Okay, it's actually a Chess Pie, but we got the recipe from Mrs. Jewel Allen, whose husband was Chester Allen, hence Chester Pie. The Allens were members of Board Church Baptist Church (that's not a typo) in Comanche County, Texas, where my father was pastor when I was a child.
Yes, that's it: butter, sugar and eggs, with a little vanilla and vinegar thrown in. What more could you ask for?!
Cream butter and sugar, then add remaining ingredients, mixing well. Pour into two 9" pie shells. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 35 minutes for a total of 45 minutes.
One of the dishes I'm best known for is my chili. After seeing an interesting recipe for authentic Cowboy Chili on Dean's World, I decided I'd post my own chili recipe here, such as it is. The key phrase for making my chili is "to taste."
4 lbs ground beef
2 18 oz. cans (more or less) tomato paste
chopped/diced jalapeņo peppers
Brown the ground beef, seasoning it with salt and pepper as it browns. I should probably mention that you don't just let the beef sit there — you need to stir it to some degree. Once it gets about halfway done, stir in some garlic powder and onion flakes — to taste. Add more salt and pepper, if you choose. Remember — to taste.
As the beef gets close to being done, add the chili powder — to taste. This is to add flavor, not heat (that's mostly what the jalapeņos are for), so you don't have to overdo it.
Once the beef is done, put it in a very large pot, or a crock pot. Over a low heat, stir in the tomato paste. You may want to sneak up on the amount of tomato paste, to match your own preferences, but the two cans I listed work well for me. If it seems too thick, you can add some water to thin it out. Just remember, this chili is supposed to be thick enough to keep a spoon erect.
For the jalapeņos, I get a jar of sliced peppers and chop them up pretty finely on a chopping board. This is truly a "to taste" ingredient. This is where the "fire" is established in the chili. I also add some of the juice from the jalapeņos to help fire it up.
Some folks use cayenne or some other type of really hot pepper to spice up their chili. In my humble opinion, these choices add fire without contributing any other taste. I greatly prefer the flavor/heat combination provided by the jalapeņos. But I'm a Texan. I have my prejudices.
There are a few additional options you can try here. You can add some ketchup if that trips your trigger, or you can add some spicy mustard. Again — to taste.
Keep the chili on the low heat for at least an hour and a half, but you can leave it there for several hours. I've let it go as long as six hours in the past.
If you'd like, you can add some beans, but I'm here to tell you, if they aren't pinto beans, I'll hunt you down and you'll die from lead poisoning. I'll probably drag your sorry carcass back to Texas first, though, where "he needed killin'" is a viable defense.
"Mexebeans" or "chili beans" work well, too — and they're pinto beans.
When it's time to serve up the chili, I like to make what we call Frito Pie, which means you spoon the chili over some crushed Fritos and add a healthy portion of the grated cheese of your choice. To taste. Of course.
You may also want to add some fresh, diced onion.
I realize that this isn't the typical "prescription" approach to recipes. But I think that's what makes it better. You can tweak and nudge and experiment to make it come out just the way you want.
When I visited my brother and sister-in-law recently, Debby made an absolutely marvelous salad for lunch one day. I begged for the recipe, but Dan insisted that I provide them with the recipe for Wacky Cake (which he'd asked for a few weeks earlier) before I could get the salad recipe.
Well, I posted the cake recipe, so Debby sent me the salad recipe. It doesn't have a name per se, so it's just Chicken Strawberry Spinach Salad.
So, let's get to the good stuff. Try not to drool on the keyboard, 'kay?
Debby's Chicken Strawberry Spinach Salad
Fresh Spinach (cut into bite size pieces) Fresh Strawberries (cut into bite size pieces) Toasted Walnuts or Pecans Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese (you can use Feta or Blue Cheese) Grilled Chicken Breast (cut into bite size pieces) Neiman Marcus Poppy Seed Dressing (use as much as you need)
Naturally, we need the recipe for the salad dressing, so here it is.
Neiman Marcus Poppy Seed Dressing
1 1/2 cups Splenda (or, if you're not worried about the carbs, sugar) 2 tsp dry mustard 2 tsp salt 2/3 cup raspberry wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar, if you must) 2 cups oil 2 Tbsp poppy seeds or sesame seeds
Mix all ingredients together. Can be mixed in a blender or shaker jar. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
My mother found this recipe in the San Antonio Light and made it often when we were young. As a teenager, I baked this one fairly often.
One caveat: Don't substitute vanilla for sugar. Been there. Done that.
In a 13" x 9" pan, sift together:
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cocoa
Make three depressions in the dry mixture and put in on depression 2 tsp vinegar, in another 2 tsp vanilla, and in the third 10 Tbsp. vegetable oil. Pour over this 2 cups water. Stir it all together, mixing well.
Bake at 350°F for 50 minutes. Doesn't need to be frosted.