Thursday, July 24, 2014
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...As a bride, and for a goodly number of years thereafter, I'd spend hours in the kitchen preparing complicated meals for folks who might or might not enjoy them. It took me a while to accept the fact that some people live to eat while others eat to live, and it took me longer still to realize that I could not change the minds or habits of either group. So, while I cringed at first, I eventually begin to serve chili and pot roast to those with simpler tastes and allowed myself an occasional shortcut when I thought it would not be noticed or affect the quality of the food I was preparing. Tonight's dessert is an example of what I call my "rationalized" cooking technique. This recipe originally appeared in Better Homes and Gardens magazine in the more complicated form that appears below. I've simplified it to make it workable in the small cottage kitchen we rent for the summer months. While the almond crust in the original recipe is delicious, it is a bit of a production that is not workable in a small and poorly equipped kitchen. The solution? Substitute a ready made vanilla or graham cracker crust for the more complicated one used in the original recipe. I also freeze each layer before the next is added to assure that clear layers are formed and that the filling elements remain separated. At first glance, the recipe appears complicated. That is not the case, and while this is not a difficult dessert to prepare, it does require substantial amounts of time in the freezer. It can't be considered a last minute preparation. I even return the pie to the freezer once the final topping is in place to assure clean slices when the pie is cut. I find that the top layer bleeds if it is not frozen. As with most ice cream desserts, this one should be moved from the freezer to the refrigerator about an hour before you plan to serve it. I must tell you, that even in its simplified form this dessert is a crowd pleaser. Those of you who try either version of the pie will be happy with the results and the compliments you garner when it is served. Here is how this warm weather treat is made.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The Silver Fox and I stole away this weekend to spend some time with family before they left for the San Juan Islands. Seattle is a great city, and I hasten to add that we had a wonderful time, but I have come to the conclusion that cats are easier to herd than my progeny. I made the mistake, not just once mind you, of asking, "Where shall we eat?" Six people, six strong wills and six palates, each arguing for their favorite cuisine, led to debates that put filibusters to shame, and, I might add, delayed mealtime by at least an hour whenever the question was asked. I eventually caught on, bit my tongue and had an energy bar while they hashed out the merits of their favorite food. I also came to the conclusion that my crew is not yet ready for democracy, so next time, I'm assuming dictatorial power and will personally be responsible for meal planning and restaurant reservations. Not all was lost, however. One of our more successful forays led us to Pike Place Market for breakfast, and while there, the Silver Fox stumbled on a pastry that his mother used to make for him on Easter Sunday. His family comes from an area in Southern Illinois that was originally settled by German immigrants and this pastry is one they brought with them from the old country. He was thrilled, it was a personal remembrance of things past, and I promised I'd try to recreate them for him once we were home. I made these soft, well-flavored buns for him today, using a recipe I found on the Taste of Home website. I made three changes to the recipe you'll find below. I cut the dough into 2-inch wide strips and I reduced the amount of confectioners' sugar from four to two cups. I also added the zest of one small lemon to the icing. I really like these soft and tender twists and I'll definitely make them again. They are good enough to share, and I thought those of you who enjoy making bread might want to add the twists to your recipe collection. Here is how they are made.
Monday, July 21, 2014
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The Silver Fox and I are heading to Seattle and I'm
Sunday, July 20, 2014
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Most summers, I spend a good deal of time canning and freezing produce that I know my family especially enjoys. I've never viewed it as a chore, and I must admit that my pioneer spirit, rather than economics, first drew, and then kept me at the canning kettle. Things are a bit different this year. We moved to smaller quarters this past spring and the size of my new kitchen precludes marathon canning sessions. Now, while I should completely eliminate the process, I still sneak in a jam or pickle when time permits. Habits are hard to break, and to completely eliminate putting by the summer's harvest would break my connection to the soil and end the sense of satisfaction that comes with pantry shelves lined with jars that I've personally filled and preserved. While those shelves no longer groan with the weight they bear, they still hold a jar or two that bears my name, and tonight I added pickles to their burden. I returned from the lake today, with cucumbers as green as my sunburned nose is red, and I've just finished a batch of my favorite refrigerator pickles. They are simple to make and so delicious that they are addicting. The recipe is one of the most popular on my blog and it has been viewed over a half a million times. While many of you have already seen and tried the pickles, they are so good that I want to make them available to newcomers and those who might have overlooked them first time around. You can find the recipe for Refrigerator Dill Pickles, here.