Braille Monitor                                               October 2013

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This month’s recipes come from members of the NFB of Nebraska.

Peach Salsa
by Nancy Oltman

Nancy Oltman currently serves as second vice president of the Nebraska affiliate. She also sits on the board of commissioners for the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She is an award-winning cook and baker, and her cakes bring high-dollar during our annual auction at state convention.

She says, “Since I am working with home-grown peaches this week, I will submit one of my favorite peach recipes. I do tend to use only two jalapeno peppers and increase the honey to 1/4 cup.”

6 cups (3 pounds or 12 medium) peaches, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 1/4 cups red onion, chopped
4 jalapeno peppers (or less) to taste
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed, finely chopped, fresh cilantro
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons honey (or more) to taste
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Method: Blanch, peel, pit, and chop peaches. Measure six cups fruit and combine with onion, peppers, cilantro, vinegar, honey, garlic, and cumin in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Boil, gently stirring frequently for five minutes. Cool and chill in the refrigerator. Great with tortilla chips or as an accompaniment to grilled chicken. Salsa can be cold packed about twenty minutes for pint jars or ten minutes for half-pint jars.

Runza Casserole
by Glenn Ervin

Glenn Ervin is a longtime member who submits a family favorite. He works as an orientation counselor and home teacher at the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. This is a recipe he often uses with clients.

2 pounds hamburger
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cups shredded cabbage or bag of coleslaw mix
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tubes of refrigerator crescent rolls
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 pound Monterey jack cheese, shredded

Method: Brown hamburger and onion; drain. Place cabbage on top of meat and cover pan with lid to steam for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper. Using one tube crescent roll dough, arrange dough pieces over the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch pan, pressing edges of rolls together to make a solid sheet. Spread the hamburger and cabbage mixture over the crescent rolls. Add a layer of cheese. Using the other tube of crescent rolls, form a top crust over the cheese, using the same method. Bake in 350-degree oven for thirty-five to forty minutes, covering with foil the last ten minutes to soften the crust.

Apple Crisp
by Audra Kramer

Audra Kramer is the treasurer of the Lincoln chapter. She enjoys fundraising and is employed at the Department of Labor.

3 cups Jonathan apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup quick oats
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Method: Mix apples, sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, 1/3 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and put in a 9-by-9-inch baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients until crumbly, and pat over apples. Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Double ingredients for a 9-by-13-inch pan.

Peppermint Marshmallows
by Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the president of the Nebraska Association of Blind Students and vice president of the National Association of Blind Students. Karen enjoys baking in her spare time. Here’s a yummy fall/winter treat.

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice-cold water, divided
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, to taste
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Butter for coating baking dish

Method: Place a half cup very cold water in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Sprinkle gelatin over the surface; don't mix yet; allow gelatin to soften while you prepare sugar syrup.

In a small saucepan combine remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cover saucepan with lid and heat mixture over medium heat for three to four minutes. Uncover saucepan and cook mixture, without stirring, until mixture reaches exactly 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Once mixture reaches 240 degrees, immediately remove from heat.

Turn stand mixer on low speed, and, with mixer running, slowly and carefully pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once all the syrup has been added, increase mixer to high speed (I set mine on level 8 of the KitchenAid stand mixer) and whip mixture until it is lukewarm, very fluffy, and very thick, about twelve to fifteen minutes.

Add the peppermint extract during the last minute of mixing. While the mixture is blending, in a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar and cornstarch, then run a stick of butter along the bottom and edges of an 11-by-7-inch baking dish (making sure you coat all areas, including corners, to prevent sticking). Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture over the buttered baking dish and tip dish back and forth to coat evenly, then shake off excess.

Coat a rubber spatula with butter, then pour whipped mixture into prepared baking dish using the coated spatula to scrape mixture out. Spread mixture into an even layer in baking dish using butter-coated spatula. Sprinkle top lightly and evenly with powdered sugar mixture, reserving remaining sugar mixture. Allow marshmallows to rest uncovered at least four hours or up to overnight.

Turn the set marshmallows out onto a cutting board (you will likely have to run something around the edges and slightly along the bottom to help the marshmallows drop), and cut marshmallows into squares using a pizza wheel dusted with powdered sugar mixture (I cut mine into eight rows then each row into four because I wanted them tall for dipping, but you could cut them smaller if you wish). Place cut marshmallows in powdered sugar mixture and turn to coat all sticky sides, dusting off excess (dust them off well if dipping/spreading with chocolate, or it won’t stick well). Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks.

If you are making marshmallows to dip into hot cocoa, I would recommend the full 1 teaspoon peppermint extract; if you are making them just to eat on their own, I suggest using 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract. You can add 1/2 teaspoon first, then taste a bit, and, if you want a stronger peppermint flavor, add another 1/2 teaspoon.

