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My Favorite Recipe

June 1, 2011

To-die-for pie

FAIRMONT — Ready for a cool, refreshing summertime pie?

Get your forks ready for Rodney Jenkins’ “Pineapple Nut Express.”

It’s a fluffy combination of crushed pineapple, whipped topping and cream cheese, and glazed nuts that will help cool you off on a hot summer night.

Jenkins got the recipe off the Internet, but like any clever cook adjusted it to his liking.

“I added glazed pecans or walnuts instead of the regular ones to add some sweetness,” he said. “And I put some crushed walnuts in the mix, too.”

For a while, he was perplexed as to what to call it. So he made a couple for the family Memorial Day picnic, hoping somebody would come up with a name. A lot of takers, but no givers.

“I called it ‘Mariah’s Mud Pie,’” he said, named for his daughter.

“I call it ‘to die for,” said Nancy Moran, his mother-in-law.

Let it sit for a minute or two, and you can call it “gone.”

“It’s a throw-together kind of thing,” he said. He wanted to test the recipe out,  but, “It got devoured,” he said. Nobody at the Jenkins household got so much as a crumb of graham cracker crust.

“So we were waiting for today,” he said.

He likes to bake (monkey bread, apple caramel muffins, cinnamon sugar doughnuts and Holy Cow Poke Cake, among others) and cook (spaghetti and meatballs, rigatoni and more).

His sesame chicken “is to die for,” his wife Paula said.

“I tell people I ‘Americanize’ the Chinese chicken,” he said. “I don’t bread the chicken, just use marinated white chicken breast. I serve with red and green peppers, onions, garlic bread, a nice sauce, and rice and noodles.”

It seems when they cook, the whole extended family gets a whiff.

“We’ll end up with a whole houseful of people,” he said.

The monkey bread is so easy to make it’s almost a crime.

“You take a can of biscuits and cut each in four. Put them in a freezer bag with cinnamon and sugar so they get covered. Put them in a pan. Mix brown sugar and butter for a glaze, and pour over the biscuits. Then bake. Cool and stick toothpicks in each little piece.”

And hope that the hungry denizens in your house leave enough for you to eat, too.

When Nancy’s brother David was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, he had problems eating. The family was more than happy to concoct different foods for him to taste.

His request for a peach dish got the grillmaster in Rodney going.

“I found a recipe for grilled peaches,” he said. “You make what we used to call a Dreamsicle made with orange and lime juice. Grill the peaches so they caramelize and put them with vanilla ice cream and drizzle them with the orange juice.”

Whether it’s slow-cooking baked steak or throwing together some kind of dessert, sometimes the hardest part of preparing food for them is waiting for it to get done.

“We have some impatient people who can’t wait,” Paula said, smiling.

“I put a cake in the oven, five minutes later I’m at the door, wanting to see it,” Jenkins said with a grin.

“And when we’re making monkeybread, I think all four of us are at that oven every five minutes. It smells so good.”

He likes some goodies he’s baked for the guys at work.

“Yeah. One day I smashed my finger and the guy tells me, ‘You know what will make your finger feel better? If you go home and make us some apple caramel muffins. Your finger will feel really good if you bring them to your friends.”

The contest for June is pie. To be featured on the “My Favorite Recipe” page, contact Debbie Wilson at 304-367-2549 or dwilson@timeswv.com.

Email Debra Minor Wilson at dwilson@timeswv.com.

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