The University Press of Kentucky released the paper back version of Kentucky Cooks: Favorite Recipes from Kentucky Living on Friday, two months after the passing of its author, Linda Allison-Lewis.
Allison-Lewis was the food columnist for Kentucky Living magazine for 16 years and was the author of Kentucky's Best: Fifty Years of Great Recipes. The paperback release of Kentucky Cooks was planned months ago because the hardcover edition was such a hit.
Allison-Lewis died June 21 at age 63. A tribute in Kentucky Monthly said: "Linda's life was focused on people and food. In addition to being a food columnist for several newspapers, she was a food critic, a youth minister, taught religion classes at her church, was a caterer, and author of self-help books as well as cookbooks."
University Press publicity manager Mack McCormick said, "I had the privilege of working with her off and on since The University Press of Kentucky published her first book in 1998. She was a pleasure to work with, and she enjoyed doing talks and book signings. You could really tell she enjoyed meeting and interacting with her readers. She will be deeply missed."
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Kentucky Cooks was first printed in 2009, and it includes Allison-Lewis' favorite recipe, for her grandmother's basic pound cake, which was a secret for many years. Allison-Lewis created many versions by adding 1 cup of fresh fruit — mango, blackberries, peaches, cherries, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries — and an additional 1 cup of sugar. Sometimes she would create a cashew and chocolate cake. Depending on her whim, she would top it with fruit, fruit purée or freshly whipped cream.
Allison-Lewis' books are available in bookstores. Kentucky Cooks is $17.95.
Here's Allison-Lewis' recipe for the pound cake.
Cream cheese pound cake
1½ sticks unsalted butter
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
1½ cups sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
Fresh fruit or whipping cream for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a large tube or Bundt pan. In a mixing bowl, cream butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together until light in color and very fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, and beat one minute between each egg. Stir flour and baking powder together, then add gradually to creamed mixture with a rubber spatula.
Once incorporated, beat for 5 seconds longer and check for lumps. If using fruit, add last and stir just until combined. (You can divide batter evenly between two small, prepared pans and freeze one for later.) Bake in large pan for 11/2 hours (small pans for about 1 hour) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You might want to place aluminum foil on top of the cake the last 30 minutes so it does not brown too much. The top of the cake should be golden brown and will crack. Cool for 10 minutes and run a knife around edges of the pan, then turn out onto cake rack. Cool completely before slicing. Top with fruit or whipped cream.
Makes 12 servings.
A special HarvestFest
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its incorporation by jazzing up its annual HarvestFest.
The event, Sept. 23 to 25, kicks off with a harvest supper, which is a celebration of Shaker Village's harvest history. It will be a casual buffet featuring popular dishes from the past 50 years. For reservations, call 1-800-734-5611, Ext. 360.
Sept. 24 activities will include a favorite autumn dessert contest. Participants may enter their desserts for a chance to be featured on the Trustees' Office Dining Room menu. Desserts made with seasonal ingredients and autumn flavors will be judged. Prizes will be given for best use of seasonal ingredients, most creative, and best all around. Desserts should be made to serve at least six. Participants must share recipes for their entries. The deadline for entries is Sept. 19. Judging begins at 3 p.m. in front of the Centre Family Dwelling.
Other activities include a farmers market, U-pick apples and pumpkins, and sorghum making. The festival wraps up Sept. 25 with a Family Bike & BBQ.
All stems down
If your back-yard tomatoes are ripening at the same time, you probably can't eat them all at once. To prolong the shelf life of a tomato, America's Test Kitchen tested the theory that storing a tomato with its stem end facing down can prolong shelf life. The testing staff placed one batch of tomatoes stem-end up and another stem-end down, and stored them at room temperature. A week later, nearly all the stem-down tomatoes remained in perfect condition; the stem-up tomatoes had shriveled and started to mold.
The experts surmised that the scar left on the tomato skin where the stem once grew provides both an escape for moisture and an entry point for mold and bacteria. Placing a tomato stem-end down blocks air from entering and moisture from exiting the scar. To confirm this theory, they ran another test, this time comparing tomatoes stored stem-end down with another batch stored stem-end up, but with a piece of tape sealing off their scars. The taped stem-end-up tomatoes survived just as well as the stem-end-down batch.