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Among the items for sale at the October 15 Hilton Head Plantation Craft Group's Annual Show and Sale will be 100 percent cotton material potato bags, pictured top. Designed for microwave cooking a wide range of foods, including the acorn squash pictured lower left holding chili, potato bags sell for as low as $5 and come with directions and recipes. Potato bag, upper left, made by Liz Gross, the one on right, by Charlotte Ward. Charlotte Ward also fashioned the beaded butter spreaders, upper left. All profits generated by the sale of crafts and bake goods to benefit Hospice Care of the Lowcountry. See these items and more, October 15, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., at St. Francis-by-the-Sea Catholic Church, 45 Beach City Road, Hilton Head Island. Admission is free.

Crafts and more for Hospice

Posted: October 12, 2011 - 8:41am  |  Updated: October 12, 2011 - 9:01am
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A cotton potato bag, made by a member of the Hilton Head Plantation Craft Group, was used to microwave acorn squash for use as an edible bowl for chili in under five minutes. Choose squash that feel firm and heavy and are free of soft spots. Also, look for squash with the darkest skin, which indicates high levels of beta-carotene. Store winter squash in a cool, well-ventilated area for up to 1 month.
A cotton potato bag, made by a member of the Hilton Head Plantation Craft Group, was used to microwave acorn squash for use as an edible bowl for chili in under five minutes. Choose squash that feel firm and heavy and are free of soft spots. Also, look for squash with the darkest skin, which indicates high levels of beta-carotene. Store winter squash in a cool, well-ventilated area for up to 1 month.

When faced with a life-limiting condition for which there is no cure, patients and their loved ones find support, love and care with hospice.

The Hilton Head Plantation Craft Group, originally established by residents of Hilton Head Island more than 30 years ago, honors the service of hospice by donating profits from its annual craft show and sale (the next one occurs on October 15) to Hospice Care of the Lowcountry, a non-profit organization serving Beaufort and Jasper counties for the past 28 years.

Since 1996, Hilton Head Plantation Group has donated in excess of $161,000 to the organization, one of only three agencies in South Carolina to be dually licensed and certified in both hospice and home health care. While the dollar amount given by the craft group to hospice is sizeable, so is the breadth of unique and reasonably priced handmade gifts the group offers for sale. Cooks will enjoy beaded serving pieces, hand-painted wine glasses, aprons made from dish towels, potato bags, ultra-suede jewelry-trimmed napkin rings, wooden oven shelf push/pulls and kiln-shaped wine bottle cheese trays. In addition to objects of interest to cooks, the group crafts hundreds of other things, as well, among them silk scarves, various style handbags, featherweight crocheted necklaces, sweaters and baby things, children's toys, embroidered items, pillows, seat belt covers, golf tee holders, Thanksgiving centerpieces, Christmas holiday stockings, wreaths and more, more, more.

Of note, retired architect-turned-artist Wayne Gilbert, who specializes in portraits of your home from a photo, will be in attendance at this year's show, which will take place on October 15.

Donations to Hospice Care of the Lowcountry (www.hospicecarelc.org) can be made by calling 843-706-2296.

Editor's note: Hospice of the Central Peninsula serves the Kenai-Soldotna area. For more information on Hospice of the Central Peninsula, call 907-262-0453 or visit www.hospiceofcentralpeninsula.com.

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

 

Chili in Acorn Squash Bowls

Recipes courtesy: Simply Fresh: Casual Dining at Home," by Jeff Morgan; Andrews McMeel Publishing (www.andrewsmcmeel.com), publishers. Photographs by Beall + Thomas.

2 medium acorn squash, rinsed and patted dry
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (16-ounce) can red kidney beans, undrained
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon sugar
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Cheddar cheese, sour cream, black olives and jalapeno slices

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add beef, stirring until meat is browned; spoon off excess fat. Stir kidney beans into pot. Crush tomatoes with hands, then add to pot, as well. Stir in chili powder, cumin, sugar and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 1 hour. While chili is cooking, cook squash  by piercing it several times with a fork and microwaving on HIGH for about 5 minutes on each side, or until soft.  (If cooking squash in a potato bag, use the directions provided with your bag.) After squash is cooked, cut it in half horizontally, then remove seeds.  Hollow squash enough to make deep bowls, making sure to leave some of the flesh around the shell. (Place the extra squash into the chili pot, stirring to combine.) Remove bay leaf  from pot and spoon chili into prepared squash bowls. Garnish, as desired with shredded cheese, sour cream, black olives and jalapeno slices.
Makes 4 servings.

Winter Squash Casserole

3 pounds winter squash (use acorn or butternut) rinsed and patted dry
1/2 stick butter
3 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt to taste
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups low fat milk
1 large egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons flour

Pierce the squash several times with a  fork, then microwave on HIGH for about 5 to 10 minutes on each side, or until soft - cooking time will depend on the size of your squash.  (If cooking squash in a potato bag, use the directions provided with your bag.) Cut squash in half, and remove seeds.  Spoon cooked squash  in a large mixing bowl. Add butter and brown sugar and mash with a potato masher until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Add salt to taste. Stir in lemon juice, vanilla extract and milk; mix well. Blend in egg, then flour. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased 1 quart  casserole dish. Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until mixture is set and top is lightly browned.
Makes 6 servings.

Pumpkin Pound Cake

If you've heard rumors  about a repeat of the canned pumpkin shortage of 2009, read this reassuring press release of August 19, 2011 from Libby's Pumpkin: "While much of the country has been suffering from unusually high temperatures this summer, the weather seems to be perfect for growing pumpkin! That's right, thanks to Mother Nature and the hard work of the dedicated pumpkin farmers in Morton, Illinois - the pumpkin capital of the world! - Libby's Pumpkin is happy to report that consumers will be able to find a bountiful supply of their beloved pumpkin on grocer's shelves in plenty of time for the 2011 holiday season."

1 cup butter, softened
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour in measuring cup, then level off)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4  teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon apple-pie spice
1 (15-ounce) can canned pumpkin
1/3 cup rum
Confectioners' sugar for dusting cake, optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a large (15-cup) tube or Bundt pan*.

Beat butter on medium speed of an electric mixer about 2 minutes, or until soft and creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating 5 to 7 minutes more. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until yellow disappears. Combine flour with next 6 ingredients and sift. Combine pumpkin and rum. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with pumpkin mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix on lowest speed until blended after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until cakes tests done, and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Allow cake to cool for 15 minutes before inverting on to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cake is cool, dust with confectioners' sugar, as desired. Makes 16 servings. Alternatively, cake may be baked in 3 (6-inch, 1-quart capacity) tube pans, for 40 minutes or until cake tests done. Smaller cakes make 6 to 8 servings, each.

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