Lugene Hudson

Lugene Hudson is a reporter at The News. Her "Culinary Conversation" column appears each Sunday.

A recent column about a sandwich spread made at a former market has led to a lot of reminiscing.

I had a lovely talk with New Wilmington resident Peggy Campbell about the grocery stores, bakeries and other places that had specialties.

As the saying goes, there can be many attempts at duplication but none are like the original.

I know we’ll be leaving a lot out, and that’s where you can chip in and add your memories of what’s gone but long remembered.

For instance, Peggy and I swooned about the cakes, other pastries and breads made at the former New Model Bakery on Long Avenue. Their frosting was perfection. And Danish Pastry on Jefferson Street was the place to go for many delights including one of my favorites — graham cracker cake.

The former Ralph’s Market had something I have never been able to find since owner Ralph Pisciuneri closed the doors. It is lamb patties. All you had to do was sauté them in a pan with a little butter and add seasonings.

Peggy and I moved on to talking about ham loaf mix and then the pizza burgers sold at the former Waldman’s Meats on Sampson Street. I don’t remember the pizza burgers, although I know they have been mentioned here before by readers. But I do recall my mother always ordering lamb chops for my brother from Waldman’s. It was his request for his birthday dinner.

We even talked about Billy Glenn’s famous popcorn wagon. That’s one I don’t remember, but my father talked about it. Peggy said her dad used to take the family to a matinee and buy them a popcorn ball, which was a special treat.

Memories.

We could go on and on.

Meanwhile, let’s get to some recipes.

There’s no special theme this week — just some of this and that.

Scallops cooked in butter is one of my favorite meals. Just remember, never to overcook scallops. If you do, they could turn out rubbery. Make them at the last minute — they only take two or three minutes from start to finish.

There’s also a healthier version of fettuccine Alfredo.

And while I don’t recall pizza burgers, I did find an upside-down pizza casserole. You can substitute Italian sausage for the ground beef or stir sliced mushrooms or ripe olives into the meat mixture.

Culinary Conversation is the place to share stories and beloved new or old recipes.

We’ll take them all.

Seared Scallops

with Garlic Butter

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen sea scallops
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives or parsley
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
  • Thaw scallops, if frozen. Rinse scallops; pat dry with paper towels.

In a 12-inch skillet, cook garlic in 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add the scallops. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes or until scallops turn opaque. Remove form skillet and transfer to a serving platter. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter and wine to the skillet. Cook and stir to loosen any browned bits. Pour over scallops; sprinkle with chives and salt.

Thai Chicken Stir-Fry

  • 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 small fresh red chiles, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1 large zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1⁄2 cup toasted cashews
  • 1⁄4 cup slivered fresh basil

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large flat-bottom, carbon steel wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, scallions and chiles (if using); cook, stirring until the scallions start to soften, about 30 seconds. Add garlic and zucchini and cook, stirring, until the zucchini is just tender, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk fish sauce, lime juice, molasses and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir the sauce and the chicken (along with any accumulated juice) into the pan; cook, gently stirring, until the sauce is bubbling and thickened, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in cashews and basil.

Quick Fettuccine

Alfredo

  • 8 ounces whole wheat fettuccine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3⁄4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3⁄4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water according to package directions.. Drain, reserving 1⁄2 cup of the cooking water.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the reserved pasta water and remove from heat. Whisk in yogurt, 1⁄2 cup Parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the fettuccine and combine well. Serve topped with the remaining 1⁄4 cup Parmesan.

Upside-Down

Pizza Casserole

  • 11⁄2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 15-ounce can Italian-style tomato sauce
  • 11⁄2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6 ounces)
  • 1 10-ounce package refrigerated biscuits (10 biscuits)

Preheat oven to 400. In a large skillet, cook beef until no longer pink, stirring frequently. Drain off fat. Stir in tomato sauce; heat through. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle mixture with cheese

Flatten each biscuit with your hands; arrange the biscuits on top of the cheese. Bake in the preheated oven about 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden.

Apple Cake With Caramel Sauce

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 cups coarsely chopped unpeeled cooking apples (5 to 6 medium)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Sauce:

  • 1⁄3 cup butter
  • 1⁄3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup whipping cream
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set pan aside. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and baking soda; set aside.

In a very large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1⁄4 cup at a time, beating on medium speed until well combined. Scrape side of bowl; beat for 2 minutes more. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. Fold in apples and walnuts. Batter will be thick. Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 45 minutes. Serve warm with buttery caramel sauce.

(Note: Cake can be covered with foil and frozen for up to one month. When ready to use, thaw in refrigerator overnight. Reheat cake, covered, at 325 for about 30 minutes or until warm. Sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to one week. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat.)

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