Not Your Usual Dip & Chips – Spicy Molded Gazpacho

     Flavors of gazpacho are packed into a dip that is thickened with unflavored gelatin. Serve it with tortilla chips for a delicious and an out-of-the ordinary cocktail offering.
     The recipe came from Connie Burket of Salina and was a popular offering during the years we catered.
     This makes so much that I usually cut it in half for smaller groups. If it is made in small loaf pan, it can also be sliced and used as a salad (like classic tomato aspic) on a bed of lettuce.
     By the way, there are some tips and tricks for working with unflavored gelatin included in the recipe directions.

Spicy Molded Gazpacho      Yield 1 quart equivalent
2 envelopes (each 1/4 -oz.)  unflavored gelatin (Knox® brand)
2 cups spicy hot V-8® juice -- chilled
1 (12 oz.) can tomato paste
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 cup finely chopped green onions
6 slices bacon, crisp & crumbled
1 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 to 5 drops Tabasco® sauce

1.     Spray  or lightly oil a 1-quart mold (or use several smaller ones). I actually made a half batch and lined two small loaf pans with plastic wrap that were sprayed with pan release (see last photo). When ready to de-pan, just lift the molded dip out using the overhang of the plastic wrap.
2.     In medium sauce pan sprinkle gelatin over chilled V-8; let stand for 5 minutes.  

"Blooming" describes the softening step where the gelatin absorbs the water and swells. Be sure to sprinkle the gelatin over the cold liquid  -- if just dumped in the center, some granules may not dissolve. After sprinkling the gelatin, do not stir as this will cause the mixture to  lump.

3.     Cook on low heat until gelatin is dissolved, stir constantly. 
DO NOT LET THE GELATIN MIXTURE BOIL OR OVERHEAT: If it is heated close to the boiling point, it's best to discard it and start again. Boiling reduces the gelatin's strength and causes a top film to form, which in turn causes lumps in the mixture. 
4.     Stir in remaining ingredients and blend well. 

5.     Pour into prepared mold, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
It is important to store the finished gelatin mixture in a covered container to avoid the formation of a thick rubbery skin on the surface. 

6.  Unmold and serve with tortilla chips. 

For more info. on unflavored gelatin click on  http://whatscookingamerica.net/gelatintip.htm

Cool as a Cucumber Dip!

Serve this cool and refreshing dip with a bounty of veggies to utilize  end-of-the summer produce. It’s also good with crackers. To lighten it, use reduced fat cream cheese and sour cream.

Cucumber Dip
1 small cucumber with skin left on 
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 to 4 tablespoons granted onion (or finely chop)
½ cup sour cream
½ teaspoon dried dill weed


1.     Seed and coarsely grate (not in blender) a small cucumber.

2.     Place cream cheese to mixing bowl; add grated cucumber. Add grated onions, sour cream and dill weed.

Presidential Cookies 4-Ways – Mamie’s Sugar Cookies

     Since we live in President Dwight David (Ike) Eisenhower’s boyhood home, what is more appropriate than mixing up a batch of Mamie’s signature sugar cookies? The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum provided this recipe; I added frosting to some of my bite-sized cookies (tinted some of the frosting pink since that was Mamie’s favorite color), dipped others partially in chocolate and left a few plain which is the way Mamie served them.

Frosted & dipped cookies
are air drying. Chocolate dipped, frosted
cookies (vanilla w/ sprinkles, pink tinted
and plain sugar cookies
Mamie’s Sugar Cookies  3 dozen regular-sized cookies / 4 to 5
dozen smaller cookies 
1½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Additional sugar for sprinkling (I used sanding sugar* which is coarser than granulated)

Frosting:
1 lb. (3¼ cups) powdered sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
About 3 tablespoon milk
A few drops of red coloring to create pink frosting, if desired
Sprinkles

