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Savoring the Seasons

Savoring the Seasons: Franklin County "test kitchens"

This week, I heard back from Phyllis Nahman and Doris Bittenbender about recipes we’d discussed. Phyllis wrote about a pesto cream sauce, sharing the recipe she and her granddaughters made for New Year’s Eve (see below). It’s a bit more elaborate than my simple recipe, and it looks quite tasty and “decadent” given the amount of butter, cream and cheese it contains.

Doris Bittenbender reported about baking with her 11-year-old granddaughter, Georgia Bittenbender. She said, “The Beet Chocolate Cake was a big hit with our granddaughter. She loved it, as did the rest of the family. Only her father could guess the ‘secret’ ingredient. She and I couldn’t even detect it ourselves.”

And I heard from the friend who had originally suggested the Beet Chocolate Cake to tell me the latest email message from River Valley Market included a recipe for Beet Cupcakes! See below.

I immediately passed the recipe along to Doris to make with her granddaughter. She said, “We have a good time baking together. We both have a sweet tooth, so we’ll have to try the cupcakes. This is going to extremes to get her to eat vegetables!” I’ll say that’s an extreme way to encourage eating vegetables! And I think it is great that Doris and Georgia enjoy baking together.

The beet baking ideas got me thinking about other “vegetables made into desserts” recipes. When I first heard about baking with beets, I thought it seemed strange. But, I realized it isn’t that much different from making cake with carrots.

I’m planning ahead to what I’m going to include on the special “Winter Fare Food Page” on Jan. 30. I’d love to include recipes from readers. What are your favorite “winter vegetables made into desserts” recipes? Any favorite carrot cake recipes? Or your favorite “winter vegetables as vegetables” recipes or apple dessert recipes?

I count on readers sending me recipes to share in my column. I love hearing from “test kitchens” all over Franklin County.

This Week We’re Eating ...


By Phyllis Nahman, Greenfield

(Note from Phyllis: I have an urge to make this again soon, but with chicken instead of shrimp.)

1 lb. linguine

1 stick butter

2 C. heavy cream (we used whole milk)

½ tsp. black pepper

1 C. grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 C. pesto

1 lb. med. shrimp

Cook linguine. In large skillet, melt butter, stir in cream, season with pepper. Cook 6-8 minutes. Stir Parmesan cheese into cream sauce, blend in pesto, and cook for 3-5 minutes. Stir in shrimp, cook until they turn pink.



from River Valley Market (adapted from

for the cupcakes

1 medium red beet

2 eggs, whisked

Zest of 1 orange

1½ tsp. vanilla

1 T. fresh ginger, minced

1 C. plus 2 T. flour

½ C. brown sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. kosher salt

6 T. unsalted butter, room temperature

for the frosting

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

3 T. unsalted butter, room temperature

1 T. vanilla

2 T. honey

1½ tsp. ground cinnamon

1 T. fresh ginger, minced

Pinch of kosher salt

Wrap beet in foil and bake in preheated oven at 400 for an hour or until soft and tender. Remove from oven and cool completely. Peel and chop beet, then blend in food processor with eggs, orange zest, ginger, and vanilla. In large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat in butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir beet mixture into dry ingredients until just combined. Pour into lined cupcake tin and bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until done. Cool completely. While cupcakes cool, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla, honey, cinnamon, ginger, and salt until smooth. Frost cupcakes once they’ve cooled. Makes 1 dozen.

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