New Castle News

April 27, 2013

Culinary Conversation: Easy selections lighten up your day

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — A highlight of my working day is receiving a contribution to Culinary Conversation.

Anita Guyton, a Volant shop owner, was kind enough to pass along two recipes she obtained from the back of a can of tomatoes — black bean salsa and cheese grits.

Anita emailed that the black bean salsa is delicious.

“It’s a great side dish, or in my case, lunch,” Anita said, adding, “So easy to put together, too.”

It sounds refreshing and light enough for lunchtime.

I love black beans, cannellini beans, kidney beans and others that are so versatile. I searched and found another recipe using black beans that includes chicken. It also has yellow and red peppers, which are packed with nutrients.

I’m also a huge fan of grits. Although it’s associated with Southern cooking, the instant version makes it easy to prepare all kinds of dishes.

On the “keeping it light theme,” today’s selections include baked “french fries.” I stopped making “real” fries years ago but this version is easy and tasty, and cuts down on the fat.

And then there’s an angel food cake dessert. This one, though, has heavy cream, Heath bars and hot fudge sauce. There’s a reason it’s call angel food and this recipe sounds extra heavenly. It’s on my to-make list.

Culinary Conversation is always on the lookout for new and older, cherished recipes from you — our readers.

All signs point to warmer weather. Why not share your favorites using spring/summer vegetables and fruits? And if you slip in a pie recipe using fruits, you will get no complaints from me.

I can’t wait to see who will be the next guest contributor.

Anita Guyton’s Black Bean Salsa

Mix all ingredients in medium bowl.

Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to allow favors to blend.

Serve with tortilla chips or tacos if desired.

Chicken and Black Bean Salad

Dressing:

In large bowl, gently stir together black beans, chicken, onions, red and yellow peppers, and tomatoes.

For dressing, in small bowl, whisk together jalapeno pepper, lime rind and juice, garlic, salt and pepper; gradually whisk in oil.

Pour over salad; add coriander and toss gently.

Anita Guyton’s Cheese Grits

Cook bacon and reserve drippings.

Bring drippings, chicken broth and salt to boil. Stir in grits and tomatoes and return to a boil, stirring often.

Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in cheese and bacon. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.

*Can put in crock pot on warm to serve.

Baked French Fries

Preheat oven to 450.

Peel potatoes and cut into slices 4-inches long and 1/4-inch wide; place in a bowl of ice water to crisp. Just before cooking, turn onto paper towel and pat dry. Spread pieces in one layer of a shallow baking pan. Sprinkle with vegetable oil. Shake pan to spread oil evenly over potatoes. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, turning frequently, until golden brown.

Empty potatoes onto paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and paprika.

Angel Food Cake Dessert

In a small glass bowl, stir together gelatin and 2 tbsps. water. Cook in microwave on high for 30 seconds. Let stand 2 minutes, then stir in 1/4 cup cream; let stand for 5 minutes or until mixture cools to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, beat together remaining 1 3/4-cups cream and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on high until soft peaks form. Beat in gelatin mixture; continue beating until stiff. Fold in candy bar pieces.

Slice angel food cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. Fill and frost cake with whipped cream mixture. Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight, until set.

To serve, cut cake into wedges with a sharp, serrated knife. Drizzle a little fudge sauce on top. Serve immediately.