Braille Monitor                                     March 2017

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In February Federationists traveled to Washington, DC, to speak with their Congressmen about legislation that we in the National Federation of the Blind are supporting. But speaking to legislators is not something that can happen only once a year in the nation’s capital. With that in mind, this month we went back into the archives to offer up a selection of refreshments suitable for setting out when entertaining your local politicians, regardless their office.

NFB Tea by Kenneth Jernigan

Somewhere around 1970, when the national office of the Federation was at the Randolph Hotel building in Des Moines, I began making a concoction which I called NFB Tea. I served it to the first seminar, which occurred in the fall of 1973, and I served it in the presidential suite at National Conventions. Some admired it; others couldn't tolerate it; but everybody knew about it.

Then, as the seventies passed into history and the eighties came and went, the custom of serving NFB Tea at conventions and seminars faded. However, there are those who pine "for the good old days" and long to see a revival of the soothing brew. They continue to ask that the recipe for the NFB Tea appear in the Monitor.

When I remind them that I put it into the Monitor sometime early in the seventies, they simply respond with annoyance, saying that they don't remember it, don't have that edition of the Monitor, or don't want to be bothered with irrelevancies. Since the recipe is now quite different from what it was when it appeared in the Monitor a decade and a half ago and since the requests continue, it seems worthwhile to print it again. So here it is as revised:

You can make as much or as little NFB Tea as you want by increasing or decreasing the quantity of the three basic ingredients. Just keep the proportions the same. Pour equal parts of pineapple juice, orange juice, and cranberry juice or cranberry cocktail into a large container. If you don't intend to use at least as much as a forty-six-ounce can of each of these juices, it hardly seems worth the bother, not to mention which it will be difficult not to over flavor. After you mix these three basic juices, the fun begins. I usually add about one-third as much peach or apricot nectar and one-third as much apple juice as I have used of each of the three basic ingredients. Sometimes (but not always) I also add a small amount of pear nectar if I have it, about half as much as I have used of the apple or peach.

Then I begin to sweeten the mixture with either sugar or sugar substitute and add flavors, tasting as I go. I regard certain flavorings as indispensable, but NFB Tea is a highly flexible brew, which should be crafted to the taste of the brewer. I always use vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I use liquid cinnamon and nutmeg, and if I don't have the liquid, I make it by heating the ground spice in water as strong as I can and straining it.

Next I add small amounts of a large variety of other flavorings. I emphasize that you should begin with only dribs and drabs. Remember that you can always put more in; once it's there, you can't take it out. The mixture of flavors will depend on the whim of the moment and what I have handy. But I will always use at least eight or nine in addition to the cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg. Here are some of the ones I use: almond, Angostura bitters, anise, apple pie spice, arrack flavoring, banana, blackberry, blackcurrant, blueberry, brandy flavor, butternut, butterscotch, butter rum, caramel, cherry, peach, chocolate, clove, coconut, coffee flavor, English toffee, a tiny amount of ginger, hickory nut, lemon, pineapple, lime, maple, orange, orange bitters, pear, pecan, pistachio, pumpkin pie spice, root beer, rose, rum flavor, sassafras, violet, sherry flavor, strawberry, tangerine, walnut, and most anything else I can find. I don't use mint, eucalyptus oil, or wintergreen. It will also be observed that NFB Tea contains no tea. When I first started making the brew in the early seventies, I used Lipton tea, but I abandoned the practice before the end of the decade. It had to do with some of my Mormon friends and also with my evolving taste. I like it better without the tea.

When the mixture has been thoroughly concocted and tasted, a good deal of ice should be added and stirred in. All that remains is to enjoy the product and try different proportions next time, but not different proportions among the three basic ingredients—pineapple juice, orange juice, and cranberry juice or cocktail. And no omission of the three basic flavorings— vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Anything else goes.

