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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

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By request, this one comes from today's coffee hour experiments. Why do I experiment on the poor congregation of my church? Well, I have extraordinarily picky menfolk. Boy claims not to like pie at all and is iffy on chocolate unless Oreos are involved. (I swear he was not dropped on his head as a child.) Man eschews most fruit and all coconut. Thus, the church.

This round involved key lime pie, King Arthur chocolate cream pie, strawberry rhubarb pie, Cape Cod blueberry pie, a chocolate bundt cake with ganache, and my mom's self-described "best dip in the world." The key lime disappeared in seven minutes, so I think I'll keep making that one.

Aside: The "key" to that one (heh heh heh) is to use real key lime juice. There is a big difference in flavor. Now, you can buy a giant bag full of key limes, which are teeny little things about the size of a Ping-Pong ball, and squeeze a zillion of them until you get a cup of juice. Or, if you have a life, you'…

DeCandido Fried Chicken

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All of my fried chicken turned out lousy until I tried this method from author and amazing human Keith DeCandido. My chicken was flavorless and the breading tended to be thin and fall off. With Keith's technique, however, I got thick, tasty skin and tender, juicy chicken. I made a few light adjustments, adding onion powder and poultry seasoning; I think I might add a little more sage next time, and Jim wants a variation with cayenne pepper because he's nuts.

Also, it helps if you don't drop the cornmeal container and explode half of it across your kitchen floor. Or so I'm told.

So, by popular demand, here it is:



DECANDIDO FRIED CHICKEN

chicken pieces
flour
corn meal
salt/pepper
sage
rosemary
onion powder
poultry seasoning
thyme
oregano
buttermilk
lots of oil

I use a large soup pot to reduce the spattering, but you can use any deep skillet you like. Heat up about two inches of oil. While it's warming, soak the chicken pieces in buttermilk. (I toss them in a bowl and…

Basic French Bread

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By request.... this is my go-to bread recipe, which never lasts the night in my house. It uses olive oil, and I recommend using a high-quality one for best results. If you are so inclined to use a flavored olive oil, it will make a flavorful bread. You can scatter dried herbs on the dough when you bake it for yummy results.

I use my stand mixer for this. If you don't have one, stir the dough with a wooden spoon and knead by hand for 10 minutes. That's really boring, so I prefer the stand mixer.

I add a couple of tablespoons of bread enhancer as well, but I haven't been able to find it in a while. You'll get fine results without it. I also recommend using bread flour rather than all-purpose, but your mileage may vary.




BASIC FRENCH BREAD

1 packet dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp.)
1 tsp. sugar
1 c. warm water
2 1/2 c. flour
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine dry yeast, sugar and warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast is fo…