Stir Crazy: Read a Rotary cookbook and travel the food world

News-DemocratApril 7, 2014 

When a community cookbook arrives on my doorstep (OK, desk), I typically find recipes that many metro-east residents are familiar with: a gooey butter cake here, a pork steak there.

Then, Jane Bonaldi, of Lebanon, delivered "Rotarian Flavors of the World Cookbook," subtitled "A Collection of 400 Recipes from over 100 Countries."

A portion of the sales of the $15 hardback, spiral-bound cookbook will benefit the Rotary's goal to eradicate polio worldwide. According to the cookbook introduction, there are more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries.

I found the reading fascinating, with plenty of recipes to try -- and more than a few that just had me thinking. For example, I'm doubtful I'd try Suaasat, a soup recipe from Greenland that calls for cubed reindeer meat. Still, the rest of the ingredients were readily available, so possibly I could substitute venison?

And the Cabbage Salad from Angola? Why, it read just like a coleslaw recipe, only with corn!

I spent a lot of time perusing the dessert recipes and wished I knew more about using foods like fresh fig, while knowing I'm not going to find cassava (a tropical root) at Schnucks!

So, if you're interested in purchasing "Rotarian Flavors of the World Cookbook," here's how: Pick up a copy in downtown Belleville at Local Lucy's and Charlie's Restaurant and tavern, and at Whimsy Gifts/Pearson Printing in downtown Lebanon. Or contact Jane at and she'll mail you one for $18.50.

Here's a recipe from a Rotary district in central Maryland and Washington, D.C. Nothing unusual here.

Crab Won Tons

1 (8-ounce) can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or crescent recipe creations dough sheet

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup chopped cooked crab meat

1 tablespoon chopped green onion (1 medium)

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground red or cayenne pepper

1 egg white, beaten

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with coking spray.

Unroll dough and pinch seams to seal, if necessary. Cut into six rows by four rows to make 24 squares.

In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, crab meat, onion and red pepper.

Spoon about 1 teaspoon mixture 1/2 inch from one corner of one square. Starting with the same corner, fold dough over filling and tuck end tightly underneath filling. Continue rolling to within 1/2 inch of opposite corner.

Lightly brush exposed corner with egg white. Roll moistened corner of dough over roll; press to seal.

Place on cookie sheet. Brush with egg white. Repeat with remaining squares and filling. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm. Makes 24 won tons.

OK, you have to give this a try this summer. Sounds delish and it's from Samoa.

Banana Poi

1 1/2 pounds ripe bananas

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups half and half

1 grated lemon peel

1/2 cup sugar, more or less to taste


Mash bananas until smooth. Mix in vanilla and cream. Add sugar to taste. Add grated peel and stir. (The lemon peel will add a faint lemon flavor.) Pour over ice and serve. Serves 4.

This recipe is from France and seems a delightful twist on the flan I typically eat in Mexico.

Pear Flan

3 large pears

3 tablespoons butter, softened

8 ounces whipping or heavy cream

8 ounces milk

3 eggs

4 ounces sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and lightly grease an 8-inch round dish.

Peel pears, cut them in half, remove seeds and cut them into 1/4-inch slices.

Place slices in a saucepan with the butter and saute over a low heat for six minutes, turning once.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat together eggs, milk, sugar whipped cream and cinnamon.

Drain pears and arrange in the dish. Pour egg mixture over the top of pears and bake about 40 minutes, or until set. Serve warm.

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