Guests gathered around the lengthy buffet table, oohing and ahhing, looking at the array of treats — from entrees to desserts, appetizers to rolls — that were offered for taste-testing last Thursday at the Mountain Valley Hospice’s latest “Comfort Cookin’ ” cookbook.
But the best was yet to come — the eating of the specially prepared dishes, from recipes right out of the new cookbook.
And not a single dish was a disappointment, guests all seemed to agree.
One of the cooks who added her culinary expertise to this event was Edna Wilmoth. Her secret for making her chicken salad (recipe later in article), dubbed “Mom’s Famous” by her children, she said, is the special taste of her icicle pickles. She uses her own homegrown cucumbers and makes the icicle pickles herself. But her recipe doesn’t requite homemade ones, she added.
Kathy Pardue, another cook, received the initial recipe for Tortilla Rolls (recipe later in article) from her friend in Texas. But she tweaked it a little to her taste. She recommends all cooks out there do the same.
“When I was working, cooking was a chore,” Pardue added. She is now retired. “Now, it’s fun. It gives you a sense of accomplishment.”
And a sense of creativity as well.
Pat Younger created her own version of a fruit salad (recipe later in article) from her imagination, her palate, and her own interest in eating healthy food.
“Plus, it’s really easy to make,” Younger said. “It only takes 5 to 8 minutes.”
And, for those with special health concerns, it can be made with sugar-free ingredients.
“And it tastes just the same,” Younger added.
The Chess Cake (recipe later in article), also by Pardue, has as one of its unique and stand-out features the fact that, “It’s very easy to make. It always comes out right. And, it’s very hard to make a mistake,” Pardue said. She described this cake as a combination of a cheesecake and Gooey Butter Cake.
Laura Taylor’s daughter, Elizabeth, 14, likes mom’s hot dog recipe the best. (Recipe in cookbook.)
“She’s a very good cook,” the daughter admitted.
But mom made the Cheese Garlic Biscuits for Thursday’s event. (Recipe also in cookbook.)
“It’s easy to fix,” Taylor said. “People don’t have the time.”
Everybody, she added, is so busy nowadays. Folks always seem to be looking for something easy and quick, but good and healthy.
And that’s partially what this new cookbook offers.
But Thursday’s event was much more than just about food.
Comfort is what the organization is all about.
Making life easier for patients and families also is their mission.
And this not only applies to the patients under their care, but also many of the recipes in a new cookbook now available. Over the years the popularity of these cookbooks has grown, for example, from 340 recipes in the second cookbook of this kind, to 779 recipes in this third version. Around 700 of this version were published.
“Hospice is about comfort,” said Sheila Jones, director of marketing at Mountain Valley Hospice. “And food is about comfort.”
That’s why this cookbook is titled “Comfort Cookin’.”
“It’s like curling up with a bowl of mac and cheese, sprinkled with bacon, eating in front of the T.V. in your favorite chair with a blanket,” Jones said of this latest version of Mountain Valley Hospice’s cookbook.
In conjunction with celebrating its 30th anniversary, Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care Home centers are offering their third cookbook to the public to help raise funds for patients without insurance, as well as providing delicious recipes to all.
“The cookbook is a wonderful fundraising item for us because the recipes in it have been submitted by volunteers, community members and families that we have served from all over our service area,” Jones, said. The organization serves the North Carolina counties of Stokes, Forsyth, Surry, Yadkin, Davie, Alleghany, Wilkes, and Iredell. It serves the Virginia counties of Patrick, Carroll, Henry, Grayson, Franklin, Floyd, Pulaski, and Wythe.”We have some great cooks throughout North Carolina and Virginia, and the cookbook lets everyone in on their delicious secrets while sharing a memory or two.”
In addition, most of the recipes in this book have been submitted in honor of someone’s memory, someone’s loved one.
“It’s about caring for folks in the community,” Jones said, “as well as being a part of the community.”
“(And) the money we make from the sale of the cookbooks will help us enhance patient care, train volunteers, and expand our prayer shawl ministry,” Jones said.
The prayer shawl ministry is another project initiated by Mountain Valley Hospice. Volunteers get together on a regular basis and knit shawls for patients at the various hospices. Special red, white and blue-colored prayer shawls are made specifically for veterans. Part of the money raised through this new cookbook also goes toward buying yarn and other needed materials to make these prayer shawls.
“Nothing is more special than giving a prayer shawl and then having family members drape it over the casket of their loved one,” Jones said.
These prayer shawls have also been given to other folks in the community who have been hit with disasters, such as those affected by Hurricane Katrina, for examples. The shawls are all blessed with a prayer by the hospice chaplain. Prayer shawls also are given to seniors at the Christmas holidays.
Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care offers a variety of needed services — for around 1,800 patients every year — people who are in the end stages of life, including nursing services, social work services, home health aides, chaplain services, volunteers, and bereavement services. These hospice services — having grown from around 150 staff members to around 250 currently — are available to all terminally ill patients and their families regardless of their ability to pay.
“We’re proud to say we’re an impact organization,” Jones said. “An organization that helps the community.”
For more information, to buy the cookbook ($20 per book), to donate and/or to find out more about the prayer shawls, call or go to any of the area’s seven Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care locations. The locations are: Corporate Offices, 401 Technology Lane, Suite 200, Mount Airy/789-2922; Woltz Hospice Home, 945 Zephyr Road, Dobson/356-5000; Pilot Mountain, 129 Veterans Drive, Pilot Mountain/368-1260; Elkin, 688 N. Bridge St., Elkin/526-2650; Yadkinville, 320 W. Maple St., Yadkinville/679-2466; Hillsville, Va., 1477 Carrollton Pike, Hillsville, Va./276-728-1030; Stuart, Va., 22099 Jeb Stuart Hwy., Stuart, Va./276-694-4416.
