woods. If ever a cat lived a pampered lifestyle it was Eloise Mae. You would have thought that she would have purred the rest of her life away. Instead Eloise Mae lived a hide-a-way existence under different beds in our house showing her face to complain with loud meows every time she heard my voice. Even though Eloise grew into a beautiful large long-flowing-tailed cat with distinguished features of double paws, I was the only one she would tolerate. When she started howling at the foot of our bed each night, I reluctantly decided that Eloise would only be happy outdoors.

The next sunny day, I let Eloise out into my enclosed garden. When I went to check on her, she had disappeared. That night I went to bed with visions of Eloise hunting happily in our woods only to be awakened around midnight with a terrible racket. My German shepherds had treed Eloise up a porch post. When I went to rescue her, Eloise streaked back off into the darkness. I put out cat food, but never saw hide nor hair of Eloise. After a couple of months, I faced the fact that Eloise had left me for good.

The week of Thanksgiving a starved bedraggled cat showed up. I hardly recognized Eloise as half of her long beautiful tail had been cut off. Once indoors, for the first time in her existence, Eloise began to purr. She attacked the cat food and has spent her days since eating and sleeping by the food dish. Interestingly enough Eloise's whinny complaining personality hasn't changed one bit. But that's okay because you see Eloise Mae is part of our family and she is back home again.

I couldn't help but think how holiday gatherings don't always turn out picture perfect. Holidays have a way of bringing out the best and worst in people and invariably there is always someone who is never satisfied who will complain no matter what and continues to hold a grudge. Whether it is a family member, someone at work, or your next door neighbor personalities often clash. But I have decided to let the tidings of "peace on earth good will towards man" be my creed this holiday season.

My Triple Chocolate Cheesecake is a scrumptious holiday dessert to any chocolate lover with its smooth creamy filling over a crunchy chocolate crust topped by a drizzle of chocolate syrup. The Triple Chocolate Cheesecake takes only fifteen minutes to prepare and this recipe serves eighteen to twenty.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

12 fudge graham or chocolate cookies
1/2 stick margarine melted
4 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1 (16 oz) sour cream
4 eggs
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c cocoa
2 tb self-rising flour
1 tb vanilla
chocolate syrup

Crush chocolate cookies, add margarine, and press into the bottom of a 10-inch springboard pan. Bake for ten minutes at 350º. In a large bowl beat until smooth cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar, cocoa, flour, and vanilla. Pour batter on top of the chocolate crust and bake for 45 minutes to one hour. Cool and chill. Garnish by drizzling chocolate syrup over the cheesecake before serving!

Weekly tip: For a perfect cheesecake do no over beat the batter, bake your cheesecake in the middle of a hot oven, take the cheesecake out of the oven before the center is totally set (it will wiggle when gently shaken), and cool the cheesecake completely before refrigerating!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie


Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie
Dorcas Annette Walker

My most vivid holiday memories at my grandmother's house were of her enormous table filled to overflowing with all kinds of food as a traditional Dutch meal consists of seven sweets and seven sours. In fact the first time my husband encountered a Pennsylvania Dutch meal, he thought he had died and gone to heaven. All family visits were celebrated around a table laden with food. It wasn't until I was older and learned about our family history that I began to understand why food played such an important part of family gatherings. Each Thanksgiving our family has much to be thankful for.

My tenth great grandfather, Hans Landis, was beheaded for his faith in Zurich, Switzerland when he was seventy-two years old. His family fled Switzerland to Germany and then to Holland. My sixth great grandfather's family then immigrated to Pennsylvania in search of religious freedom. His son, Jacob Landis, helped build the Salford Mennonite Church and later the Franconia Mennonite Church. From humble simple beginnings meeting in homes and barns where for two centuries church services were conducted exclusively in German, both churches now have modern facilities with a large staff and several pastors to oversee congregations that number three to four thousand members.

My father, Samuel Landis, grew up speaking Pennsylvania Dutch, which is a dialect of high German. I grew up hearing Dad pronounce victory as "wictory", and welcome as "velcome" along with "very goot" instead of very good, no matter how many times my mother tried to correct his English. My Dad would also ask us to "pass him down the table the salt" or "throw him down the hall his hat". My English mother made sure that we children spoke only correct English. Today my father is buried with his ancestors at the Salford Mennonite church where the first old meeting house still stands.

My Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie, a recipe handed down from my grandmother, has a creamy smooth texture like a custard pie. At each holiday gathering of our family, I make up traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pies. The one year I decided not to bother considering all the many other desserts we have and figuring that my family was tired of always eating cheese pies, my son-in-law wanted to know why there wasn't any Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie. My Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie takes only fifteen minutes to prepare and this recipe makes two pies.

Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie

2 10-inch unbaked pie crusts
3 eggs
1 (16 oz) container of cottage cheese
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1 1/2 c sugar
2 c milk
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
3 tb self-rising flour
pinch of salt

Separate and whip egg whites until stiff. In another large bowl beat together the cottage and cream cheese, egg yolks, sugar, salt, and flour with a little milk until smooth. Slowly add the rest of the milk. Fold in egg whites. Divide and pour into the two pie crusts. Bake at 350º for one hour. Chill and serve!

Weekly tip: When making homemade pie crusts do up a couple extra crusts and freeze the unbaked pie crusts for later!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Holiday Goat Meat


H0liday Goat Meat
Dorcas Annette Walker
Tired of eating the traditional turkey or ham this holiday? Why not try goat meat instead. I didn't realize how popular goat meat was until the day I ended up selling our two goats: Billy Boy and Bessie. After raising and putting Bobby in the freezer we decided to sell the parent goats as they had cleaned out our woods. Of course selling the goats was supposed to be in my husband's department. Dana called a fellow and arranged for him to come the following evening. Instead of coming when decided on two fellows showed up at my door around noon the next day. After inspecting our goats and chit chatting back and forth awhile like mountain traders here do, a price was finally decided on, and they left to get a trailer to haul the goats. An hour later the fellows arrived back at my place to load up the goats. Since the goats wouldn't go near the strangers they instructed me to grab the goat's horns for them. Bessie went like a lady, but Billie Boy was a different story. One of the fellows finally coaxed him close with some feed while the other fellow grabbed his horns. Immediately Billy Boy began bucking and kicking up the dust. It took both fellows quite some time to drag Billy Boy to their trailer. My husband was disgusted that I let the goats go for such a low price, but by then dirty and covered with dust, I was ready to pay anyone to take the goats.
Goat meat is often called chevon or kid. Some 63% of red meat consumed worldwide is goat meat. Goat is a staple of Africa, Asia, and South/Central America. The cuisines most well-konwn for their use of goat include the Middle East, Indian, Pakistan, Mexico, and the Caribbean. While in the past goat meat in the West was confined to ethnic markets, it can now be found in upscale restaurants in cities such as New York and San Francisco. The goat meat industry in the United States is largely supported by production in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arizona.
The ethnic demand for goat meat is derived from a number of social and religious traditions such as the Greek or Orthodox Easter, Jewish New Year, Passover, and other festivals. As a result, there is a lot of seasonal demand for goat meat. Two of the main peaks occur in early spring and late fall from October to February. Other holidays when goat meat is consumed include Christmas, July 4th weekend, and the numerous Caribbean holidays in August.
Holiday Goat Meat can be prepared in a variety of ways including: stewed, curried, baked, grilled, barbecued, minced, canned, fried, made into sausage, served in sandwitches, or marinated. Goat jerky is also another popular variety. Despite being classified as red meat, goat is leaner and contains less cholesterol and fat than both lamb and beef. This makes it healthier to eat, but can require low-heat and slow cooking to preserve tenderness and moisture as the texture is coarser.
Holiday Goat Meat
2 lb goat meat
1/2 c vinegar
1 tb mustard
1 tb minced onion
garlic salt
9.5 oz bottle vinaigrette dressing any flavor
In a large Crockpot cover the goat meat with with vinegar and mustard. Sprinkle on onion and garlic salt and then pour the dressing totally covering the meat. Cook on medium for about eight hours. This recipe serves six to eight. Garnish with lemon or mint!
Weekly Tip: Leftover goat meat can be frozen or used as a substitute for any beef recipes!
Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer for Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin Blog at: http://www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake





Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake
Dorcas Annette Walker
I can remember when recipes for Carrot Cake suddenly became popular. Every cook wanted to try out a recipe for Carrot Cake and there were many discussions over which secret ingredients made the best texture or moist cake. At church dinners and reunions you always found a couple of Carrot Cakes to sample among other desserts. Then Carrot Cake mixes became available simplifying the preparation of this intriguing cake and suddenly Carrot Cakes were considered an ordinary cake that anybody could make. Even though I have used Carrot Cake mixes, I never was completeely satisfied with the end result. So I decided to mix some of the old with the new. I came up with waht I call my Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake. This rich cake is a perfect holiday dessert.
Food historians say that the origin of Carrot Cake was likely a type of carrot pudding enjoyed during medieval times and during the Middle Ages when sweetening agents were hard to come by. Carrot Cake became popular in Britain because of the rationing of sugar during the Second World War so as a result carrots were often used. American cookbooks did not start listing Carrot Cake recipes until the early 1900's. It wasn't until the 1960's that Carrot Cake became a dessert of choice at summer family reunions, picnics, and Mother Day celebrations in the United States. Carrot Cake Day is celebrated on February 3rd. Today carrot cake-flavored treats come in such varieties as: carrot cake latte, carrot cake ice cream, and carrot cake flavored treats for dogs. When traveling abroad you can even find fried Carrot Cake in Singapore and Malaysia.
Carrot Cake or Passion Cake is a cake which consists of grated carrots mixed with a spicy batter. The carrot softens in the cooking process making a cake of a soft dense textrure. The carrots themselves enhance the flavor, texture, and appearance of the cake. More adventurous bakers have branched out to embrace some rather exotic carrot cake recipes, which feature such ingredients as: pumpkin, coconut, figs or prunes, chocolate chips, oranges, zucchinni, crystallized ginger, beetroot, mashed sweet potatoes, and papaya. Some chefs also spice their batter with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Carrot Cake can be eaten plain, but is commonly frosted with white icing or cream cheese icing.
My Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake has a rich, moist cake texture filled with soft raisins, crunchy nuts, and bits of colorful carrots topped by a cream cheese icing that is not only pleasing to the eye, but gives you a homemade tasting delicacy as well. Nobody will believe that this cake uses a store-bought mix. You can substitute raisins for other dried fruit and individualize the taste by experimenting with different spices. The Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake can be as simple or complicated as you wish. Preparation time for my Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake is about twenty minutes (not counting baking or cooking time) and this recipe serves twenty.
Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake
1 carrot cake mix
1/2 c raisins
1/4 c diced or shredded carrots
1/4 c chopped nuts (your choice)
2 (12 oz) containers of cream cheese frosting
1/2 c caramel ice cream topping
Prepare the cake mix as directed adding the raisins, carrots, and nuts before beating. Divide the batter into (2) 9-inch round greased cake pans and bake at 350º for thirty minutes. Let the cakes cool. Whip the cream cheese frosting on high for five minutes and then frost the first cooled layer. Drizzle half of the caramel topping on top of the frosting. Position the second layer over the first and completely cover the cake with frosting. Garnish the cake with shredded carrots, chopped nuts, and caramel topping drizzling it over the top and down the sides!
Weekly tip: You can always change any layer cake recipe into a sheet cake using a 9 x 13 baking dish saving more time. Only use one can of frosting for a sheet cake!
Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin Blog at: http://www.dorcasannettewalker.com/

Taco Bean Soup


Taco Bean Soup
Dorcas Annette Walker

A friend of mine sent me a Taco Bean Soup recipe and I was instantly intrigued. What a nifty way to introduce the younger generation to eating a healthy bean soup. Of course you know me, I had to experiement around. Since my husband isn't too crazy over Mexican or hot foods, I finally came up with a milder taco tasting bean soup that suits our family. My husband goes back for seconds every time I serve my Taco Bean Soup.

Tacos are a traditional Mexican dish composed of wheat or corn tortillas folded or rolled around a filling eaten without utensils. In Mexico the word taco is like our English word sandwich. The contents of a taco vary according to the geographical region where you are eating them. Tacos predate the arrival of Europeans in Mexico. Writings at the time of the Spanish conquistadors' document tacos.

There are many types of tacos served today in Mexico, the United States, and Canada. In the early part of the twentieth century the U-shape version hard-shell tacos became popular. Mass production of U-shape tacos were deep-fried and then filled with seasoned ground beef, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and topped with sour cream. Soft tacos made of wheat flour tortillas use the same ingredients as the hard taco. In 1978 a variation called puffy tacos (uncooked corn tortillas fried in hot oil that expand and become puffy) orginated in Texas became widespread. These tacoes are also filled with various ingredients like the soft and hard tacos. Some well known tacos include: the shepherd-style taco, whose main ingredient is spiced pork, breakfast tacos, fish tacos, and chicken tacos. Taco Bell serves over two billion tacos each year.

My Taco Bean Soup is a colorful, thick, and filling soup that is a healthful addition to your diet, perfect for chilly days, and very easy to make. You can also prepare this soup in a Crockpot and let it simmer all day long. Instead of using crackers like regular soup, the Taco Bean Soup is eaten with corn chips. Any leftovers can be frozen and heated up on another day. My Taco Bean Soup takes around thirty minutes to prepare and this recipe serves sixteen.

Taco Bean Soup

1-2 lb hamburger
small onion diced
garlic & regular salt and pepper

2 (15 oz) cans each of:
pinto beans
navy beans
red kidney beans
northern beans
hot chili beans

1 pkg taco seasoning

Brown the hamburger and onion in a large kettle. Sprinkle with salts and pepper. Add the ten cans of beans, stir until all the ingredients are mixed together. Add taco seasoning bring to a boil and then simmer. Serve hot. You can garnish the Taco Bean Soup with shredded cheese and sour cream!

