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Alexandria Recorder

May 26, 2011

Life

Corn bread, iced tea a hit no matter the occasion A couple of days of sunny weather and now we’re back to rain and cool temperatures. One good thing, though. The gardens are full of happy worms, and that makes for healthy veggies and herbs along with easy pickings for the birds. And I’m looking forward to Memorial Day, which is official start of the outdoor party season. And I know lots of you are celebrating graduations so I’m sharing some favorite recipes for those occasions.

Corn bread salad for Memorial Day

Every year I get requests for this recipe always around Memorial Day. I change it up ever year, and this year I’m adding more bacon and a bit more oregano and cheese. I know, it’s not low-fat or low anything, but a real treat to have occasionally. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients. It’s easy to make. Feel free to substitute

lower fat ingredients if you want. My editor Lisa suggested p l a i n G r e e k yogurt Rita instead of Heikenfeld s o u r Rita’s kitchen c r e a m . Make sure it’s Greek and not the sweetened type. 1 pkg. (81⠄2 oz.) corn bread/muffin mix 1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies, undrained or 12 jalapeùos, chopped 1 teaspoon cumin 3 ⠄4 teaspoon oregano 1 cup each mayonnaise and sour cream 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix 2 cans (15 oz. each) Great Northern beans, drained 2 cans (15 oz. each) whole kernel corn, drained or equivalent frozen corn, thawed 4 good sized tomatoes,

chopped 1 bell pepper, chopped 1 bunch green onions, chopped 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled 4 cups shredded cheddar Prepare corn bread according to package directions but stir in chilies, cumin, oregano. Pour into sprayed 8-inch pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool. Combine mayonnaise, sour cream and dressing mix; set aside. Crumble half the cornbread into a 13-by-9 pan. Layer with half of the rest of the ingredients and repeat layers, ending with cheese. Cover and refrigerate for two hours or more. Serves 10 to 12.

Rachel Ray’s spread adapted by Betty Neal

Betty is an avid cook and loyal reader. 1 cup large olives with pimento 1 clove garlic

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened 1 cup ricotta cheese 1 â „2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted 1 sliced whole-grain baguette Parmesan pita crisps, store-bought 1 celery heart, cut into sticks

16 to 20.

Preheat oven 425 degrees. Place olives in food processor and grate in garlic, add cream cheese and ricotta cheese. Pulse the cheese and olives into a fairly smooth spread. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with hazelnuts. Toast the bread on a baking sheet five to 10 minutes to lightly crisp. Surround the spread with bread, pita crisps and celery.

What you need to know when baking with sugar substitutes: Remember that most sugar substitutes come with specific substitution formulas. Always check the package. Keep in mind that baked goods will not be the same when baked with sugar substitutes, mainly because nonsugars do not have the ability to melt and caramelize. When attempting to substitute, be sure to run a test batch. Note that some sweeteners cook much faster than sugar, so be sure to adjust your baking times. Always add extra flavoring everywhere you can;

So good iced tea punch

I love this punch! You’ll be surprised at the flavor – very mild but with a zing. And such a pretty amber color. Perfect for graduations and large gatherings. Serves

Mix together:

2 cups lemon-flavored iced tea mix (I used Lipton) 2 two-liter bottles of ginger ale Orange and lemons, thinly sliced (optional but nice) Ice

Tips from Rita’s kitchen

extra vanilla, citrus juice or zest, spices, extracts. Be creative and keep in mind that you need to override the inherent “cool� flavor sensation of the sweetener you are using. To boost moistness in baked goods, try adding a bit of molasses or honey. To achieve a more golden brown color, try spraying the top of your batter or dough with cooking spray before placing in the oven. When making cookies, remember to flatten them a bit – since the substitute sugars are slower to melt, cookies made with it tend to be slower to spread. For a natural, one-to-one baking blend check out www.NuNaturals.com. They have lots of Stevia (a natural, herbal sugar substitute) products and there’s no bitter taste. Rita Nader Heikenfeld is an herbalist, educator and author. Email columns@community press.com with “Rita’s kitchen� in the subject line. Call 513-2487130, ext. 356.

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