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Category Archives: Food

Perfectly delicious traditional pound cakes

By Olivia Fowler

For the Courier

ofowler@thepccourier. com

The reason I prefer traditional pound cake recipes is for the flavor, the richness, the moisture and the texture. And there is no substitute for real butter if you want to make a really good one.

If anyone can find a better chocolate pound cake recipe than my friend Jane’s, then send me a copy. It’s the very best.

My grandmama’s old fashioned pound cake recipe calls for a dozen eggs, real butter and a pound of

everything. There’s no substitute for anything, and it can easily feed 25 people.

And the lemon pound cake recipe is not run of the mill.

It’s near the top on the all-time favorites list.

If you’re cutting out sweets, don’t start until after you bake one of these cakes. You will not regret it.

 

 

Picking the chili of your choice

By Olivia Fowler

For the Courier

ofowler@thepccourier.com

When the icy breath of winter comes our way, we want to eat something that will warm us up. And nothing does this better than chili. It’s filling, nutritious and is warm in temperature and seasonings.

If hot and spicy isn’t your favorite, reduce the number of chopped hot pepppers. Or you can even eliminate them if you like, or replace them with mild peppers.

Celebrated annually on the fourth Thursday of February, this year’s National Chili Day is scheduled for Feb. 25. Give all these recipes a shot so you’re ready to mark the occasion with a bowl of your favorite.

To each his own. Enjoy.

 

Mix decadence and refreshment this Valentine’s Day

Chocolate is often described as “decadent,” and rightfully so. Few foods can make people feel as if they’re being indulgent as well as chocolate. Perhaps that’s what makes chocolate such a great fit for Valentine’s Day. When giving that special someone some chocolate on February 14, you’re not just giving them something delicious, but also a chance to indulge in a forbidden fruit.

But chocolate desserts can be more than merely decadent. In fact, this recipe for “Pasticcio di Cioccolato con Lampone (Individual Chocolate Cakes With Fresh Raspberries)” from Michael White and Joanna Pruess’ “Fiamma: The Essence of Contemporary Italian Cooking” (Wiley) is both decadent and, thanks to the fresh raspberries, refreshing. The individual cake is an ideal Valentine’s Day gift, as it serves to emphasize how that special someone is the only one for you.

Pasticcino di Cioccolato con Lampone

(Individual chocolate cakes

with fresh raspberries)

— Makes 8 servings

1 1/3 c. cake flour, sifted

1/3 c. plus 2 tbsp. cocoa powder, sifted

1/4 tsp. baking soda

6 tbsp. unsalted butter

6 large eggs

1 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. heavy cream

1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 pint fresh raspberries

Vegetable cooking spray

Pinch of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray a standard muffin tin with nonstick spray or fill 8 of the cups with paper or foil liners.

Sift the flour, 1/3 cup of cocoa, salt, and baking soda into a bowl and set aside. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and set aside.

Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Set the bowl over a pan partially filled with simmering water. The water should not touch the bowl. Using a whisk, beat the egg-sugar mixture until it feels very warm to the touch and all of the sugar has dissolved. Immediately remove the bowl from the heat and transfer it to the electic mixer.

Whip the egg-sugar mixture on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes until it triples in volume and is very thick and light colored. Add the vanilla and whip 2 to 3 seconds longer to blend. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the flour-cocoa mixture.

Place about 11/2 cups of the batter in a separate bowl and fold in the melted butter. Do this gently, as you do not want to overwork the batter. Fold this into the remaining batter. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center of one cupcake comes out clean. Remove and cool completely on a rack.

While the cupcakes are cooling, combine the heavy cream with the confectioners’ sugar and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cocoa, beat into soft peaks, and set aside.

Remove the cupcakes from the tin and place them on dessert plates. Spoon the whipped cream on top, divide the raspberries among the plates and serve.

 

Sour cream is full of surprises

By Olivia Fowler
For the Courier

ofowler@thepccourier.com

The rich creaminess of sour cream is misleading. It tastes as though it has a zillion calories but in fact, two tablespoons of sour cream has fewer calories than a tablespoon of mayonnaise.

