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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Creamiest Lime Pie-Tuesdays with Dorie

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Goodbye, Pie!

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Hello, Pudding!
That about sums it up, guys! The gremlins managed to thwart my attempts at successfully making the pie filling. But as Julia Child said, “You should never apologize at the table. People will think, ‘Yes, it’s really not so good." Actually, the not so creamy lime meringue pie was delicious as a pudding with clumps of graham cracker crust dotted throughout giving some structure to the dessert.

Yes, I'll make it again and figure out what went wrong. On the TWD comments page for the pie, there are some great suggestions of variations on the pie.

Thanks to Linda of TenderCrumb for choosing this lovely tangy lime pie(pudding). Her pie is exquisite! Check it out! The recipe is from "Baking From My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan. If you don't have the book, Linda has the recipe on her blog.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fig Preserves

Print Friendly and PDF "Train up a fig-tree in the way it should go, and when you are old sit under the shade of it.” Charles Dickens, English novelist.


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After being moved several times,the fig tree in my sister's yard has finally found the perfect spot to thrive. This year's crop is abundant, unlike the previous year when , the birds swooped in and decimated the unripened harvest of fruit. So I was pleased when I visited her recently and saw a large colander full of beautiful purplish black figs. "These are for you", she said. "You know I don't like figs." My unbelievable luck, because I love figs. Now what to do with my bounty? I've never made fig preserves so began a search for a simple one. But first, a little about this luscious fruit.
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Believed to be indigenous to Asia, figs have been cultivated for thousands of years. Figs are symbolic of abundance, peace, fertility and were considered sacred in many cultures.This worldly fruit came to the New World via Mexico around 1560. When Mission San Diego, the first of 21 missions in California, was established in 1769, figs were being grown there, perhaps through the Mexico connection.


Photo Courtesy of TheCraftDetective

Low in fat and high in calcium, figs, dried or fresh make a great health food. Dried figs can be pureed in a small amount of water or fruit and used to replace sweeteners and fat in a recipe.With all these attributes, it makes sense to add some figs to your diet.

Fig Preserves


4 pounds fresh figs
4 pounds sugar
2 lemons, sliced thin and seeded
3/4 cup water

Wash, drain and stem figs. Bring water and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes. Add figs and lemon slices. Cook about an hour on medium heat, stirring occasionally to keep mixture from sticking to bottom of pot. Pour into clean, hot jars, seal and process 15 minutes in a water bath.Makes about 3 pints.
Original recipe here

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blue Cornmeal, Dried Blueberry and Piñon Biscotti

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A Southwestern twist on the traditional Italian biscotti, these crunchy little biscuits are comprised of blue cornmeal, dried blueberries and pine (piñon) nuts. Blue cornmeal has a sweet nutty taste and fine texture. The ground cornmeal comes from a variety of blue corn called the Hopi corn grown in the American southwest by the Pueblo Indians. Blue corn is one of the oldest varieties of corn and probably dates back to the Pre-Columbian era. Blue cornmeal is primarily blue gray to deep purple in color and can be used interchangeably with the more common yellow cornmeal.

Dried blueberries carry forward the blue theme and impart a chewy fruity flavor to the biscotti. Added crunch and texture comes from the another ancient food, the piñon (pine) nut. The authentic Southwestern piñon nut comes from Colorado piñon tree. Pine nuts are quick to go rancid, so buy fresh ones for this recipe.

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Here are three important steps to guarantee success in baking and cutting the biscotti-

1. To keep the biscotti from crumbling after the first baking, spritz the baked dough lightly, but thoroughly with water taking care to cover the sides and the top. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. This is an important step especially if your biscotti contains nuts and fruits.

2. When cutting the biscotti for the second bake, use a serrated knife and cut with a straight up and down motion. This steps ensures that the biscotti will stand up for the second bake.

3. Instead of flipping the biscotti over to bake a third time, stand them up on the prepared baking sheet so the air can circulate around them as they bake.

Ingredients

2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar (4 3/4 oz)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup blue cornmeal
1 cup piñon (pine nuts) (4 1/4 oz)
1 cup dried blueberries (5 oz)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet (18x 13-inch) with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, baking powder, and vanilla until creamy looking. When properly beaten, the egg/sugar mixture will be thick and lemon colored and drop in a ribbon from the beater.

Lower the mixer speed and add the flour, salt and blue cornmeal, beating gently until incorporated. Stir in dried blueberries and pine nuts. Dough will be very wet. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and shape into a rough log about 14 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide and about 3/4 inch thick. Smooth the top of the dough with a wet dough scraper.

Bake the dough for 25 minutes. With dried fruit and nuts, it may be necessary to bake an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on pan from 5-25 minutes. I let mine cool about 15 minutes. Spray with the water as in pointer step 1. Let stand 5 minutes. This will soften the crust to make slicing easier.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Wait 5 minutes, then cut the biscotti on the diagonal into 3/4 inch slices using a serrated knife and straight up and down motions. If you slice the biscotti wider at the top than the bottom, they will topple over while baking the second time.

Set the biscotti upright on the prepared baking sheet 1/2 inch apart so the air can circulate. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container to preserve their texture. If the biscotti aren't as hard as you like, store uncovered overnight to continue drying. Biscotti can be stored at room temperature for two weeks; for longer storage, wrap airtight and freeze. Yield 14-16.

