The Coast skipped from fall to spring this year. Winter passed on by, and now, it’s Lent with Easter only 1 and a half months away.
Today is the first day of Lent or Ash Wednesday. During Lent, Catholics and some Protestant parishioners fast from certain food items as a sacrifice to God and to live more introspectively, thinking more about their faith, God and Jesus Christ.
Some Catholics still adhere to the “no-meat on Friday” rule during Lent. A Spirit-filled Baptist friend fasts from meat during Lent; she lost quite a bit of weight last year — another plus. Others give up sweets or chocolate.
When I was growing up in Texas, I remember the school cafeteria serving salmon croquets, fish sticks or tuna casserole every day during Lent.
As ideas for Lenten menus that are not the same old baked chicken or tuna casserole, I share three recipes that are easy, one includes no meat, secondly, a creamy baked chicken, and the third, a savory baked apple that makes a good side dish.
In 2000, Walter Blessey IV served his baked eggplant Kasha at Barbecue Under the Oaks, a Gulf Coast Symphony fundraiser. He created this dish for his wife, Katherine, who is Ukrainian. Kasha is Ukrainian for Katherine.
Reviewing this old recipe made me realize what a good meatless meal this would make with a green salad. Of course, shrimp or crab could be added to this dish. The recipe makes a large portion and could be cut in half if not feeding a crowd. The flavors are anything but boring.
Nancy Stennis Kitts, former Coastian and now of Alabama, has two recipes, a poppy seed chicken and stuffed apples that work for an everyday meal or a dinner party. She penned the cookbook, “From My House to Yours.”
COFFEE CAKE AND APPLE KUCHEN
“My mother-in-law surprised us one morning with this simple coffee cake,” said Nancy Holderer of Gulfport. “It came from her longtime favorite cookbook.
“I would not recommend doubling the recipe since that does not work well with baked goods,” she said. “I would make two cakes instead.”
Maureen Broussard of Biloxi asked for a good coffee cake or apple kuchen recipe. Holderer, who is a good cook, said this coffee cake is so good. I found an apple kuchen recipe in a Wisconsin cookbook.
COMING NEXT WEEK
Coconut pies have caught readers’ attention. We’ll share their offerings.
Andrea Yeager can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Cook’s Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.
BAKED EGGPLANT KASHA
4 large eggplants
1 white onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
2 eggs beaten
1/4 pound butter
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon finely diced jalapeno pepper, without seeds and skin removed
1 teaspoon salt
16 ounces crushed pineapple
2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a 4-gallon pot, add 2 gallons water and bring to a boil. Add eggplant and boil for 20 minutes or until soft to touch. Remove eggplant from water and allow to cool. Remove skin from eggplant and cut up into small chunks.
While eggplant is boiling, melt butter in heavy skillet and sauté the white and green onions and celery for 10 minutes or until the white onion begins to brown.
In a large bowl, mix the eggplant, sautéed onions and celery, garlic, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, Worcestershire sauce, salt, beaten eggs, crushed pineapple and bread crumbs until the texture is smooth. Place mixed ingredients in a large greased baking dish and sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese. Bake in oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Notes: Serve as a vegetable with any meat or seafood. As an entree, add crab meat, shrimp, diced ham or cooked sauce and serve over a bed of rice.
Submitted by Walter J. Blessey IV
POPPY SEED CHICKEN
8 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 stick butter or margarine
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tube Ritz crackers, crushed
1 8-ounce carton sour cream
Boil chicken. Drain, and cut into small pieces and layer in buttered dish. Mix sour cream and soup. Pour this over chicken. Combine crackers and poppy seeds. Spread over soup mixture. Melt butter and pour over crackers. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly. Serves 8.
From ‘Blessings from My House to Yours.’
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups cubed and toasted cinnamon-raisin bread
1 1/4 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
1 large egg, beaten
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
4 apples, cored and cut in half
1 cup apple cider
Cook onion in butter in a large skillet, stirring constantly until tender. Stir in bread cubes, 1 cup cheese and next three ingredients. Put mixture onto apple halves. If necessary, cut a place in apples to hold stuffing.
Place apples in a 9-by-13-inch dish and pour cider into dish. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Yield: 8 servings.
From ‘Blessings from My House to Yours.’
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 unbeaten eggs
1 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or grated lemon rind
2-3 sliced, peeled and cored apples, depending on size
Cream butter, sugar and eggs until creamy. Add flour and other ingredients. Spread into two 11-by-8-inch or two 8-inch square baking pans. Slice peeled and cored apples on top of dough.
Mix together the following ingredients and sprinkle on top of batter.
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
Bake at 350 degrees about 25 minutes.
From ‘West Bend Wisconsin Church Cookbook’
Favorite Coffee Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cups shortening
3/4 cup milk
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease round layer pan (9-inch) or square pan (8-by-8-inches) or (9-inch-by9-inches).
Blend all ingredients except topping. Beat vigorously 1/2 minute. Spread in pan. Sprinkle topping over batter. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm.
Topping: Mix 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed), 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts and 2 tablespoons butter, melted.
For streusel-filled coffee cake: Spread half of batter in prepared pan, sprinkle half of topping over this and cover with remaining batter and brown sugar mixture.
Notes: To double the recipe use two pans. Prepare batter and topping twice.
If using self-rising flour, omit baking powder and salt.
Submitted by Nancy Holderer