When she lived in Libertyville, Ill., a suburb just north of Chicago, Terrie Snell had a huge kitchen, its pantry shelves lined with jars of home-preserved berries, sweet peas and carrots. Just outside was a 40-foot-square garden plot, where she grew many of the family's vegetables.
Now she lives in Van Nuys, cooking in an apartment kitchen. But tiny as it is, Snell's kitchen is still busy. For her, a cook is a cook forever.
"I love to play in the kitchen," she says as she offers tastes of her pumpkin bread and banana-nut bread. "It's great to welcome people to the table."
Snell learned to cook from her great-grandmother, who had herself learned to cook while running a restaurant in the late 1880s. "She would live with us in the summertime," Snell recalls. "She did everything by hand, and she did not measure. And I got used to cooking that way.
"I remember when I was 7, we made stollen. We had this huge long table in the kitchen, and she would set the stages (of cooking). She would help me mush the eggs and flour.
"I was exuberant," she says, laughing, "I liked to beat the hell out of that bread. I did."
She talks about her great rhubarb bread, a recipe from a friend at the Libertyville Women's Garden Club. "I had rhubarb growing and I would make rhubarb pies and rhubarb sauces. I also planted peas, beans, cabbage, beets and carrots."
In addition to cooking, Snell has always been interested in drama. After she appeared as little Kevin's Aunt Leslie in the hit movie "Home Alone," she decided to take a chance on Hollywood. She packed up the rebuilt '78 Buick given to her as a birthday present by her younger son and headed west. She will next appear as Mrs. Tetman, a nasty neighbor, in the forthcoming "Amityville V."
But Snell is still a Midwesterner at heart. She opens the refrigerator; right inside are jars of her own apple butter, made of the fruit from her family's trees. "There's just something so wholesome about it," she says, "seeing them lined up on the shelf. It gives you a healthy feeling, knowing that you made those yourself."
TERRIE'S STUFFED PORK CHOPS
1/2 cup butter or margarine, about
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup apple juice or white Zinfandel
1 (6-ounce) package sage and onion stuffing or other herb-seasoned stuffing
1 cup prepared sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
4 thick pork chops with pockets cut
8 slices (6 to 8 ounces) light or baby Swiss cheese
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Melt 4 to 6 tablespoons butter in water in saucepan. Add apple juice and pour over stuffing. Mix in sauerkraut, if desired. Toss and set aside.
Season inside pockets and outside surfaces of pork chops with salt and pepper to taste. Line pocket of each pork chop with 1 slice baby Swiss cheese. Fill each pork chop with 1/4 to 1/2 cup stuffing and secure with wood picks.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium heat and brown chops on both sides. Arrange chops in 13x9-inch casserole. Saute mushrooms in pork drippings, adding small amount butter if needed.
Fill open spaces in casserole with remaining stuffing. Top each chop with 1 slice of Swiss cheese. Sprinkle with half of Parmesan cheese and mushrooms. Mix mushroom soup with milk and spoon over chops and stuffing. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees 45 minutes, or until cheese melts and dish is golden brown. Serve with chilled applesauce, if desired. Makes 4 servings.
Each serving contains about:
1,293 calories; 2,207 mg sodium; 233 mg cholesterol; 92 grams fat; 30 grams carbohydrates; 58 grams protein; .8 gram fiber; 64% calories from fat.
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 tablespoon soft butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Combine brown sugar and oil in bowl. Stir well until smooth. Stir in egg, buttermilk, salt, baking soda, vanilla and flour. Blend until moist. Fold in rhubarb and nuts. Turn batter into 2 (8x4-inch) loaf pans.
Combine butter and granulated sugar until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 degrees 50 to 55 minutes or until wood pick inserted in center comes out dry. Turn onto racks. Cool before slicing. Makes about 20 slices per loaf, 2 slices per serving.
Two slices contains about:
456 calories; 292 mg sodium; 25 mg cholesterol; 21 grams fat; 65 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams protein; 0 fiber; 41% calories from fat.
ANGEL HAIR PASTA PARADISE
8 to 10 ounces angel hair pasta or thin vermicelli
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup butter or margarine
4 large cloves garlic (or 6 to 8 small cloves), pressed
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 cup diced sweet red or yellow pepper
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes or 1 cup chopped fresh
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 to 8 ounces small shrimp or bite-sized chicken meat, optional
6 to 8 medium mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or more to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with olive oil.
Melt butter in skillet. Add garlic and onion and saute until onion is tender. Add sweet pepper. Add parsley flakes and white wine. Pour mixture over pasta and toss until blended. Add shrimp, mushrooms and cheese. Toss and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Each serving, without shrimp, contains about:
635 calories; 474 mg sodium; 72 mg cholesterol; 41 grams fat; 49 grams carbohydrates; 14 grams protein; .7 gram fiber; 58% calories from fat.