I’ve still got apples!

In fact,I’ve still got more apples than I’ve had the time to work with them this hectic week. It’s a good thing this variety, Arkansas Black, is supposed to store well. I did dehydrate some to give the dogs as treats and worked in two new recipes, one for Apple-Date Bars and Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls, but I still have about a quarter of a bushel left.
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Sunday was the quietest day of the week. We savored what was probably the last rack of Smoked Ribs for the year.  Since we had some errands to run and didn’t want to stay home all afternoon, we did do them a little differently this time. Usually Michael smokes the ribs for about three hours on the outdoor smoker, then we wrap them in foil with Rib Braising Liquid and put them back in the smoker for a while. This time I transferred the wrapped ribs to the oven while we were gone. When we got home I simply unwrapped them, slathered them with Rib Sauce, and baked them, unwrapped, a little longer to set the sauce. I think that method worked out better for a couple of reasons: Since the ribs were wrapped in foil they weren’t going to absorb any more smoke, anyway, and the oven maintained a constant temperature. Therefore, Michael didn’t have to babysit the fire and we were free to go about our business. I’m going to have to keep that method in mind for next time. Maybe I’d better write it down in the recipe.
Our dogs, Bella and Lizzie, may be just a little spoiled. In an effort to help them keep their weight down I prepare a special food to serve twice a week instead of commercial dog food. Not too long ago, I made a batch of my Fresh Ricotta Cheese at about the same time as I needed to cook for them. It has always bothered me that I had no use for the whey that is a byproduct of the cheese making. Then it occured to me. Why not use the whey as the cooking liquid for the rice in the dog food recipe? That batch of food was the best yet, and I’ve been cooking their food that way most of the time since. Now we are drowning in ricotta! I’ve been making it about every three weeks.
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I admit to having a low threashold of boredom and don’t like to cook the same things all the time. That’s why there are over 500 recipes on this blog. I’m compelled to come up with new recipes all the time. In my mind, finding ways to use all that ricotta requires new recipes. This week it was Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini. All of you gardeners who get swamped in zucchini might want to try this recipe. It’s hard to come up with Meatless main dishes that Michael honestly enjoys, and he did seem to enjoy this one.
Wednesday’s dinner was again ricotta based, but not meatless by any means. This time it was Meat Sauce over Ricotta Gnocchi.  I believe that most written recipes are only a guideline and that a person should make them their own, but when I post a recipe it needs to work well the way it is written. Most of the time, when I prepare a posted recipe I try to follow that recipe exactly the way it is written. I’ve found quite a few issues that needed to be corrected that way.  I didn’t notice anything that needed correction or clarification in those two recipes, but you never know.  I did sneak a few extra veggies into the Meat Sauce, too.
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By Thursday we had had quite enough of that ricotta!   A big change was in order.  Chicken Fingers with Buttermilk Gravy isn’t the healthiest recipe I’ve ever posted, but they sure are good. I don’t fix them often, maybe only once a year, but when I do there are never any leftovers.
Just as I’m always trying and testing recipes, Michael pointed out a needed change in Friday night’s Spicy Baked Shrimp. I hadn’t noticed it in the dish when I had served it before, but the Worcestershire was overpowering the shrimp. Michael was right. I’ve changed the recipe to reflect that, but haven’t yet actually tested the revision. I will soon.
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With still more apples and a little more ricotta to be used I decided to merge the two into an Apple Pecan Ricotta Cheesecake. I haven’t finished compiling exactly what I did into a real recipe, but I hope to do that soon. It’s late Saturday evening now and I still have a lot to do for our family Holloween chili supper on Sunday. Look for that recipe by some time Monday.
I hope you are having a great Halloween!
Be thankful for what life gives you.

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