Week before last, I found myself in New Albany in the pouring down rain. This should come as no surprise to anyone, especially the folks in New Albany, who seemed to get the brunt of the rain every afternoon.
On the recommendation of Bethany Dalton, tourism director for the Union County Development Association, I swam over to a new restaurant in town, called Nita’s Eatery, for lunch.
Now, the restaurant was new to me, but the cook was not. I interviewed Anita Alef as a Cook of the Week a couple of years ago, when she was preparing meals for First United Methodist Church in New Albany.
At Nita’s, I ordered the Red Plate Special, which on this day consisted of chicken casserole, green beans and a slice of cantaloupe. I also ordered a side of tomato bisque soup.
Everything was delicious and I sent my compliments to the chef. I also called the chef a few days later to get her recipe for the chicken casserole and the green beans.
I was planning a family dinner and I wanted to duplicate the chicken dish and the green beans. I also planned to serve Paula Deen’s baked Parmesan tomatoes and some sort of dessert.
Anita graciously told me how she made the casserole and the green beans and wished me luck on the meal. With her recipes, I didn’t need luck – just healthy appetites.
Because the casserole, the tomatoes and some rolls all needed to go in the oven, I decided I needed a dessert that wouldn’t take up oven space. So I went to my cookbook, “Absolutely A La Carte” for something that could be made ahead of time.
Peanut Butter Pie seemed to be calling my name. I bought the ingredients and put the pie together on my lunch hour. Literally, I had the pie made and in the freezer in 10 minutes.
The whole meal met with great success, but ending it with this rich, creamy dessert sent everyone home with smiles on their faces. My daughter, Jennifer, called me two days later for the recipe and my soon-to-be 13-year-old son requested the pie for his birthday “cake” this weekend.
Editor’s note: A recipe in last week’s Food & Dining section had unclear instructions. Here’s the recipe again, corrected.
Peanut Butter Pie
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3⁄4 cup powdered sugar
3⁄4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (8-ounce) tub whipped topping
1 graham cracker crumb crust
Hershey’s chocolate syrup
Beat cream cheese, sugar and peanut butter with an electric mixer until well mixed. Add whipped topping and beat until smooth. Pour mixture into graham cracker crumb crust. Drizzle with chocolate syrup. Freeze 6 hours or overnight. Serve frozen.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.
Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal