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

 Cella's News

March 2009




I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don't want to stand with the setting sun
and hate myself for the things I have done .
I don't want to keep on a closet shelf
a lot of secrets about myself
and fool myself as I come and go
into thinking no one else will ever know
the kind of person I really am,
I don't want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect
I want to deserve all men's respect;
but here in the struggle for fame and wealth
I want to be able to like myself.
I don't want to look at myself and know that
I am bluster and bluff and empty show .
I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself and so,
whatever happens I want to be
self respecting and conscience free.

(Edgar Albert Guest)

I don't think there is any time like the present to remember the Brothers Grimm fable "Stone Soup."  You can find many variations of it on the Internet..  Three  hungry soldiers returning from war stop in a poor village and ask the villagers for something to eat.  The town folks insist that their cupboards are bare.  "Then we'll make Stone Soup," the soldiers proclaim.  The soldiers set a big pot of water to boil and add three round stones.  The soldiers lick their lips and speak loudly about how much better the Stone Soup would be with cabbage.  A villager overheads and brings some cabbage for the pot if his family can also eat the Stone Soup.  The soldiers agree.  This scenario is repeated again and again as the soldiers voice loudly how much better the soup would be with meat, and this or that vegetable.  The villagers hear and respond with their small contributions.  Soon the pot of Stone Soup is brimming with meat and vegetables.  All of the villagers, by contributing their little bit of food, had a feast.

Restaurant owner Eliot Fiks from Binghamton, New York received the National Humanitarian Award in 1999 for his Stone Soup Project.  Inspired by the children's story, "Stone Soup," Eliot saved tidbits of vegetables from his restaurant and made them into a hearty soup which he then donated to the poor and hungry.  Restaurants nationwide have since joined in this effort.  To get Eliot's recipe for Stone Soup, visit wholeinthewall.com.  I found out about Eliot when I purchased his basil pesto that I used  in my Grill Mix recipe below.  It is delicious, or as the container says "best in the whole universe."  Perhaps you can think of ways to share your "little" to make "much."

Carrot Cake
(Darla Dodd)

2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 cup grated carrots
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, honey, yogurt, and carrots.  Gradually add flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Mix in nuts.  Pour into greased 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.   Frost with cream cheese frosting, if desired.

Cella's Grill Mix

Note: The wholeinthewall pesto that I used in this recipe was excellent.  I couldn't remember where I had bought it.  I visited the website mentioned on the container and it listed various stores that carry this product.  I had purchased it at the Concord General Store on Route 240.  The pesto has a cheese taste to it that I like.  I would definitely buy this product again.  It freezes well.  This dish is patterned after one I had at the Olive Garden.  The dish consists of grilled vegetables with a pesto sauce, topped with grilled marinated steak and chicken, served with a side of deep-fried potatoes. 

1 10-inch long zucchini, 2-inch chunks (unpeeled)
1 10-inch long yellow summer squash, 2-inch chunks (unpeeled)
1/2 large red pepper, large chunks
1/2 large yellow pepper, large chunks
1 large onion, cut in large chunks
Italian Dressing
2 tablespoons basil pesto (add after grilling vegetables)

large steak, trimmed of fat, cut in 2-inch chunks
large chicken breast, skinned, cut in 2-inch chunks

Meat Marinade
(from page 210 of Cella's Cookbook)

1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2/3 cups Canola oil
3 tablespoons ReaLemon® lemon juice from concentrate
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons meat tenderizer

Canola oil for frying potatoes
3 to 4 cups (boiled but firm and cooled), 1/2-inch cubes
Turmeric (to sprinkle lightly on potatoes)

In a large non-metallic bowl, combine the zucchini, summer squash, red  pepper, yellow pepper, and onion.  Pour Italian dressing over to coat.  Marinade for a couple of hours.  Meanwhile, place steak and chicken in a large non-metallic bowl and mix with meat marinade ingredients.  Marinade for a couple of hours.  Grill vegetables and meat separately, either under a broiler or on a grill.  Take care not to overcook the meat.  When the vegetables are crisp tender, mix in a couple of tablespoons of basil pesto.  Keep warm.  In a large frying pan, heat 3 to 4-inches of canola oil for frying cooked potatoes (oil is hot enough when you add a slice of onion, celery, or carrot to oil and it rises immediately and starts to spin).  Sprinkle potatoes with a couple of pinches of turmeric and mix well.  Fry in batches until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve meat on top of vegetables with potatoes on the side.

