Cooking school fun, educational

Those attending the Taste of Home Cooking School know about the tempting dishes prepared from the stage of the Serbian American Cultural Center on April 2.

For those not in attendance, we want to give you the opportunity to know about the great recipes as well.

Michael Barna, culinary specialist for the magazine, was informational and entertaining as he prepared the food with the camera rolling.

His first recipe was for a raspberry barbecue sauce, tangy sweet with balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. He presented it as a door prize gift, along with a loaf of crusty bread, a Mason jar of honey almond butter and another jar of all-American rub.

Raspberry-Barbecue Sauce

3 garlic cloves, peeled

1/4 teaspoon olive oil

1 1/4 cups unsweetened raspberries

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1 teaspoon molasses

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Dash onion powder

Place garlic on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil; drizzle with oil. Wrap foil around garlic. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool for 10-15 minutes. Place softened garlic in a small saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes until sauce is thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat; cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor; cover and process until smooth. Strain seeds. Store in the refrigerator. Makes four servings.

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Here is the flavored butter that would go well on bagels or breakfast muffins.

Honey Almond Butter

1 cup butter softened

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

In a small bowl, beat the butter, honey, brown sugar and extract until light and fluffy. Transfer to a sheet of plastic wrap; roll into a log. Refrigerate until chilled. Unwrap and slice or place on a butter dish. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

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This is a rub that would be great on any grilled meat.

All-American Rub

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons dried minced onion

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients; store in an airtight container. Rub over meat or poultry; cover and refrigerate for up to four hours before grilling or broiling. Makes 3/4 cup.

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The making of pot stickers was impressive as Barna used a crimping press that sealed the dumplings and made them look attractive, but he showed how they can be pinched together with the fingers as well.

Italian Sausage Pot Stickers

1 tablespoon canola oil, more for pan frying

3 cups napa cabbage, thick center vein removed, finely chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 large egg, slightly beaten

16 ounces Johnsonville Italian ground sausage

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or finely minced

1 medium carrot, shredded

3 green onions, finely chopped

Two 14-ounce packages Gyoza pot sticker wrappers

Small bowl of water for sealing the wrap

Cook the finely chopped cabbage and salt in 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the cabbage to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess moisture and allow to cool.

Whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil and egg in a large bowl. Mix in sausage, ginger, carrot, green onions and reserved cabbage. Using the hands or two large wooden spoons, combine all ingredients until evenly blended.

On a dry, clean surface, lay out a few wrappers, working quickly so they do not dry up. Keep remaining wrappers covered with a damp paper towel.

Place 1 rounded teaspoon filling mixture onto each wrapper. Brush edge with water and fold into a half moon to seal. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the dumplings, seam side up, and cook 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, cover and let steam 8 to 10 minutes. Cook the dumplings a few minutes longer with the lid off if they are sticking to the pan. Repeat with other half of the dumplings. Slide pot stickers onto a platter and serve with a favorite dipping sauce. Makes 60 pot stickers.

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This looked like a recipe I would try and it would be approved by the McCoy family members. It is small red potatoes that have been cooked and the insides scooped out and mixed with cheese, bacon, sour cream, egg and spices. Barna suggested using a melon scooper to remove the insides in a neat circle.

Stuffed Baby Red Potatoes

24 small red potatoes, about 2 1/2 pounds

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

1/2 cup crumbled, cooked bacon, divided

2/3 cup sour cream

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon paprika

Scrub potatoes; place in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain. When cool enough to handle, cut a thin slice off the top of each potato. Scoop out pulp, leaving a thin shell. Cut thin slices from potato bottoms to level if necessary. In a large bowl, mash potato tops and pulp with butter. Set aside 2 tablespoons each of cheese and bacon for garnish; add remaining cheese and bacon to potatoes. Stir in the sour cream, egg, salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into potato shells. Top with remaining cheese and bacon; sprinkle with paprika. Place in an ungreased 15-by-10-inch baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-18 minutes or until heated through. Makes 2 dozen.

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Barna said this recipe was made by a cook who had some extra mango on hand and decided to add it to a lime pie that she was making.

It turned out to be a hit, and she sent the recipe to the Taste of Home magazine. It is a freezer pie and excellent to make in the warm summer months.

Mango Lime Pie

Graham cracker crust

3 cups chopped mango, fresh or frozen and thawed

1 tablespoon lime zest

1/4 cup lime juice

14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled

Finely chopped mango and lime zest curls to garnish

Blend the mango, lime zest, lime juice and sweetened condensed milk in a food processor until smooth. In a separate bowl, whip the cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold the cream into the mango mixture with a spatula.

Spoon the filling into the graham cracker crust and freeze, covered, for 3 hours or until firm. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before garnishing and slicing. Makes eight servings.

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Pineapple upside down cake has been a dessert favorite for many years.

Now the Taste of Home Cooking School has turned it into large cupcakes with a cake that is moist with sour cream and carmelized with brown sugar.

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

6 tablespoons butter, cubed

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Small pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices

12 maraschino cherries, well drained

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup canola oil

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Line bottom of 12 greased jumbo muffin cups with waxed paper; grease the paper and set aside. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat; stir in brown sugar and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat. Spoon 1 tablespoon into each muffin cup; top with a pineapple slice and a cherry in the middle. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thickened and lemon-colored.

Beat in the oil, sour cream and vanilla until smooth. combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to egg mixture and mix well. Full muffin cups two-thirds full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely.

Garnish with whipped topping if desired. Makes 12.

Note: I would use a can of sliced pineapple, removing excess moisture with a paper towel instead of the fresh pineapple.

I’m not good at peeling a pineapple.

(McCoy can be contacted at