Weekly Tip: Soup tips: use cereal-size bowls, a crusty bread bowl, or hard taco shell to serve soup placed on a large plate with a folded napkin; serve soup from a pretty ceramic pot; and add a variety of finger appetizers to fill up your table when serving soup!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin Blog at: http://www.dorcasannettewalker.com/


Kidney Beans on Foodista

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Popcorn Balls




Popcorn Balls
Dorcas Annette Walker


October is National Popcorn Month so I thought I’d give Popcorn Ball recipes for you to enjoy. It wasn’t until I married into the Walker family that I became acquainted with real popcorn eaters. They eat it by the bag, uh, not those little bags the microwave popcorn comes in, but the ole fashion large brown grocery store bags. The first time I saw my husband’s parents filling up an entire brown bag, I thought that the rest of the clan was going to appear. Believe it or not that huge bag of popcorn was just for the four of us and yes it all was consumed. I told my husband later that now I understood why my father-in-law was so hyperactive. He was full of popcorn.


Popcorn was originally discovered by the Native Americans. Popcorn became popular as a snack food in the Great Depression. During World War II, sugar rations slowed down candy production causing Americans to eat more popcorn than before. Today popcorn is one of America’s favorite snacks with US consumption of popcorn at 73 quarts per person each year. One out of every ten Americans is a popcorn fanatic.


Popcorn is a type of corn, which explodes when heated as each kernel contains a tiny drop of water. The expansion of the water causes the corn to pop. Some strains of corn are now cultivated specifically for popping corn. Almost all the popcorn consumed throughout the world is grown in: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, and Ohio.


Popcorn facts: popcorn can pop up to three feet in the air, the English Corn Laws passed in 1436 were actually about wheat, Colonial housewives served popcorn with sugar and cream for breakfast- the first “puffed” breakfast cereal, January 19th is National Popcorn Day and April 7th is Carmel Popcorn Day, the peak season for popcorn sales is in the fall, and the world’s largest popcorn ball was 12 feet in diameter containing 2,000 pounds of popcorn, 40,000 pounds of sugar, 280 gallons of corn syrup, and 400 gallons of water. Now that’s what you call a popcorn ball!


Popcorn Ball combinations are endless making popcorn a guaranteed snack pleaser for any family as you can mix and match ingredients to please even the fussiest eater in your household. You can make healthy Popcorn Balls by using a variety of dried fruits, cocoanut, and other nuts or load your Popcorn Balls with any small colorful candies, white, chocolate, or butterscotch chips, and mini marshmallows. The sky is the limit. Also any flavor of popcorn can be used as well. Both recipes can make about a dozen popcorn balls.

Popcorn Balls


2 bags of popped pop corn
1 (10 oz) bag of regular marshmallows
1 stick of margarine
¼ c peanut butter (optional)


Microwave marshmallows, margarine, and peanut butter until melted. Add popped corn and any other ingredients. Shape into balls and let harden!


Ole Fashion Carmel Popcorn


2 bags of popped corn
1 stick of margarine
1 c brown sugar
½ c milk


In a small saucepan boil margarine, brown sugar, and milk for five minutes until thickened. Let sit for five minutes and then drizzle over popped corn!


Weekly tip: The best way to store popcorn is in a plastic or glass airtight container as even a 1% drop in moisture will affect the quality of your popped kernels. Avoid storing popcorn in the refrigerator!


Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Davy Crockett Brownies




Davy Crockett Brownies

Dorcas Annette Walker


While up in Kentucky I came across Davy Crockett Brownies. The ingredients for these brownies are as varied as the man himself. David Crockett, born here in Tennessee, is celebrated as a legend, American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier, and politician. He roamed throughout most of Tennessee and parts of Kentucky as a backwoodsman, hunter, and trapper, who died at the Battle of the Alamo.


It was here in the mountains of Tennessee that my husband was introduced to raccoon hunting. A couple of fellows in our church were avid coon hunters. They raised coon dogs and competed among each other which hound was first-rate and the best spots to hunt coon. They assured my husband that it only took a couple of hours to coon hunt and they would easily be back by midnight. Invariably though, every time they went out into the woods to hunt coon they managed to get lost and wouldn’t get home until two or three in the morning after walking up and down innumerable mountainsides and wading through all kinds of brush and briars. One morning they brought home a record-breaking sized coon, but didn’t have the slightest idea where they were when they caught it. One hunter’s excuse, “When you get forty and plum and don’t know where you’re at that’s when everything happens and the dogs strike a trail.”


One of the hunters had a blue-tick hound named Ole Blue that he tried in vain to train. Ole Blue had a habit of sitting and barking at empty trees. His owner would threaten the dog by saying, “Blue, you come away from that tree or I’m going to sandpaper your rear end.” When the dog wouldn’t move his owner would calmly break off a branch, go over to the dog, and start switching the hound saying, “I told you I’d sandpaper your rear end for you if you didn’t get off that tree and come on.” Another time as they idled along an old road in a pickup waiting for the hounds to start baying signaling that the dogs had treed a coon, Ole Blue, kept stopping in the middle of the road and squatting instead of going into the woods and hunting. His owner told him, “Blue, old scudder, you stop in the road one more time and I’m going to run you over.” Ole Blue stopped and squatted again and the owner, who was driving, took off after the dog with his pickup. Ole Blue headed for the bank to escape frantically clawing its way up a steep embankment with the pickup truck roaring right behind him as his owner yelled, “I told you I’d run you over if you didn’t get out of the road and go to hunting.” The owner finally sold Ole Blue to another hunter in disgust. Ironically Ole Blue became a first-rate hunting coon dog and even won some ribbons.


My Davy Crockett Brownies are a soft moist brownie filled with chocolate chips and crunchy nuts that are quick to make up. These Davy Crockett Brownies take only ten minutes to prepare and this recipe makes twelve brownies.


Davy Crockett Brownies


In a large bowl beat together:
2 c self-rising flour
1 c sugar
1 c br sugar
½ c vegetable oil
3 eggs
1½ tsp vanilla
Then add:
1 c oatmeal
1 c chocolate chips
1 c nuts (your choice)


Thoroughly mix all the ingredients together and pour the stiff batter into a 9 x 13 greased baking dish. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes. Cool and serve!


Weekly tip: If you always spray your baking pans or trays over the sink with your cooking spray you won’t mess up your counters!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Whoopie Pies




Whoopie Pies

Dorcas Annette Walker


During the school year bake sales were popular years ago when I attended school. Every family would donate homemade baked items to sell to raise money for some school project. Baked sales were always exciting as us school kids had the privilege of selling the baked goods at a designated spot with a few motherly souls keeping an eye on things. Not only did the experience teach us how to count money and give change, but we learned the art of public relations, salesmanship, working as a team, patience, and the rewards of hard work. It also was an opportunity for gaining experience at home in the kitchen. Today car washes and selling Girl Scout cookies seem to have replaced the old fashioned bake sales. I feel sorry for school kids today that don’t get the chance to participate in a bake sale. One item that always was popular and a big seller at bake sales was Whoopie Pies.


