Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dilled Spring Potato Salad

What’s a Fourth of July cookout without potato salad? In one form or another, isn’t it an essential element for this summer holiday meal?

Featured in “Loaves & Fishes and Other Great Dishes!” — Mora’s St. Mary Parish cookbook — Rita Clasemann’s dilled potato salad has made an appearance at many potlucks and St. Mary’s salad luncheons over the years. “I like the dill flavor,” Rita related. “It says ‘fresh, springtime and new life.’ ”

I love the taste of dill, too. This salad sounds perky, attractive and delicious. I can’t wait to try it! CJK

Dilled Spring Potato Salad
(Rita Clasemann)

2 lb. new white potatoes
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
2 tbsp. fresh chopped dill
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise, as needed

First, cook the potatoes in a large pan of lightly boiling, salted water until they can be pierced with a thin paring knife (they will continue cooking as they cool in their jackets.) Drain well, return to the pan and let cool to room temperature.

Second, peel the cooled potatoes and slice them (1/4-inch thick) into a glass or stainless steel mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper, then refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

Third, toss the potatoes with celery, dill, green onions and mustard. Fold in the sour cream and then add in enough of the mayonnaise to bind the salad together.

Note: The potatoes may absorb some of the moisture if you prepare the salad ahead of time. You may want to add a little extra mayonnaise as needed just before serving.

Yield: 8 to 12 servings

A note from Rita: Adjust the amount of dill in this recipe to suit your own taste. If you’re not a big fan of this herb use less but if you love it, as I do, add a little more.

A note from Carol: Rita, a former elementary teacher and administrator, has served as the parish life coordinator at St. Mary Church in Mora for the past seven years and was the pastoral associate there for six-and-a-half years prior to that.

Call St. Mary’s office at 320-679-1593 to order a copy of their “Loaves & Fishes and Other Great Dishes!” cookbook for $10 plus shipping and handling.

Other potato salad recipes on FFF include Up North French Potato Salad with fresh green beans; Cajun Mashed Potato Salad — a spicy, creamy, smooth version and Leonard Heidelberger’s Potato Salad in quantities for a large crowd or smaller gathering.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cheesecake Supreme

Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.
   Ernestine Ulmer

This exquisite New York-style cheesecake would make an impressive conclusion to any meal. It’s so rich that it doesn’t need a topping of any kind. But, consider garnishing it with fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in keeping with the theme of your Fourth of July celebration.

Carl Monson found the recipe in the first edition of Betty Crocker’s Pie and Pastry Cookbook, which was published in 1968. He and his six-year-old daughter, Hadley, created one of these over-the-top desserts for her grandma, Angie Loecken, for Mother’s Day. “This cheesecake truly melts-in-your-mouth,” Angie said. “It’s absolutely heavenly!” CJK

Cheesecake Supreme
(Carl Monson)

3 cups crushed graham crackers (about 2 regular-size pkg.)
6 tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

5  (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1  3/4 cup sugar
3  tbsp. flour
1  1/2 tsp. grated orange peel
1  1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp. vanilla
5  eggs
2  egg yolks
1/4 cup whipping cream

Lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan with no-stick cooking spray.

Mix crust ingredients and press into bottom of springform pan. Refrigerate crust while mixing cheesecake filling.

Preheat oven to 500°F.

In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, orange and lemon peel, vanilla and 2 of the eggs only until smooth. Continue beating, adding remaining eggs and the yolks, one at a time, until blended. (Take care not to over-beat your filling mixture as over-beating can cause cheesecakes to crack.) On low speed, mix in cream. Pour filling mixture onto graham cracker crust. Bake at 500°F for 12 to 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 200°F and bake one hour longer. Cool. Refrigerate overnight or for 12 to 14 hours. Loosen cake from the side of the pan and remove the interlocking band. Leave the cake on the bottom round base of the springform pan.

Yield: 20 to 22 servings

A note from Carl: Don’t use more than one-third cup melted butter for the crust or it may leak out of the sides of your springform pan while baking.

When you reduce the oven temperature to 200°F, open the oven door for a moment to let some of the heat out.

A note from Carol: Carl and his wife, Laura, are members of St. Michael Parish in St. Cloud. Their daughters, Charlie (9) and Hadley (6) are both budding chefs. Laura’s mother, Angie Loecken, is the administrative assistant to the Office of Marriage and Family Director for the Diocese of St. Cloud.

