Thursday, July 31, 2008

Coffee Angel Pie

So here it is, the fruit dessert my husband wanted for his Saturday morning graduate class at school. What an experience. It was challenging and fun to make, but full of possible pitfalls that made me wish I had practiced this recipe a few times before I dived in. I don't have much experience with meringue so when the shell started to crumble a bit as I was assembling the pie, I panicked. It also didn't hold up too well when serving time came. Still, I think if I had more experience, this pie would have been pretty easy. Even given all the assembling issues, this pie tasted really good. The combination of the fruit, the coffee cream and the crunchy crust was a delight. It would be easy to keep the ingredients separate them assemble them anywhere for a great summer treat.

Coffee Angel Pie
Meringue Shell:
2 egg whites, at room temp.
1 Tablespoon instant coffee
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
dash of salt
2/3cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Coffee Whipped Cream:

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 to 2 tsp. instant coffee

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Assorted fruit, for garnish

To prepare the shell:

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch pie plate. Beat the egg whites, instant coffee, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high until foamy. Add the sugar, 2 Tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture stands in stiff peaks. Gently fold in the vanilla. Spread the mixture on the bottom and sides of the prepared pie plate, using the back of a spoon. Bake for 30 minutes or until shell feels dry and firm. Cool completely.

To prepare the coffee whipped cream:

Beat the cream, sugar, instant coffee and vanilla in a chilled bowl with an electric mixer set on high speed until cream holds it's shape. Do not overbeat. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, spoon whipped cream into the meringue shell. Top with assorted fruit. Cut into slices and serve.

"No coffee can be good in the mouth that does not first send a sweet offering of odor to the nostrils."

-Henry Ward Beecher

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

That's One Big Cupcake!

When I first saw this cupcake pan, I was so excited! What a neat concept. Since my daughter's birthday was coming up, I asked her if she might want me to make it for her party. She thought it was a great idea. Yoo Hoo! Since the pan comes with a recipe for Double Chocolate Pound Cake, I decided to go with it and see what happened. It was all a little scary at first. The instructions say to put more batter into the "top" of the cupcake than the "bottom". I wasn't sure how this would all work, but what happens is the "top", as it bakes, spills out a little over the edge and makes the top of the cupcake hang out over the bottom, so it looks like the smaller version of a cupcake. To join the top and bottom, you use just a bit of icing. It's pretty easy to frost and decorate, but cutting it to serve was a bit tough because of the height of the cake. It seemed to be a big hit at the party though, so that's all that counts!

Double Chocolate Pound Cake
using the Giant Cupake Pan

2 teaspoons instant coffee
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour pan(s). In a small bowl, dissolve instant coffee in water, set aside to cool.

Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, on at a time. Add vanilla and mix well. Combine cocoa mixture and sour cream. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating after each addition until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon 4 1/2 cups batter into top of cupcake pan then spoon remaining batter into the bottom of the pan.

Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes then turn cake onto rack to cool completely. To assemble cupcake, ice top of cake's bottom half. Place top half of cake atop iced bottom half. Decorate as desired.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Recipe from Wilton Industries.

"When you look at a cupcake, you've got to smile."
-Anne Byrn

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How Do I.....

Interesting site I saw today in our Sunday newspaper that I thought I'd share. I think I'll be on this site a lot!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Happy 9th Birthday To My Beautiful Girl!

Happy Birthday, sweet girl! It's finally here! May all of your dreams and hopes come to be and you have the best birthday ever. I love you.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Tagged Myself For A Meme!

I haven't been in the kitchen all that much this week. I'm saving my energy for an all out baking session this coming Friday. Besides baking a cake for my daughter's birthday on Saturday, my hubby asked that I make a breakfast treat for his Saturday morning graduate psychology class, since it's his turn to bring something. Of course, dummy me, I let him choose what I'd make. He picked some fancy meringue fruit concoction that I'm not sure is going to go too well. I love to bake but this is going to be a challenge. If I survive, I'll post about it next week :)

So instead of a recipe, I thought I'd do a meme. Posting about recipes is fun, but it doesn't give anyone much of a chance to get to know me. Not that I'm all that fascinating, but sometimes a change of pace is fun.

