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 Cella's News

January 2013



  I bought myself a gift for Christmas - lessons from a chef who teaches how to cook without recipes and how to cook with what one has on hand.  I now own a digital thermometer so I can tell when my steaks, burgers, and other meats are done - no more guessing wrong.  Meat is too expensive to ruin and one must keep in mind that meat can continue cooking an additional 5 to 10 degrees after being removed from the heat source.  I now sauté with less oil and butter, which saves me money.  Only a tablespoon or two of fat in a hot sauté pan is enough.  I'm not cooking meat 75 percent on one side and 25 percent on the other side.  I deglaze the tidbits of meat and tasty juices (fond) from the bottom of my hot pan, after removing the meat, with any cold liquid (wine, juice, broth).  If my roux is hot (thickened flour and fat), I whisk in cold liquid to prevent lumps.  If my liquid is hot, I whisk in a cold roux (1/4 cup cold butter and as much flour as I can work by hand into it).  My South of Christmas Chicken was a result of one of my homework assignments, using what I had on hand at the time.  The Teff flour cookies are good for people with celiac disease (those that can't eat wheat).  The cheesy macaroni and cheese is from an Internet recipe that I down-sized.  It reminds me of macaroni and cheese often served in cafeterias.  The extra-sharp cheese and the mustard are essential.  The Quinoa Salad is a copy-cat recipe from a wedding I attended.

Teff Flour Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Gayle Thorpe)

1 1/2 cups of Teff flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/8 cups peanut butter
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup corn oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Teff flour and salt.  In blender or food processor (or use an electric mixer and large bowl), mix together the peanut butter, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla and blend until creamy.  Add in the flour and salt mixture and chocolate chips.  Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet (ok to use parchment paper).  Flatten gently with tines of a fork.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until they lose their shine.  Place cookies on a wire rack to cool.  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

Macaroni and Cheese
(Quick and Cheesy)

8-oz. elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose white flour
2 cups milk
3 cups shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
dash hot sauce, optional
fresh parsley, chopped or whole for decoration, optional

In a large saucepan, cook macaroni according to package directions, drain and keep warm.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until thickened to make a roux.  Cook a couple of minutes to remove flour taste.  Slowly mix and stir in the milk, cheese, and dry mustard until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Combine the cooked macaroni with the cheese mixture and hot sauce, if desired.  Serve immediately, sprinkled with fresh green parsley around edge of dish for decoration.

South of Christmas Chicken with Quinoa
(Marcella Stockin)

Note:  You may substitute rice for Quinoa

1 cup dry white Quinoa (usually located near the rice)
3 chicken breast halves, cut in bite-size pieces and patted dry
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pineapple juice
red candied cherries
green candied cherries
candied pineapple
sliced almonds
raw shredded coconut

In a saucepan, add two cups of water and 1 cup of Quinoa.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently until all the water is absorbed.  Cover with lid and keep warm.  In a hot frying pan (pan is hot when a small amount of cold water flicked onto bottom of pan with your fingers evaporates quickly).  Heat olive oil over medium heat, but do not allow to smoke.  Add chicken pieces and cook until no pink remains (stir occasionally).  Remove meat from pan and keep warm.  Deglaze the pan on the stove while pan is still hot by adding cold pineapple juice and scraping up the flavorful bits in the pan.  Stir in chicken and Quinoa until hot.  Continue heating to reduce liquid as desired.  Remove from heat.  Plate up, adding for color (do not cook), red and green candied cherries, candied pineapple, sliced almonds, and a sprinkling of raw shredded coconut.  Serve immediately.

Quinoa Salad
(Marcella Stockin)

prepare roasted whole garlic cloves in infused olive oil (heat 1/2 cup olive oil over low heat:  add as many whole peeled garlic toes as possible (at least 1/2 a cup), heat 3 to 5 minutes or until tender, let sit (steep) for 1 hour.  Stir all of garlic and oil into cooked Quinoa.

Prepare 1 cup uncooked white Quinoa (cook according to package directions (will make 3 cups Quinoa); done in 10 to 15 minutes.  Set aside

Add for color, amount as desired:

julienne slices of uncooked red pepper (about 1/2 red pepper)

uncooked red onion, diced or julienne-cut (about 2 to 4 tablespoons)

handful sugar snap peas (Bring water and a small pinch of baking soda (to keep green color) to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and blanch peas for 30 seconds and then plunge in cold water briefly to stop from cooking - you want a little crunch to the peas - pod an all, drain, pat dry, and slice diagonally in two if desired).

handful green beans (cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces) (Bring water and a small pinch of baking soda (to keep green color) to a boil, reduce to a simmer and blanch beans for 1 minute, plunge in cold water briefly to stop from cooking to add a little crunch to the dish), drain, pat dry.

Combine all of the ingredients, prepared as stated above.  This dish is good served hot, room temperature, or col.  I prefer served cold.

Send your favorite family recipes to Marcella Stockin, 5200 Riceville Road, West Valley, New York 14171 or e-mail me at marcellastockin@yahoo.com.  I'd love to hear from you.  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.