This tasty pickle relish dresses up deviled eggs and ham sandwiches.

From Our Kitchen
This tasty pickle relish dresses up deviled eggs and ham sandwiches.

Not too long ago, I introduced the Foods staff to my favorite peppery pickles and pickle relish: Wickles. Confident that my persnickety colleagues would find them as irresistible as I do, I passed around the pickled treats. As I had anticipated, the verdict was unanimous--the finicky Foods folks were crazy for Wickles! Recipe Development Director Mary Allen Perry loved them so much that she used Wickles in deviled eggs and ham sandwiches for taste testing the next day, and Assistant Foods Editor Kate Nicholson served the relish at her weekend cookout.

What makes Wickles different from other bottled pickles and relish is that they are packed in a sugary cider vinegar with spicy peppers and garlic for just the right balance--a little heat with a little sweet.

Trey and Will Sims of Dadeville, Alabama, distribute Wickles--a 70-year-old secret family recipe--to specialty food stores and select retail chains across the country. Their relish works great in salads and sandwich spreads, or you can use it as a topping to spice up baked ham, roasted chicken, and grilled fish. (Of course, I can't resist eating the "wickedly delicious" pickles straight from the jar!)

Find out what all the fuss is about by picking up a jar for yourself. To learn more about their products, visit the Wickles Web site at --Shannon Sliter Satterwhite

Pound Cake Primer
We get many requests for tips on how to make great pound cakes. Here are a few tips that ensure success.

  • Start with the right ingredients. Don't substitute self-rising flour for all-purpose flour. If you want to substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour, use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour in place of 1 cup all-purpose flour.
  • To measure flour, spoon it into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. (Don't scoop the measuring cup into the flour or pack the flour.)
  • Use butter or margarine containing more than 70% fat. Soft butter spreads, and reduced-fat or tub margarines contain too much water and do not work well in baked goods.
  • Spoon batter evenly into a 10-inch tube pan greased with solid shortening and coated with flour. Place the pan in the center of the oven, and bake as directed. (A temperature that is too low causes the cake to fall.) When placed on a rack too low in the oven, the crust browns too much on the bottom.
  • Keep the oven door closed until minimum baking time has elapsed. Test the cake for doneness with a cake tester or wooden pick. Insert it in the center of the cake; it should come out with no batter or crumbs clinging to it.
  • Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Removing it too soon may cause dampness and sinking in the center.
  • Store the cake in an airtight container up to three days. You may also wrap it with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and refrigerate up to one week or freeze up to two months. Thaw the cake without unwrapping for best results.

Is It Overdone?
An instant-read thermometer is your best friend when you're checking meat for doneness. Refer to our recipes for suggested internal temperature of meat and poultry. But be aware that the meat continues to cook once removed from the heat source, causing the internal temperature to rise further. If rare to medium-rare is your desired degree of doneness, you may want to remove the meat from the heat when the temperature is 5 degrees less than directed. The residual heat will continue to "cook" the meat, and it will be just right when you're ready to serve it. --Andria Scott Hurst

"From Our Kitchen: Pick a Peppered Pickle" is from the March 2003 issue of Southern Living.