Lemon Delight
(Grace Nidell)

Note:  This is a refreshingly light mild-flavored lemon dessert.  You can add chopped nuts on top if you like.

Bottom Layer
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Cream Cheese Layer:
8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup Cool Whip (from 8-oz. container)

Lemon Pudding Layer
2 (3.4-oz.) packages instant lemon pudding mix
3 cups milk

Top Layer
1 cup Cool Whip (rest of 8-oz. container
Nuts, optional

Bottom Layer:  In mixing bowl, use a fork to combine butter, flour, and walnuts into crumb mixture.  Press into 9x13-inch ungreased baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Cool.  Cream Cheese Layer:  With electric mixer, mix together the cream cheese and confectioners sugar in medium-size bowl.  Gently stir in 1 cup of Cool Whip.  Place on top of cooled crust. Lemon Pudding Layer:  In a mixing bowl, beat together the pudding mix and milk according to package directions.  Cool until thickened.  Place on cream cheese layer.  Top Layer:  Spread on rest of Cool Whip and nuts, if desired.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
(Internet Olive Garden KopyKat Recipe)

Note:  If you don't have Gnocchi, you can substitute 2 cups diced cooked potatoes, or make your own Gnocchi, recipe follows.

1/3 cup butter
2 cloves minced garlic
1 pound chicken, skinned, diced
1/3 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk, warm
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, warm
1/2 cup carrot, 1-inch julienne sliced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
3 chicken bouillon cubes
17.6-oz. of Gnocchi (potato dumplings)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and sauté garlic for one minute.  Add chicken and cook until no pink remains.  Stir in flour and cook for a few minutes.  Mix together warm milk and heavy cream and add to chicken.  Stir.  Add carrots, celery, spinach, and 3 bouillon cubes and cook until hot, stirring frequently.  Do not scorch.  Add Gnocchi and simmer soup for 10 minutes, or until soup thickens.

(Internet Recipe)

4 cups potatoes, cubed
6-oz. flour
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt.

Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water and boil until tender (about 15 minutes).  Drain and mash potatoes or put them through a rice grater.  Do not over mash potatoes or they will get tough.  Combine potatoes, flour, eggs, and salt.  Mix together until dough does not stick to hands.  Divide dough into 4 sections.  Roll into 4 long ropes.  Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces.  Push each piece off the back of fork tines for the classic gnocchi appearance.  Bring 2 quarts of water to boil, add gnocchi, a few at a time, and cook just until Gnocchi floats.  Drain and use in Chicken Gnocchi Cream Soup above.    

Creamy Reuben Soup
(Lori Rieman)

Note:  You can use deli corned beef in this recipe.  Lori likes to serve Thousand Island Dressing with this soup for an authentic Reuben taste.  Serve dressing on the side.

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onions, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoon flour
1 cup beef stock
4-oz. corned beef, cooked and diced
1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
3/4 cup sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup butter
2 cups half and half

In a two-quart saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter and sauté onions, celery, and green peppers until tender, about 10 minutes, stirring often.  Add flour and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Whisk in stock.  Stir until smooth and thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut.  Stir until cheese is melted and all ingredients are blended.  In a small saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter and stir in half and half.  Gently heat until hot; do not boil.  Mix butter and half and half mixture with corned beef and vegetable mixture.  Heat and serve.

Cuban Bread - Error from February Newsletter
Please make an adjustment to your recipe if you are clipping out the columns.  The correct amount of water for this bread is 1 1/2 cups.  Please feel free to call or e-mail me if you think a recipe isn't right, or you need more guidance.  I updated my online February column to reflect the change. Thankfully, a  reader caught this error before making the bread.  The proper instructions for mixing in the water are below.

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in 3 tablespoons of warm water. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until foamy.  Stir in the lard, remaining water, 1/2 batch of starter, and salt.  

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.