South Coastal library offers many resources for local cooks
The word “free” catches people’s attention. I spend lots of time in the South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach. I no longer purchase cooking magazine subscriptions, because so many of the recipes are for chicken; since I’m allergic to chicken, I realized that I was wasting money. I now sign out back-issues of cooking magazines from the library and copy recipes that work for me. I do the same with cookbooks, because – I cannot tell a lie – I already have more than 350 cookbooks.
As a community, we are blessed to have such a beautiful library, which offers so many free services. Today, I celebrate the library and highlight recipes from the Ladies of the Library. As always, they showered me with their generosity.
The South Coastal Library is located at 43 Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach. Its hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 1 to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed on Sunday. Call the library at (302) 539-5231.
Sue Keefe, director of South Coastal Library, has worked in libraries for nearly 30 years and can’t imagine doing anything else.
“The library is my second home,” she said.
According to Sue, the South Coastal Library started as a 480-square-foot trailer in Bethany Beach in the 1970s. After its latest reincarnation, you and I are now enjoying a 20,000-square-foot library. Reopening after reconstruction in April 2009, the library now has 30 public computers, a separate teen center, a computer classroom, double community meeting rooms and much more space for children’s and adult programs and materials. In the 2011 fiscal year, more than 171,000 items were checked out, and nearly 134,000 people visited the library.
Sue said, “Collecting recipes and cooking (as well as eating) are favorite topics among the library staff and volunteers. With nearly 500 cookbooks in the collection, as well as cooking magazines, the library is a good place to start when you need fresh ideas for great food. And don’t forget to ask the staff for ideas,” she added, “because they are always willing to share good recipes!”
Sue is sharing her grandmother Mildred Robertson’s recipe for Virginia Carrot-Pineapple Cake.
“It is the recipe I associate with her the most and loved to make it with her,” said Sue. “Between shredding carrots and crushing nuts, the cake took a bit of work, but was always worth it. It makes enough batter for three layers, and she always cooked it in square cake pans. For years, I thought that was a requirement. I never saw a round carrot cake until stores started making them. My grandmother got the recipe from the back of a milk carton, and I can still see the blue print on the white waxy cardboard.” (Interesting that the recipe was on a milk carton, because there is no milk listed in the ingredients.)
Virginia Carrot-Pineapple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
(The recipe makes one layer; double or triple as desired.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
? 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
? 1 cup granulated sugar
? 1 teaspoon baking powder
? 1 teaspoon baking soda
? 1 teaspoon cinnamon
? 1/2 teaspoon salt
? 2/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
? 2 eggs
? 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
? 1 cup finely shredded carrot
? 1/2 cup crushed pineapple (with liquid)
Method for Virginia Carrot-Pineapple Cake:
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. To this dry mixture, add the oil, eggs, vanilla, carrot and crushed pineapple with liquid; mix until well-moistened.
Pour the batter into greased and floured square or round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from near the center of the cake. This is a dense, moist cake.
Cream Cheese Frosting
(This recipe makes enough for one layer.)
Method for Cream Cheese Frosting:
Cream 3 ounces of cream cheese and 4 tablespoons softened butter. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and a dash of salt. Gradually add 2-1/2 cups 10X powdered sugar; blend well. Either stir in chopped pecans or walnuts or pat chopped nuts around the sides of the frosted cake.
Barbara’s Litzau is assistant director of the library. Years ago, her godmother organized a baby shower for Barbara’s first child (a daughter) and made Broccoli Casserole for the event. “Ever since,” said Barbara, “the family has made the ‘famous’ broccoli casserole for family gatherings.” Barbara’s daughter now makes it for her family, too.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
? 2 boxes frozen, chopped broccoli
? 2 eggs, beaten
? 3/4 cup mayonnaise
? 1 small onion, chopped
? 1 can cream of mushroom soup
? Salt and pepper to taste
? 2 tablespoons butter
? 1 to 1-1/2 cups Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix
? 4 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
Method for Broccoli Casserole:
Cook and drain the broccoli. Mix eggs, mayonnaise, chopped onion, soup and a few shakes each of salt and pepper. Add the broccoli and pour into a buttered 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan. Melt the butter and toss it with the stuffing mix; sprinkle on top of the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle Cheddar cheese on top. Bake 10 minutes longer. Yield: 6-8 servings.
