I admit to almost always cooking with no more than one other person around me. It’s quiet and I can spread out my work.
So, when I find myself in a kitchen that’s not my own, surrounded by people, I have to take a deep breath and then laugh at the chaos that somehow results in a meal.
Last week was wedding week in the family. My marvelous niece Jessica Suzanne was married on the southern shores of Lake Michigan. Breakfast at the beach house the day before the nuptials — filled to the gills with family — was fun to watch, as my brother-in-law Jeff efficiently manned the bacon and the eggs pans, niece Whitney’s boyfriend Nick was put on toaster/English muffin duty, the baby sitter made coffee and the rest of us foraged through the fridge for jam, juice, etc.
There’s not much formality during this kind of a meal. We ate on paper plates wherever there was a place to sit. Another pot of coffee was made, baby Lily Joan got a bottle, Pete the dog smartly took himself to his bed, and silence reigned — momentarily.
The classiest accents of the meal were the calla lily bouquets (made by my sister and me for the bride and her maids) standing in a glass tub of water on the kitchen counter.
What fun we all had. Then I came back to reality and found two recipes for this column!
The striking appearance of this pie is matched with a luxurious chocolate, creamy filling.
WHITE CHOCOLATE-STRAWBERRY PIE
9-inch pie crust, store bought
4 squares white baking chocolate (4 ounces)
3 tablespoons milk
8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1 teaspoon apricot preserves
1/2 teaspoon water
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook pie crust as directed. Cool completely on rack.
In a small bowl, microwave 4 squares of white chocolate and milk uncovered, for about 2 minutes, or until softened and chocolate can be stirred smoothly. Cool to room temperature.
In another bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and orange peel with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Beat in white chocolate. Fold in whipped cream.
Spread filling in baked shell. Arrange strawberry slices on filling in a concentric circle with points facing outward.
Heat preserves and water; mix well. Brush on top of strawberries.
Refrigerate about 2 hours, or until set. Makes 8 servings.
Adapted from “The Big Book of Pies & Tarts” by Betty Crocker
OLD FLORIDA POPPY SEED SALAD DRESSING
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3/4 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 cups vegetable oil
At least 24 hours in advance: Place all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake until well blended. Keep refrigerated.
Makes about 1 quart, 64 servings of 2 tablespoons each with 80 calories, 7 grams fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 grams carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 112 mg sodium.
Linda Cicero, Miami Herald
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, 618-239-2664 or follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne. Write to P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.