Whoopie Pies are a baked item made of two, round, cake-like cookies with a sweet creamy frosting sandwiched between them. Whoopie Pies are considered a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition with its origins in the Amish Lancaster County. These cake-like goodies were considered a special treat made from leftover batter. According to Amish legend, when children or farmers would find a Whoopie Pie in their lunch they would shout “whoopee”. Whoopie Pies spread up to New England and today they are one of Maine’s best known and loved comfort foods. In Maine Whoopie Pies are about the size of a large hamburger and eaten with a glass of milk. The original and most common flavor is chocolate, but today Whoopie Pies can be made in almost any flavor of your choice. I found recipes of other flavors besides chocolate: mint, gingerbread, pumpkin, red velvet, banana, orange, lemon, chocolate chip, maple, oatmeal, peanut butter, raspberry, strawberry, and chocolate/peanut butter.

My Whoopie Pies recipe has the original chocolate flavor with a modern twist. Instead of using the old homemade recipe of several ingredients, I substitute a cake mix thus saving time. Also by using a cake mix different flavors of Whoopie Pies are instantly available and easier to make for a beginner. These Whoopie Pies have a soft chocolate texture with a creamy filling that is finger lick’n good. Preparation time for my Whoopie Pies is about thirty-five minutes (not counting baking time) and this recipe makes eighteen Whoopie Pies.

Whoopie Pies


1 Devil’s Food Cake Mix (or any other flavor)
1 c cold water
3 eggs
¼ c cooking oil

Slowly mix all ingredients until combined then beat on high for two minutes. Place heaping tablespoons of batter on a greased tray. Bake at 350º for fifteen minutes. Transfer baked cookies on a clean towel and let cool.


Frosting:
½ c self-rising flour
1 c milk
1 c sugar
1 stick of margarine
½ c shortening


In a small saucepan cook flour and milk stirring with a Wisk until thick and smooth. Let cool. In a mixing bowl combine sugar, margarine, shortening, and cooled flour paste. Beat on high for three minutes until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Spread a heaping tablespoon of frosting between two chocolate cookies. Wrap up each Whoopie Pie in saran wrap!


Weekly tip: To transfer a heaping spoonful of batter without the batter dripping everywhere: dip the spoon into the batter until it is submerged, lift up, twist the spoon completely in a circle by rolling the handle quickly around in your fingers, and then transfer the batter to its designated spot!


Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Apple Danish




Apple Danish

Dorcas Annette Walker


The month of October heralds autumn at its best here in the Tennessean Mountains. The warm temperatures drop, frost arrives, and leaves change into many hues setting the mountains ablaze with brilliant colors. Gardens die and the last bustle of canning and preserving is done to save remaining crops. Apples are in abundance and there is nothing like the tantalizing aroma of spicy apple butter cooking slowly or apple pie filling being made. While I’m busy in the kitchen I always like to pop something in the oven. When I work with apples I usually end up making an Apple Danish somewhere along the line.


Here are some apple facts for you. Apples were the favorite fruit of the ancient Greeks and Romans and have been around since 6500 B.C. The pilgrims planted the first apple tree in Massachusetts. In colonial times apples were called winter banana or melt-in-your-mouth. The crabapple is the only apple native to North America. 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in all fifty states making apples available year round. The Red Delicious apple is the most popular apple here in the United States. The apple blossom is the state flower of Michigan and Arkansas. It is the state fruit of: Minnesota, Rhode Island, New York, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Illinois. One out of every four apples harvested in the U.S. is exported.


Apples are members of the rose family. Most apple blossoms are pink when they first open, but gradually fade to white. Apple trees can grow over 40 feet high and live over 100 years. Apple trees take four to five years to bear and it takes the energy of 50 leaves to produce one apple. Today most apples are still picked by hand. Fresh apples float because 25% of their volume is air. The largest apple weighed three pounds. The longest apple peel was created by a New York sixteen year old girl in 1976. The peel was 172 feet and 4 inches long.


Americans eat 19.6 pounds of fresh apples annually. Apples are fat, sodium, and cholesterol free; a medium apple contains 80 calories and 5 grams of fiber. Don’t peel your apple as two-thirds of the fiber and antioxidants are found in the peel. Two pounds of apples make a one-inch pie. A bushel of apples will yield 20-24 quarts of applesauce while it takes 36 apples to create one gallon of cider.

Apple Danish


3 c self-rising flour
1 c shortening
¼ c sugar
1 egg
½ c cold milk
2 qt apple pie filling
2 c powdered sugar
¼ c shortening
1 tsp vanilla
¼ c milk

To make the pastry mix together the first five ingredients until a ball forms. Divide in half and roll dough out thin in a rectangular shape on a floured surface. Place the crust in a greased large tray. Spread the apple pie filling over the crust. Roll out the second crust to match, fold in fourths, and unfold on top of the apple filling. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes.


Glaze:

Beat together in a small bowl the powdered sugar, shortening, vanilla, and milk until smooth. Ice the baked crust with the frosting and garnish with cinnamon! Preparation time is around 25 minutes (not counting baking time) and this recipe makes 24 pieces.


Weekly tip: To ripen an apple store at room temperature in a paper bag. Otherwise keep apples in the refrigerator or cool cellar. Just make sure that the apples are firm and don’t have any spots or bruising!


Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cheesy Sausage Burgers




Cheesy Sausage Burgers

Dorcas Annette Walker


It was another night following a church revival and we were at the parsonage for a snack afterwards. I was in the kitchen helping the pastor’s wife and immediately became intrigued when she made up a batch of Cheesy Sausage Burgers. Not only did they taste delicious and were filling, but this snack was so simple to make. I quickly jotted down the recipe and have used it ever since.


The word sausage comes from a Latin root meaning prepared by salt as in the ancient time people did not have refrigeration to preserve their meat. Sausage is classified as prepared food consisting of ground meat, fat, salt, and spices. The Greeks had a comic play entitled “The Sausage” around 500 BC and mention of sausages date back to China in 589 BC. Sausage is considered a traditional food preserving technique using curing, drying, cooking, or smoking. Different countries and cities developed and became known for their own type of sausages. Today three European countries are famous for their sausages: Germany, France, and Hungary. Sausage making has become an art. Over 200 different varieties of sausages are made in the United States alone. Sausage recipes also include seafood and vegetarian blends.


Sausage facts:
- Hot dogs are the most common pre-cooked sausages in the United States and Canada.
- Sausages were called bangers during World War II because they contained so much water they exploded when fried.
- 83% of sausages are made of pork.
- More sausages are eaten on Saturday than any other day of the week; 18% eaten for breakfast and 44% in the evening.
- Every day 5 million Britons will eat sausages.
- Sausage is the ultimate Finnish fast food.
- Seafood sausages are popular in Asia.


My Cheesy Sausage Burgers are finger-licking good with a melting cheesy spicy sausage taste. These burgers are very versatile as you can use any type of sausage from mild to hot or substitute hamburger for the sausage, use any kind of cheese whiz or dip and for the crust bread, buns, or biscuits can work. Leftover Cheesy Sausage Burgers can been frozen and microwaved for later. Preparation time for my Cheesy Sausage Burgers is twenty minutes and this recipe makes one dozen.


