New Castle News

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January 18, 2013

Culinary Conversation: Woman shares family recipes

NEW CASTLE — As far as Cindy Hickok is concerned, the best room in the house is the kitchen.

It’s a busy place where everyone who gathers there can enjoy sampling her cooking and baking.

Cindy’s recipes were passed down from her mother’s mother, and she plans to pass them on to her grandchildren.

“My family spends a lot of time in the kitchen,” she said. “I love to cook and have my family and friends over.”

Always on the lookout for new recipes, Cindy has also been trying to win the annual Pillsbury Bake-Off for the past 15 years.

“I am very much like my 82-year-old mother, Rose Marie LaCava of Ellwood City,” she said. “If you know anyone from little Italy, you know the Italian ladies of Ellwood City are always cooking and exchanging recipes.”

Cindy is our inaugural guest Culinary Conversation contributor for 2013. She submitted recipes for pecan nougats, which she described as an easy cookie, and chocolate marshmallow melts, which her mother makes every Christmas.

The manicotti is her mother’s recipe and is a crepe filled with ricotta cheese.

“I just love this recipe.”

As for the homemade pasta, Cindy’s daughter, Liz, 16, helps her turn the handle on the pasta machine that attaches to the table.

“Homemade pasta is a very easy recipe and once you make it, you will be hooked.”

A big thanks goes out to Cindy for sending in her stories and delicious-sounding selections. We look forward to many more contributors throughout the coming year.

Sometimes Cindy is joined in the kitchen by her granddaughter, Alexis Jo Hickok, who Cindy described as a big help.

Cindy’s son and daughter-in-law welcomed another daughter on Dec. 20 and asked Cindy to baby-sit Alexis.

“That day she put on her Pillsbury Bake-Off hat, and her best Christmas apron and helped me bake. We made pecan nougats, with the Christmas songs in the background,” Cindy said. “My 3-year old little helper never moved from her chair; she listened to everything I told her to do. First I made the batter; I let her break the eggs and roll the dough into balls.”

According to Cindy, Alexis also placed the pecan halves on each of the cookies and sprinkled them with decorating sugar.

A future baking pro is in the works.

Cindy wrote that she feels blessed to have family and friends for which to cook a meal, and added that the recipe for memories includes planning and preparing mixed with love.

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