Peppermint Bark Marshmallows
by Karen Anderson

12 ounces chopped chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips or almond bark
3/4 cup crushed candy canes
1 recipe peppermint marshmallows, earlier (store-bought marshmallows would work fine too)
lollipop sticks or straws

Method: Spread a sheet of wax or parchment paper on counter (this is where dipped marshmallows will set). Melt chocolate in microwave on 50 percent power in thirty-second bursts, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Spread a layer of melted chocolate over bottom half of marshmallow, then dip chocolate-coated portion in crushed peppermint. (Alternately, you can dip the marshmallows in the melted chocolate. I found spreading it on worked better for me. It seemed too thick and messy, so I just used an icing spatula to spread it on instead. Almond bark may work better for dipping because it is thinner.) Then place each coated marshmallow, chocolate-coated side down on wax paper. If desired, insert a lollipop stick through the top center of each marshmallow. Then let rest at room temperature until chocolate has set, about one hour. Store in an airtight container.

Stephanie’s Get Lucky Beef Jerky
by Stephanie Wagle

Stephanie Wagle is a college student attending the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. She serves on the board of the Lincoln chapter and the board of the Nebraska Association of Blind Students.

5 pounds top round, trimmed of fat and sliced by the butcher (You can choose a higher grade beef, but this works fine.)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons cumin
3 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Buy a dehydrator. I have a Ronco brand dehydrator that I purchased at Wal-Mart. It is important to follow the manual for your brand of dehydrator, but I don’t see why my recipe shouldn’t work or couldn’t be altered slightly to work using any dehydrator. But I’m not a dehydrator maker, so please read your manual. This recipe will make a one-gallon Ziploc bag of jerky. You can substitute raw roast beef instead of top round, but keep in mind that it is more expensive. I slice each slice into strips. Combine all marinade ingredients and meat into a large covered bowl and refrigerate for twenty-four to forty-eight hours. I recommend forty-eight hours, but, if you are pressed for time as I was the first time I made jerky, twenty-four hours makes tasty jerky.

When the marinade stage is complete, sprinkle cracked black pepper evenly over each side of jerky and drizzle honey evenly over both sides as well, before placing strips onto the trays.

What makes my jerky so lucky? After the meat has marinated for forty-eight hours, I twist two pieces of beef together before putting them on the trays, and they dry out in tight little curly q’s. These are my two lucky pieces. Whoever gets either of these twisted pieces will be lucky all day long. If you get both pieces, you have two whole days of good luck.

Arrange strips on the trays of the dehydrator, not letting the strips touch each other. Dehydrate for twenty-four to forty-eight hours, rotating trays every one to two hours as consistently as possible. The tray closest to the bottom will receive the most heat, so rotate the trays to distribute the heat evenly. I leave my dehydrator on overnight, obviously not rotating the trays in my sleep, so, when I am home during my waking hours, I turn the trays every two hours or as needed, checking the meat and rotating more often nearer to the end of the drying time.

Italian Love Cake
by Jeff Altman

Jeff Altman is the first vice president of the Nebraska affiliate. He is NOMC-certified and employed as the cane travel instructor at the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

1 package chocolate cake mix
2 pounds ricotta cheese
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cups sugar
Topping Ingredients:
1 (4 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding
1 cup cold milk
1 container whipped dessert topping

Method: Prepare cake mix according to package directions and pour into greased 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Mix cheese, eggs, vanilla, and sugar; pour on top of cake batter. Do not mix into batter. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour, checking frequently near the end to be sure that it does not overbake. Cool and refrigerate; best overnight. Prepare pudding according to package directions and mix all topping ingredients together before frosting cooled cake.

White Chocolate Cherry Banana Cupcakes
by Bridgit Pollpeter

Bridgit Pollpeter is a member of the Omaha chapter and an accomplished writer. She has her own blog at <>.

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups flour
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/3 cup white chocolate chips

Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a twelve-cup standard muffin tin with muffin papers. In a large, heavy saucepan melt the butter over medium heat and remove from heat. Add the sugar, vanilla, and bananas, and mix together, mashing the bananas with the back of a fork until mostly incorporated. Stir in the sour cream and eggs. Add the baking soda and baking powder in pinches, breaking up any lumps with your fingers. Stir in thoroughly. Stir in the flour, just until blended. Stir in the chopped cherries and the chips. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling each cup almost full.

Bake for fifteen to eighteen minutes, or until the cupcakes are springy when gently pressed and fully puffed. Cool on a rack for five minutes. Lift out the cupcakes and cool on the rack for at least ten minutes more.

Note: If you're feeling especially decadent, top these with white chocolate cream cheese icing.

Five Minute Cranberry Walnut Cobbler
by Barbara Loos

Barbara Loos is a longtime leader in the NFB. She has been president of our affiliate and now serves as president of the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults.


2 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup plus 3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a nine-inch pie pan combine cranberries, walnuts and 1/2 cup sugar; toss until coated. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, melted butter, remaining sugar, and almond extract until blended. Fold in flour and salt until combined. Pour the batter over the cranberry mixture. Bake for forty minutes, until crust is golden and fruit bubbles. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serves six to eight.

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