Cooks Exchange: Readers dig into their files for these oldie-but-goodie recipes

August 1, 2012 

Readers are either going through recipe files or cleaning out their kitchen drawers or bookshelves and sending me their favorites.

Thanks to them, I have some oldies-but-goodies to share.

The peanut butter fudge is a recipe to save for the holidays. I always get requests for a good peanut butter fudge recipe in November or December.

Dora Harrison sent her mother's Mississippi mud cake, another often-requested recipe.

Coincidentally, I was searching through my late mother-in-law's recipe box hunting her gumbo recipe last week. My husband's birthday is at hand, and since she's not with us this year, I thought I would try my hand at her shrimp and crab gumbo.

I was not so lucky as our readers have been. I even engaged the help of two of my late mother-in-law's close friends. None of us could find it, but we each found recipes that we wanted to copy. I'll share one of those after I surprise Allen with it Aug. 6.

"I just came across some recipes from my sister, Nola, from many years ago," said Brenda Plaisance of St. Martin, Miss. "She was a great candy maker."

PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE

1/4 cup Pet Evaporated Canned Milk

1/4 cup margarine

2-1/4 cups sugar 

7-ounce jar marshmallow cream

2 cups peanut butter chips

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pecans or walnuts

Combine Pet milk, butter, sugar and marshmallow cream in pan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it boils. Remove from heat. Cool for 5 minutes. Add chips and vanilla. When chips melt, add pecans or walnuts and pour into a buttered dish. Cool completely and cut into squares.

-- Submitted by Brenda

Plaisance

COCONUT CUSTARD PIE

1 (4-ounce) package coconut pudding (not instant)

2 cups milk

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup coconut

1 baked pie shell

Combine pudding mix, milk and egg in saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it boils. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and1/4 cup coconut. Cool 5 minutes, sitrring twice. Top with remaining coconut and chill in refrigerator.

-- Submitted by Brenda Plaisance

BLACK WALNUT POUND CAKE

1 cup softened butter

2 cup shortening

3 cups sugar

5 eggs

3 cups plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup black walnuts

Beat butter and shortening together. Then beat in sugar. Beat eggs one at a time just until the yellow disappears.

Combine flour and baking powder. Add to creamed mixtured alternately with milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in vanilla and walnuts. Pour into a greased and floured bundt or tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1- 1/2 hours or until cake tester comes out clean.

-- Submitted by Brenda Plaisance

MISSISSIPPI MUD CAKE

1 cup margarine

4 eggs

1 cup flaked coconut

1 cup sugar

1- 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa

1 jar (13 ounces) marshmallow cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, beat margarine until creamy at medium high speed, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Next, (Stir with a large spoon until well mixed, this is a heavy batter; do not beat with mixer.) add coconut, sugar, flour, cocoa, vanilla and nuts.

Spread batter into a greased 13-by-9-by2-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. As soon cake comes out of the oven, spread marshmallow cream over hot cake. Let cool 20 minutes.

-- Submitted by Dora Harrison

More on city chicken

"What a wonderful time you have provided for my mother and me with all of your support looking for city chicken," said Audrey Thompson of Sarasota. "I am so happy to know there is somewhere in the area we can buy it and to have so many different recipes is wonderful. My mother keeps saying she is sure my grandmother is looking down and smiling.

"We are very fortunate to have access to you and truly thank you. I am working with two friends I have made at the Fresh Market on University Parkway (Mike and Matt from Michigan) who remember city chicken well and have tried to help," Thompson said. "Here's hoping they can convince Fresh Market to start carrying it in the meat counter."

"I'm quite sure the origin of city chicken is not ethnic," Bill Clark said. "During the Depression, butchers saved the small meat scraps from pork when cutting chops, ribs, etc., and placed them on skewers to provide their customers with inexpensive city chicken, a really good substitute to the more expensive real chicken legs.

I don't remember having veal prepared this way, but I suppose it's possible that veal scraps could have been inexpensive, as well.

"City chicken was really good I believe, perhaps, because much fat was in the mixture," Clark said.

Found: garlic cheese rolls

"Carolyn Johnson of Pass Christian asked for the rolls of garlic cheese used in special grits," Marian Szmurlo said. "Here is a recipe that equals the roll and can be easily halved and the extra roll or two frozen."

GARLIC CHEESE ROLL

1- 1/2 pounds sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 pound processed cheese, such as Velveeta

3 ounces cream cheese

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Garlic to taste

Soften cheeses and mix all together well. Shape into four rolls and wrap well in plastic wrap.

Note: I would use the fine grater and don't use a mixer to mix the room temperature cheeses.

-- Submitted by Marian Szmurlo

Still looking

We're still looking for gluten-free and dairy-free products and recipes. I know some of you have intolerance to dairy and to gluten, so please send those recipes.

Back to school

Time passes quickly, and teachers and students are heading back to school.

With the emphasis on healthy school lunches for both faculty and students, please send in your favorite healthy brown bag recipes.

These can be low-fat, low-sugar, low-carb or a combination. Let's start school on a healthier note this year.

Andrea Yeager, a freelance writer, can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net. Send contributions or requests to Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.

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