April 2018
Homeplace & Community

The Co-op Pantry

Wow! It is spring already, and Easter and April Fool’s Day are here.

The days are getting longer and pollen is flying. But the trees and flowers that give me the sniffles are so beautiful. Everything is green with new growth and those lovely flowers are popping up everywhere.

I think April is my favorite month of the year, it makes me feel alive and like I have a new beginning to everything.

This month we are featuring broccoli, carrots, crawfish and garlic. Some of these are labor-intensive and some are so easy a child can prepare them. I hope you enjoy the ones I picked.

Please take time to get outside and look at the beautiful scenery as often as you can.

~ Mary

 For May, we will be featuring asparagus, barbecue, beef, egg, hummus, salsa, shrimp, strawberries and tuna; ones for salads and making hummus or salsa.

June’s recipes will feature cucumber, dairy, lettuce and seafood; and making donuts.

We are always interested in anyone who would be willing to be interviewed and share some of her … or his … favorite recipes with us. Contact us if you are interested.

We would love to hear from you … for recipes or to be our feature cook. Make those recipes bloom!

Oh, just a word of warning … Easter is on the first day of April. Make sure your Easter eggs come from the Easter Bunny and not some prankster!

~ Editor

GARLIC TOMATO BRUSCHETTA

Yield: 12 servings

¼ cup olive oil
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 medium tomatoes, diced
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 loaf (1 pound) unsliced French bread

    In a large bowl, combine oil, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and gently toss. Sprinkle with cheese. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Bring to room temperature before serving.

    Cut bread into 24 slices. Toast under broiler until lightly browned. Top with tomato mixture. Serve immediately.

 

BUTTERY SOFT PRETZELS

4 teaspoons active dry yeast
½ cup + 1 teaspoon white sugar, divided
1¼ cups warm water (110°)
5 cups all-purpose flour (more will be needed)
1½ teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil (more will be needed)
½ cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
¼ cup kosher salt, for topping

    In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

    In a large bowl, combine flour, ½ cup sugar and salt. Make a well in center. Add oil and yeast mixture. Mix. Form into dough. If mixture is dry, add 1-2 more tablespoons of water.

    Knead dough until smooth, about 7-8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough into bowl. Turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

    Heat oven to 450°. Grease 2 baking sheets.

    In a large, flat container, dissolve baking soda in hot water. Set aside.

    When dough has risen, turn onto lightly floured surface. Divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. After all are shaped, dip each into baking soda solution. Place on prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

    Bake about 8 minutes, until browned.

 

PINEAPPLE-SOY MARINADE

2 cups pineapple juice
¼ cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 Tablespoons canola oil
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper   

    In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients until combined.

Note: This is good for pork, chicken, beef and salmon.

 

CHINESE ALMOND COOKIES

2¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup lard
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
48 almonds

    Heat oven to 325°.   

    Into a bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Cut in lard until mixture resembles cornmeal. Add egg and almond extract. Mix well.  

    Roll dough into 1-inch balls. On ungreased cookie sheet, place 2 inches apart. Put an almond on top of each. Press down to slightly flatten.

    Bake 15-18 minutes, until edges are golden brown.

Note from Mary: You may substitute butter or margarine for the lard, it will still taste good.

 

EASY CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream, well-chilled
10-12 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate, broken into small pieces

    In large bowl, beat whipping cream at medium speed just until stiff peaks form.

    In double boiler or in bowl set over saucepan, melt chocolate over simmering water. Pour chocolate into whipped cream. Fold chocolate into cream (do not over mix; mixture can have a few streaks). Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

 

EASY PEACH COBBLER

1 (29-ounce) can sliced peaches, drained
5 slices white bread, crusts trimmed and cut into 4 strips
1½ cups white sugar
2 Tablespoons self-rising flour
1 egg, beaten
½ cup margarine, melted

    Heat oven to 350°. Into bottom of  buttered, 9-inch square baking dish, place peaches. Place bread strips on top.

    In a medium bowl, whisk sugar, flour, egg and margarine. Pour over bread. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown.

 

PORTOBELLO PENNE PASTA CASSEROLE

Water
Salt
1 (8-ounce) package uncooked penne pasta
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
½ pound Portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
½ cup margarine
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried basil
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
¼ cup soy sauce

    Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.

    In a large pot, pour enough water to cook pasta. Add small amount of salt. Bring to boil. Add pasta. Cook 8-10 minutes, until al dente. Drain.

    In a saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Stir in mushrooms. Cook 1 minute. Remove from saucepan and set aside.

    In same saucepan, melt margarine. Mix in flour, garlic and basil. Gradually mix in milk until thickened. Gradually add 1 cup cheese, stirring until melted. Remove saucepan from heat. Add pasta, mushrooms, spinach and soy sauce.

    Transfer to prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cheese.

    Bake for 20 minutes, until bubbly and lightly brown.

 

SOYLENT GREEN VEGGIE BOWL

1 cup broccoli florets, steamed, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups steamed greens (spinach, kale, collards, etc.)
16 ounces tofu (or meat of choice), cubed
Oil, optional
6 tortillas
2 cups brown rice, prepared by package directions
½ cup cilantro pesto sauce*   

    Steam broccoli. Set aside. Lightly steam greens, just until starting to wilt. Steam tofu or sauté in a little bit of oil if desired. Steam tortillas.   

    In rice bowls, place equal amounts of greens, tofu/meat and rice. Roll tortillas and place one on each bowl. In small bowls, pour pesto sauce.

    Declare to everyone at the table, “Soylent Green is for people!”

Note from Mary: If you are as old as I am, you remember the movie. Make sure you don't offend any guests if you don't think they see the humor.

* You should be able to find it already made at a grocery store with a deli.

April Healthy Recipe
GARLIC CHICKEN STIR FRY

1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup mushrooms, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast,
    cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup chicken broth
1½ teaspoons sugar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Steamed rice, optional


    In large pan over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon oil. Heat. Add broccoli, mushrooms and bell peppers. Cook 5-6 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Remove from pan and put on a plate. Cover to keep warm.

    Wipe pan out and place over high, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add chicken in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 3-4 minutes per each side, or until browned and cooked through. Lower heat to medium, add garlic. Cook 30 more seconds. Add vegetables.

    In a bowl, whisk together chicken broth, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch.

    Serve immediately. Serve with steamed rice if you desire.

Note: This recipe uses carrots, broccoli and garlic from this month’s list. We used honey instead of sugar, and also garlic-and-herb marinated, thin-cut chicken. Stir fry is a fun dish you can change as desired. I like to add pea pods, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts to mine.

Mary Delph is an associate editor with AFC Cooperative Farming News. You may email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Jena Klein is AFC’s Wellness Program Coordinator. You may email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..