An Apple (Pie) a Day…

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For me, the three best things about fall are; the start of the professional football season, making big pots of chili with cornbread for Sunday dinner, and apples.  Apple season kicks off mid September to Early October and we have already been seeing some great baking varieties at our local Farmer’s Markets.  

There are apples that are good for eating (remember the little Red Delicious apples that were included in the “hot lunch” program when you were in elementary school?) and there are apples that are better for baking like Granny Smith, Fuji and Rome.  Here I use a combination of Granny Smith (firm and tart) along with a Fuji apple or two (sweeter and softer) to make a delicious nice-slicing apple pie.  

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Bake Sale Bakery’s “Easy as Pie Dough”

1 ¼               Cup              AP Flour

1                   tsp                Salt

1 ½               tsp                Granulated Sugar

3                   TBS              Vegetable Shortening (such as Crisco)

5                   TBS              Very Cold Butter diced small.

5-7                TBS              Cold Water

 

  •       For a double crust pie, double amounts and divide into two disks before chilling

   

METHOD:

*cut butter and shortening into small cubes and put in freezer

  1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor
  2. Sprinkle butter and shortening over the dry ingredients and toss to coat .Pulse until the fat is pea sized but not smaller.
  3. Dump the dry/fat mixture into a bowl and add water a few TBSPs at a time. Use a fork to toss the mixture and evenly distribute the liquid.  Continue to add water until the dough, while still shaggy but holds together when pressed against the side of the bowl.
  4. Form the dough into a disk and wrap tightly, let disk cool in the refrigerator for at least two hours but up to 2 days.
  5. When ready, pin the dough out to fit the size of your pie tin making sure it is large enough to hang over the edge.
  6. If you are making a single crusted pie, crimp edges and blind bake your crust.
  7. If you are making a double crusted pie, place top crust over bottom and crimp them together to flute edges and create a seal.

*Make sure to keep the butter and dough cold, do not over work the dough as it will be tough.

 

Early Fall Apple Pie

2    lbs           Granny Smith Apples

1    lb             Sweet Variety (Eating) Apples

2/3 Cup         Sugar

1    tsp           Cinnamon

½   tsp           Kosher Salt

2    TBS         Flour

1    tsp           Lemon Zest

2    TBS         Lemon Juice

4    TBS         Crystalized Ginger

FOR DOUBLE CRUST PIE:

  1. Peel and core apples, cut into ¼” slices
  2. In a medium bowl combine sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon and flour, toss apples to coat
  3. Add zest and juice and combine
  4. Pour into bottom pie crust and top with the second crust
  5. Crimp edges or decorate as you like
  6. Cut vents in top crust
  7. Bake in a 475- degree oven for about 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Rotate pie, then lower the oven to 375 and bake until golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
  8. Let cool at room temperature on a wire rack for about 4 hours.

FOR FREE FORM APPLE TART:

  1.   Same recipe as above except roll out only one large disc of dough.
  2.   Place apples in the center and fold dough up and over to form sides.
  3.   Lightly brush the sides of the crust with whole milk or cream.
  4.   Sprinkle with sanding sugar
  5.   Bake at 475 for 10 minutes, rotate, reduce heat to 375.
  6.   Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until apples are caramelized

ACME Southern Kitchen Chili

“Now that there is some real meaty soup”

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As the weather gets cooler, soup sales get hotter in all my restaurants.

Some argue that chili is not a soup… they can say what they will, but for the sake of the argument, I am classifying it as a soup for this post.

Café 222 has had the same version of Chili Con Carne on the menu for the past twenty-some years and there would be a real riot if I even considered changing the recipe or taking it off the menu and replacing it with another soup. I always run a second soup during the cooler months at the Café but chili outsells any other selection two to one, so why mess with it, right?

