Sunday, September 30, 2018

Getting ready for A Few of My Favorite Things

Our church, First Unitarian Church of South Bend, Indiana, has a fund raiser each fall. We call it a service auction, and it is our largest single source of funds outside of pledges. 

We all try to be inventive, and I love to go through the catalog, and I always buy too much. I get a little carried away with giving too. Last fall I offered a new dinner, which I called These Are A Few of My Favorite Things. 

There are recipes I make over and over and over again, because they taste so, so, so good, and because they are not terribly time consuming to make. Well, I guess a couple of them are, but I make them so often that they are pretty easy for me now. 

So what is the menu? Starters will have to be liver pâté, recipe from a Chicago restaurant no longer there called The Bakery. When the owner Louis Szathmary retired, he closed it. I heard he didn't even try to sell, probably because he thought nobody could do it well enough. I have two of his cookbooks, autographed by him, of course, and once when we were in there, I ended up getting a tour of his kitchen. When one had dinner at the bakery, there was no choice about starters. A small plate with a dollop of this exquisite pâté was brought to each guest with some fresh sour pickle slices and a crusty slice of baguette. There was plenty of unsalted butter available too. But now I have a new favorite starter, so there will be two. This one is so simple that I will give you the recipe right now.
  • Slice some garden fresh tomatoes, pretty thick. Heat some unsalted butter in a cast iron or carbon steel pan. When the butter is browned, put in the tomato slices, flip once (just to get them warm), put them on the plate and pour the browned butter (now with fresh tomato juice in it, of course) over the warm tomato slices. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and serve. You will definitely need a slice of baguette to mop up the juice. Elixir! 
The salad is one I have made for years. It's from an old Gourmet magazine. It's a happy marriage of Napa cabbage, crispy pancetta and Gorgonzola cheese (I like that better than the blue cheese that is called for in the recipe), topped with a warm salad dressing of Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, garlic, vegetable oil (not olive oil) and the fat rendered from the pancetta. Yum!!

On to the main course. It's green beans, tossed with light olive oil, salt and pepper, then sautéed on a grill pan until there are some brown bits, and into the serving bowl. And of course red potatoes coarsely chopped, lightly salted and boiled until tender, drained, then back in the pot with lots of butter, where they will stay warm until ready to serve. And the piece de resistance is lemon chicken. It's a pain, and I'm not going to go into details here, except to tell you it is really lemony, and served with a lemon butter sauce. It's a little tough to make, but well worth it.

My apple pie recipe has morphed over the years. You can go to and find it more than once, slightly different names, but look for Grandma Ople's apple pie. You'll find it, and they are all virtually the same. I've messed with a bit, including adding some cider vinegar to the filling, a touch of my mom's apple pie spice, and a hefty dose of vanilla. I also bake it in a cast iron skillet, which I saw done on American's Test Kitchen. Choice of New York white cheddar or homemade vanilla bean ice cream on top.

So those are a few of MY favorite things!! Hope my guests like them as well.

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