Bless Your Spoon — Pedals, pipes and provisions

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 7, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Stephanie Williams Dean

The Charlotte Chapter of the American Guild of Organists recently hosted an organ crawl. Eager organ enthusiasts did anything but crawl — the word’s a misnomer. Guests hastily boarded the tour bus at two pick-up locations at 9 a.m. Each one of us eagerly anticipated our final destination — Hickory.

The dictionary defines a “crawl” as an activity involving a group of people who frequent a place together. In this case, the “place” was home to some of the best organs in western N.C. — five churches. Yes, I could have driven. But being on tour with a busload of organists was not to be missed. I was right, the entire experience surpassed my expectations.

After stops at Episcopal Church of the Ascension and First Baptist Church, it was time for lunch. Guests headed out to restaurants of their choice in the downtown area. I chose a quirky little sandwich bar called Hatch, where I enjoyed a delicious grilled turkey Reuben with a side of macaroni and cheese. One taste of my grandson’s melting grilled cheese was to die for — served with miso broccoli or maple Brussels sprouts.

Guests returned to the bus to travel on to Grace Chapel at Lenoir-Rhyne University. With more than one organ, we lingered there. Almost all guest organists took their turn on the organs at each church along the way. The two final organ stops were at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and Corinth Reformed Church. I sat in awe of all — pipes and pedals. I awaited provisions.

Tired and hungry, we’d walked up an appetite by the end of the day. We traveled to our final destination, the restaurant FOURK. A wine bar was offered with appetizers of hummus duo, buffalo bites with blue cheese dipping sauce, and a baked brie topped with blueberry compote. The group shared dinner in a private room with our choice of entree being grilled salmon with honey-chipotle glaze, linguini pasta zinfandel butter sauce with grilled chicken or a 12 oz. ribeye. Sides were Yukon gold whipped potatoes and a vegetable medley. Dessert options were a gluten-free chocolate torte or blackberry wine cake. Not bad for a day’s crawl.

In the blink of an eye — the event had come to an end. Around 9:30 p.m., the bus pulled up to the stop where we debarked. I can’t remember the last time I had enjoyed an occasion so much. I was slap out tired yet gratified, by glorious music and tasty dinner provisions.

Isn’t it good to know that God always makes provisions for his people? What God provides is sufficient to sustain us for all that we might experience today. God will provide for our needs for today and tomorrow at precisely the right time, not a moment early and not a moment late. God’s hand is always on us. Psalm 34:10 reads, “The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”

When it comes to what we need, we have nothing to worry about. Like a dish at a church potluck supper, God has it covered.

Turkey Reuben Grills

• 1 Tbsp. chili sauce

• 3 Tbsp. sour cream

• 1 tsp. prepared horseradish

• 12 slices of rye bread

• 6 Tbsp. well drained sauerkraut

• 12 slices (1 lb.) thinly sliced turkey

• 12 sliced thinly sliced provolone cheese

• 6 Tbsp. salted butter

In a mixer bowl, combine chili sauce, sour cream and horseradish. Spread mixture on 6 slices of bread. Cover bread slice with 1 Tbsp. sauerkraut, 2 thin slices of turkey, and 2 thin slices of provolone cheese. Cover with remaining slice of bread. Butter outside of each side of sandwich. Grill until cheese begins to melt. Makes 6 sandwiches.

Grilled Pimento Cheese

• 10 oz. Rotel drained diced tomatoes with green chilies

• 1 cup premium mayonnaise

• 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

• ½ tsp. salt

• 16 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

• 4 oz. drained diced pimento

• 8 slices multi-grain artisan bread

• Salted butter

In a bowl, combine diced tomatoes, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, salt and shredded cheese. (Do not use pre-shredded cheese but shred in a food processor.) Mix in diced pimento. Mix well. Spread one side of a piece of bread with pimento cheese. Top with second piece of bread. Butter both outer sides of bread. Grill in a skillet on one side until golden brown. Turn and grill on other side until golden and cheese is melting.

