Chocolate Sauce

Erin – I am posting this for you!
     When our niece Erin came to visit a couple of summers ago, we made this chocolate sauce and then proceeded to drizzle it (maybe ladle is a better choice of words) over ice cream . . . almost every night for dessert!
     The recipe came from Pat Berkley; she shared it with me when I interviewed her for my monthly cooking column. (Jan. 27, 2009, Abilene Refector-Chronicle)

Chocolate Sauce
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white corn syrup
3 cups granulated sugar
12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. In a saucepan, melt butter, cocoa, salt and corn syrup. 
2. Add sugar and stir; then add evaporated milk and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Note: The sauce will seem to be rather thin but thickens up in the refrigerator.  If too thick to serve, warm briefly in microwave.
3. Remove from heat and add vanilla. 
4. Store in refrigerator.  (I warm it in the microwave before serving.)

Hamburger Stuffed French Bread

     When I first started teaching, KPL’s  (Kansas Power & Light) Customer Advisor, Nelda Horan, would visit area Home Economics classes to provide students with insight on all sorts of things, including the proper use of electrical appliances and equipment. She introduced us to the recipe that follows, demonstrating how to use an electric knife to cut the top off the bread, a blender to make breadcrumbs, and she also pointed out the features of the electric range top and oven as she cooked the meat and veggies, and put the bread in to bake. I have made some revisions to the recipe over the years and added some of the creative variations students came up for this satisfying sandwich bread.

Hamburger Stuffed French Bread     Serves about 6 to 8
1 standard loaf French bread
1 lb. ground beef (80 to 85% lean)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1 (10.5 oz.) can condensed soup (mushroom, celery,
    tomato, etc.)  or instead use  . .
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
About 2 cups of breadcrumbs (see directions for preparation in step #4 below)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh herbs or use about 1 tablespoon of dried herbs
Slices of processed cheese or 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (any type)

1.     Preheat oven to 350°F.
2.     Cut a thin slice off the top of the bread (a serrated knife works best or use an electric knife) and put aside.
3.     Hollow out the middle of the French bread  — leaving about 1/4” to 1/2” thickness on the sides and bottom. 
4.     Add the bread (that you pulled from the loaf) to the work bowl of the food processor; turn on processor and run until fine crumbs are formed.  Set aside for use later in recipe.
5.     Add ground beef to a hot skillet and cook on medium heat, stirring as it cooks.  Be sure to use the back of a spoon to break up any large hamburger chunks. Add onions and garlic if used; cook until onions are tender and translucent. 
6.     Add and thoroughly mix in can of condensed soup or the tomato sauce, or ketchup and mustard combination.  
7.     Stir about 2 cups of the reserved breadcrumbs into the meat mixture (add more if needed to thicken mixture). Add the seasonings and mix ingredients well and pack this mixture into French bread shell.
8.     Top with cheese and replace the top of the loaf.
9.     Wrap in aluminum foil and set on a cookie sheet.  Use a potholder to place cookie sheet in preheated oven.   Bake for 20 minutes or until mixture is hot.  The cheese will melt; heating also helps combine the flavors of the various ingredients.
10.  Carefully remove cookie sheet from oven using hot pads.  Place cookie sheet on a cooling rack.
11.  Let cool slightly.  Slice and serve.

Make ahead tip:  Ingredients may be prepared ahead of time (refrigerate meat mixture and wrap bread in air-tight covering); combine at last minute or even combine several hours in advance, wrap and refrigerate.  Add extra baking time to allow for the colder temperature.

Microwave  (instead of heating in the oven):  Heat the filled bun for about 35 seconds.

Variations:  Use small buns or Kaiser roll for individual sandwiches.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Pizza Bread:  Use tomato soup, Italian herb blends, Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese & black olive slices if desired.
  • Cheese Burger Bread:  Use the tomato sauce or ketchup & mustard mixture; top with American cheese slices.
  • Stroganoff Bread:  Sauté chopped green peppers and mushrooms along w/ the onion. Use mushroom soup and a little sour cream if desired.
  • Or, create your own custom filling! What about sausage or ground turkey instead of ground beef? Green or red peppers (cook with the onions), sliced mushrooms (cook with the onions), black olives (stir in before stuffing the bread) – the variations are endless.

