Wednesday, June 26, 2013

food huggers

I am excited about this product I just backed on Kickstarter.

Food Huggers... brilliant!

I can't wait to get my hands on one of the avocado huggers.  I can see these being sold at Crate & Barrel in the not too distant future!

Click here to back this campaign!

Monday, June 17, 2013

strawberry pie

Annnnnd, we're back!
Life has been busy!  I still cook and bake plenty, but sometimes it feels like such a chore to stop and photograph every step.  Especially when time is a factor.  

Well you're in luck today because I made a strawberry pie for Father's Day and I wasn't too lazy to take pictures!

First you'll need a pre-baked pie crust.  Ok so I'm kind of a liar, I did not take a picture of the crust.  Sorry!  It was a store bought crust and I just followed the instructions on the package.

Moving along...

For the filling, start by rinsing, hulling, and slicing 1lb of fresh strawberries.
Lucky for me I have cute tools to help get the job done faster!

Next you'll add 2lbs frozen strawberries to a large saucepan.

Heat for a few minutes on medium-low until they start releasing juices, then turn the temperature up to medium high, and stir frequently.

While the strawberries are heating, get a small bowl and add 1 tbsp unflavored gelatin...

2 tbsp water...

and 2 tbsp lemon juice.

Stir and let sit until softened and thick, at least 5 min.

After about 25-30 minutes, your saucepan of whole strawberries will look like this.
Remember to stir frequently (else  you'll scorch the pan and your berries).  No mashing needed, the heat and constant stirring will turn the whole berries into this jam-like consistency for you

Pour the mixture into a measuring cup and make sure you have 2 cups.  If you have more, put it back in the pot and continute heating & stirring until the mixture has reduced more.  Once you have 2 cups, put it back in the pan.

Now you can add the gelatin mixture

a cup of sugar

and a pinch of salt

stir well,

and turn the heat back on and simmer for a few minutes.

Now you can turn off the heat and add your sliced berries.

Fold them in gently...

and add to a large bowl.

Let the mixture cool to room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Then add to your pre-baked pie crust.

Refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.  I prepared mine in advance and refrigerated it overnight.

This recipe is for a 9-inch pie.  my pie plate is 9.5 inches so I had a little extra room on top. 
Not to worry!  We can fill that gap with whipped cream!

For the topping, add 4 oz (1/2 block) of softened cream cheese, 3 tbsp sugar, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract to your mixer and beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds until it's smooth

with the mixer still running, add 1 cup heavy cream

beat until stiff peaks are formed

I spooned mine into a bowl because I transported it to Grandma & Grandpa's before I added it to the pie

Spoon a few dollops of whipped cream onto the pie

and spread it around with the back of a spoon or  rubber spatula.

I tried to swirl it around to make it pretty.

Slice the pie and serve it on up!

I've made this pie several times and everyone always loves it.  Hope you do too!

Icebox Strawberry Pie (From Cook's Illustrated / Cook's Country)

filling ingredients.
1 pound fresh strawberries , hulled and sliced thin
2 pounds frozen strawberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1 cup sugar
Pinch salt

1 (9-inch) pie shel, pre-baked and cooled

topping ingredients.
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream

filling procedure.
Cook frozen berries in large saucepan over medium-low heat until berries begin to release juice, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and jamlike, about 25 minutes (mixture should measure 2 cups).

Combine lemon juice, water, and gelatin in small bowl. Let stand until gelatin is softened and mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes.

Stir gelatin mixture, sugar, and salt into cooked berry mixture and return to simmer, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Fold fresh berries into filling. Spread evenly in pie shell and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. (Filled pie can be refrigerated for 24 hours.)

topping procedure.
With electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth, about 30 seconds. 

With mixer running, add cream and whip until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Serve pie with whipped cream topping.

In step 1, be sure to accurately measure the reduced strawberry mixture: You’ll need exactly 2 cups. Scrape the strawberry mixture into a large liquid measuring cup. If it measures more than 2 cups, return it to the pan to cook down. It may seem fussy to stop to measure, but the pie will not set or slice properly if you have more than 2 cups of the strawberry mixture.

here's a shot of me with the strawberry pie requester and #1 man in my life.
Happy Father's Day, Daddio!!
(note the empty pie plate on the right - we killed it!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

orange oatmeal cookies with cranberries and white chocolate


well these cookies sure are a mouthful!

i first saw these cookies at trader joe's, and thought it was an interesting flavor combination, perfect for Christmastime.  then i cursed myself for not coming up with it on my own, but realized-i could totally make these.  suck on that, trader joe's.

