Tuesday, May 20, 2014

cook it out, cook it in, let me begin...

"I was born in the wrong decade..."
This post brought to you by the fabulous 

Sun, glorious sun! Thank you for (finally) showing up. When it gets sunny, I start thinking about getting together with friends and family, letting the kids run wild in the backyard, drinking some sangria, and eating yummy, yummy food (preferably prepared on a grill). This is the stuff dreams are made of. Or at least summers. 

When I hear "cookout", I have some go-to dishes that immediately pop into my head, for a few reasons. They're relatively easy, and are always, always crowd-pleasers. I thought I would share them with you - since the weekend of epic cookout proportions is upon us.

I fought the slaw, and the slaw won.
I've made this so many times, I no longer need the stained, wrinkled, ripped recipe card. I've made a few adaptations. No sunflower seeds, not sure why, probably because I didn't have them the first time I made the recipe. I take the seasoning packet from the second package of ramen noodles and add it to the melted margarine (instead of butter, and I only use about 2 tbsp...Ms. Deen definitely put her butter stamp on this recipe) to toast the almonds and raw noodles. And I use less oil, a little over half a cup. Nothing like taking a vegetable and ruining the nutrients of it by adding butter and oil!

Let it simmer on low low heat for as long as humanly possible. That is all.

*Key Lime Pie (or Lime Custard Pie)
I say that because this is still delicious using regular limes even if you can't get your hands on key limes. I believe this is the recipe that Joe's Stone Crab uses (via Food Network). About 6 years ago, I searched and searched for a legitimate Key Lime Pie recipe. This is the one that I put on a recipe card, so it's what I use, but I do not have the original source. 

so key-ish, so lime-ish
1 homemade graham cracker crust (I'm sorry to be demanding, but it must be homemade). For key lime pies, I like to use cinnamon sugar graham crackers (fun, right?)
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. fresh squeezed key lime juice
2 tsp. key lime zest
2 egg yolks
fresh whipped cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together yolks and zest. Then slowly add the condensed milk, then whisk in lime juice. Pour into prepared crust and bake for 15-25 minutes, until solid (no longer jiggly). Let cool and chill it in the fridge. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Not classy, fancy or unique, but man, are they ridiculously good. Sometimes, for people I really love, I swirl in some peanut butter.

Jan's Brownies
from the cookbook Just a Matter of a Thyme by Roxie Kelley

1 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in the vanilla and eggs. Add cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt and mix well. Pour into a greased 9x13" baking pan and bake for 23-25 minutes. Frost with chocolate icing, or sprinkle with powdered sugar, or swirl in smooth or crunchy peanut butter.

Or forget baking or cooking - just stop by Costco and grab a gigantic bag of Brownie Brittle and a jar of peanut butter and you'll be everyone's favorite person for ever and ever.

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