Cheesy Sausage Burgers

6 hamburger buns
1 lb of sausage
1(16 oz) jar of cheddar cheese dip


Brown the sausage in an iron skillet until crumbly, drain, and add cheese. Heat until the cheese melted. Then divide and spread the cheesy sausage mixture on top of halved hamburger buns. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes. Serve hot!


Weekly tip: Salad tip #4: Allow greens to stand at room temperature no longer than 15 minutes before serving. Tossed salads with dressing should be served immediately or add the salad dressing at the table. Too much dressing will also make salads soggy!


Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuna Burgers




Tuna Burgers

Dorcas Annette Walker


Usually I am able to remember where I first tasted a food whenever I think about the circumstances of where I was at the time, but for some reason Tuna Burgers comes up blank. I probably ran across this recipe somewhere while out on the road. During the summer my daughter wouldn’t unpack her suitcase when we came home as invariably we’d be heading out again somewhere else the next week. I do know that during those whirlwind days of traveling around the United States and school days, Tuna Burgers were a lifesaver.


Tuna has been fished from the Mediterranean Sea, Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans since ancient times, but the name only dates back to 1880. A member of the mackerel family, tuna has streamlined body’s two fins, five or more finlets, and is very narrow at the tail, which is forked. Tuna are in constant motion, can cruise up to 55 mph, and have been tracked from Japan to California traveling through open ocean and waters of dozen of nations in its lifetime. To maintain this speed, tuna eats up to ten percent of its body weight daily and can reach up to 600 pounds per fish. Efforts to conserve and manage tuna’s sustainability stock are an ongoing one.


The majority of commercial tuna harvest comes from California. Only about one percent of tuna is sold as fresh fish. Canned tuna is America’s most popular fish second to shrimp. The average consumption of tuna is 3.6 pounds per person each year; a total of 1 billion pounds of canned and pouched tuna annually. Canned tuna is healthy being rich in protein, low in fat and calories, and is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Canned tuna, unopened and not damaged, has a shelf-life up to four years under normal conditions; pouched tuna has a shelf-life of three.


In March 2004 the FDA and Environmental Protection Agency reassessed their findings on mercury in fish. Their summary: It is safe for the average person and women of child-bearing age to eat up to two cans of tuna per week. Pregnant women should avoid eating tuna while young children (up to 45 pounds) can safely eat one-half a can of tuna per week. So unless you plan on eating an entire can of tuna each day, tuna is perfectly safe to eat.


My Tuna Burgers have a mild creamy tuna salad consistency laid on top of a crusty bun. These burgers can be made up ahead of time, served warm or eaten cold, or you can double the recipe and place part of the Tuna Burgers in the freezer for later meals. The Tuna Burgers take only fifteen minutes to prepare and this recipe serves ten.


Tuna Burgers

5 hamburger buns or 10 slices of bread
2 (5oz) cans of tuna
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c mayonnaise
½ c chopped celery
1 tb minced onion
Salt and pepper


Place hamburger bun halves on a large tray. In a medium-sized bowl mix together thoroughly tuna, cheese, mayonnaise, celery, onion, and shake in salt and pepper to taste. Divide and place a heaping tb on each hamburger half. Bake for 15 minutes at 350º until the cheese is melted. Cool for fifteen minutes and then serve with celery sticks or a tossed salad!


Weekly tip: Salad tip #3: Never cut salad greens with a knife. Instead tear them with your fingers into bite-size pieces as cutting greens with a knife will turn the edges brown!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Spam Burgers




Spam Burgers

Dorcas Annette Walker


I first tasted Spam Burgers in the Bible Institute kitchen that I attended. Since I had a study hall right before lunch, and the call had gone out for volunteer help in the kitchen, I found myself a couple days each week in the school kitchen helping prepare and serve the lunches. I soon became good friends with the cooks. Guess who was one of the first fellows to arrive at the kitchen close to lunchtime? This tall lanky blond fellow with a wide grin seemed to hang around every time I worked in the kitchen. He knew just exactly how to butter up the cooks and get larger portions of food. He also knew how to work his charm on me and that is how one afternoon, instead of a romantic setting like I had always envisioned, I found myself being proposed to at one end of the dining hall while the cooks bustled back and forth in the kitchen preparing a meal. For some unknown reason my destiny always seems to circle around a kitchen.

Spam by first developed by Hormel in 1926 and was the first canned meat that did not require refrigeration. It was called the “miracle meat” and became a prime staple for the military during WWII, who soon began singing songs about how much they hated the stuff. Regardless, once they returned home the soldiers brought a taste of Spam back with them. This innovative product became fated to save lives, win wars, and balance the diet of people worldwide. One of the most important moments in Spam’s history was in 1970 when a popular British comedy show produced a skit where every item on the menu consisted of Spam ending with a song in praise of Spam. Today spam is most widely known as a term used for the sending of unsolicited bulk messages over the internet. Its start in 1993 came by Richard Drew, who had a software program with a bug in it that ended up posting 200 messages ticking a lot of people off.


My Spam Burgers have a sharp ham flavor surrounded by melting cheese on toasted wheat bread. Spam Burgers can be made up ahead of time and popped into the oven right before serving. Leftovers can be frozen and microwaved later. These Spam Burgers are great for parties or as a snack. Any type of breads or buns can be used from regular, pita, and French to rye along with using Swiss cheese instead of mozzarella. My Spam Burgers take only ten minutes to prepare and this recipe serves eight.


Spam Burgers

8 slices of wheat bread
1 (12 oz) can of luncheon meat
½ (12 oz) bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c mayonnaise
3 tb catsup
1 tb dried onion
1 tb sweet pickle relish
Black pepper


In a medium-size bowl shred the luncheon meat and add cheese, mayonnaise, catsup, onion, and pickle relish. Sprinkle on black pepper to taste. Mix well, divide up, and spread on the slices of wheat bread laid out on a large tray. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes until lightly browned and the cheese is melted. Garnish with chives or parsley and serve hot with a tossed salad!


Weekly tip: Salad tip #2: Cut the core out of lettuce heads with a paring knife, wrap in paper towels, and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. You can store lettuce this way for up to a month letting you stock up on lettuce when on sale!


Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meat Lovers Pizza Burgers




Meat Lovers Pizza Burgers

Dorcas Annette Walker


Schools are back in session. It doesn’t seem that long ago that my life completely revolved around a school schedule. When my son started kindergarten, I also went back to school and taught kindergarten. It was a learning experience for us both. When Dwight reached high school, I homeschooled him due to his chronic internal bleeding episodes that made him absent so many school days. There never seemed enough hours in a day to do everything that needed done. I didn’t have time to spend in the kitchen cooking up a huge meal. So this month I am going to feature four different kinds of burgers that are quick and easy to make that our family enjoyed.


There is a lot of controversy over who exactly first invented the pizza. Egyptians and other ancient Middle Eastern cultures were eating bread much like a pita. Pizza was considered a peasants meal in Italy for centuries. The modern pizza has been attributed to a baker in the 16th century, who owned a restaurant in Naples and baked a special pizza for the Italian king and queen. The introduction of tomatoes on pizzas came in the 18th and early 19th century. As pizza became more popular street vendors gave way to shops where people could order custom pizzas with different toppings. In the early 1900’s pizza made its way to the United States through Italian immigrants. For over 50 years pizza has been an American favorite food. Millions of pizzas are eaten daily.