Four jobs I’ve had
-work study (college)
-drug and alcohol counselor

Four movies I can watch over and over
-The Mummy
-Pride and Prejudice
-The Count of Monte Cristo
-The Cutting Edge

Four places I’ve lived
- Oklahoma
- Virginia
-maybe Virginia again-someday (crossing fingers here)

Four TV shows I love
-Buffy the Vampire Slayer (your fault, Country Dew!)
-Boston Legal

Four places I’ve vacationed
-Myrtle Beach, SC
-Williamsburg, VA
-Outer Banks, NC
-West Virginia

Four of my favorite foods
-veggie sushi
-turkey sandwich

Four sites I visit daily
-Blogger- all of my favorite blogs

Four places I would rather be right now (with my kids, always)
-Anywhere South
-on a path in the woods
-London or France

Ok, now you're it. Anyone up for it?

"Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things"
-Maria, The Sound of Music

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Raspberries And Veggies

It's been an exciting week so far in our yard! All the veggies are starting to show up and the raspberries are finally here. It's the kids first real experience picking any fruit so they are really having fun, while learning that those vines are pretty thorny! Ouch.

I have always dreamed of having fruit growing in any form in my yard, so when the raspberries started blooming in large numbers this year, I was elated. I bought the plants a few years ago off a seller on Ebay, who grew them in North Carolina. So I call them my North Carolina berries. Another little piece of the South....ahhhh.

Lettuce, I found out, is one of the easiest things to grow. Thank goodness something is easy :) Through much trial and error, butter crunch lettuce has become our favorite. It's very mild, comes up quickly in any weather, and makes a great salad.

Grape tomatoes are new this year to our garden. I love how they grow in clumps on the vine. And they taste so warm and juicy! They make you never want to buy another store tomato again.

Another Ebay purchase was these beans. They are about as easy to grow as the lettuce. When I bought them off the seller on Ebay, he sent me a "medley" package of seeds. Some were white, some brown, and some purple. I planted a variety and found that I have yellow, green and purple beans. Cool! The yellows weren't ready yet, but they are getting there.

The collards aren't doing so well so far so I planted more of those. We'll see what happens. The corn looks good (it was knee high by the fourth of July so that's a good sign) and the peppers are starting to turn red. I'm hoping in a few more weeks it'll all be just about ready. Better be, summer's almost over!

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tennessee Jam Cake

Looking for a different type of cake to make, I found this recipe. I've never had cake with jam in it. It reminds me of those fancy cakes with the fruit filling, like at a wedding. To me, cake paired with fruit in any form is a no-brainer; it's going to be good! What also makes this cake different is the spice added to the cake. After reading through the recipe, I felt it needed something more so I added cinnamon. It really made this cake something special. The icing is a caramel type that hardens some once it's on the cake. It balances the jam and cinnamon cake perfectly. Just be sure to make the icing last, after the cake has cooled and is ready to frost. I learned that lesson the hard way!

Tennessee Jam Cake

1 package (18. 25 oz) white cake mix, moist or regular only, no pudding
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup applesauce, cinnamon or regular
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup good quality berry jam

1 stick butter (8 Tablespoons)
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Spray two 8 or 9 inch round pans with cooking spray. Sprinkle with flour and shake off excess. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cake mix, buttermilk, applesauce, oil, eggs and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer on low for 1 minute, scraping sides down. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Place in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until center springs back to touch. Remove from oven and set to cool for 5 minutes. Scrape butter knife around sides of cakes and gently remove cakes and place on wire racks to cool completely.