Sure, the percentage of fat is high, but the total amount isn’t. Consider that a serving of sour cream is two tablespoons. That provides just 52 calories — half the amount that’s in a single tablespoon of mayonnaise. And that is also less saturated fat than the amount contained in a 12-ounce glass of 2 percent milk.

If it still worries you to eat sour cream, use the reduced fat variety. Remember that it isn’t necessary to eliminate everything tasty from your diet to eat healthy. Moderation in all things is the key. So, enjoy these sour cream dishes and use good judgment when you cook as well as when you eat.

 

Cooking with grapes adds depth to flavors

By Olivia Fowler

For the Courier

ofowler@thepccourier. com

Years ago at my grandmama’s house, Fowler and my brother brought in duck they’d shot over the pond.

After they cleaned them, they were brought into the kitchen to be cooked. So we washed them thoroughly, patted them dry, salted and peppered them and stuffed them with sliced oranges and grapes. Then we roasted them in the oven, and when they were ready, removed them from the roasting pan and poured in wine to glaze the pan. After the liquid reduced, it was poured over the duck and they were served. It was a memorable meal.

That’s the first time I found out you could cook with grapes, and I was so excited to learn how much

Cook Mexican dishes at home

By Olivia Fowler

For the Courier

ofowler@thepccourier.com

During these difficult times, we don’t have    to give up everything we love. Just because we don’t want to eat inside restaurants doesn’t mean we have to do without delicious Mexican dishes.

So this week, I thought it would be fun to feature some favorites from South of the Border.

There’s an incredible variety of dishes with sometimes unfamilar ingredients, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t delicious. So get your taste buds ready and try one of these.

If you don’t like a lot of heat, cut back on the hot peppers.

 

Keep focus on fun during family baking sessions

Baking is a beloved tradition in many families. Though family baking sessions tend to be especially popular during the holiday season, there’s nothing stopping families from breaking out the flour and having some fun in the kitchen at any time of year.

Fun is the focus when families bake together, and the following are some

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Cookies with a taste of the holidays

By Olivia Fowler

For the Courier

ofowler@thepccourier.com

We often associate cookies with Christmas, but I believe there are plenty of other holidays that can do with a good cookie, like Thanksgiving and Easter.

For one thing, there are usually so many rich foods on the table, even thinking about a heavy dessert can make a person a little queasy.

So maybe it’s time to turn to a treat that’s just a little lighter. One cookie will not have as much impact as one slice of pie or cake.

I really like the featured cookies this week.

You certainly don’t have to make all four varieties, and if you choose gingerbread men, remember, you can always use a different-shaped cookie cutter if you think it’s not the right time of year for the familiar figure to appear on the dessert table.

Please enjoy and have a safe, happy and possibly Zoom-filled holiday.

 

Get lost in great cakes

By Olivia Fowler

For the Courier

ofowler@thepccourier.com

Some of these recipes go back a long way.

One of my all-time favorites is the old-fashioned pineapple upside-down cake my grandmother used to make in a cast-iron frying pan. This was a specialty of hers for Sunday night suppers. It never lasted long enough to make leftovers.

The upsy daisy cake was popular in the 1930s, and there are versions of this recipe in old cookbooks.

The banana split cake is easy to make and is a really decadent dessert, and the black bottom cupcakes are popular party fare.

None of this stuff is calorie-free, but sometimes you have to let it go out the window and just enjoy.

 

Four ways to use up your green tomatoes

By Olivia Fowler
For the Courier

ofowler@thepccourier.com

This is that time of year when gardeners are faced with lots of green tomatoes that probably won’t be able to get ripe. So, what do you do with them? Of course you can always fry them. And that’s one way.

These four recipes offer a little more variety. We like the chow chow as an accompaniment to field peas in the winter. Use it any way you like.

None of these are difficult, but some do take a little more prep time than others. It’s important to use green tomatoes before they begin to lighten in color and soften. The firmer, the better.

For the pickles, I use the smaller ones, about the size of a golf ball. For the chow chow, I always ask for a little chopping help. Please enjoy these.