My Meat Lovers Pizza Burgers are very versatile in that any favorite pizza topping can be added to customize the pizza burgers for your family, leftovers can be frozen and then microwaved, or you can make up a batch of Meat Lovers Pizza Burgers to freeze and bake later. Sausage or ham can be added or substituted for the hamburger as well as peppers and black olives. Any way you make them Meat Lovers Pizza Burgers will be a hit with your family each time you serve them. Preparation time for my Meat Lovers Pizza Burgers is around thirty minutes and this recipe serves sixteen.


Meat Lovers Pizza Burgers


8 jumbo hamburger buns
1½ lb ground hamburger
1 tb chopped onion
1 tsp oregano
¼ tsp garlic salt
2 c pizza or spaghetti sauce
½ c parmesan cheese
48 pieces of pepperoni
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese


Fry hamburger until browned adding onion, oregano, and garlic salt. Lay half a hamburger bun on two large trays inside up. Spread with a tb of sauce and sprinkle on parmesan cheese. Drain the hamburger and divide up between the buns. Place three pieces of pepperoni on each half and then top with ¼ c of mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350º for fifteen minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve hot with a tossed salad!


Weekly tip: Since each of my four burgers go great with a tossed salad; I’m going to give a salad tip each week. #1 Select greens that are crisp and free of discoloration. Heads should be firm and solid to the touch!


Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dutchy Fried Squash




Dutchy Fried Squash

Dorcas Annette Walker


I’ve found out no matter how long we live our parent’s influence will follow us, especially in the realm of food. It is amazing how much a person’s upbringing shapes the way we eat. Just when I think that I am completely my own person evolved from being exposed to other culinary cultures in different parts of the United States, I find myself eating something from my childhood. Different seasons of the year trigger off a hunger for something I ate while growing up. For me summer isn’t complete without a platter of fried squash. Now, not just any fried squash mind you, but what I call Dutchy Fried Squash from my father, who was Pennsylvania Dutch. I have never been a big eater, but I confess that when it comes to fried yellow squash I completely forget any ladylike tendencies I’ve learned about eating dainty portions and completely pig out. I’ve even been known to eat a whole plate of fried squash. My family has learned to turn a blind eye on me when the garden summer squash comes in.


One summer company came by our place to stay for a few days when our daughter was still small. We had never met these people before in our lives, but they knew my parents. These folk had a skinny teenage son, who seemed to be quite bored with life in general. In fact the only place the fellow perked up was at the table. I was quite shocked to find out that the mother’s cooking consisted of making up a huge pot of food in the beginning of the week and then having the family eat the same leftovers for the rest of the week- I kid you not! So needless to say the husband and son thought they hit paradise-on-earth having home-cooked meals with lots of baked goods to fill up on in-between.


One meal I set out a large platter of fried yellow squash. This poor family have never seen nor eaten fried squash before. By now the husband and teenage son was willing to try anything I cooked. They were quite fascinated by the fact that to me the only way to eat fried squash is to put a spoonful of homemade apple butter on top. They hesitantly tried one piece, realized instantly how delicious it was, and without warning cleaned up the entire platter of fried squash. From then on I fried up squash for every meal and was hard put to grab a couple of pieces for myself before it totally disappeared. So I’ll post a warning here that my Dutchy Fried Squash can become habit forming. The Dutchy Fried Squash takes only fifteen minutes to prepare and this recipe makes twelve pieces.

Dutchy Fried Squash


1 yellow squash
3 tb shortening
1 egg
½ c milk
1 c self-rising flour
salt and pepper
homemade apple butter


Melt shortening in an iron skillet. Wash, trim the stem ends, and slice the squash into 1/8 round pieces. Beat together in a small bowl the egg and milk. Dip a slice of squash into the egg/milk mixture and then coat it with flour. Place in the hot iron skillet and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Fry for five minutes until one side is golden brown, turn over, cover skillet, and brown the other side. Serve hot with a spoonful of homemade apple butter!


Weekly tip: Summer yellow squash skins are so thin and tender that they require no peeling, the seeds are soft enough to eat, and cooks up quickly. Harvest young squash when close to two inches in diameter for frying!


Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Raspberry Delight




Raspberry Delight

Dorcas Annette Walker


Raspberries have a sweet mild tart taste with an almost melt-in-your-mouth texture. Any dessert made with raspberries immediately becomes elegant. I love raspberries and started a patch of raspberry vines several years ago beside our orchard. I was surprised at how easy it was to grow raspberries. Since then I’ve made up raspberry jams and keep frozen raspberries for toppings and sauces. Whenever I see the price of raspberries in the store, due to being one of the most limited and perishable fruits, I am doubly thankful for my raspberry patch out back.


Red raspberries are a native berry to Turkey and Asia Minor. History says that there were raspberry vines growing in the foothills of Troy in the first century. The Romans are thought to have spread raspberries throughout Europe. In Medieval Europe, raspberries were considered to be both medicinal and utilitarian, although only the rich could afford them. By the Middle Ages raspberries were used for food, wine, vinegar, sweets, jams and even employed in art for paintings and illuminating manuscripts, but it wasn’t until the seventeenth century that raspberries became popular. When settlers came to America they found the Native Americans eating and drying the berries for preservation and ease of transportation. In 1761 George Washington moved to Mount Vernon where he began to cultivate raspberries in his extensive gardens. By 1867 over 40 different varieties of raspberries were known.

The raspberry bush or vine grows up to three feet in height and comes in colors of red, yellow, orange, purple, or black. 60-70 pints of fruit can be harvested from early summer through fall in a 100 foot row. Today there are over 200 species of raspberries that can be grown from the Arctic to the equator. The leading producing regions for raspberries are Washington, Oregon, and California with Washington accounting for nearly 60% of U.S. production at nearly 70 million pounds per year. Raspberries are purported to fight cancer and heart disease and offer many health benefits. They are high in Vitamin A, B1, B2, C, Niacin, mineral, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and potassium.


My Raspberry Delight has raspberry jello on top of a cream cheese mixture with a rich nutty crust underneath. This light dessert is a feast for the eyes and palate. The Raspberry Delight takes only three steps to make and can be made up the day before. Preparation time for my Raspberry Delight takes about an hour and this recipe serves sixteen.


Raspberry Delight

1c self-rising flour
¼ c brown sugar
½ c chopped pecans
½ c melted margarine
2 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1 (8 oz) container cool whip
1 c sugar
2 (3 oz) pkg raspberry jello
2 c boiling water
ice cubes


Step 1: Mix together the flour, brown sugar, pecans, and melted butter and press in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake at 350º for fifteen minutes and cool.


Step 2: Beat together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the cool whip and mix until smooth. Spread over cooled crust.


Step 3: Pour the boiling water over the two pkg of raspberry jello and stir until dissolved. Add ice cubes until the mixture is jelled and pour over the cream cheese mixture. Chill until solid. Garnish with whipped cream and fresh raspberries before serving!


