Dinner is best-of-Cook's-Corner extravaganza PDF   E-mail
Written by By KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor   
Wednesday, 11 March 2009

It was a Cook’s Corner columnist’s dream come true.
Getting to taste-test all these scrumptious recipes we feature in The Sentinel-Tribune week in and week out is generally a sheer pleasure in itself. So just imagine being invited as a guest to a gala multi-course dinner in which every single dish on the menu is a former “Cook’s Corner” recipe.
That’s what happened to yours truly last week, courtesy of the women of the Middleton Township Homemakers Club.
It turns out that the gals in this homemakers club throw a huge potluck with a different theme each year. “Last year’s group potluck was all crockpot dishes. We even had a potluck cake!” recalls Betty Wenig, a charter member of the group which formed over half a century ago, in the fall of 1956.
For 2009 they came up with the bright idea of an all-Cook’s Corner dinner.
All claim to be big fans of the column and several have even been the subjects of a Cook’s Corner installment themselves.
Marian Frobose, in fact, holds the honor of having submitted the inaugural recipe. Her yummy peanut butter pie was the focus of the first column, way back on Oct. 15, 2005.
The first challenge in putting together the 2009 potluck was developing the menu.
Cook’s Corner
cookbooks inspiration

The women agreed they would limit themselves to choosing from among the recipes featured in the two special promotion Cook’s Corner cookbooks the newspaper has produced thus far.
The first, with a yellow cover, includes every recipe from 2005 and 2006. The second cookbook, the one with a blue cover, was released last summer and features all the recipes from 2007.
That’s a lot of recipes, but the women were up to the challenge.
“It was so quick, we had it all decided in 10 minutes,” said Dee Robison.
“We nominated Kristel first!” she added, referring to fellow member Kristel Asmus, who wasn’t even present at that meeting.
It didn’t matter. The group remembered well how tasty was her Orange Chicken, the subject of the Oct. 19, 2006 Cook’s Corner column, and “decided right away” to make it the main entree around which the other dishes should revolve.
“I didn’t mind,” Asmus said, with a smile.
Frobose decided to make hummus as the appetizer (from the second cookbook, by David Nabinger) as well as a hot potato casserole dish called Baked Potato Salad, (also in the second cookbook, by Phyllis Henry).
Marty Almanson signed on for Chinese cole slaw (first edition, by Shirlee Bostdorff).
Wenig decided to make almond green beans, which she found on page 12 of the second cookbook, submitted by Millie Broka.
Miriam Aufdenkamp, who hosted the dinner in her home, offered up bran/corn bread, a Becky Bhaer recipe from the first cookbook.
That left Robison to choose a dessert, and the showy pumpkin spice trifle, originally submitted by Jeanne Wingate on June 3, 2006, caught her eye.
“I thought it looked like fun! It wasn’t too hard. You bake the cake first, and then crumble it” before creating the trifle layers in a clear glass bowl.
Since the elegant, but easy trifle would be perfect for Easter dinner or another upcoming spring celebration, that’s the recipe we are printing in full today for anyone who missed it the first time around.
“Other than the Orange Chicken, it was all new to us,” said Almanson, which was half the fun of the dinner.
Full disclosure compels to her admit that when she started making the Chinese slaw “I actually melded the recipe with my own” quicker version “because I ran out of time!”
Everyone else claimed to stay true to the recipes they were following.
The results were uniformly “to die for.”
Conversation flew around the table, as the women shared the little surprises revealed in actually seeing and tasting the dishes they had only read about.
“I was surprised by the olives in the baked potato salad, but it really makes it!” Robison told Frobose.
Frobose was surprised by how pricey tahini, an ingredient in the hummus, turned out to be. “It’s ground up sesame seeds,” she explained.
Now the homemakers are looking ahead to their next excuse to eat well: the International Dinner they hold every May.
Wenig hosted the first one, in 1980, when the theme was German.
That was followed by Oriental in 1981, Mexican-1982, Greek-1983, French-1984, English-1985, Hungarian-1986 and on to such exotic cuisine as Vietnamese, Egyptian and Russian in more recent years.
“We used to dress for some of the first ones — Chinese, French. Everybody remembers the French one!” Wenig added.
“We always have a speaker who is from that country or has traveled there” and the women all bring dishes following the theme.
Finally, in November, the club plans a cookie exchange using recipes with a family history or special memory attached.

Spice Cake (boxed mix)
1 16-oz. can pumpkin
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
2 1/2 c. cold milk
4 pkgs. instant butterscotch pudding
15 oz. Cool Whip

Mix spice cake according to directions on box. Bake in 9-by-13-inch pan, then cool.
Mix together well: pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, milk and pudding.
Reserve 1/4 cup cake crumbs for topping. Layer the following in a large glass bowl, in the order listed:
1/4 cake crumbs
1/2 pudding mixture
1/4 cake crumbs
1/2 Cool Whip
1/4 cake crumbs
1/2 pudding mixture
1/4 cake crumbs
1/2 Cool Whip

Refrigerate until ready to serve.


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Last Updated ( Monday, 27 April 2009 )
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