Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Easy desserts good to welcome soldier


The Saucy Cook

By Mary Jo Spiegel
Enquirer contributor

Michelle Cason, a native of Harrison now living in Fort Polk, La., is busy maintaining a normal routine for her kids - Jordan, Jerod and Jenna - while her husband, Army Staff Sgt. Wayne Cason, is stationed just outside of Baghdad. (Don't tell her the war is over.)

Her 4-year-old, Jerod, breaks down because he misses his dad. And the last time Michelle talked to Wayne he told her: "I haven't been shot at today - yet."

No wonder Michelle doesn't feel like cooking. Instead, she treats the kids to crawfish at a Chinese buffet restaurant, or they go out for etouffee or gumbo.

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Michelle tries not to worry, concentrating on the bright side. She laughs over the fact every MRE (meal-ready-to-eat) comes with 10 sheets of toilet paper. And, when Wayne's year of military meals is over, she has his welcome home dinner planned: "Rotisserie chicken stuffed with garlic, injected with lemon juice and covered with rosemary, country potatoes and a spinach dish."

For dessert? I have a feeling being back with his family will be sweet enough for Wayne, but here are a couple of ideas.

• No Shillito's frozen lemon pie for Pam Rizzo in Western Hills, but here's a version adapted from the Beat That! Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Co.;$15). Use the food processor to make superfine from regular sugar.

Frozen Lemon Pie

CRUST

1 1/4 cups gingersnap crumbs

3 ounces crystallized ginger, sliced

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 tablespoons butter, melted

FILLING

1 1/3 cups superfine sugar

2 2/3 cups heavy cream

4 lemons, juiced

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

1/8 teaspoon salt

To make crust, put all ingredients except butter in food processor and process until fine. In bowl, stir crumb mixture with melted butter.

Press buttered crumbs on bottom and sides of 9-inch pie pan. Refrigerate while making filling.

To make filling, stir all ingredients in medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture into cooled crust and freeze overnight. Makes 8 servings.

• Grote Bakery closed in September, before Barbara Flavin of West Chester could get its tea cookie recipe. Servatii Pastry Shop purchased Grote's Finneytown and White Oak stores, but they aren't talking. Until they do, here's a universal recipe.

Tea Cookies

1 cup pecans

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup cake flour, sifted

Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pulse pecans in food processor until very fine, set aside. Beat butter with sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Stir pecans with flour, then stir flour mixture into butter mixture. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or more until lightly browned.

While hot, roll in powdered sugar, let cool, then roll in powdered sugar again. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Send food questions, tips, recipe requests and recipes to Saucy Cook, the Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202. E-mail: maryjo@saucycook.com. Include name, neighborhood, e-mail and phone number.




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