By Marsha Brooks and Kathy Pardue
1 small onion
5 jalapeno peppers
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
1 pint sour cream
Juice of 1/2 lime (or 1 Tablespoon of ReaLime)
20 flour tortillas
Picante sauce, optional
Chop the onion and jalapenos in a food processor. Add other ingredients, except tortillas, and blend. Spread on tortillas. Roll tortillas. Chill in refrigerator and cut into bite-size pieces prior to serving. Serve with picante sauce, if desired. Note from Kathy Pardue: I usually make half this recipe and often use canned jalapeno slices.
By Kathy Pardue
1 18-ounce box of yellow cake mix
1 stick of margarine, melted
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
1 1-pound box of powdered sugar
Mix the dry cake mix, melted margarine, and egg together, and pat into an ungreased 13-inch-by-9-inch-by-2-inch sheet pan. (Tip: Using a little flour on the finger tips or using the back of a spoon helps to do this job.) Prepare second layer by mixing cream cheese with eggs and powdered sugar. Pour over the first layer. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until browned, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cake will pull up during baking, then “fall” after removing from oven.
HOT PEPPER JELLY
Courtesy of Liz Redding
Made by Kathy Pardue
3 large green bell peppers, membranes removed
12 to 15 Serrano chillies (or jalapenos), stem ends removed
3/4 cup of water
3 cups of cider vinegar
5 pounds of sugar
6 ounces of liquid Certo pectin
Green food coloring
Blend peppers and water in a blender until smooth. Place in a large pot. Add vinegar and bring to a rolling boil. Add sugar and bring to another rolling boil. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Add Certo and food coloring. Return to a rolling boil. Boil 2 minutes. Place in jars and seal. Process 10 minutes in hot water bath.
MOM’S FAMOUS CHICKEN SALAD
By Edna Wilmoth
1 whole (3 to 4 pound) chicken, divided
2 1/2 cups of water
4 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped in blender, drained and squeezed dry
1/2 cup mayonnaise***
1/2 cup icicle pickles, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook chicken in water until done. Remove chicken from broth to cool. Save broth. Remove bones and fat. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Return half of chicken to the broth and reserve for other chicken recipes, such as a chicken stew or chicken pie. Mix all ingredients. Enjoy.
***I prefer JFG.
By Donna Jessup
2 8-ounce cans of crescent rolls
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1 1-ounce package of Ranch dressing mix
1 medium red sweet pepper, finely chopped
1 medium green sweet pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup of fresh broccoli, finely chopped
1/2 cup of fresh mushrooms, finely chopped, optional
Roll out crescent rolls into a 15-inch-by-10-inch-by-1-inch pan, pressing together the seams. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 7 to 8 minutes. Cool. Mix cream cheese, mayonnaise and dressing mix. Beat 1 minute. Spread over cooled rolls. Add the remaining ingredients and chill for 8 hours. Cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. (Tip: Pepperoni, bacon bits, chopped ham, chicken or turkey can be added to the topping.)
By Rose Tilley
1 16-ounce container of whipped topping***
1 16-ounce container of cottage cheese
2 small packages of sugar-free orange gelatin***
1 15-ounce can of mandarin oranges, drained
1 20-ounce can of pineapple tidbits, drained
1/4 cup of pecan chips, divided
Mix together whipped topping, cottage cheese and gelatin. Add drained oranges and pineapples. Fold in half of the pecan chips. Garnish with the remaining chips. Chill until firm.
***I prefer Cool Whip and Jell-O.
By Barbara Stroud
1 4-ounce can of mushrooms, cut up
1 cup of minced onions
1 stick of margarine
2 pounds of steak, cut in bite-size pieces
1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup of water
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 small sour cream
1/3 to 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
Cook mushrooms and onions in butter. Remove and cook steak in same pan until done. Add mushrooms, onions, 1/2 cup of water and garlic to the steak and stir. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add flour to the remaining 1/2 cup of bouillon water and blend to dissolve lumps. Add to pan along with the sour cream and boil about 1 minute to thicken. Serve over rice.
CHEESE GARLIC BISCUITS
By Laura Taylor
2 cups of Bisquick (biscuit mix)
2/3 cup of milk
1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons of butter
1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet. Stir Bisquick, milk and cheese into a soft dough. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake until brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Melt the butter and stir in the garlic powder, then brush over the hot biscuits. (Tastes like the cheesy garlic biscuits at the Red Lobster restaurants.)
By Janet Wagner
1 18-ounce roll of refrigerated slice and bake sugar cookies
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
Assorted fresh fruit, cup up
1/2 cup orange marmalade, peach or apricot preserves
1 Tablespoon water
Cut the cookie dough into 1/8-inch slices and arrange on an aluminum foil-covered 14-inch pizza pan, slightly overlapping slices. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Remove from the foil onto the serving plate. Combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, mixing until well blended. Spread over crust. Arrange fruits on top of cream cheese mixture. Combine preserves and water and spread over fruit as a glaze. Chill. Cut into wedges and serve.
By Janet Wagner
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon of water
12 to 14 ounces of shelled pecans
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
Scant 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Combine the egg white with the water and mix. Then, add the pecans an stir until the pecans are well coated.In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and salt. Mix thoroughly. Stir the sugar mixture into pecan/egg white mixture. Mix thoroughly until the pecans are evenly coated. Spread onto baking sheet. (Tip: Use parchment paper for easy clean-up.) Then bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Remove and stir pecans. Repeat twice for a total baking time of 45 minutes. Cool and dry after baking.