Warm or cool eatables for March

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Another March is back! Here we go again, sincerely welcoming the arrival of an interesting month of potentially fast-changing one-day-to-the-next dramatic winter weather temperature contrasts. Even in usually warm Florida, this greatly galvanizes the attention of folks glued to television’s daily outdoors temperature reports and weather predictions.

Along with its trademark late-winter-meets-early-spring brisk breeziness or potentially even occasional heavy winds, March’s varying routine potentially could bring us all some occasional frigid weather surprises and sudden big cold winter chills regardless of calendars’ claims that spring has sprung. Or, sudden changes in March’s attitude just as likely could bring vastly and dramatically different days of wonderful post-winter sudden warmth well-timed for welcoming in another fresh new springtime’s nicely earlier than official March 20 arrival.

This culinary column’s interest in all that boils down to the question of what tastes good on these Florida style winter-into-spring March days and is either warming or cooling, depending on the cooling or warmth needs of varying-conditions on any specific March day.

That’s how this month is – semi-warm just-a-sweater weather one day, then, on the next day, potentially a big chilling wind blowing brisk cold winds stealing away your jacket’s or even heavy winter coat’s warmth even this far along in the year and this far south, theoretically already well past wintertime, with calendars officially proclaiming springtime is about a dozen days away now. Similarly, unheated foods may suit us just fine one fine March day, but then a good steaming hot meal which can warm us up might be much preferred food for a suddenly-turned-cold very next day. That’s just how Florida-style weather works in March.

Pretty blue skies, white clouds and just enough breezy coolness for a heavy sweater or jacket can start out a March day so very beautifully, and then so suddenly a sudden climate change to brisker and chillier weather quickly can be blown in on this month’s blustery annual March winds.

That’s all OK, just fine with those of us who so very greatly appreciate and truly enjoy the many moods of March with its versatile mix and ever-changing style. We might even be inspired to copy that style in creating a new personal approach to our March meals’ moods, happily patterning that same flexibility and unique bold approach in our meals planning, foods preparation and cooking. Enjoy all the distinctive and unique beauty of March!

 

JOY ADCOCK PARSONS

GRANDMOTHERS FEATHER CAKE

Recipe from Treasures from Heaven

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons butter

1/2 cup mixture of milk and water

1-1/2 cups flour

1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon flavoring

Cream the butter, sugar and flavoring together. Add eggs. Combine baking powder with flour and stir. Add milk mixture and flour alternately to batter. Put batter into loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees until done, about 50-60 minutes.

 

RALPHS PRESTONS

DELUXE BAKED ZITI

Recipe from Habitat for Humanitys Partners In The Kitchen

3 large Vidalia onions, thinly sliced

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 red bell peppers, cut into two-inch strips

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into two-inch strips

1 pound mushrooms, thickly sliced

1 16-ounce package ziti

1 26-ounce jar spaghetti sauce

16 ounces feta cheese, cubed

1 3-ounce package sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

2 6-ounce cans sliced black olives

1 6-ounce package chopped pecans

5 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated

16 ounces Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Saute the onions in olive oil in large skillet until tender. Add garlic, red peppers and yellow pepper. Saute until peppers are tender. Add mushrooms. Saute for one to two minutes; set aside.

Cook ziti using package directions; drain. Pour equal amounts of half the spaghetti sauce into two 9- by 13-inch baking pans. Layer the cooked ziti, onion mixture and remaining sauce. Arrange feta cheese over sauce. Sprinkle with next four ingredients. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake the ziti at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Do not overcook or mozzarella cheese will become hard.

 

PEARL SUMMERLINS

EASY SHEPHERDS PIE

Recipe from Treasures from Heaven

1 pound cooked ground beef

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can whole kernel corn

Instant mashed potatoes, cooked

Shredded cheese (optional)

Mix the cream of mushroom soup with the cooked ground beef and put in baking pan. Top with corn. Spread mashed potatoes on top of corn. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly brown.

 

BROCCOLI CASSEROLE

Recipe from Treasures from Heaven

2 packages frozen chopped broccoli, cooked

1 can cream of mushroom soup

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon dry Italian dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3/4 cup sliced almonds

Mix cooked broccoli and other ingredients (except almonds) in casserole dish. Top with almonds. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

 

MICROWAVE TANGY

CAULIFLOWER

Recipe from Treasures from Heaven

1 head cauliflower

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons mustard

1/2 cup grated cheese

Place whole cauliflower in microwave dish with two tablespoons water. Cook with tight cover for 8-10 minutes. Drain water. Top with mixture of cheese, mayonnaise and mustard placed on top of the cooked cauliflower. Microwave uncovered for one to two minutes or until cheese melts.

 

PHYLLIS BURKES

BROCCOLI AND

CAULIFLOWER CASSEROLE

Recipe from Treasures from Heaven

4 boxes frozen broccoli, cooked

3 boxes frozen cauliflower, cooked

2 half-pints of sour cream

2 cans cream of celery soup

Sharp cheese (amount of your choice)

Cook frozen vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower) as directed on package. Keep warm. Mix sour cream and soup. Add the cooked vegetables to soup-and-sour cream mixture and place in large casserole dish. Top with grated sharp cheese. Bake at 350 degrees.

Note: Amount of baking time is not included in recipe. Because broccoli and cauliflower will already be pre-cooked and still warm, limiting oven time to only just briefly enough to reheat quickly those two vegetables and slightly melt the cheese topping should be sufficient. Watch and check carefully, don’t overcook or over-melt the cheese.

 

FRANCES JONES

GRANDMAS 13-LAYER

CHOCOLATE CAKE

Recipe from Treasures from Heaven

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 cup shortening

4 eggs

3 cups self-rising flour

2-1/4 cups milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

Icing:

3 cups sugar

6 tablespoons cocoa

1 cup butter

1 large can evaporated milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

Cream the sugar and shortening together until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Sift flour and add it alternately with milk to batter. Stir in vanilla.

Grease nine-inch pan with shortening. Spread half a cup of batter in pans and bake at 375 degrees until lightly browned. Do not overcook. (There should be enough batter to make 13 layers.)

Invert layers on racks or a clean cloth until cool. Then stack until all layers are baked. Wash cake pans after baking each layer to prevent sticking and a build-up of crumbs in pans. Grease the pans before putting batter into them also to further help prevent sticking. Mix together the cocoa and sugar in a four-quart saucepan. Stir in butter and evaporated milk. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat and cook for about two minutes. Stir constantly while cooking.

Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir well. (Icing will be thin.) Spread frosting generously between layers and on top and sides of cake.