By Ann Cipperly
We rely on Alabama farmers for fresh, nutritious food for our families. This year the Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA) is celebrating its 100th anniversary. To honor this milestone event, members of the Women’s Leadership Committee, a division of ALFA, are sharing their favorite recipes. All of the women are married to farmers or were involved in farming at one time.
The Alabama Farmers Federation was formed in 1921, and the members represent every commodity produced in the state. It is the largest farm organization in the state with more than 350,000 members. The federation is actively involved in educational programs.
Ann Whatley has been actively involved in the Women’s Leadership Committee over the years. She and her husband, Charles, owned a dairy farm for many years. Every spring, they have a large garden and share vegetables with those in need and others in the community.
“We enjoy the fact that Mitch Lazenby alternates planting different crops on our land,” Ann said. “This year he is growing cotton. In other years, he has grown corn.”
The Whatley family has been involved in farming in Lee County for well over a hundred years. Charles and his brother, Ernest, are now involved in forestry, and Charles serves on the state forestry committee.
Currently serving as secretary of the committee, Ann has enjoyed being the member at large and covers the entire state.
“I am honored to get to represent Lee County and also represent every county in the state since I am the at large member on the committee,” she said. “I feel like I know farmers all over the state. The women on the committee are wonderful and supportive of each other.”
The committee visits farms around the state. It works closely with the Ronald McDonald Houses in Alabama by promoting the Pop Tab Program. The pop tabs are sold for recycling, and the funds go to the house to help families.
Ann shared several recipes that are family favorites. She won the annual recipe contest sponsored by the Women’s Leadership Committee many times.
Kathy Gordon, chairman of the committee, grew up on a small farm in Grady, Alabama, and then married into a dairy and row crop farm operation. Her husband’s family also owned and operated a commercial hunting preserve.
In 1978, Kathy and her husband, Monty, were named Outstanding Young Farm Family. They were dairy farmers and operated two farms. They also started raising quail and had the first quail reserve in the state. They are now retired and help their son, who has a farm.
Kathy has been involved in the Women’s Leadership Committee for over 40 years.
“It has been an honor to be on this committee,” she said. “This is my fourth year to help represent our farmers. We can do a lot of things to help our husbands with the farm, and we all work together.”
Kathy entered her recipe for English Toffee Pie in the ALFA cooking contest in the early 1990s, and it received second place. The judges said she would have won, but the topping had become too soft while traveling to the contest. Kathy makes the pie for her family during the holidays.
JoAnn Laney, past chairman and vice chairman, along with her husband, Larry, run a successful horse boarding business, raise Angus beef cattle and grow hay. They also have chickens, donkeys and goats.
Serving her fifth year on the committee, JoAnn is sharing her family’s favorite Sweet Pound Cake recipe.
Debbie Roberts, another member of the committee, and her husband, Joe, have a poultry farm in Fayette County. One of her most requested recipes is for Pineapple Pudding.
Member Regina Carnes and her husband also have a poultry farm and were recently named the Alabama Poultry Farm Family of the Year. Regina is sharing her recipe for Chocolate Fudge.
Committee member Debra Dunn is sharing her youngest son’s favorite cake, Blueberry Stack Cake, recipe. He would ask for it anytime they had a get together such as birthdays, holidays or vacations.
The Dunn farm is located in Geneva county with adjoining property in Walton County, Florida.
“My husband, my son and myself manage a cow/calf operation where we raise beef cattle, born on our property, for market,” Debra said. “We have Black Angus bulls, some Black Angus females and a mixed variety of breeder cows. These herds are grass fed throughout the summer months and fed hay, rye grass, clover and Mix 30 liquid feed throughout the winter months.
“My husband also helps his 94-year-old mother manage and maintain her herd of pure bred Black Angus on her farm in Sandfield, Alabama. He row cropped for many years growing corn, cotton, soybeans and peanuts. As stewards of the land we are always seeking the best ways to maintain and improve our farm. We strive for sustainable improvements that will stand the test of time.
