COOK OF THE WEEK: Tony Mason recipes

By NEMS Daily Journal

Pralines
1 pound light brown sugar
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
Dash of salt
2 cups pecan halves
Combine sugar, milk and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Turn heat to high. When mixture starts to bubble, add the pecans and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, about 10 minutes. When you can make a swath through the mixture with a spoon and see the bottom of the pan, remove the pan from heat. Quickly spoon pralines onto a greased pan and let cool.
Makes about 2 dozen.
Note: Tony Mason keeps a kettle of boiling water ready on the stove while he makes his pralines. If the mixture gets too thick to stir, add a little water to it.

Chicken and Dumplings
2 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup Crisco shortening
1 cup milk
1 whole chicken
Salted water
1 stick butter
2 cups half-and-half
Combine flour, shortening and milk and mix until a dough forms. Spray a square of wax paper with cooking spray and wrap it around the ball of dough. Refrigerate dough overnight.
The next morning, divide the dough in half and, working with one piece at a time, roll it out thinly to about 1⁄8 of an inch. Cut the dough into strips about 11⁄2-inches wide. Place a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet and lay the strips of dough on it. When the sheet is full, put another piece of wax paper on top and fill it with strips of dough. Continue until you’ve used all the dough. Cover with wax paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
Boil the chicken in salted water until tender. Remove the chicken and reserve the broth. Remove skin and bones from chicken and chop the meat into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
Add butter and half-and-half to broth and bring to a rolling boil. Break each strip of dough into 3 pieces and drop them into the boiling mixture, one piece at a time. After they’re all in the broth, cook for 7 minutes on a low boil. Fold the chicken into the mixture and shake the pot, don’t stir. Cover and cook 7 more minutes at a low simmer.

Pound Cake
2 sticks butter
1⁄2 cup Crisco shortening
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
Cream butter, shortening and sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the milk. Add the flavorings. Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan (leave about an inch at the top) and pour remaining batter into a greased and floured 9-inch loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Peanut Brittle
1⁄2 cup water
2 cups sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups raw peanuts
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla flavoring
1⁄2 stick melted butter
Combine water, sugar, salt and syrup in a heavy-bottomed pot. Heat mixture until it spins a thread – don’t stir it. Add peanuts a few at the time and shake the pot real well. Cook until mixture turns an amber color, about 11 to 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add baking soda and vanilla, stir well and pour it out onto a hard greased surface. Take a spatula and go up under it and lift it to a piece of greased aluminum foil. Brush with melted butter. After it’s cooled, break it into pieces.

Baked Fish
12 to 15 small crappie fillets
Caesar salad dressing
Salt and pepper
Grated Cheddar cheese
Crushed potato chips or cornflakes
Place fish in a large greased baking dish. Coat both sides of fish with Caesar dressing. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cheese. Sprinkle crushed chips or cornflakes over all. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. If the fish are larger, cook them longer. Give your friends plenty of room to eat.
Note: Tony Mason says you may substitute bream, bass or catfish for the crappie.