Butter Fingers

     In the late 1970s or early 80s a Home Ec. student teacher from KSU, Miss Wiens, made these bar cookies as a treat for the students. They were a hit and for years, we made these for Abilene High School’s National Honor Society Induction. Originally the peanut butter frosting covered the entire surface of the cookies; I cut the frosting recipe in half and use it to drizzle the surface.

Butter Fingers      Makes one 8”x12” or 9”x13” pan
Cookie Base:
   1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
   1/2 cup granulated sugar
   1/2 cup packed brown sugar
   1/3 cup peanut creamy butter
   1 egg
   1/2 teaspoon baking soda
   1/4 teaspoon salt
   1/2 teaspoon vanilla
   1 cup all-purpose flour
   1 cup quick rolled oats (old-fashioned works too)
Chocolate Layer
   6  to 8 ounces chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet)
   1/4 cup powdered sugar
   2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
   3 to 4 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 8”x12” or 9”x13” pan with parchment paper or foil; grease or spray.
2. Cookie Base: Using a mixer, cream butter and sugars. Mix in peanut butter, egg, soda ,salt, and vanilla. Then add flour and rolled oats; mix completely. 
3. Spread into prepared pan – the dough is thick so I distibute it in the pan and then lay a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap over the surface – this keeps my fingers from sticking to the dough as I pat and push the dough to evenly cover the bottom of the pan.
4. Put the cookies in the preheated oven and bake until light brown -- about 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Chocolate Layer: Remove base from oven and top with 6 to 8 ounces of chocolate chips – use enough to cover the surface. I usually put back in the oven for a minute or so and then remove and spread the melted chips evenly over the surface of the bar cookies.
6. Cool cookies competely on a wire rack.
7. Frosting: Mix together the powdered sugar, peanut butter and enough milk so frosting can be  drizzled over the hardened surface of the chocolate -- I put the frosting in a spoon and drizzle back and forth creating a criss-cross pattern. (A mini food processer works well for mixing the frosting.)
8. Cut into bars  after frosting sets up.

Baking Tip:
To easily remove bar cookies from the pan, line with foil or parchment paper (fold or cut it to fit the pan) extending  it beyond the edges, creating “wings” or handles that can be used to pull the entire sheet of cookies out after they have cooled. The “wings” can actually extend either from the long or short side of the pan.

Raisin Cream Bars

     My dad loved raisin cream pie so when Margaret Shouse shared this recipe with me for my monthly cooking column (Feb. 27, 2007, Abilene Reflector-Chronicle), I immediately went home and gave it a try. The bars are reminiscent of raisin cream pie with a crunch . . . they are easy to make and delicious.

For just two of us, I cut the recipe in half (I’ve included the halved measurements in blue). I also add chopped walnuts – like the taste and also the added crunch.

Raisin Cream Bars    Makes a 9x13” pan or cut in half for and put in a 9x9” pan

2 cups raisins -- cook in 3/4 cup water until raisins are plump and most of the water has  
been absorbed; set aside to cool.  (1 cup raisins / 6 T. water)
Crust:  Place in a mixing bowl . . .
1 1/2 cups quick oatmeal  (I've also used old-fashioned oats) / 3/4 cup
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour  / 3/4 cup
1 teaspoon baking soda  / 1/2 t.
1 cup (or 2 sticks) margarine (I use butter)  / 1 stick
1 cup packed brown sugar  / less than 1/2 c.

1.     Mix crust ingredients until crumbly and put 2/3 of this mixture in a greased or sprayed pan, bringing it up the sides of pan (reserve the rest to use as a topping).
2.     Bake 10 minutes in a preheated 350° oven.
4 egg yolks -- beaten well  / 2 egg yolks
2 cups half-and-half cream (or use whole milk or even evaporated milk) / 1 cup
3 tablespoons cornstarch*  / 1 1/2 T.
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar  / about 1/2 c. or less
1/2 teaspoon salt / 1/4 t.
1 teaspoon vanilla / 1 t.
Chopped walnuts –add as many as you want

1.    In a saucepan -- beat egg yolks slightly with a whisk, then add half-and-half, cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Place on medium heat and cook until mixture is thick, stirring constantly. Add vanilla, then prepared raisins. 
2.    Spread filling mixture over crumb crust. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over filling and bake 20 minutes at 350°.

