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Fresh Fruit Plate with French Cream

Will need enough of the following fruits to plate 4 salad plates:





red seedless grapes

green seedless grapes


fresh figs






1. Wash and dry all fruit before cutting up.

2. Cut fruits in the way they will look best and are easiest to eat.

3. Drizzle lemon juice over the fruit to help it from turning brown.

4. Serve on salad plates with french cream fruit dip.

French Cream Fruit Dip

1 (8oz) package cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup whipping cream

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 lemon-juice and zest of

Pineapple juice to taste or until desired consistency is reached

1. Soften cream cheese and whip with powdered sugar.

2. Whip cream and sugar together until it forms soft peaks.

3. Combine beaten cream cheese, whipped cream, lemon juice and zest; continue to beat, adding just enough pineapple juice to achieve desired consistency.

4. Serve on fresh fruit plates.

5. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

Materials Needed:

1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened and in glass ramekin

1 cup powdered sugar in glass ramekin

1 cup whipping cream, pre-measured and in measuring cup

¼ cup granulated sugar in glass ramekin

Juice of 1 lemon in glass ramekin

Zest of 1 lemon in glass ramekin

¼ cup pineapple juice in measuring cup

1 electric hand mixer

3 medium or large mixing bowls

1 bowl for finished product

1 utensil container to house the following:

1 medium sized whisk

1 large whisk

1 small whisk

2 spatulas

1 zester

Croque-Madame Casserole

8 tbsp (1 stick) butter

¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 ½ cups milk

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

¾ tsp salt, plus more for seasoning

½ tsp pepper, plus more for seasoning

½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

10 to 12 slices white bread

8 oz (about 8 slices) deli ham

1 ½ cups (6 oz) grated Gruyere cheese

6 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish. To make a béchamel sauce,* melt 6 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet and cook until bubbling. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until thick and bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes more. Whisk in the mustard, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

2. Pour a thin layer of the sauce into the prepared baking dish and cover it with 5 or 6 slices of bread, then 4 slices of ham and an even layer of the cheese (¾ cup). Repeat the layers once more, ending with a third layer of sauce to cover all. Bake the casserole for 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven and cut it into 6 equal pieces.

3. Fry the eggs. Working in two batches, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Crack 3 eggs into the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the whites are nearly set, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip the eggs and continue cooking until the whites are completely set, about 1 minute more. You're going to top each portion of the casserole with a fried egg. Repeat with the remaining 3 eggs and 1 tablespoon butter.

*That's just French for a plain 'ol white sauce.

Materials Needed:

8 inch baking dish

Butter flavored cooking spray (to grease the dish)

2 oven mitts

2 Large skillets (one for sauce, one for frying eggs)

6 tablespoons butter in a glass ramekin

¼ cup all-purpose flour in a glass ramekin

2 ½ cups milk, pre-measured and in measuring cup

2 tbsp Dijon mustard in glass ramekin

¾ tsp salt in glass ramekin

½ tsp pepper in glass ramekin

½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg, in glass ramekin

10 to 12 slices white bread

8 oz (about 8 slices) deli ham

1 ½ cups (6 oz) grated Gruyere cheese, in a glass bowl

2 glass ramekins with 1 tbsp of butter each

6 eggs, whole

Salt in small glass ramekin for seasoning

Pepper in small glass ramekin for seasoning

Paula Deen, the Food Network's famed Southern chef, was amped to get back on the stage, under the lights at Sunday's She: An Expo for Women.

The queen of Southern cuisine headlined the event Sunday afternoon, which brought more than 10,000 people to the Chattanooga Convention Center, the largest crowd Ms. Deen has ever performed for, she said.

Ms. Deen told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that she had gone two or three weeks without working, and it was causing a little anxiety.

"I'm really antsy to get back on stage. I miss it," Ms. Deen said. "That electricity that I get from those folks is what I need to get up and go."

Ms. Deen said much of her success could be attributed to her Southern upbringing. She said her start came soon after Sept. 11, 2001, a time, she said, that left many Americans vulnerable.

