Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It doesn't get much easier than this ...

or more delicious, for that matter.  My Mother's Egg Custard Pie from her favorites book is also one of my favorites and it's been years and years since I've made this recipe.  A few simple ingredients, one bowl, one whisk, a pie plate and you're all set.

Egg Custard Pie 

3 eggs, well beaten
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring

Whisk together all ingredients in the order listed.  Pour into a greased and floured glass pie plate.  No crust is needed because it makes its own crust as it bakes.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

The pie will be rather poufy when you first take it from the oven but will settle quickly.  Once cool, it slices easily.  Almost too easy according to my sister ... seems that whenever she made this pie every time she walked by she would slice off a sliver, then another sliver, then another.  So, maybe instead of a pie it could be considered a finger food.

Incredibly simple, incredibly good and apparently will disappear incredibly fast!  See?  It's already started ...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The only thing left to do with these fellas

is to make banana bread.  After searching a while for a good recipe, I decided the best place to look would be in one of the many church cookbooks in my cabinet.  And wouldn't you know it, the one I settled on was in a cookbook from my own church.  The back is missing, the spiral binding is split and broken, and like many other church-sponsored cookbooks contains offerings from some of the best cooks ever.
This recipe was submitted by a dear friend who also happens to have been my junior high school home economics teacher many ... well, a few years ago.  Although I'm not a big fan of bananas, I do love banana bread and was pretty sure this would be a good one.  I was not disappointed.

Banana Nut Bread

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten well
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy; add eggs.  Sift flour, baking soda and salt together then gradually add to butter mixture.  Mix in mashed bananas until well blended.  Stir in pecans.  Spread batter into a greased and floured 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes.  Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes.  Loosen sides and turn out onto wire rack to finish cooling.

Thank you "Annie Ruth"  for a really quick, moist, delicious banana bread!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fruit of the Season

You go to the grocery or the corner produce stand these days and there are peaches, peaches, peaches.  For that reason, this Peach Tea recipe seemed to jump to the top of the stack.  It takes some planning ahead as the tea blend needs to chill awhile before adding the remaining ingredients but the result is a quite refreshing drink for these dog days of summer.  This is a slight variation of a fairly recent Southern Living recipe.  First make a simple syrup ...

2 cups sugar
1 cup water

Combine in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Boil for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and liquid is clear.  Cool to room temperature, which takes about 30 minutes.

Peach Tea
Makes - 1 gallon (plus about 3 glasses full)

3 family-size tea bags
33 ounces peach nectar
12 ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup simple sugar syrup
1 liter club soda, chilled
1 liter gingerale, chilled

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan, add tea bags and boil for one minute.  Remove from heat, cover and steep for 10 minutes.  Discard tea bags and pour into a one gallon container.  Add peach nectar, lemonade and sugar syrup.  Refrigerate for 8-24 hours.  Combine tea mixture with chilled club soda and gingerale just before serving.  Garnish with fresh peach slices.

I found this concoction to be more than one gallon and so used a second pitcher, pouring back and forth, to thoroughly blend.  In order to store in the one gallon pitcher however, someone had to volunteer to drink the extra three glasses.

I know, it's a tough job.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mississippi Mud ... Louise's Way

... and the best way, in my humble opinion.  I've tasted many versions of "mud" cakes, pies, bars, etc., but none can top my Mother's.  Although I don't know where she found this recipe (could've been at one of those all day singings and dinner on the ground events) it's handwritten in her "My Favorite Recipes" book which as you can see is held together with a dab or two of scotch tape and is well-worn just like her Bible - King James Version, of course.  And just like a well-worn Bible it shows the owner has visited often and found treasures within.  I'm going to spend some time exploring Mother's favorites and am sure I will also find some treasures that will bring back memories of holidays and family gatherings and the warm, sweet smell of her kitchen.

Starting with Mississippi Mud!  The first week of October every year for about 16 years, there would be 9 or 10 of these lined up on the kitchen counter.  Our quartet was one of the sponsors of a quartet convention the first weekend of October and we worked behind the scenes in many ways, one of which was to supply and work the concession stand.  Needless to say, Mother's Muds always sold out!

2 cups sugar
1 cup margarine
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 bag miniature marshmallows

Cream sugar and margarine on medium speed.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Sift together flour, salt and cocoa, and add slowly to sugar mixture, blend well.  Stir in pecans.  Spread batter in a greased 13 x 9 - inch baking dish.  Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.