If you choose to save this cheesecake recipe for a time later on, explore other summer dessert suggestions on FFF. “Red, White and Blue” was the theme in last year’s “All-American Desserts.” John Wocken’s Striped Ice Cream Cake and Frozen Strawberry Layer Cake both feature angel food cake combined with ice cream, sorbet or frozen yogurt. Yum…

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What’s on your menu for July 4th?

Planning a cookout for the Fourth of July? Whether you’re thinking about grilling hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks or seafood (or taking the time to slowly barbecue pork ribs or beef brisket) you’ll need tasty sides and an inviting dessert to round out this summer’s holiday meal.

Coming up in FFF you’ll find recipes for Dilled Potato Salad, Layered Cabbage Salad, Crunchy Pea Salad and an over-the-top finale — Cheesecake Supreme.

While you’re at it, check out the recipes for Chris Codden’s and Mary Sowada’s ribs, Audrey Rademacher’s marinade for pork chops and Fran Bertsch’s Best-in-the-West Beans. CJK

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


“Just as time gently reveals 
the flowers, 
so grows the beauty of life.”

   Lisa Steinke

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Part of something greater

“Each small task of everyday 
life is part of the total harmony 
of the universe.”

   St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Friday, June 22, 2012

Italian Meatballs

Celebrating Jubilarians 2012

Franciscan Sister Mary Pat Zangs
60 years as a Franciscan Sister
St. Francis Convent, Little Falls

This is the fourth in a series of recipes shared by jubilarians in the St. Cloud Diocese. A jubilee marks the special anniversary of one’s religious profession.

“It goes way back,” Sister Mary Pat Zangs said when, asked how she developed this recipe for Italian meatballs. “Our family lived near Italians and knew many Italians over the years and we have had a few sisters in our community that were Italian. I also had an uncle who was a chef.  So I worked with the recipe over time until I had what I preferred for a flavor. People like them a lot.”

One of the “ingredients” she always adds to everything she prepares, including these full-flavored meatballs, is something that can’t be purchased at the grocery store or farmers’ market…

“The energy that is inside you goes into the food that you are making,” she said. “So the key to creating any food is to do it with love. I could follow a recipe exactly and if I were angry it would not have the same flavor as when I’ve made it with love. If you cook with love, the energy of that emotion will go into the food and the people who eat it will feel it.” CJK

Italian Meatballs
(Sister Mary Pat Zangs)

2 slices white sandwich bread
1/3 cup milk
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. fennel seed
2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup red wine (optional)

Olive oil for frying meatballs

Tear bread into one-inch pieces and soak in milk. Place meat in a separate bowl and mix together with fork or fingertips. Squeeze milk out of bread until it is just damp. Add the bread to the meat along with the remaining ingredients and mix with a fork or fingertips.

To check seasonings, form one tablespoon of the meat mixture into a patty and fry it in olive oil. Taste it when done and adjust the seasonings as desired.

Form remaining mixture into meatballs. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Fry meatballs in batches. When the meatballs are brown and slightly crisp, remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel.

Yield: About 30 meatballs

A note from Sister Mary Pat: Before you make your meatballs it’s important to sample the meatball mixture. Fry a small one, taste it and see how you like it. Then, adjust the flavor by adding a little more of one ingredient or another.

I love to make spaghetti sauce in the fall with specialty tomatoes, basil, carrots and peppers that are all locally grown — everything is organic. I can it and give it as gifts.

Last year I gave some meatballs and spaghetti sauce to a friend who has a passion for cooking. He later called me and told me they were the best meatballs he had ever eaten and asked me how I made them. I appreciated hearing it from him because he is a wonderful chef.

A note from Carol: Originally from St. Paul, Sister Mary Pat Zangs has been a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls for 60 years. Her ministries include being an RN supervisor, hospital administrator, faculty member of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., administrator of the convent’s motherhouse, and more recently, a wholistic growth director and counselor.

Others featured in this series include Franciscan Sister Mary Joel Bieniek with the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls’ homemade sauerkraut recipe, Poor Clare Mother Mary Matthew Tomsyck and her monastery’s zucchini casserole recipe and Benedictine Sister Ingrid Anderson sharing her anchovy sauce for pasta.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It’s within you…

“We travel the world in search 
of what we need and return home to find it.”

