Cheryl’s Cuisine: June 2022

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

Within the past two weeks, I’ve received notices that two of my favorite cooking magazines have ceased publication….Fine Cooking and Rachael Ray.  This is just a small part of our “changing times”.  

When I was growing up, my mother used to subscribe to McCall’s Magazine.  I was always awaiting the Betsy McCall cut -outs with new outfits each month.  For younger readers, I’m sure you have no idea what I’m referring to.

Anyway, moving on to the early 1970’s, McCall’s started publishing McCall’s Cooking School.  This was one of my first experiences in tackling some new recipes.  Eventhough I made my first “from scratch” eclair in Fourth Grade, I was always challenged to make new and exciting recipes.  

As I still have these magazines treasured in my home, I am paying homage to cooking magazines, past and present, with some recipes that I cooked, and still do, from McCall’s.

Chicken Breasts Tarragon:

4 whole chicken breasts (about 1 lb.) each
2 Tbsp. salad or olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
6 shallots, chopped
2 pared carrots, sliced into ¼” rounds
¼ cup Cognac or brandy
1 cup dry white wine
¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon or 2 tsp. dried tarragon leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 cup light cream
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp. flour
½ lb. mushrooms, washed and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
Sprigs of tarragon for garnish

Bone chicken breasts; wash and dry.  (Or buy them already boneless).  Remove skin; cut breast in half.  In 6 quart Dutch oven, heat oil and 2 Tbsp. butter.  Add chicken breasts, half at a time, enough to cover bottom of pan; saute’, turning on all sides, until brown. Remove chicken as it browns.  Brown rest of chicken.  

To drippings in Dutch oven, add shallot and carrot; saute, stirring 5 minutes or until golden.  Return chicken to Dutch oven; heat.  When hot, add Cognac or brandy, white wine, chopped tarragon, salt and pepper.  Bring to boiling,  reduce heat and simmer gently, covered, 30 minutes.  Remove chicken to heated serving platter; keep warm.  Strain drippings in Dutch oven, return to Dutch oven.  In small bowl combine cream, egg yolk and flour; mix well with wire whisk.  Stir in drippings in Dutch oven; bring just to boiling, stirring.  Add more wine if sauce seems too thick.  Meanwhile, saute’ mushrooms in hot butter 5 minutes, until tender.  Spoon sauce over chicken.  Garnish with tarragon and mushrooms.  Serves 8.

***

Vichyssoise:

1 lb. leeks
½ cup chopped onions
¼ cup butter or margarine
1 lb. potatoes, (3 medium), pared, cut into ½” cubes (2 cups)
½ tsp. salt
Dash white pepper
2 cans (13 ¾ oz. size) clear chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 cup light cream, chilled
½ cup snipped chives

Trim leeks; cut off roots and tips and most of the dark green, leaving some of the light green. Wash leeks thoroughly and drain.   Slice leeks crosswise, about ¼” thick.  You should have about 2 cups of leek slices.  Have chopped onion ready; combine with leeks.  Melt butter in 5 quart Dutch oven.  Saute’ leeks and onions over medium heat until they are soft and golden, about 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally with wooden spoon. Be careful that leeks and onions DO NOT brown; if they do, soup, which should be creamy white, will be discolored.

Add potatoes, salt, pepper and chicken broth to leek mixture. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, covered 45 minutes, or until potatoes are soft, almost mushy. This is important to insure that the soup will be smooth.  Remove from heat.

Put potato-leek mixture into blender container, 2 cups at a time, and blend, at low speed, until mixture is smoothy.  Puree’ should measure about 5 cups.  In small saucepan, heat milk until bubbles form around edge of pan.  Remove saucepan from heat.  Add hot milk to potato-leek mixture; mix well with whisk. Refrigerate, covered 6 hours or overnight.  Before serving, gradually add light cream; mix well.  Pour into 8 chilled soup cups. Top with chives.  

Note: Traditionally, this is served very well chilled, however, it may also be served hot.  Can sprinkle with nutmeg, if desired.    

***

Gazpacho Gelatin Salad:

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 ½ cups V-8 juice (cocktail vegetable juice)
½ cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. oil
¼ tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup diced cucumber
½ cup diced green pepper
½ cup diced onion

Sprinkle gelatin over juice; heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved.   Combine with next 5 ingredients; chill until slightly thickened.  Fold in remaining ingredients.  Fold in remaining ingredients.  Turn into 4-cup mold.  Chill until set.

