Spring is here (warm weather pending) and that means that the Collinsville Library wants you to attend its cooking classes. Registration is required in person at the registration desk. Each class is $5, which covers all food supplies. Tuesday classes are 5:30-7:30 p.m. and Saturday classes are held 9:30-11:30 a.m. Please call 618-344-1112 for more information.
Here is what's being offered:
April 16 and April 20 --Icing on the Cupcake. Spring into the season with some delicious cupcake recipes and learn some tricks and tips for decorating cakes with ease.
May 21 and May 25 -- Party Time. Learn some quick, easy and delicious recipes for light appetizers and dishes perfect for Memorial Day or a graduation party.
On March 19, a recipe ran for White-Chocolate Cranberry Bread. There were two errors: First, the bread is baked in a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, with batter leftover. (I would bake the extra in a mini loaf pan, if you have one.) Second, the time is listed at 90 minutes, and while that is what the author intended, it is by no means correct! Bake this recipe at 40 to 50 minutes (perhaps 20 for the mini loaf), and check for doneness.
Last week I mentioned a trip to California and that vast acres of artichokes are grown there. A reader mentioned that she was tired of eating the same hot artichoke dip that's so popular in the metro-east, and wondered if there was another version she could try without giving up artichokes in the recipe all together. I found this one on the Kraft website. It can also be served cold.
Layered Hot Artichoke & Feta Dip
8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 package (3.5 ounces) crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
1 tablespoon sliced black olives
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first 4 ingredients until blended.
Spread into 3-cup ovenproof dish; top with peppers and feta.
Bake 20 minutes, or until heated through; top with olives. Serve with pita chips.
Variation: To serve as a cold dip, assemble recipe as directed. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled. Serve with the chips as directed. (No need to bake first.)
Make it easy: Do not layer ingredients in dish, but combine all dip ingredients instead. Spread into 3-cup ovenproof serving dish, then bake as directed.
Makes 24 servings, 2 tablespoons dip and 7 chips each, with 120 calories, 6 grams fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium, 14 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram sugar, 5 grams protein.
Oh boy will you impress your guests with this cool recipe from "Desserts in Jars" by Shaina Olmanson (Harvard Common Press, $16.95). You will need to buy or use some 4- or 8-ounce jam jars with lids, though other small containers could be used for these individual desserts.
MINI TRES LECHE CAKES
1 1/2 cups cake flour*
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons ( 3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 cup whipped cream
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
14 maraschino cherries or fresh berries for garnish
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini muffin tins with 14 paper liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside. Cream the butter for 2 minutes on high speed, then beat in the sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla. Mix in flour mixture gradually until just combined. Spoon into the prepared muffin tins, filling them 2/3 full.
Bake 18 to 22 minutes, rotating pans 180 degrees after 9 or 10 minutes. Tops should be lightly browned. Remove from oven to cool completely. Unwrap from paper liners and poke each cake all over with a fork. Place each cake in a 4- or seven of them in 8-ounce jars.
Stir together the three milks -- condensed, evaporated and half and half. Spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons of the mixture slowly over each cake. If using the bigger jars, then add another cake on top and cover with rest of milk mixture.
Cover the jars and store in refrigerator overnight. Just before serving, make the topping: Whip the cream with the confectioners' sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread over cakes and top with a cherry or fresh berry. Makes 7 or 14 servings.
*Who has cake flour at home? Here's how to make your own cake flour:
1. Measure out the all-purpose flour that you'll need for your recipe.
2. For every 1 cup flour you use, take out 2 tablespoons flour and return it to the flour bin. Throw the cup of flour (minus the two tablespoons) into a sifter set over a bowl.
3. Replace the 2 tablespoons flour that your removed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch.
4. Sift the flour and cornstarch together. Sift it again, and again and again. The cornstarch and flour need to be well incorporated and the flour aerated. Sift the flour and cornstarch mixture about five times.You just made cake flour.
Here's how to reach me: Phone, 239-2664; e-mail, email@example.com; or write, Suzanne Boyle, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.