Once cakes are cool, prepare frosting. Place brown sugar and butter into a medium saucepan and heat on medium, stirring constantly. Once combined, add milk and bring to boil. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Place confectioners' sugar into a large bowl and pour brown sugar mixture over it. Beat on low speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Place one cake layer on serving platter. Spread top with icing then jam. Add second layer and spread icing over top and sides. Work quickly as icing sets up fast. If icing sets too fast, heat on low until softer (you can add a very small amount of milk) and stir.

I found this jar of preserves in the gourmet section of a local grocery store, Giant Eagle. If you can find something simular for your cake, it really tastes wonderful!

"The jelly - the jam and the marmalade, And the cherry-and quince-"preserves" she made! And the sweet-sour pickles of peach and pear, With cinnamon in 'em, and all things rare! - And the more we ate was the more to spare, Out to old Aunt Mary's! Ah!"
-James Whitcomb Riley

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cheesy Corn Bread

I got a terrible craving a few weeks ago for some cornbread. Not the usual cornbread I make, but something with some kick to it. I went to the pantry to get the ingredients only to find that I was out of cornmeal. Darn. I made sure I didn't forget it the next shopping trip, though! This recipe makes some serious cornbread. It's about twice the size of the boxed cornbread and full of flavor and texture. It qualifies as a meal on it's own it's so filling and rich. Definitely worth the extra effort.

Cheesy Corn Bread

1 cup self rising flour
3/4 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 8 oz. can cream style corn
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated Cheddar or Colby Jack cheese
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a cast iron skillet well and place in oven to heat. Mix all ingredients together and pour into heated skillet and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Adapted from The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook

"I remember as a kid being cold a lot, and hungry sometimes. We'd go to bed with just cornbread and milk, and I remember wearing shoes with holes in the bottom. I remember having twine for shoestrings."
-Buck Owens

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Greek Baklava

Whenever I tell someone that I love making Baklava, they look at me like I'm crazy. "Isn't that really hard?" they always say. No, just time consuming. But once you taste the results, you start dreaming of making it again. And as they say, practice makes perfect, as well as quicker!

This recipe comes from a cookbook called Dessert Cooking Class Cookbook that a friend of my mother's gave me for Christmas. I think she knew me all too well!

Greek Baklava

1 box (1 pound) phyllo dough, thawed if frozen
1 cup melted butter, cooled to room temp.
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup honey

In a greased 11 x 9 inch pan, using one half of the dough, layer one sheet of phyllo at a time, brushing each sheet with the melted butter. Fold over ends as necessary. Keep unused sheets covered with paper towels dampened with water to prevent drying.

Mix 1/4 cup of the sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts together. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the buttered phyllo in the pan. Layer the remaining phyllo, one sheet at a time, brushing with butter until all phyllo is used. Brush last layer with butter.

Cut baklava diagonally into squares, cutting completely through all layers. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees until crisp and golden, about 45 minutes.

Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, water, lemon juice and honey in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Heat to boiling and pour over hot baklava. Let stand loosely covered 8 hours or overnight (if you can stop yourself from eating it all by then :)

Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good."
-Alice May Brock

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Garlic Harvest

Growing garlic was a bit tricky for me. When I got the seeds from a sweet older lady neighbor of mine, she told me to plant them in the fall and harvest the next year. The following year, I dutifully pulled the garlic out only to find it was too small. Whoops. I left the rest of the garlic in the garden and figured I'd try again next year. I never did have time to plant more in the fall. But this spring, I notice the garlic come up again. I wasn't going to harvest them until fall, but my husband, curious guy that he is, wanted to see if it was ready. It was! To celebrate, I made lasagna and garlic bread tonight for dinner using as much fresh garlic as I dared. It was divine.

To prepare the garlic for the bread, I placed about 5 cloves into a small piece of aluminum foil and drizzled olive oil over it then pressed the foil closed. I placed it in the oven along side the lasagna and baked it for 35 to 40 minutes. When it was done, I spread it over Italian bread that I sliced in half and spread with soft butter. I broiled the bread until it was lightly browned and crispy on the edges. The flavor was so mild and buttery. So good!

