Cook’s talents challenged with every child’s birthday

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By Sandy Bond

Stephanie, A.J., Ella, Logan and Justin Dame

Stephanie, A.J., Ella, Logan and Justin Dame

One of Stephanie Dame’s most memorable and largest baking projects, she said, was a birthday cake she baked and decorated for son A.J.: a Mack dump truck.  With each successive birthday of her three children, she tries to outdo herself, getting a little more creative each year.
As circulation manager and customer service representative, Stephanie is a new addition to the Mobridge Tribune and Bridge City Publishing team. Husband Justin is employed by the City of Mobridge Water Department. They and children Logan, 2, Ella, 3, and A.J., 6, live in Mobridge where Ella attends Head Start and A.J., kindergarten at Freeman Davis School.
“My mentors in the kitchen are my mom, grandmother and great-grandmother Ruth,” she said. “They are all excellent cooks, and I remember them as always cooking, baking, and canning.”
She recalls her mom cooking up a big pot of potato soup, “which we would eat on for the entire week,” she said.
Her great grandmother Ruth excelled in lefsa and melt-in-your mouth sugar cookies.
“The kids and I love baking sugar cookies which we have cut out in fun shapes and bake together,” she said.
They may have flour all over the kitchen, but in addition to munchies, they have created memories that will last a lifetime.
Stephanie and her brother, Kyle Neuharth, the children of Jane Rassmussen, grew up in Huron where their mom owned and operated Razzel Dazzle Cleaning and was employed by Banner Engineering. After graduating from Huron High School, she received an associates degree in applied science from Lake Area Vocational Technical Institute in Watertown, and is licensed as a physical therapist assistant.
Cooking and baking and trying new recipes are equally intriguing, but goulash is her favorite when pressed for time, she said.
One of her favorite appliances is her slow cooker.
“It’s so nice to be able to come home after work and dinner is ready,” she said.
Freshly baked rolls and bread from scratch take a little extra time, she said, but are totally worth it!
“I haven’t always liked to bake,” she said, “and I remember making cookies and forgetting them in the oven. They were burned beyond recognition.”
They have two miniature dachshunds, Josie and Henry, and a chocolate Labrador retriever, Molly.
In addition, she belongs to the education board of the family’s church and teaches Sunday School.
Artistic in nature, Stephanie enjoys photography and also sewing.  She loves to listen to the ballads of Trace Atkins and become immersed in a great read by Mary Higgins Clark.
Nurturing a garden for the last two years, she’s is proud to say that this year’s was twice the size of her first.
Steph said salsa and ketchup always taste better when they come from your own tomatoes. Extra beets are canned, she said, and zucchini and peppers both freeze well.
Fresh peas are delicious right from the pod and rarely make it to the house much less the table, she said.
(If you want to be our Cook of the Week or know a good candidate, please contact Katie at 845-3646 or email at sandybond@hotmail.com.)

STEPHANIE DAME’S RECIPES

 Heaven Cupcakes
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk (or whole milk)
Nutella
Mix butter and sugar, and  then add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Mix water and milk together. Mix all dry ingredients together. Add milk mixture and dry ingredients, alternating until all added and mix well. Put in cupcake tin and bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
Once cooled, cut a cone out of the middle of each cupcake and fill with Nutella and replace top (can cut the point off so it fits better).

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
1/2 cup butter
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup sour cream
Melt butter and chocolate, stir occasionally. Pour into a mixing bowl, whisk in cocoa, vanilla. Whisk in 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/3 cup sour cream. Then add remaining 1 cup sugar and remaining sour cream to spreadable consistency.
Frost cupcakes and enjoy!

Rosemary Grilled Chicken
1 garlic clove, pressed (I just smash it with my knife)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 lbs chicken (I prefer skinless breasts)
1/2 lemon
Combine first 7 ingredients in a Ziploc bag, add chicken and coat chicken. Chill in refrigerator for 1-24 hrs. Place chicken on grill and cook until done. Place chicken on tin foil, squeeze lemon juice on and fold to cover chicken. Let stand 10 minutes.

Drunken Pork Chops
5-6 pork chops
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bottle or can of beer (darker the better)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
Sauce:
1 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
Put a little bit of olive oil (or oil of your choice) in the bottom of a skillet. Season the chops with salt and pepper, then brown on both sides. While pork chops are browning, combine brown sugar, ketchup and beer, whisk together. Pour mixture over the pork chops and simmer for 40-45 minutes. Remove pork chops. Thicken sauce by adding cornstarch mixture to boiling sauce, whisking so there are no lumps. Put pork chops back in thickened sauce, and flip to coat. Serve over mashed potatoes or rice.  (I reduced the brown sugar by not quite half due to it being too sweet for me.)

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