Saturday, September 09, 2006

End-of-Summer Shortcake

...among other dishes. The other night, I made a gorgeous shortcake to end our dinner. The rest of the dinner was just fine, but I would have been happy just to eat the shortcake. I made Cuban-style braised chicken, oven-baked mashed potatoes, thyme green beans and peach shortcake. Here are the recipes:

Braised Chicken Cuban-Style
3 lb. chicken pieces
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 minced cloves garlic
1/4 c. each orange juice & lime juice
1 thinly-sliced onion
2 tbsp. olive oil

Mix seasonings together. Add garlic & juices. Put in a gallon Ziploc bag. Add chicken & onions & marinate at least 2 hours. Pat the chicken dry. Heat oil on medium-high heat. Brown the chicken well on all sides. Cook 10 minutes on medium-low. Drain the fat, set the chicken aside & add the marinade to the pan. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer. Return chicken to the pan and simmer 30 minutes. Remove chicken, keeping it warm. Bring the pan juices to a boil, cook until slightly thickened & serve over chicken.

Oven-Baked Mashed Potatoes
6 servings worth of instant mashed potatoes, prepared with cream cheese instead of butter
8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
2 tbsp. chopped scallion
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley

Add scallion & parsley to potatoes. Spoon into small casserole. Dot with butter & sprinkle with paprika. Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

Thyme Green Beans with Almonds
1 lb. fresh green beans
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. thyme
Salt & pepper
1 tbsp. slivered, toasted almonds (I suspect that smoked almonds, chopped, would be extra-good in this)

Steam the green beans (I use the electric steamer my uncle Vic & aunt Nyoko gave me all the time. Of course, regular pan steaming works fine, too, but I never thought I'd use an electric steamer until I had one & I love it!). Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add all but the almonds & heat through. Sprinkle with almonds before serving.

End-of-Summer Peach Shortcake
3 c. flour
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. Crisco
3/4 c. milk
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease 9" cake pan. Sift dry ingredients together. Cut shortening in by hand. Add milk & egg, kneading until well-mixed. Put into greased pan. Bake 30 minutes at 450 degrees. Remove from pan & cool on wire rack. Cut in wedges, slice wedges in half, fill with peaches & whipped cream and place top half of shortcake on top. Add another dollop of whipped cream, for a truly decadent touch. By the way, I like to whip my cream with a smidge of sugar and a dash of vanilla. A little amaretto would be a nice addition to the whipped cream, if your beloved doesn't find it hateful, like mine does.
8 fresh, ripe peaches
1/3 c. sugar
Peel & slice peaches. Sprinkle with sugar & let stand for half an hour or so before spooning over shortcake.

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