By Ann Cipperly
As the sun was lowering behind the pines at the Mt. Olive Church on Society Hill Road, participants of the Heritage Cooking Contest were busy putting finishing touches on their dishes and tablescapes. The annual contest is sponsored by the
Lee County Women’s Leadership Committee, a division of Alabama Farmers Federation.
A different category is selected every year for the contest, which spotlights Alabama commodities and agricultural products. This year, bacon appetizers were the theme for the cooking contest. In addition to the cooking contest, competition was held for tablescapes, quilts, table runners, baby blankets and Christmas tree skirts.
Carole Clements won first place in the cooking contest with Bacon Wrapped Cheese Straws, Jackie Henderson received second place for Cheesy Spinach and Bacon Dip and Mary Richburg took third place with Bacon Wraps.
Tablescape winners were Jackie Henderson, first place; Carole Clements, second; and Jamie Lazenby and Mary Richburg tied for third. Jackie won honors in the quilting categories.
Carole had the idea for the Bacon Wrapped Cheese Straws from seeing a similar recipe on a television cooking show. She adapted the recipe and used ingredients that were more to her liking. She changed the sauce from plain Dijon mustard to Honey Dijon.
She served the cheese straws on an attractive dish with a matching pig shaped sauce dish, which was perfect for the bacon theme. Carole will compete in the state contest in September.
Along with her winning Bacon Wrapped Cheese Straws, she is sharing several of her other favorite recipes.
Among Carole’s other favorites is an easy to prepare Salmon Log. A large can of salmon is mixed with cream cheese seasoned with minced onions and then rolled in parsley and chopped pecans.
Her Chicken Salad Filled Popovers have been popular for teas and showers. She bakes small popovers, then cuts them in half, and removes any doughy filling before stuffing with chicken salad. The popovers can be prepared a couple of days ahead and then filled an hour or two before serving.
Carole does much of her cooking to taste and adapts recipes. Instead of plain breadcrumbs in meatloaf, she uses Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing Mix in enhance the flavor.
She tops the meatloaf with a sauce made by combining ketchup, brown sugar and mustard.
Carole’s Breakfast Casserole is different since it uses boiled eggs. It goes together quickly. Prepare the casserole the day before and bake the following morning.
Her Pumpkin Bread would also be good served at breakfast. The bread is embellished with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice.
Carole has enjoyed cooking for her family over the years. Her husband Bill was a veterinarian, and they always had horses at their War Eagle Farm. When their daughters, Cheryl and Cynthia, were growing up, they rode show horses and received many awards.
After the girls were grown, Carole and Bill began racing thoroughbred horses. Their horses raced in Texas, Chicago, Baltimore, New York, Florida and at Churchill Downs in Louisville, but not in the Kentucky Derby.
The horse that won the most races was called Totally Crafty. “One year she had more frequent flyer miles than I did,” says Carole. “The horses flew on thoroughbred transport planes.”
The Clements hired trainers to work with the horses until they were two years old. The trainers then hired a jockey and started racing. They raced horses until 2005. Now, there are just a few horses at the farm.
Carole worked at Auburn University in the animal science department for 36 years. Since retiring, she has enjoyed traveling, especially in Europe.
She has been active in the Lee County Women’s Leadership Committee and at Farmville Baptist Church. She also volunteers at East Alabama Medical Center. As an 11 year breast cancer survivor, Carole volunteers at the cancer infusion center.
“I can give hope,” says Carole. “I tell patients it takes faith, family and friends. I feel if they have that, they can get through it. I have been in that chair, and I know how they feel. The first day for chemo is a rough time. I give them a warm blanket and hope.
“I like to help others any way I can,” she adds. “I think that God leaves us here to help others.”
Clip and save the recipes from the Heritage Cooking Contest and the others from Carole to serve your family this week.
Ann Cipperly can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bacon Wrapped Cheese Straws
1 pkg. frozen puff pastry (thawed)
1/2 cup Honey Dijon mustard
1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, grated, divided
1 Tbsp. sweet paprika (divided)
2 Tbsp. thyme leaves (finely chopped, divided)
2 Tbsp. chives (finely chopped, divided)
12 slices bacon (cut in half lengthwise)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (for dusting)
1/2 cup Honey Dijon mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and grease with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Using a pastry brush, spread 1/4 cup of Dijon mustard onto one of the puff pastry sheets. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of sharp white cheddar cheese on top and, using a lightly floured rolling pin, press the cheese lightly into the puff pastry. Sprinkle half of the paprika and half of the thyme evenly over the cheese and cut the sheet of pastry into 12 even strips. Repeat with remaining sheet of puff pastry so you end up with 24 strips. Top each strip with a bacon half and twist each strip 3-4 times. Remove the twists to the prepared baking sheets and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake until the bacon is cooked through and the puff pastry is golden brown, about 15-18 minutes.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly and serve with Djonaisse for dipping!
