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Kitchen motto: Easy does it

By Staff | Feb 12, 2014

BARB RICHARDSON, of Lake City, adds English cream to her puff pastry with berries for an elegant presentation and extra layer of flavor.

LAKE CITY – From traditional German bierochs to elegant desserts topped with Creme Anglaise, Barb Richardson, of Lake City, knows how to blend old-school farm cooking with a modern flair for satisfying meals.

“I rely on simple ingredients,” said Richardson, who farms with her husband, Eric. “While I make a lot of family favorites, I also like finding new recipes on Pinterest.”

Some of her classics include red velvet cake, which she tops with her mother’s traditional red velvet cake frosting.

This unique frosting incorporates granulated sugar rather than powdered sugar and uses no cream cheese.

“My mother was a fabulous cook, and I grew up eating really good food,” said Richardson, who was raised in the small town of Spearville, Kan., northeast of Dodge City. “I didn’t do a lot of cooking myself, though, until after I got married in 1990.”

PREMADE PUFF PASTRY shells make it fast and easy to create this impressive berry dessert, which Barb Richardson tops with whipped creme and homemade English cream.

Comfort food

The Richardsons met through their jobs with Servi-Tech Crop Consulting and Agronomic Services and moved in 1991 to Lake City. They reared their three children – daughters Bailley, 21; and Piper, 19; and son, Aubrey, 17; on the family’s farm west of town, where they grow corn and soybeans and raise cattle.

Richardson refined her culinary skills as she cooked meals for her family and delivered lunches to the field at harvest.

She enjoys baking bierochs, which are meat-filled stuffed pocket pastries surrounded by homemade dough.

Bierochs make a handy meal that can be eaten on the go.

BARB RICHARDSON makes these charming “mice” from maraschino cherries, Hershey’s Kisses candies dipped in chocolate and topped with sliced almonds for “ears.”

“There are a million different ways to make them,” said Richardson, who noted that the stuffed sandwiches were often served in her hometown when she was growing up.

Fillings can range from traditional German-style meat and cabbage to taco ingredients to pizza toppings and spices.

No matter how busy her family gets with high school sports or arm chores, Richardson knows that cooking is a catalyst that brings people together. “Eating meals together creates that feeling of family and home.”

Bierochs

Bread or pizza dough – large batch (either homemade or frozen)

SIMIALR TO RUNZA sandwiches made from homemade bread and stuffed with goodness, Richardson’s bierochs reflect the German heritage of the community where she grew up near Dodge City, Kan.

2 pounds hamburger

1 medium onion, chopped

1 bag finely sliced cabbage, or 1 small head cabbage, finely chopped

Freshly ground pepper

Cheese, to taste

THERE ARE ONLY four ingredients in this delicious English cream, which can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

Brown hamburger and onion. Reduce heat.

Add sliced cabbage and a little water and put the lid on the pan to soften the cabbage.

Add cheese, if desired.

Season liberally with freshly ground pepper.

Roll out palm-sized pieces of dough and add a scoop of the meat mixture to each piece of dough.

Fold in edges and pinch shut to form a “pillow.”

Place pinched side down on parchment-lined baking sheet.

Brush each bieroch with beaten egg. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Creamy white chicken chili

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound chicken breasts, cut into half-inch pieces

1 medium onion, chopped into half-inch pieces

2 cloves fresh garlic, or 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups chicken broth, or 1 can of chicken broth

2 4-ounce cans diced chilis

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup heavy cream (milk is fine, too)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chicken, onion and fresh garlic.

Saute until the chicken is no longer pink. Add the broth, beans, chilis and spices. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about half an hour. Remove from the heat.

Stir in sour cream and cream.

Serve immediately.

Chocolate mice

These charming “mice” are a holiday tradition at the Richardson house.

1 jar stemmed maraschino cherries

Chocolate candy melting wafers

Nonpareils

Sliced almonds (not slivered)

Hershey’s Kisses candies

Drain cherries and place on paper towels to absorb any liquid.

Melt chocolate candy coating in microwave according to package directions.

Dip cherry completely in chocolate. Place on parchment paper to harden.

Unwrap Hershey’s Kisses. Dip bottoms in chocolate.

Place two sliced almonds in chocolate (these are the “ears”) and place against chocolate dipped cherry to attach and form mouse.

Let harden completely.

Carefully dip entire mouse in melted chocolate. While coating is still soft, use the end of a toothpick lightly dipped in chocolate to attach nonpareils for nose and eyes.

Let completely harden.

Carmel puff corn

Caramel puff corn is especially handy at harvest, when Barb Richardson brings bags of the crunchy treat to family members working in the field and to the employees at Farmers Cooperative in Yetter.

2 packages puffed corn, butter flavor

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon baking soda

Place puffed corn in a large roasting pan; set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, bring the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup to a boil, stirring occasionally; cook for 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add baking soda; stir well (mixture will foam up).

Pour over puffcorn mixture, and toss well to coat.

Bake at 250 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Spread on parchment to cool. Break apart, and store in airtight container.

Red velvet cake

Barb Richardson said her favorite cake can be made in a variety of different cake pans and can also be prepared for cupcakes.

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups oil

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 ounces red food coloring (or 1 ounce of food coloring and 1 ounce water)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a whisk.

Add remaining liquid ingredients, except vinegar, and stir together until blended.

Place all dry ingredients, except baking soda, in large mixing bowl and stir together.

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix until completely combined and smooth.

Stir together the vinegar and baking soda in a small glass. Fold this into the cake batter.

Pour batter into a 9-by-13-inch cake pan, and tap a few times to release any air bubbles.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

For cupcakes: Divide batter into paper-lined cupcake pans.

Bake 15 to 17 minutes.

Makes 30 cupcakes.

Traditional red velvet cake frosting

4 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

2 sticks butter (1 cup), softened

1 cup granulated sugar (not powdered sugar)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook flour and milk until very thick. Cool to room temperature.

Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer.

Add cooled flour mixture and vanilla.

Beat several minutes until fluffy and sugar has completely dissolved.

Creme Anglaise

(English cream)

1 cup half and half

1/3 cup sugar

4 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl.

Heat half and half and vanilla until bubbles form at the edge of pan over low-medium heat.

Slowly pour half of the heated cream mixture into egg yolks to temper – whisking constantly.

Pour the tempered yolks back into the pan of cream, and whisk over low heat until mixture has thickened and will coat the back of a spoon.

Do not boil.

Strain while hot to remove any lumps if necessary

Puff pastry with berries

Adding English cream to puff pastry with berries offers an elegant presentation and extra layer of flavor, Richardson said.

Puff pastry shells

Fresh berries

English cream

Whipped cream

Egg white

Beat egg white until smooth. Brush over just the tops of the frozen puff pastry cups.

Bake according to package directions. Remove centers after baking, saving tops.

Fill cups with fruit, top with English cream.

Place pastry cup top over the fruit, and pipe on whipped cream.

Top with more berries.

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