Monday, March 14, 2016

S'mores Pie

S'mores Pie
My favorite day of the year – just behind birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Fat Tuesday – is… Pi Day.  Pi, as you know, is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter which is approximately 3.14159… so March 14 (or 3/14) has become Pi Day and it gives me an excuse to make and eat pie (as if I’ve ever needed an excuse to make/eat dessert!).

We have eaten some memorable pies over the years:

This recipe has made the rounds: Gimme Some Oven who adapted it from Pastry Affair who adapted it from How Sweet It Is who adapted the chocolate filling recipe from Tyler Florence.  Next time, I’m going to try milk chocolate morsels vs semi-sweet – just for giggles (and more pie!).

Ingredients:
  1. Graham cracker pie crust (or make your own with 2 c graham cracker crumbs + 1 stick of butter – baked for 8-10 minutes in a 9-inch pie pan)
  2. 3/4 c heavy cream
  3. 3/4 c milk
  4. 10 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  5. 1/2 t vanilla extract
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. 2 eggs, whisked
  8. 20-30 large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 325.

For the pie filling:
In a medium saucepan, whisk together cream and milk. Warm over medium-low heat. Add in chocolate and stir until chocolate has completely melted and is smooth. Mix in a little of the warmed milk to the whisked eggs to bring up their temperature.  Slowly add in vanilla and whisked eggs to the milk + chocolate and whisk until smooth.

Pour chocolate filling into (store bought or baked) pie crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes (mine took more like 25-30 minutes), or until chocolate filling is set and does not jiggle when pie is lightly shaken. Remove from oven.

Cut marshmallows in half. Place halves in concentric circles over the top of the pie until covered.

Lower oven rack to the middle position, and set oven to the lowest broil setting. Place pie on the rack and lightly toast the marshmallows.  They will brown very quickly.

Let the pie cool a bit then chill it in the refrigerator to set for 2-3 hours.

When serving the pie, spray your knife with Pam so it doesn’t stick to the marshmallow topping as you cut the pie into individual slices.  Consider warming each slice in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Blackberry Cobbler: a repost

I believe.  
Blackberry Cobbler

I believe that nice guys finish first.
I believe in fate and destiny.
I believe in luck.
I believe in purpose.
I believe that life is a marathon.
I believe in paying it forward.
I believe in you.

Happy 19th anniversary, David, and congratulations on closing your next deal!

This is an oldie but a goodie (kind of like David) so worth repeating.  Plus, the s'mores pie that I made wasn't blog worthy.

Ingredients
  1. 4 cups of frozen or fresh blackberries (or mixed berries)  
  2. 1 T lemon juice
  3. 1 large egg
  4. 1 cup flour
  5. 1 cup sugar
  6.  6 T butter, melted
  7. Ice cream or whipped cream, optional
Preheat oven to 375F.

In an 8x8 pan, pour in the blackberries and sprinkle the lemon juice on top.  In a separate bowl, combine the egg, flour and sugar until it resembles a course meal.  Sprinkle the flour mixture on top.  Pour the melted butter on top. 

Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Let sit for 10 minutes.

Scoop it out and serve in individual ramekins (apparently you could bake in the ramekins as well).  Top with ice cream or whipped cream, if you like.

PS - no one would complain if you chose to double this recipe and baked it in a 9x13 dish.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Linzer Cookies

In the business presentation techniques class that I teach, I encourage my students to improve their effectiveness in verbal communications: 
Linzer Cookies
  • Be direct. (flowers)
  • Be actionable. (give me flowers)
  • Don’t assume the audience knows what you are trying to say. (I like receiving flowers)
  • Connect the dots for the audience.  (therefore, you should buy me flowers)
  • As the presenter, you have the opportunity to have the last word; people are busy; they are only half paying attention.  Don’t just end your presentation with a “thank you” – tell them what you want them to do. (buy me flowers for Valentine’s Day – that’s it – really.)
  • Thank you.

(and make these cookies because they are irresistible). 

Ingredients:
  1. 3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  2. 1 c granulated sugar
  3. 1 t pure vanilla extract
  4. 3 1/2 c flour
  5. 1/4 t salt
  6. 3/4 c raspberry preserves
  7. Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a separate, medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut 2 3/4-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter. With 1/2 of the rounds, cut a hole from the middle of each round with a heart or spade shaped cutter. Place all the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature. Spread raspberry preserves on the flat side of each solid cookie. Dust the top of the cut-out cookies with confectioners' sugar and press the flat sides together, with the raspberry preserves in the middle and the confectioners' sugar on the top.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

White Bean Bruschetta

White Bean Bruschetta
You know you live in Texas when…  
one week you have a legitimate need for an electric heater blanket on your bed.  The following week, you have a discussion with your husband about whether you should turn on the ceiling fan so you can use the blanket.  Because the following week, you will need the blanket again.  <<cue the violins>>  And that is a winter in Texas. 