About Starch Thickeners:
Starch thickeners, such as cornstarch, often lump if not added to the liquids properly. To avoid lumps, try one of these methods: 
1.     If the recipe also calls for sugar, thoroughly whisk the cornstarch and sugar prior to adding to the liquid. 
2.      Mix the starch with an equal amount of cold liquid until it forms a paste, then whisk it into the remaining liquid.   If you do end up with lumps in your sauce, blend it in a blender or food   processor until it's smooth or strain it through a mesh sieve.



Traveling through Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia

Dobre Doshly” – Traditional Bulgarian “Welcome”
Mananca cu paine" (Bread) with Salt and Honey
w/ a shot of Pálinka (a traditional Hungarian fruit brandy)

     For us, it was like reliving our trip through Eastern Europe this morning as we prepared a typical menu during an Abilene Parks and Rec class that we held at our house. We reminisced about the sights in Europe and even wore traditional garb. Class members helped prepare the dishes listed in the menu below.
     Check out the tab above, “Upcoming Classes” for a list of other scheduled classes.

At -home class -- ready to try out the Dobostorte.
Bulgarian Chicken Paprikash Soup
Serbian Cucumber Salad
Hungarian Fillet of Pork
w/ Lesco (pepper, potato & tomato stew)
Hungarian Dobostrorte

Bulgarian Chicken Paprikash Soup                Makes 8 servings
This is a recipe similar to a broth-based soup we ate in a charming restaurant in Arbanasi, Bulgaria.  The restaurant grounds also housed a “zoo” of local animals and there was even a hammock where guests could recline.

3 to 4 tablespoon oil or butter
2 cups diced onion
At-home class - finishing up the main course.

1 cup diced celery
1 green pepper, diced
½ to 1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
4 to 6 cups chicken stock or more as needed
2 cups canned tomatoes, diced
½ to ¾ cup sour cream (or leave out if you prefer a clear soup)
2 lbs. cooked chicken meat, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional sour cream and paprika for garnish, if desired

1.     In a large soup pot, heat the oil or butter and sauté the onion, celery, green pepper, and mushrooms until soft. 
2.     Add the paprika and 4 to 6 cups chicken stock.  Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer.  Add the diced tomatoes and additional chicken broth as needed. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.  Add the sour cream if using.  Add the chicken meat; heat through. 
3.     To serve:  ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of paprika if desired.

Hungarian Paprika
Hungarian paprika powder gives a unique taste and fiery color to typical Hungarian meals.  Fresh paprika has the flavor of the peppers it was ground from. Hungarian paprika can range in flavor from mild and sweet to fiery hot.
Classic Hungarian sweet paprika is the most popular (and generally the one used in recipes calling for paprika – it is prepared from a mild paprika pepper that lacks the high concentrations of capsaicin found in other peppers.  This results is a robust flavor (often described as deep, sweet and earthy) without much heat. 
To retain the full flavor of paprika — store in a cool, dry area away from light exposure.

Potato Puff Rolls

     These rolls are light and airy; great for dinner rolls or for party sandwiches. I’ve even used part whole wheat flour when making them. Jane Medina shared this recipe with me and it is a favorite of ours.

Potato Puff Rolls Makes about 34 rolls
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup milk
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 (1/4 oz.) pkg. active dry yeast or scant tablespoon of bulk yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
4 - 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or more as needed
1 egg

1. Scald milk by placing measured milk into microwave, or in a pan on the stovetop, and heating to a temperature of 150°. Remove from heat, transfer to an electric mixing bowl (I use a Kitchen Aid® mixer) and add shortening, sugar (reserving a teaspoon to sprinkle on the yeast --- this will aid in the yeast fermentation), salt and potatoes. Cool to lukewarm or approximately 110° to 115° degrees.
2. Sprinkle yeast on warm water, adding the reserved teaspoon of sugar; stir to dissolve and let stand until bubbly.
3. Add 2 cups flour, the egg and yeast mixture to the milk mixture. Beat until smooth (with the flat blade of the mixer) adding enough remaining flour to make a smooth dough that leaves side of bowl (avoid too much flour so you will not have dry dough!). At this point, remove the flat blade and install the dough hook and knead on low to medium setting for 5 to 10 minutes until dough is smooth, adding more flour as needed.
4. Place the dough in a greased mixing bowl (turning the dough to grease all sides). Let rise until double in bulk (about an hour conventionally but see note below). When double, punch down and let rest 10 minutes.
5. Then form into rolls and place on greased (or parchment lined) cookie sheet or in muffin tins. Again let rise until double in size (about 1 hour conventionally).
6. Sprinkle with flour right before baking.
7. Bake in preheated 400° oven 10 to 12 minutes. Rolls should be nicely browned on both the top and bottom. Remove to a cooling rack.

