Coconut Pound Cake
Chai Tea
Pasta Cacio e Pepe
Southern Pecan Pie
Lime Cloud Pie
Imam Biyaldi
Squash, Basil-Mustard Butter

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Coconut Pound Cake
(from A Perfect Coconut Pound Cake Recipe and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand)

Peggy’s Coconut Pound Cake
2 sticks (1 and 1/2 lb.) butter, softened
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening. (That’s the secret code for Crisco)
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour ( I sift before measuring and then sift again)
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 TBSP coconut flavoring
1 tsp. almond extract
3 and 1/2 oz flaked coconut ( I use Angel Flake)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 inch Bundt cake pan or a tube pan. ( Don’t use the spray. You really have to grease this guy.) In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and shortening with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs two at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the milk and the flavorings. Beat in the flour alternately with the liquid ingredients, beginning and ending with the flour. Fold in the coconut. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake 1 1/2 hours, or until the cake shrinks slightly from the sides of the pan. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack right side up, and allow to cool completely.

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Chai Tea — Makes two mugs
(from Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn: Guilty Pleasure Number Two)

3 cups of milk (I use 2%)
1 knob of fresh ginger peeled (about 1-2 inches)
1 cinnamon stick
4-6 cloves
1 star anise
Half a nutmeg clove
2 cardamom pods
6 black peppercorns
1 vanilla bean split in half
3 teaspoons of Darjeeling tea

Directions: Put milk and spices in a saucepan and bring to almost a boil, stirring constantly. Turn off heat. Add three teaspoons of Darjeeling tea, cover and steep for 4-6 minutes. Pour through a strainer into warmed mugs. Add sugar to taste. (Chai is generally on the sweet side, so I add two teaspoons per serving).

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Pasta Cacio e Pepe
(from Winter Solstice on the Ranch)

1lb dried spaghetti
1/4 cup olive oil
2TBS butter
2 tsps fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup pecorino cheese grated.
1/4 cup Reggiano parmesan cheese grated

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Don’t overcook

Heat butter and olive oil in large pan until very hot. When pasta is done, drain, saving the cooking water.
Stir the pasta around in the hot oil and butter. Add about a cup of hot pasta water, sprinkle in the cheese and stir until the sauce is creamy. Add more water as needed to make it creamy and smooth. Sprinkle in the pepper, taste for salt and serve. Bring the pepper grinder to the table for those who want more.

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Southern Pecan Pie
(from A Southern Thanksgiving on a Western Ranch)

2 eggs
1/3 cup of white sugar
2/3 cup light Karo syrup
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 TBS melted butter
2/3 cup pecan shells

Unbaked pie shell. You can use any pie crust recipe. My grandmother used Crisco in hers—you know the white stuff. Hey, she lived well into her eighties. And my great-grandmother used lard. Ditto living to a ripe old age. I’ve even used the frozen ones when I had to throw the whole meal together all by myself. Y’all, however, can use your discretion. I do recommend having the crust really, really cold, though.

Beat the eggs slightly. Stir in the sugar, salt, vanilla, melted butter and pecans. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. The pie may come out a little soft, but it will harden as it cools.

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Lime Cloud Pie
(from Saveur Magazine, a poem by Carolyn Forche, and Dave’s . . . )

1 generous cup of fresh lime juice
1 heaping teaspoon lime zest
2 cans Sweetened Condensed milk
2 beaten eggs
1 pre-baked Graham Cracker pie crust. Any recipe will do. Just don’t use the already made version that’s been sitting on the shelf who-knows-how long-with-a-ton-of-preservatives.

Beat eggs. Add Sweetened Condensed Milk, lime zest, lime juice. Stir until smooth. Pour into pie crust. Bake 18 minutes. Let cool.

At this point, you can cover it with sweetened whipped cream ( about a cup) or sweetened sour cream. You decide.

Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.
P.S. If you want another version, use lemon instead.

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Imam Biyaldi
(from Imam Biyaldi or The Pleasures of Late Summer)

4 small Italian eggplants
olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Peel 3-4 strips 1/3 inch wide down each eggplant, so it has a striped appearance,
rub with olive oil and salt, put in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake for an hour.
Sauce for Imam Biyaldi
1/4 cup olive oil
medium yellow onion
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 lbs. tomatoes peeled and chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 TBS. finely chopped fresh parsley

Add olive oil to a saute pan, heat, add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic, stir so it turns golden but doesn’t brown. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Turn the heat down and simmer about ten minutes, or until the tomatoes have softened and the sauce has thickened. Add the parsley, stir, and turn off the heat.

To assemble:
Cut a slit in each eggplant that stops about 1/4 inch from the bottom. Push gently on the top and bottom of the eggplant to widen the opening. Add a quarter of the sauce to each eggplant. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. ( I serve it warm with rice to which I’ve added just a bit of saffron for color and that lovely fragrance.) Flat breads are a nice addition, too.

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Squash, Basil-Mustard Butter
(from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone . . . )

Six to eight yellow squash depending on the size— roughly four cups—cut into a large dice.
2-4 TBS olive oil ( you decide)
2 lg. garlic cloves sliced
Grated rind of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
A little basil chiffonade

1) Swirl the olive oil in a large skillet (I use a 12 inch All-Clad) and when it is fragrant, add the squash.

2) Cook on medium-high, tossing the squash with a spatula from time to time, until the squash is golden and tender.

3) Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (that word again! Gotta use your nose if you want to cook.) Do not burn the garlic !

4) Turn off the heat. Add the grated lemon rind and stir to mix. Taste for salt and pepper. Pour into a pretty bowl and top with the basil.

Actually, I have to be honest. I didn’t add the basil in my dish, because I’d made a basil mustard butter to put on top of the grilled salmon. I knew the basil from that would mingle with the squash, and it did. Yum.
The recipe for the flavored butter comes from the first Silver Palate Cookbook. It’s vintage 1980. Still good, though!

Basil-Mustard Butter for grilled salmon
1 stick softened unsalted butter
1/4 cup Dijon style mustard
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil (mine was right out of the garden!)
Blend mustard and butter.
Add basil and blend again.
Chill slightly. Spoon onto grilled salmon.
Serve with the squash! Some wild rice is nice.