Enough about me – what are you serving for the Super Bowl?  We had a white bean bruschetta throwdown to help you out.  A variation of this recipe won.  Other delicious options include:

Happy birthday Claire!

Ingredients:
  1. 1 15 oz. can Cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  2. 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  3. 1/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives (optional)
  4. 6 tablespoons olive oil
  5. 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  6. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  7. 1 French bread baguette, cut into -inch-thick rounds
  8. 5 to 6 ounces soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), room temperature

Place rinsed and drained beans into a bowl. Mix in tomatoes, olives (optional), 4 tablespoons oil, basil and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat broiler. Place bread slices on baking sheet. Brush with 2 tablespoons oil. Broil until golden, about 1 minute. Spread with cheese. Top with bean mixture.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Chicken Picatta

Chicken Picatta
Gosh, none of the movies that I have seen in the past year were nominated for the Golden Globes this year.  I’m shocked that movies like Peanuts, Inside Out, Minions, or Alvin and the Chipmunks are not in competition with Revenant or Room or The Big Short… (side note: I think that Inside Out is one of the smartest, meaningful movies out there with a great message for kids and adults alike).

Yes, I am playing PowerBall.  Yes, I know the odds of getting struck by lightning (or anything else, for that matter) are greater than winning but…

Yes, I have New Year’s resolutions and so far, 10 days in they are still in tact.  I am still considering adding others.  Is there a time limit?  One of those resolutions is to keep trying new recipes.  This one is a top rated recipe from Giada.  The cooking method is similar to the Parmesan Chicken but adds a flavorful sauce on top.

Happy Birthday Michael!!

Ingredients
  1. 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half
  2. Kosher or sea salt
  3. Ground black pepper
  4. All-purpose flour, for dredging
  5. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  6. 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  7. 1/3 cup lemon juice
  8. 1/2 cup chicken stock
  9. 1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed
  10. 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.

Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Raspberry Cream Cupcakes

I know that I have a lot of “you” in me.  I just hope that I also got your genes for your sense of pleasure and joy and happy and boundless energy when I am around my family, and someday, my grandkids. 
Raspberry Cream Cupcake

While I know that Butterfinger ice cream pie is your favorite dessert, thank you for sharing your day with a new recipe by Giada.  I think it is a winner and is worthy of celebrating you.  The cake tasted like angel food and the whipped cream thickened with powdered sugar and raspberries was heavenly.  Now to try it as a layer cake so we can cut ourselves a bigger slice!

Happy Birthday Dad/Gigi!

Ingredients
  1. 1 box white cake mix (i.e., Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe)
  2. 1 1/3 cups water
  3. 3 large eggs whites
  4. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  5. 2 teaspoons almond extract
  6. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  7. 2 (6-ounce) containers fresh raspberries, cut in half (or you could substitute strawberries)
  8. 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  9. 1/3 cup powdered sugar, plus additional for dusting

Line muffin cups with muffin papers (the recipe said makes 18 – we ended up with 21 and weren’t complaining!). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat the cake mix, water, egg whites, melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, or until the batter is well blended. Using about 1/3 cup of batter for each cupcake, spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake the cupcakes until they are very pale golden on top, about 15 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely on a cooling rack.

Using a fork, coarsely mash 1 1/2 containers of raspberries in a medium bowl. Beat the cream and 1/3 cup of powdered sugar in a large bowl until firm peaks form. Fold the mashed raspberries into the whipped cream.

Remove the muffin papers from the cupcakes and cut the tops off of each cupcake. Spoon the raspberry whipped cream atop the cupcake bottoms. Place the cupcake tops on the cupcakes. Dust with more powdered sugar and serve with the remaining berries.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

South Georgia Caviar

South Georgia Caviar
“Eat your black-eyed peas!”  That refrain from my dad still rings in my ears.  I’d choke down a few every New Year’s Day that I lived under his roof.  Then my friend, Katie, brought this Paula Dean appetizer and all of a sudden, I like black-eyed peas!  There’s a Georgia version and a Texas version – battle of the southern states based on dressing and white or red onion, from what I can tell.

Happy New Year to you and yours!!
(look Miss Ginger, no more monkey bread!)

Ingredients
  1. 2 15 oz. cans of black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  2. 1 15 oz. can of corn, rinsed and drained
  3. 1 10 oz. Ro-Tel
  4. 2 cups chopped red pepper (about 2 peppers)
  5. 1/2 cup chopped fresh jalapeno pepper
  6. 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  7. 1 8 oz. bottle Italian dressing
  8. 1 4 oz. jar chopped pimento, drained (I opted out)

Combine all in large bowl and stir gently to combine.  Refrigerate mixture overnight (mine was only about 4 hours).  Serve with corn chips, Fritos Scoops work best.