Cooks Corner

Cheesecake brownie recipe replicates a Starbucks favorite

Q. Do you have the recipe for Chicken Salisbury Steak? It is a very good recipe that I lost. Thank you.

Arlene Appel

A. I think of TV dinners — old-school, 1960s-style, on foil trays — when I see the term Salisbury Steak. Frankly, even in its most appalling form — a mystery meat patty, with unknown fillers and binders, in a glutinous gravy — it still managed to taste good. No doubt that was due to all the salt and flavorful dried onion gravy, or perhaps just that my mom let us watch Lost in Space in front of the TV while we ate.

But the notion of using ground chicken or ground turkey is certainly appealing, so I developed the recipe here using some of the old flavor secrets. There will be lots of mushroom-onion gravy to ladle onto homemade mashed potatoes.

By the way, Salisbury Steak does not come from Austria, but was invented by an American physician, James Henry Salisbury (1823–1905), who created it as a “meat cure” for Civil War soldiers suffering from dysentery, according to John Mariani’s Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink.

Reader Question: Brownies

Q. I’m a Starbucks fan and most of all I love their Cheesecake Brownie. The brownie part is about a 1/2-inch thick, dark and very moist. The cheesecake frosting on top is wonderful. I was wondering if there is a way to make these at home with store-bought ingredients.

Winifred

A. This is as close as I can come to the flavors of that brownie. It is a doctored cake-mix formula that marries the sweet and chewy chocolate layer with a crispy cream cheese top. It lacks the swirled beauty of the original, but is quite addicting.

We’ve published this formula since the mid-1990s, when I snagged it from my sister-in-law. You can vary the flavor of cake mix, the type of chips and the nuts. You can add chopped fruit (my son loves a maraschino cherry layer). Her specialty is a yellow cake mix with toffee chips and almonds.

Tried and New

I’ve never been much of a yogurt fan. I’ll eat it, but I don’t crave it, and the whole Greek yogurt explosion didn’t alter my consumption. But I am hooked on Stonyfield’s Petite Crème, modeled after fromage blanc, a silky-sweet fresh cheese popular in France that’s eaten just like yogurt.

Petite Crème has all the protein and is nutritionally similar to Greek yogurt but has a mild, creamy taste and texture — no assault of tanginess. It’s made with cheese cultures added to organic milk instead of yogurt cultures. There are seven flavors, sold in 5.3-ounce single-serve cups. My favorite is peach.

Cookbook Corner

School’s back in session, and so we move from picnics to potluck season. If you’re tired of the same casseroles and chicken buckets, you’ll enjoy Nancy Vienneau’s “Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook” (Thomas Nelson, $25).

The cookbook includes menus, anecdotes and 150 seasonal Southern recipes that sprung from her monthly gatherings in which she asked participants to bring a fresh seasonal dish for sharing. My favorite chapter is the December gifts from the kitchen, but found most of the recipes for the other 11 months quite tempting.

The cobbler here is a simple but showstopping recipe you can use with whatever fruits are in season.

Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172.

Main dish

Chicken Salisbury

2 pounds ground chicken or turkey

1/2 cup panko or cracker crumbs

1 large egg

1 large egg white

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, to taste

1 bunch fresh herb of choice (cilantro, parsley, tarragon), minced

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon butter

1 large onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, pressed and minced

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons sherry, optional

In a bowl, using your hands, mix the ground meat, crumbs, egg and white, salt and pepper, Worcestershire, fresh herb and 1 tablespoon of the oil. (Since the meat is so lean, the added fat helps keep it moist). Form into 8 oval patties. In a heavy skillet, heat the remaining olive oil with the butter over medium-high heat. Quickly sear the patties for about 2 minutes on each side, then remove to an oven-safe dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.

In the same pan, sauté the onion and garlic over medium. Watch the heat, as you want the onions to cook slowly until they are translucent and starting to brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and sauté until they start to brown as well, 2-3 minutes.

Combine the mushroom soup, milk and sherry and add to the skillet, mixing well with the vegetables and incorporating any browned bits. Pour over the seared patties and bake 20 minutes in a heated 350-degree oven, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with mashed potatoes or egg noodles. Makes 8 servings.

Source: Linda Cicero for Cook’s Corner.

Dessert

Cheesecake Brownie Bar Cookies

1 box of chocolate cake mix

3 eggs, divided

1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, melted

1 cup chopped nuts, optional

1 cup chocolate chips

4 cups (1 pound) confectioners sugar

1 (8-ounce) bar of cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 for dark or nonstick pan). Stir the cake mix briefly with 1 egg and the butter, until just blended. Press into a 9-by-13-inch pan lightly coated with vegetable spray. Sprinkle the nuts and chocolate chips on top and lightly press into first layer. Beat together the confectioners sugar, eggs and cream cheese. Beat in the vanilla. Spoon over top, spreading mixture evenly to edges. Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees, or until top is puffed and as browned as you like. Cool and cut into bars. Makes 24 servings.

Source: Adapted by Linda Cicero from Cook’s Corner archives.

Dessert

Cherry-Berry Magic Cobbler

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

4 cups pitted fresh cherries and blackberries

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

1/4 cup water

1 cup all-purpose flour

11/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pour the melted butter into a 9-by-13-inch pan. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the cherries, blackberries, 1/2 cup sugar and water. Cook until the berries release their juices and the sugar cooks into the liquid. This could take 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

In a medium bowl mix the remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, baking powder and milk. Pour the mixture over the melted butter in the casserole pan. Do not stir. Spoon the fruit and juices all over the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The magic cobbler crust will rise to the top and brown. Serve with ice cream if desired. Makes 12 servings.

Source: “Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook” by Nancy Vienneau (Thomas Nelson, $25).

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