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

 Cella's News

July 2008



How Big is One?

As a man walked a desolate beach one cold, gray morning he began to see another figure, far in the distance.  Slowly the two approached each other, and he could make out a local native who kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water.  Time and again he hurled things into the ocean.

As the distance between them continued to narrow, the man could see that the native was picking up starfish that had been washed upon the beach and, one at a time, was throwing them back into the water.

Puzzled, the man approached the native and asked what he was doing.  "I'm throwing these starfish back into the ocean.  You see, it's low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore.  If I don't throw them back into the sea, they'll die up here from lack of oxygen."

"But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach," the man replied.  "You can't possibly get to all of them.  There are just too many.  And this same thing is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast.  Can't you see that you can't possibly make a difference?"

The local native smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied, "Made a difference to that one!"

Each of us is but one person:  limited, burdened with our own cares and responsibilities.  We may feel there is so much to be done, and we have so little to give.  We're usually short of everything, especially time and money.  When we leave this shore, there will still be millions of starfish stranded on the beach.  Maybe we can't change the whole world, but there isn't one of us who can't help change one person's whole world.  One at a time.  We can make a difference.

(Author Unknown)

This month I have some truly unusual recipes to share.  Who would ever think of making and thoroughly enjoying soup made out of sour cherries.  Well, Terri Snider's German family loves this recipe and has been passing in down for generations.  I've yet to try it.  I love cherries and the recipe sounds simple enough.  Believe it or not my favorite new vegetable recipe this year has got to be the chick peas and spinach.  I don't really like chick peas, and I try not to eat spinach any more than necessary.  But, I love the combination of the two.  Fortunately for me, I was invited to a graduation party where chefs from the Taste of India restaurant from Amherst, New York catered the party.  The chick peas and spinach recipe is good hot, but I love it cold.  Excellent.  Also, the caterers served the Deep Fried Chick Pea Flour and Spinach  appetizers and they were excellent.  A special thank you to Mr. Deep for sharing the recipes with me over the phone.  I hope I've got them right.

I get so busy trying to get new recipes that I forget to share some of the great ones from my recipe book.  This month I'm sharing my banana split cake recipe for a great summer dessert.  Make sure you have lots of people to help you eat it.  It's delicious.  I've bought my ingredients and plan to make it and take it to work this week.

This year I've lost two great friends and cooks, Kathy Ford and Marcia Byer.  I've shared Kathy's recipes with you from time to time.  Marcia gave me a few of her recipes in 2006 but I never made them until now.  I am sharing two of them with you.  I cannot begin to imagine the amount of people these two ladies have fed.  They will be sadly missed and I hope, well rewarded.

The stuffed mushroom caps are a variation of a Suzanne Somers cook-off contest.  They are perfect for a light supper with vegetables and an additional side of shrimp and crab if you have it.

Matt Crandall has been helping with computers where I work and he will soon be off with your own sons and daughters to college.  I told him he couldn't leave unless he gave me a recipe.  Here are the two he gave me.  Macaroni and Cheese with a can of tuna fish.  I tried it - pretty good.  The second one was hamburger, Macaroni and Cheese, and string beans mixed up.  I made it, but prefer to have the string beans separate and although I'm not a doctor, I think I can doctor this recipe up with some tomatoes, onions, and cheese and turn it into a goulash.  I know it's hot, but you've just got to try some of these new recipes.  At least cut them out to try later.

Sour Cherry Soup with Dumplings
(Terri Snider)

Note:   This is Terri's old German family's favorite recipe.  The family doesn't usually pit the cherries, they just put an additional dish on the table for the pits.  If company's coming, the cherries are pitted.

1 quart sour cherries, pitted or not; fresh/frozen
2 quarts water
1 1/4 cups white granulated sugar
2 cinnamon sticks

Bisquick® Dumpling Recipe

2 1/4 cups Bisquick® 
2/3 cup milk

In a large saucepan, combine cherries, water, sugar, and cinnamon.  Bring to a boil and cook until cherries split.  Meanwhile, mix together Bisquick® and milk in a small bowl with a fork.  When cherries split, drop teaspoons of dumpling batter onto hot soup, cover with a lid, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Eat hot or cold or freeze whole thing for later.  Defrost and bring to room temperature to serve if frozen.

Chick Peas and Spinach
(Mr. Deep - Taste of India Restaurant in Amherst, NY)

2 tablespoons cooking oil, soybean, olive oil, or canola oil
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon raw ginger, grated or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger powder
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 (10-oz.) boxes of frozen spinach, thawed or equal amount fresh spinach, coarsely chopped (about 6 cups of firmly packed spinach)
14.5-oz. can chick peas, drained
1/2 cup tomato, grated or finely diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium heat, add onion, ginger, and garlic.  Cook until onions are tender.  Add spinach and cook until wilted.  Add chick peas without the liquid, tomato, cumin, and cardamom. Continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot or cold.

