Chocolate Chess Pie

September 21, 2007

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For many good cooks, chess pie, as wonderful as it is, is only the beginning. Pecan pie is basically a good chess pie chock full of pecans. Lemon Chess is a dream of a dessert. I remember with awe my first bite. And just wait till you taste Chocolate Chess! SAM

2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
12 tablespoons butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 (9-inch) unbaked pastry shell

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. With an electric mixer on high speed, beat the eggs until foamy, about 3 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, and beat in the flour, sugar, and brown sugar, until well blended. Beat in the butter. Stir in the walnuts and chocolate morsels by hand. Pour the batter into the pastry shell and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 8 servings.


Curried Red Dal

September 5, 2007

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Like New Orleans red beans and rice, this hot, spicy lentil stew is the ultimate in comfort food. It’s great in winter made with canned tomatoes, but fresh summer tomatoes take it to new heights. Serve it with Pickled Slaw and Raita, that cooling combination of yogurt and cucumber

, and bask in the compliments. SAM

2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced and divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 pound new potatoes
3 cups water, divided
1 cup red lentils
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 bay leaf
1 to 2 teaspoons hot curry powder
1/2 teaspoon roasted, ground cumin
1/3 cup marsala wine or dry sherry
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
4 cups fresh peeled, chopped tomatoes or 1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes in juice
Sea salt to taste

Set aside one slice of onion. In a large chef’s pan sweat the remaining onions in 1 tablespoon oil until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. In a small saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water. Simmer, covered, until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and chop roughly. Rinse the lentils and place in a medium chef’s pan with 3 cups water and the reserved slice of onion. Simmer, covered, until soft and flaky, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the garlic and bay leaf. When the onions are sweated, raise the heat to medium high and add the curry powder and cumin. Stir until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the lentil mixture, potatoes, black beans, and tomatoes and salt to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until creamy, about 30 minutes. Serve over basmati rice or couscous with Pickled Slaw and Raita, or thin with yogurt, cream, or water for soup.
Makes 3 quarts.


Zucchini Cake

July 28, 2007

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With zucchini, it’s all or nothing. One day you’re waiting impatiently for one to come in—the next day you have bushels. What to do with all those squash? It’s kind of like finding homes for kittens. When the neighbors start ducking behind shrubs when they see you coming with your garden basket, that’s a sign it’s time to bake Zucchini Cake! SAM

1/3 cup boiling water
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 3 medium)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup salad oil
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup chopped pecans
Cream Cheese-Pecan Icing

In a large bowl, pour the boiling water over the zucchini and set aside to cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the zucchini, flour, sugar, oil, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla extract, and eggs. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, scraping the bowl constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Beat for 2 minutes more, scraping the bowl occasionally. Stir in the pecans by hand and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and ice with Cream Cheese-Pecan Icing.
Makes 15 servings.


Cheeseburger Pita with Beer and Bacon

July 23, 2007

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Who says a cheeseburger has to come in a bun! SAM

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup dark beer
1/2 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 dashes hot-pepper sauce or to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 slices bacon
2 pounds ground beef
4 pita rounds, cut in half
1/2 cup sour cream

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and add the beer. When the mixture is warm, add the cheese and stir until melted. Add the Worcestershire sauce, sugar, curry powder, paprika, hot-pepper sauce, salt, and black pepper. Heat thoroughly but do not boil. Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, fry the bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels and crumble. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease and brown the ground beef in the same skillet. Drain and place in equal amounts inside the pita pockets. Pour the beer sauce on top and garnish with bacon and sour cream.
Makes 8 pitas.