Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Grandma's Rice Pudding

Grandma’s Rice Pudding
Dorcas Annette Walker

I beg your indulgence as I continue to reminisce while giving another recipe of my grandmother. My English grandmother’s big bowl of Rice Pudding was a dish that I always knew I’d find at her house whenever we would visit her. Along with a cup of tea, we would eat a bowl of rice pudding as a dessert or in between snack as this one of my mother’s favorite desserts. A few occasions I got to be with my grandmother and help her make Rice Pudding. I was fascinated seeing her stir the Rice Pudding with a wooden spoon as it slowly baked in the oven because the wooden spoon in our house functioned for a totally different purpose.

The wooden spoon in our household was used for discipline starting at an early age. I grew up in the dark ages where children were expected to obey their parents. I don’t know if my grandmother also employed the wooden spoon for correction or if my mother started the tradition on her own. I do know that when my children came along I soon found the wooden spoon to be very handy not only for baking, but as an ideal aid for obedience. My husband called me “Machine Gun Kellie” whenever I applied the wooden spoon. My daughter, who hated the sound of my kitchen drawer opening when she knew I was getting out the wooden spoon now, uses a wooden spoon of her own. When Dwight worked in the body shop he told about his wooden spoon experiences growing up and was asked to make a wooden spoon for one of the fellows. Dwight toyed with the idea of going into business making and selling “Mom’s Wooden Spoons”.

I am totally against child abuse. I was taught that a child’s will was not to be broken, but molded in the right direction. I’ve noticed that it is often the parents who don’t discipline, but let their children run all over them or slowly do the countdown eventually reach a breaking point and end up abusing their children. Instead of children being seen and not heard, now-a-days you hear children while shopping before you ever see them inflicting havoc on everyone’s nerves. I often wonder what the harassed mothers of screaming children, who inform everyone that she can’t do anything with her young’un, will do once the child reaches his teen years. In such cases I often wish I had a wooden spoon to hand out.

My Grandma’s Rice Pudding is an old fashion filling creamy dessert that can be served by itself, with canned fruit, or cake. Raisins or other dried fruit can be added for color or taste. Preparation time for Grandma’s Rice Pudding is fifteen minutes (not counting baking time) and this recipe serves ten.

Grandma’s Rice Pudding

2 c cooked rice
1 c sugar
2 (12 oz) cans evaporated milk

Butter a large baking bowl. Mix the rice and sugar together. Pour each can of milk in a 4 c measuring cup, fill up with warm water, and microwave for three minute- twice. Add to rice mixture and stir. Sprinkle nutmeg on top and bake at 350º for one hour stirring at least once. Serve warm or cold. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon!

Weekly tip: Quick ways to butter a baking dish is to partially un-wrap a stick of margarine and rub along the sides of the dish or use an empty margarine wrapper!

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

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Canned Cream Corn

Canned Creamed Corn
Dorcas Annette Walker

Each week I eye the rows of tender cornstalks that have grown another inch in my garden envisioning fresh corn on the cob this summer. Since I don’t have fresh corn, I decided to prepare a substitute I always loved of my mothers. I grew up eating mostly canned vegetables as we didn’t have a garden to give us fresh vegetables and frozen vegetables were an expensive rare occurrence. My mother turned a plain can of corn into a tasty dish using simple ingredients. Every time I make up a dish of Canned Creamed Corn I think of my mother.

I never realized how pampered my background was food-wise until I was grown and traveling around with my husband eating at different households across the United States. Even my husband, Dana, who never hesitated to eat a hearty meal whenever any type of food was set before him, would sometimes ask me later why a certain dish didn’t taste right or what was missing. Blessed were the times I’d stay with a cook that loved to prepare food ending up having a marvelous time comparing recipes and helping out in the kitchen. I’ve noticed throughout the years that good cooks aren’t afraid to be nosey, ask questions, or experiment with food. And while there are a few cook that hold tight to secret recipes- not realizing that anyone who is around food a lot can usually figure out what is in any prepared item- most cooks are generous in sharing tips or their favorite recipes.

One of my greatest joys was encouraging timid cooks to branch out and try new ideas. After spending years in the kitchen I still love to try something different while keeping my tried and true recipes as the backbone of my menus. You will find certain blends of spices or herbs to be what you and your family prefers, but you never know what new recipe will end up being a winner. As my grandmother often said, If you put enough good ingredients together its bound to turn out delicious!

My Canned Creamed Corn is an exciting alternative to standard corn year round with its smooth creamy taste of summer that can be fixed quickly in the microwave. Its soft yellow color will blend in with just about any other prepared item giving you another vegetable to add to your menu that everyone will love. You can double or triple this recipe to meet the needs of your family. Preparation time for my Canned Creamed Corn is five minutes and this recipe serves three.

Canned Creamed Corn

1 (14.5 oz) can of creamed corn
¼ c evaporated milk
1 tsp sugar
½ stick margarine
salt & pepper

Mix all the ingredients together in a small microwave bowl and microwave for three minutes. Stir and serve in a crystal bowl. May garnish with a pat of butter!

Weekly tip: Turn a regular can of corn into creamed corn by pouring the entire contents into a blender and pureeing. Older or tougher ears of corn from the garden are also perfect for making creamed corn likewise- just add a little water when pureeing!

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

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

English Teapot Cake

English Teapot Cake
Dorcas Annette Walker

Usually the weekend of Mother’s Day I go down to Nashville to celebrate my grandkids birthdays, which are both in May. Since I won’t be with my daughter this year, I got to reminiscing past years and ended up thinking about my grandmother’s silver tray handed down to me, her oldest granddaughter, when I got married. Every Christmas my grandmother used her silver tray with her table decorations. I usually put the silver tray on my table at Christmas as well. The rest of the year it sits on a high shelf with oil lamps. So I decided to get it down and use it with my English Teapot Cake that I made for Mother’s Day in honor of my English grandmother. Even though my grandmother and mother are gone, I have lots of memories.

