"providing you with recipes to help make you the best cook in the neighborhood"

 Cella's News

December 2008



8 Gifts that Don't Cost a Cent

1 - THE GIFT OF LISTENING:  But you must REALLY listen.  No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response.  Just listening.

2 - THE GIFT OF AFFECTION:  Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds.  Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

3 - THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER:  Clip cartoons.  Share articles and funny stories.  Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you."

4 - THE GIFT OF A WRITTEN NOTE:  It can be a simple "Thanks for the help" note or a full sonnet.  A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.

5 - THE GIFT OF A COMPLIMENT:  A simple and sincere, "You look great in red," "You did a super job" or "That was a wonderful meal" can make someone's day.

6 - THE GIFT OF A FAVOR:  Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.

7 - THE GIFT OF SOLITUDE:  There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone.  Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

8 - THE GIFT OF A CHEERFUL DISPOSITION:  The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone, really it's not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You.

(Source Unknown)

My husband and I spent Thanksgiving with our daughter and her family on Long Island.  We left the day before and there was snow on the roads (treacherous part of the way) for about 30 miles.  After that it was smooth sailing until we got over the Throgs Neck Bridge where it was stop-and- go traffic for an hour.  I'm glad to be back.  I did get a chance to shop at Patel Brothers, an Indian grocery store, and eat at an Indian restaurant.  I have so many good recipes this time to share with you, but room won't allow it.  However, I'll share my absolutely "keeper" recipes.  This is my gift to you this holiday season.  The Colossal Cookies and the Candied Cherry Nut Bars are real winners.  The candied cherry nut bars are nothing like fruit cake.

Also, I want to recommend some of my favorite books.  I'm presently reading, "Get the Sugar Out," by Ann Louise Gittleman, M.S., C.N.S., a great book no one should be without.  It's practically next to nothing at Amazon.com.  A sugar consumption chart  per person per year is a real eye opener.  In the early 1800s, individuals were eating 12 pounds of sugar per year.  As of 1990, individuals were eating 130 to 140 pounds of sugar a year.  As of 1996, the amount of sugar consumption was 152 pounds per individual per year.  I cannot imagine what it is today.  This book is full of useful information.  Now I am interested in learning to cook with Fructose sugar, not to be confused with High Fructose Corn Syrup, as well as cutting down on my sugar consumption.  Fructose scores low (20) on the Glycemic Index.  Another new book I've been using a lot is "5 spices, 50 dishes," by Ruta Kahate, an Indian cook.  You can search for her on the Internet and get some of her delicious recipes if you cannot afford the book.  Right now my favorite recipes are the "Everyday Yellow Dal," and the "Railway Potatoes."  I have also switched for the most part from coffee to tea, after reading "The Ultimate Tea Diet," to "Boost Your Metabolism, Shrink Your Appetite, & Kick-Start Remarkable Weight Loss," by Mark Ukra.  Try Doris Bevington's tasty and attractive spiral appetizer "Ranch Ham Roll-Ups," served at a recent "Women's Tea."  My last gift to you is my favorite web site at the moment:  wokfusion.com.  If you join to get the free newsletter, you will be able to see Chinese meals being prepared.  I'm certainly going to branch out and learn some Chinese cooking next.  I'm so excited, you'd think Christmas was coming. 

Colossal Cookies
(Linda Klahn)

Note from Cella:  I like these cookies made with old-fashioned oats rather than quick oats.

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chunky peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
6 cups quick rolled oats

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar, brown sugar, eggs, baking soda, vanilla, and chunky peanut butter.  Stir in chocolate chips and rolled oats.  Each cookie should be made from 1/4 cup of dough (do not use a cookie scoop - dough should be airy when placed on baking sheet).  Bake 6 cookies at a time on a greased cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.  Let cookies sit for a minute or two to cool before removing from cookie sheet so that they do not crumble.   