***

Crepes Suzette:

Crepes:
1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
¼ cup salad oil
2 eggs, 2 yolks
1 ½ cups milk

Orange Sauce:
¼ cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. coarsely shredded orange peel
1/3 cup orange juice
1 cup orange sections
¼ cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau
Butter or margarine

Orange Butter:
¾ cup unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau
¼ cup grated orange peel
¼ cup brandy

For Crepe Batter: In medium bowl, combine flour, oil, eggs, egg yolks and ½ cup milk; beat with rotary beaters until smooth.  Add rest of milk, beating until blended and smooth.  Refrigerate, covered, for 2 hours or overnight.  

For Orange Sauce:  In medium skillet, melt ¼ cup butter.  Stir in 1/3 cup sugar, shredded orange peel and juice; cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until peel is translucent–10 minutes.  Add oranges and ¼ cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau.

For Crepes: Slowly heat a 7″ skillet until a drop of water sizzles and rolls off.  For each crepe, brush skillet lightly with butter.  Pour in 2 Tbsp. batter, rotating pan to cover bottom of skillet evenly.  Cook until lightly browned.  Turn; brown slightly.  Cool on rack; stack with waxed paper between.  

For Orange Butter:  In small bowl with electric mixer, cream butter with sugar until fluffy.  Blend in Grand Marnier and orange peel.  Use to spread on crepes, about 1 Tbsp. for each one.

Fold crepes in half, then half again.  Arrange in pattern in orange sauce in chafing dish or skillet; cook over low heat just until sauce is hot and crepes are heated through. Note: Crepes and sauce may be made ahead and refrigerated separately.

To serve flaming: Bring crepes to tale right in chafing dish or skillet.  Gently heat brandy in small saucepan just until vapor rises,  no longer.  Ignite with match and pour flaming brandy over heated crepes.  Serve with sauce.  Serves 6-8.

***

Strawberry Sherbet:

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
4 cups milk
1 1/3 cups sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 cup fresh strawberry puree (½ pint strawberries)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

In small, heavy saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over ½ cup milk; let stand 5 minutes to soften.  In medium bowl, combine remaining milk, sugar, salt and strawberry puree.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Add lemon juice.  Heat gelatin mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin is dissolved.  Remove from heat; slowly stir into mixture in bowl.  Turn into 9×9″ square pan.  Freeze until frozen 1″ from edge.  Turn into chilled bowl; with electric mixer, beat mixture quickly until smooth, but not melted. Return to pan.  Freeze several hours or until sherbet is firm.   Makes 8 servings.

Note: To make strawberry puree’:  Wash and hull fresh strawberries; Turn into blender; blend for one minute.

Cheryl’s Cuisine: May 2022

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and thoughts of my mother are swirling around.   It’s been 42 years since she left us, and needless to say, nothing’s been the same since. 

Memories of my mother do not include “kitchen memories”.  She was a brilliant nurse, fashionable lady, but couldn’t “be bothered” with what she felt were “meaningless duties” (cooking).   She did have a few good recipes, some I’ve shared in past columns, but they were from my Baba (her mother), my great aunt (Baba’s sister), or some of her bridge club friends.

These are recipes I cherish and want to share with you this month, hoping you will collect some of your mother’s recipes and pass them on.  

Leftover Beef (French Dish):

2 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 can mushroom slices, drained (or 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms cooked for 5 minutes) ( I only
use fresh)
1 beef boullion cube dissolved in 1 cup boiling water (today I use beef broth- 1 cup)
Left over beef roast, sliced thinly 
1 small onion, chopped
Parsley
1 tsp. vinegar
1/16 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. flour
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put butter into frying pan.  Saute’ mushrooms.  Remove mushrooms from pan.  Put another tablespoon of butter into frying pan with drippings and saute’ onions with parsley, adding 1 tsp. vinegar.  Add thyme and mix with 2 tsp. flour.  Slowly add bouillon liquid or beef broth, 1 Tbsp. ketchup and salt and pepper, to taste.  Put in cooked beef slices, heat up, add mushrooms and serve.  Great with mashed potatoes.  