Chocolate chips – melted w/ a little oil in a double boiler

1.     Mix and sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
2.     In another bowl, cream butter, add sugar slowly; cream (or mix) until fluffy. Stir in well-beaten egg yolks and vanilla extract. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with the heavy cream (that's what Mamie's original recipe says to do . . . but since the recipe calls for just 1 tbsp. of cream, that does not allow for too much alternating). 
3.     Chill dough for one hour, roll and cut in any desired shape.
4.     Sprinkle with sugar before baking. Bake in a moderate oven (350 or 375°) for 10 to 12 minutes (mine took longer than the time indicated in Mamie's recipe).
I added the following steps:
5.     To make frosting – mix powdered sugar and butter, add vanilla and enough milk to create a thick frosting (add more powdered sugar or milk as needed). I added a few drops of red food coloring to some of the frosting.
6.     Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler – add a little oil to make the chocolate glossy and easy to coat cookies.
7.     Frost part of the cookies; sprinkle if desired. Dip one edge of some of the cookies in melted chocolate; lay on wax paper and allow the chocolate to become firm.


*Sanding sugar is a coarse confectionary sugar. It has a sparkling appearance and is used as a decorative element in baked goods. Can be purchased in specialty stores.

Seasoned Oyster Crackers -- A Snack for All Seasons!

The time has come to add this much used recipe to the electronic world! Can’t remember when we started making Seasoned Crackers but the typed recipe card has seen LOTS of use! Barry adds them to soup, eats them for a snack and, they can even be used as salad croutons. We often offer a bowl of these with pre-dinner cocktails. Here’s our version of this recipe that’s been around forever.

Seasoned Oyster Crackers

1 (12 oz.) pkg. oyster crackers
½ cup vegetable (canola) oil
1 (1 oz.) pkg. Ranch-style dry dressing mix (or 3 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning blend

  1. Pour crackers into a 2-quart microwave safe mixing bowl.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; stir to mix completely. Pour over crackers and toss until all are well coated.
  3. Microwave (high) uncovered for 3 to 4 minutes or until heated -- stopping and stirring at least twice. Cool completely. Store in a covered container.

SHAKE UP Breakfast Time! Chocolate Breakfast Shake

It’s delicious, nutritious, and easy to make. Here’s a quick run-down of the ingredients:
  • You’ll get potassium from the banana.
  • Lots of fiber from the flax + it helps reduce cholesterol and helps stabilize blood sugar. And, my opthalmologist recommends it for eye health.
  • Almond “milk” is made from almonds, water and a little sweetener. It contains no cholesterol or lactose. (We seem to have developed a lactose intolerance as we have aged!) The commercial product we buy is enhanced with vitamins, has 50% more calcium than regular milk and contains just 60 calories per one cup (compared to skim milk at 90 calories per cup). Besides that, it tastes really good and has a long refrigerator shelf life.
  • Occasionally I will tap into Barry’s ever present supply of Nutella® (hazelnut-based sweet spread made from ground hazelnuts, skim milk and cocoa) but most of the time I just use plain cocoa which produces a chocolaty taste without too many extra calories.
  • Personally, the almond milk and sugar from the banana adds enough sweetness for me, but if it’s not enough for you, add honey or agave syrup (a naturally low glycemic sweetener - it is 1½ times sweeter than sugar so just a little adds a lot of sweetness).
Chocolate Breakfast Shake    Makes about 2 cups
1 banana
¾ to 1 cup Almond Milk or use regular if preferred
1 tablespoon ground flax meal (I use golden flax meal)
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder or use 1 to 2 tablespoons Nutella® for a richer flavor
About ½ to ¾ of a glass of ice cubes (use the glass you’ll serve the shake in)
Agave or honey to sweeten, if needed

  1. Put banana, milk, flax meal, cocoa and Nutella® into blender. Add lid and blend until well mixed.
  2. Stop blender; add ice and blend until ice is finely chopped.
  3. Taste and add agave or honey -- just enough to sweeten, if needed. (If you use almond milk and Nutella@ they both have sweetners in them so you may or may not need additional sweetness.)

