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Community Cookbooks: Churchill Garden Club nurtures 'Morning Glories'

Thursday, August 09, 2001

By Nancy Anderson, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Gardeners who love to cook are as common as orange day lilies on a country roadside.

After all, who could resist using the fruits of one's labors -- fresh herbs, ripe vegetables, even a flower blossom -- in a delicious dish for the family?

It's no surprise that, after the monthly meetings of the Churchill Garden Club, the members relax over -- what else -- food. And that led to the inevitable -- a cookbook of the dishes they enjoyed most.

"We always serve tea and breakfasty, brunch-type things, so that's what our cookbook is about," said Carol Przyborski, who compiled the recipes and did the artwork for "Morning Glories and Afternoon Tea."

A slim, spiral-bound cookbook, it lays flat or props up for easy reading. The 127 recipes are broken into roughly half for brunch and half for afternoon tea parties.

"Not all the dishes were brought to the meetings," she said. "But all recipes have been tested by the members."

The brunch segment has recipes for scones, muffins, coffee cakes, breads, pancakes, quiches, crepes, omelets, souffles, casseroles and fruit salads, plus a few crab and shrimp dishes.

Sounding especially good were Warm Pralines 'N' Cream Muffins, Currant Buns, Cheddar Dill Bread, Blueberry Brunch Cake, Peach Cinnamon Coffee Cake, French Toast with Pecan Bourbon Sauce, Swedish Pancakes, Florentine Brunch Casserole and Ricotta and Spinach Quiche.

The Afternoon Tea section contains instructions for making a proper pot of tea, plus recipes for tea cakes, cookies, gingerbread, brownies, breads, blinis and biscotti.

Tea sandwiches, the heart of any afternoon tea, included Pear and Cheese, Cream Cheese and Pineapple, Rose Scented, Mushroom and Fold-up Shrimp. Victorian Vinegar Cookies and French Sables are among the desserts.

Przyborski said she began collecting the recipes last September.

"Each member gave me five or six," she said. "I read them over and over to be sure there was no duplication, typed them up and sent them on to the publisher by November."

The club had a contest to name the book. Bernadette Weigler was the winner.

The Churchill Garden Club, organized in 1949, has 30 members from around the city. You don't have to be a resident of Churchill.

"I live on the North Side," Przyborski said. "When my son was at Shady Side Academy, I met parents who lived in Churchill and belonged to the club. That's how I got involved."

Club members are responsible for maintaining the gardens at Harrison and Churchill roads and Greensburg Pike and Graham Boulevard.

"We plant the flowers, weed the plot, replace any dying plant material and take turns watering and deadheading," she said. "It's been so dry lately, we've been watering a lot."

Cost of "Morning Glories and Afternoon Tea" is a modest $6.50 plus $1.50 mailing. Send check to: Ilona Tassone, 3314 Scathelocke Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15235.

Proceeds go toward scholarships for students living in the Woodland Hills School District and for various philanthropic programs.

After you've put in a hard day working in the garden, a slice of Fruity Clalfouti and a glass of iced tea will put the world to right.

Fruity Clafouti

3 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup sliced fresh peaches
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch pie pan.

Beat eggs until foamy with electric mixer. Add milk, flour, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg. Beat at low speed until smooth. Spoon mixture into prepared pan and top with peaches and blueberries.

Bake for 45 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

April Kline, Churchill Garden Club's "Morning Glories and Afternoon Tea"

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