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Fox Valley Cooks: Lemon Bread to share

Phyllis Kramer zests lemmake traditional lembread served at
the
annual AurorHistorical Society House Garden Walk.

Phyllis Kramer zests lemon to make the traditional lemon bread served at the annual Aurora Historical Society House and Garden Walk.

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Lemon Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1-1/2 cups flour

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon rind

Topping:

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In separate bowl mix flour, salt and baking powder together. Add flour mixture by thirds to the creamed mixture, alternating with milk. Mix at low speed until evenly mixed. Add lemon rind and mix gently. Pour into a greased or parchment-lined 8-1/2-by-4-1/2-inch loaf pan or bake in smaller size pans, if desired.

Bake at 325 for about 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. To make topping, mix lemon juice and sugar. The sugar will not dissolve. Spoon mixture evenly over bread while still warm.

Remove bread from pan in about an hour. Continue to completely cool on a wire rack. May be frozen.

Cooks wanted

Know someone who really likes to cook and is good at it? Contact columnist Judy Buchenot at Buchenot@comcast.net.

Updated: August 29, 2012 2:22PM



Phyllis Kramer loves to entertain. For several years, she has stepped up to the task of organizing the refreshments for the Aurora Historical Society’s annual House and Garden Walk.

“We provide the people who come with little ‘somethings’ they can eat while standing up,” she says. “We try to have something sweet and something savory, which is always a good plan. We also try to make everything homemade and attractive.”

The two items that always are served each year are lemon bread and cucumber sandwiches.

“When we were trying to decide on a bread, we decided pumpkin was too much like fall and banana was too heavy,” she says. “The lemon bread is perfect for this late summer event. It is really almost a lemon cake.”

When Kramer was still a home economics teacher at West Aurora High School, her committee would join her for a lemon bread bake-off in the many kitchens at the school. With everyone baking, multiple loaves of the tasty bread were done quickly.

The cucumber sandwiches are made right before the event. Kramer says the key to a tasty cucumber sandwich is using flavored cream cheese. She often mixes a packet of powdered zesty Italian salad dressing mix into a pound of softened cream cheese. She then adds two teaspoons of fresh dill.

“You have to taste it. If it still needs some zip, add a little lemon juice,” she suggests.

The cream cheese is spread onto cocktail rye slices and topped with a thin cucumber slice.

“They disappear as fast as we make them,” Kramer notes.

Although she is retired from her 38 years of teaching, Kramer is still active in culinary education. She leads cooking classes at Prisco Foods in Aurora several times a year and serves as a Butterball Turkey Talk Line expert during November and December. She recalls one caller who told her that the turkey had no meat on it.

“I couldn’t understand how this could be, but then I had an idea,” Kramer says. “I told the caller to turn the turkey over.

The caller did just that and was relieved to find plenty of meat for their Thanksgiving dinner.

Kramer loves to try new entertaining ideas like using small glasses to serve “shooter-”sized portions. She purchased several dozen votive glasses with straight sides that are perfect for serving appetizer portions of soup or for mini-dessert flights. Kramer also bakes her quick breads like the lemon bread in small pans so the slices are easier to handle.

For a quick dessert, Kramer suggests topping a slice of lemon bread with fresh sliced peaches and blueberries. Add a touch of whipped cream and serve a delicious summer dessert.

Another interesting way to dress up foods for guests is to mix fresh basil and olive oil in a food processor. Kramer uses the fragrant oil as a topping for grilled vegetables or for salad dressing.

Kramer encourages others to try inviting friends over for an evening.

“Your home is really the best place to be with friends,” she says. “Bring out your best dishes and share your favorite foods or make it a potluck. It’s not only about the food. It is about being together.”

She shares the recipe for the lemon bread served at the House and Garden Walk and encourages everyone to attend this special annual event.

Know someone who really likes to cook and is good at it? Contact columnist Judy Buchenot at Buchenot@comcast.net.

At A Glance

What: This year’s annual Aurora Historical Society House and Garden Walk will include six homes, two historic churches and two gardens. Featured homes include Craftsman, Italianate, Cape Cod, Georgian Revival and Bungalow styles of architecture. Refreshments are served after the walk.

When: Noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 16

Where: Homes are along the West Downer Place corridor, and refreshments will be served at New England Congregational Church, 406 W. Galena Blvd.

Who: Hosted by the Aurora Historical Society as an annual fundraiser

Tickets: $25 and $20 for AHS members and can be purchased at www.aurorahistory.net



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