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Hearty dishes chase cold away

By Staff | Jan 1, 2010

Karen Taylor's winter fruit compote, which includes homegrown apples and pears, can be enjoyed by itself or served over a bundt cake.

MINBURN – When frigid winter days bombard the Iowa countryside with ice and snow, Karen Taylor pulls out her favorite recipes for hearty farm fare and special holiday treats, including Swedish tea rings, to chase away the chill.

“I grew up in a family of six children, and my mother always made Swedish tea rings,” said Taylor, who was raised on a Dallas County farm and lives on a farm near Minburn with her husband, Larry. “We would give the tea rings to our school teachers and Sunday school teachers. I still enjoy making them for family and friends.”

Cooking has become second nature for Taylor, who began honing her culinary skills after she married 50 years ago. Through the years, Taylor said she has developed a mobile meal delivery system to bring home-cooked meals to her family members when they are busy in the field while planting and harvest. Armed with folding chairs and a slow cooker with a locking lid, Taylor serves beef casseroles, mashed potatoes, chili, cheeseburger soup, meatballs and more to her husband and sons, Steve and Dan, who farm in the area.

Taylor has developed shortcuts to save time without sacrificing flavor. For example, if a recipe calls for onions and/or celery to be sauted, she puts the vegetables in a covered container with a small amount of water and microwaves the mix until the onions are transparent.

When making mashed potatoes, she adds hot milk to prevent the potatoes from getting cold.

Taylor serves her specialties for various organizations to which she belongs, including the Living History Farms guild. The Taylors are members of the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame, enjoy raising their own fruit, including apples and pears, which Karen Taylor incorporates in some of her recipes, including her winter fruit compote.

Swedish kaffebrod (Tea ring)

This recipe is featured in the Minburn Community Cookbook, which was published in 1983.

2 packages active dry yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1 cup warm milk

1/4 cup shortening (butter, margarine, etc.), room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

4 to 5 cups of flour

2 to 3 tablespoons shortening

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Powdered sugar

Maraschino cherries

Dissolve yeast in water. Set aside.

Add 1/4 cup shortening, sugar and salt to warm milk. Let shortening melt. Cool.

Add yeast and eggs. Mix well. Add approximately 4 cups of flour gradually, mixing with each addition. Let dough rest 10 to 15 minutes before adding any additional flour.

When dough begins to leave the sides of the mixing bowl, turn out onto a lightly floured board. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, using as little flour as possible on the board and on your hands. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until double in size.

Roll dough into rectangle, 12 inches by 18 inches. Spread 2-3 tablespoons shortening over dough. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over shortening. Roll dough tightly, beginning with one long side. Place edge down on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet, or a 12-inch round pizza pan or pie drip pan. Form into a ring, joining ends and pinching together to seal.

With scissors, cut about three-quarters of the way through the ring at 1-inch intervals. Turn each section on its side so that they overlap one another.

Cover with dish towel. Let dough rise until doubled. Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown. Drizzle with icing made from powdered sugar and water. Decorate with slivered maraschino cherries.

Winter fruit compote

This can be served warm over angel food cake or slices of pound cake. The fruit compote can also accompany turkey or pork.

3 medium cooking apples, cored and sliced, 3 cups

2 medium pears, cored and sliced, 1 1/2 cups

Cranberry sauce

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

In a 3.5 or 4 quart crockery cooker combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on low setting for three to four hours. (Alternately, combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, or until liquid is reduced to desired consistency.)

Acorn squash

Karen Taylor said that adding sausage patties in the center of each squash half could make a meal.

1 acorn squash

Brown sugar


Wash the squash and cut in half. Scoop out seeds. Slice with a knife to make a flat side when center is up. Place squash halves, cut-side down, in baking pan. Pour in boiling water to 1 / 4 inch depth. Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

Turn squash centers up with a fork. Fill centers with brown sugar and butter. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until done.

Cheeseburger soup

1/2 pound ground beef

3/4 cup chopped onions

3/4 cup shredded carrots

3/4 cup diced celery

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

4 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided

3 cups chicken broth

4 cups diced, peeled potatoes

1/4 cup flour

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cup milk

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup sour cream

In a 3-quart sauce pan, brown beef. Drain and set aside. In the same pan saute onions, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 tablespoon of butter until tender – about 10 minutes.

Add broth, potatoes and beef. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour, cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, or until bubbly. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream. Yields 8 servings.

Contact Darcy Dougherty Maulsby by e-mail at yettergirl@yahoo.com.

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