New Castle News

May 31, 2014

Culinary Conversation: Pin your taste hopes on these recipes

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Are you a pinner?

You know what I mean if you are familiar with the web site called Pinterest.

And if you’re not acquainted, it’s like an online bulletin board. Topics are varied — recipes, home decorating ideas, photography, politics, nostalgia, style and travel, to name a few.

Once someone joins Pinterest, he or she can choose to follow other friends and “pin” to a category that sounds interesting.

It’s fun, and if you’re especially interested in getting some new recipes, you basically have hit the cooking jackpot.

I follow several people on Pinterest and if a recipe has been pinned, I can re-pin it and refer to it later.

Glossy photos accompany the recipes and viewing them while hungry makes them even more tempting. Or else, it’s self-inflicted cruelty.

So today, Culinary Conversation has included one or two recipes I pinned from my cousin, Tina. She is an excellent cook and baker. It’s in the genes. Her father operated a restaurant and pizza shop, and the latter is still run by the family in Kent, Ohio, after more than 50 years.

We also have two chicken recipes, and if you’re not counting calories, an Oreo chocolate cake and peanut butter cheesecake brownie bars. I could ponder on this for a week and still not come up with a better combination of flavors for the utmost in delicious decadence. The last one is a once-in-awhile indulgence, but oh, does it look perfect for the next special occasion.

For our Memorial Day picnic, I made a pineapple zucchini cake from the Penzeys catalog. It got unanimous thumbs up.

Whether you are connected to Pinterest or not, Culinary Conversation is also the ideal place to share your favorite recipes with the community.

Melt in Your Mouth

Chicken Breasts

Combine 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and spread mix over chicken breasts. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

Bruschetta Chicken

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 9x13-inch baking dish. Place flour and beaten eggs in separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken into flour, then into eggs. Place into baking dish. Combine Parmesan cheese, crushed croutons and melted butter, then sprinkle on chicken. Loosely cover with foil. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until top is browned and chicken is cooked through. Chop tomatoes and combine with last ingredients. Spoon mixture over chicken, and return to oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until tomato mixture is heated through.

Chocolate-Covered Oreo Cake

Heat oven to 350.

Prepare cake batter and bake in 2 (9-inch) round pans as directed on package. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes. Invert onto wire racks; gently remove from pans. Cool cakes completely.

Microwave chocolate and butter in small microwaveable bowl on high for two minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool 5 minutes. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Gently stir in Cool Whip and crushed cookies.

Place 1 cake layer on plate, spread with cream cheese mixture. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread top with chocolate glaze; let stand 10 minutes or until firm. Keep refrigerated.

Tip — If chocolate glaze becomes too thick, microwave on high for 20 to 30 seconds or until desired consistency.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Brownie Bars


Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine butter and chocolate for the brownies. Microwave on high for 60 seconds. Continue to microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring after each, until both the chocolate and butter are melted.

Whisk sugars into chocolate mixture. Whisk in vanilla and eggs until well combined. Stir in flour until it’s just incorporated.

Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and spread it out evenly with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Set aside while preparing the peanut butter cheesecake.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together cream cheese and butter until fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in egg, sugar, salt and vanilla on high for 2 minutes. Mix in peanut butter on high for 2 minutes. Pour cream cheese layer over brownie layer, spreading it evenly and smoothly until it covers the whole pan.

Bake for 38 to 42 minutes or until the top is golden and the center is set but still a little loose, as it will cook more as it cools.

Allow to cool for at least on hour and then cover and refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight. Cut into squares.

Pineapple Zucchini Cake

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13-inch pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, coconut, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir by hand to combine.

In a second bowl, combine oil, eggs and vanilla. Add the egg mixture, zucchini and pineapple to the flour mixture and beat on low until well blended. The batter will be stiff and dry, but it will moisten as you mix it. Spoon batter into the pan and bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes until the cake is pulling away from the sides of the pan or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with moist crumbs. Cool completely before frosting.

For frosting, combine butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla just until smooth. Add a splash of pineapple juice if necessary. Spread over the cooled cake.

(*Not all recipes have been tested.)