Cambrian: Opinion

Guest writers are welcome in the Culinary Corner

Linda Tonkinson’s blueberry casserole took its place on the dessert buffet at the Gulseth-Macedo Easter feast.
Linda Tonkinson’s blueberry casserole took its place on the dessert buffet at the Gulseth-Macedo Easter feast. Special to The Cambrian

Every year about this time, I celebrate my anniversary in the Culinary Corner, and this will be my 17th. I can hardly believe it! On each of the major milestones, I wonder how long it has been, and how long I can sustain the excitement with you. Case in point — can I keep meeting deadlines for three more years and make it to my 20th?

Along the way, I have called upon friends to fill in as guest chefs, and now is as good a time as any. Please contact me if you’d like to try your hand at producing a 500-word column, with anecdotes and at least one recipe. Who knows? It may turn into a good opportunity for you to succeed me in the Corner.

I have heard from our old friend, Linda Tonkinson — not so old but certainly much beloved when she moved on to Arkansas with hubby Russ. We could always count on her for something special, so here we go again. Many thanks, Linda.

Lemon Chicken Supper

2 tblsp. olive oil

About 12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces

Salt and pepper

2 tsp. lemon zest

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

12 ounces any short pasta like Penne

4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

1 cup of peas, thawed

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven or deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with about 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper, and cook in the oil until golden brown on all sides, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the lemon juice to the pan, scraping up the brown bits, then pour this over the reserved chicken in the bowl.

Add the broth and pasta to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Return the chicken and any juices to the pan and continue to cook until the pasta is tender, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese, stirring to melt, then fold in the peas, lemon zest and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Linda adds, “This takes about 20 minutes, so I suggest you prepare all the ingredients before you start cooking. When you are done, there is only one pot to wash; and the meat, starch, vegetable and sauce are all there. Serve with a salad and some crusty French bread; the lemony taste is really good!”

Blueberry Breakfast Casserole

3 croissants, cut up into bite-size pieces

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

2 large eggs

8 ounces cream cheese

2/3 cup sugar

1 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

Place croissants and blueberries in a medium-sized greased casserole dish. In a pour bowl, mix the remaining ingredients and beat with a hand mixer. Pour mixture over croissant/blueberries. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 35-40 minutes. Sift confectioners sugar lightly over casserole before serving. (Cook’s note: Mmmmmmm)

Consuelo Macedo’s column is special to The Cambrian, and appears on the third Thursday of every month.

Consuelo Macedo’s column is special to The Cambrian. Submit recipes and ideas to her at The Cambrian, 2068 Main St., Cambria, CA 93428, or email her at cambrian@thetribune