***

Chicken Parisienne:

6 medium chicken breasts, boned
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup dry sherry
1-3oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained ( I use fresh)
1-6 oz. pkg. rice or pasta
1 cup sour cream

Place chicken breasts, skin side up, in ungreased 11x7x1″ baking dish.  Blend together soup and sherry.  Add mushrooms and pour over chicken.  Bake, uncovered for 1 1/4 hours.  Remove chicken, place on serving dish.  Keep warm.  Stir in 1 cup sour cream into reserved soup mixture in baking dish.  Heat, pour over chicken.  Serve over rice or noodles.

***

Creamed Chicken Over Puff Pastry Shells:

2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup milk
1 Italian pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
2  Chicken breasts
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp. sour cream
Tabasco or hot sauce
Paprika
Puff Pastry Shells

Cook flour and butter until it has no flour taste (you’re making a roux).  Add milk….if it’s too thick, add either more milk or some water.  Saute pepper and onion in butter.  Boil 2 chicken breasts until done and tender.  Remove from broth.  Save broth.  Remove skin and discard.  Cook mushrooms separately.  Then combine ingredients adding sour cream, a few shakes of hot sauce or Tabasco (to taste) and sprinkle with paprika.  Serve over puff pastry shells which have been baked and cooled.

***

Danish Potatoes:

2 lbs. potatoes
6-8 bacon strips, cooked until crisp (save drippings)
1 pint sour cream
Celery, finely chopped
Green onion, finely chopped

Boil potatoes in salted water; drain.  Fry bacon until crisp. Crumble into hot potatoes.  Add sour cream into bacon drippings in pan.  MIx together well.  MIx into potatoes.  Add finely chopped celery and green onions.

***

Pears Helene:

1 large can pears 
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 quart of vanilla or French vanilla ice cream
Angel Food Cake or Sponge Cake
Hot Fudge Sauce (recipe below)

Flavor the pear syrup from the can to taste with vanilla extract.  Let pears stand in syrup for 3 hours before serving.   Buy French Vanilla Angel Food Cake Mix, if available.   If in a hurry, buy angel food cake already made.  

On serving plate, first put cake, ice cream, pear half, then top with Hot Fudge Sauce.

Hot Fudge Sauce:
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine all ingredient except the vanilla in saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly , until mixture comes to full rolling boil.  Boil briskly 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove mixture from heat and add the vanilla.  

NOTE:  The sauce may be stored in the refrigerator.  To reheat, place over a pan of hot, not boiling water, until the sauce has thinned to pouring consistency.

***

Chocolate Cherry Bars:

1 pkg. Fudge cake mix
1-21 oz. can cherry pie filling
1 tsp. almond extract
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degree.  Butter and flour (or spray) 15×10″ jelly roll pan or 13x9x2″ cake pan.  In large bowl, combine all ingredients.  By hand, stir until well mixed.  Pour into prepared pan..  Bake jelly roll pan for 20-30 minutes or 13×9″ for 25-30 minutes.  While bars are cooling, prepare frosting.

Frosting:
1 c. sugar
5 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

In small saucepan combine sugar, butter and milk. Boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Stir in chocolate pieces until smooth.  Pour over partially cooled bars.  

Cheryl’s Cuisine: April 2022

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

The traditional Easter basket arranged by Cheryl Radkewicz includes a blessed candle, hrutka, paska, salt, kielbasi, ham, horseradish, hard-boiled eggs, an orange and butter arranged with Easter linens and a bow.

It’s time to think about Easter!  What do you put in your Easter basket?  

Being of Eastern European descent, my basket is very special.  It’s only use is sacred—to hold the Easter foods to be blessed.  Once I retrieve my basket from the closet, I hang it outside to air.  Baba Pidick told me it chases the evil spirits away from the house.

Once aired out and dressed with Easter linens and an Easter bow, I start filling it with the following items: A blessed candle, hrutka (big ball of eggs and milk considered Easter “cheese”), homemade paska (bread), salt, kielbasi, ham, horseradish, hard-boiled eggs, an orange, and butter. Some people put chocolate eggs, wine,  and whatever they plan on eating for Easter.   

Once filled, I make the annual pilgrimage to St. Mary’s Byzantine Church in Scranton for blessing of the baskets amid prayers of “Christos Voskrese” (Christ is Risen). I’ve kept this tradition ever since my mother and Baba have passed away.

