Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Book for a cook: Seaton sisters share savory snacks

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

If you don't know what to fix for dinner, leave it to the Seaton Christian Sisters to give you some ideas.
They've compiled a 400-page cookbook full of dinner, party and dessert ideas. Entitled 'Blessings from the Kitchen,' the book's recipes are divided into these categories: Appetizers and beverages, soups and salads, vegetables and side dishes, main dishes, breads and rolls, cookies and candies, and this and that.
'Most of the recipes have been handed down from family to family over the generations,' said Helen Haisler, one of the cookbook contributors. 'The dressing, for example - my grandma made it, my mom made it and now I make it. It's not Christmas without it.'
That's the way Joyce Skrabanek feels about her sausage and sauerkraut. 'It's so good,' Ms. Skrabanek said. 'Especially around the holidays. While you're cooking it, you know something delicious and wonderful is about to happen.'
Ruth Psencik's signature dish is her Cranberry Salad - but not just because of its sweet taste.
'It's a pretty dish to have on the table,' Ms. Psencik said. 'Adds some color.'
Sharon Hejl contributed some kolache recipes to the Seaton cookbook.
'I married into a family of kolache makers,' Ms. Hejl said. 'I've lived with them long enough that I'm one myself now.'
'Blessings from the Kitchen' is the first cookbook the Seaton Christian Sisters have made since 1996.
'We thought a cookbook would make a nice fundraiser,' Ms. Haisler said. 'Especially since our bake sale is coming up. We'll be able sell them there.'
The Seaton Christian Sisters' annual bake sale and quilt show is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 12561 state Highway 53 in Temple. Admission to the event is free.
Kolaches, cakes, pies, cookies, bread and canned goods will be available for purchase. A lunch of homemade soup and sandwiches will also be available.
The cookbooks cost $10 each. Checks should be made payable to the Seaton Christian Sisters. All proceeds will support Seaton Brethren Church and its missions, youth camps and good works throughout the community.

Different recipes

“Blessings from the Kitchen” isn’t all about recipes for food.
Georgia Tyroch submitted a recipe for Cookie Cutter Gift.
“This poem is attached to a cookie cutter as a gift,” Ms. Tyroch wrote. “I made a plate of cookies, and ate just one or two. But I started feeling guilty because they were for you. I went into a panic, and ordered on the phone this brand new cookie cutter, so you can make your very own! Merry Christmas!”
Ms. Tyroch also contributed a recipe for a spray that will rid mildew from household plants. The ingredients she lists are: 2 Tbs. baking soda, 2 tsp. dish detergent, 3-4 drops oil, 1 gallon water and 1 garden sprayer.
“Pour 1 gallon water in the sprayer,” Ms. Tyroch wrote. “Add the soda, dish detergent and oil. Stir well. Spray shrubs and plants that have mildew on the leaves. May have to spray 2 or 3 times.”
Then there’s the recipe for a homemade ice pack.
“You’ll need 2 ½ cups water and ½ cup alcohol,” the recipe says. “Pour the water and alcohol into a plastic bag. First mix it in a quart-size bag then slip it into a gallon bag. Comes in handy for bruises and pain. Keep it in the freezer.”

More to know

The entire last section of the cookbook is devoted to kitchen education.
Here’s a list of culinary terms:
- Au jus: Served in its own juices
- Bisque: A thick cream soup
- Blanch: To immerse in rapidly boiling water and allow to cook slightly
- Crudites: An assortment of raw vegetables that is served as an appetizer
- Dredge: To coat lightly with flour
- Meuniére: Dredged with flour and sautéed in butter
- Pare: To remove the outermost skin of a fruit or vegetable
And what if a recipe fails? Perhaps a failed timer, distraction or a missing ingredient is to blame. But these handy tips can save the day.
- Sometimes a tomato-based sauce will become too acidic. Add baking soda, one teaspoon at a time, to the sauce. Use sugar as a sweeter alternative.
- Chocolate can seize, or turn course and grainy, when it comes into contact with water. Place seized chocolate in a metal bowl over a large saucepan with an inch of simmering water in it. Over medium heat, slowly whisk in warm, heavy cream. Use ¼ cup cream to 4 ounces of chocolate. The chocolate will melt and become smooth.
- If you’re out of an ingredient, don’t panic. There’s probably a substitution. For tomato juice, use ½ cup ketchup mixed with ½ cup water. And for honey, use 1¼ cups sugar dissolved in one cup water.
- If something’s too salty, add a little sugar and vinegar. In too salty soups and sauces, add a raw peeled potato.
- If something’s too sweet, add a little vinegar or lemon juice.
- Undercooked cakes and cookies can be served over vanilla ice cream. You can also layer pieces of cake or cookies with whipped cream and fresh fruit to form a dessert parfait. Crumbled cookies also make an excellent ice cream or cream pie topping.

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