Braille Monitor                                    February 2018

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February is the shortest month of the year, but it is marked with a holiday for romance. In honor of Valentine’s Day we’re taking a tour in the archives for some recipes to make for your sweetheart.

Frozen Cranberry Salad
by Mary Jane Fry

A cool and slightly tart start or side for your romantic meal, this recipe first appeared in February 2004. At that time, Mary Jane Fry was secretary of the NFB of Rhode Island.

1 bag or 3 cups fresh cranberries
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup crushed pineapple, drained
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup nuts (personal preference)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 8-ounce tub Cool Whip

Method: Chop cranberries and nuts. Add the sugar and salt to the cranberry nut mixture and mix together. Thoroughly drain the crushed pineapple and add to berry mixture. Let the cream cheese soften at room temperature, and then work the Cool Whip into it until smooth and creamy; then fold into first mixture.

Place salad in a mold or freezer container and freeze. When ready to serve, unmold and slice in serving sizes. May be kept in freezer for months. Serve frozen. It will thaw during the meal and is very festive when served on a lettuce leaf.

Spicy Winter Squash Soup
by Katie Keim

As a light first or main course, this soup will warm your Valentine as much as a hug. It first appeared in February 2006, and was introduced like this:

Katie Keim is secretary of the NFB of Hawaii and a member of the Honolulu Chapter. She enjoys cooking and baking for friends and family. She reports that this recipe is a tradition at Christmas or any cold winter night. Depending on guests’ preferences, this soup can be made very spicy or just very flavorful.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, chunked
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 2- to 4-inch piece fresh ginger, chunked
1 stalk dried or fresh lemon grass
1 medium winter squash such as butternut, kabocha, acorn, or pumpkin, peeled and deseeded
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste) 
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 cups water or vegetable or chicken broth
1 or 2 cans coconut milk, depending on how thick you like your soup
4 kaffir lime leaves, found in Asian markets (extra lemon grass and lime juice can be substituted.)
4 limes cut in wedges

Method: In a heavy saucepan or double boiler, sauté all ingredients except liquids, salt, cayenne pepper, and kaffir lime leaves, and lime wedges for about twenty minutes or until vegetables are hot. Then add two cups liquid, salt, and cayenne pepper. Let simmer until all vegetables are tender. Remove chunks of ginger and the stalk of lemon grass. Blend in food processor or blender or beat with an egg beater until smooth. Add coconut milk and keefer lime leaves. Reheat on low until soup is warm. Serve with fresh lime wedges for guests to squeeze into soup to taste.

Cereal-Crusted Chicken with Curry Cream
by Jack Mendez

Keeping with the theme of spicing up the romantic meal, this recipe first appeared in February 2013 and was introduced this way:

Jack Mendez joined the LCB staff in November 2012 as director of technology. He is a committed Federationist who is eager to share his positive philosophy about blindness with others. Jack loves to cook and experiment with all types of cuisine. He and his fiancée, Maryann Topolewski, will be married in April. Jack made this recipe as part of his meal for eight at LCB when he was a student, and it received rave reviews.

Jack says, “Take this breakfast treat to a new level. You can use any unsweetened cereal, granola, or oats when you want to explore new flavors. (For best results place the cereal in a plastic bag and roll with a rolling pin until coarsely crushed, or give it a quick spin in the food processor.)”

Cooking spray
2 cups crushed unsweetened cornflakes cereal
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup orange marmalade

Ingredients for Curry Cream:
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon curry powder
Pinch of paprika

Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the crushed cereal in a shallow dish and set aside. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and brush marmalade over both sides. Add the chicken to the cereal and turn to coat completely. Arrange the chicken pieces on the sprayed cookie sheet and spray the surface of each with cooking spray. Bake until the crust is golden brown and chicken is cooked through, about twenty-five minutes. Meantime in a small bowl whisk together the sour cream, curry powder, and paprika. Serve the chicken with the curry cream spooned over the top or on the side.

Eggplant Casserole
by Shirley Barksdale

For a lighter or vegetarian-friendly dish during a romantic evening, check out this recipe from January 2006, with the original introduction:

Shirley Barksdale is the treasurer of the NFB of Georgia. She takes medication for her diabetes and high blood pressure. She is a strict vegetarian and is working to manage her health more effectively.

1 eggplant, peeled and diced
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup dry bread stuffing mix
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons diced onion
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the eggplant in a medium microwave-safe dish and cook on high (stirring once) in the microwave for five minutes or until tender. Transfer to a nine-by-nine-inch baking dish. Mix in 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, stuffing mix, garlic, onion, and egg. Add Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Bake fifteen minutes in the preheated oven. Top with remaining cheese, and continue baking for fifteen minutes until cheese is bubbly and mixture is lightly browned.

Lemon Curd
by Barbara Pierce

This recipe first appeared in February of 2010. A lighter dessert, and one that will appeal to those less chocolate-oriented, this is how it was originally introduced:

Though it is now sometimes possible to find lemon curd in American supermarkets, most Americans have never experienced this delightfully tart and sweet treat. The English spread it on scones, but it is also delicious over fresh fruit or as a filling for cream puffs or cakes.

3/4 cup sugar or half Splenda
1 tablespoon lemon rind, grated
2 large eggs
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Method: Combine the first three ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Cook until sugar dissolves and mixture is light in color (about three minutes). Stir in lemon juice and butter; cook for five minutes or until mixture thinly coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cool. Cover and chill; the mixture will thicken as it cools. Yield: 1-1/3 cups. Note: lemon curd can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. You can easily double the recipe and freeze half of it in a heavy-duty ziplock plastic bag. Thaw in the refrigerator and use within one week of thawing.

Chocolate Pie
by Kathy Jones

Of course, chocolate is something of a traditional treat for Valentine’s Day. This light dessert first appeared in June 2003 and was introduced like this: Kathy Jones is the wife of Tim Jones, the newly elected president of the NFB of North Carolina.

4 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
1 can evaporated milk
2 cups water
2 baked pie shells, not deep-dish

Method: Combine sugar, cocoa, flour, milk, and water. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened. Pour mixture into prepared crusts and set aside.

Meringue for Pies: Beat four egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add two teaspoons cream of tartar, 1/2 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt as you beat whites into stiff peaks. Spread meringue on cooled pies and bake at 375 degrees just until meringue is as brown as you like it; begin checking after fifteen minutes. Cool on wire rack and then chill in refrigerator until time to serve, or eat warm.

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