When I opened my beloved ACME Southern Kitchen in 2012, I worked for months on a real “Texas” style chili recipe that would be different from the recipe at the Café and yet be equally delicious and popular. What I ended up with not only was equally delicious, it was in fact more delicious (in my opinion) than my Café version. Still, when I tried to run it on the menu at the Café, there was a great big stink. Rest assured my dear Cafe regulars… I swiftly switched it back to the same original recipe chocked full of black beans and corn.

But hey, if you want to try my ACME Southern Kitchen Chili, we run it October through January down at Bake Sale Bakery. This chili has so many layers of flavor. It gets its heat from a combination of fresh chiles and bell peppers, canned chipotles, and dried chile powders. The flavor profile is raised to the next level with the addition of strong black coffee, the stronger the better, and it’s finished off with peanut butter (yes, peanut butter) and then thickened with Masa flour.

Don’t be intimidated by the length of the ingredient list, it is all done in three “dumps,” (that’s Texas cook-speak, ha ha) or three steps once the dicing and slicing is done.

You can omit the peanut butter if you have an allergy, but otherwise don’t you dare. It seems silly, but it does change the flavor profile… don’t worry you won’t be able to pick the taste out of the lineup, it just adds a smooth, nutty layer to the dish.

ACME Southern Kitchen Chili

AKA: The best damn Chili

1 lb          Ground Pork

2 lbs        Ground Chicken

2 lbs        Ground Beef

2 med      Onions Chopped

¼             Cup minced Garlic

1             Red Bell Pepper Chopped (seeded)

1             Green Bell Pepper Chopped (seeded)

1             Jalapeno Pepper Chopped (seeded)

1             Serrano Chile Chopped (seeded)

1             Pasilla Chile Chopped (seeded)

Cook first batch of ingredients until meat is cooked, but not browned.

Add 2 quarts beef stock. Cook for 1 hour, until meat is crumbly.

3 TBS      Onion Powder

1 TBS      Garlic Powder

2 TBS      Dry Chicken Base

3 TBS      Paprika

3 TBS      Dark Chili Powder

2 TBS      Cayenne

1 TBS      Black Pepper

4 TBS      Cumin

1 TBS      White Pepper

1 Sm.       Can Tomato Paste

8 oz         Catsup

2 oz         Canned Chipolte Peppers (pureed)

1 CUP      Brewed Strong Black Coffee

½ CUP     Peanut Butter (optional)

Cook ½ hour more, taste and season as necessary.

Thicken with slurry made with ½ cup Masa flour and ¾

cup water. Allow to slightly bubble for 5 minutes.

Garnish with chopped green onions, a dollop of sour cream, cilantro, crumbled tortilla chips, diced fresh jalapeno… any of your favorite chili toppings.

SUMMERTIME IS SANDWICH TIME

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The middle of August is the peak of summer here in San Diego. It’s when temperatures are at their highest, it’s too hot to cook and it’s way too hot to barbeque…so as far as I am concerned, summer is the sandwich season.

I have always been a big lover of sandwiches. Any filling slapped between delicious homemade bread and slathered with mayonnaise is a perfect meal in my book, but this time of year, they are especially tempting…tomatoes have gone off the hook, sweet onions are…well, actually sweet, and it’s just too damn hot to turn on the oven.

This morning I was on the news talking about my favorite “Sandwiches of Summer,” the BLT, the Southern Style Shaved Ham Slider, Oyster Po’ Boys and, of course, cool and creamy Chopped Egg Salad on rye.

These summertime sandwiches are simple to prepare, easy to pack for a picnic and always a crowd pleaser.  Buy a jar of good dill pickles, some thick-sliced salty potato chips and pull out the paper plates, it’s Summer, no one is cooking and, most certainly, no one is doing dishes.  

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Southern Style Shaved Ham Sandwich

Okay here is yet another homage to ACME Southern Kitchen…. But this  sandwich is the epitome of summer cuisine in the South.  It’s SO easy.

Buy a small quarter of a boneless cooked ham, slice it as paper thin as you can manage, drop one handful per sandwich in a pot of hot BBQ sauce, let it heat through and top a warm, buttered brioche bun with a big pair-of-tongs-full.

