Comfort Foods and Indulgences

porkchops.jpgI know what you're thinking.  Weeknight dinner and  the culinary term reduction are two words that do not go together.  But I double-dare swear that they do.  This recipe is so perfect for any night that is filled with reckless activities caused by our busy and crazy lives.  This recipe will take you back to the simple life you crave.

You cannot get this from a box, you cannot get this from an ox.  You cannot find this here or there, but you can make this in your underwear...or something like that.

I mean are you tired of your pathetic nightly dinners?  Does your family dread the dreaded chicken recipe again?  Have you been wanting your inner-chef-dom-tendencies to shine through without much effort?  This is your lucky day.

This simplistic, tasty, somewhat-savory, somewhat-sweet dinner is for you.  It is by far the most effortless (well, I guess McDonald's would be more effortless) weeknight meal you could possibly throw together.  And it's so good, you could even serve it for Sunday night dinner.  After making this, no one will believe you've running around like a maniac all day.

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KATE QUEEN OF LEMON MERINGUEDay 29 of 31 Days Of Pie is Lemon Meringue Pie from Kate McDermott, Art Of The Pie

I refused to let our 31 Days Of Pie go by without one Lemon Meringue. Of course, it’s not just any Lemon Meringue, but a Lemon Meringue from Kate McDermott’s grandmother Geeg. It’s a perfectly balanced pie which earned her the title The Queen Of Lemon Meringue. It’s certainly majestic and for me I’ll never need any other recipe for a lemon meringue. Thank you so much Kate for being you! And to Geeg, too!

Lemon Meringue Pie from Kate McDermott, Art Of The Pie

1 pre-baked single pie crust

For the Filling

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To make amazing buttermilk biscuits, you don't have to make them by hand.  Using a stand mixer is the way to go when changing up a few ingredients that yield tender, flaky biscuits everytime.

This recipe also calls for cake flour which is not the norm for biscuits.  However, cake flour has a lower protein content, allowing the dough to withstand more mixing without overworking it and developing gluten, which will ultimately toughen the biscuits.

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potatochipcookies.jpgAt an "early 60's tacky tiki" theme party this weekend, it occured to me how sometimes the most retro recipes can also be very of-the-moment. At this particular party there were modern takes on all sorts of things. In each case very high quality ingredients were used and, you know the saying, "quality in, quality out." There was a cucumber gelatin mold salad, only the cucumbers were fresh from the farm, agar-agar was used to gel it and fresh dill and citrus flavors punctuated the dish. It was so good I took some home!

Another dish that hasn't been popular in a while was the cheese ball, though at this party there were three of them. When made with the best cheeses, fresh roasted red peppers and rolled in nuts, it was positively delicious. The dish I had the hardest keeping my paws out of was nothing more than a premium "seven layer dip". Seven layer dip is made from refried beans, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, cheese, olives and green onions or some similar combination. But imagine a version where each layer was made from scratch or with the best products available. It was a far cry from the versions I've had that were made mostly from mundane canned ingredients.

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cookie-crusted-pumpkin-dessert.jpgSilly words that came from car-time with my grandchildren resulted in a new cookie called Shoogie Dadders. The cookie dough is loaded with oatmeal, sweet-tart grated Haralson apple woven through and little chunks of Sugar Babies that turn to taffy in the oven. The baked cookies are sweet and chewy. They got a thumbs-up from my granddaughter who rolled the funny words “shoogie dadder” off her tongue and out of her giggling mouth.

After turning some of the third batch of dough into cookies, I got tired of baking. I covered the bowl of remaining dough and stuck it into the refrigerator. A few days later, as I was thinking of Thanksgiving, I thought about baking pumpkin-pie filling in a Shoogie Dadder crust.

I patted some of the cookie dough into a 9- x 13-inch pan, covered it with broken, toasted pecans and baked it for about 10 minutes before pouring the pumpkin filling over the top. Once baked, the filling was creamy and the crust was soft and easy to cut.

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