Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gratitude Week -- Wednesday

Today I am feeling grateful for good food.

Food is so abundant for us, and we have so many options to choose from. When I think of all the different foods I have eaten in the last week alone, it is somewhat staggering: marinated flank steak, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, pizza cooked at 712 degrees in a specially-constructed oven, panini, penne with a salsa rosata sauce, pie crust cookies, Cadbury eggs, tangerines, short rib over polenta with horseradish sauce...

Good food is definitely a blessing.

Sometimes I love just a simple breakfast of toast and tea (Bengal Spice).

one of my favorite lunches

I love that I have the skills to make just about anything that I might want to eat.

It's so satisfying to see this:

turn into this:

Today I was listening to NPR and heard people discussing what they would eat for their last meal. It was fascinating. Someone said he would have a 25-course meal at a favorite restaurant. Someone said he would want to re-create the best meal of his life, which was Kraft mac-n-cheese and Tang, eaten around a campfire after a long day of canoeing. Many people were harking back to childhood favorites, and there was a lot of discussion about who we enjoy eating with and where we enjoy eating.

There was even one man who said he would abstain from eating his last meal entirely, because he's a writer and eating clouds his mind. He would prefer his mind to remain clear and free and therefore would eat nothing. (Eating clouds your mind? I wonder if I've found the source of my memory problems!)

I have a lot of fond memories of childhood favorites and I've had a lot of memorable meals since, so I'm having a hard time deciding what my ultimate meal would be.

For Marc's birthday, he requested an old favorite: chocolate peanut butter pie. I haven't made it for probably a couple of years, and it was like welcoming an old friend.

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pie
Emeril Lagasse

2 cups crushed chocolate cookies (Graham crackers, oreos or chocolate wafers)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon peanut butter, in all
4 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts (do not omit! unless you don't like a crunchy texture)
2 3/4 cup heavy cream, in all
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, combine the cookie crust with 1 tablespoon of the peanut butter. Combine the mixture thoroughly and press into a 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes.

In an electric mixer with a whip attachment, whip the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the remaining 1 cup peanut butter, milk and nuts and whip for 1 minute. Turn the peanut butter mixture into a mixing bowl. Whip 2 cups of the heavy cream and fold into the peanut butter mixture. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and refrigerate for 2 hours or until the pie is set.

In a sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the chocolate with the remaining cream, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove from the heat and cool for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove the pie from the springform pan and place on a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour the chocolate topping over the pie, covering the top and sides completely. Refrigerate the pie for 2 hours or until the chocolate coating is set. (I often leave the pie in the springform pan and just pour the chocolate on top.)

My ultimate meal might have to include a dessert buffet, because I would have such a hard time narrowing down to one favorite, and if so, it would probably include chocolate peanut butter pie.

What would you have for your last meal?


kath said...

All that amazing homemade cooking. I hope your honey realizes what an incredible woman he has as his wife!!

Robyn said...

I have to say, Pumpkin Cheesecake popped into my mind for the last meal. I would eat the WHOLE thing! I love your photos of the rolls, those are gorgeous.

Jill said...

I'm so thankful for food in abundance, and it shows!

I wish I ate more of a variety of good foods like you do, but no one here makes those for me.

I'm not sure about my last meal, but I love good old fashioned pot roast with mashed potatoes, gravy and rolls.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what I would choose for a last meal. It might have to be a buffet so I can have a bite or two of all my favorites. I love all these pictures- each one is oh so pleasing.

And with your first paragraph, I instantly wanted to go to Pizzeria 712...we have only been a couple times and it was so good.

Natasha said...

I did a gratitude post on food too. Yum, I love just about every Emeril recipe. . .

charlotte said...

That looks DELICIOUS!!! I, too, love good food, and coming home after 3 months, home-cooked food is definitely spectacular.

Amanda :-) said...

Hello, dolly! I love that picture of your rolled up little doofers. They're gorgeous-looking, and yes it must be so satisfying to see something like flat, pale pastry turn into such lovliness.

Last meal. Oh, gosh, that's really hard. Sometimes I think it'd have to be really traditional British meat and two-veg, or suet pudding, or fish & chips with mushy peas and lashings of vinegar. Other times I think ooooh, no gotta be Chinese! Isn't it a sign of how grateful we should be that we are able to choose from such a vaaaast list of dishes?

Elizabeth said...

Your plates are perfect for making the food pop out in the photos. I will have to remember that pie for my husbands birthday. We are a little crazy over the chocolate peanut butter combo.

wende said...

i love the photographs you take of your yummy creations. your family is so lucky to have such a good cook in the house.

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Oh whoa, this is a beautiful post. With all of the colors in the food world they make for an artful picture as well as paragraph of discription.

I love that you branch out in your cooking. I ought to do that more.

I'd probably go for the comfort food of mashed potatoes and gravy on my last menu.

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