You can easily use pre-sliced sandwich ham and a good-quality bottled sauce or here is my recipe for my go-to BBQ sauce.

¾   Cup         Asian-Style Chili Sauce

½   Cup         Mae Ploy

½   Cup         Molasses

½   Cup         Brown Sugar

2    Cups        Red Wine Vinegar

2    Cups        Low sodium Soy Sauce

½   Cup         Worsterchire

2    Whole      Pasillas  (seeded and chopped)

1    Whole      Jalapeno (seeded and chopped)

1    Whole      Onions  (chopped)

½   Cup         Garlic (chopped)

1    TBS         Whole Chili Flakes

¼    Cups        Prepared Dijon Mustard

1    TBS         Tabassco

1    Cup         Water

1    Cups        Brewed Black Coffee

Cook all ingredients in a stock pot for 1 hour.

Strain and cool.

It’s Tomato Time

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July in San Diego is the height of our local tomato season. With so many local farms selling their heirloom tomatoes at the markets, they are plentiful and there are many varieties to choose from. Sometimes the tomatoes can ripen too quickly once picked. When this happens, I like to roast a huge batch and use them in dishes all week long. Try roasting them over an open fire to get a little smoky flavor, but it’s just as easy—probably easier—to do them in the oven.  Be sure and get a good blister on them… it deepens the flavor.  They get so sweet I have actually served them over vanilla ice-cream… sounds odd, but it’s oddly good.

Make it last! I can’t resist cooking angel hair pasta (1 pound for two people; or 3 pounds for whole week), scooping a generous spoonful or two over the top, and finishing with some Parmesan and a little fresh basil. Or, I might grill ciabatta or levain bread, brush it with melted butter, salt, and pepper, and top the bruschetta with my tomatoes. On a day when I want a quick and healthy lunch, I might place the remaining in my Vitamix along with chicken or vegetable stock and make a quick, easy, and light summer soup.

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Peak of Summer Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes

Ingredients

3 lbs. ripe heirloom cherry tomatoes

½  cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme

10-12 garlic cloves, roughly choppedb

basil for garnish

 

Directions

Stem the tomatoes and slice them in half lengthwise. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Gently squeeze out most of the seeds and juice, but it’s not necessary to get them all.

Lay the tomatoes cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Evenly distribute the garlic over the tomatoes, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper.

Roast for about 30 minutes, rotate the pan, then turn the oven to 400 degrees and roast for another 15–20 minutes until caramelized and blistered.

Sometimes it’s Good to be a TART

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For those of you who saw me on the San Diego CW6 this morning demonstrating this super simple-yet gorgeous Fresh Strawberry Tart here is the recipe.

This makes a great summer dessert because it’s light and refreshing and a snap to make.

I like to drizzle a little balsamic reduction over the top after I’ve plated it because it adds a great layer of flavor or for the kids a little dollop of vanilla ice-cream is good, but seriously, this needs nothing additional… and is fantastic as-is.

FRESH STRAWBERRY TART

CRUST:

1 1/3             Cup              Rye Flour

1 1/3             Cup              A/P Flour

1                   tsp                Salt

9                   oz                 Cold Butter –cubed

5                   oz                 Ice Water +1 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar

Pulse all ingredients except water in the bowl of a food processor just until butter is coarsely chopped and combined.

Add 4 TBS water mixture and pulse a few more times. Add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time until moist enough to form a dough when squeezed between your fingers. Do not add any unnecessary water, it will make your shell tough.

Dump dough out on board on a piece of plastic wrap and form a disc.  Wrap tightly and place in fridge for at least one hour before using.

BAKE:

Roll out crust to desired shape, I like a rectangle, about ¼ inch thick, trim edges so to make nice and sharp lines.  With a fork, poke holes in shell to keep air pockets from forming.  Lightly brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar.  Bake in a 375-degree oven for 15- 20 (rotating half way through) minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.

