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Kitchen is place for work and baking favorite desserts

By Travis Svihovec

To Danielle McCollam’s way of thinking, if a dish is worth eating it’s worth making from scratch.
“If I’m having chicken alfredo, I want homemade chicken alfredo,” she said. “I won’t eat mac and cheese from a box.”
Danielle is dining services manager at Golden LivingCenter in Mobridge, a job she started about a month ago. She’s a 2008 graduate of Mobridge High School and holds a degree in hospitality management from South Dakota State University. She comes back to Mobridge by way of Nantucket, Mass., where she did an internship after college, and Bismarck, N.D., where she worked at a hotel for nine months.
As dining services manager, Danielle orders groceries, plans and reviews menus, oversees the kitchen staff, and steps in to help in the kitchen when needed.
“Learning to cook in a big kitchen is way different than at home,” she said. “Just the scale of it. Cooking for 98 people is different than cooking for yourself.”
At home, Danielle likes to cook and she likes to experiment. She’s not one to use the barbecue grill much, but she makes casseroles and specializes in desserts.
“I love to bake desserts,” she said. “Cupcakes, cookies.”
The cupcake recipe won’t come from the back of the box. She’ll go to Pinterest or other sources to find unique recipes.
“In college, my roommates liked living with me because I love baking,” Danielle said.
Oddly, her only cooking mishap was with a dessert. She followed instructions, including leaving the cheesecake in a springform pan for half an hour. It wasn’t enough. When she removed it, the cheesecake ran all over, leading her to believe any cheesecake should cool for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Danielle said she’s passionate about customer service. Her first job with those duties was at the Wrangler Inn in Mobridge. She also worked as a bartender and store clerk during her college years. Every job she’s had, she said, involved customer service.
“In college they said not everyone is cut out to be in customer service,” she said. “That’s hard for me to understand because they’re coming to spend money with you.”
Her job at Golden LivingCenter includes customer service. She makes herself available to hear what the residents think of the meals.
“They can suggest, tell me what they like or don’t like,” she said.
Danielle took some cooking classes in college, including one in which teams had to plan, budget, advertise and cook a meal for a large group. She also took a class that taught kitchen set-up, even though she never thought she’d run a kitchen. She wanted to work in a hotel and liked the event planning duties, but some jobs in a hotel just weren’t for her.
After graduating from SDSU, Danielle completed an internship at a yacht club on Nantucket. The menu there included seafood every day, and appearance was everything.
“It was like nothing I’d ever seen in South Dakota,” she said.
Outside of work, Danielle likes to spend time with her mom and brother. She also cooks for her boyfriend of four years, John Dady.
“He’s a good sport. He’ll eat whatever I make,” she said. “He’s a good cook, too.”

DANIELLE McCOLLAM’S RECIPES

“Everything but the Kitchen Sink” Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (3.5-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips (1 cup milk chocolate and 1 cup semisweet)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup M&M’s
1/2 cup Reese’s Pieces
Preheat oven to 375F.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add pudding mix, eggs and vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips and remaining candy.
Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool on wire racks.

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes
For the cinnamon sugar swirl:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. cinnamon
Combine the melted butter, sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir until combined. Set aside.
For the cupcake batter:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350F and line two muffin pans with cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk until well combined.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until combined, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.
Gradually add the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined, scraping sides of bowl as necessary, being careful not to overmix.
Scoop about 1 Tbsp. of cupcake batter into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Add a little bit of the Cinnamon-Sugar-Swirl mixture on top and swirl with a toothpick. Add another tablespoon of cupcake batter. Top with additional Cinnamon-Sugar-Swirl mixture and swirl again with a toothpick.
For the streusel topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. cinnamon
Combine the flour, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Blend ingredients together using a pastry cutter.
Divide streusel topping evenly over the top of all 24 cupcakes. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cupcakes cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to finish cooling. Once cupcakes are completely cool, drizzle the glaze over top.
For the glaze:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbsp. milk
Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Remove pan from heat and add confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. Gradually add in milk and stir until you reach desired consistency. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze back and forth over the cupcakes.

White Chicken Enchiladas
10 soft taco shells
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13 pan. Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese. Roll up in tortillas and place in pan.
In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
Stir in sour cream and chilies. Do not bring to boil, you don’t want curdled sour cream. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
Bake 22 min. and then under high broil for 3 min. to brown the cheese.

 

 

Danielle McCollam is the dining services manager at Golden LivingCenter. Part of her job involves overseeing kitchen staff but at home the kitchen is where she gets to bake desserts.

Danielle McCollam is the dining services manager at Golden LivingCenter. Part of her job involves overseeing kitchen staff but at home the kitchen is where she gets to bake desserts.