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Foods From The Heart

February conjures up warm, cozy nights sitting by the
fire enjoying a cup of homemade cocoa or a dish prepared especially from the heart
for those we love. This month we feature special dishes that say "I love
you" much like an unspoken valentine for those that you love. Whether it’s
the elegant Coeur a’ la Crème-heart of the cream-for that special someone or the
comforting Alphabet Chicken Soup for the younger ones, celebrate the month by
cooking something straight from the heart.

COEUR A’ LA CRÈME

2 cups small- or large-curd cottage cheese

2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese

1 cup sour cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar

Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature.
Line a 4-cup Coeur a’ la Crème heart mold with a double layer of cheesecloth
that overhangs on the sides. Place the mold on a large plate. Process all ingredients
in a food processor until mixture is smooth. Pour the cream cheese mixture into
the mold and, using a rubber spatula, smooth the top. Fold excess cheesecloth
over the top and refrigerate 24 hours. Place the mold over a bowl to catch the
whey. You may also use a disposable foil heart-shaped cake pan and punch holes
in it 3/4 inches apart. When ready to serve unfold cheesecloth and invert a
serving plate over the mold. Flip the Coeur a’ la Crème onto the plate. Gently
remove the mold and cheesecloth. Cut into squares and if desired serve with
sliced peaches, raspberries, or strawberries.

Note: Coeur a’ la Crème ceramic molds are available
at gourmet food shops, but a disposable heart-shaped foil cake pan works just
as well. Serves 8.

ALPHABET CHICKEN SOUP

3- to 4-pound stewing chicken

3 quarts water

1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1-1/2 cups alphabet pasta

1-1/3 cups carrots, sliced

1 cup celery, finely chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven, combine chicken, water, and
poultry seasoning. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 1 hour or until
chicken is tender. Remove chicken and skim off fat. Cut meat from bone and return
to soup. Add alphabet pasta, carrots, celery, and onion. Cook, covered, over
medium heat 20 to 30 minutes or until pasta is tender. Season to taste with
salt and pepper. Serves 8.

HOT GINGERBREAD

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup strong, hot coffee

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1-1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ginger

Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in hot coffee.
Beat eggs and thoroughly stir in sugar and molasses. Combine egg mixture with
coffee mixture. Sift in flour, baking powder, and ginger to make a soft drop
batter. Spread batter 1/2-inch thick in greased and floured 9 x 9 pan. Bake
25 minutes at 350°. Cut into squares and serve warm. Serves 4-6.

POT ROAST

1/4 cup oil

1 (4-lb.) boneless chuck roast

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup celery (sliced in rounds)

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups beef broth (canned works well)

1/4 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

5 medium potatoes (peeled and quartered)

4 carrots (peeled and cut in 2-inch pieces)

1/2 pound green beans

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup water

In large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat
and add meat. Brown on all sides. Add onion, celery, garlic, beef broth, ketchup,
salt, pepper, and thyme. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2
hours. Add potatoes and carrots and simmer, covered, 1/2 hour or until meat
and vegetables are tender. Add green beans and simmer 15 minutes longer or until
tender, almost crisp. Remove meat and vegetables to platter. Stir together cornstarch
and water until smooth. Add to the liquid in the pot, stirring constantly. Bring
to a boil over medium heat and continue boiling for 1 minute. Serve gravy over
meat and vegetables. Serves 8.

The Classic Corn Pudding recipe, reprinted from
Kentucky, Always in Season in the November 2001 "Kentucky Cooks" column,
calls for 4 cups of milk. Adjust this recipe to 2 cups of milk, as tested by
Linda Allison-Lewis.

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