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Recipe Club and Santa Claus (James Brown)

December 26th, 2006

Rest in peace, James Brown, who passed away Christmas morning. The newspaper said he held one last toy giveaway on Saturday in Augusta. Yay, Santa… My favorite song of his, that I’m always humming at Christmastime…

Santa Claus/
go straight to the ghetto/
Santa Claus/
go straight to the ghetto/
Tell them James Brown sent you/
go straight to the ghetto/
you know that I know that you will see/
’cause that was once/
hit it/
hit it/

And for Tuesday Recipe Club (you might need to save this one ’til next summer, but the pie crust recipes are great for any time):

This one, a Midwest classic, is from my mother-in-law:

aka Mile High Strawberry Pie

1 1/3 cups flour
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup Wesson oil

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ounce box strawberry Jell-O
1 pint whole fresh strawberries (do not use frozen — mixture will not gel)

Crust: Combine salt, sugar and flour; sift together. (Martha Stewart tip: Instead of sifting, put ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.) Add oil and cut in with a pastry wheel until about the size of a small pea. Sprinkle milk over mixture, stir with a fork until flour mixture is moist enough to hold together. Form a compact ball with hands. Pat dough 1/8-inch thick and about 1 inch larger than 9-inch pie pan.

Fit pastry into pan; flute edges. Prick bottom and sides of crust. Bake in hot oven (425 degrees) for ten minutes; remove from oven and cool. Set aside to fill with fruit later.

Filling: Blend cornstarch into sugar and add water and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring often to prevent scorching. Cook until thickened. Add Jell-O and stir. Set mixture aside to cool; it will begin to be jellylike in consistency.

Arrange whole strawberries (tip up) in the bottom of the cooled crust. Pour the cooked, cooled mixture over the berries. Chill 4-6 hours (best overnight). Top with whipped cream and garnish with a few whole berries, if desired.

Alternate filling recipe:
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
2 tablespoons corn syrup

Cook until thick and clear. Add 2 tablespoons strawberry Jell-O. Stir until dissolved; cool. Clean one quart strawberries; mix with cooled filling, put in chilled crust.

Alternate topping:
1 package Dream Whip, mixed according to directions. While beating, add one 3 ounce package cream cheese.

Alternate crust (graham cracker):
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar

Bake in 9-inch pie pan in hot oven (400 degrees) for eight minutes.

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