Immediately spread marshmallows over top of cake and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool, allowing marshmallows to fall. 

While cooling, mix the icing:

1 stick margarine
6 tablespoons Cola
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add:

1 box powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Pour frosting over cooled cake.


I have been gently reminded that this cake must leave the premises as soon as possible, so it's off to work with me tomorrow morning! 

Share the love, share the calories ...

Weekend Potluck Featured

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dark Chocolate Orange Flop

Actually, it's called Dark Chocolate Orange Cake but since this recipe didn't quite work as planned I'm calling it a Flop!  This is a flourless cake with the classic combination of dark chocolate and orange and of course, I'm partial toward any dessert with chocolate especially of the dark variety.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray and line with a circle of wax paper or parchment paper.  Wrap outside of pan in aluminum foil.

3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
1 tablespoon hot water
dash salt
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Place sugar and eggs in mixing bowl; mix at high speed for 7 minutes.  Combine cornstarch and cocoa in small bowl, set aside.  Place juice, liqueur, water, salt and chocolate in small glass bowl; microwave on high for one minute or until almost melted, stopping to stir at 20-second intervals.  Whisk in cornstarch and cocoa mixture.  Gently stir in 1/4 of egg mixture into chocolate, then fold chocolate mix into remainder of egg mixture. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and place in a larger baking dish; add about 1-inch hot water in the larger pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until top is set.  Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes, loosen cake from sides of pan with knife.  Cool to room temperature then chill 4 hours or overnight before serving.

Ok ... after baking for almost an hour, I still had a very soft, gooey cake batter that was no where near the cake stage.  No amount of cooling or chiling was going to make it set up, so as the saying goes, "When life gives you lemons make lemonade."  Not to be outdone ... when life gives you a Dark Chocolate Orange Flop, spoon it up and make an ice cream sundae ... Yum!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Tart with Brown Butter Streusel

Rhubarb ... that's not a fruit you normally pluck out of the produce bin, take home and eat.  In fact I remember eating rhubarb only once before, years ago, thanks to a friend delivering a rhubarb cobbler sort of dish to our house, after which Mother and Daddy embarked on a considerable amount of coaxing and bribery before I gave it a try.  And I loved it!  For some reason though, I never tried it again until now.

This clipping appears to be from an issue of Bon Appetit and actually labels it a Rhubarb Tart.  Since I didn't have enough rhubarb for 5 cups I finished it off with strawberries and changed the name to Strawberry Rhubarb Tart.

Streusel -

9 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup all purpose flour

Cook butter in large skillet over medium heat until golden, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Mix in almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Stir in flour until moist clumps form.  Cool completely.

Filling -

5 cups 1/2-inch thick slices of rhubarb
(or in my case 5 cups of sliced rhubarb and strawberries)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 all purpose flour
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Toss all ingredients in bowl to blend.  Let stand about 15 minutes until filling is moist through, stirring occasionally.

Crust -

Unroll and place purchased pie crust into a 9-inch tart pan, trim to fit.  Pierce bottom with fork.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Spoon fruit filling into warm crust and top with crumbled streusel.  Bake for 1 hour until filling is bubbly and streusel is crisp and brown.  Cool on wire rack 30 minutes then serve warm.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Focaccia for Jonathan

Jonathan loves focaccia bread and has requested it several times over the past few months.  I came across this one the other day.  Looks like I had pulled it out of the recipe clipping pile some time ago but it apparently got lost in the midst of a stack of magazines.  Now rescued and made, I believe someone has designs on it to accompany his pasta tonight.

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground marjoram
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespooons shredded parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella

In a large bowl, stir together flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder and black pepper.

Combine oregano, thyme, basil and marjoram.  Add half to the flour mixture and set the remainder aside.  If you have Italian seasoning, I think you could substitute an equal amount for the combined herbs listed.

Stir in vegetable oil and water until dough begins to come together.  Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.  Return to mixing bowl with a good sprinkling of vegetable oil, turning dough until well coated.

Cover with a damp cloth or paper towel.  Set aside in a warm spot to rise for 20 minutes.

Punch dough down.  Place on a cooking stone or greased baking sheet and pat out into a 1/2-inch thick circle or rectangle.  Press fingers into the dough to dimple the surface.

Brush with olive oil.  Sprinkle with remaining herb mixture and top with cheeses.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.

Looks like this one may be another keeper.