— George Moore

Monday, June 18, 2012

Forget the recognition

“It’s amazing how much people 
can get done if they do not worry 
about who gets the credit.”

— Sandra Swinney

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Where to begin

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
— St. Francis of Assisi

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Frozen Strawberry Layer Cake

In celebration of Bishop John Kinney’s 75th birthday June 11, St. Cloud Diocesan employees from the Chancery and Pastoral Center were invited to an outdoor party at the bishop’s residence that day. Deacon John Wocken, the bishop’s chef for special occasions, created a light, summery dessert — Frozen Strawberry Layer Cake — to top off the delectable luncheon.

The picnic also featured a Chicken and Brie Sandwich with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes prepared by Deacon John, and a Rotini Pasta Salad with Italian Vinaigrette and Seasonal Fresh Fruit, both made by Mary Jane Kortenbusch, the dietician and cook at the Chancery.

Sláinte, a band comprised of music ministers in the diocese (and a priest who grew up singing in church), entertained Bishop Kinney and his guests with a lively program of Irish music. Band members included Office of Worship director Anita Fischer (vocals and shaking instruments), Deirdre Harkins (penny whistle and flutes), Father Aaron Kuhn (vocals and djembe drum) and Jim Schleper (vocals and guitar). Violinist Jennifer Wildeson was unable to perform with the group that day.

Incidentally, Sláinte (slawn-cha) is Gaelic for “cheers” or “good health.” Sláinte to all of you! CJK

Frozen Strawberry Layer Cake
(Deacon John Wocken) 

1 1/2 lbs. fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced (about 6 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups fat free frozen yogurt* (any flavor)
1 (12 oz.) angel food cake, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Fresh strawberries for garnish

Strawberry Sauce
Combine strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a saucepan, stirring over medium heat until the sugar melts and the liquid comes to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash about half the berries against the side of the pan. Cool to room temperature and use immediately or refrigerate, covered, up to two days.

Layering the Cake
Spoon the frozen yogurt into a large bowl and mash it with the back of a wooden spoon until soft and spreadable.

Line the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with one third of the cake slices, cutting any slices to fit the shape of the pan. Top with half the frozen yogurt, spreading it to the sides. Spread 2/3 cup strawberry sauce over the frozen yogurt, and then top with half the remaining cake slices, again cutting any to fit. Spread the remainder of the frozen yogurt over the cake, top with 2/3 cup strawberry sauce, and finally seal the top with the remaining cake slices.

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze at least six hours or up to three days. Let the cake stand at room temperature 10 minutes before slicing. Slice into 12 pieces and garnish each serving with a few sliced strawberries.

Yield: 12 servings

A note from Deacon John: I found this delightfully easy and refreshing dessert recipe in a recent Weight Watchers® publication. *I used Neapolitan frozen yogurt in the version I created for the party, however any frozen yogurt flavor would be equally delicious.

A note from Carol: Deacon John Wocken was ordained to the permanent diaconate in the St. Cloud Diocese June 11, 2011. He is a deacon at St. Mary’s Cathedral and St. Augustine Church and teaches second graders at St. Katharine Drexel School, all in St. Cloud.

The very first entry on Food, Faith and Fellowship was Deacon John’s recipe for the Striped Ice Cream Cake he served at a party marking Bishop John Kinney’s 15 years as bishop of the St. Cloud Diocese. You’ll definitely want to add it to your repertoire of cool, light and satisfying desserts for the upcoming hot days of summer. And, when you’re in the mood for a spicy chocolate cookie, consider giving Deacon John’s Double Chocolate-Ginger Cookies a try.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bishop Kinney!

Bishop John Kinney
Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota

Special birthday blessings for your 75th year!
June 11, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012


“Happiness is the spiritual experience of living 
every minute with love, grace and gratitude.”