Pesto & Pizza

     I remember growing up on the farm – there was a specific day for laundry, another for ironing; those tasks each took most of a day. As I’ve said before this is my herb and spice week – one day for drying, the next for preparing vinegars, oils and butters and, that means today is pesto day. Seems like my past is coming back to haunt me but at least I can just throw the clothes in the washer and the dryer these days!
    Barry went to the Elk’s for dinner with the guys tonight so I used the freshly make pesto to make an individual pizza – somewhat reminiscent of Margerita Pizza. I like it extra crispy and lightly caramelized so I bake it a little longer than prescribed. Recipes for the pesto, pizza and pizza dough follow.


Homemade Basil Pesto
4 tablespoons pine nuts (or use all or part walnuts)
1 1/2 tablespoons diced garlic (about 4 large cloves)
2 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (remove stems & any sections that might have gone to seed)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 cups olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1.  Place the  pine nuts, walnuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds.
2.  Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper.
3.  With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely pureed.
4.  Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute.
5.  Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top. (I like to put in muffin tins that have been fitted with foil cupcake papers. Cover the muffin tin pan with foil and freeze; when pesto is solid, remove from pans and pop into a freezer bag. For smaller amounts, use ice cube trays.)
I double the batch and it yielded 9 standard muffin tins full of pesto.

Uses for Basil Pesto:
·   Add it to mayo for a delicious sandwich spread.
·   Brush it on slices of French bread (wrap in foil & bake @ 350° for 20 to 30 min.) or halved tomatoes and then grill or broil.
·   Slather it on corn on the cob and then grill (suggestion from Melissa Hoover Norman)
·   Add a little to pasta, soups, baked or mashed potatoes.
·   Use it to make the Pesto Pizza recipe that follows . . .

Pesto Pizza
Pre-baked thin pizza crust (can also be made from freshly made pizza dough)
Prepared pesto
Mozzarella, freshly grated from a block of cheese (or use fresh balls, cut into thin slices)
Thinly sliced tomatoes, blotted dry
Coarse salt & pepper
Olive oil

1.  Spread pre-baked pizza crust with a thin layer of pesto – spread to the edge.
Pre-baked crust has been spread with pesto; other ingredients are ready to be added.
2.  Sprinkle with grated Mozzarella, top with tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil.
3.  Bake in a preheated oven according to directions with crust (see below).

Pizza is ready to be baked.

Pizza Dough
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (for whole wheat crust, substitute about 3/4 cup
white wheat flour) / more flour only if dough is sticky
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (equivalent to a ¼ oz. pkg.)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water @ 120°
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

1.  Combine flour, yeast, salt and sugar in mixing bowl; stir.
2.  Add vegetable oil and water. Mix together.
3.  Knead about 5 to 7 minutes; shape, put in oiled bowl (turn to oil top of dough) and let rise until double in volume (about 30 minutes).
4.  Punch down; divide into 2 equal pieces; shape into round balls.
5.  Let dough rest for 4 minutes. Roll out to approximately 12” diameter (or vary shape to fit preference). Spray pizza pan with non-stick vegetable cooking spray and wipe off excess or lightly coat pan with butter or margarine for a crispier crust.
6.  Place shaped dough on prepared pan and let rise up to about 10 minutes, or omit this rising for a crisper, thinner crust. 
7.  Add sauce & other topping and bake in 450 to 475° oven for 20 to 25 minutes. 

To pre-bake crust
1.  Prick crust with fork and bake in a preheated 425 to 450° oven for 5 to 8 minutes.  Let cool, then wrap and freeze up to 6 weeks. When ready to use, bring crust to room temperature. Add sauce, toppings and bake in preheated 450° oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until all toppings are hot and bubbly.  Cover edges with foil if edges become too brown. 
2.  Or, refrigerate pre-baked dough for a couple of days; remove from refrigerator 1 to 2 hours before using. 

Related Posts:
Make ours "thin & crispy" — Pizza Crust & a couple of our favorite toppings
Pepperoni Pizzaz Pizza

Making Herb Vinegars, Oils and Butters

      This week I am using excess herbs and spices; today I'm making vinegars, oils and butters. They are great for gifts as well as for everyday home use.
     I try to cut the herbs in the morning after the dew has dried but before it gets too hot. The essential oils will release from the herbs at about 85°.