ASSEMBLE:

1       Cup              Marscapone Cheese

3       TBS              Granulated sugar + 1 tsp Vanilla

Combine these with a whisk by hand or in a standing mixer until fluffy.

Spread cheese mixture to edges of tart crust leaving ½ inch at edges.

Top with layer of good-quality homemade strawberry jam.

Thinly slice the strawberries and arrange in a decorative fashion over the top of the jam layer.  

The Dutch Baby

My New Favorite Weekend Breakfast

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Each Mother’s Day my children have presented me coffee in bed on a tray, accented with some flowers from the yard and a homemade card or two. I love it.

This year, feeling particularly ambitious, they took up the notion to cook me a complete breakfast. By complete, I do mean complete: pancakes, bacon, cereal and coffee. And they brought this to me in bed.

Don’t get me wrong…. I love the idea… I really do.

Keep in mind this operation was headed by an eleven- and eight-year-old sister/brother tandem.

With preparations under way downstairs, I could hear both commotion, and a lot of whispering. Apparently one “do over” was required when the first pancake had to be scraped off the skillet because they forgot to use non-stick pan spray. In fact, the first pancake recipe plum didn’t work at all. So after two taste tests they dumped it and went online – bless their hearts – to find a recipe on MarthaStewart.com. A bit more complicated, this version included eggs and melted butter (oh my).

After nearly two hours of cooking, they came upstairs with a beautiful tray that included my coffee (I will never let them know it was cold because they made it first), a brown butter pancake (I am calling it brown butter although I know it was not their intention), bacon, a bowl of Corn Flakes, and a beautiful arrangement from the garden.

I dined in both delight, and fear. Delight for the sweet and wonderful effort they extended. Fear for what awaited in the kitchen.

My fears were soon realized. It was a disaster area. Eggs lay cracked in bowls and left for dead. Bacon and its drippings made a trail connecting stove to counter. Half of the melted butter coated the microwave’s floor. I could go on, but you get the picture.

The next hour and a half of my Mother’s Day morning was spent cleaning the kitchen. Oh, and did I mention that in all the “busy-ness” of the morning the kids forgot to take our dog out and the little guy did his morning “business” in the living room…my second Mother’s Day morning project.

Then the big picture dawned. This was my fault. They should be better in the kitchen by this age. I had neglected to teach my offspring the basics of breakfast cookery – ME of all people – and a fix was in order.

So the three of us got busy learning a very simple, special breakfast fit for both any Sunday morning, as well as a special holiday like Mother’s Day or Easter.

Called a Dutch Baby, it is a single skillet pancake baked in the oven. This recipe is fast, simple, and best yet, only dirties two…count ‘em, two dishes.

Teach your kids. Thank me later. But no one forget about the dog.

The Dutch Baby

 

3                Eggs

½               Cup Flour

½               Cup Milk

1                TBS   Sugar

Pinch                   Nutmeg

4                TBS   Butter

½               tsp Kosher Salt

1                tsp Vanilla

 

  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees
  1. Combine eggs, milk, sugar, flour, nutmeg and salt in a blender on medium speed.
  1. Place the butter in a 10-inch heavy baking dish or cast iron baking dish As soon as it is melted, swirl around to coat entire bottom and a bit of the sides. Add the batter and put back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until the pancake is puffed and golden browned. Lower oven to 300 degrees and bake for five more minutes.
  1. Remove pancake from the over, drizzle with fresh lemon juice and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Alternately you can drizzle with jam or syrup.

I’ll Take a Shot of Whiskey in My Whoopie Pie, Please

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Saturday, April 30th is “National Oatmeal Cookie Day” so my friends down at CW-6 Morning News asked that I come in and make an oatmeal cookie with them. It’s not in me to go on the news and just make a plain ol’ oatmeal cookie so I thought I would have some fun with them and create a softer cookie and make a sandwich with a couple of them using a slightly sweet, creamy mixture of cream cheese, mascarpone, powdered sugar and – the coup de gras – Kentucky Bourbon whiskey.

