Frank’s cooking has no shortcuts

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Friendly and personable with a kind word for everyone he meets, Frank Gross is a bit like Will Rogers: he hasn’t met a person he hasn’t liked. As a student of English, he hasn’t met a novel that he hasn’t liked, though he concedes he isn’t quite as fond of poetry or historical fiction. And as a cook and of German and Norwegian heritage, he hasn’t met an ethnic cuisine that he hasn’t liked, either.
Frank has loved his job as an optical manager associate with Wal-Mart at Pierre. He was fond of the patrons he served and also his co-workers. But as a resident of Selby, he found he was becoming more and more fond of life in Walworth County.
“I belong to the Yelduz Shrine Temple in Mobridge, the Yelduz Chanters (where he sings first tenor) and I’m a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Mobridge,” he said. And as customer service representative with the Mobridge Tribune and Bridge City Publishing, he is eagerly embracing a new phase of his life.
The oldest son of Frank, Sr. and Marlene Gross, Frank and his younger brother Edward grew up in Bradley, near Clark, where his dad was employed in construction. Receiving his bachelor’s degree with a major in psychology and a minor in English in 2004, Frank aspired to go into guidance and counseling. He began his career with Wal-Mart in the Yankton store. He was employed temporarily with the State of South Dakota in Pierre before accepting employment as optical manager at the Pierre store. He has been commuting from his home in Selby for three and a half years, five days a week, 300 miles a day and two deer/car collisions.
As his mom was disabled when he was growing up, he recalls helping a lot in the kitchen.
“And, of course, we had home economics in high school in Clark,” he said.
Still, his two grandmothers were huge influences on teaching him the basics of how to cook and make cooking fun.
Real German cooking is not the “doughy” food we Midwesterners think of it as, he said.
“Real German cooking may include bratwurst, but not encased in bread,” he said. “My grandmother served bratwurst with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut.”
He’s been itching to try his maternal grandmother Bjerke’s legendary sauerkraut but is still searching for a good old-fashioned eight-gallon salt-glazed stoneware crock.
Slow cookers, he feels, just aren’t the same. In fact, he’s just not too enthralled with slow cooker cuisine at all.
“If I’m going to take bragging rights for my cooking,” he said, “I’m just not going to take short-cuts.”
His sweet rolls are absolutely made from scratch and he modestly admits they are pretty good!
“I’m not fussy,” he said. “I’m just selective about my cooking.”
While attending USD, he and his roommates decided to cook a sit-down Thanksgiving dinner and each of their families were invited.
“One guy’s attitude was to ‘fly by the seat of his pants,’ but you’d think our girl roommate might have been the perfectionist,” he said. “Sorry! She actually could burn water! Dinner turned out to be my responsibility, and it actually turned out OK. Everyone was surprised that I even made the stuffing from scratch.”
And he’s equally intrigued with preparing the perfect pizza as the perfect pasta.
“Italian cooking is all about the right spices,” he said.
In his spare time, he enjoys his white Siberian husky, Riley James.
“To be honest, I’m more enthusiastic about avoiding the results of not dog-walking than I actually am about dog-walking,” he said.
His tastes in literature tend to run to science fiction with early 20th century author Isaac Asimov as his favorite science fiction author. Asimov is probably most memorable for his “Galactic Empire” and “Robot” series. Frank also enjoys novels by contemporary horror novelist Stephen King with “The Stand” being one of his favorites. He also admires the writing style of New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris (Schulz) probably best known for her “The Southern Vampire” mysteries series.
Frank was first published while still in high school. He wrote a play with a foundation formed from Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD).
He loves hiking and camping. And now that he has fewer hours committed to commuting, he hopes to pursue the educational curriculum hours.

 

Frank Gross’ Recipes

Portobello Penne Pasta Casserole
1 (8 ounce) pkg. uncooked penne pasta
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 lb. Portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried basil
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (10 ounce) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/4 cup soy sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place pasta in the pot, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the mushrooms, cook 1 minute, and set aside. Melt margarine in the saucepan. Mix in flour, garlic, and basil. Gradually mix in milk until thickened. Stir in 1 cup cheese until melted. Remove saucepan from heat, and mix in cooked pasta, mushrooms, spinach, and soy sauce. Transfer to the prepared baking dish, and top with remaining cheese. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly and lightly brown.

Caramel Cinnamon Rolls
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 – 115 degrees)
1/2 cup lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup softened shortening
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 1/2 – 4 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Stir in milk, sugar, shortening, salt, egg and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Add it a little at a time, so you don’t get too much. Cover; let dough rise in warm place about 1 hour, kneading every 15 minutes. Roll dough into rectangle 15 x 9 inches on a lightly greased or floured surface. Spread with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon (however much you prefer) and about 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Roll up tightly, beginning at 15-inch side. Cut into 1 1/2 inch slices. Place slightly apart on greased and caramel lined (recipe follows) 9 x 13 inch pan. Let rise until double in size. Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Caramel for Sweet Rolls
1/3 cup butter
1 Tbsp. corn syrup
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cream or milk
Melt butter. Add remaining ingredients and heat until all bubbling. Pour into greased 9 x 13 inch pan.

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