"It made us hunger for mama's table and the security we felt when our feet were under our mother's table," Ms. Deen said. "So that was really what kind of got me a jump-start."

Ms. Deen admitted some people gave her some "hassle" for the unhealthy nature of her cooking. Her Southern dishes often include large amounts of butter, shortening, pork products and sugar.

"But as I told Oprah, I am your cook. I'm not your doctor," Ms. Deen said.

And she said she thought Southern food was much healthier than most people gave it credit for.

"We probably eat, in the South, more vegetables than any other area in the country," she said.

She said people in other regions ate large portions of beef, potatoes and pasta.

"Sure, if you dig down in the pot deep enough, you're gonna find some ham hock. But I don't think a little pig ever hurt anybody," Ms. Deen said. "It's certainly better than eating a great big bowl of pasta."

Same off camera

Ms. Deen said her persona on camera was no different than the way she acted everyday.

"I'm not an actress. I wouldn't know how to do that," she said.

She said her celebrity status didn't make her "one bit better than the next girl."

"I know that I put on my underwear just like that next girl does. They may be granny underwear. They may not be Speedos or whatever they call 'em. But we put 'em on the same way," she said.

Thousands lined up with cookbooks, newspapers and photos hoping to get an autograph and a few moments on stage with Ms. Deen.

Nancy Wimmer, of Sewanee, Tenn., found herself in tears after meeting Ms. Deen. Ms. Wimmer said she had all of Ms. Deen's cookbooks and magazines, and was thrilled to meet her in person.

"It was great," she said.

Paula's "eastiest meal to cook"

Black Pepper Shrimp

3 pounds fresh shrimp, unpeeled

8 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons chopped garlic

4 tablespoons freshly ground pepper

Wash and drain shrimp, and place in a shallow baking pan. In a saucepan, melt the butter, add the garlic, and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Pour the butter mixture over the shrimp and toss to coat. Pepper shrimp until shrimp are well covered. Bake until pink, approximately 5 minutes, turn, bake a few minutes longer, and pepper again. You must use a heavy hand with the pepper.

"That and a loaf of French bread and you've got a meal fit for a king," Ms. Deen said Sunday.


Paula Deen announced Sunday that plans were in the works to reopen her original restaurant in Savannah, Ga., The Bag Lady, after being closed for 20 years.


Paula Deen honeymooned with her first husband on Lookout Mountain. The last time Ms. Deen visited Chattanooga, she said, her 42-year-old son, Jamie, was only 3 months old.

To find recipes and future events, visit Paula's Web site at

Barbara Supanick, of Boswell, Pa., flew to Chattanooga to see Ms. Deen, after receiving a surprise plane ticket from her niece in Chattanooga.

Being from a Northern state, she said Southern hospitality was what drew her to Ms. Deen's cooking.

"She's one of my very favorites," Mrs. Boswell said. "I love her."

After receiving an autograph, Mrs. Supanick said Ms. Deen was "just as natural" as she appeared on television.

"It was nice. I would like a one-on-one personal (conversation) with her, though," she said.

Ms. Deen's cooking demonstration featured her husband, MIchael Groover, and chef Jernard Wells, of Ringgold, Ga., making a French-inspired casserole, while Ms. Deen wandered around the stage responding to attendee's shouts, answered questions and told personal stories in her trademark Southern drawl.

The crowd responded well to Ms. Deen's jokes.

"Y'all don't know what you do to this 'ol girl's heart," she said.

At one point, she exited the stage to walk through the crowded aisles.

"Oh, I feel like Miss America," she quipped.

Ms. Deen didn't cook during the demonstration, jokingly saying she was too easily distracted. She told of her rough beginnings in the kitchen burning a pot of tea. But now, she said, she finds cooking therapeutic because of the instant gratification it brings.

"I love it when faces light up because I fixed them something good to eat," she said.

Ms. Deen said she didn't have any immediate plans for opening up another restaurant like her signature Lady and Sons in Savannah, Ga.

"I never say never, 'cause I don't know what God's got in store for me," Ms. Deen said.