Okay, so this is a play on the “Whoopie Pie,”… sometimes also called a “Moon Pie,” “Devil Dogs,” “The Black & White,” or just a plain ol’ “Gob.”

Basically a Whoopie Pie is a soft cookie… originally chocolate, that is made into a cookie “sandwich” filled with a creamy white frosting mixture. There are adaptations of this cookie, cake, sandwich, however you want to classify it as, dating back to 1835, and there have been dozens of interpretations since.

When I was studying cuisine of the South for my Acme Southern Kitchen (sniff-sniff), I sent away for Junior League Cookbooks and Church Cookbooks from all over the Southern regions of the U.S. There were so many versions of Whoopie Pies (each claiming to be “the best”) that I feel fine riffing on it using an oatmeal cookie and a creamy, booze-infused filling. They love their whiskey in the South and so do I, so hey…. it’s all game in my book.

The key to a good “Sandwich Cookie” is to have a cookie soft enough to bite through without the filling oozing all over and making a big mess, yet be hard enough not to fall apart when you are biting through it.

This recipe has brown sugar rather than white, which will give it a good bend, and the addition of honey achieves another layer of sweetness and helps to keep it on the softer side as well.

Lastly, keep in mind that if you over-bake them they will get crispy…and that’s still a wonderful cookie if you want to skip making “sandwiches” and just want to make a delicious oatmeal cookie.

Bourbon-Spiked Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

¾   Cup   Shredded Sweet Coconut

1    Cup   Butter Softened

1 ½    Cups Brown Sugar

2    TBS   Honey

2    Large Eggs (room temp)

1    TBS   Vanilla

1 ½ Cups  All Purpose Flour

1    tsp Sea Salt

1    tsp Baking Powder

1    tsp Ground Cinnamon

3    Cups  Rolled Oats (not instant oatmeal)

½   Cup   Raisins (optional)

Filling:

6    oz   Cream Cheese

6    TBS   Mascarpone Cheese

3    TBS   Powdered Sugar

1    TBS   Bourbon Whiskey (optional, may use vanilla extract instead)

¼    TSP   Salt

Heat Oven to 350 degrees

Spread the coconut out on a rimmed baking sheet and toast shaking the pan a few times until lightly browned (about 8 minutes).  Allow to cool.

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in brown sugar and honey, beat until becomes fluffy again.  Add eggs one at a time and beat along with the vanilla another 2-3 minutes.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.

With the mixer on low… slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and fold until incorporated, add the dates, raisins and coconut, mix until combined.

Line your baking sheets with parchment.

Allow the cookie dough to rest in the fridge for 10-15 minutes or longer until slightly firm.

Using a 4 oz ice cream scoop, place the portioned cookie dough an inch and a half apart on the lined cookie sheets.  Using your moistened fingers, gently press cookie down until they are about ½ inch thick.

Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes, rotate pans, bake for 5-6 more minutes until the centers puff and the edges just begin to brown. (Remember not to over bake these as you want a soft cookie.)

Allow them to cool completely the cookie sheets.

MAKE THE FILLING:

Using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the mascarpone, powdered sugar and Bourbon.  Be sure to scrap down the sides of the bowl.

Pipe about 2 TBS of the filling between two cookies.  Repeat with the remaining cookies and filling.

My Immunity Soup, My Get Well Quick Soup

(or… if you just need to poop soup)

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And to think I was just bragging to a friend of mine about how I haven’t been sick in a couple years, about how all these years in the restaurant business has seemingly built up my immune system due to all the filthy, germ-laden dirty dishes, water glass rims and soiled napkins I have touched over the decades.

Not to mention that for the last five years I have had kids in elementary school exposing me to every new strain of the flu, croup, pink eye and strep that comes along.

Yes, I had begun to think I was invincible … until last weekend.

