Monthly Archives: March 2011

Recipe Relics

As spring approaches, I’m trying to use up the remaining storage fruits and vegetables in the larder. There were still a few last apples, so I made my favorite apple crisp recipe. My sisters call this Betsy’s Amazing Apple Crisp, but it’s actually my friend Sue’s Amazing Apple Crisp.

Food is something I have always shared with friends and family. When I pulled out this recipe I had to smile at the ancient recipe album where it lives. This book “Betsey Clark Recipe Album” (a different Betsy) from Hallmark has an inside cover inscribed with my name, Christmas, 1973. I would have been in the seventh grade. The recipe cards stashed in this album tell the story of my friends and family, and my food tastes, from that time until some time in my early post-college working days. Each recipe has a connection to my family or to my friends. It’s a history book of sorts. A Betsy History.

The first set of cards, all written in a rounded, immature, girlish print, are recipes for cookies and cakes, my earliest kitchen experiments. The recipe for the oatmeal cookies that I still make today is on this first page.

The next page of cards progress through various appetizers and entrees with a scattering of more baked goods, primarily recipes from my mother and my high school friends’ mothers.

The next three pages take me through my college years. I lived in a dormitory for four years, but we had kitchens. I cooked meals for myself and many meals with and for friends. Almost each recipe comes from a friend. and has an associated memory. There’s my freshman roommate’s Pennsylvania Dutch chicken corn soup, Mike’s famous Congo squares, Linda’s pizza dough, and Mary Kay’s chicken and wild rice casserole.

There are also many, many fruit desserts, the aftermath of many fruit picking adventures with friends. We returned with a haul that we needed to eat. The best of these is Sue’s Amazing Apple Crisp.

The brilliance in this recipe is the double topping (always the best part of a fruit crisp). Half is mixed into the fruit, and the other half sprinkled on top. Each bite has plenty of crisp along with the melting fruit. For a change, I have sometimes made this with almonds, pecans, and even pumpkin seeds, instead of walnuts. They are all equally delcious! This recipe never fails to impress all eaters.

Sue’s Amazing Apple Crisp
Servers 8


1 cup sugar
1½ cup flour
¾ cup butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup chopped walnuts

6 apples
½ cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350F.

Make the topping: Combine 1 cup sugar with the flour. Cut in the butter (using pastry blender or your fingers) until the mixture is crumbly. Add the walnuts.

Peel, core, and slice apples. In a large bowl, toss the apples with ½ cup sugar, cinnamon, loves, and lemon juice. Add half the topping to the apples and combine. Transfer to a 1½ quart baking dish.

Sprinkle the remaining topping on the apple mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until topping is browned and apples are bubbly.

This recipe doubles well for a crowd.


A Sister’s Suggestion

We’ve been having some food compatibility issues at home lately. I know I’ve mentioned the fruit issue before. My husband doesn’t mix fruit with his food. He only likes fruit as fruit. Well, we have a new item to add to the list: feta cheese.

The other day, my sister Jane mentioned she was making Greek Shrimp for dinner. When she described it, I thought it sounded really good, so I asked her for the recipe. This recipe looked incredibly easy, perfect for a weeknight dinner.

You start by putting on a pot of water for cooking some orzo. Then, the tomatoes roast while you get the rest of ingredients ready. The shrimp needs to be cleaned, the roasted peppers chopped, and the feta cheese crumbled. The water came to a boil when it was time to add the shrimp and peppers to the roasting pan. The shrimp bakes while you have time to make a salad. In less than 45 minutes, a lovely dinner is ready to enjoy.

I loved this dish. It was delicious; it was easy; what’s not to love? Well, it turns out that Howard didn’t share my enthusiasm. He thought it was just OK. Why? I asked. What’s not to love? Well, feta cheese is the answer to that one. I’m not sure this will get the repeat appearance that I would look forward to. That’s the price to pay for domestic harmony.

Per Jane’s recommendation, I served this over orzo. A Greekish salad on the side was perfect: romaine, cucumber, Kalamata olives with a lemony dressing. As long as your family likes feta cheese, this is a winner. Try it, you’ll like it!

Jane’s Easy Greek Shrimp
Serves 4

2 pints grape tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1½ Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
½ cup chopped jarred roasted red bell peppers
½ cup chopped parsley
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper in a 13×9 baking dish, tossing gently to coat. Bake 15 minutes.

Stir in the shrimp and peppers. Bake 15 minutes or just until shrimp turns pink.

Remove from the oven, and toss with parsley, feta cheese and lemon juice.

Serve immediately over cooked orzo.