Braille Monitor                                                                                 April 2006



The recipes this month are from members of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois.

Herb Dip

by Patti Gregory-Chang

Patti Gregory-Chang, first vice president of the NFB of Illinois, supervises other lawyers for the city of Chicago. She uses fresh herbs that she grows in her garden when making this dip. It is great on any firm cracker.


40 crackers or small triangles of toast
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh chives
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh coriander or cilantro
1/4 cup fresh garlic
1 pinch paprika

Method: Soften cream cheese. Mix in garlic. Then mix in all of the herbs. You can add some sour cream if the dip is too stiff. Sprinkle paprika on top for color. Chill this dip and then spread on crackers or small triangles of toast. I have used this at barbeques with success.

Flourless Almond Cake

by Elizabeth Browne

Dr.Elizabeth Browne is a longtime Federationist and has contributed stories to the Kernel Books and articles to the Braille Monitor. She is the author of two books and is working on a third. She is a professor in the seminary at Loyola University of Chicago and a member of the Chicago Chapter of the NFB of Illinois.


6 unpeeled clementines
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
2 1/3 cups crushed almonds

Method: In a large saucepan or pot place six unpeeled clementines covered by cold water. Cover, bring to boil, and let simmer for two hours. (Start with enough water so pan does not boil dry.) Drain water, cut clementines in half, and begin to chop in blender or food processor, removing all seeds before blending fruit. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and line a nine-inch springform pan with parchment or wax paper. Beat six eggs. Add sugar, baking powder, and almonds. Now add chopped clementines to batter, mixing ingredients well by hand or with a whisk. Pour cake mixture into prepared pan and bake for one hour. When cake has baked for forty minutes, cover cake with foil and let it finish baking. Cake is done when skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before removing from the pan. To serve, loosen cake from sides of pan and invert on a plate before removing pan. Dust top with confectionary sugar if you like. You can serve this alone or with ice cream or whipped cream. Variations: if you donít have enough crushed almonds, you can supplement with crushed pecans. Also lemons or tangerines may be substituted for clementines as long as a comparable amount of fruit is used.

Connie Davis

Coconut Cranberry Bars

by Connie Davis

Connie Davis serves as editor of the Braille Examiner, the NFB of Illinois newsletter.


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 cups vanilla or white chips
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries,
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup pecans

Method: Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into a greased 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan. In a bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Mix well. Gently spread over the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for twenty-five to twenty-eight minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Cut into bars. Yields three dozen

Chocolate Caramel Brownies

by Connie Davis

1 box (18 1/4-ounces) German or other chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) margarine, melted
2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
1 cup pecans, chopped
2 packages (7 ounces each) chocolate covered caramels (You can buy a 12-ounce package, but donít try it. See note below.)
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Method: Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl combine the cake mix, margarine, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and the pecans, stirring with a spoon until a dough forms. Press half the dough into the baking dish and bake for six minutes, reserving the remaining dough. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the caramels with the remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove the baking dish from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the warm dough. Spread the melted caramel mixture over the chips, then crumble the remaining dough over the top. Bake for twenty minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting. Note: If you prefer, you can use plain caramels rather than chocolate-covered ones.

Kelly Doty

Frozen Banana Split Dessert

by Kelly Doty

Kelly Doty, a sixth-grade teacher, serves as treasurer of the NFB of Illinois.


Graham crackers or vanilla wafers, crushed
4 or 5 bananas
Vanilla ice cream
Syrup Ingredients:
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Method: Pat 1/4 inch graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs into a 13-by-9-inch pan. Slice bananas over crumb crust. Spread half a gallon of softened vanilla ice cream over bananas. Place pan in freezer.
To make syrup, melt chocolate chips and margarine together. Add two cups powdered sugar and 1 and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Cook for eight minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Cool until almost cold. Spread syrup over ice cream. You may sprinkle nuts or additional wafer crumbs on top. Return to freezer until dessert is solidly frozen. Remove from freezer a little while before serving so that it will cut more easily.

Roast Cuban Chicken
by Joe Monti

Joe Monti, now retired, taught high school and college physics and math for thirty-nine years, most of those as a blind person. He currently serves on the state board of Illinois and is first vice president of the Chicago Chapter.


Olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 chicken, cut up as desired
1 heaping cup white grain rice (uncooked)
6 ounces white wine
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon turmeric
6 ounces Sofrito brand salsa Suprema (may substitute Salon Supreme or other salsa)
1/2 10-ounce package frozen peas

Method: Brown chicken in olive oil and garlic. Place in roasting pan and add all the other ingredients except peas. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for forty-five minutes. Add the peas and bake fifteen minutes longer.