Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

By Charlene Smith
Pine Bluffs Post staff 

Cooking inspiration from Martin Luther King Day


I have a simple dream. Someday I will cook for people who do not share the same DNA as I do and they will think it is yummy. They will pay me. They will come back again and again and I will make enough money to buy without worrying the cost.

I have a dream.

Dreams are simple. You think something, draft a plan in your head, maybe tell some close friends about it. Sometimes it stops there. Sometimes it changes the world.

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream and he didn't let anything stop him until the day he died. We all have the same amount of hours in a day. And we all have the potential to serve a purpose in the world. Simply put, we should give our dreams more credit and time. And not let anything stop us.

Some of the best things in life are the simplest. I know you have heard this before. It's true. Let go of the cynicism for a minute or five unless you are a speed reader, and go with it.

Take Angel Food Cake. Twelve eggs, some cream of tartar, water, cake flour and walllay. A magical, tasty treat fit for any dinner at home, pot luck or gift to the grieving or giggling.

More simpler still, have Betty Crocker process it all for you, buy a box, add water, beat for a minute and same effect.

If angel food cake with its light yet decadent flavor doesn't appeal to you, simplicity can also come from your oven when you combine a few different ingredients and create a dreamy delicious dish. Buttermilk Pie is that dish.

Buttermilk pie dates back to the early South where cooks on the plantations used their ingenuity to create wonderful dishes out of ingredients that were cheap and plentiful. Buttermilk pie is real soul food, pure and simple. It is not elaborate. It is not particularly beautiful. But it is very good. I included a recipe to honor Martin Luther King Jr. heritage and to show you once again that simple beginnings can make some thing wonderful.

Casseroles have to be the simplest dishes that receive homage from any pallet you are serving. Similar to what Martine Luther King Jr. wanted for all of us on earth, a casserole mixes all different types of tastes and textures and presents a dish that makes your tastes buds scream, "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty I'm free at last!"

Angel Food Cake

(For those of you who have never made this cake from scratch, make sure you have no yolk in your whites. If you do throw out and start over. I separate the egg in a glass first just to be sure.) 18 egg whites

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 pinch salt

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup cake flour

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift cake flour and confectioners sugar together 5 times and set aside. In a large clean bowl, whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar while beating, and continue to beat until very stiff. Add vanilla.

Quickly fold in flour mixture. Pour into a 10 inch tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly with finger.

Buttermilk Pie

(recipe from

Note: If using a store bought 9" pie crust, there will be filling left over. Pour it into a buttered dish and bake it along with the pie.

3 eggs, separated

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 pinch salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 cups buttermilk

1 10" unbaked pie shell

Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Beat them until stiff but not dry.

Place the egg yolks, sugar, butter, flour, salt, nutmeg, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until smooth, scraping the sides at least once. Turn the machine on and gradually pour the buttermilk in; scrape the sides and process until smooth. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the egg whites and fold until the mixtures are incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell.

Bake in a preheated 300° oven for 60 minutes or until the pie is set. Put a pan under the pie, since the filling might overflow. Serve warm or cold.

Every dream needs a little comfort. And that is provided in this warm and filling casserole. It's quick and easy, leaving more time for your dreams.

Beef Stew Casserole

(recipe from

1 1/2 pound(s) 1-in. cubes beef chuck (for stew)

1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil

2 can(s) (about 14 oz each) beef broth

1 large onion, sliced

1 tablespoon(s) minced garlic

3 pound(s) small sweet potatoes

1 pound(s) each carrots and parsnips

3 ribs celery

1 tablespoon(s) stick butter

1/4 teaspoon(s) salt

Position racks to divide oven in thirds. Heat to 325°F.

Coat beef with flour. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef and brown. Add broth, onion and garlic; bring to a boil. Cover tightly and place stew on one oven rack, potatoes on other rack. Bake 30 minutes.

Cut carrots, parsnips and celery into 1-in. lengths; stir into stew. Cover and bake 45 minutes or until tender when pierced.

Peel potatoes and mash with butter and salt. Bake and serve or cool, cover separately and refrigerate up to 3 days.

Heat oven to 400°F. Skim fat off stew, then spoon into a shallow 3 1/2-qt baking dish; spread potatoes over top. Bake 50 minutes or until bubbly around edges and hot in center.


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