“When I was very little, I spent a lot of time with both of my grandmothers,” she recalls.

“I was always entertained when I watched them put together the most delightful dishes. My Grammie Doris used to make the best yeast rolls ever: fluffy and browned on the top with perfection. My Nana Mary could whip up an apple pie together that would be envied by Martha Stewart.”

Dawne always marveled at the fact that her nana never measured her ingredients and every pie still tasted the same. So, she decided to explore the joys of cooking.

Dawne’s primary sources of creativity in the kitchen are her cookbooks. “I like to read cookbooks like novels. This helps when I feel adventurous and want to create an original recipe.”

She recommends three cookbooks that she uses the most: the updated “Betty Crocker’s Cookbook” (“for basic stuff that you can dress up and have fun with”), Marjorie Standish’s “Cooking Downeast” (“great for good, old New England recipes) and Lukins and Rosso’s “The Silver Palate Cookbook” (“very good as a reference for what spices are complimentary to which foods, wine suggestions and unique ideas for entertaining”).

Aside from her cookbooks, Dawne also has a few tools of the cooking trade that are of great assistance in the kitchen. “A mortar and pestle is very handy to grind herbs and spices,” she shares. “An electric coffee-bean grinder is also great for this.” Lastly, Dawne loves using her rubber garlic peeler from Pier One, which she received as a gift. “Garlic is a very important staple to have, but it is tedious to peel. My peeler is a real timesaver!”

Dawne, a dental hygienist who works in Auburn, lives in Turner.

In her spare time, she enjoys golfing and serving on the board of New Beginnings. She and her husband, Rick, have three children: Abby, Betsy and Max.

Herb Crusted Pork Medallions
2 pounds pork tenderloins, sliced into ¾- to 1-inch thick pieces

2 cups Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix (herb flavored)

1 tablespoon fennel seeds, ground fairly fine

¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspooon freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat the pork with the olive oil and toss with pepper. Crush the stuffing mix slightly, either in the food processor or blender to make smaller particles that will coat pork easier; add the fennel to stuffing mix and blend well. Toss stuffing mix with the pork medallions, ensuring they are coated evenly.

Place in a glass baking dish that is generously sprinkled with olive oil to prevent the pork from sticking; top the meat with the remaining stuffing and fennel mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes until brown and the medallions are cooked thoroughly. Garnish with raw apple slices or, if time and energy allows, toss the apple slices with some honey (1 tablespoon), butter (1 tablespoon), water (approx. 2 to 3 tablespoons per apple) and cinnamon (½ teaspoon) and microwave for a minute before dressing the pork pieces with this nice blend of favorite flavors. Savor and enjoy!
Green Bean Casserole
2 16-ounce frozen french-style green beans, cooked according to directions on package and well drained – there is nothing worse than a watery casserole!!!

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

½ medium-size onion, grated

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon pepper

1 pint sour cream

10 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese shredded
1½ cups cornflake crumbs blended well with 3 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in three-quart saucepan, mix in flour and blend until smooth; add onion (juice included). Cook until onions are clear, stirring constantly. Add sour cream to butter-onion mixture, blend well and stir into string beans. Place in 8-by-8-by-2-inch square baking dish or a two-quart casserole dish; bake 45 minutes or until bubbly, and crumbs are golden brown. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Garlic Herb Bread
2 cups water

1 packet of yeast

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon ground rosemary

4 cloves of garlic, minced

3½ to 4 cups flour

2 eggs
1 tablespoon ground thyme for a nice crust

Dissolve yeast in the warm water, add sugar and let stand until foamy, about 3 minutes. Add the salt, olive oil, 1 egg, rosemary and garlic. Stir in flour until easy to handle. Knead and then place in bowl that is lightly oiled and let rise until double in size. Divide dough into 2 loaves; bake on cookie sheet sprinkled with fine cornmeal. Whisk 1 egg with 1 tablespoon water; brush loaves with egg mixture and sprinkle with the thyme. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until brown and hollow-sounding when tapped.

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