Candied Cherry Nut Bars
(Barbara Wilson)

Bottom Layer:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed

Top Layer:
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups salted mixed deluxe nuts
3/4 cup diced red candied cherries
3/4 cup diced green candied cherries
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Bottom Layer:  In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and butter with a fork into coarse crumbs.  Place crumbs in a lightly buttered 13x9-inch baking pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Top Layer:  Combine the brown sugar, egg, salt, mixed nuts, red and green cherries, and chocolate chips.  Spoon mixture on top of hot baked crust and bake for 20 minutes (do not let nuts or chips burn).  Cool to lukewarm and then cut into bars.

Quick Beef Stroganoff
(Cella's Variation of an Internet Recipe)  

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/4 pounds Delmonico Steaks with fat (3)
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup diced onions
2 (4-oz.) cans mushrooms, drained
1/4 cup white cooking wine
10 3/4-oz. can beef consommé
1 cup sour cream
5-oz. noodles cooked per package directions

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Cut meat into bite-size pieces and lightly salt and pepper.  Brown meat (3 minutes) and transfer to a plate to keep warm. Add butter and onions to remaining cooking juices in frying pan and sauté until translucent (5 minutes).  Stir in mushrooms.  Add cooking wine and consommé.  Continue cooking until mushrooms are coated with a thick sauce.  Stir in sour cream and meat.  Reduce heat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until meat is heated through.  Serve over hot, cooked noodles.

Golden Cinnamon Puffs
(Florence Richards)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cooking oil
3/4 cup milk
additional cooking oil for frying puffs

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture:
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder.  Add egg, salt, oil, and milk.  Stir until dry ingredients are incorporated.  Heat 2 to 3 cups cooking oil in a medium saucepan until hot, but not smoking.  Drop heaping teaspoons of dough into oil and fry until golden brown, turning once to brown both sides.  Drain on paper towels and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture while still hot.  Best eaten warm.

Railway Potatoes
(Variation from Ruta Kahate)

Note from Cella:  First time users might try only 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne.  Prepare ingredients ahead of time before cooking this dish.

5 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1cup thinly sliced yellow onions
1 1/2 pounds medium unpeeled red potatoes, washed, quartered, and sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 

Heat oil in frying pan until hot, but not smoking.  Quickly add mustard seeds, placing a lid on pan for about 30 seconds until mustard seeds stop popping and releasing their flavor.  Turn down heat, stir in turmeric.  Stir in onions, potatoes, salt, and cayenne. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.  

Everyday Yellow Dal
(Variation of a Ruta Kahate Recipe)

Note from Cella:  I use Channa Dal for this recipe instead of yellow split peas.  Channa Dal has a low glycemic index - great for diabetics.  Be sure and soak the channa dal overnight.  For hard water, add a pinch of baking soda when cooking dal.  Use a hand grater to grate tomato, no need to peel tomato ahead of time.  The peel will come off in your hand.  Prepare all ingredients ahead of time before cooking this dish.

1 cup channa dal
3 cups water
1 large tomato, grated (1 cup)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cup diced onion
5 cloves garlic, diced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt

Soak channa dal and water in a large pot overnight.  Drain the dal and place back in pan with 3 cups of fresh water and grated tomato, adding a pinch of baking soda if you have hard water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until tender, about 45 minutes.  Keep dal warm.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan until hot, but not smoking.  Immediately add the cumin seeds and cover the pan.  Cook until seeds stop popping (about 30 seconds).  Turn heat down and add the onion and garlic.  Sauté until onion turns light brown, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the coriander, turmeric, and cayenne.  Stir in the dal, adding the cilantro, butter, and salt.  Simmer for 5 minutes until hot.  

Ranch Ham Roll-Ups
(Doris Bevington)

2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (1.0-oz.) package Ranch salad dressing mix
3 green onions, chopped
11 flour tortillas (8-inch)
22 thin slices deli ham

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and salad dressing mix until smooth.  Add onions.  Mix well.  Spread about 3 tablespoons over each tortilla.  Top each with two ham slices.  Roll up tightly and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until firm.  Unwrap and cut into 3/4-inch slices.  Yield:  about 7 dozen.

Send your favorite family recipes to Marcella Stockin, 5200 Riceville Road, West Valley, New York 14171 or e-mail me at marcellastockin@yahoo.com.  Providing you with recipes to help make you the best cook in the neighborhood.  Visit my website at cellascookbook.com for more recipes and archived newsletters.