Sandy Kaminsky is a paid employee who wears several hats – library assistant, circulation desk and magazines. Like many of us, Sandy learned how to cook when she got married.
“My long-suffering husband ate my mistakes,” she said.
Sandy usually sticks to a recipe, but occasionally likes to experiment. Pineapple Soufflé is a dish she serves for every Easter dinner.
“This recipe comes from my great-grandmother in Pennsylvania,” Sandy said, “and it goes great with ham.”
Although Sandy’s instructions call for cooking in a microwave oven at 50 percent power to thicken, her great-grandmother probably didn’t own such an appliance, so you can also cook the pineapple juice mixture stovetop. This recipe lists one handful of all-purpose flour. Don’t you love it? Is that your hand, my hand, Sandy’s great-grandmother’s hand? Ha-ha.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
? 12 slices bread, cubed
? 1 cup butter
? 2 cans (14 ounces each) pineapple tidbits, drained, but save the juice
? 1 handful of all-purpose flour
? 4 eggs
? 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Method for Pineapple Soufflé:
Fry the bread cubes in butter until very lightly browned. Combine the reserved pineapple juice with the flour. Add eggs and sugar; mix well. Cook in microwave oven at 50 percent power for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Add the drained pineapple. Pour into a glass 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan and top with the bread cubes. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour. Yield: 8-12 servings.
Cass Rogers, library assistant, was given her recipe for Coconut Cake by a close friend.
“She always made it for her Christmas party, but I make it for Easter,” Cass said.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
? 1 box yellow cake mix with pudding
? 1-1/2 cups milk
? 1/2 cup granulated sugar
? 2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut, divided
? 1 container (8 ounces) frozen Cool Whip, thawed
Method for Coconut Cake:
Follow the directions on the cake mix box. Bake in a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan. After the cake is done, remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. Poke holes in the cake with a utility fork. While the cake is cooling, combine milk, sugar and 1/2 cup coconut in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute; spoon over the cake, allowing the liquid to soak in. Cool cake completely.
Fold 1/2 cup coconut into the thawed whipped topping and spread over the cooled cake. Sprinkle the remaining coconut over the cake. Chill overnight. Store leftover cake in refrigerator.
Joanne Anderson, library assistant, shares her recipe for Mediterranean Chicken Thighs.
Mediterranean Chicken Thighs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., or cook this dish stovetop.
? 8 chicken thighs; remove skin and fat
? Salt and pepper to taste
? 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
? 2 cloves garlic, minced
? 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
? 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
? 1/2 cup sliced black olives
? 1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
? 2 bay leaves
? 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Method for Mediterranean Chicken Thighs:
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Fry in 2 teaspoons EVOO until browned; about 10 minutes. Set aside. To the drippings, add one teaspoon EVOO and garlic. Sauté about one minute. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, olives, vinegar and bay leaves. Return chicken to pan and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until tender, or bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve over cooked quinoa or couscous. Joanne uses fresh garden tomatoes in season instead of canned.
This past summer, Lisa Caroff, library assistant, and her husband visited her brother in California. They were invited to a Spanish wine-tasting dinner party. Lisa’s contribution to the party was a recipe she found in the Food Network Magazine, for Spanish Tortilla.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
? 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
? 4 medium-size russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
? 1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
? 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
? 4 large eggs
? 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
? 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
? Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
Method for Spanish Tortilla:
Heat olive oil in a 10- to 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add the potatoes, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt and pepper to taste. Cook, turning occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Midway through, add the onions, making sure not to burn them. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy.
Set a colander in another large bowl and transfer the cooked potatoes, onion and cooking oil to the colander. Toss gently to drain as much oil as possible; reserve the oil in the bowl. Add the potatoes and onion to the eggs, making sure that they are completely coated.
Heat one tablespoon of the reserved cooking oil to the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potato-egg mixture and press evenly into the pan with a rubber spatula. Cook until the underside is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the oven and bake until set – about 8 more minutes. Loosen the edge of the tortilla with the spatula, then invert onto a plate. Season with salt. Cut into wedges.
