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Cooks Corner

By By Lisa Tindell
A few weeks back a reader sent in a recipe for Velveeta Fudge. I admit that I have heard of this concoction but have never been brave enough to try it, even though it's supposed to be fool-proof.
But really, who wants to mess up perfectly good Velveeta or chocolate by mixing the two together? Not me. But I did a little research on this idea.
It seems that back when Velveeta was first introduced in 1928 it was not as well received as was originally hoped by the Kraft folks. A contest was held urging housewives to come up with original recipes that would possibly give the cheese loaf the boost it needed. And, as my son, Landon, would say, "Ta-Da you've got fudge!"
I appreciate the suggestions, comments and recipes given for this column. If you have a particular recipe you'd like to share or perhaps one you'd like to find, let us know. We'll do what we can to help out our fellow cooks.
There seems to be a few variations on this recipe from source to source. However, the following recipe seems to be the consensus as the authentic version.
Velveeta Fudge
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
8 ounces Velveeta, cubed
2 lbs. (2 boxes) powdered sugar
one-half cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Melt butter and cheese over low heat (double boiler method works great). In a large bowl mix sugar and coca well. Pour hot cheese mixture over sugar mixture and stir well until thoroughly blended. Add vanilla and nuts, stirring to combine. Spread into a 9×13 pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or more before slicing.
The next recipe is one for a salad one of my friends loves. This, however, makes me question her intelligence. Surely by now everyone knows that black eyed peas are to be eaten ONLY on Jan. 1 of each year. I don't have the stomach for them any more often. If you like black eyed peas, according to my friend, you're gonna love this.
Black Eyed Pea Salad
1 cup cubed lean beef, cooked
1 cup cubed ham, cooked
5 cups cooked, drained black eye peas
1 cup chopped celery
1 chopped onion
2 tsp. mustard
1 cup mayonnaise (or mayo-type salad dressing)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Combine all ingredients and chill well before serving.
Okay, one last oddity before ending this column today. I was watching one of those "cook-off" shows on the Food Network the other night. It was something about a great cake bake-off or something along those lines. Anyway, one of the ladies used an old family recipe that called for tomato soup in the cake. I thought it sounded odd, but the reasons she gave for using this strange ingredient made some sense. As I was rifling through a mountain of recipes for this column, I happened upon this one. Seems that way back when, folks used tomato soup as an ingredient in cakes. Apparently it goes well with the spices used in the recipe. The soup eliminates the need for milk and helps to maintain a smooth, moistness to the cake. You give it a try, and let me know what you think!
Tomato Soup Cake
1 and three-fourths cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
one-half tsp. ground cinnamon
one-half tsp. ground cloves
one-half tsp. ground nutmeg
one-half cup shortening
1 can (10.5 oz.) condensed tomato soup
2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 (8 inch) round layer pans. Sift dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Add shortening and half of the soup. Beat on medium speed for two minutes. Add remaining soup and eggs. Beat two minutes more scraping bowl often. Pour batter into pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand in pans for 10 minutes; remove and cool on rack. Frost with your favorite cream cheese or white frosting. Variation: To add nuts or raisins fold in one cup of either and proceed as directed.
Next week, I plan to look into some other historic recipes. Look for a recipe for an old-fashioned Coca-Cola Cake and for a root beer cake. If you've got an old family favorite you'd like to share, please get it to us.
Until next week, eat your vegetables – whether they are in a salad or a cake. Happy eating!