“The longer you farm the more you realize that the farm becomes a part of you. It’s hard to break away from it and all the responsibilities that come with it, but when you do have to leave and then return, it’s like reuniting with an old friend.
“I love to see the black cows grazing on the green grass hillside. Their babies running around like rabbits on a crisp, spring days. The sunsets saying good night at the end of a long day. The momma cows calling for their babies, and their babies answering back. There is a peace on this land that cannot be bought, bottled or duplicated. If there is a heaven on earth, this is surely the place.”
The Women’s Leadership Committee provides an opportunity for women to actively participate in policymaking and policy execution activities. The committee is structured as an “arm of the board,” acting as liaison between ALFA’s board and membership and helping to implement programs.
At the annual Women’s Leadership Conference, they work to educate participants about timely agricultural issues and programs. They work closely with the Alabama Ag to help educate teachers about agriculture each year.
Following are recipes from those serving on the Women’s Leadership Committee.
Ann Cipperly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
English Toffee Pie
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1 stick butter, melted
½ cup finely chopped pecans
2 Tbsp. butter
2 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla
Baked pie crust
Whipped cream for topping
Cream powdered sugar, cocoa and butter together.
Toast pecans in 2 Tbsp. butter, cool and add to the sugar mixture. Beat egg whites until stiff. Add vanilla. Fold into the sugar mixture. Pour into the cooled baked pie shell and chill the pie. Before serving, top with sweetened whipped cream.
Sweet Cream Pound Cake
2 sticks butter, room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 cups sifted cake flour
8 oz. heavy whipping cream
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time mixing well. Add vanilla. Starting with the flour alternating cream, mix into the creamed mixture. ending with flour.
Put into an oiled and floured tube pan. (I use Bakers Choice)
Bake at 300 degrees for an hour and a half. Until pick inserted comes out clean.
Remove from oven when done, and let cool on rack for at least 15 minutes.
Invert onto cake plate and enjoy.
Evelyn Samford’s Baked Chicken
Recipe came from an old copy of First United Methodist Church cookbook and has been a favorite over the years.
8 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
8 slices bacon
10½ oz. can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste*
Grease 10 by 12 by 2 inch casserole dish.
Wrap each chicken breast with a slice of bacon.
Place in prepared casserole dish.
Mix soup, sour, salt, and pepper; pour over chicken.
Bake uncovered for three hours at 275 degrees F.
*I do not add any salt and pepper, letting my diners add salt and pepper as they wish.
Orange Slice Cookies
1 box yellow cake mix
½ cup oil
10 oz. pkg. candied orange slices, cut in small pieces
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Mix all ingredients and drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.
Makes about 48 cookies. I use two large cookie sheets.
Kimberly is the women’s leadership director.
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
Ground black pepper to taste (I use ½-1 tsp.)
1 lb. thick cut bacon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix brown sugar, rice vinegar, maple syrup and black pepper in a small bowl.
Place bacon slices on cooling rack set over a backing sheet.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, turn slices and bake another 5 minutes.
Remove bacon and brush both sides with brown sugar mixture. Return bacon to oven and bake another 5 minutes. Repeat basting every 5 minutes until bacon is brown and crisp, about 40 minutes.
Beef Spaghetti Bake
1 pkg. (16 oz.) angel hair pasta
1 ½ lbs. ground beef
1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce
2 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce. Remove from the heat.
Drain pasta. Combine soup and sour cream. In 13 by 9 dish, layer half of the meat sauce, pasta, soup mixture and cheese. Repeat layers.
Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes or until cheese is melted.
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (5 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 large can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
1 pkg. mini vanilla wafers
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in condensed milk, add crushed pineapple (with juice), add pudding mi. Fold in 2/3 of Cool Whip.
Line the bottom of the dish with vanilla wafers. Layer pudding mixture and wafers. Top with remaining whipped topping. Chill.