Ginger Lime Punch
by Carol Clark

This recipe was originally published in July 1993 and introduced with this: Carol Clark has been a member of the NFB since the mid-1960s. She is currently the president of the Johnson County Chapter of the NFB of Kansas, as well as a state board member.

2 6-ounce cans frozen limeade concentrate
1 6-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 tablespoon chopped candied ginger
4 cups cold water
1 large bottle of ginger ale, chilled

Method: Pour concentrated limeade and lemonade into punch bowl; add ginger. Chill for at least two hours to blend flavors. Add cold water and ice. Pour ginger ale down sides of bowl. Fluted lemon slices, small lime slices, and mint sprigs may be floated in punch. Yields twenty servings.

Luncheon Dessert
by Alice Fornia

This recipe was originally published in February 1972, where Alice Fornia was described as an active member of the San Francisco Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of California.

8 Heath candy bars 
1 pint of Cool Whip 
vanilla extract (optional) 
12 lady fingers sliced in half

Method: Crush or crumble Heath bars, be careful not to crush into powder or too fine. Small chunks make a chewier filling. Use a blender, a rolling pin, or cut into fine chunks with a paring knife. Line nine-inch pie plate with halves of lady fingers. Combine crushed candy bars with Cool Whip. Add vanilla to taste if desired. Spoon into lady-finger lined pie plate and place in refrigerator. Filling will become firm and dessert can be cut in pie-shaped pieces. Remember to keep dessert in refrigerator when not serving.

Apple Nut Quick Bread

Originally published in May 1987, this recipe came from the Capitol Chapter of the NFB of Ohio.

3 cups whole wheat flour
3 eggs
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped nuts
2 cups fresh chopped apples
1 cup honey

Method: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease nine-by-five-by-three-inch loaf pan. Line bottom with waxed paper. Blend flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice together. Add honey, milk, and eggs. Blend well. Add melted butter and beat. Add nuts and apples; mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Bake fifty minutes to an hour.

by Tom Bickford

From the December 1990 Monitor, this recipe had the following introduction: Concerning his activities as a chef, Tom Bickford says: "The second nicest thing my mother-in-law gave me was a set of recipes for German coffee cake called Kuchen. My wife Virginia and her entire family are of German origin, and they use the German pronunciation: two ‘k’ sounds, and the ‘u’ sounds like the double ‘o’ in ‘food’. Also, whichever way the dough is topped off, it is still called Kuchen. Virginia tells me that in her teen years she baked Kuchen every Saturday morning, and by Sunday afternoon it was gone! In recent years I have taken up the weekend baking and often bake a double batch, twice the amount given here, just so I can get more than two or three rolls for myself. I admit that nothing smells or tastes as good as freshly baked bread. It is very flattering to have my family utter that smiling `mmm' and then help me eat up all my work. Just as I share the Kuchen with my family, so I share the recipes with you. Much love and good eating." –Tom Bickford, Sligo Creek Chapter, NFB of Maryland.

Main Recipe for the Dough
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk, scalded
6 tablespoons margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 to 2 packages dry yeast
5 to 5-1/2 cups flour

Method: Scald the milk and set it aside to cool. In the meantime cream together the margarine, sugar, and salt. Stir in the eggs. Pour in the warm milk, and sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir to a smooth mixture. Stir in two cups of flour. Stir in another 2-1/2 cups of flour. Spread 1/2 cup of flour over the kneading board before pouring out the dough. Knead the dough about ten minutes to form a soft elastic dough. Put the dough in a lightly-greased bowl, then turn the dough to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with wax paper, then a dish towel, and put it in a warm place to rise. Let rise about 1-1/2 hours or until the dough is three to four times the original size. Shape the dough as described in the following recipes into rolls, buns, or fruit upside-down cake. Put the dough in greased baking pans and let rise in a warm place about forty-five minutes, or until it is about double in size. Bake at 350 degrees for twenty to twenty-five minutes, depending on the thickness of the shape. Makes about three dozen rolls.