Toss the parsley with the roasted peppers, one tablespoon of reserved cooking oil and the lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Serve with the tortilla. You can also add vegetables to this dish – broccoli, peas, red peppers. Lisa has also served this as an entrée with a green salad and crusty bread. Buena suerte! (That loosely translates to “best of luck.”)
Bernadette Hemingway is a paid employee in charge of young-adult services. When she started at the library in 2002, no programs existed for teens. She was asked to create a collection and programming for teens, and today they have a dedicated teen room, with books, magazines, graphic novels, audio books, music CDs, computer, Wi-Fi and board games.
“It’s a comfortable place for teens to hang out with their friends or do homework,” she said.
Bernadette also created and manages the library’s variety of introductory computer classes.
She was born in Switzerland and boasts that her mother was a terrific cook. She grew up eating Swiss and/or French sauces, pâtés and nutty Christmas cookies. Her dad is the “king of outdoor cooking” and taught Bernadette how to build fires and cook over them. Bernadette is a single parent who makes meals in 30 minutes or less during her busy week but enjoys leisurely cooking on weekends.
She submitted more recipes than I have room for, so I’m selfishly printing her Turkey Piccata recipe, because after discovering my allergy to chicken, the one dish I’ve most missed was Chicken Piccata. I plan to try her recipe this weekend.
Bernadette adapted her recipe from the Chicken Piccata recipe in Cooking Light magazine when she was still in high school; she prefers using Shady Brook Farms pre-sliced turkey cutlets, because they are the perfect thickness. Bernadette has also used chicken tenders instead of the turkey breast cutlets, with great success.
If you prefer, use cooking spray instead of butter, but make sure you use enough so that the flour on the cutlets doesn’t stick to the pan rather than the turkey. If you like capers, add some when you add the lemon slices.
? 1/2 stick butter or butter-flavored cooking spray
? 1 package turkey breast cutlets (4 cutlets; about 1.5 pounds)
? 1/2 cup all-purpose or gluten-free flour (they all work)
? 1 cup chicken broth (regular or low sodium, but it should have some salt)
? 1 cup dry white wine
? 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
? 1/2 of a fresh lemon, thinly sliced
? 8 stems fresh curly parsley
Method for Turkey Piccata:
Coat a large skillet with butter or cooking spray and warm it over medium-high heat. Dredge turkey cutlets in flour and cook in skillet until both sides are slightly brown, approximately 5 minutes per side. While the turkey is cooking, combine chicken broth, wine and pepper in a bowl; slice lemon into 6 thin slices and mince parsley. Remove cutlets from skillet.
Pour broth/wine mixture into skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add cutlets. Top cutlets with lemon slices and simmer all for one minute. (Remove lemon slices before serving, because the lemon gets more intense the longer you leave it on.) Sprinkle with fresh parsley just before serving. Serve on top of cooked orzo or other pasta. The sauce makes this dish wonderful. Serve with a green vegetable (asparagus is Bernadette’s first choice). Yield: 4 servings.
My thanks to Julia Peterson, library assistant, assistant librarian and a paid/part-time employee, for organizing the staff to bring this column together – for recipes, as well as the photo. Julie also taught herself how to cook after she got married, “Because no one else seemed interested in teaching me,” she said. She usually sticks to a recipe, but now that she has more confidence, she experiments more often. She clipped her recipe for Green Beans, Pecans and Feta Cheese from a magazine (its name is long forgotten).
Green Beans, Pecans
and Feta Cheese
? 1-1/2 pounds fresh string beans
? 1/4 cup olive oil
? 1 teaspoon dried basil
? 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
? 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
? 1/4 teaspoon salt
? 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
? 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
? 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
? 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
? 1/2 cup diced red onion
Method for Green Beans, Pecans and Feta Cheese:
Steam string beans until barely tender. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, basil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Place beans in a shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle with pecans, feta, red bell pepper and diced onion; toss with olive oil dressing. Variation: Substitute other cheeses such as Parmesan, Cheddar, or Swiss for the feta cheese.
(Editor’s note: If you have recipes to share, or recipes you want, contact Marie Cook, Coastal Point, P.O. Box 1324, Ocean View, DE 19970; or by email at ChefMarieCook@gmail.com. Please include your phone number. Recipes in this column are not tested by the Coastal Point.)