Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dinner and Book Chat?

Tonight was our first book club meeting of the new year. We start each year filled with a new spirit and determination to make it our best ever. I have been a member of the Yaya Book Club since we began in 1997. We have read countless (Ok not really countless cause we only read one a month) books in different genres. The general purpose of any book club is to read the book and have some in depth discussion and dissection of the material. We are just not that type of organization. We begin our evening at someone's house with an adult beverage and an appetizer. Following is a meal and it ends with coffee and dessert (decaf hopefully for the one's like me who can no longer drink real coffee after 3 in the afternoon )

This evening we met at my beloved sister's house, and she treated us to a chicken and artichoke meal served over brown rice, a tossed salad and dinner rolls. The meal was quite good and the conversation was fabulous. When the meal was over she served us coffee (decaf, yay!!!) and a most delicious chocolaty gooey pie that just flat out made my mouth happy. Because I have not cooked in about 3 days (Birmingham area restaurants love me!) I thought I would share her recipe for the pie. Usually we get around to talking about our book over dessert. Our selection this time was Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes. One of us had read 92 percent of the book, I had read only 70ish percent, two were about halfway through and our host had not begun it yet.

This year our method of reading will be changing entirely. Tonight there were 2 Ipads and 1 Kindle there ( though my Kindle never even made it out of my backpack) I always thought I would reject electronic reading and opt for the familiar book, but I have been a Kindle junkie for over a year now . This fall I got an Ipad for my birthday and it has just enhanced my reading enjoyment. I have always loved reading late at night in bed. The husband I share a bed with has not always shared my love of late night reading, because the lights bothered him. Now that I have the Ipad we are both happy. I read on my side facing him so the backlit screen is shining away from his side of the bed. It is the best of both worlds, he gets the darkness he graves and I get to read late (way too late most nights) The downside of reading late at night, especially a Philosophy book, is that when you close your eyes and don't turn the pages the backlight goes out. ( I fall out along with it) Consequently I am not reading as fast as I used to. Oh well, the best thing about having a long term bookclub with 4 fabulous friends is that we are all pretty understanding of each other's time demands. Worst case scenario is that we get together next month and talk about it over more fine food and companionship.

I don't know if this was originally in a cookbook or not. My sister said she found it in the newspaper. You will understand why it was unimportant for us to talk about a book when we could have this in our mouths instead of words!

Toll House Pie

I unbaked Pie Shell (deep dish)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat over to 325 degrees
beat eggs in a large mixing bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in flour and the sugars. When mixed beat in the softened butter. By hand, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Spoon into the pie shell ( If using a frozen one make sure it is thawed before filling)

Bake for 55 minutes or until it is thoroughly set. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with either a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream (real!)

If using a frozen pie shell ( who in their right mind would make one for a dense pie like this?) make sure it is thawed before filling and place it on a baking sheet while cooking. You might need to add about 5 minutes to the cook time. Insert a knife into the pie midway between the crust and middle of the pie to check for doneness. It should come out of the pie and remain clean.

The pie cooks like a chess pie with chocolate chips and nuts. The outside is nicely crusty, while the inside is set yet it retains a little goo. The brown sugar flavor is very pronounced and gives a hint of a caramel flavor to the dessert. We had it with ice cream but I am betting whipped cream would be just as good.

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