When friends stop by, do you gravitate to the kitchen? The kitchen is the heart of the home for good reason: It is a comfortable spot for talking and sharing your favorite recipes.
Come Into My Kitchen is the ideal name for a column that regularly visits with local cooks and shares a recipe. Today the baton (or more aptly, the wooden spoon) is passed from a great writer, Mary G. Pepitone, who has introduced us to wonderful home cooks, to a new but experienced food team.
Q: What inspires us to write about food and share recipes?
A: “What’s for dinner?” “How do I make that?” “I remember my grandmother making this dish every holiday.” These are the questions and comments that make our hearts sing.
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We are inspired when someone asks us how to make a new recipe or when we can research a new food or cooking technique. Our career has been built encouraging families to cook, to enjoy time in the kitchen and to savor and appreciate dinner around the table.
Q: What is our food background?
A: The name of our company is The Electrified Cooks. We are “plugged into cooking,” and talking and writing about food is our passion. The name is a nod to our enthusiasm and to our background.
We are cookbook authors, now with 11 books published or in the works, and we consult with companies, blog, teach and, most of all, write about food with the goal of sharing our passion.
You may have read some of our feature articles in this newspaper or tried some of the over 500 original recipes we developed for the Eating for Life column.
Q: When and how did we start our careers?
A: Very shortly after college, we met in the test kitchen at Rival Manufacturing Co., a Kansas City-based company that was crazy busy at the time because of the success of its Crock-Pot. For several years, we cooked together and worked with the company’s appliances to test performance, write recipes, and provide customer and marketing support.
We not only honed our food skills, we became best friends.
Q: Are we still friends and how do we work together?
A: We are still best friends. Roxanne Wyss is married and lives in Overland Park with her husband and daughter. Kathy Moore is married and lives in Lee’s Summit, and her adult daughters are also metro residents.
The phone lines, emails, laughter and kitchen talk connect us all day. And now, we can connect with you through the Come Into My Kitchen column.
Q: Will the Come Into My Kitchen column change?
A: The column was introduced in 1955 by editor Erma Young as “a look at Kansas City kitchens and a friendly exchange of recipes.” That continues to be true today, and we respect the legacy and wonderful 62 year history that this column brings to readers.
We know that food, kitchens and recipes evolve, and so this column will continue to seek out current, tasty recipes and the cooks that make and serve those delicious dishes.
Today’s kitchens are the workspace of every age, gender, nationality and cooking style. This column seeks to share every kind of recipe, from family favorites and traditions, to special diets, ethnic specialties and new techniques. Recipes from breakfast to dinner and desserts to salads, snacks or appetizers are each a part of our prized collections.
We want to explore the variety of people, food and cooking styles that make the heartland a rich and varied dinner table.
Q: How can someone volunteer to be a part of the column or how can you nominate someone you know?
A: Email KCComeIntoMyKitchen@gmail.com to share names or suggestions for this column. We will talk with you and look forward to discovering your cooking style and family traditions. If selected, you will be asked to share one favorite recipe from your kitchen. We want to hear from you, so please nominate yourself or a friend, neighbor, co-worker or family member.
Q: Will we share a recipe?
A: Of course, and we are honored to do so. One of the most common questions we hear is, “Do you have a great appetizer to share?” We know people always appreciate getting tasty, simple recipes that will be enjoyed by family and friends at gatherings. Each of us will share one of our favorite recipes that would be perfect to serve when hosting the holiday events that are just ahead.
Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore are cookbook authors and food consultants who make up The Electrified Cooks. They have published 11 cookbooks and thousands of recipes. They are members of Les Dames d’Escoffier and blog at pluggedintocooking.com . Email them at KCComeIntoMyKitchen@gmail.com
Makes 16 appetizers
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed (1/2 of package)
1/2 pound bulk pork sausage
1 cup shredded cheddar jack cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped blacked olives
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Carefully spread sausage over the surface of the rectangle to within 1/2 -inch of all 4 edges. Sprinkle with cheese and black olives. Starting at the long side, roll up. Press edges to seal.
Using a serrated knife, carefully slice the roll into 3/4 -inch slices. Place slices cut-side down on a baking sheet, placing the slices approximately 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and sausage is done.
Let puff pastry thaw on counter for at least 1 hour.
Let sausage sit out of refrigerator for 1 hour. This will make it much easier to spread.
These can be made a day ahead and wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Slice with a serrated knife before baking. Both baked and unbaked rolls can also be frozen.
The sausage swirls were adapted from a recipe that Roxanne’s mom frequently serves as an appetizer. She blends a dough, while Roxanne cuts the time by using puff pastry.
From Roxanne Wyss
Mushroom, Artichoke and Goat Cheese Crostini
Makes about 25 appetizers
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
5 cups sliced wild and/or button mushrooms (about 1 pound, sliced)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 (14.25-ounce) can artichokes, drained and coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, minced
1 (4-to-5-ounce) log goat cheese, cut into cubes
4 ounces cream cheese, softened, cut into cubes
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 loaf French bread, thinly sliced
Fresh minced parsley or sprigs of fresh chives, for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add minced shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and any liquids evaporate, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds.
Stir in wine, artichokes and salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 7 to 10 minutes or until the wine is reduced to about half. Stir in parsley and cheeses. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Bake, uncovered, 10 to15 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted.
Meanwhile, lightly brush bread slices with olive oil. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil until lightly toasted.
Serve the warm Mushroom, Artichoke and Goat Cheese mixture on toasted bread slices. Garnish with parsley or chives, as desired.
If desired, spray a 2-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Cook shallots and mushrooms as directed in a skillet. After stirring in the parsley and cheese, spoon the mushroom-cheese mixture into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting for 30 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until hot and cheese is melted. Turn to warm for serving.
From Kathy Moore