Braille Monitor                                                    November 2009

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This month's recipes come from members of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington.

Kristina's Basil Pesto
by Kristina Colcock

Kristina Colcock is first vice president of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington and president of the affiliate's Seattle Chapter. She manages her own retail gift business, and she is a dedicated mother of two children, Kaitlynn and Riley. This is her version of basil pesto, but she advises that the measurements are rough estimates. Experiment to create a version that pleases you.

Fresh basil to taste
Fresh cilantro to taste
4 cloves garlic
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup (possibly a little more) white wine
1/4 cup (possibly a little more) olive oil
Pine nuts to taste
Parmesan cheese to taste

Method: All ingredients will ultimately be combined in a blender or food processor. Start by putting approximately a quarter cup each of olive oil and basil leaves into the blender or food processor. Blend until the leaves are mushy. Add about a half bunch of cilantro leaves and discarding the stems. Process mixture until liquefied. Next add a quarter cup of white wine and three or four cloves of peeled garlic. Thoroughly process this mixture. Add a half stick of butter chopped into pieces. Process again.

At this point taste the mixture. You may wish to add more basil. Then add pine nuts to taste. If you like pine nuts, add approximately a quarter cup to the mixture; if you do not like the taste of pine nuts, add less. Finally, begin adding and processing parmesan cheese until the pesto reaches as creamy a consistency as you prefer. Pour the pesto into a large bowl or covered container, sprinkling additional freshly grated parmesan on top before serving. Dress your pasta, burgers, or other sandwiches with the pesto and enjoy. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Ivan WeichFettuccine Alfredo
by Ivan Weich

Ivan Weich is the president of the Kitsap County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington and the Public Employees Division of the National Federation of the Blind. He works for the Social Security Administration.

1/2 box fettuccine noodles
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Method: Cook the fettuccine noodles according to package directions. Drain and place them in a hot saucepan over low heat. Melt the butter in the pan with noodles. Add half the cheese, half the cream, the white pepper and nutmeg, the remainder of the cheese, and the last of the heavy cream, tossing after each addition. Serve immediately.

Rice Pilaf
by Ivan Weich
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup long grain rice
5 strands pasta (either angel hair or spaghetti), crumbled
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup pine nuts

Method: Melt butter in a skillet and add rice and pasta, stirring until they brown. Add chicken broth. Stir and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and cover the skillet with a tight lid; simmer for twenty minutes. Add almonds and pine nuts. Cover again and cook for five more minutes. Serve immediately.

by Ivan Weich

1 pound lean ground beef
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 can kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
1 small can kernel corn, drained
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Method: In a dutch oven brown ground beef and drain. Add the onion and sauté. When the onion is translucent, add chili powder and stir. Add beans, tomatoes, sauce, and corn and stir. Add the flour to thicken the chili. Continue stirring until the sauce is thickened. Cover and let the chili simmer for an hour. Serve with biscuits or tortillas.

Biscuits with Country Sausage Gravy
by Ivan Weich

1 tube Hungry Jack biscuits
1/2 package Jimmy Dean regular, flavored sausage
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup nonfat milk
1 cup heavy cream
Black pepper to taste

Method: Bake biscuits according to package directions and keep warm. Over medium heat place sausage in a large saucepan and crumble with a wooden spoon. Add water to render sausage juices and prevent browning. Season with black pepper. When the sausage is thoroughly cooked, add flour to make a roux. Add half the cream and milk, and season with additional pepper. Stir until mixture is thickened, then simmer covered over low heat. Stir mixture frequently. Add the remaining milk and cream or more flour as needed to create gravy of desired thickness. Do not, however, allow the gravy to become the consistency of paste. Drizzle the gravy over biscuits. This makes an excellent accompaniment to eggs. The gravy is also tasty over buttermilk pancakes.

Creamy Mushroom Garlic Chicken
by Bob Sellers

Bob Sellers is a member of the board of directors of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington, a past president of the Clark County chapter (Vancouver), and formerly a leader in our Oklahoma affiliate. Being primarily responsible for the rearing of his two daughters, Bob has obviously developed a flair for cooking.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (approximately one pound)
1 can condensed mushroom with roasted garlic soup
1/2 cup milk

Method: Heat oil in a ten-inch skillet on medium high. Add chicken and cook for ten minutes or until well browned on both sides. Stir milk and soup into the skillet drippings, stirring until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover and cook for five more minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Bob suggests that this chicken be served over mashed potatoes or rice. For variety he recommends substituting different-flavored soups.

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