EAA president offers ideas for entertaining before Performance Series

Photo by Ann Cipperly

By Ann Cipperly

Winding country roads in Waverly lead to the home of Lynne Hammond, president of East Alabama Arts. Bordered by dense forest and framed across the front with wooden fencing, the handsome, spacious home provides numerous areas for entertaining, including an upper porch with a fireplace overlooking an idyllic setting.

With the East Alabama Arts’ Performance Series opening its season Sept. 19 with the Ballet Hispanico, Lynne offers a variety of recipes for entertaining before the performance. By meeting friends before a performance, she feels it stretches the evening into a special celebration.

Lynne suggests serving an assortment of easy, make-ahead hors d’oeuvres with one or two pick up desserts for a festive meal. She feels the hors d’oeuvres are better than serving a heavy meal. Another option is offering one or two appetizers before going to dinner at a restaurant in downtown Opelika. It is a short drive to the performances from downtown.

When planning a party menu, Lynne generally includes a hearty meat filled roll. Her standby is Chinese Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Red Currant Sauce. She found the recipe in Patsy Riley’s cookbook that was given by former First Lady Marsha Folsom. It is perfect for hors d’oeuvres, as the pork is easily sliced for Hawaiian rolls or slider buns.

Lynne’s niece sent her a new roll hors d’oeuvre recipe, Beef Roast Filled Hawaiian Rolls. It is prepared by placing slices of a chuck roast into a Hawaiian roll with whipped cream cheese and pepper jelly.

Other favorites include assorted dips and spreads with Carol’s Addictive Apricot Bars her favorite for a pick up dessert.

Lynne is looking forward to the new Performance Series season with eight fabulous productions. She has volunteered with the East Alabama Arts since 2009 and served as president for the past two years. She works closely with Phillip Preston, who has been director of the Performance Series since its inception.

Lynne and Phillip both find newcomers are amazed that major performances are available without having to drive to Atlanta or fly to New York.

“Phillip has done a great job with the Performance Series,” she says. “It has been successful for a long time. It is in its 30th year.”

Lynne jokes that she and Phillip are now family, as his son Andrew married her niece Brooke from Dothan.

Lynne and her late husband, Mac, both grew up in Dothan. Lynne was born in Thomasville, Ga. and moved to Dothan when she was in the second grade.

After graduating from Auburn University, Lynne was working with the university when she became the first director of Opelika Main Street. “I enjoyed that job for four years,” she says. “I loved working with the people in Opelika.  It warms my heart to see that the Main Street program has been such a success in revitalizing downtown Opelika, and the dreams of the visionaries who started the program have come to fruition.”

Lynne returned to work at Auburn University where she was employed for 39 years, with 14 of those years being associate vice president for human resources. Before becoming director of human resources, she was the executive assistant to President Muse. She retired in Jan. 2015.

After living in the same house in Auburn for 30 years, Lynne and Mac decided they wanted something different. When they walked out onto the porch at the house in Waverly, she knew it was perfect. They moved into the house in 2016.

While Mac was well at the time, he became ill shortly afterwards. Their son John moved in with his mother.

Lynne also has a daughter, Audra, and three grandchildren, Barrett, Elby and Eli, who enjoy visiting.

“I always wanted space for family to visit,” says Lynne. “I also enjoy having people over. This place is so nice to share.”

Along with an elegant dining room, there are two rooms with fireplaces as well as the porch having a fireplace.

Lynne enjoys her spacious kitchen and cooking. She feels the upcoming Performance Series is the perfect opportunity to prepare a few easy dishes and get people together

“The series has been wonderful for the community,” she says. ““It gives our local people access to performances that they might not have otherwise.

“We feel it is important for quality of life in the community and economic development. When businesses come in, they want to know what is available here. I think it is important that we keep it going and providing performances the community wants to see. We try to provide a variety to offer something for everybody.

“A lot of people have worked hard over the years to make it happen,” Lynne adds. “We hope to get more people involved as we look for ways to ensure the continuity of EAA and support for all aspects of the arts in our community and beyond.”

Select a party menu from the following recipes and gather friends for each of the performances. For tickets to the Performance Series call 334.749.8105, go to eastalabamaarts.org or visit East Alabama Arts at the South Side Center for the Arts at 1103 Glenn St. in Opelika.

Ann Cipperly can be contacted at recipes@cipperly.com.