The fact is that I had not only come down with the worst head cold I’ve had in memory, I had also lost my voice and that is hugely frustrating. How is a mother to holler at her kids with no voice?  It was mayhem and my kids were taking full advantage. It was non-stop fighting, teasing and arguing, as siblings often do, and I’d have to get out of bed and march down the hall and whisper-yell at them.  It was so frustrating.  You know, the whisper-yell … the voice you have to use when your child is acting up in front of strangers … the voice you use as you fake a crouch-down to tie their shoe but you’re really whisper-yelling at them about what is going to happen when they get home if they don’t knock it off … yah, you know the voice.

Whenever I feel the slightest hint of a sore throat or feel like I might be getting rundown a bit, I head right out and buy myself a stewing hen and make a big pot of my miracle immune-boosting soup.  Although I make this soup purely for restorative purposes … it’s chocked full of celery, garlic, onions, kale and beet greens, I also think it tastes great … it just tastes healthy. It also has great “cleansing” properties if you know what I mean. I like to fill up quart containers and eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for as long as it lasts and usually by that time whatever is ailing me (real or imagined) is long gone.

 

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Immunity Soup

1    2-3lb        Stewing Hen

2    Large       Onions Diced Medium

12   Cloves      Whole Peeled Garlic

1    Head        Celery- Chopped

2    Bunches   Kale- Chopped

2    Bunches   Beet Greens- Chopped

4    Lg.          Carrots- Chopped

Wash your bird and remove the internal organs.  Place the bird in a large pot with enough water to cover once the onions, garlic, celery and carrots have been added.

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, skim off any impurities and allow to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour or until chicken is cooked.

Allow the chicken to cool enough to remove all of the meat from the bones.

Reserve the meat for another meal.  I like to make chicken salad, tacos or shred it over a green salad.

Meanwhile add the chopped Kale and Beet Greens and allow to cook another 10 minutes or until they are tender.

Season soup with Dried Marjoram, Salt and White Pepper, it gives you that warm feeling in your chest.

Pack it up and eat it until you feel better.

Fry Me a River

How To Handle a Hankering for Fried Oysters

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I recently returned from spending a week in Seattle. I go there often and I just can’t imagine ever going up there without getting my fried oyster fetish on. I really ought to do a little research and see just how bad fried oysters are for you because I am pretty sure that they are not all that good for you….nothing that tastes that good ever is.

Well, leaving all of the nutritional worries behind, there are few things in this world that I get the hankering for more than fried oysters…especially those from up in the Puget Sound.

Oysters pulled from the local Northwest waters in and around the area are nicely sized… about the size of a half-dollar, plump and springy, briny, but sooooo creamy. Even after a quick deep-frying these oysters still have all of their highly sought-after qualities. The water in the area is so cold that oysters are safely eaten all year round, and they are served so many ways. I’ve enjoyed fried oysters as appetizers at upscale restaurants where they pair them with a fancy “caper-aioli something,” or a “mignonette” (playing on raw oysters). They serve them on French buns with “comeback sauce” for a traditional Po-boy style sandwich. Oysters are plunked down on Caesar salads, served as entrees with chips and a good slaw on the side, and, oh–my-word, have you had a fried oyster and bacon omelet? I will admit that my favorite way to eat them, though, is at the Pike Place Market, where they are served streetside in a paper cup over a handful of hand-cut French fries and topped with a dollop of tartar and cocktail sauce.

There are not a lot of places that sell fried oysters in San Diego, so I find that a trip to Point Loma Seafood or ordering them from Catalina Offshore and making them at home is often in order.

This weekend I got in some pretty little Penn Cove oysters. I had some beautiful brioche buns that Shelby had baked down at Bake Sale Bakery, and I made an outstanding down and dirty tartar sauce. All together now…for some mighty fine oyster sliders.

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Fried Oyster Sliders with Dill Pickle Tartar Sauce

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1       Pint Oysters, preferably no larger than a half dollar.