One tradition I did change is the process of making the Hrutka.  I now make it in the microwave rather than stirring it over a double-boiler for what seemed like an eternity.  

Also, I cook my ham in beer.  That’s the only way our family has ever made it.  We didn’t drink beer. We cooked with it.

Next for discussion is the kielbasi.  My parents liked two different kielbasi.  My father preferred Komensky’s from Duryea and my mother liked Catalano’s from Cedar Avenue in South Scranton.  My father’s tasted better hot, while mother’s tasted better served cold. Another tradition is standing in line at markets during Holy Week…..Bosak’s, Schiff’s and Oprisko’s in Simpson.  The wafting of Easter aromas surround you as you’re waiting.  My two favorite aromas at this time are kielbasi and hyacinths together….that’s Easter!

Now, what do we do with all that kielbasi?  After Easter dinner, it’s time to think about how we’re going to serve leftover kielbasi.  Here are just a few suggestions:

Kielbasi in Beer Sauce:

3 lbs. kielbasi, cut into 1/2″ slices
1 cup chopped green onion
12 Tbsp. butter
Flour, to thicken
4 tsp. dry mustard
4 tsp. caraway seeds
2 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups milk
24 oz. American cheese, cubed
12 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded
2 2/3 cup beer
6 lbs. cooked linguine

Cook kielbasi until browned.  Drain on paper towels.  Drain fat from pot.  In the same pot, cook green onions in butter until tender.  Stir in flour until mixture thickens, making a roux.  Add mustard, caraway seeds, cayenne pepper and salt.  Stir in milk and cook until thickened.  Add cheese, beer and kielbasi.  Stir until all cheese is melted.  Serve hot over linguine. Can do ahead except for the pasta.  Serves 12-15.

***

Kielbasi & Saurkraut:

2 lbs. fresh or smoked kielbasi
2 large cans sauerkraut
2 large onions
Small piece of salt pork or smoked bacon
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. bacon fat

Bake kielbasi in 325 degree oven for 1 hour in pan with water to cover.  Thoroughly rinse and drain sauerkraut.  Place in pan with 2 whole onions and salt pork, add salt and pepper to taste.  Add water to cover; simmer 45 minutes.  When kielbasi is cooked, drain, cut into 4″ pieces, add to sauerkraut and continue cooking for 30 minutes.  In a small frying pan, brown flour in bacon fat.  When golden brown, add to kielbasi and sauerkraut and mix thoroughly. Serves 8.

***

Kielbasi and Vegetable Skillet:

1 1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
2 beef bouillon cubes
1-24 oz. bag frozen vegetables for stew
1 Kielbasi, about 1 1/4 lbs., scored

In skillet bring water, bay leaf and bouillon cubes to boil.  Add vegetables.  Top with sausage rind.  Cover and simmer until sausage is done, about 25 minutes.  Remove sausage.  Cut into 2″ chunks and remove casing. Return to skillet just to heat.  Serve in bowls with mustard and crusty bread.  Serves 4.

***

Polynesian Kielbasi:

1 lb. kielbasi, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 cup sliced onions
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 cup green peppers, sliced
1-16 oz. can whole tomatoes, drained and quartered
1-12 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained (save juice)
1 cup beef broth
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Cook kielbasi, onions, garlic, and peppers in 3 Tbsp. of oil until onion is transparent, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, pineapple, broth, sugar and pepper. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.  Mix cornstarch with pineapple juice.  Add to kielbasi mixture and stir until thickened.  Serve with rice.   Serves 4.

***

Kielbasi Cabbage Stew:

1 lb. kielbasi, sliced
1 lb. potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 large onion, chopped
1-14 oz. can chicken broth
3/4 cup water, divided
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1/4 tsp. pepper
1-16 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

In large saucepan or nonstick skillet, brown kielbasi over medium heat.  Add potatoes, cabbage, onion, broth, 1/2 cup water, sugar, caraway and pepper.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.  Add beans and vinegar; cover and simmer 5-10 minutes longer.  Combine flour and remaining water until smooth; stir into stew.  Bring to boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Serves 4.

***

From our house to yours, Happy Easter! Christos Voskrese!