Braille Monitor                                                 December 2012

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This month’s recipes have been contributed by members of the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas.

Scrambled Tofu
by Meg Silkey

Meg Silkey is the wife of the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas South-Central Chapter president. She has been a member of the NFB since moving to Kansas four years ago. Meg has been interested in the vegan and vegetarian life style for several years. Here are two of her favorite recipes.

1 pound tofu, mashed
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Pinch garlic powder
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
Sprinkle of turmeric
1/4 teaspoon sage, rubbed
1/4 teaspoon thyme, ground
1/2 teaspoon chicken-style seasoning salt or to taste
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil

Method: In non-stick skillet heat oil. Add tofu and seasonings. Cover and simmer on low, stirring occasionally. Place tofu in bowl and set aside. In same skillet heat oil and sauté onions, mushrooms, and red pepper. Return tofu mixture to skillet. Combine and let simmer on low for a few more minutes. Serve hot. Serves four to six. Can serve with soy sauce or salsa. Be creative and add your own favorites.

Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
by Meg Silkey

1 24-ounce package frozen hash brown potatoes
1 cup melty cheese
1/2 cup tofu sour cream
2 teaspoons chicken-style seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup soy milk
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil

Method: Thaw potatoes in large mixing bowl. Sauté onion and pepper in olive oil. Combine all ingredients with potatoes and place in a 9-by-13-inch glass casserole dish sprayed with oil or cooking spray. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown.

Chocolate Mint Thumbprints
by Susan Tabor

Susan Tabor is the NFB of Kansas newsletter editor. She has also served as her chapter’s secretary. She resides in Lawrence, Kansas, and is a member of the Jayhawk Chapter there.

Cookie Ingredients:
1 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling Ingredients:
3/4 cup chopped semisweet chocolate pieces or chocolate chips
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract

Method: Make cookies by sifting flour and cocoa together into a medium bowl. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add the vanilla and salt; continue beating until blended and smooth, about one minute more. Add the flour and cocoa mixture and beat in on low speed until a soft dough forms, about one minute. Chill dough in the refrigerator until firm enough to roll into balls, forty to sixty minutes or longer. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners. Using palms, roll heaping teaspoonfuls of the dough into one-inch balls. Arrange cookies two inches apart on the lined sheets. With a lightly floured thumb or index fingertip press straight down into the middle of each ball almost to the cookie sheet to make a deep well, or use the end of a thick-handled wooden spoon. Bake cookies one sheet at a time until the tops look dry, eight to nine minutes. Gently redefine the indentations with the end of a wooden spoon. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for five minutes, then move them to racks to cool completely.

Make the filling by putting the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Microwave in thirty-second bursts (stirring after each heating) until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in the mint extract. Let the filling cool, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and a bit warmer than room temperature, thirty to forty minutes. Spoon the filling into a small pastry bag fitted with a small, plain tip. (Or place filling in a small plastic bag and cut a tiny bit off a bottom corner to pipe the filling through.) Pipe the filling into the center of each cookie. Cool filled cookies completely before serving or storing.

Tips: You can also use Andes bits or Nestle Chocolate Mint Swirl chips (in place of chocolate). The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for four to five days or freeze for several weeks.

Susan’s Homemade Kahlua
by Susan Tabor

4 cups sugar
2 to 4 ounces instant coffee crystals (Taster’s Choice is best; use the greater amount if you like your Kahlua with strong coffee overtones)
2 vanilla beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 additional vanilla bean for each bottle you’ve filled with Kahlua (for ripening)
6 cups water
1 pint brandy
1 fifth vodka

Method: Bring one cup of water to the boil and dissolve instant coffee in it. Combine sugar and the rest of the water in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. Add coffee and let cool. Then add brandy, vodka, and vanilla bean pieces. Pour into bottles. Add a whole vanilla bean to each bottle, seal tightly, and let ripen. Makes about a gallon. Age for one month in bottles before drinking or giving as gifts. The older it gets, the better it tastes. The vanilla beans really add nice tones to the flavor. If you wish, you can store the Kahlua in a single large, airtight container with the vanilla bean pieces and can hold off adding the whole vanilla bean to each bottle until you have strained out the pieces of vanilla bean and poured the Kahlua into bottles. After it has aged for several weeks, you can strain out the pieces of vanilla bean from the large container. Use a funnel to pour the Kahlua into bottles and to strain out the vanilla bean fragments. Be sure that you have placed a whole vanilla bean in each bottle before sealing it.

Taco Soup
by Donna Wood

Donna WoodDonna Wood is president of the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas. The following recipes came into her family when her mother married David Houck. Thank you David for so much more than a soup recipe. These recipes are submitted in loving memory of David, who passed away, May 19, 2010.

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 8-ounce can tomato paste
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 small package frozen corn
1 envelope taco seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Sauté chopped onion in a small amount of cooking oil. Add ground beef and brown. Add package of taco seasoning to ground beef. Then add tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, beans, and corn. Stir and let simmer for approximately one hour. For a spicier version replace diced tomatoes with Rotel tomatoes. Corn bread is delicious with this soup.

Corn Bread
by Donna Wood

1 cup coarse corn meal
1/2 cup fine corn meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons olive oil

Method: Mix all dry ingredients together. Whip egg, add egg and buttermilk to dry ingredients, and mix well. Add olive oil and mix again. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. A cast iron skillet works best. Coat skillet with olive oil. Dust greased skillet with coarse corn meal. Pour batter into skillet and cook for thirty minutes on oven rack placed in the top position. Serve immediately.

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