To rise properly, dough needs to be in a draft-free warm place, ideally with a temperature of 80 to 85°. One way to create such an environment is to put the dough in a gas oven warmed by a pilot light or in an electric oven that has been turned on at 200° for 1 minute, then turned off.
To add moisture to dough rising in a barely warm oven, set a pan of hot water on the bottom rack and place the bowl of dough or a rack above the water.
The above tips should decrease the rising process to just about 20 minutes.

A Great Book, Home Cooking . . . and Fried Walnuts!

     In this case home cooking means Southern party foods straight from a book that explores Mississippi Delta customs and comfort foods.  Although its focus is an unlikely topic, BEING DEAD IS NO EXCUSE, The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral, this book by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays is one that will make you laugh and smile. According to the authors, funerals are just another opportunity for a social gathering in the South. They not only keep you entertained but well feed.

     I enjoyed this book so much that last year I reviewed it for a literary group and provided refreshments straight from its recipe pages. Then, Barry and I offered a cooking class titled -- LIFE IS GOOD:  A Great Book & Home Cooking at the former Martha & David’s in Salina.
I’m sharing just one of the recipes and recommend you run, not walk, to the nearest bookstore. Because, I believe the authors just might offer these words of advice:  “You never know how much time is left!” Besides that, their recipe for Lowry’s Fudge Cake is awesome. There are no less than six recipes for pimiento cheese – the paste that holds the South together. And, you won’t want to miss V.D. Spinach (Visiting Dignitary Spinach).

Fried Walnuts     Makes four cups of the three major food groups: salt, fat, and sugar
According to the authors, “You can’t bury a self-respecting Southerner without certain foods.” And, although Fried Walnuts did not make their list on The 10 Top Funeral Foods,” they earn high ratings in my book. I do have to admit that “fried” in the title almost scared me away but it also intrigued me to give this recipe a try . . . and the results were worth every little bit of effort I expended.
The authors provide this information, “This recipe comes from the Beyond Parsley Cookbook, which was put out by the Junior League of Kansas City. Fried walnuts have become such a standard feature of the St James’ reception that few remember their origins do not lie dip in Delta culinary history.”  (p. 41, BEING DEAD IS NO EXCUSE)

8 cups water
4 cups English walnut halves (A pound of walnuts equals 4 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Cooking oil

1.     Bring water to a boil, drop in the walnuts, and boil for one minute.
2.     Drain the nuts in a colander. Have water running very hot, or use a kettle of boiling water, and rinse. Drain the nuts well again, immediately place them in a bowl, and coat with sugar.
3.     Have the oil hot, and place the walnuts in the oil about one cup at a time, depending on the size of the pan. Fry until golden brown.
4.     Remove with a slotted spoon, drain, and place on wax paper in a single layer.
5.     Sprinkle with salt.
6.     Cool and store. These can be frozen in an air-tight container. Left at room temperature, they remain tasty for a week.

Chicken Spaghetti

     This is a quick-fix dish that reminds me of the recipes I used to make during the early years of our marriage. Back then canned soup was always in the cupboard and one of my favorite cookbooks came from the Campbell’s® soup company. It was one I ordered for the vast sum of fifty cents. Think I made about every recipe in the book . . . except for the tomato soup chocolate cake – it was beyond my realm of comprehension!!!
     Over the years, as my cooking style changed, I must have given the book away. Too bad as it would be fun to page through it and reminisce.
Made this recipe for my mother the other day as she was recuperating from a hospital stay.  She had Velvetta® in her fridge so substituted it for the Cheddar cheese and it made for a very tasty and creamy dish.

