Thursday, December 26, 2013

x~ Pucker Pie ~x

I have a friend Velva who is so generous with her garden. She always offers me whatever she has growing at the time. This time she shared Meyers lemons from her overproducing tree. If you check out her blog you will see all the wonderful things she made with her lemons. Knowing my husband loves lemon desserts, I turned to Pinterest to find a great idea. I stumbled upon this recipe from Serious Eats for Shaker Pie.

First off, any recipe that does not require me to blanch or peel fruit is appealing but this recipe I had to make because it sounded insane. Whole lemons? In a pie? The results was wonderful but puckerful. We renamed the pie, "Pucker pie" because while it is delicious it is VERY tart.

First I washed and sliced the lemons on a mandolin, added 2 cups of sugar and went Christmas shopping.
Washed lemons from Velva.
Add 2 cups of sugar and macerate for at least 2 hours

 Then I mixed eggs, egg yolks, and flour together and added it to the lemons. Next step was to pour it all in a pie crust and then put it behind bars :p er I mean to set it on the bottom rack of the oven to bake for 20 minutes.
3 Whole eggs,  2 egg yolks, and 3 T flour combined with the lemons and pour into an unbaked crust

Pie jail

Bake at 425 for 20 minutes on the bottom rack.

After 20 minutes turn the oven down and bake as you would normally. The pie should puff in the center when done after about another 20 minutes.

Aerial view

Baked for another 20 minutes at 350.
The result!

Both a custard and a fruit filled pie. This is one mother pucker of a pie!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fusion Meatloaf

*steps up and speaks into mic* "Hello is this thing on?" *tap, tap, tap*

A million changes have occurred in my life since I last posted a recipe. I'll spare you but suffice to say I'm 45 now and if you round that up you get MID-LIFE CRISIS!!!! Do I go out an buy some big red shiny symbol of my womanhood (which for me would be splurging on a tube of red Estee Lauder lipstick as opposed to a new car)? 

Noooooooooo. I go back to college to get more knowledge. I know, I'm a poet and didn't know it.

Anywhooo I digress. I've taken a leave from the classroom. I'm in grad school and working with a non-profit whose mission I believe in with my whole cholesterol laden heart. 

So I'm trying out some "clean the cupboard" recipes. This first one is a meatloaf. Of course it is no ordinary meatloaf. There are a few special ingredients one of which is crushed Maui Style Maui Onion potato chips. I bought them at Costco and while they were delicious, think Funyun/Kettle Chips hybrid, I could not eat all of the ginormous bag by myself. So crushed chips replaced the breading in this recipe.

2 pounds ground meat (buy what you like, can afford, or can eat and face your doctor while he reads your lab reports)
2 cups crushed chips (you can use any kind you have laying around)
2 eggs
1/2 cup ketchup
1 T soy sauce or Worchestershire (if you use soy adjust salt)
1T sriracha
1-2 teaspoons curry powder (You will need to adjust to your family's tastes. I use a special curry blend brought to me by my husband's friend Anu. It is her mother's blend brought to me from a trip home to India and I treasure it, doling it out like it is saffron.)
salt & pepper

For topping
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder

I mixed all the ingredients gently and the let it sit covered in the fridge for 4 hours just to soften the chips. Then I shaped into a loaf and put in a 13x9 pan. Preheat the over to 375 degrees and bake for 45 minutes. Mix topping ingredients. Slather the top of the meatlof with the glaze and back for 15 minutes. Slather again and bake for 15 more minutes. Slather, bake, repeat until it is the doneness your family prefers. We like ours a little on the brown side. Enjoy!
Special treasure curry from Anu's mom
Left over chips & chili sauce

Ready to bake

After 45 minutes

Slather, Bake, Repeat

I hope that should you too find yourself at a crossroads, that you make choices that lead you to a life you are proud of living. Make your decisions based on love (even love for YOUR SELF) and not fear.  Those decisions are never wrong.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

More Trashy than Classy

We have these friends who we have known forever. If forever means like 18 years. Our kids were kids together and Renee and I co-taught a preschool class together back in the day. We love them. They are family for us. Much of the year we struggle to find time to be together but some how magically we always get together on New Year's Eve. This year was no exception.

Of course food is always a critical part of our evening, that and grown-up beverages. So last night we decided to stick to appetizers. We had shrimp and cocktail sauce, baked crab cakes and remoulade, crackers,, cream cheese and pepper jelly, a hot reuben dip with pumpernickel bread and pretzels, a buttery olive bread, cocktail smokies, and chips and onion dip. It was a magnificent spread and we gorged while we danced to the very most funkiest mix tape made for Renee by her #1 Most Funky Son and  played Sequence. I should say, they wiped the floor with us in a game of Sequence. All the while we drank a delicious concoction of Malibu, pine orange banana juice, and pineapple soda. Renee even found us straws with little umbrellas. It was a perfect Florida winter evening and it culminated in champagne sipped by the glow of the Xmas lights wrapped around the palm trees out where we wore blankets around the fire pit. Perfection.

Wanting to make something special for the night, I decided to make these "Taste No Evil" cupcakes. The guys thought the name was dumb and did not get the connection but all the smart girls, and by that I mean me and Renee got it. The cupcakes are a VERY dark chocolate cake spiked with Kahlua and the frosting is a light, creamy chocolate- banana. It is the world's easiest and I start as usual with a box mix. I make it according to the directions but I substitute 1/3 cup of Kahlua for the same portion of the water. I bake the cupcakes the very least amount necessary to keep them from drying out on the edges. I think this is a huge reason so many cupcakes are dry and tasteless. I let the cupcakes cool and in fact I took the cupcakes to the party unfrosted  so I could really pile on the frosting without worrying about crushing the tops.

For the frosting I mix the following in my Kitchen Aid until light and fluffy-

1 room temp bar of cream cheese
1 stick of room temp butter

Then I add-
2 cups of powdered sugar
2 tsp good vanilla

Mix more and then I add the secret ingredient-
1 jar of World Market Chocolate Banana spread

Mix it together until you decide it is fluffy enough.

Next I put it all in a ziploc bag. I use the bag like a pastry bag by snipping off the corner and frosting the cupcakes using it.

 As you can see, my "pastry bag" exploded and I was forced to lick the delicious creamy goodness from my fingers. Pity. The cupcakes are best eaten at room temperature but must be kept in the fridge due to the insane amount of dairy in them.
Don't be afraid to doctor box mixes. I have it on very good authority that a local bakery begins all it's specialty cakes from a box mix. Since baking in not my best thing, I just keep the liquid, oil to egg ratio as directed on the box but substitute many different things for the liquids or oils. I'd love to hear how you doctor mixes. Please consider sharing your secret in the comments below. And Happy New Year!