— Denis Waitley 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Rhubarb Slush

The Sisters of St. Benedict recently shared Sister Gilmary Kempf’s rhubarb slush recipe in their community’s online newsletter, “Monastery Musings.” The warm May weather accompanied by an abundance of rain has gifted the monastery gardens with a bumper crop of Rheum rhaponticum (a.k.a. rhubarb). It sounds most refreshing indeed for those hot days ahead of us. CJK

Rhubarb Slush
(Benedictine Sister Gilmary Kempf)

8 cups finely diced rhubarb
2 cups water
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 (3 oz.) pkg. strawberry gelatin
2 cups vodka or apple juice

Lemon-lime soda (such as 7-Up®) or sour soda

Combine rhubarb, water, sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Cook until the rhubarb is tender. Remove from the heat and add the gelatin and either the vodka or apple juice. Mix well. Freeze in a gallon container.*

Once frozen, scoop a portion into a glass and pour lemon-lime soda or sour soda over it.

Yield: 15-20 servings

Notes that Sister Gilmary added to her recipe: *An empty ice cream pail works well for freezing the mixture. When using apple juice, the slush needs to be taken out of the freezer about a half hour before it will be ready to scoop.

A note from Carol: Benedictine Sister Gilmary Kempf (1933-2010) was a Sister of St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota, for 57 years. She served in elementary education for many years and later became a physical therapist assistant for her community. She also worked on the oral history program in the community’s archives and enjoyed volunteering in prison ministry at the St. Cloud Correctional Facility.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rhubarb Dream Bars

Dream Bars conjure up special memories from my childhood — a rich shortbread crust topped with a heavenly combination of coconut and walnuts or pecans wrapped in a layer of “gooey goodness.” Of course, I also remember the almond version and the one with oatmeal — and all its cousins — seven layer magic cookie bars (also known as Hello Dolly Bars whose close friend is Hello Betty Bars).

When I happened upon a recipe for rhubarb dream bars I wasn’t sure if I was in “seventh heaven” or on “cloud nine.” After reading a “number” of the helpful comments, I adapted the recipe I found on to use more rhubarb, less sugar and a few other enriching ingredients. 

I thought the result was divine — the satisfying taste I remember with a bit of tartness that delightfully tickles the tongue. Sweet dreams…CJK

Rhubarb Dream Bars
(Adapted from

Bottom Layer
1 cup flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cold butter

Top Layer
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg*
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
5 cups finely diced rhubarb

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a glass 9x13-inch baking pan with no-stick spray.

Bottom Layer
Combine flour and powdered sugar in a medium-size bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Pat mixture into prepared baking pan. Bake at 350°F for 13-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Top Layer
Combine sugar and flour in large bowl. Add the eggs, vanilla and nutmeg; mix well. Stir in the walnuts and coconut. Then, add the rhubarb to the mixture, stirring in about a cup at a time. When all the pieces of rhubarb have been coated with the mixture, pour over crust. Bake 35-40 minutes longer or until set.

Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars when cool.

Yield: 24 to 30 bars

A note from Carol: *I like to grate whole fresh nutmeg when the spice is called for in recipes. The flavor of the pre-ground variety pales in comparison to that of freshly grated nutmeg whose taste is richer and more full-bodied due to the aromatic oils that are released during the grating process.

Other tasty rhubarb treats on FFF include a scrumptious custard upside down cake, an old-fashioned crunch (also called a crisp or crumble), a tasty pie, delectable custard bars, marvelous muffins and a yummy coffeecake.

(Photos by Sue Schulzetenberg-Gully)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Rhubarb Custard Bars

When Marilyn Court bakes these rhubarb custard bars they don’t last long at her house. “One of my grandsons eats most of the pan when he comes over,” she said, and jokingly added, “once in a while the rest of us get a piece, too.”

I’ve sampled these bars a few times myself when she’s brought them to gatherings we’ve attended. And, I’ve seen them disappear quickly — it’s hard to stop at just one piece!

Marilyn has discovered a few tricks to making this dessert a little lighter than the original version and also how to successfully substitute frozen rhubarb for fresh. Check out the notes corresponding to the asterisks for her special tips. CJK

Rhubarb Custard Bars
(Marilyn Court)

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter or margarine*

2 cups sugar
7 tbsp. flour
1 cup whipping cream**
3 eggs, beaten
5 cups fresh rhubarb, finely diced****

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whipping cream, whipped***

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9x13-inch glass baking pan.

Combine the flour and sugar and then cut in butter or margarine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into prepared baking pan and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes.

