Feast for the ears | TheUnion.com

Feast for the ears

Robert HugginsKNCO CEO and general manager Bob Breck offers his Grandma's Sugar Cookie Cake.
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In the world of commercial radio, KNCO-AM and Star 94.3 FM are rare.

Most media now are part of huge conglomerates, with ownership emotionally and geographically removed from the listening audience. But both stations are owned by Nevada County Broadcasters, and the on-air personalities come from here.

The focus is on and for the community. KNCO is always on the spot with beginning-to-end coverage of events that touch our lives. The National Association of Broadcasters presented its Crystal Award for outstanding year-round community service to KNCO for its intense coverage of the 49er Fire.

Out of 10,000 U.S. radio stations, 50 are nominated for this prestigious award. KNCO was nominated again this year and is one of 10 finalists. The winner will be announced April 9 at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas.

Besides community coverage, KNCO personalities are dedicated to lending their talents to assist with events throughout the area. Jim Kerr will give an encore performance as master of ceremonies at the Celebrity Waiter Dinner at the Grass Valley Senior Center on April 5.

It’s evident from the on-air sound that the KNCO staff is a close-knit family – and when families get together, there is usually food around to share.

Easy Breakfast Bake

(Diane Riley)

Morning Show producer Riley knows how to start the day with her Easy Breakfast Bake. As the glue that holds the show together, she gets her radio day started as well.

11/2 pounds sausage (hot or Italian)

10 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup low-fat sour cream

4 – 6 green onions, sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1 zucchini, cut into1/2 inch cubes

1 pound sliced mushrooms

2 cups favorite cheese (“I use cheddar.”)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Break up sausage and cook in frying pan; drain off excess grease. Mix eggs, sour cream, veggies, cheese and slightly cooled sausage. Pour into large casserole. Bake 30 minutes or until golden. Test center to see if its done.

Glazed Apricot Chicken

(Sue Hudson)

Account executive Hudson combines sweet and savory in her recipe picks.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup apricot preserves

3 teaspoons cornstarch

1/3 cup white wine

1/2 cup butter

Combine apricots, cornstarch and wine. Place chicken in baking dish and pour apricot mixture to cover. Bake in 350 degree oven for one hour.

Hawaiian Chinese Spareribs

(Sue Hudson)

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup sherry

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 rack spareribs

Combine all ingredients, except ribs. Place ribs in dish, rub mixture into ribs, pouring remainder over all. Let marinate three hours. Remove ribs from marinade and place on rack in oven with shallow pan underneath. Fill pan with 1/2-inch water. Roast at 350 degree for 45 minutes.

Around the station, they call Jim Kerr “the Walter Cronkite of Nevada County,” a well-deserved accolade. His spaghetti sauce has an interesting pedigree. Kerr says, “Vasco was my wife, Kay’s, sister’s brother-in-law. I obtained this recipe by ‘de-briefing’ Vasco after a Christmas dinner about 12 years ago. Vasco and his brother Italio were born in Floriston in the very eastern end of Nevada County.”

Vasco Ciardella’s Genuine Italian

Spaghetti Sauce

(Jim Kerr)

3 pounds lean ground beef

3 pounds Italian sausage

Olive oil

3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced

1 gallon (No. 10 can) tomato sauce

1 gallon (No. 10 can) peeled tomatoes, chopped

Handful dried mushrooms

6 large carrots, chopped

8 yellow onions, chopped

8 stalks celery, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Dried oregano, rosemary and thyme

Allspice or cinnamon (one or the other, not both)

1 cup red wine

Heat oil in large pan. Cook ground beef and sausage in oil until browned, breaking it into lumps. Add garlic as it cooks. Meanwhile soak mushrooms in water (30 minutes or so). Lift mushrooms from water, taking care not to include sediment; add to cooked meat with some of the water. Add chopped veggies then tomato sauce and tomatoes. Finally, add salt and pepper, herbs and spice to taste. Simmer at least 3 hours uncovered. (“Vasco did not drain off any excess fat from cooking meat and was aghast at the suggestion,” Kerr says.) Serve over pasta with Parmesan cheese and French bread.

This set of dessert classics are “keepsake recipes.”


Cream Puffs

(Michelle Schockley)

Wisconsin Cream Puffs comes straight from resident Green Bay Packers fan Schockley. It doesn’t get any better than this!

1/2 cup butter

1 cup boiling water

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 pint whipping cream

4 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease baking sheet. Bring water to boil in 2-quart saucepan. Melt butter in boiling water. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously until mixture forms a ball and doesn’t separate. Cool slightly. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue baking for 25 minutes. Let cool before filling.

To make filling, whip cream until stiff, adding sugar and vanilla near end. Split cooled puffs; fill with whipped cream. Set top on gently; dust with powdered sugar. Makes 10 large puffs or about 24 miniatures.

Mary Anne’s

Carrot Cake

(Mary Anne Davis)

Known for her high energy, Davis is a new KNCO account executive.

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon oil

4 eggs

3 cups grated carrots

1 small can crushed pineapple

1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour 9-by-13-inch pan or two layer pans. Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Beat in oil then eggs, one at a time. Stir in carrots, partially drained pineapple, and walnuts. Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Let cool; frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese

1/2 cup butter

1 pound powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together cream cheese and butter. Add remaining ingredients, mixing well until smooth and creamy.

Grandma’s Sugar

Cookie Cake

(Bob Breck)

A matter of luck and timing brought CEO and General Manager Breck to KNCO. Grandma’s Sugar Cookie Cake is one of his favorites.

2 cups flour

11/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch salt

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour two 8-inch cake pans or one 13-by-9-inch cake pan. Sift dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add shortening and milk; beat two minutes. Add eggs and extracts; beat two more minutes. Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake 25 to 35 minutes until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Gift Mix

(Phyllis Click)

When administrative assistant Click makes this “mix,” there are many requests for her recipe. This is one of those recipes that makes a popular gift. It stores well in Zip-loc bags.

3 cups each Corn and Rice Chex


6 cups Crispix

2 cups pretzels

12 ounces peanut M&Ms

1 pound white chocolate

Combine Chex or Crispix with pretzels and M&Ms in a large, shallow dish. Melt chocolate and pour over, mixing, lifting, and stirring until evenly coated. Turn out onto waxed paper, let cool, and break into lumps.

Bette Worth writes a column for The Union on Wednesdays. You can write her in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945; or she can be reached at

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