Cruelty of Cooks

“If you itemize the terms of cooks,

You’ll find we quite deceive our looks.

The things we do sound very cruel

Like fighting in a one-sided duel.

We beat the eggs and whip the cream,

Blow pudding up with hot steam,

We mash the potatoes, slice the bread,

Tear apart the cabbage’s head.

We chop the onion, grate the cheese,

Lemons and oranges get a squeeze,

We burn the sugar, gash the steak,

The celery’s heart we often take.

We skin the tomato, peel the pear,

Scrape the carrots everywhere,

We scald the milk, freeze the salad,

Strain the tea that’s really pallid.

We prick the unsuspecting pie,

And remove the baby potatoes eye.

And then as if that isn’t enough,

We smother the chicken and other stuff.

Goodness knows what else we do,

I’m really quite abashed, aren’t you?

We do all this and never cry —

Till we get onions in our eyes.”

I hope you will give today’s recipes a try. Thanks for reading.

ARTICHOKE SALSA

2 cans Ro-Tel tomatoes, drained

2 (4-ounce) jars sliced mushrooms, drained and chopped

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 (4-ounce) can sliced black olives, drained

½ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon garlic salt

Dash of hot sauce

Combine all ingredients, and refrigerate overnight. Serve with tortilla chips.

LEMON GARLIC CHICKEN

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds) pounded to ½ inch thickness

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons butter

1 green onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup whole milk or half and half

½ cup chicken broth

Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 small lemon, thinly sliced

Thoroughly dry chicken between paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in skillet, and brown on both sides for about six minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, and set aside. Reduce heat and add butter. When melted, add green onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and cook about one minute. Add the flour and stir to coat. Stir in the milk and broth until begins to thicken. Add chicken back into the sauce. Stir in lemon juice, and garnish with parsley and additional lemon slices.

SOUTHERN SQUASH CASSEROLE

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 Vidalia onion, chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1½ pounds yellow squash, sliced

1½ pounds zucchini, sliced

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 large sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

2 eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt and pepper

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a Pyrex casserole dish with Pam. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion to saute for about three minutes. Add garlic and squash, and cook for about 10 minutes or until tender. Remove from skillet, and drain well in colander. Combine melted butter and cracker crumbs. Place half in a large bowl. Add cooked squash to cracker mixture. Add ¾ cup of cheddar cheese, eggs, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Spread into prepared pan, and top with remaining cheddar, crackers and Parmesan. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

• Contact Lee Ann Flemming at lafkitchen@hughes.net.

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