Weekly tip: Fresh raspberries will only keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days if spread out and lined on paper towels. Do not leave raspberries at room temperature or expose them to sunlight as they spoil quickly. Instead freeze raspberries for year round use!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Luscious Lemon Supreme




Luscious Lemon Supreme

Dorcas Annette Walker


The hot and humid days of August are perfect to enjoy bright yellow lemons whose zesty tartness seems to give a respite from the heat. I was amazed to discover oodles of uses for lemons. If you are like my husband, who refuses to drink my homemade lemonade declaring that it keeps him puckered up for a week, don’t despair. Keep reading and you will find a use for lemons to suit your taste.


It is widely thought that lemons first grew in India, Burma, and China then introduced to Persia, Iraq, and Egypt around AD 700. In India lemons were called “the golden apples” and were traded for valuables. The first lemon recorded was in a tenth century Arabic treatise on farming. Wealthy Victorians grew lemon trees indoors as a sign of prestige using the scented plants to keep their large estates smelling fresh and served fresh lemon wedges with their afternoon tea dances. The ladies of Louis XIV’s court used lemons to redden their lips. Sailors used lemons to combat scurvy. Lemons were introduced to the Americas in 1493 by Christopher Columbus. Spanish conquests helped to spread the lemon seeds throughout the New World as ornament and medicine. In the 1700’s and late 1800’s lemons were planted in Florida and California and began to be used in cooking and flavoring. California and Arizona produce approximately 95% of the U.S. crop making lemons available year round.


Today lemons are used primarily for its juice, although the pulp and rind are used in cooking and baking and are a versatile element of today’s healthy diet turning ordinary food into something spectacular. The grated rind of the lemon is called lemon zest and is used to add flavor. One popular science experiment involves attaching electrodes to a lemon and using it as a battery to power light. The electricity generated can power a small motor.


Lemons are used for: lemonade, garnish for drinks, marmalade, natural breath enhancer, finger moistener for counting large sums of bills, deodorizer, bleach wooden rolling pins or cutting boards, and freshens stinky garbage disposals.


Lemon juice can: marinate meats, neutralize fish odor, substitute for buttermilk, be a short-term preservative, remove household grease, berry stains and smell of garlic or onions from hands, is a natural laxative, cleans silver, copper pans, tarnish off brass, and glass shower doors, disinfects, be an insecticide, lighten hair color, add gloss and tame frizz, is great for coughs, heals pimples, relieves itching and rash of poison ivy, freshens the air, and brightens whites that can’t be bleached.


My Luscious Lemon Supreme had my husband and son smacking their lips and asking for seconds. The Luscious Lemon Supreme is a regal cool desert with a mild light lemony taste and is very easy to make. Preparation time for my Luscious Lemon Supreme is twenty minutes (not counting baking and cooling time) and this recipe serves sixteen.


Luscious Lemon Supreme


1 lemon cake mix
2 (3.4 oz) boxes of instant lemon pudding
4 c milk
1 (8 oz) container of cool whip


Make lemon cake mix according to the directions. Divide the batter between two 9 x 13 greased baking dishes. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes. Cool for one hour. Mix together the instant pudding and milk stirring with a Wisk until thickened. Pour half of the pudding on the first layer of cake. Place second layer of cake on top of pudding. Add remaining pudding and then layer the cool whip over the top. Chill and garnish with thin slices of lemon and mint leaves!


Weekly tip: To make sugared grape or mint leaves beat one egg white until frothy. Dip small cluster of grapes or leaves in the egg white and roll in sugar. Let dry for twelve hours. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Stewed Tomatoes




Stewed Tomatoes

Dorcas Annette Walker


Tomatoes are a popular home garden crop. They require a small area, bear repeatedly with an abundance of fruit, are widely adapted, and easy to grow. There is nothing like the first time a home gardener goes out and picks the first ripe tomato off the vine that he has watched slowly mature. Tomatoes are a favorite subject of gardeners. Some prefer a real mouth puckering tomato while others like a sweeter tasting tomato. Then another consideration is open-pollinated or hybrid, staking or bush, fast ripening, early, main season, or late variety. There are also over 600 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. You can choose any color you wish from the traditional deep red; a rainbow of green, yellow, and pink; yellowish white; bright orange; yellow red; pink; orangey red; deep yellow; pinky purple; lemon yellow; to red and orange stripes. In other words there is a tomato out there for everyone.

There are endless recipes of how to prepare tomatoes. Tomatoes were popular and a traditional southern dish during the latter part of the Civil War. An 1825 recipe for stewed tomatoes says to take off the skin, put the tomatoes into a pan with salt, pepper, butter and cook until thick. Not only are tomatoes tasty, but they are healthy for you as tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C, low in calories, and have been linked to prevention of cancer. For the younger generation there is a female rock band called "Stewed Tomatoes". I think the name says it all.


I’ve never had a recipe until now for my homemade Stewed Tomatoes that tastes very similar to fried tomatoes due to browning the flour before adding fresh or canned tomatoes. Stewed Tomatoes makes an attractive vegetable dish by itself or you can eat them over toast for a nutritious and economical lunch. Stewed Tomatoes are good year round, but comes in handy during the summer when canning tomatoes and you have one quart that doesn’t seal or extra tomatoes that needs to be used up. My Stewed Tomatoes takes thirty minutes to prepare and this recipe serves six.


Stewed Tomatoes


4 tb margarine
¾ c self-rising flour
1 c cold water
1 qt tomatoes
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper


In a medium-sized saucepan melt margarine and then stir in the flour. Turn up the heat and brown the flour. Then turn down the heat to low and quickly add water and tomatoes. Turn the heat back up gently stirring the tomatoes until they boil. Add salt and pepper. Let simmer for fifteen more minutes. Serve hot by itself or over buttered toast!


Weekly tip: Never refrigerate tomatoes as it destroys the flavor and makes them mealy. If your tomatoes need ripening place them in a paper bag with a banana or apple for a couple of days!


Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

English Scones




English Scones

Dorcas Annette Walker


There is something relaxing about sitting down on my front porch in a rocking chair in the middle of a hot summer day and drinking a cup of hot tea. Just stopping for a few minutes helps reprioritize one’s schedule and enjoy the world around you. No wonder the English take their teatime seriously. When my niece, Stacy was an exchange student this past semester over in England her one professor told her that he would wait until after teatime to start the class so she wouldn’t miss her tea. Can you imagine one of our American professors doing that? I blame my English genes for feeling the need to take a short break every afternoon.


My great grandfather Smith stowed away on a ship from Liverpool England as a child and spent most of his life on the sea until he married and settled down here in America. Grandpa Smith was never able to get the knack of driving a car after years on a ship. Our favorite story was Grandpa Smith trying to learn to drive. Behind the wheel of his model T Ford Grandpa Smith would forget that he wasn’t at sea when he’d go to turn the wheel for a curve. Thinking he was on a ship he would instinctively spin the steering wheel and turn the car over on its side every time. The passengers would have to crawl out through the window flaps and help turn the model T Ford upright again.