Chinese Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Red Currant Sauce
Former First Lady Marsha Folsom
1 Tbsp. sherry
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 pork tenderloins
Red Currant Sauce:
4 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
6 Tbsp. white rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. yellow prepared mustard
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
3 Tbsp. red currant jelly
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. roasted sesame seeds
Green onions, chopped (For garnishing)
Prepare tenderloins. Mix sherry, soy sauce, sugar and salt. Pour mixture over tenderloins and marinate for a minimum of 2 hours.
To roast, put tenderloins on rack above 1 inch of water. Cook in 350 oven for approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Refrigerate overnight (optional). Prepare sauce. Mix together sugar and soy sauce with white rice vinegar.
Separately, mix yellow prepared mustard (do not substitute any other variety), sesame oil, red current jelly and cornstarch.
Combine the two mixtures together in a saucepan. Place over low heat until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and add toasted sesame seeds. Serve sauce on the side or may pour over tenderloins, slice and serve.
Note: Slice tenderloins on the diagonal, garnish with chopped green onions. Can be served with foccacia, pita, Hawaiian rolls or slider buns for appetizer sandwiches.

Beef Roast in Hawaiian Rolls with Whipped Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly
Hawaiian rolls
Whipped cream cheese
Pepper jelly
1 chuck roast, cooked (recipe follows)
Slice roast and place in rolls with cream cheese and pepper jelly.
Chuck Roast in Crock-Pot
4 lb. chuck roast
1 oz. pkg. dry ranch seasoning
1 oz. pkg. dry au jus gravy mix
1 stick butter
1/2 jar pepperoncini or to taste
Place chuck roast in crock-pot. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Carol’s Addictive Apricot Bars
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
Mix ingredients together. Pat into the bottom of a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Spread apricot preserves over hot crust to 1/2 inch from edge.
1 1/2 cups apricot preserves
11/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. almond extract
Combine flour, salt and brown sugar for topping. Add butter and almond extract; mix until crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over preserves.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Drizzle with Glaze.
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. almond extract
Combine ingredients. Drizzle over baked crust.

Easy Roasted Red Pepper Dip
12 oz. jarred roasted red peppers, drained (about 1 cup)
1 cup sour cream (fat-free may be substituted)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp. dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
If needed, add more salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2 cups.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with fresh vegetables, chips or crackers.

Chicken Bites
8 chicken tenders or breast cutlets, flattened and cut in half
Two 3-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
16 slices bacon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Top each piece of chicken with 1 tsp. cream cheese and 1/4 tsp. chopped jalapeno. Roll up each filling-covered chicken piece and wrap with 1 slice of bacon, securing with a toothpick.
Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Makes 16.
Note: You can also cook these on an outdoor grill: Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, turning once.

Tomato Phyllo Tarts
1/4 cup finely diced tomatoes
2 tsp. finely diced onions
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
One 2.1-oz. pkg. Athens brand mini phyllo shells
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. or more cooked bacon pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place diced tomatoes in a colander. Sprinkle with onions, basil, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Allow to drain, stirring occasionally.
Fill each phyllo shell with 1 tsp. of the tomato mixture. Stir together the mozzarella and mayonnaise. Frost the top of each shell with 1 tsp. of the mayonnaise mixture. Sprinkle each shell with 1/4 tsp. bacon pieces. Bake filled shells for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot. These may be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until serving time. Makes 15.

Aloha Fruit Dip
2 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup pineapple preserves
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. lemon peel, finely shredded
4 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Assorted fruit
Blend cream cheese and preserves. Stir in milk, lemon peel and lemon juice. Whip cream until soft peaks form. Fold into cream cheese mixture. Cover and chill. Serve with assorted fruit. Makes 2 cups.

Mushroom Canapés
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
One 4-oz. can mushroom pieces and stems, drained
One 2.8-oz. can French fried onion rings
One 12-oz. loaf Pepperidge Farm party rye or pumpernickel
In a bowl, stir together mayonnaise, Parmesan, mushrooms and onion rings. Spread on lightly toasted party rye or pumpernickel.
Place canapés on a baking sheet and broil until topping is bubbly. Makes 15.

Layered Crab Dip
8 oz. flaked crabmeat or cooked salad shrimp
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. white wine Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (can use light)
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 8 oz. bottle seafood cocktail sauce
Fresh parsley
In small bowl, combine cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, mayonnaise, green onion and garlic powder.
Spread mixture in shallow glass serving dish to make first layer. For the second layer, spread cocktail sauce on top. Layer crabmeat next and then sprinkle chopped parsley over top.  Cover and chill.  Serve with crackers.

