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Published December 24, 2008, 12:00 AM

Delightful book full of great ideas

With the availability of recipes on the Internet, my cookbook collection does not grow as quickly as it used to. But I’ve just added another volume, “Delightfully Delicious, Mary Nelson’s Favorites.” And it is delightful.

By: Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, The Forum

With the availability of recipes on the Internet, my cookbook collection does not grow as quickly as it used to. But I’ve just added another volume, “Delightfully Delicious, Mary Nelson’s Favorites.” And it is delightful.

I’ve known Mary since she was at Fargo’s Shanley High School and I was at Fargo Central High School. I’ve known her husband, Donovan, since I was a student at Fargo’s Ben Franklin Middle School and he was a teacher. It was awhile ago.

For 30 years Mary wrote a column for the West Fargo Pioneer’s Midweek Eagle. Her new book is a collection of recipes not only from her column but from her recipe box at home.

Recipes are often appended with a note telling from whom the recipe came. Many of the names of Mary’s friends are also familiar to me, which makes the book a cozy companion. Also included are family recipes.

Norwegian ethnic recipes come from friends. Mary is Irish.

The recipes are straightforward and don’t use a lot of ingredients most cooks wouldn’t have on hand. The instructions are clearly written. The book has a three-ring binder with a hard cover and is also filed with general cooking information.

Mary and Donovan have a blended family of seven children, 17 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, so Mary has done her share of cooking over the years.

I chose the soup recipes because soup makes me more able to face the cold. I don’t imagine you have to use Gluek’s Beer in the soup, but it is still being made. And I thought the coconut in the Carrot Bars was delightful.

Mary’s book is available on Broadway in downtown Fargo at Zandbroz and the Chocolate Frog, in Fargo’s West Acres mall at B. Dalton and Creative Kitchen, and at Red River Coffee, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Cake and Candy World.

“Delightfully Delicious” is a charming book.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

3 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped

1 onion, chopped

4 stalks celery, finely sliced

6 cups chicken broth

1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes

1 can (15 ounces) stewed chopped tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans (4 ounces) chopped green chilies

1 cup sour cream

Put all ingredients except chicken and sour cream in a large pot and heat until hot. Add chicken and continue cooking until just before time to serve. Add sour cream, and ladle into serving bowls.

Garnishes: chunky salsa, tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded co-jack cheese.

Gluek’s Beer Cheese Soup

½ cup butter

¾ cup flour 1 pint half-and-half

1 cup chicken broth

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

¼ cup diced celery

White pepper, salt and garlic powder to taste

Popcorn

Heat butter, add flour and blend until smooth. Slowly add the half-and-half, chicken broth, beer, celery and seasonings, stirring after each addition. Add cheese and stir to melt. If soup is too thick, add more half-and-half or chicken broth. Top with popcorn.

Note: I don’t remember where I got this recipe, but next to the former Grainery, it’s the best beer cheese soup I’ve tasted.

Carrot Bars

Cake:

2 cups white sugar

1½ cups salad oil

4 eggs

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

3 cups grated carrots

1 dup flaked coconut

½ cup chopped nuts or dates

Frosting:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese

1 stick butter melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

Mix together dry ingredients. Beat eggs until light, add sugar gradually. Then add oil and dry ingredients alternately. Mix well with beater. Fold in nuts, then coconut and carrots last. Bake in two greased 13-inch-by-9-inch pans at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Blend frosting ingredients with electric mixer. Cool bars and frost.


Readers can reach Forum Food Columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at ahalgrimson@forumcomm.com

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