2 ½   Cups   Fine cornmeal

1       Pint Buttermilk

2 ½   Cups   All Purpose Flour

1       TBS Creole Seasoning

1       TSP Cornstarch

1       Tsp Kosher Salt

Pour the buttermilk into a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Place all dry ingredients in a shallow bowl (I like to use a pie plate), blend to combine with a fork.

Pat the oysters dry on a paper towel and drop a few at a time into the buttermilk. Retrieve with a slotted spoon to allow to drain well.  Drop the oysters in the dry mix and shake around to evenly coat.  Drop the oysters in small batches in a deep fryer or a heavy pot with at least 4 inches of oil heated to 375 degrees.  Cook until golden brown about 60-90 seconds.

Drop onto a brown paper bag, hit with a dash of Kosher salt.

THE TARTAR SAUCE

1       Cup Mayonnaise

1 ½   Tsp Dijon Mustard

1       Med Shallot- minced

1       Tsp Siracha

1       TBS Dill Pickle chopped

1       TBS Capers rinsed and chopped

1       TBS Sweet Pickle chopped

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until needed.

Slice slider buns, place 2-3 oysters on each bun, slather with tartar sauce, top with fresh sliced tomato and a lettuce leaf.

Peanut Butter, Bacon and Banana Pie

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The title of this pie does not do it justice.  First of all… it’s an old-fashioned Peanut Butter Pie, like they serve in the South (oh here I go again, weeping about Acme Southern Kitchen) but with extra lusciousness coming from a crust made of my famous Peanut Butter cookies (you know them- the ones that I imprint with a potato masher instead of a fork) that we sell at Bake Sale Bakery.

The twist is– rather than do a crust from store bought chocolate wafers or a graham cracker crust, we make a crust out of already delicious, buttery peanut butter cookies. Then take it one step further by adding crispy bacon to the food processor along with the cookies when you are making the cookie crumbs.

The result is a delicious, nutty, salty, crispy crust that serves as a fine vessel for the caramely and sweet, creamy filling.  The pie is topped with fresh whipped cream with a hint of vanilla, fresh bananas and roasted peanuts.

For The Crust:

4-5 (approx. 200 grams) Large Peanut Butter Cookies

Strips Thick Bacon Cooked Crispy and Cooled

TBS Butter Melted

Tsp Sugar

Break the cookies into large chunks and place them into the bowl of a food processor.  Add the bacon and sprinkle the sugar around the bowl.  Process by pulsing until the cookies and bacon have  reached the consistency of dry sand.

Add the melted butter and pulse a few more times to evenly distribute the fat.  Pour mixture into the pie shell and gently combine with your hands as you press it into the bottom and sides of the pie pan.

Place in a 350- degree oven for 6-8 minutes to melt the sugar and slightly bake the shell.  Allow to cool completely.

For The Filling:

Cup Creamy Peanut Butter

Oz. Cream Cheese (full fat) at room temp.

¾ Cup Brown Sugar

TBS Vanilla

Cups Whipped Cream- divided

In the bowl of a standing mixer beat 2 cups of whipping cream, 1 tsp vanilla and a pinch of salt until peaks form. Place whipped cream into a medium bowl and chill until later.

In the bowl of a standing mixer place the cream cheese, peanut butter, brown sugar and vanilla and mix on medium high until light and fluffy.

Be patient, it will take about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides every 2-3 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and with a spatula gently fold the peanut butter mixture with one cup of the whipped cream until completely incorporated.

Assemble The Pie:

Slice a banana or two into the bottom of the cooled crust and cover with the peanut butter/whipped cream filling.

Mound it as high as you like and place in the freezer for one hour to set.

Remove pie from the freezer 15 minutes before serving and slice.  Top each piece with a dollop of whipped cream, peanuts and banana slices.

You can always as an option sprinkle with crumbled bacon or drizzle with chocolate ganache or both!

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