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Painless Cooking, Issue #010 --dinner-at-farm
August 19, 2009
Cooking for a crowd, Chocolate dessert recipes, Strawberry desserts
Issue#010 August 19, 2009
It was nice to have friends for dinner, but it does pose some problems! We like to talk almost as well as we like to cook and eat. I had to think of ways to prepare ahead of the dinner so I would be free to talk when our guests arrived. I got out my planner and started to take notes. First, I settled on one of my recipes on how to cook pork loin. I would be cooking fried chicken at Jim’s request and mashed potatoes that I could prepare a day ahead. I would make Marsala gravy with portabella mushrooms to accompany the roast pork. Carrots and green beans would add the color to the meal along with toss salad. Of course, a meal is not complete without delicious desserts. From my chocolate dessert recipes, I chose a chocolate butterscotch trifle. From my strawberry dessert recipes, I chose my old favorite fresh strawberry pie with whipped cream.
Saturday evening at six o’clock was our scheduled dinner time. On Friday I set out to prepare as many dishes as possible to free me up on Saturday.
Trifles look like masterpieces and taste delicious but can be one of the easy desserts to make. The recipe follows:
<1i> Box prepared instant butterscotch pudding
Reserve a few raspberries and slivered almonds for the garnish.
Sprinkle the Grand Marnier over the brownies and them cut them into 1 inch squares.
Make a layer of the brownies on the bottom of a clear glass trifle bowl.
Sprinkle ½ of the peanut butter chips over the brownies.
Sprinkle ½ of the crushed toffee bars next.
Mix the butterscotch pudding as directed, let set a few minutes to firm and then spoon it over the brownies.
Make another layer of brownies over the pudding.
Sprinkle the remaining peanut butter chips.
Sprinkle the remaining crushed toffee bars.
Mix up the box of chocolate pudding as directed. Let it set to firm and then spoon it over the dessert.
Top the chocolate pudding with the Cool Whip.
Garnish with reserved berries and almonds.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
FRESH STRAWBERRY PIE
Combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt and water.
Bring to a boiling point.
Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin and butter.
Cool for about 15 minutes.
Fold in the strawberries.
Dump all into a baked pie shell.
Refrigerate for a few hours or until set before serving.
Top with whipped cream.
After all the prep work was completed, I put on a clean table cloth and set the table. All the dishes were washed in advance, so all plates, dishes, glasses and utensils were ready for setting. That was the final task for Friday.
On Saturday morning, I cleaned the salad greens, drained them and placed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Besides getting this task out of the way, it also makes the greens crispier. There was not much more to be done for the dinner and it was still early in the day. I bought dinner rolls so they were ready to be heated. I was pretty much free for the day except for tidying the house. At four o’clock, I would start all the cooking. Since everything was oven ready, that would be a breeze!
Our one conversation that has been at a couple of our meetings has been over butter. I mentioned to you last week that we have had conversations about “butter”. For some reason, I have not liked the taste of butter for the last several years. I can taste a difference in it whether I have it on a baked potato or if I put it in something I am cooking. I mentioned this one day to Anita, who is a very good cook and she asked me if I ever tried Irish butter. Well, I never knew that you could even buy Irish butter here in Florida. From the subject of Irish butter, we went on to discuss Danish butter. Anita said that it is quite good also and is available in our grocery store.
I bought both butters and I couldn’t decide which one I liked the best. I will tell you that they both were better than any butter I have used in many years. When we decided to get together for dinner, I decided to serve both butters. This was the beginning of our dinner conversation and the Irish butter won out. See if you can find them in your grocery store and let me know which is your favorite.
Until later, have a happy cooking experience!
Your friend, Frances
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