Cheese Dip with Ham and Chilies in Baked Bread
2 cups mild cheddar cheese
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup diced cooked ham
4-1/2 oz. can mild green chilies
Finely chopped jalapenos, to taste
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/8 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 round loaf crusty bread
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine cheddar cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, ham, chilies, jalapenos, onions and Worcestershire sauce. Mix to blend well and set aside.
Cut a thin slice from top of bread; set aside. Using a gentle sawing motion, carefully cut through the bread, but not all the way through, 1/2 inch from the edge to form a bowl.
Lift out the center of the loaf and set aside. Fill hollow bread loaf with dip and cover with foil. Bake at 350 fur 1 hour. Serve with the reserved bread cubes, crackers or corn chips.

Artichoke, Pepper and Spinach Dip
1 can artichokes, chopped
1 pkg. Italian dressing mix
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
Chopped fresh spinach to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese
Garlic toast for serving
Mix all ingredients together except cheese; sprinkle Parmesan on top. Bake in 275 degree oven for 30 minutes. Serve with garlic toast.

Eggplant Tomato Spread
2 eggplants, medium to large
Garlic salt to taste
4 tomatoes
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing (Paul Newman’s)
Peel and slice eggplant into about 1/2 inch slices. Sauté in butter spray or a little oil until just tender and some of moisture is removed. Sprinkle with garlic salt.
Sauté onion in a little butter or oil just until limp. Cut tomatoes in half and slice. Season with salt or garlic salt to taste.
Layer eggplant, tomatoes and onion in a slanted fashion in a 9 x 13 pan. Drizzle dressing over layered vegetables. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours or 350 for 1 1/2 hours. Serve with crackers or as a topping for bruschetta.

Cheese and Vegetable Skewers with Balsamic-Basil Vinaigrette
1 (8-oz.) block mozzarella cheese
16 (4-inch) Genoa salami slices
1 (14-oz.) can small artichoke hearts, drained and halved
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 (6-oz.) jar large pitted Spanish olives, drained
16 (6-inch) wooden skewers
1 (16-oz.) bottle balsamic-basil vinaigrette
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Cut cheese evenly into 16 cubes.
Wrap salami slices around cheese cubes.
Thread cubes, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and olives alternatively on skewers. Place skewers in a large plastic container or baking dish.
Stir together vinaigrette and lemon juice. Pour dressing mixture over skewers; cover tightly, and chill 8 hours. Remove skewers from marinade, discarding marinade before serving.

Kahlua Fruit Dip
Serve with apple and pear slices.
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. carton whipped topping
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup Kahlúa
1 cup sour cream
3 oz. pkg. unsalted peanuts, finely chopped
Blend together cream cheese and whipped cream. Add sugar and Kahlúa. Mix well. Add sour cream and peanuts. Refrigerate one or two days before serving. Serve with fresh fruit.
Makes: 4 cups.

Appetizer Croissants
1 cup butter (do not use margarine)
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
2 cups flour
2 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese with chives
Beat butter and cottage cheese together. Stir in flour. Divide into four balls and chill. Roll each ball out into a pie shape and cut into 16 wedges.
Place a small amount of cream cheese on each wedge and roll up as crescents. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until brown. Serve warm. Makes about 6 1/2 dozen.

Hot Mexican Spinach Dip
l6 oz jar salsa
10 oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened and diced
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup evaporated milk
2.25 oz. can chopped black olives (optional)
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix all ingredients in the order listed.
Bake for 15 minutes until bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips or cracker of choice.

Hot Bacon and Swiss Dip
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. green onions, chopped
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
Crackers or chips
Mix cheeses and mayonnaise together.  Add green onions.  Pour into 1 quart baking dish.  Top with crumbled bacon and cracker crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes.  Serve with favorite crackers or chips.

Chicken Dip
4 oz. light cream cheese
1/4 cup ranch dressing
3/4 cup hot wing sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheddar-jack cheese, divided
1 cup shredded chicken breast
Flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped (optional)
Tortilla or pita chips
Preheat oven to 350.
In medium bowl, combine cream cheese, ranch dressing, wing sauce, 1/4 cup cheddar-jack cheese and chicken breast.
Spoon into small baking dish, top with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar-jack cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes. or until cheese is bubbly. Top with chopped parsley.
Serve with chips.

Lemon Blueberry Bread
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
2 Tbsp. grated lemon peel
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Fold in blueberries, nuts and lemon peel.
Transfer to a greased 8×4-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely. .
Note: If using frozen blueberries, use without thawing to avoid discoloring the batter.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here