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Cooking school

By Staff | Mar 18, 2013

MARGARET WELDER, of Madrid, began cooking at age 8 and said she enjoys teaching cooking classes at Cooks’ Emporium in Ames.

MADRID – From teaching 4-H’ers basic kitchen skills to conducting cooking demonstrations at Cooks’ Emporium in Ames, Margaret Welder, of Madrid, draws on a lifetime of culinary experience as she shares her knowledge.

“My passion is cooking, and I love interacting with others,” said Welder, a retired elementary school teacher, who grew up on a farm east of Boone. “Even though I’m now in my 70s and have cooked since age 8, I often learn something new from class participants.”

Lifelong learning is a joy for Welder, who credits 4-H for providing her first opportunity to teach cooking. When she was 16, Welder and another girl led a sugar-cookie baking demonstration at the Iowa State Fair.

“Little did I know where that would lead me,” said Welder, who went on to compete in a cake baking competition sponsored by the Boone County Rural Electric Association.

She represented her high school in the competition, where she prepared her winning maraschino cherry layer cake with 7-minute frosting.

WELDER SAID SHE found a recipe for chicken cutlets in pecan thyme sauce in a magazine and adapted it to her own tastes.

“I still have the cake plate from that contest,” said Welder, who enjoys baking pies and has judged various culinary competitions at the Iowa State Fair.

Periodically, Welder has taught cooking classes at Cooks’ Emporium, for more than 10 years, where she often shares favorite family recipes.

“I thank my mother and my grandmother for giving me the love of cooking good farm food from scratch, as well as the desire to share it with others,” Welder said.

Coconut custard pie

4 large eggs, beaten

THIS SIMPLE pesto bread is packed with flavor and pairs well with soup and salads.

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 2/3 cups 2 percent milk, heated until lukewarm

1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut

1 unbaked, 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Beat eggs. Add sugar and salt.

Combine mixture, but don’t beat so much that foam appears. Slowly add milk and beat until mixed. Add vanilla.

Stir in the coconut. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle pie with a little coconut. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and continue baking another 15 minutes, or until the pie tests done. (Insert the tip of a paring knife into the filling, near the center of the pie. If the knife comes out clean, the pie is done.) Even when it’s done, the filling will be a bit jiggly when you take the pie out of the oven.

Note: If crust browns too much, cover it with foil or with a pie shield during the baking process.

Pie pastry

4 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups lard (you can also use shortening)

1 large egg

1 tablespoon cider vinegar or lemon juice

1/2 cup cold water

Combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the lard or shortening. Combine the egg, vinegar and water.

Sprinkle liquid mixture over the flour mixture. Stir gently to combine.

Separate dough into five equal balls, each about the size of a softball. Each ball of dough will make one pie crust.

Note: Extra pie crusts can be frozen. Wrap each ball of dough in plastic wrap and freeze. To thaw, place the dough in the refrigerator overnight, or thaw the dough on the counter for a few hours.

Chicken cutlets in pecan

thyme sauce

6 tablespoons butter, divided

1/2 cup pecan halves

1 whole skinless, boneless chicken breast



2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/4 cup maple syrup plus 1 tablespoon, divided

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, divided

1/2 cup panko crumbs (may need more)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2/3 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon chicken base

In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter, and toast the pecans.

Remove pecans from skillet and coarsely chop. Set aside for later.

Slice chicken breast in half horizontally, and pound the meat, if necessary, to even the thickness. (They are easiest to slice when partially frozen.) Wipe the meat dry, and sprinkle chicken cutlets with salt and pepper.

Combine mayonnaise, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, and 1/4 teaspoon thyme in a bowl. Put the panko crumbs on a plate.

Dip the chicken in the mayo mixture, and coat with the panko crumbs. Set aside on a rack.

Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in the skillet, and saute the garlic until fragrant. Add the flour, brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of thyme. Cook 1 minute.

Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice, chicken base and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.

Cook until mixture boils. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped pecans and pour over the cutlets.

Serves 2 to 3.

Pesto bread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 large eggs, beaten

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup milk

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, optional

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (4 teaspoons dry)

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil (2 teaspoons dry)

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped

2 tablespoons diced, sun-dried tomatoes, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, white whole-wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder, salt and baking soda.

In another bowl, combine the eggs, sour cream, milk, olive oil and Tabasco sauce.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just mixed. Fold in the cheese, herbs, pine nuts and dried tomatoes.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the bread tests done when a toothpick is inserted into the center of the loaf and comes out clean. Cool loaf briefly before removing from the pan.

Allow bread to cool on wire rack.

4-H rhubarb drink

7 cups diced rhubarb

10 cups water, divided

1 1/2 cups sugar

Half of a 12-ounce can of frozen orange juice

Half of a 12-ounce can of frozen pineapple juice

Bring rhubarb and 4 cups of water to a boil. Cook until rhubarb is tender.

Strain the rhubarb from the liquid. Add sugar while the juice is hot. Stir to dissolve.

Add the undiluted frozen juices and remaining 6 cups of water. Cool.

You can freeze the rhubarb drink at this point, if desired. If you want to serve, pour over ice cubes.

Yields about 18 cups.

Note: Welder said she sometimes mixes rhubarb drink with ginger ale to make a fruit punch.

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