Baked Mac’ n Cheese

• 1½ cups macaroni

• 1 tbsp. salted butter

• 1 beaten egg

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1 tsp. dry mustard

• 1 tbsp. hot water

• 1 cup whole milk

• 3 cups favorite grated soft cheese

• 1 cup grated sharp cheddar

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and toss in a large bowl with butter and beaten egg. Add salt and mustard to hot water and add to the milk. Pour over macaroni. Add 3 cups grated cheese to the mixture. Mix well. Add 1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese to cover the top of the casserole.

Miso Broccoli with Nuts

• 4 cups chopped broccoli

• 2 Tbsp. melted, salted butter

• 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

• 2 chopped onions

• ¼ cup toasted pine nuts

• 1 Tbsp. miso sauce

• 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

• Salt and pepper to taste

Steam fresh broccoli and set aside. In a skillet, melt butter and add oil. Sauté onions in butter and oil. Add toasted pine nuts and miso. Add lemon juice while blending well. Season with salt and pepper. Add steamed broccoli. Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed.

Honey Brussels Sprouts

• 8 cups fresh Brussels sprouts

• 6 Tbsp. salted butter

• 6 tsp. honey

• 1 crushed clove garlic

• 2 cups halved, seedless red grapes

In boiling water, cook Brussels sprouts 6-8 minutes or just until tender but still firm. Drain well. Salt and pepper. In a saucepan, melt butter and add honey. Add garlic and grape halves. Mix well. Add Brussels sprouts and toss to coat. Serve warm. Tip: Make an X on the bottom of each sprout before cooking, and it will hold its shape.

BBQ Buffalo Bites with Sauce

• 2½ lbs. ground turkey

• 2 oz. blue cheese crumbles

• ½ Tbsp. salt

• 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

• 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

• ¼ cup chopped cilantro

• 2 Tbsp. minced garlic

In a mixer bowl, combine ground turkey, blue cheese, salt, Worcestershire, breadcrumbs, cilantro and garlic. Blend well. Roll mixture into appetizer-sized meatballs. Bake on a sheet pan in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes or heated through. Remove from pan and toss in just enough BBQ sauce to coat — not too much. Place in a casserole dish and bake in a 350-degree oven for another 15 minutes. Serve with Blue Cheese Sauce for dipping.

Blue Cheese Sauce

• 1 minced garlic cloves

• 3 Tbsp. chopped chives

• 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

• ½ cup sour cream

• 1 cup premium mayonnaise

• ½ cup crumbled blue cheese

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a mixer bowl, combine garlic, chives and lemon juice. Add sour cream, mayonnaise and cheese. Blend everything well and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate several hours before serving.

Encrusted Fried Cheese with Fruit Compote

• 12 oz. Gruyere, brie or other cheese

• 1 cup fine dry bread or Panko crumbs

• 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

• 2 beaten eggs

• Wesson vegetable oil for frying

Cut cheese into ½-inch, 4×4 squares. Cut each square on a diagonal to form 2 triangles. In a bowl, combine bread crumbs and flour. In another bowl, beat eggs well. Dip cheese triangles into the egg and then into bread crumb mixture. Allow to stand a few minutes to dry. Dip triangle in egg and then in crumbs again. Refrigerate to set. In an electric skillet, heat oil to 375-degrees. Fry cheese quickly for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towel. You can use different cheeses such as Jarlsberg, Fontina, cheddar or brie. You can cut and bread the cheese ahead of time and refrigerate. Serve spread on Crostini topped with Blueberry Compote.

Blueberry Compote

• 1 lb. fresh blueberries

• Zest of 1 lemon

• 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

• 4 Tbsp. sugar

• Pinch of Kosher salt

Wash and dry blueberries. In a saucepan, add blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and salt. Cook for 6 minutes or until blueberries have softened. Remove blueberries to a bowl with slotted spoon. Cook liquid for 4 more minutes to thicken compote. Add blueberries back into liquid and mix well. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer to a jar.