Blueberry Stack Cake
For the cake:
4 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
1 box butter yellow cake mix
Mix all ingredients together for two minutes with hand mixer. Pour 2/3 cup of cake mixture into 6 to 8 inch cake pans. Prepare your cake pans by buttering the sides and bottom then lightly dusted with flour. I also put parchment paper in the bottom to help with handling. The layers are thin and fragile.
Place the cake into 350 degree oven for eight to 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese softened to room temperature
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
9 oz. Cool Whip
1 can blueberry pie filling
Blend powdered sugar and cream cheese together until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip.
Spread the frosting between each cake layer. Add several teaspoons of Blueberry Pie filling on top of each frosting layer as you build. Once layers are frosted, thin out the frosting on the top layer, pushing the frosting to the outer edge of your cake forming a bowl making a shallow center.
Then pour remaining Blueberry Pie filling on the top. Blueberry filling will be mounted up on the top of your cake. Some pie mixture may tumble down the sides. Refrigerate overnight.
2 cups sugar
½ cup cocoa
½ cup butter
½ cup milk
Dash of salt
½ cup milk
Mix sugar and cocoa together in a heavy saucepan. Then stir in milk and butter. Place on stove. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil two minutes for fudge and one minute for icing.
Take off stove and add a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter and vanilla flavoring to taste. I stir the peanut butter into the fudge mixture as I set my pan of fudge into cool water and as it begins to harden.
I pour the fudge mixture into an 8 inch by 8 inch pan that I have lined with parchment paper. When cool lift the parchment paper out and cut into bite size pieces.
Red Velvet Cake
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
2 cups Wesson oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. cocoa
Add these ingredients one at a time,
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. vinegar
2 5/8 oz. red food coloring
Combine group one in a large bowl. Combine group two and mix.
Add ingredients in group three one at a time. Pour into greased and floured layer pans or 9 by 13-inch pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, testing to see if cake is cooked. Combine frosting ingredients and spread on cooled cake.
1 stick margarine, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
Cream margarine and cream cheese. Gradually add powdered sugar and blend well. Add vanilla and nuts.
Bow Ties with Sun-Dried Tomato and Scallion Cream
5 scallions, white and light-green parts only
6 Tbsp. chopped oil packed sun dried tomato halves (about 12 halves)
1 cup light cream or half-and-half
1 lb. bow ties pasta
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. fresh-ground pepper
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
In a blender or food processor, puree the scallions and sun dried tomatoes with ½ cup of the cream.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook bow ties until just done, about 15 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Drain pasta and toss with the puree, the remaining 1/2 cup cream, 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water, salt, pepper and parsley. If the sauce seems to be thick, thin by adding more of the reserved pasta water.
Variation: An equal quantity of chopped fresh basil or chives or 2 Tbsp. tarragon would be a good alternative or addition to the parsley.
Oven Roasted Beef Brisket
An easy and delicious recipe
6 large Vidalia onions, thinly sliced and divided
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
1 (3 1/2- to 4-lb.) beef brisket, trimmed
2 cups beef broth
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a roasting pan with a long piece of aluminum foil, letting foil hang over edges of pan. Place half of onion slices on foil. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine salt, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, and pepper. Rub mixture on both sides of brisket. Place brisket in prepared pan on top of onions. Spread remaining onions on top of brisket. Pour broth over brisket. Fold and crimp overhanging edges of foil sealing brisket in foil packet. Bake until tender, six to eight hours. To serve, cut across grain. Makes eight to 10 servings.
Peanut Butter Toffee Dip
Brandi Stamp Laney
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup toffee bits (plain or chocolate)
Apple wedges, or vanilla wafer cookies, or celery for dipping
Place softened cream cheese in a medium bowl and whip with hand-held mixer until smooth. Add brown sugar, peanut butter and vanilla and beat again until creamy.
Fold in the toffee bits, reserving some to sprinkle over the top as a garnish. Serve dip immediately with sliced apples, vanilla wafers or celery, or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.