The Duchess of Bedford is credited with being the creator of the teatime when she suffered a faint spell one afternoon and had her servants bring her a pot of tea and some breadstuff. Prior to this the English had two main meals; morning and evening. She liked her snack so well that soon the Duchess invited her friends to join her for tea and the practice was quickly picked up by other social hostesses. There are three basic types of afternoon or low tea; Cream Tea (tea, scones, jam, and cream), Light Tea (tea, scones, and sweets), and Full Tea (tea, savories, scones, sweets, and a dessert). Today in England most tea rooms serve tea from three to five o’clock.


My flat pie-shaped English Scones give a British flair to any afternoon tea with their soft crunchy texture tasting more like a biscuit rather than a cookie. These English Scones go well with any flavor of tea. You can make the scones plain; add nuts of your choice, dried fruit, or currants. My English Scones take ten minutes to prepare and this recipe makes twelve scones.


English Scones


2 c plain flour
½ c sugar
1 tb cream of tartar
¾ tsp baking soda
6 tb butter
½ c chopped nuts
2 eggs
1 tb milk

Mix together the flour, sugar, cream of tartar, baking soda, and nuts. Cut in the butter and add the eggs and milk. Form the dough into a ball and pat out into a circle on a greased 12 inch pizza pan. Sprinkle sugar on top and cut into twelve slices. Bake for fifteen minutes at 350º until golden brown. Serve with your favorite tea!


Weekly tip: A proper English tea is made by seeping teabags in hot water in a teapot. Pour the tea into china teacups adding sugar and milk or a slice of lemon!


Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Squashy Homemade Hush Puppies




Squashy Homemade Hush Puppies

Dorcas Annette Walker


Since my husband loved to fish, I began experimenting with hush puppy recipes bringing back memories of when our family lived on Harker’s island off the North Carolina coastline accessed by crossing a drawbridge. It was during this time that my father’s one fishing trip involved the coast guard and entire area. While the memory remains forever etched in my mind, I called my sister to verify the details of this fishing expedition.


Even though my father was crippled due to having severe hemophilia, my dad was not one to sit idle. He bought a used boat and talked my younger sister and me into going for a trial run where the motor clonked out once we were a couple of miles off shore. My sister and I got the “privilege” of rowing back in. After several such trips my sister and I refused to go out anymore. Meanwhile my father had made friends with Doc, a crippled veteran. To my mother’s shock one sunny morning at breakfast my father announced that he and Doc were going fishing. He assured my mother that the motor was fixed and he would come to school to pick us up that afternoon like usual. When my father failed to show up after school we hitched a ride home. At that point my mother wasn’t too worried figuring that the fishing trip was taking longer than planned.


True to form the motor clonked out a couple miles from shore; the boat started drifting, and got snagged on a sandbar. My father managed to climb out of the boat and push them off barely getting back into the boat losing an oar in the process. Another currant drifted their small boat into the commercial fishing lane so they put Doc’s jacket on the top of their one oar to wave trying to attract attention. My dad admitted later that he was beginning to worry as the waves were rough and he knew if they drifted much further out into the ocean the boat would capsize.


After supper my mother called our pastor, who nearly went into cardiac arrest when he learned that my father and Doc had taken the boat out that day. Recent storms in the area had changed wave patterns making two cripples and a small skiff no match for the strong undertow. He phoned the coast guard, who went on full alert. Local fishermen joined the search when word went out that two crippled men were stranded in a small skiff. When darkness came all hope for a successful rescue was shattered. My mother was preparing herself to face the future as a widow when the phone rang. She nearly passed out when she heard my father’s voice asking her to come and pick him up. A current had finally drifted their boat back to one side of the island. My father never did understand what all the fuss was about, although the locals shook their heads for days afterwards.


My Squashy Homemade Hush Puppies resemble small biscuits, are finger-licking good, and can be made in an iron skillet over a campfire. This recipe is an excellent way to use up garden squash, but you can also make plain hush puppies by substituting milk in place of squash. Preparation time for my Squashy Homemade Hush Puppies is thirty minutes and this recipe makes fifteen.


Squashy Homemade Hush Puppies


1 c yellow cornmeal
1 c flour
2 c cooked and mashed squash
1 egg
1 tb dried onion
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp lemon pepper
1 qt cooking oil (your choice)


In a medium-sized bowl mix together all the ingredients except for the cooking oil. Drop a tb of stiff batter into the cooking oil that has been heated until hot. Cook for five minutes on medium heat turning the hush puppies until they are golden brown. Using a slotted spoon remove the hush puppies from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve hot!

Weekly tip: You can save and reuse cooking oil several times when cooking items that you deep fry!


Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

Friday, July 31, 2009

Rose Mints




Rose Mints

Dorcas Annette Walker


Summer is the main season for weddings. It is exciting and joyous to see a couple exchange vows to cherish each other for life after months of preparation. This year our son is getting married. Once more I am in a whirl of activities planning a wedding shower. What started at my sister’s wedding and has become a tradition in any weddings for our family is my Rose Mints. Every time I make my Rose Mints I’m always asked for the recipe.


As a young child, I was always fascinated by the after dinner mints that were handed around at the end of my grandmother’s yearly Christmas formal dinners. The sight of those large square white mints sitting on a fancy glass dish that melted in one’s mouth always mesmerized me as they were slowly passed around the table. No matter how stuffed one was there always was room for an after dinner mint. I promised myself that when I grew up and had a home of my own I would always end a fancy meal with after dinner mints.


Not long after I was married, I was thrilled to discover a recipe for homemade mints and began experimenting. When I found a store that carried rubber candy molds I began producing hundreds of Rose Mints in all colors. Homemade mints add a finishing touch to weddings, baby showers, graduations, and birthday celebrations. You can find different shaped rubber candy molds at craft stores to use for other holidays as well.


My Rose Mints are decorative. These bite-size confections that melt in one’s mouth are irresistible with their mild peppermint flavor and a smooth creamy texture. You can substitute almond flavoring instead of peppermint for a different taste. Any leftover mints can be stored in the freezer. Just let the mints thaw out before serving. This Rose Mint recipe makes 5½ dozen mints and takes about 30 minutes.


Rose Mints


1 lb powdered sugar
¼ c real butter (melted)
¼ tsp peppermint extract
6 tb milk
couple drops of food coloring (optional)
rose rubber candy mold
In a medium-sized bowl combine the powdered sugar, butter, extract, and milk. Knead the ingredients together with your hands for about five minutes until it is thoroughly mixed and you have a solid hard-like consistency of a very stiff icing. If you are using food coloring make sure that all the coloring is spread evenly throughout the candy.


Take a tsp of the mint candy, fill the rose mold, and press down firmly with both thumbs until the surface is smooth and even with the tip of the mold, discarding any extra filling. Turn the rose mold over and position both thumbs above the center of the mold.


Twist and pop the Rose Mint out on a waxed surface. If the candy sticks to the mold add some more powdered sugar. If the rose falls apart add more milk. Any disfigured roses can be instantly redone. Let the Rose Mints harden on wax paper for twenty-four hours and then store in a closed container!


Weekly tip: To make a crystallized mint as soon as you pop the mint out of the mold, gently turn the mint face down in a bowl of granulated sugar, and twist in a circle. Place upright on wax paper and let harden!


Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com