"Three nickels will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat."
-New York (Yiddish or Jewish ?) Saying.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Keira The Gerbil

Welcome to little Keira! She's so cute...and I can't believe I'm saying that. My almost 9 year old daughter decided she wanted a gerbil for her birthday. And she wanted it yesterday. My husband and I held out for two months under the constant "I would reeeaaalllyy love a gerbil!" campaign. Finally, the hubby broke (I knew he would- softy) and we bought a gerbil on Tuesday. Mind you, the official 9th birthday isn't for two more weeks. Parenthood- I'd have better luck against a typhoon.

"The one thing children wear out faster than shoes is parents."
-John J. Plomp

"Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected."
-Red Buttons

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Louisiana Banana Bread

Banana bread is one of those classic recipes that keeps you searching to find just the right recipe to adopt as your own. I've made many different kinds of banana bread, but none that truely stood out as a favorite. With most recipes, the bread would turn out too dense on the inside and too dark on the outside and I would end up throwing out the last half of the bread, which kind of defeats the purpose of using up the old bananas! This recipe was different. It came out light and fluffy and full of flavor. And better yet, as soon as it came out of the oven, my kids started eating it. It was gone within 24 hours. Yeah! Eat it warm with a bit of softened butter spread over it. Oh, yum!

Louisiana Banana Bread

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. lemon juice
4 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sour cream
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two loaf pans by spraying with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Add bananas and mix well.

Sift dry ingredients together. Add slowly to wet ingredients and alternate with sour cream. Do not over mix. Fold in nuts. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes.

Makes two loaves.

Adapted from Southern Recipes at

"I'm getting so old, I don't buy green banana's anymore
-Chi Chi Rodriguez

"Golden, Ripe, Boneless Bananas, 39 Cents A Pound."
- Advertisement

Monday, July 7, 2008

Strawberry Pie

For our family's 4th of July get together, I wanted to make something I hadn't made in a long time. The last time I made strawberry pie, I didn't have any kids, had a full time job and was just a few years into my marriage. In other words, a zillion years ago! But all that strawberry pickin' the other week got to me, so I bought more strawberries and went to work. It was easier to make than I remembered. I usually make my own crust, but I went for store bought this time, and the pie was done real quick. What I forgot was how wonderful this pie smells and tastes! Everyone loved it, including my usually reserved mother in law who requested some to take home with her. This time, I don't intend to wait years to make this pie again.

Strawberry Pie

5 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon butter
1 (9 inch) pie shell and lattice pastry top

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and drain berries. Combine sugar and cornstarch. Mix in the cinnamon and salt. Add the berries and mix well. Set aside to let juices form.

Prepare pastry and line pan with one layer. Dump the berries into the pie shell and dot with butter. Add the lattice top and crimp edges of the pastry.

Place in oven with an old cookie sheet under the pie to catch drips. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Lower heat to 375 and bake an additional 45 to 50 minutes or until the pie has bubbled for at least 15 minutes. Remove and place on rack to cool. Slice and serve with ice cream or whipped topping.

“When you die, if you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if it's not, mmmmmmmm, boy."
-Jack Handy

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty."
-John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Saturn Peaches

One of the more different things I've encountered lately is Saturn Peaches (I know, I need to get out more). I came across a package in Sam's Club last week via sense of smell. The scent was unbelievable. When I got them home, I tried one and boy, I was glad I was standing next to my kitchen sink! These babies are juicy! The inside is almost white, with just a hint of peach color. The skins seem a bit more tough and thicker than a regular peach but still very tasty. Since trying these, I've learned they are also called Donut Peaches. Makes sense. I'm wondering if these peaches have been around a while and Pittsburgh is just getting into the swing of things (a normal occurrence here) or everyone else around the country is experiencing these as new as well. Either way, I'm glad I tried them. Now I need to find a recipe I can use them in!

"The ripest peach is highest on the tree."
-James Whitcomb Riley