Sunday, June 26, 2016

As Easy As (Mudslide) Pie

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is a terrific recipe to have in your roster on a hot summer day. It's easy enough for the kid's to make and while it requires significant chill time, it adds a festive end to a summer meal. The recipe which appears below comes from the Nestle test kitchen, and while I follow their ingredient list to the letter, I use the microwave to melt the chocolate for the pie. It just makes things easier. While there are several ways to melt chocolate using the microwave, I place the chocolate in a bowl and heat it on medium high for about 1 minute, then stir the chocolate and continue to heat at 15 to 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted and has a smooth consistency. The pie really needs a full 6 hours in the freezer if you want neat slices. You can cut it before then but the lower layer will not be completely set and has a tendency to run. This is a truly effortless dessert, and I do hope you'll give it a try. Here is how it is made.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016

Pecan Sandies

From the Kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I had some young helpers today and thought making cookies would help keep them engaged and happy. It was an uplanned visit so I had to make do with the ingredients I had in the pantry, and I was pretty limited in what I had on hand. Without chocolate chips or peanut butter, I decided Sandies would be the easiest thing for them to make successfully. Because they were so young, I needed a recipe just as simple as the cookies. You know the kind, I'm sure. Ingredients were chopped and measured before they began their work so all they needed to do was mix and shape the cookies. They did really well. As you know, Sandies are a buttery cookie whose flavor comes from pecans, and like all nutty cookies, these taste better the day after thy are made. If you don't yet have a favorite recipe for Sandies, I hope you will give this one a try. Here is how the cookies are made.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thomas Keller's Near Perfect Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I came across this recipe years ago. We had been gifted with gorgeous grassfed steaks and I wanted a simple salad to accompany them. I let my fingers do the walking, and while searching I came across The Paupered Chef, a blog that has since become inactive. They were featuring a salad and dressing that was included in Thomas Keller's book Bouchon. With a pedigree like that, I knew my steaks would be in good company, so the salad and dressing became part of our meal. With just 3 ingredients, the dressing is the epitome of simplicity, though I must admit I mix it up a bit and use 2 parts canola oil to 1 part extra virgin olive oil to add some additional flavor. You'll notice that the dressing has no salt, sugar or herbs added to it. That's because Keller adds them to his salads rather than their dressing. This is a creamy sauce that flows easily and coats a spoon. It is not thick, and for that reason it is important to add only a third of the oil to the blender. Adding more at that time would turn the emulsion into a thick mayonnaise that cannot be poured. It's thought that Keller uses canola oil because it is bland and does not interfere with other flavors. I think most of you will enjoy the freshness of this dressing, but do remember it is unseasoned and you are expected to season the greens before tossing the salad. Do give this a try. It will keep for 2-1/2 weeks in the refrigerator, and should it separate, simply give it another whirl in the blender. Here is how the dressing and Keller's Bibb lettuce salad are made.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Slow Cooker Curried Chicken Thighs

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I'm a big fan of the recipes that are featured in Family Circle magazine. I saw this recipe for Indian-Spiced Chicken Thighs in their June issue, and I knew I had to give it a try. The recipe looks lengthy because of the number of spices that are used in its preparation, but once they are assembled the recipe is a no-brainer and the slow cooker does the work. I hope you'll give this dish a try, if for no other reason than its aroma, which is close to perfume. If you love the fragrance of curries you won't be able to resist this dish. I followed the recipe exactly as it was written, but altered the cooking time, as I generally do with slow cooker recipes. I cooked my chicken on High for one hour and then reduced the heat and cooked it on Low for another two. I think most slow cooker recipes result in overcooked meat and I try to avoid that. I know that not all of you agree with me, so I've left the Family Circle directions intact. Do give this chicken a try at some point this summer. Here is how it's made.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Betty's Snickerdoodles

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I tend to keep my cookie jar full during the summer. Friends and family drop in more often and I like to have something for them - particularly the younger ones - to nibble on. The jar is usually stuffed with our cookie jar favorites which include peanut butter, oatmeal and that strange creation called the snickerdoodle. It's hard not to love snickerdoodles. They are easy to make and the required ingredients are pantry staples in most homes. Best of all, their name makes the preschool set giggle, and the giggle of a three year old is pretty hard to resist. They are a light drop cookie that can be soft or crisp depending on how long they are baked, and anyone who likes cinnamon sugar will love them. Snickerdoodles have been around for a long time. Recipes for the cookies appeared during the 19th century and the cookies quickly became a favorite in New England and Pennsylvania. Folks generally believe the cookie is of Dutch or German origin and that their name comes from the German word Schneckennudeln, which is the name of cinnamon-dusted sweet rolls. There is even a children's book about a tiny hero, called Snickerdoodle, who travels around in a peanut mobile doing good deeds. While I'm lukewarm about the book, I am a fan of the cookies. The recipe I use for summer baking comes from Betty Crocker and it consistently delivers cookies that are delicious and easy to make. I think you would like them, too. Here is how they are made.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Fabulous Cake for the Fourth of July

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...When I was quite young and still rebellious, my mother freely gave advice I chose not to hear. I know there was a list of dos and don'ts for social interactions, and I suspect the situation I found myself in might never have happened, if I had been paying attention to what she said. Last year, about this time, the Silver Fox and I were invited to a party, and rather than just accept, I, of course, asked if I could bring anything. Turns out, I sure could. The list included burger buns and a cake that was holiday appropriate. Now, I don't usually do holiday appropriate. Once my children were grown, recipes for lamb and flag cakes were retired. I probably could have resurrected my recipe for a flag cake, but I didn't think anyone in the 60+ crowd was pining for it. So, I decided to make an ordinary cake that would be simply decorated to make a symbolic nod to the 4th of July. I have long cherished a recipe for a pure white cake that would make a perfect base for my extravaganza. A cake, if it's to be pure white, must be made with white shortening and a clear extract of one type or another. I can hear some of you groaning, but that's the only way it can be done. I decided to use pie filling to provide the play of red and blue against the white because I had it in the pantry and wanted to use it up. Red and blue jam would also have worked nicely. My plan included using whipped cream or topping to ice the layers because that was the simplest way to carry on the red white and blue theme. If you decide to make a cake like this, I must warn you the both pie filling and jam have a tendency to bleed into the cake layers. Had I used a buttercream frosting I could have created a light sealing coat that would make the layers impervious to a bleeding filling. That, alas, cannot be done with whipped cream. The cake, which had terrific flavor and a lovely crumb, was well received and had enough holiday flair to please the hostess for which it was made. Those of you who need a quick and relatively easy holiday dessert, might find this one perfect for your purposes. Here is how the cake was made.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Apple Pie - Plain and Fancy

Plain and Fancy Apple Pies for Father's Day

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...We are celebrating Father's Day with friends today, and I have been working with what feels like an orchard's worth of apples for the occasion. I'm toting two pies and holding back a third. The Silver Fox requested I make his special Golden Cream and Apple Tart - it's actually a French tart created by Patricia Wells - for the two of to enjoy when we are alone this evening. Because our friends are basic eaters, I made two of the plain pies I used to make for the children for them. They, too, are delicious, but lack the visual panache of the French pie. I've always been a "In for a penny, in for a pound" kind of gal, and it takes more than 10 pounds of apples to make me blink. So, we have an all-American and a French version of apple pie to share with you this evening. I think we've made Johnny Appleseed proud. Here are the two recipes. Both are winners.

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