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Spice is life’s variety

By Staff | Sep 26, 2014

BONNY GEVING is removing the mint leaves from the stems to prepare them for freezing in ice cube trays and winter use.

ALGONA – Bonny Geving had to learn to scale back her cooking when she got married.

She grew up on a farm near the small Kossuth County community of Seneca, between Ringsted and Bancroft. She was the second of nine children – including her identical twin, Becky – and meal time meant preparing a lot of food.

“I grew up cooking,” said Bonny Geving as meals were large for this size of family.

She remembers every Sunday her mother made fried chicken with 5 pounds of potatoes. Bonny Geving had the duty of mashing the potatoes.

The family had a large garden, and its produce was stored in a well; apples were wrapped in newspaper to keep them fresh.

BONNY GREVING said she enjoys adding seasonings to her cooking. This collection of seasonings has something in common — garlic, her favorite.

A large batch of chickens was butchered every summer, and it was Bonny’s job to scrub the chickens and remove the pinfeathers.

She said there was always meat in the freezer from the farm’s cattle and hogs. In the early years, they had sheep.

“Mom liked her mutton,” said Bonny Geving – which was probably due to her English heritage.

Her mother was an English war bride who met her future husband while pressing shirts for American soldiers.

When Bonnie Geving prepared her first meal for husband Jay, she was accustomed to large-scale food preparation. She cooked six pork chops.

“There are just two of us,” said Jay Geving.

“I had to learn to scale down,” said Bonny Geving.

The Gevings enjoy cooking together, using their grill with wood chips all year preparing chicken and beef and smoking pork.

In fact, cooking and grilling are Geving family affairs.

Jay Geving and son Jay cook together competitively. Son Jason also does competitive grilling.

When the Gevings moved to Algona in 1985, they joined a gourmet group that remains active, meeting about four times a year.

Geving credits the gourmet group for her enthusiasm in using seasonings.

Garlic is her favorite, but she also grows an array of herbs outside her home, including basil, sage and mint.

To maintain the fresh taste of her garden herbs, she freezes them in ice cube trays using about four parts of the herb to one part of water.

Bonny Geving said, “You can do this with any of your herbs.”

Once frozen, she removes them from the trays and keeps them in freezer bags until she needs them for cooking or drinks.

“I would much rather have it this way than dehydrated,” she said.

“We don’t always follow recipes,” said Bonny Geving. “We usually add things.”

She likes using spices and seasonings to “kick it up a notch.”

The Gevings will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary on Dec. 7.

They have eight grandchildren, ranging in age from 2 to 12.

Bonny’s French onion soup

6 large yellow onions

cup olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

cup butter

2 cups beef stock or 2 cans beef broth

2 cups chicken stock or 2 cans chicken broth

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon paprika

Sliced toasted baguettes

Swiss cheese

Slice onions in half from stem to core, then cut into segments. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or a large bottomed pan. Saute onions and garlic for at least 2 hours (low heat, scraping often.)

Onions will reduce and be a golden brown color. Add remaining ingredients.

Simmer for 1 hour.

Diagonally slice the baguettes and then toast. .

Fill an oven safe soup bowl full of soup. Put 2 pieces of toast on soup.

Place a slice of Swiss cheese on toast. Broil for a minute or so.

Fairy gingerbread

1 cup sugar

cup butter

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup molasses

2 cups flour

teaspoon soda

1 tablespoon ginger

Cream sugar and butter. Beat eggs. Add eggs to creamed mixture. Add milk and molasses. Sift dry ingredients into mixture and beat well. Bake in a greased shallow pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Pumpkin gingerbread trifle

2 (14 oz.) packages gingerbread mix

1 (5.1 oz.) package of cook and serve vanilla pudding mix

1 (30 oz.) pumpkin pie filling

cup brown sugar

1/3 teaspoon cinnamon

1 (12 oz.) container frozen whipped topping

cup gingersnaps

Bake gingerbread according to package recipe.

Prepare pudding and set aside to cool

Stir pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cinnamon into the pudding.

Crumble 1/3 gingerbread into bottom of trifle bowl. Pour 1/3 pudding mixture over gingerbread. Add layer of whipped topping. Repeat the three layers 2 more times. Sprinkle top with crushed ginger snaps. Refrigerate overnight.

Carrot sheet cake

4 eggs

1 cup oil

2 cups sugar

3 cups shredded carrots

2/3 cup chopped nuts

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

teaspoon salt

Beat eggs, oil, and sugar until smooth. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add to egg mixture and beat well. Stir in carrots and nuts. Pour into a greased 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean.

Cream cheese icing

8 ounces cream cheese

cup butter

1 tsp vanilla

4 cups powdered sugar

2/3 cups nuts

Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat well. Spread on cooled carrot cake. Top with nuts.

California stuffing

for turkey two ways

Your favorite packaged dry stuffing, made as per directions on bag. This recipe works equally well with cornbread stuffing.

2 cans sliced black olives, drained and rinsed with water

1 pound button mushrooms, sliced and sauteed in butter

2 packages frozen spinach, cooked as per directions and drained.

1 pound (or more to taste) sweet Italian sausage

As a variation, omit olives and add two cans (un-marinated) artichoke hearts, cut into bite-sized pieces.

Mix all ingredients into prepared stuffing and bake in pan at 350 degrees until lightly brown on top or stuff into turkey.

Second option: Purchase a large fresh turkey breast at meat counter. Have butcher fillet the meat from the bone. Should be about 1 inch thick. At home, roll out breast until flat. Do not tenderize. Spoon stuffing over turkey. Roll into pinwheel. Tie with butcher string. Cook on grill until internal temperature is 170 degrees.

Pat’s rice dish

1 can beef broth

1 can onion soup

2 cans mushrooms with juice

1 stick margarine

1 cup raw rice

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Mix and place in casserole dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Sunshine muffins

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

4 teaspoons cinnamon

4 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup coconut

4 cups shredded carrots

2 large tart apples, shredded

6 eggs

2 cups oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

to 1 cup raisins

to 1 cup walnuts, chopped

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add coconut, carrots, and apples. Then add eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Add raisins and walnuts if using. Bake 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes about 40 muffins.

Let baked muffins sit 24 hours before serving.

These freeze well.

Chutney chicken spread

8 ounces cooked chicken breast seasoned with garlic and rosemary

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons chutney

1 teaspoon curry

2 tablespoons grated onion

cup mayonnaise

cups chopped or sliced almonds

Put cooked chicken is a food processor for about 10 seconds to shred. Mix all other ingredients except nuts in a bowl.

Stir in shredded chicken. Put in dish and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Serve with corn chips or small garlic bread baguettes.

Sauerkraut hot salad

1 large can sauerkraut, drained well

1 large can tomatoes, drained well

4 slices of bacon, fried crisp and broke up

Save bacon fat

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup brown sugar

Stir together sugar, tomatoes, and sauerkraut. Add bacon, bacon fat, and onions.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

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