Sometimes it’s best not to tell the whole truth!

Ok, sometimes it’s best to flat out lie!  Never publicize when you’ll be out of town.  I couldn’t tell you all what was really on the menu last week could I?  Now that we’re home I can admit it, though.  I didn’t cook anything at all.  We were on the Gulf Coast for the annual Shrimp Fest celebration, gorging on all that wonderful Alabama seafood.  It doesn’t get much better than that, at least not for me!
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Although the emphasis at Shrimp Fest is obviously on the shrimp, our bench mark when judging Gulf Coast seafood restaurants is always the fried crab claws. These are a delicacy that might be hard to explain to those of you who have never experienced them. The claw of the blue crab is shelled, then battered and fried. To eat one, you must drag the claw through your front teeth, peeling the succulent flesh away from a slim piece of cartilage in the center. It’s a quickly acquired skill! Another quickly acquired skill is the area’s custom of table mixed cocktail sauce. Instead of bottles of cocktail sauce being provided at each table you are provided with small containers of grated horseradish, fresh lemon wedges, ketchup, and other condiments with which to mix your own cocktail sauce as mild or spicy as you like. It’s always fun to see the perplexed looks on the faces of tourists who are new to this practice.
Oh well, Monday was back to Huntsville and back to reality. After Michael had treated me to such a marvelous vacation I couldn’t ask him to observe Meatless Monday. Meatless is not his favorite way to do dinner, although he doesn’t complain as long as we don’t do it too often. Spinach and Mushroom Smothered Chicken is much more appealing to him though. This dish is grilled and fairly high on the healthy scale except for the fact that I pile on the provolone cheese. Cheese is my own personal weakness.
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Those of you who follow this blog might remember that a few weeks ago I managed to totally torch a pot roast! I still haven’t figured out how I did that, but I’m not one to easily accept defeat. Tuesday I repeated that exact same recipe for Mississippi Roast and it turned out just as it should. Mississippi Roast is a recipe that’s been circulating on the internet lately. Who ever came up with it is a genius. It may be the juices in the pepperoncini peppers that do the trick, but you can use the cheapest, toughest cut of beef in the meat case and this recipe transform it into a roast so tender you can cut it with your fork.  I intended Wednesday’s dinner to be Drippy French Dip Sandwiches made with the leftovers, but we had so many leftover mashed potatoes, gravy, and other sides that we forgot that sandwich idea and just had the same meal a second night. Sometimes you just can’t mess with success.
Thursday we were back in the chicken rut with Chicken Cobbler, a variation on chicken pot pie that I haven’t fixed in a while.  That afternoon I was working on my blog photos and decided I needed a fresh photo of paper plates.  I decided to cut up a poblano pepper for the photo. So as not to waste it, that pepper wound up in the cobbler. That one little accidental addition pulled the Chicken Cobbler out of its rut. The poblano was not at all spicy, but rather just a subtle back note that elevated the cobbler from the mundane. Accidents happen, and not always for the worse!
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After all that Gulf Coast seafood, Fishy Friday just couldn’t compete, and didn’t even try. All I did was pull some Clam Chowder out of the freezer. I have to admit that was pretty darned boring! At least that contributed to my clear out the freezer project, but not by much.
Well, as usual, this post is late. I find myself pulled in so many directions these days! Got to go help Michael go hang a new storm door and then figure out what’s for supper this week, so I hope to get back to you soon.
Whoops! I forgot! I promised more apple recipes, so here you go…
Apple-Pecan Ricotta Cheesecake is a personal favorite, since I could eat cheesecake all day long, and I don’t particularly care for sweets.  This recipe is much lighter in fat and calories than the traditional New York style cheesecake. I call it breakfast. It has all the food groups. (I have some mini spring form pans, so I can make three and freeze two. That works well for us.)
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And while we’re having breakfast, how about some Autumn Apple Turnovers? Frozen puff pastry sheets make theses turnovers quick and easy to prepare. In fact, the hardest part is remembering to thaw the puff pastry.  Cinnamon in the glaze adds just a little something.
While you’re shopping for the frozen puff pastry you might as well pick up some phyllo sheets as well. Apple Phyllo Roll-ups freeze and bake easily and are great to keep on hand for when company pops in. You can have these little mini strudels with apples, raisins, and walnuts ready to serve almost as soon as the coffee is brewed.
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Sweet Ricotta and Apple Tarts do take a little more effort than some of my recipes, but they are well worth it. The filling is cool, rich, and creamy, but not overly sweet. The purchased caramel topping provides the extra measure of sweetness, so that element remains within your control.
I guess that does it for now…
Be thankful for what life gives you.

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