Chicken Spaghetti      Yield: 4 (or more) servings  
6 to 8 oz. uncooked spaghetti (We are now avid fans of whole grain spaghetti – like it better than the whole wheat variety)
Chicken broth ((homemade, canned or use bouillon cubes or granules to make broth)
About 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter or use olive oil
1/4 cup each chopped celery and onion
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of celery or mushroom soup or use a batch of White Sauce in place of the canned soup)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese, or substitute your favorite cheese)
About 2 cups cooked chicken (or use canned, undrained) or use Chicken Mix
Salt & pepper to taste

1.     Cook spaghetti in broth. Drain but reserve broth to thin sauce as needed.
2.     Sauté celery and onion in butter melted in a large skillet or saucepan; add and mix in the soup, milk, cheese; heat over low to medium until cheese is melted. 
3.     Add chicken and spaghetti; mix thoroughly and season to taste. If mixture seems a little "tight," thin it with a bit of reserved broth from the cooked spaghetti.  (Could actually be served at this point.)
4.     Pour into large greased or sprayed casserole dish. (Casserole could actually be frozen at this point  or even refrigerated and baked later – be sure to add extra cooking time if the ingredients are chilled.)
5.     Cover & bake at 350° for 30 to 45 minutes or until hot & bubbly—remove cover about last 10 minutes.
Variations:  Sauté fresh mushrooms, green or red peppers along with the celery and onion for added color and taste. Or, add frozen peas, canned mushrooms or pimientos to the mixture before baking. Amounts can vary according to your preference. 

Other recipes that use our Chicken Mix: Easy Chicken & Rice Bake, Huntington Chicken, Sloppy BBQ Chicken Joe.

Ken’s Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

     We were on the way to Estes Park, Colo. with the Brown’s. Ken had made a batch of these cookies for the 4th of July celebration that we were attending. But, he made the mistake of offering us a sample about half way through our road trip and that is all I could think about during the rest of the way to Colorado!
Actually, that’s not totally true as I began to think about how I was going to talk him into being the first male to appear in my monthly newspaper cooking column that features Dickinsion County cooks. Well after lots of arm-twisting, he agreed and his article was all about his speciality – cookies!
     By the way, Ken Brown, long-time principal at Abilene High School, was the one who hired me to teach Home Economics way back when.

Ken’s Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies    Yield:   3 1/2 dozen (3”) cookies  -- using a 1 tablespoon scoop of raw dough
1 cup margarine (2 sticks) or butter-flavored Crisco® (1 either use all butter or 1 stick of butter and 1/2 cup of butter-flavored Crisco®)
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups quick oats (uncooked) (I have used old-fashioned)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1.     Preheat oven to 350°.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper; spray lightly with pan release.
2.     Using an electric mixer, beat margarine and peanut butter until smooth;  add sugar, eggs and vanilla.
3.     Add remaining ingredients and mix well. (Since I use butter I like to chill the dough at this point.)
4.     Scoop the dough onto prepared baking sheet – about 9 to 12 cookies per sheet. (I use the bottom of a glass, that has been dipped in flour,  to lightly flatten the cookies at this point.)
5.     Bake 12 minutes, or until lightly browned on both the top and bottom. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Our niece, Erin, calls Uncle Barry the "Cookie Monster". Here he is in action - ready to devour more than his share of Ken's Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies!
Cookie Tips:
·      TERMINOLOGY.  “Creaming” is the process of mixing the the fat and sugar until the mixture becomes light-colored, smooth and fluffy.  This step incorporates air into the batter and, along with the baking powder or soda, acts as a leavening or rising agent.
·      FATS. Most recipes work best if the fat is at room temperature. Shortening, margarine or butter are generally the fats used in cookies.  Shortening and margarine are fairly heat-stable so they will help cookies keep their original unbaked shape.  Butter, on the other hand, melts at a much lower temperature so cookies made with it will tend to spread out.  The amount of fat also affects cookies -- a recipe using a high proportion of fat results in flat, chewy or crisp cookies; less fat results in puffier and more cake-like cookies.
·      MIXING. Avoid overmixing the dough.  Once the dry and wet ingredients are combined, mix until just combined and no longer. 
·      SHAPING.  Be sure cookies are all the same size and shape.  Small ones will burn before the other ones are done.
·      COOKIE SHEETS.  Select a bright cookie sheet.  If using a Teflon or dull sheet, reduce the heat or the baking time slightly.  (Bright cookie sheets reflect heat whereas, dull sheets absorb heat often causing the cookies to brown too quickly.  Use a cookie sheet that is small enough to allow the air to circulate around the sides of pan so that cookies will not burn on the bottom before they are brown on the top.  Also remember, cookie dough will melt and spread on a hot baking sheet so have a second cool sheet for the next batch.
·      PLACEMENT IN OVEN.  Bake cookies in the center of the oven.  Often it is best to bake only one sheet at a time to allow for uniform heat circulation and browning.  If two cookie sheets are placed in the oven at the same time, they should be placed far enough apart to allow for even heat circulation.  Or, rotate trays during baking to insure even heat distribution.
·      BAKING TIME.  Check as soon as minimum baking time is up. 
·      STORAGE.  Avoid stacking cookies while still hot or they may stick together.  Avoid storing different kinds of cookies together.  Place crisp, thin cookies in a container with a loose cover.  Soft cookies keep best in an air-tight container with a tight cover. 