I’m not a professional cake decorator like my sister, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to decorate cakes. I’ve eaten some beautiful looking cakes that tasted horrible, were too sweet, or had inch-thick frosting, which my sweet-toothed husband loved. My rule of thumb in cooking is that food should first taste good and then look beautiful. Since trying my hand at cake decorating I’ve ended up with some non-perfect cakes, but they always tasted good. Interestingly enough it is my cake disasters like the tall layered engagement party cake that leaned like the Eiffel Tower and the peanut/chocolate groom’s cake top decorations that melted sideways, but still said “she made me do it” for my son that people remember instead of my perfect cakes. So if you’ve always wanted to decorate cakes don’t let the lack of professional training stop you. You may end up making a masterpiece that everyone will remember.

Today there are books on cake decorating, gels, and prepared decorative items to help a novice out. Just use your imagination and have fun. Whenever I’ve made my English Teapot Cake for a ladies meeting or birthday it has always been a hit. If the frosting isn’t perfectly smooth tell everyone that your cake is an antique teapot. Preparation time for the English Teapot Cake can take several hours. This large cake serves around twenty.

English Teapot Cake

2 pound cake mixes
1 c cooking oil
1 c water
4 eggs
¼ tsp butter flavoring
1 pkg of fondant icing
6 cups of frosting
couple drops of chocolate syrup

Beat together the cake mixes, oil, water, eggs, and flavoring on high for two minutes. The batter will be stiff. Pour half of the batter into a greased sports cake pan and bake at 350º for 45 minutes. Use a small amount of the batter to make a cupcake for a teacup and the rest for a second cake. Cool, level off the top of the cakes with a sharp knife, and then frost the first cake positioning it rounded bottom down on a paper doily. Frost the middle and the second half, putting them together to form the teapot. Roll and shape the fondant into a handle and spout. Let harden for a couple of hours. Decorate the teapot and teacup. Use a couple drops of chocolate syrup on the top of the teacup to look like coffee or tea. Garnish with a large silk rose on the top of the teapot!

Weekly tip: To tint frosting use a toothpick when adding color. Mix thoroughly before adding more color. By mixing different colors you can get a wider range of shades!

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

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Strawberry Salad

Strawberry Salad
Dorcas Annette Walker

The earth is bursting with life here on the mountain. The hummingbirds have arrived and I saw a pair of Eastern Bluebirds checking out one of my bird houses. This year the wisteria vine in my backyard was so loaded with blooms until you could smell the fragrance on my front porch. You can see pictures of it and my other spring flowers on my website at: My green beans are a couple of inches high and the rows of corn have poked their heads out of the soil. Last week I planted some cabbage and this week I plan to put out my sweet potato starts. Then all I will have left in my garden space is room for my tomato plants. I am eagerly awaiting my first taste of fresh strawberries so over the weekend I got out a pack of frozen strawberries and made up a simple Strawberry Salad.

Strawberries are believed to have been first cultivated in ancient Rome in the 12th century. During medieval times strawberries were considered symbols of peace, prosperity, and perfection. 14th century Charles V ordered 1,200 strawberry plants for the royal gardens of France. There is a legend that strawberries were named around the 19th century by English children, who picked the fruit and sold it on grass straws while another theory says that the name came from the practice of placing straw around strawberry plants. Native Americans called strawberries “heart-seed berries” and pounded them into their cornmeal bread. Colonist decided to create their own version, which became known as Strawberry Shortcake. Today the world’s largest Strawberry Shortcake is hosted each year at the annual strawberry festival in Lebanon, Oregon.

Strawberries are a member of the rose family; the scientific name is derived from an Old Latin word meaning fragrance. There are over 20 species of strawberry plants. Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside (an average of 200 seeds per strawberry) and the first fruit to ripen each spring. It takes three days for a strawberry to ripen from green, to white, to red. The United States is the top producing strawberry country in the world followed by Spain. While strawberries are grown in every state, California is the largest yielding state harvesting 83% supplying one billion pounds of strawberries per year that if laid berry to berry would wrap around the world fifteen times. Every strawberry is still handpicked, rushed to huge coolers, and then delivered to stores by refrigerated trucks.

Strawberries are low in calories, fat, and high in vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, and potassium. A five-day study by the American Cancer Institute showed that strawberries can help reduce the risk of cancer or heart disease. One of the oldest remedies for healing sunburns or reducing inflammation is using strawberry juice.

My Strawberry Salad is great year-round with frozen strawberries, although fresh berries work as well by halving and folding in instead of crushing. The Strawberry Salad has a smooth tangy taste of fresh strawberries coated with a fluffy mixture of jello and cool whip that can also be used as a dessert or frozen. Preparation time for my Strawberry Salad is fifteen minutes (not counting chilling time) and this recipe serves eight.

Strawberry Salad

1 pkg (6 oz) strawberry jello
1 pint strawberries
1 (8 oz) container cool whip

Make jello and cool until partially jelled (about 2 hrs). Crush strawberries, add jello, and cool whip mixing on low speed until thoroughly mixed. Pour into dessert dishes and chill. Garnish with cool whip and a strawberry!

Weekly tip: Layer strawberries on paper towels, seal in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for up to three days for short-term storage. For the best flavor strawberries should be eaten at room temperature. Otherwise freeze strawberries!

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