Deep-Fried Spinach in Chick Pea Batter
(Bhajia - Indian Fritters - Appetizer)
(Taste of India Restaurant - Mr. Deep)

Note:  measurements are not exact - this is only my interpretation of Mr. Deep's instructions over the phone.  This is a good substitute for potato chips.  I think adults and kids alike will gobble them up.  If you don't have spinach, use Swiss Chard.  I added some salt as I was cooking them.

1 cup chick pea flour
water for consistency
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or garlic powder
1 to 1/2 cups spinach, coarsely chopped
canola oil, soybean oil, olive oil

Mix together chick pea flour and water to pancake-like consistency.  Add ground ginger or garlic powder for flavoring.  Dip raw spinach leaves in chickpea batter and fry in hot oil (soybean, canola oil, or olive oil) until it rises to the top and is crispy.  Do not use shortening as that is too fatty.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve immediately.

Banana-Split Cake
(From Page 36 of Cella's Cookbook)

3/4 cup butter, melted
3 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Layering Ingredients
6 or 7 bananas (or enough to cover one layer)
1/4 cup Realemon® lemon juice from concentrate (to coat bananas)
1 pound 4-oz. can crushed pineapple, well drained
8-oz. container Cool Whip®
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
10-oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained and patted dry on paper towels.

Crust:  In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and the graham cracker crumbs.  Pat into a 13x9x2-inch pan.  Place in the freezer until next layer is ready.  Filling:  In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, confectioners sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix for 20 minutes with an electric mixer.  Spread on crust.  Slice bananas lengthwise, dip in lemon juice to prevent bananas from browning, arrange on filling.  Spread well drained crushed pineapple on top of bananas.  Top with Cool Whip®, walnuts, and maraschino cherries.  Serve banana split cake as soon as it is cold.

Marcia's Casserole
(Marcia Byer)

Note:  Marcie Oyer Byer served this casserole each week at Odosagih Bible Conference and Retreat Center in Machias, New York and told the eaters to dig in deep when dishing it out).  She passed away July 5, 2008.  She was a volunteer cook.

2 pounds hamburger
16-oz. can tomato sauce
1 onion, diced
salt and pepper
12-oz. egg noodles
8-oz. cream cheese, softened
1 pound container cottage cheese with chives
8-oz. container sour cream
3 to 4-oz. shredded Mozzarella cheese for top of casserole

In a large frying pan, fry hamburger and onion until hamburger is no longer pink and onion is translucent.  Stir in tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste.  Meanwhile, cook egg noodles according to package directions.  Mix together, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and sour cream.  Layer beef mixture, cheese mixture, noodles.  Repeat.  Sprinkle cheese on top.  Cover and bake in 350 degree oven for an hour or until bubbly.

Nancy's Lime Jello®
(Marcia Byer)

20-oz. can crushed pineapple
small box lime Jello®
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 1/2-oz. package cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Place pineapple in a small saucepan and heat until hot, but do not boil.  Immediately add lime Jello® and stir until it dissolves.  Let cool to lukewarm.  Stir in vinegar, cream cheese (cut in small pieces) until smooth.  Place in refrigerator for ONLY 45 minutes.  In a small mixing bowl, use electric mixer to whip heavy cream.  Fold into Jello®.  Place in a mold, if desired.  Refrigerate.  Serve when Jello® sets.

Mushroom Caps Filled with Imitation Crab

Note:  These mushrooms look pretty served alongside yellow summer squash sautéed gently in olive oil and with fresh whole green string beans, cooked until tender in water, drained and coated with butter and sea salt.  This recipe is well worth heating up the oven.  

12 large fresh mushrooms, outside skin removed, stems removed and chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil
4-oz. imitation crab legs, chopped
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, finely diced
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon Hellmann's mayonnaise
dash Texas Pete hot sauce
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely diced celery

Prepare mushrooms, setting aside chopped stems.  Place mushrooms in a large baking pan and drizzle with olive oil.  Use hands to roll mushrooms in olive oil to coat, then sit mushrooms upside down.  Place mushroom stems, imitation crab meat, Swiss cheese, onion, mayonnaise, hot sauce, Parmesan cheese, and celery in a small bowl.  Gently mix ingredients together and place in hollow of mushroom.  Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven until hot and bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes.

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.