For the Dijonaisse:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the Honey Dijon mustard and mayonnaise and remove to a serving bowl.
Tip: Use your favorite cheese and spice mixture to make this recipe your own!
Cheesy Spinach and Bacon Dip
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
1 lb. (16 oz.) Velveeta pasteurized cheese product, cut into ½-inch cubes
4 oz. (1/2 of 8 oz. pkg.) cream cheese, cut up
1 can (10 oz.) Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, not drained
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, drained and crumbled
Combine ingredients in microwave bowl. Microwave on high 5 minutes or until Velveeta is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 3 minutes.
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 lb. bacon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Cut each slice of bacon in half. Mix cream cheese and brown sugar together in a small bowl; spread over bacon slices. Roll up and transfer to the baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until bacon is browned and crisp, 20 to 30 minutes. Broil 3 minutes if more crispness is desired.
Bacon and Chestnut Roll Ups
Cut bacon strips in half. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
Roll bacon around chestnut and secure with toothpick.
Cook in microwave 1 minute.
For variety, add cheese.
Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts
1 lb. Brussels sprouts
Salt and pepper
12 oz. pkg. bacon
¼ cup cane syrup plus ½ cup more for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim the stem ends from Brussels sprouts and half lengthwise. Put sprouts in a bowl and toss with 1 tsp. salt
Lay the bacon strips next to each other on work surface. Brush liberally with ¼ cup cane syrup.
Cut bacon in half. Wrap each Brussels sprout with the bacon, syrup side out, so that seam is on the flat side.
Place sprouts seam side down on rimmed baking sheet, leaving space between each one. Brush with more syrup; top with black pepper.
Roast until bacon is crisp and sprouts are tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes.
Here are more favorite recipes from first place winner, Carole Clements.
Chicken Salad Filled Popovers
1 cup water
1 stick butter
½ tsp. salt
1 cup water
Homemade or purchased chicken salad
Combine water and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; add flour and salt together at once. Reduce heat; stir well with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball. Remove from heat. Cool 5 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, stirring well until smooth.
Drop batter by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Slice off tops and remove any soft dough. Fill with chicken salad. Can prepare popovers a couple of days ahead. Can also fill with custard or whipped cream.
1 large can salmon, bones removed
2 Tbsp. minced onions
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped pecans
Blend salmon, onions and cream cheese. Shape into a log. Refrigerate until firm.
Roll in parsley and pecans. Serve with crackers.
1 lb. ground chuck
1 can condensed tomato soup
6 Tbsp. dried minced onions
1 cup Pepperidge Farmer Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing Mix
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 strips bacon
½ cup ketchup
½ cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. mustard
Mix ground chuck, soup, eggs, onions, stuffing mix, Worcestershire and garlic powder together. Shape and place in loaf pan with bacon strips on the bottom. Bake at 350 for about an hour.
Combine topping ingredients. Spread over meatloaf. Bake an additional 15 minutes.
Bacon and Boiled Egg Breakfast Casserole
18 hard boiled eggs, sliced
¼ cup minced parsley
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1½ cups breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
¼ cup butter
¾ cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
¼ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. dried thyme
To make cheese sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Slowly add milk and half and half; stir constantly until mixture thickens. Add cheese and herbs. Stir until cheese melts.
Grease 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Layer half of eggs, parsley and bacon. Pour cheese sauce over top. Repeat layers.
Mix breadcrumbs and butter; sprinkle mixture over casserole. Refrigerate overnight.
Remove casserole from refrigerator. Let stand 30 minutes. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes.
3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2/3 cup water
2 cups pumpkin
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. soda
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
Mix sugar, oil and eggs. Add water and pumpkin. Mix dry ingredients together and add to pumpkin mixture; blend well. Pour into two greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees 45 to 60 minutes until golden brown. Test with toothpick placed in the center of the bread. Loaf is ready when toothpick comes out clean.