Your imagination is the only limitation for the shaping and the topping of this good dough.

Kuchen Toppings
In our kitchen when we divide the once-risen dough into thirds, we have suitable quantities for our cooking pans. Therefore, most of the following recipes use one-third of the dough.

Fruit Upside-Down Coffee Cake (The Simplest)
Into a greased nine-inch pan, square or round, pour one can of fruit pie mix. My favorite is cherry. Roll or stretch one-third of the once-risen dough to the size and shape to reach all edges of the pan. Let the dough rise again in a warm place about forty-five minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for about twenty minutes. Turn out onto a plate immediately after baking.

Apple Upside Down Coffee Cake (Even Better)
Grease a nine-inch pan, square or round. In a separate bowl mix: 3/4 cup brown sugar, one tablespoon flour, and one teaspoon cinnamon. Spread this mix over the bottom of the pan. For the next layer use three cooking apples peeled, cored, and thinly sliced. Roll or stretch one-third of the once-risen dough to fill the pan to the edges. Let the dough rise in a warm place about forty-five minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for about twenty minutes. Turn out onto a plate immediately after baking.

Caramel Pecan Rolls (My Favorite)
First the gooey sauce. In a small saucepan simmer together for five minutes: 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons margarine, 1 tablespoon white corn syrup, and 1 tablespoon water. Chop 3/4 to 1 cup pecans and cover the bottom of a greased nine-inch pan, deep dish if you have it, with the nuts. Pour the sauce over the nuts.

Prepare a separate mixture of 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Melt 2 tablespoons margarine, and get out the pastry brush.

Now the rolls: With a rolling pin, roll out 1/3 of the once-risen dough to a rectangle about 6 by 12 inches. Brush on the melted margarine, and spread on the mixed brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll the dough into a long stick. At this stage I stretch out the rolled dough to about 16 inches. With a sharp knife cut off sections two fingers wide, and lay them (cut edge down) in the pan. Leave space for the dough to rise. Let the dough rise in a warm place about 45 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for twenty to twenty-five minutes. You may want to place a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch drips. Turn out the rolls onto a plate immediately unless you like chipping out the pan with a mallet and chisel. Makes one dozen rolls.

Half Cut Circles
Roll out one-third of the once-risen dough into a rectangle six-by-twelve-inches. Brush about 2 tablespoons of melted margarine over the dough. Spread on a mixture of 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. If you like, sprinkle with chopped nuts, raisins, or the like. Roll the dough into a long stick. Place the dough on a lightly greased baking sheet, and bend it into a circle. With a sharp knife, cut most but not all the way through the dough, making the sections two fingers wide. Bend alternate sections in and out of the circle. Let rise in a warm place about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for fifteen to twenty minutes. To serve, break off sections at the cuts.

Buns in Patterns
For this recipe you may use more or less than an even third of the once-risen dough. Grab off lumps of dough the size of a ping-pong ball and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet. Arrange them in a pattern, perhaps a tree, and allow space for the dough to rise. Let rise in a warm place about forty-five minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for fifteen to twenty minutes. After the buns are cool, frost them with a mixture of 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons milk. You might include a drop or two of food coloring. Exercise your imagination for designs and colors.

Strawberry Almond Bars
by Sue Drapinski

When this was originally published in February 1991, Sue Drapinski was the treasurer of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan. Everyone who has tasted these cookies agrees that they are something special.

2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups oats (quick-cooking)
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter (or oleo)
1/2 cup jam (strawberry, raspberry, peach, or apricot)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2/3 cup slivered almonds

Method: Mix together the first four ingredients until crumbly, and set aside two cups of the mixture. Press the rest evenly across the bottom of an ungreased nine-by-thirteen-inch pan. Stir together the jam with the almond extract and spread evenly on the crust. Next mix almonds with the reserved crumbly mixture and spread evenly across the top, pressing gently. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes. Cool completely and cut into bars.

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