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Master of desserts

By Staff | Feb 25, 2011

Tammy Neubauer simmers the sauce that covers her barbecued green beans. Her son won the Pride of Iowa contest at the Ida County fair when he was a junior in 4-H with this recipe.

IDA GROVE – Tammy Neubauer has a cooking philosophy that’s easy to like: “All meals should start off with dessert,” she said with somewhat of a tongue-in-cheek delivery. “If you have room for vegetables, that’s a plus, I guess.”

As a young lady, Neubauer began cooking for her father and farm help when her mother began working outside of the home during her middle school years.

Acknowledging her farm background, Neubauer said, “We had cattle so there were lots of meals with beef.”

Today, she and her husband Kevin custom-feed hogs, so she has more than a few recipes for pork dishes. She’s quick to point out though, that she really is a “master of desserts” a fact that’s hard to dispute.

“I enjoy making all kinds of desserts, but cheesecake is the most requested in our family,” Neubauer said. “My oldest daughter Tasha (now 23) requested cheesecake for her graduation party and so did Seth (who is 21).”

Neubauer has been a field editor for Taste of Home magazine, having recipes printed in both the magazine and their cookbooks. She was asked to contribute from the field after her Cranberry Pork Ball recipe was published in Country Home, another magazine from the same publisher at the time.

Her youngest daughter Shelby is graduating this May from OA/BC-IG High School and has requested – you guessed it – the all-popular Neubauer-mom cheesecake. “I’ve made many different kinds, but the kids’ favorite is Snickers.”

An apple pie on the counter further supports her self-proclaimed title. The pie’s crust, of course, as well as the other ingredients is homemade.

“I frown upon using anything from a box. I’ve got to be having a weak moment to even consider it. With a farm background, I’m used to growing my own, having my own, and know where it comes from – I like that.”

Emphasizing the point, Neubauer brings up her homemade applesauce: “My kids had only known my recipe until they had the lunchroom version. Tasha came home one day from school and told me ‘how awful it was and it didn’t even look like applesauce.’

“Well, I made mine with fresh apples from our trees and it is red in color. It never occurred to me that she had only had homemade applesauce!”

When cooking meals, Neubauer uses her own home-grown spices. “There’s nothing better than going outside to find fresh sage, rosemary, parsley and basil.

“I prefer sage the most and use it in a lot of different recipes. I’ve even made sage bread.” Not surprisingly, Neubauer is a 13-year 4-H leader and ISU Extension county board member who was just elected to a third term. She has used her 4-H position to lead Grant 4-H’ers in a breakfast workshop and teach them how to bake pies.

As testament to her cooking prowess, she has also been a field editor for Taste of Home magazine for 17 years. Neubauer has had prize-winning recipes show up in the publisher’s cookbooks as well.

“My first published recipe was a cranberry pork ball. After that, I was contacted to be a field editor; I’ve had a half-dozen recipes published over the years.”

Neubauer’s son Seth won the Pride of Iowa contest at the Ida County fair when he was a junior 4-H’er.

Neubauer said she balances a number of part-time jobs, which makes meal preparation time short some days. She works as a Christian education director, farm safety auditor. “Kevin and I raise hogs and operate a custom manure application business.”

In what she calls her “spare time,” Neubauer said she takes in sewing projects ranging from mending to sewing wedding attire.

Barbecued green beans

4 slices bacon (finely cut)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

2 cans green beans (drained)

Brown bacon and onion; drain. Add ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer 2 minutes.

Place beans in a greased casserole dish. Pour bacon mixture over top; do not stir. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Be sure to drain beans well before adding to casserole.

Cranberry swirl loaf

3 to 31/2 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 package quick rise yeast. (Neubauer uses regular)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup margarine, cubed

Filling

1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon margarine, cubed

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Topping

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cold margarine, divided.

In a large bowl, combine one cup flour with sugar, yeast and salt.

In a saucepan, heat the water, milk, and margarine to 120 to 130 degrees. Add to dry ingredients; beat until combined.

Stir in enough remaining flour to form soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled – about 1 hour.

For filling, combine cranberries, brown sugar and water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until berries are tender, 5-10 minutes.

Remove from heat; stir in margarine, walnuts and lemon juice. Cool.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, roll into a 20-by-10-inch rectangle.

Spread cooled filling to within 1/2 inch of edges. Roll up jellyroll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal.

Place in a zigzag pattern in a greased 9-by-5-3 inch loaf pan.

For topping, combine flour and sugar in a small bowl. Cut in 1 tablespoon of margarine until crumbly. Melt remaining margarine and brush over dough. Sprinkle with topping.

Cover and let rise until doubled – about 40 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Carefully remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 loaf

Frozen dessert

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

1 10 1/2-ounce package mini marshmallows

1 6-ounce package chocolate chips

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup butter

1 cup coconut

1/2 gallon ice cream

Melt milk, marshmallow, and chocolate chips, carefully. Cool. Cook butter and coconut until brown in a saucepan on the stove; sirring often.

Add crumbs to coconut mixture. Pat 3/4 of this mixture in a 9-by-13-pan. Cool. Put half of ice cream in the pan and top with half the chocolate sauce. Repeat layers. Top with the reserved crumb mixture.

Works well to buy the box 1/2 gallon of ice cream. Soften it some, open the box out flat and slice off the ice cream and lay it in the pan.

Pizza burgers

1 pound hamburger

3 tablespoons chopped onion

1 10 3/4-ounce tomato soup

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

4 to 5 buns

Brown hamburger with onion. Drain. Add soup, garlic powder, oregano, pepper, and cheese. Spoon onto bun halves and broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbly.

Note: This mixture can be made ahead and refrigerated. It’s a snap to spoon onto a bun and broil later. “I use hamburger as well as hot dog buns to make these,”?Neubauer said. “Anything that you have around will do. Sometimes we add extra cheese to the mixture if the cheese lovers in the family are helping prepare.

“This also works well to put on buns and freeze. Thaw slightly and then broil when you need a quick meal.”

Contact Doug Clough at douglasclough@gmail.com.

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