Vinegars
Ingredients:
Any vinegar with 5% acidity will work
Herbs & Spices: Experiment with flavor combination or try some of these tested and true combos:
·      White Wine Vinegar with Chive, Dill, Savory, Sage, Basil, Lavender sprigs or flowers, Fennel fonds, Parsley, Rosemary, Tarragon, Thyme
·      Red Wine Vinegar with Basil, Garlic, Oregano, Thyme
·      White Vinegar with Basil, Rosemary, Tarragon, Dill, Garlic, Black Peppercorns
·      Cider Vinegar with Orange Peel Spirals, Raspberries, Lavender Blossoms. 
·      Rice Vinegar with Parsley, Dill, Savory, Sage, Rosemary, Purple Basil, Tarragon, Thyme, Garlic

Procedure:
1.  Put washed & dried herbs in sterilized jars. Remember, you can always dilute the vinegar if the herb flavor is too strong but if you cannot strengthen the herb flavor if it is too weak.
2.  Add room temperature vinegar to cover the herbs. Any vinegart with 5% acidity will work. White vinegars can be used with any herb; red vinegars are best used with strong flavored herbs.
3.  Put a non-metallic lid on jar and store in a cool, dark place for a couple of weeks and then checke for flavor and aroma. When desired flavor has been achieved, strain out the herbs.
4.  Replace with a few fresh herbs, if desired and label vinegar.
5.  Use herb vinegar in salad dressings, marinades, or to deglaze pans.


Oils
Ingredients:
Oils: Olive or vegetable
Choice of herbs such as: garlic cloves, bay leaves, rosemary sprigs, oregano sprigs, marjoram sprigs, basil leaves, dill weed, parsley leaves, thyme sprigs

Procedure:
1.  Wash herbs & dry; bruise slightly to release additional flavor.
2.  Place herbs in a bottle; add oil and then cork or screw on lid. 
3.  Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. (It is considered unsafe to store unprocessed oils w/ herb additions at room temperatuere.)
4.  Use is dressings, marinades, for sauteeing or drizzle over pasta dishes or veggies as a finishing oil 


Herb, Spice & Flavored Butters
Herb or “Compound Butters”— butter seasoned with herbs, spices, and other flavors. Use savory herb butters to top burgers, steaks poultry, fish, pasta and vegetables (offer several flavors to slather on steaming hot corn on the cob. Or spice up pankcakes, waffles, biscuits and scones with citrus or cinnamon butters.

Procedure: After mixing softened butters with herbs, spices or other flavorings, roll in parchment or waxed paper to form a log.
Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 2 months. Or, spread soft butter in a small dish and serve as soft spread.

Eeperiment with flavor combos of try these (adjust amounts of flavoring to your own preference):
·   Spicy & Sweet Butters -- For the best flavor, use sweet (not salted) butter
·   Orange-Honey Butter -- Blend 8 tablespoons (1 stick) softened butter with 1/2 cup honey and 2 tablespoons orange zest.
·   Vanilla Butter --  Blend 8 tablespoons (1 stick) softened butter with 1 tablespoon powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
·   Jam Butter -- Blend 8 tablespoons (1 stick) softened butter with about 1/2 cup fruit jam or preserves.

Savory Herb Butters – use salted or unsalted butter
·   Basic Herbed Butter -- Blend 1 stick butter with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, dill, parsley, rosemary, sage, chives or tarragon and 1 small clove garlic (optional)
·   Italian Herb Butter -- Blend 1 stick butter with 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano and 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
·   Mexican Herb Butter -- Blend with 1/2 cup butter, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

HARVESTING GARDEN HERBS . . . Drying Summer Herbs

In an attempt to save some of the flavors of summer, I am harvesting our abundant supply of herbs and spices. This morning I picked herbs for drying and basil for freezing. Later this week I will make herbed vinegars, oils and butters + freeze batches of pesto. 
Samples of the herbs we grow (from right to left; * indicates that we dry it for winter use)
Chocolate Mint -- comes back each year; spreads like mad!
Peppermint -- comes back each year; spreads like mad!
Lavender -- comes back each year.
Parsley, Italian flat leaf & curly -- sometimes comes back but we usually add a plant or two in the spring
Basil -- has to be replanted yearly.
Chives -- we can usually use these all winter long; spreads.
*Rosemary -- has to be replanted each spring.
*Thyme -- ours is located near the house and we use it throughout the winter; spreads.
*Sage -- we use it throughout the winter; it spreads and we even use it as a ground cover.
*Oregano -- comes back each year; spreads like mad and we also use this as a ground cover.
How To Dry Herbs
1.     Cut healthy branches from your herb plants.
I am harvesting thyme.