start by zesting an orange. set aside.

then sift together flour, baking powder, and salt

add your zest to a large mixing bowl with softened butter, white sugar, and brown sugar

beat until light and fluffy

add vanilla and eggs

beat well.  
at this stage, my roommate pointed out that the mixture looks like cat puke.  i hate cats so i don't know what their puke looks like, but i'll take his word for it.  enjoy that thought.

add flour mixture,  mix well
and to really get into the spirit, i highly reccommend a christmas spatula for your bowl scraping needs!

add quick oats

mix well.

finally, add the craisins and white chocolate chips

mix until thouroughly combined
the dough is pretty thick here so you'll have to turn the mixer up to really get it going

i used a small cookie scoop (2 tsp) to dish out my dough

drop on a lightly greased cookie sheet

bake at 350 for 11-15 min, until they start to turn golden on top
(these take exactly 11.5 minutes in my mother's oven, and exactly 15 minutes in my oven.  times will vary so watch them!)

orange oatmeal cookies with cranberries & white chocolate

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
zest of 1 orange (approx 2-3 tsp)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder (not soda!)
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups quick oats
1 cup dried cranberries (aka Craisins!)
1 cup white chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350
cream butter, sugars, and orange zest in a large bowl until light and fluffy
add vanilla & eggs, mix well
in a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. add to creamed mixture, blending thoroughly.
add oats. mix well.
stir in craisins & white chocolate chips. mix well
use a small (2 tsp) cookie scoop to drop onto lightly greased cookie sheets.
bake for 11-15 minutes
cool on wire rack

...stuff your face. wash down with 2% milk.  superb.  enjoy.

Monday, September 10, 2012

peanut butter pie

a blog with peanut butter in the title and this is the first recipe i've posted using it as an ingredient.

to begin, you'll place some chocolate chips and butter in a double boiler to start melting

next you can pulverize some oreos in your food processor - you'll need 2 cups of crumbs
(neato football season oreos!)

stir the chocolate and butter as it melts

when it's all melted, add the oreo crumbs

stir to combine

press into the bottom of a 9-in pie plate and bake at 350 for 10 min

now you can add some peanut butter, cream cheese, and sugar to a large bowl

beat with an electric mixer until well combined

using those same beaters (i didn't even clean mine off), beat some well chilled cream in a separate bowl

beat a few minutes until firm

add about a third of the whipped cream to the PB mixture

and fold it in

you'll notice how the addition of cream has significantly loosened up the mixture

now you can add the remaining whipped cream

and fold it in

scoop the heavenly mixture into the cooled pie crust

and smooth it over with a spatula

refrigerate until firm (3ish hours)

when the pie is cooled, add some chocolate chips and heavy cream to a  double boiler

stir it as it begins to melt

you'll notice the chocolate melting and the mixture darkening

once it's all meled it should be this acorn color

allow to cool to lukewarm (color will darken further) before pouring over the chilled pie

make sure you get it all

it should flood the entire surface of the pie.  refrigerate for about 15 min

optional: now melt a bit of cream and reese's chips in the microwave

microwave in 20-sec intervals, stirring between each

allow to cool for 10 minutes and spoon it into a ziploc

squish it over to one corner and snip a tiny piece off the end

start writing a message or making a pretty design with the drizzle.

my pie happened to be for someone special

(please pardon my peanut butter penmanship)

refrigerate about 15 min to set the drizzle before digging in 

i'll add more pics once we've cut into this one!

peanut butter pie. (adapted from food&wine)

2 c oreo crumbs, finely ground (this uses almost an entire package of oreos)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 stick unsalted butter

pie filling
1 8-oz block cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup(very cold) heavy cream

chocolate topping
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

peanut butter drizzle (optional)
2 tablespoons reese's chips
2 tablespoons heavy cream

preheat oven to 350
pulverize almost an entire package of oreos to make 2 cups of crumbs
in a double boiler or microwave, melt chocolate chips and butter together
add crumbs to mixture and stir well
press into 9-inch pie plate and bake for 10 min

beat together cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar
in a separate bowl, using the same beaters, beat the cream until firm
fold 1/3 into the PB mixture to loosen it
fold the remaining cream into the mixture
spread into cooled pie crust and chill in the refrigerator until firm (3 hours)

chocolate topping
melt chocolate chips and cream in a double boiler or microwave
let stand until lukewarm
pour over chilled pie and refrigerate until firm, approx 15 min

peanut butter drizzle (optional)
melt peanut butter chips and cream in a small bowl
let stand for 10 minutes
spoon into a ziploc baggie
snip a small piece off the corner and squeeze