October 23, 2021

CRT stars in new cookbook

My Kitchen, My Refuge

Katie Keyser/Living and Leisure Editor

Lisa Christian, left, Sue Dovi and Anne Crupi with the Cortland Repertory Theatre Guild Cookbook, “Light’s Up: Let’s Cook!” available at all CRT shows. The women are seen here Thursday in Cortland.

Anne Crupi said people love the molasses cookies sold at Cortland Repertory Theatre shows, made by Linani’s of Homer.

“If you love them, you will love the ginger snap cookie recipe in ‘Lights Up … Let’s Cook!’” she tells people.

“It makes a ton, you can freeze them and you can pull out a batch whenever you want,” said Crupi, of Cortland, a member of the CRT Guild. She and a committee of four created the “Lights Up … Let’s Cook!” cookbook as a fundraiser for the theater.

Guild members, CRT staff and fans all contributed to the cookbook, published by Cookbook Publishers of Lenexa, Kan.

“We have a collection of interesting recipes. A lot are not on Pinterest,”Crupi said.

The book is sold at all shows, whether the summer stage at the Little York Pavilion in Preble or the theater at 25 Port Watson St., Cortland. It has appetizers, soups and salads, vegetables and sides, main dishes, breads, desserts, and cookies and candy.

Its 350 recipes include a green tomato pie by JoAnn Lamey, sausage bean chili by Dottie Fowler, ding dong cake by Linda Frady, magic peanut butter middles by Dianne Galutz and elephant stew by Kerby Thompson, director of CRT.

Crupi worked with guild members Lisa Christian, Susan B. Dovi, Patti Riotto and Delores Taylor, all of Cortland on the book.

“The hardest part was getting people to part with recipes,” Crupi said.

“A lot of people said, ‘Yeah, yeah, I will send in a recipe,’ “ Dovi said. But they didn’t. “It was like pulling teeth.”

“You’d think it was like giving a kidney,” said Crupi.

But when they did, the result was amazing.

Crupi raves about “Mom’s Wine Drops” submitted by Dotty and Mi- chael Sills, which she made.

“Lou’s Donut Shop used to make them. They were delicious. That was a step back in time,” said Crupi.

Christian said the cheesy zucchini bake is a good recipe. It’s not original, but it won a first place at the New York State Fair. Dovi put in her classic manicotti recipe.

“And there are easy recipes. You don’t have to have a college degree to cook them,” Dovi said.

The guild paid a little more for the product, using CRT play photos, to make it more personal than the covers and inserts than Cookbook Publishers could provide.

“I like it,” said Crupi. “I like the pictures in it, representing some of the plays: A couple from ‘Our Town,’ some from the ‘Rising Stars’ theater program for kids.”

Crupi worked with Taylor, who back tracked with submitters and clarifed information.

Dovi came up with the name. Christian, Crupi’s daughter, went over recipes with Crupi in the editing process. The group cleared the photos with Thompson. And Crupi and Riotto typed them up into the software program provided by the company.

Crupi proofread, proofread and proofed some more.

“A lot of people were trying to nix the idea of a cookbook,” Dovi said. “They say no one uses a cookbook any more, they go online. But a lot of people want a recipe in their hands.”

And the guild can mail the book out for $4, which is a deal, Dovi said.

The women said they don’t usually follow a recipe to a T.

“Sometimes there’s stuff in it people don’t like to eat,” Dovi said.

“So you put your own twist on it,” Crupi said. “I did that for the macaroni and bean soup. I put a nice pinch of red pepper in it.”

But baking is another story, Crupi said. “You have to go with that.”

Christian says she generally follows a recipe as it is laid out the first time she cooks a dish, and then makes changes the second time around.

To become a better cook, Dovi says: “Cook. Listen and watch someone who cooks.”

“I got better watching the cooking channel,” Crupi said. “I think it made me more creative, made me do things I may have not done before.”

MOM’S WINE DROPS from Michael and Dotty Sills
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 cup raisins
2 1/2 cup flour

Mix all together. Bake at 375 degrees and sprinkle with 4x sugar.

MANICOTTI from Susan B. Dovi
1 pound ricotta
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. dried parsley
1 cup our
5 eggs
1 c. water
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
shredded mozzarella
spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Filling: combine ricotta, 1 egg, salt, Parmesan cheese, parsley and cinnamon. Pasta: Beat four eggs in a small, deep bowl; slowly add one cup of water. Gradually beat in the our. Drop by spoonfuls on hot griddle to form 4 to 6 circles. Fry until dry, but not brown. Flip and place on plate to cool. Place cheese filling in center of each circle. Roll up into a cylinder and place into greased baking dish. When baking dish is filled, cover with sauce and shredded mozzarella. Bake for 30 minutes.

CHEESY ZUCCHINI BAKE from Lisa Christian
3 to 4 medium zucchini, sliced
2 cups crushed tomatoes
6 oz. can tomato paste
large red onion
2 Tbs. garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 can black olives, sliced
12 oz. mozzarella, shredded
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese,grated
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for cooking

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, sauté zucchini in olive oil until tender. Add salt and pepper; transfer to an ungreased 13- by 9-inch baking dish. In the same skillet, sauté onion until crisp tender. Add garlic. Cook one minute longer. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and basil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Stir in olives. Pour over zucchini; sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Whisk eggs and romano cheese. Pour over zucchini. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 13 to 16.


2 Tbs. butter
3/4 cups onion, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups milk
6 oz. broccoli, chopped (may use frozen)
1 3/4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cups American cheese, shredded
3 1/2 Tbs. cornstarch
3 Tbs. cold water
3/4 cups evaporated milk

Melt butter in a large sauce pan. Saute onion until translucent. Add chicken stock and milk. Bring to a simmer. Add broccoli, cook 10 minutes. Stir in the cheeses; simmer till melted. Mix the cornstarch and cold water; then stir into the soup. Simmer till soup has thickened. Stir in the evaporated milk. Soup may be reheated. Do not boil.