Harvesting oregano.
2.     Remove any dry or diseased leaves.
3.     Shake gently to remove any insects.
4.     If necessary, rinse with cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Wet herbs will mold and rot.
5.     Remove the lower leaves along the bottom inch or so of the branch.
6.     Bundle 4 to 6 branches together and tie as a bunch. You can use string or a rubber band. The bundles will shrink as they dry and the rubber band will loosen, so check periodically that the bundle is not slipping. Make small bundles if drying herbs with a high water content. 

7.     Hang herbs upside down in a warm, airy room until completely dry.
Bundled herbs hanging on pan hooks.
Storing Dried Herbs
8.     Store your dried herbs in air-tight containers. (Zip-lock bags, small canning jars, etc.)
9.     Be sure to label and date your containers.
10.  Your herbs will retain more flavor if the leaves are stored whole; crush them when ready to use them.
11.  Discard any dried herbs that show the slightest sign of mold.
12.  Place containers in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
13.  Dried herbs are best used within a year. As your herbs lose their color, they are also losing their flavor.
14.  Use about 1 teaspoon crumbled dried leaves in place of a tablespoon of fresh (1 to 3 ratio). If you happen to grind or pulverize your herbs, use only ¼ to ½ teaspoon in place of the tablespoon of fresh. You can always add more . . . but you can’t remove an overpowering herb flavor. Remember, herbs and spices should enhance the natural flavors of foods.

Note: Fresh basil does not dry well. Freezing is an alternative –Wash, dry, add to food processor, drizzle with a little olive oil and process. Store the basil puree in small containers. Add to soup, stews, spaghetti sauce, etc.
Load food processor bowl with clean basil leaves.

Drizzle in olive oil and then process.
Pack basil puree into small containers and freeze.

Definition for Herbs and Spices
Although I’ve seen a variety of definitions, these from an Nebraska University Extension publication by Alice Henneman, makes make the most sense to me . . .
Herbs are leaves of low-growing shrubs. Examples are parsley, chives, marjoram, thyme, basil, caraway, dill, oregano, rosemary, savory, sage and celery leaves. These can be used fresh or dried. Dried forms may be whole, crushed or ground.

Spices come form the bark (cinnamon), root (ginger, onion, garlic), buds (cloves, saffron), seeds (yellow mustard, poppy, sesame), berry (black pepper), or the fruit (allspice, paprika) of tropical plants and trees.

3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

     In a hurry or in need of a last minute treat? These peanut butter cookies are fast and use just three ingredients! They are also flourless — an option for those following a gluten-free diet.
     Barry’s mom, Fern West, made these cookies often. This is her recipe; it only makes about a dozen cookies but can easily to doubled . . . or tripled. Throw in some chocolate chips if you are so inclined (but I am a peanut butter cookie purist so will omit them in mine). 
P.S. - No, they are not as good as Ken's Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies . . . but they will do in a pinch!

Peanut Butter Cookies        About 1 dozen cookies
1 egg
1 cup peanut butter (with nuts)
1 cup granulated sugar

1.     Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spray or line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2.     In a mixing bowl, beat egg lightly. Then stir in the peanut butter and sugar.
3.     If time allows, chill dough a little while and then make into balls about size of walnut; place on prepared cookie sheet, press down with fork creating a criss-cross pattern.
If time is at a premium, drop cookies onto prepared cookie sheet.
4.     Bake about 8 to 9 minutes – be careful not to over bake. Cookies should still be soft and barely brown on the bottom.
5.     Let them rest of the pan 5 to 10 minutes until they begin to firm up; then remove to a cooling rack.

