Friday, March 27, 2009

Biting into a Charleston Chew

While visiting historic Charleston, South Carolina, I picked up a Charleston Chew, a candy bar I assumed had a connection to the city.

Wrong. The treat was launched by the Fox-Cross Candy Company in 1922, during the popular dance craze – the Charleston. I imagine the makers realized the bars force one's jaw to do a little jig.

Nabisco purchased rights in 1980 and Tootsie added the Chew to their line in 1993. Five years later, they created Charleston Mini Chews, bite-size servings resembling Milk Duds.

So what is a Charleston Chew? According to the confectioner : “A chewy, nougat wrapped in a rich, chocolatety coating.” The bars come in three flavors: chocolate, strawberry and vanilla., although banana was once an option.

Many people like to freeze the candy and break it into small pieces prior to eating. This makes the nougat more like toffee, causing it to morph in your mouth. For me, this is the only method that makes the sweet worth eating.

Good news for anyone watching their calories. Charleston Chews are relatively low cal and low fat. And, they last a long time, especially if you eat them frozen.

Back in my trick-or-treating days, these little bars were popular with people handing out Halloween candy, but not with the kids. I admit, I usually tried to trade mine away. “Anyone want all my Charleston Chews for one Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup?”

Today, I’m still not a fan of the candy but crave the city of Charleston.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Cabbage Casserole for St. Patrick’s Day

My son Steve celebrates his birthday along with the Irish—on St. Patrick’s Day. Here is recipe from my files; one I used to serve at his family party when he was a wee lad. You can make the dish a day ahead and refrigerate overnight.

Because daughter Laura adores pigs and won’t eat any pork products, I no longer make this recipe. I respect her passion, but admit, I'm craving a bite. I hope you make this casserole and enjoy.

Cabbage Casserole
From Marlene Sorosky’s Year-Round Holiday Cookbook

3 heads cabbage (approximately 4 pounds total weight)
1 pound bacon, chopped into 1” pieces
¾ cup chicken broth
Three 10-ounce packages frozen French-style green beans
2 envelopes dry onion soup mix
½ teaspoon pepper
Salt- if needed

Cut cabbage into thin slices; do not shred. Set aside. In large skillet, fry bacon over moderate heat; stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towel and pour dripping into a measuring cup. Reserve 1/3 cup drippings. Pour chicken broth into skillet. Bring to a boil; add green beans, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are thawed. Add cabbage, onion soup mix, and 1/3 cup bacon drippings. Stir well, cover and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes or until cabbage is cooked but still crisp. Stir in bacon and pepper. Turn into a 9 by 13” casserole.

At this point you may refrigerate the casserole overnight.

Before serving, bring to room temperature. Cover casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.

This recipe serves 16. If making only half, use 2 packages of green beans.