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Cook's Corner

Get a copy
“70 Savory Suppers – Junior League of Fort Wayne’s Celebration of 70 Years” is $20 and available at Fort Wayne Museum of Art gift shop, 311 E. Main St., from a Junior League member, or online at
Diane Parker | The Journal Gazette
Christine Marcuccilli helped assemble the Junior League cookbook.

Junior League cooks up delicious cookbook

– Betsy Perry Patton admits that she has zero talent in the kitchen, but it didn’t stop her from getting involved with the Junior League’s latest endeavor.

The marketing and public relations and events coordinator for Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana volunteered to market “70 Savory Suppers – Junior League of Fort Wayne’s Celebration of 70 Years.”

The cookbook celebrates the organization’s 70th anniversary and was compiled by a 10-member cookbook committee.

“Connie Heflin was board president at the time, and she said, ‘Let’s do this,’ ” says Christine Marcuccilli who acted as chair of the committee. “It fell together easily. I jumped on the committee.”

The binder-style cookbook comes with a stand and features photos, some taken by committee members, of scenes including the Allen County Courthouse, Science Central, Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Early Childhood Alliance and Matthew 25 Health and Dental Clinic.

The cookbook contains 312 recipes and a section of menu ideas.

“There’s 10 themes and a week’s worth (of menus) for each theme. I think the committee favorite was Snack the Buffet,” says Marcuccilli, director of the office of Institutional Equity at IPFW.

She and Perry Patton, 32, have tried, and enjoyed, many of the recipes.

“I’ve personally made or tasted about half of the recipes in this book. I love a lot of the recipes. I know one dish that’s been popular, the Wasabi Smashed Potatoes. They’re not hot, just good flavor,” Marcuccilli says.

Marcuccilli and her husband, Ralph, have five children. She says she appreciated their help with the taste testing.

“The kids would rate it a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. I think a lot of husbands were glad when the cookbook was done.”

Marcuccilli said the project had such good support, the committee had to cut about 100 recipes. “We have one celebrity recipe from Chef Aaron Rothgeb of Pine Valley Country Club,” she says.

And both women said that if the opportunity arose to do another cookbook, they would.

“I loved doing it. My family might want me to wait a little while, but it was fun,” Marcuccilli says.

Perry Patton agrees. “I’d like to sell the ones we have first, but it’s fun getting to know the book and get to know new recipes. It’s helping me to get around the kitchen.”

Dirty Martini Dip

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon vermouth

3 tablespoons olive brine

1/2 cup chopped green olives with pimentos (about half of a 5-ounce jar)

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

Mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, vermouth and olive brine until smooth and blended. Stir in olives and blue cheese. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Serves with crackers.

Chicken Piccata

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup flour

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup brined capers

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

Cut the chicken breast halves horizontally, butterflying them open. If the breast pieces are large, they may need to be cut into two pieces. If the pieces are still thick after butterflying, put them between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with a meat hammer to 1/4 -inch thickness.

Mix together flour, salt, pepper and grated parmesan. Rinse the chicken pieces in water. Dredge them thoroughly in the flour mixture until well coated.

Heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add half the chicken pieces; do not crowd the pan. Brown well on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve to a plate. Cook the other breasts in the same manner and remove from pan. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in oven while preparing the sauce.

Add the chicken stock (or wine), lemon juice and capers to the pan. Use a spatula to scrape the browned bits. Reduce the sauce by half. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.

Plate the chicken and serve with the sauce poured over the chicken. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 teaspoons instant espresso

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon milk

1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well combined; mix in cooled chocolate. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; then beat in milk until just combined. Flatten dough into a disk; wrap in plastic. Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Pour powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Working in batches, roll balls in sugar two times, letting them sit in sugar between coatings. Place on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart.

Bake until cookies have spread and coating is cracked, 12 to 14 minutes. Cookies will still be soft to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.

Cook’s Corner is a weekly feature. If you know someone to be profiled, write to Cook’s Corner, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-0088; fax 461-8648; or email