Combine sugar and flour in large bowl. Whisk in cream and eggs. Stir in rhubarb. Pour over crust. Bake at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes or until custard is set. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center — if it comes out clean, the bars are finished baking. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Gently fold in the whipped cream and spread over the top of the completely cooled crust and filling. Cover and chill. Cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.

Yield: 15 bars

A note from Marilyn: I often substitute *butter-flavored Crisco baking sticks for the butter or margarine in the crust and generally use **skim milk instead of whipping cream in the filling. Any kind of cream cheese works — regular, fat free or “Neufchâtel” (one-third less fat). I tend to swap the whipped cream in the topping with an 8 oz. container of ***whipped topping. It’s OK to use a light or fat free variety. 

If I harvest more ****rhubarb than I need at the time, I like to finely dice it and freeze five cups together in a freezer bag or container. To use it in this recipe, I thaw it overnight and drain it — this method works out equally well.

A note from Carol: Marilyn and her husband, Francis, have been members of St. Joseph Parish in St. Joseph for more than 40 years. They are the parents of six adult children and grandparents of 10.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Rhubarb Coffeecake

Have you tried Carol Barthel’s rhubarb muffin recipe yet? If not, now you’ll be in a quandary whether to bake rhubarb muffins or coffeecake.

Carol got this recipe from a friend a year or so ago and wrote the words “Very good” on her recipe card. Recently she made it for company and told them she couldn’t remember who she had gotten it from but wanted to serve it to them because “it’s so delicious.”

You’ve probably guessed by now that her guest for this scrumptious coffeecake was the one who had given her the recipe originally. What a coincidental compliment! CJK

Rhubarb Coffeecake
(Carol Barthel)

Bottom Layer
1/2 cup shortening
1  1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
2 cups finely diced rhubarb

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon

Whipped cream or whipped topping, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8x8-inch glass baking pans* (or one 9x13-inch glass baking pan).

Cream shortening and brown sugar together in a mixing bowl. Beat in the egg. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Fold in the rhubarb. Pour into prepared baking pan/s.

Combine the topping ingredients; sprinkle over the batter. Bake at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes if using 8x8-inch baking pans (or for 30 to 35 minutes if using 9x13-inch pan) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack. Serve with whipped cream or whipped topping, if desired. (May be frozen for up to 6 months.)
Yield: 18-24 servings

A note from Carol Barthel: *I usually bake this when I have company coming over and prefer to bake it in two 8x8-inch baking pans. I serve one pan to my guests and put the other one in the freezer for another time down the road. I always serve it with whipped cream.

A note from Carol J-K: Rhubarb is highly acidic — to avoid a chemical reaction while cooking or baking with it, use stainless steel, glass, enameled or nonstick pans. Aluminum or uncoated iron pans will turn the mixture gray.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Rhubarb Muffins

Is the rhubarb in your garden — with its tall, graceful, stalks and gigantic elephant-ear leaves — calling attention to itself? Is it begging to be baked into something sweet and gratifying?

Recently when Carol Barthel baked these muffins Al, her husband of 46 years, said, “These are the best rhubarb muffins I have ever eaten!”

That’s all the “endorsement” I need to hear. I look forward to trying them soon myself. CJK

Rhubarb Muffins
(Carol Barthel)

1  1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup oil
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
2  1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2/3 cup sour milk
1  1/2 cups finely diced rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped nuts*

2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 12-cup muffin tins or line with paper liners.

Beat the brown sugar, oil, egg and vanilla together until smooth. Combine flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder; stir in the dry ingredients and sour milk just until blended. Then add the rhubarb and nuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling them about two-thirds full.

Mix the topping ingredients together and sprinkle over the muffin batter. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed, about 23 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for at least 10 minutes before removing.

Yield: 24 muffins

A note from Carol Barthel: *I used black walnuts for this recipe because Al collects them and then cracks them with a hammer and a wire cutter. Any kind of nuts — especially pecans or walnuts — would be good in these muffins.

A note from Carol J-K: You may remember Carol’s rhubarb pie and piecrust from FFF’s rhubarb recipe collection last year. She and her husband Al, members of St. Mary Parish in Little Falls, continue to volunteer for countless organizations nearly 24/7.