Baked Potato Soup

     It was cold and rainy Saturday night and we had leftover mashed potatoes so Barry decided to make one last batch of winter soup. This was a recipe he made at the Kirby House restaurant and according to him, “I used to make it by the gallon!” This is a downsized version (based on what I included in The Kirby House Cookbook); it can be varied to suit your taste. Barry also explained, “Even though it uses mashed potatoes, it’s called Baked Potato Soup because you add baked potato toppings to finish it off.” 
Baked Potato Soup   Yield: about 7 cups                                   
1/2 cup diced onions                                       
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup  all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
About 2 to 2 1/3 cups whole or 2% milk (for a richer soup, 
use part half-and-half)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon *Tex Joy® Steak Seasoning (substitute any spicy blend)

4 to 5 cups warm mashed potatoes
Salt & pepper to taste
  Crisp bacon, crumbled or chopped
  Grated Cheddar cheese
  Chopped green onions or chives

1. In a medium to large saucepan or stock pot, sauté the onions in butter over medium heat until they are tender and translucent. 
2. Stir flour into the butter-onion mixture until smooth to create a roux. Slowly add the chicken stock and about 1 1/2 or 2 cups of the milk; season with Tex Joy®. Stir until smooth and thickened. 
3. Add mashed potatoes to the chicken stock mixture,  stirring until smooth. 
4. Add as much additional milk as needed until soup is desired consistency--similar to a light cream sauce (additional chicken stock may also be used to thin the soup). 
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
6.     When ready to serve, dish up bowls of soup and garnish with crisp bacon, grated cheese, and green onions or chives.

Reheating Tip:
The starch in potatoes will cause this soup to thicken as it cools. So, if you have leftover soup, you’ll need to add extra liquid (milk or broth) as it is reheated.

Green Bean Bundles with Bacon Vinaigrette

     I wrapped enough bundles to allow one per person; just threw the remaining green beans in the bottom of the baking pan and then placed the bundles on top of the loose beans. Certainly saved time along with increased serving portion size.

Bundles are ready for the oven.
Green Bean Bundles with Bacon Vinaigrette     10 to 12 servings
About 2 quarts salted water water
2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
2 large carrots, peeled into thin ribbons
1 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

1.     Preheat the oven to 350.
2.     In a large pot, bring the salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and boil until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain, and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Also add the carrot ribbons to the hot water for about 1 or 2 minutes and then put them in the ice water bath too.
3.     Wrap 8 to 10 green beans with 1 carrot ribbon. Place on a rimmed baking pan. Repeat the process with the remaining green beans and carrot ribbons. Make Ahead: Bundles can be prepped to this point and refrigerated overnight.
4.     In a large skillet, cook the bacon pieces over medium heat until crispy. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; set aside. Reserve 3 tablespoons bacon drippings in a skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the vinegar and cook for about 5 or 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the olive oil. Drizzle hot mixture evenly over the green bean bundles. Bake until green beans are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon before serving.