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More biscotti posts here, here and here

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Applesauce Spice Bars

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Fall is in the air? Not really,(still in the upper 90's in Georgia), but Karen of SomethingSweet has chosen Dorie's Applesauce Spice bars to jump start the season. I'll be taking these as part of my tailgate menu when cheering my beloved University of Georgia Bulldawgs to victory this Fall. In fact, I think I'll be making these many times. Perfect for teatime or for dessert with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream, these bars have a double shot of apple flavor-chopped fresh apple and unsweetened applesauce. Allspice and cinnamon lend their spiciness to the bars with golden raisins and chopped pecans giving texture and crunch.

Just in time for a photo, the Winter Banana apple arrived in my CSA box. The Winter Banana apple, an heirloom apple, originated in Cass County, Indiana in 1876. Its dense texture makes it a perfect apple to slice and serve with cheese. Sweet and tart, the Winter Banana apple has a definite banana aroma with beautiful yellow skin and a reddish pink blush. (Source)

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Recipe from "Baking From My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan. Visit Tuesdays with Dorie to see what this lovely group of food bloggers have done with this recipe.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Pasta with Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Toasted Almonds

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Created to use up that abundance of summer squash and cherry tomatoes, this colorful dish uses fresh linguine from the grocery store to make a quick meal even quicker. Toasted almonds add some crunch. Perfect for a vegetable main dish or as a side. Adapted from Cooking Light. Serves 4.

Pasta with Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Toasted Almonds

Ingredients
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated linguine or fettuccine
1 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini (about 1/2 pound)
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow squash (about 1/2 pound)
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

Combine cherry tomatoes, shallots,thyme lime juice, salt,pepper and sugar in a medium bowl. Add 2 teaspoons oil, toss to coat.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining one tablespoon oil to pan. Add garlic to pan, saute 30 seconds. Add zucchini and yellow squash, saute 3 minutes or until crisp tender. Add broth, bring to a simmer. Stir in pasta and 1 1/2 tablespoons basil. Toss well.

Remove from heat, stir in tomato mixture. Place 1 1/2 cups pasta mixture in each bowl, top with remaining basil. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 tablespoons basil, top with cheese and toasted almonds.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Skidaway Island Shrimp and Grits

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In the low country area of South Carolina and Georgia, shrimp and grits was traditional breakfast fare for fisherman during the shrimping season. Its rise to haute cuisine began when Craig Claiborne promoted North Carolina chef, Bill Neal's shrimp and grits recipe in his book, Southern Cooking, published in 1987. Shrimp and grits is now on the menu of many seafood restaurants, especially in the South. There are many variations of this dish now, but the essential ingredients are shrimp, cooked in a sauce,and grits,preferably stone ground.
Shrimp Boats on Turners Creek, Near Savannah
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While on vacation on Isle of Palms near Charleston several years ago, I had shrimp and grits at SNOB (Slightly North of Broad), a Maverick Southern Kitchen group. A spicy concoction that included not only shrimp, but ham, sausage and scallops, in a tomato-based sauce served on creamy grits. Below is my version, called Skidaway Island Shrimp and Grits. Skidaway is a lovely island near Savannah, Georgia.

Skidaway Island Shrimp and Grits
Serves 4.
Ingredients

Grits
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup stone ground grits, such as Bob's Red Mill brand.
1/4 cup heavy cream

Shrimp Topping
1 1/2 links(about 8 ounces) andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 ounces smoked ham, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons mild tomato salsa
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

To Garnish
1/2 cup sliced green onions
Pinch of Southwest seasoning, purchased or recipe below


Make Grits
Bring chicken broth, salt and butter to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Whisk in grits and simmer on low, covered, stirring frequently, until grits have thickened, about one hour. Stir in cream and remove from heat.

Make Topping

Cook andouille and ham in 1/2 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring until ham is golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to plate with slotted spoon. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter to skillet and heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet and cook shrimp, turning until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in sausage, ham and 2 tablespoons salsa. Cook, scraping up brown bits, until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To Serve

Divide grits among 4 bowls, top with shrimp mixture. Garnish with sliced green onion and a pinch of Southwest seasoning.

Southwest Seasoning

Ingredients:
Makes 1/2 cup.
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

BBQ Chicken Pizza

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Using your favorite barbecue sauce, you can add your own regional influence to this southwestern style pizza. The pizza comes together easily using leftover roast chicken, black beans from your pantry, along with fresh tomatoes, jalapenos and shredded jack cheese for toppings. Buttery slices of avocado and a dollop of sour cream adds the perfect garnish. You can use the pizza dough recipe here or for a super quick pizza, buy prebaked crusts from you grocer.
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Bread Machine Pizza Dough
Makes one 12-14 inch crust

3/4 cup water (80-90ºF)
2 tablespoons oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

In order of ingredients, add ingredients to bread machine pan. Process on the dough cycle. When finished, remove dough from machine and place on lightly floured surface. Knead one minute and let rest, covered 15 minutes.

Roll dough into desired shape. One hour before baking pizza, place pizza stone in oven and preheat oven to 500°F.

Pizza Ingredients
1 1/2 cups leftover roast chicken
1/3 cup barbecue sauce plus 2 tablespoons
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large jalapeno pepper, sliced
2 ripe plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

For Garnish
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
2 tablespoons sour cream

Combine roast chicken and 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce. Spread the remaining barbecue sauce over rolled out pizza dough. Distribute 1/2 cup cheese over dough. Lay chicken over the cheese. Distribute the black beans over the chicken. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the pizza. Lay tomato and jalapeno slices over the top. Place pizza on stone and cook until cheese is bubbling and crust is crisp, 10-15 minutes.

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