Parsley Hummus

• 1 chopped garlic clove

• ½ cup (packed) chopped parsley

• 15 oz. drained, rinsed garbanzo beans

• ¼ cup sour cream

• 3 Tbsp. sesame seed paste (tahini)

• 2 Tbsp. sesame oil

• 1½ tsp. salt, ground cumin and grated lemon peel

• ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

In a processor, chop garlic and parsley leaves. Add drained, rinsed beans to processor and blend 30 seconds. Add sour cream, paste, oil, salt, cumin, lemon peel and pepper. Blend until smooth. Serve hummus with crispy wontons or veggies.

Hot Honey-Lime Salmon

• 4 (8 oz.) salmon fillets

• Lime wedges, for garnish

Honey Mustard Lime sauce

• 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

• 1 Tbsp. hot honey mustard

• 3-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

• 3 Tbsp. chopped scallions

• ¼ cup chopped fresh dill

• ½ tsp. salt

• ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

In a processor, combine lime juice, honey mustard and oil until blended. Add scallions, dill, salt and pepper and process until a little chunky. For the fish, rinse fillets and pat dry. Place on a greased baking dish in a single layer. Cover fish with sauce and bake uncovered in a 375-degree oven for 15-25 minutes or just until opaque. When serving, garnish with lime wedges.

Yukon Whipped Potatoes

• 2½ peeled, cubed Yukon gold potatoes

• 3 oz. crumbled goat cheese

• 4 tbsp. salted butter

• ¾ cup half and half

• 1 Tbsp. minced garlic

• Salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a pot of boiling water, cook potatoes 25 minutes or until tender. Drain well and return to pot. Add goat cheese and butter and mash. Add half and half and garlic. Whip until smooth. Stir over medium heat until heated through. Season to taste.

Chicken Pasta Caprese

• 8 oz. cooked linguine

• 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

• ¾ cup chicken broth

• ½ cup whole milk

• 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

• ½ tsp. salt

• ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 2 chopped garlic cloves

• 1 tsp. chopped fresh basil

• 1 cup grated mozzarella

• 2 cups cherry tomatoes

• 1 cup sour cream

• 4 sliced cooked chicken breasts

• Strips of fresh Parmesan cheese

Cook linguini according to pkg. instructions and set aside. In a skillet, add flour and a little chicken broth to make a paste. Gradually add rest of chicken broth until blended. Add milk, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, garlic cloves, fresh basil and cheese. Cook until cheese is melted and bubbly. Add cherry tomatoes. Add 1 cup hot mixture to sour cream and then return sour cream mixture to pan. Add strips of cooked chicken and heat through. To serve, place linguine on bottom of serving platter. Top with sauce. Arrange chicken strips on top and toss.  Top with fresh parmesan strips

Flourless Rich Fudge Torte

• 3 beaten eggs

• 4 oz. semisweet chocolate

• 1 stick salted butter

• 2/3 cup sugar

• 1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier

• 2 cups ground walnuts

Chocolate Glaze

• 6 oz. semisweet chocolate

• 6 Tbsp.  softened, salted butter

• 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. In a saucepan, combine chocolate and butter. Melt and blend completely. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Stir in Grand Marnier. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture a little at a time. Mix well. Stir in the walnuts. Bake in a well-greased, very lightly floured, and wax paper-lined 9-inch pan for 25-30 minutes or until tests done in a 375-degree oven. Remove to wire rack to cool. For glaze, in a saucepan, combine chocolate and butter. Constantly stir until melted and blended. Stir in the corn syrup. Cook until of glaze consistency. Drizzle over the cake.

Blackberry Wine Bundt Cake

• 4 beaten eggs

• 20 oz. white cake mix

• 3 oz. blackberry flavor Jello

• 1 cup Wesson vegetable oil

• 1 cup blackberry wine

Blackberry Wine Icing

• ½ cup Blackberry wine

• 2½ cups confectioners’ sugar

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add cake mix and Jello while alternating with oil and wine. Mix well. Bake in a well-greased and floured Bundt or tube pan for 40-50 minutes or until tests done in a 325-degree oven. For the icing, in a bowl, combine blackberry wine and confectioners sugar. Mix well. Pour Blackberry Wine Icing over hot cake and allow to stand 10 minutes in the pan.