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes     Serves about 6 to 7
6 to 7 cups (about 2 1/4 lb.) new potatoes (unpeeled), cut into chunks & cooked in salted
   water until tender
About 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, if desired
Salt and white pepper to taste

1.  Mash potatoes in large bowl, leaving them slightly chunky.
2.  Stir in buttermilk and butter, if desired.
3.  Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Barry’s Peppered Pork Tenderloin w/ Muli-Mustard Sauce

Barry carving the finished pork during the TV show.

     Barry prepared this pork tenderloin recipe for a TV show that aired on our local cooking station during the fall of 2010, as a part of the Chamber of Commerce’s 1st Men’s Cooking Competition.
It was a favorite entrée during the years we catered for the Kirby House restaurant. 
     When making this for a crowd, we use pork loin.

Barry’s Peppered Pork Tenderloin w/ Muli-Mustard Sauce 
Makes 6 to 8 or more (4 oz.) serving
3 to 4 tablespoons coarsely ground pepper                
1 cup bread crumbs                                                                
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or 3-4 Tbsp. dried
2 tablespoons olive oil

1.  Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl; add oil and blend. 
2.  Preheat oven to 425°.

Pork Tenderloins:
2 pork tenderloins
1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1.  Trim silverskin and any excess fat from the tenderloins; brush with Dijon mustard (this adds flavor and helps coating stick). 
2.  Spread the coating mixture out on parchment paper.  Roll tenderloins in coating and press to help mixture adhere. 
3.  Place tenderloins in a roasting pan and roast until internal temperature reaches at least 160 to 165°—about 30 to 40 minutes.  (However, our preference is a temperature of about 180° and due to the coating, the meat is still moist and very tender at this higher temperature.)  Allow loin to rest at least 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
Advance Preparation:  Pork Tenderloin can be coated in advance and refrigerated.

Facts about Pork  p. 85, The Kirby House Cookbook by Meta Newell West
What is an average serving?
According to the National Pork Producers Association, the “average” serving size for pork is 3 ounces of cooked meat.  Start with 4 ounces of boneless, raw pork to yield 3 ounces of cooked pork. .
To what temperature should I cook pork?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.)  recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature  160° F.  (medium doneness).  Use a meat thermometer to judge doneness. When cooking a roast, remove from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 155° F. and allow the roast to stand for 10 minutes before slicing. The roast's internal temperature will rise about five degrees after removing from the oven. A hint of pink blush in the center is ideal for tender, juicy pork.
But, what about trichinosis?
Because of modern feeding practices, trichinosis is  no longer a concern. Although trichina is virtually nonexistent in pork, if it were present, it would be killed at 137° F. That's well below the recommended end cooking temperature for pork, which is 160° F.

Barry’s Multi-Mustard Sauce
1 small white or yellow onion, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons chicken concentrate
1 cup white wine  (such as Beringer® White Zinfandel)
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 to 1/4 cup yellow mustard
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 to 2 tablespoons mustard seed
1/2 to 1 pint (1 to 2 cups) heavy cream

1.  In a 2 to 3-quart saucepan, sauté minced onions in the olive oil until tender. 
2.  Add the chicken concentrate to onions and simmer for about 1 minute. 
3.  Add wine and then the 4 mustards.  Stir with French or flat whisk to mix. 
4.  Add cream and simmer until reduced to sauce consistency.

Mustard Primer
Mustard Seeds:  There are two major types of mustard seed — white (or yellow ) and brown (or Asian ).  White mustard seeds are much larger  than the brown variety but a lot less pungent. Seeds can be stored for up to a year in a dry, dark place.
Dry Mustard:  Finely ground mustard seed.  Dry or powdered mustard is best used within about 6 months.
Prepared Mustard  is generally made from powdered mustard combined with seasonings and a liquid.
Yellow Mustard or American-style is a mild mixture made from the less-pungent white
seed  flavored with sugar, vinegar and turmeric (which makes it yellow).
Dijon Mustard is  originally from Dijon, France.   This pale, grayish-yellow mustard is
known for its clean, sharp flavor, which can range from mild to hot. Dijon mustard is made from brown  mustard seeds, white wine, unfermented grape juice  and various seasonings.

Serving Suggestions: Serve with Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Broccoli or our Green Bean Bundles.