Kaufman County Life: Cook's Corner

 

Through the remarkable support of the Terrell Chamber of Commerce, I was connected to the publishers of the Terrell Tribune a few months ago. Since then I have written several stories for the publication including their quarterly, Kaufman County Life. The below story is one of my favorites for the Winter 2014 edition. I will upload more stories from this issue in later posts here on my blog. Thank you for reading! 

Nearly three decades of friendships spurred one tight-knit bridge group in Terrell that rivals the cinematic gold of Steel Magnolias.

Of course, they never really saw it that way but once you talk to them you will find out that their connections started with a beauty shop and has continued to be a support system.

“The friendships that we have developed have been the most important thing for all of us,” Christi Richards said. “Our group has been through a lot and we are bonded.”

The ladies met through Carolyn Gordon’s shop, Nail Boutique in Terrell, where everyone has continued to get their nails done. There are eight ladies in the group and among them there have been illnesses, surgeries and deaths that they have all experienced together. They have leaned on one another and have remained close through trials and triumphs.

“We needed to stay active mentally and socially and it has grown to be more than I think anyone saw coming,” Linda Gann said, referring to the inception of the bridge group. “We are each other’s friends and support circle.”

Gordon, who recently lost her husband, remarked that the group has kept her sane just knowing that they are there, thinking of and praying for her. Now the group has banned together to create an heirloom of sorts — a cookbook of desserts and other tasty items that have been favorites to not only them but also their families.

In fact, the ladies are certain there will be a bit of a fight among loved ones after they have passed on because there are only eight of the cookbooks printed — one for each member of the group.

Along with compiling their best recipes, the ladies did a photo shoot for the book. Each of them brought fabric that depicted their personalities, which Richards and Sarah Kegerreis (who thought of the cookbook idea) created into chef’s hats. Each woman also picked out her own apron to match.

“The fun of the cookbook represents a lot of what we are,” Gann said. “We’ve all laughed about the cookbook and we’ve all been excited about it. And I think our families are excited about it, too.”

A retired teacher, Richards, who is considered the creative one of the group and savvy with a computer, took on the task of putting the book together. She jokingly said she needed a project but she admitted that she truly missed the artistic aspects of teaching.

Because the cookbook is supposed to be a present for each woman in the group at Christmas at their annual Christmas party, the final look of it — even the photo — is draped in secrecy. As Richards shared the cookbook in private in her study, Gann and Gordon playfully chided in the other room that it, “wasn’t fair.”

Whether it is pies, cakes, ice creams, cookies or adult beverages, each page of the book has the perfect sweet recipe for any occasion. The ladies made sure each of their favorites was included with the goal of getting six recipes per person but there are a few extras and tips as well.

Gann even has a trick to making cream pie filling in the microwave if you are pressed for time. She was happy to find out that Margaret Carmona’s blueberry dessert, which was a request, was slipped in there after all when she thought
it wasn’t included. The book is a history of years of treats each of them have brought
to every bridge night and every Christmas party as well as the memories they created.

“I think our families are very proud of this group so when they look at the cookbook they won’t just look at the recipes — they will remember how much fun I had with these women and how good retirement became because of our relationships,” Gann said.

 

Below are some of the ladies' recipes.

 

Molten Chocolate Cakes

Ingredients
4 squares Baker’s Semi-Sweet
baking chocolate
½ c. Butter
1 c. Powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
6 Tbsp. flour
½ c. Cool Whip topping

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425°. Butter 4 (¾ cup) custard cups or soufflé dishes. Place on baking sheet.
Microwave chocolate and ½ c. butter in large microwaveable bowl on high 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour. Divide batter between prepared custard cups.
Bake 13 to 14 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 minute. Carefully run small knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto dessert dishes. Top with 1 T. whipped topping and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Batter can be made a day ahead. Pour into prepared cups, cover with plastic and refrigerate. Bake as directed.

Strawberries in the Snow

Ingredients
1 angel food cake
2 (8 ounce) cream cheese
1½ cups powdered sugar
1 (12 ounce) Cool Whip
2 cans strawberry Comstock pie filling or cherry pie filling

Instructions
Mix cream cheese until creamy; add powdered sugar until creamy; fold in cool whip. Spread ½ of mixture in pan; pinch cake on top; spread other half of mixture – covering completely without holes. Chill cake and mixture. Right before serving add strawberries or cherries on top.

Sopaipilla Cheese Cake

Ingredients
3 8 oz. pkgs. of cream cheese
2 cups sugar (divided)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 stick of butter
2 cans of crescent rolls (generic brands are too small; if you are lucky you will find the crescent rolls in a sheet)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°

  1. Unroll a can of crescent rolls and place on bottom of the pan.
  2. In a separate bowl mix the cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and the vanilla and spread on crescent rolls.
  3. Spread second can of crescent rolls over cream cheese mixture.
  4. Melt one stick of butter and pour over crescent rolls.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix remaining cup of sugar with a teaspoon of cinnamon and pour over top.

Bake for 30 minutes uncovered. Serve warm for a Danish taste or cold for a true cheesecake taste.