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Dorothy Kruse has been a fan of this column since it first appeared on April 21, 1993 when one of my own favorite recipes was featured as an example of what Cooks’ Exchange is all about.

Through the years a wonderful friendship developed without us ever meeting because of our passion for cooking and the food we prepare to enjoy ourselves and share with others. Our friendship blossomed even more after I received a copy of her 1985 cookbook, “For Batter or Wurst,” filled with her favorite recipes protected with a dazzling yellow soft cover held together by bright red plastic spiral binding created by her husband, Charles.

The book was dedicated to their four children, Chuck, Kari, Steven, Marie and their families with a description of the recipes in the collection being handed down from generation to generation plus some from other family and friends.

Some recipes are marked as “Dorothy’s Delights” — a reminder of how much fun they all had during family “get-togethers.”

Dorothy Kruse (then Dorothy Amera) graduated from Central High School in 1949, the same year Charlie Kruse graduated from Madison East. Her fondness for cooking stems from watching her grandmother cook everything from freshly picked black raspberries and beef tongue to chicken, beef and every garden vegetable possible. She also claims that she likes to cook because ... she loves to eat.

Here are a few favorite recipes from her cookbook.

Cheddar cheese spread

16-ounce jar of cheddar cheese spread (“Woody’s or Merkts is best”)

8-ounce package of cream cheese

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ teaspoon garlic salt

1 tablespoon milk (add only if thinner consistency is desired)

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Spread on your favorite snack crackers.

Wheatie muffins

1 cup sifted flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

½ cup milk

4 tablespoons melted butter

1 ½ cups Wheaties or Bran Flakes slightly crushed

Sift together first 4 ingredients. Combine egg, milk and cooled butter. Add to flour mixture, stirring only enough to dampen flour. Fold in cereal flakes, but do not over mix. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake in 400 degree oven 15 to 18 minutes. (Tastes great with honey butter)

Variations:

Nut muffins: Add ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans.

Banana nut: Add ½ cup mashed bananas and ½ cup chopped nuts to egg mixture.

Apple and cinnamon muffins: Place a thin slice of apple in top of each muffin and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture before baking.

Honey-cinnamon butter

2 sticks butter, softened

¼ cup honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Serve on breads, muffins, popovers, etc. Makes 1 ½ cups

Kruse claims this salad is great with brats or pork chops and chicken from the grill.

German potato salad

5 to 6 medium potatoes, cooked in skins only until done, but not mushy

1 small onion, minced

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Salt and pepper

4 to 5 slices bacon, diced

2 tablespoons flour

4 tablespoons sugar

1 cup water

½ cup vinegar

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Peel and slice or dice potatoes, add minced onions, chopped eggs, and season with salt and pepper. Fry bacon until crisp and add to potatoes. To the bacon fat, add flour, sugar, stir, then add water and vinegar. Cook until it thickens like gravy. Then add mayonnaise, stir and pour over potatoes and toss. Serve warm.

Corn chowder

6 slices bacon

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

1 stalk of celery, finely chopped

1 cup water

1 tablespoon chicken stock base or 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon

17-ounce can creamed corn

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

In a large kettle, fry bacon until just done, but not crisp. Remove some of the fat leaving approximately 3 tablespoons in the kettle. Add diced onions and celery to the bacon and fat and saute until tender.

In another sauce pan, cook diced potatoes in 1 cup of water to which the chicken stock base has been added. Cook them until tender; add can of corn.

When onions and celery are tender, add flour, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add potatoes and corn mixture to the kettle with the bacon, heating until it boils and thickens. Add milk, reheat, but do not boil.

Kruse says these cookies are the perfect summer dessert. They can also be a little taste of summer when the weather is gloomy.

Orange drop cookies

1 ½ cups sugar

1 cup shortening (half butter and half Crisco)

3 eggs

1 cup sour milk or buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 rounded tablespoon baking powder

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon lemon extract

Grated rind of 1 orange

Cream butter and sugar together, add eggs and lemon extract and mix well. Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with sour milk. Drop by teaspoonful on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees until done, but not brown. Test by touching with finger. If dough springs back, they are done. Frost with orange frosting.

Orange frosting

¼ cup soft butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon of orange juice

Mix together in small mixer bowl. Adjust juice and sugar to spreading consistency.

Frozen grasshoppers are “delicious, refreshing, and a perfect dessert for a light meal,” Kruse says.

Froze n grasshhoppers

1 quart vanilla ice cream

6 tablespoons green Crème de Menthe

6 tablespoons white Crème de Cacao

Blend with electric mixer. Pour into container and freeze. When ready to serve, stir slightly and scoop into glasses.

Thank you, Dorothy!

And here is the “favorite” recipe of mine that appeared April 21, 1993 when this column began.

Frittura delizie Romano

2 10-ounce packages frozen spinach

¾ cup ricotta cheese, drained well, if necessary

½ cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

½ cup dry bread crumbs

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

2 eggs, beaten

¼ cup flour

Vegetable oil for frying

Spaghetti sauce, optional

Cook spinach according to package directions. Drain well in a strainer, pressing out all liquid with back of spoon. Combine spinach, cheeses, crumbs, seasonings and eggs in a medium-sized bowl. Lightly flour hands, shape mixture into 1 ½-inch balls and roll lightly in flour. Heat oil in deep fryer to 350 degrees or heat 2 inches of oil in heavy pan. Being careful not to crowd, fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels before serving. Serves 6-8 with or without spaghetti sauce.

Contact the Cooks’ Exchange in care of the Wisconsin State Journal, P.O. Box 8058, Madison, WI, 53708 or by email at greenbush4@aol.com.

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