>A famous pie
Western New York gets a culinary nod again! In the March issue of "Family Circle" magazine, on page 132, note the recipe for Schimschacks' Peanut Butter Slide Pie, requested by reader Lucy Lofft, who is quoted as saying, "Every time we go to Schimschacks with friends, I look forward to ordering a slice of this pie." The restaurant is located in Pekin, and here's the magazine's version of the recipe:
>Schimschacks' Peanut Butter Slide Pie
1 cup heavy cream
12 pieces refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough (such as Toll House)
6 ounces ( 3/4 of a package) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed peanuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. With an electric mixer, beat cream to stiff peaks. Refrigerate.
Roll out dough between two sheets of wax paper into as big a circle as possible; remove one of the sheets of wax paper and invert dough into prepared pie plate. Press dough up sides of dish, not over the rim, with lightly floured fingertips. (If dough is sticky and paper difficult to remove, refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.)
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and press down center slightly if puffed. Cool completely on a wire rack.
In a large bowl, blend together the cream cheese and both sugars until smooth. Add peanut butter and vanilla; beat until light colored. Fold in chilled whipped cream until no streaks remain.
Spoon peanut butter filling into cooled crust. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Before serving, sprinkle pie with crushed peanuts. Melt chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave on high for 1 minute, stirring halfway through. Drizzle over pie. Slice and serve.
>For tea purists
How much do you look forward to your cup of tea? For real enthusiasts, a company called Swissgold has just introduced a 24-karat gold-plated foil infuser which, the company says, "lets you taste the tea and nothing else." It is for use with loose tea.
The openings are 60 to 100 microns in size and are slightly wider on the outside of the infuser to prevent tea particles from wedging and clogging them. Larger than most tea balls or tea eggs, the infuser can be used in a mug, cup or pot. The suggested retail price is $9.99 and it is available at specialty stores or at www.teavana.com.
>All about oysters
One of the interesting developments in food literature the last few years has been the non-recipe book, books which attempt to tell the story of a particular food and its effect on society.
Author Mark Kurlansky may have well started the trend with his books "Cod: A biography of the Fish That Changed the World" in 1997 and "Salt: A World History" in 2002. Now he's at it again with "The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell" (Ballantine Books, $23.95).
In this book, Kurlansky examines the history of New York City through the lens of the once plentiful, now nearly gone eastern oyster. Here are some of the things the reader will learn:
* Pearls don't actually come from "true" oysters (family Ostreidae) but from what are known as pearl oysters which look similar but belong to the family Pteridae.
* Casanova, the legendary seducer, ate 50 oysters a day before breakfast. (In fact, scientists have since proven that oysters are not an aphrodisiac.)
* Even today, no machine has been invented that has proven to be more efficient at opening oysters than professional oyster shuckers.
"He was a very valiant man who first adventured on eating oysters."
-- James I, from English author and clergyman Thomas Fuller's "Worthies of England"