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The Best: Thanks for the memories

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Food column by Mary Alice Holt

By Mary Alice Holt

OK, I’ve got good news and bad news. I’m getting ready to retire, and this will be my last food column. I am so excited about the prospect of getting to spend more time with my grandchildren, but, at the same time, I will miss all of you who I’ve gotten to know through writing a food column and working on the Community News Team here for many, many years.

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But I’ve got some more good news. Becca Owsley, a features writer here at The News-Enterprise, is going to take over the column. Becca not only is a great writer, she’s a fantastic cook, too. She brings in goodies for us to try on a pretty regular basis, and I know she frequently is cooking for some of the youth at Severns Valley Baptist Church. Just last week she brought in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cake that now is probably my favorite cake. I know she’ll be running that recipe in a couple weeks, so you’re in for a real treat.

I wanted to close out the column by reprinting what I really think might be my favorite recipes – Shish-Ka-Bob and Lemon Rice. I got these recipes from Pappas Greek Restaurant in Tarpon Springs, Fla., soon after my husband and I got married, so it would have been more than 40 years ago. His folks lived in Florida at the time.

I’ve served the Shish-Ka-Bob for Easter dinner just about every year since then. It’s perfect with the lemon rice. I usually use beef tenderloin because some folks don’t like lamb, but it’s great with either. We always have my sisters and their families for Easter dinner, too, so I make a ton of this and then enjoy the leftovers for a few days. I never seem to make this any other time of year, even though it’s my favorite; maybe because I want to keep it special in my mind.

You folks who I’ve gotten to know through my job here at The News-Enterprise over the last 22-plus years will always be special in my mind, too. Thank you so much for the recipes you’ve shared, your kind words and your friendship. I will cherish them always.

Mary Alice Holt can be reached at (270) 505-1751 or at maholt@thenewsenterprise.com.

Shish-Ka-Bob

3 pounds boneless leg of lamb or beef tenderloin

1 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons oregano

1 medium onion, quartered

3 bay leaves

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

3 green peppers, quartered and seeded

12 cocktail tomatoes

12 slices or chunks of onion

Cut meat into about 18 to 24 pieces. Combine oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, quartered onion, bay leaves, garlic and parsley and pour the mixture over the meat. Marinate in refrigerator several hours or overnight. I always do that part on the Saturday before Easter then just pull it out of the refrigerator when I’m ready to grill it on Easter. Put meat, green peppers, cocktail tomatoes and slices or chunks of onions on skewers and broil on the grill.

Serves 6 to 8 persons.
 

Lemon Rice

2½ cups canned chicken broth

½ teaspoon salt (optional; if broth is salted you might not need it)

1 clove garlic, slightly crushed

1 cup long grain rice

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (yellow part of the peel)

2 tablespoons fresh dill or ½ teaspoon dried (I always get fresh dill)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat broth, salt and garlic to boiling in heavy pan. Stir in rice; cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon zest and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the garlic. Gently stir in dill and butter. Season to taste with pepper. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.