Mexican Nut Cookies


For years I have made a similar cookie recipe every Christmas – they are one of Barry’s favorites. LaVetra Brown’s recipe calls for cake flour and the cookies are more delicate. They are delicious with Berry Summertime Parfaits.             

Mexican Nut Cookies     Makes 2 dozen
1 cup cake flour, divided use
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt – omit if using salted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Powdered sugar for topping baked cookies

1.     Preheat oven to 300°.  
2.     Use food processor or blender to process 1/4 cup of flour and pecans until pecans are finely chopped.
3.     In mixing bowl, blend butter, vanilla & salt; add sugar. Add pecan-flour mixture and remaining ¾ cup cake flour. 
4.     Form dough in walnut size balls (a 1 T. capacity dipper works well); place 2” apart on buttered or sprayed baking sheet. 
5.     Bake 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set baking sheet on a cooling rack; allow to cool slightly and then sift powdered sugar over the top of baked cookies.  More powdered sugar can be added after cookies have completely cooled.

Berry Summertime Parfaits

    Berries with cream — the perfect way to end a summer meal. Use a combination of your favorite berries or fill up a glass with a variety. We take the berries a step further by marinating them in liqueur and topping with chocolate. So pretty – be sure to serve them in clear glass so you can see all the layers — parfait glasses, martini glasses, wine glasses or even orange juice glasses.
     Jean Mohler, who made a similar dessert last summer, inspired this recipe. She served the parfaits along with LaVetra Brown’s Mexican Nut Cookies; the combination was wonderful – sweet berries and cream with delicious nutty cookies that are rolled in powdered sugar. 

Berry Summertime Parfaits              Makes 6 servings
2 cups fresh berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, quartered strawberries) -
   may add sugar to sweeten if needed
1/4 cup raspberry or blackberry liqueur
8 oz. cream cheese or use part (or all) mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream, or use more for a less firm consistency
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
At least 4 oz. “good” chocolate candy bar (we prefer dark chocolate), chopped + more for garnish if desired

1.  Combine berries and liqueur in medium bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2.  Combine cheese, 1 cup cream, sugar and vanilla in mixer bowl. Beat on high speed until thick; fold in chopped Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3.  Assembly:
Method 1:  Divide berries between 6 parfait-type (or other style) glasses, top with cream mixture and top with additional chopped chocolate bar.
Method 2:  Layer 6 parfait glasses with alternating berries and cream mixture, ending with cream mixture. Top each parfait with additional chopped chocolate bar if desired.  

Purplish-dark green leaves, this plant grows along the ground and spreads rapidly.
Chocolate mint tastes like a "thin mint" cookie or a chocolate peppermint patty.

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats . . . a vintage recipe

“From Fern’s Kitchen” is the recipe collection of Barry’s mom’s recipes that I compiled a couple of years ago. Unfortunately her recipe box has disappeared and so many of the recipes Fern made are missing. This was one of her summer favorites. She found it in Better Homes & Garden Cheese Cookbook. First published in 1966, this is now considered to be a vintage cookbook.

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats     
Serves 4
4 medium zucchini (about 2 lb.) 
¼ lb. bulk pork sausage (or use turkey sausage)
¼ cup chopped onions
½ cup fine cracker crumbs
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ teaspoon MSG (monosodium glutamate)  I omit this and just add a little more salt  but only if needed
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon thyme
Dash each of garlic salt and pepper
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated – divided use

1.     Cook whole zucchini in boiling salted water “till” barely tender, 7 to 10 minutes. (Or cook in microwave.)
2.     Cut in half lengthwise; scoop zucchini from shell and mash. 
3.     Cook sausage and onions; drain off excess fat; stir in mashed zucchini, cracker crumbs, egg, MSG, salt, thyme, garlic salt and pepper. Reserve 2 tablespoons of cheese and mix remaining cheese with sausage-zucchini mixture; spoon into zucchini shells and place in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with reserved 2 tablespoons of cheese. 
4.     Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes.