July 2012


For some reason, I don’t make a lot of pies. It’s not because we don’t like them. I mean, what’s not to like. Flaky crust, yummy filling of fruit or custard or nuts. I can make a pie crust. And I dont’ mind if they don’t look like the pictures. I just don’t make pie. My Nana made Pies all the time. And cookies. My Mom was more of a cake and brownie lady. I don’t know! Really!!

Fortunately for The Hubs, who actually loves pie, the TWD group made pie this week. Blueberry and Nectarine Pie.

A double crusted Blueberry and Nectarine Pie to be exact.

Okay, I have to admit mine isn’t ALL Nectarine. Seems like someone ATE my Nectarines and all I had left was a salvaged 1/2. Not to worry. Nectarines and Peaches are very very much alike so I used the Nectarine to cook down with the Blueberries and then used sliced peaches on the bottom. Leslie Mackie, who contributed this recipe to Baking with Julia had us taking 1/2 of the fruit and cooking it down for juice, adding in the remainder of the fruit after cooking the other and then putting into the pie. I cooked down the Nectarine and Blueberries and then placed a layer of thin peach slices on the bottom and poured the cooked fruit and juice over it. Came out just fine. I actually liked the layer of peaches on the bottom rather than mixing it in. But that’s just me!!

Besides using part peaches I also made the pie sugar free. I used Splenda instead of sugar and while I probably didn’t get as much juice it still was good eating. And I could have some since I am trying NOT to eat sugar. (Try that and baking!!!)

I made one little 4′ mini pie (using about 1/4 of the recipe). One night’s dessert and gone. With Vanilla (sugar free) Ice Cream. PERFECT!!!

Thanks to Hilary of Manchego’s Kitchen and Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake for Co-hosing the last selection for July. You can find he recipe on their blogs.

Or…on page 384 of Baking with Julia

I definitely see more pies in our future.

Wowza! But I missed a lot of July TWD selections. Seven to be exact. Good thing I love to spend time in the kitchen – even in the hot weather. And it has been HOT in July! Plenty of 100+ days temp wise. Little rain. LOTS of humidity!! What DID people do before Air Conditioning???

Summer, of course, means lots of fresh fruit and many of the pics for July were fruit based. Such as….

    Summer Fruit Gatte

Dorie gave us plenty of choices for this galette, a free form ‘pie’ where the crust is folded up over the filling. There is so much in season right now in Louisiana – plums, peaches, figs, nectarines. But the peaches were so juicy and sweet I could not pass them up. One big ripe juicy peach was just perfect for one small 6″ galette. The crust and peaches are baked first for a few minutes then the custard is poured in around the fruit before baking the entire galette a little longer. What you end up with is a peach ‘pie’ with a sweet filling in all the little nooks and crannies left by the slices of peach. Eh… YUM!!! On July 29, 2008, this was a popular pick from Michele of Michelle in Colorado Springs and you can find the recipe on her blog. (Pg 366 in BFMHTY} If you have lots of fresh summer fruit this is the recipe for you. Quick. Not fussy. Delicious.

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On July 15, 2008, the TWD bakers were in the kitchen making Chocolate Pudding.

After my miserable attempt at making the Split-Level Pudding in October 2009, I was a little leery of this one. THAT one never set up and ended up going down the drain – literally!!

But this time….

    ….it came out PERFECTLY!!

So perfectly that I am never ever buying box pudding again. It was sooo creamy. Like pudding should be. And this one did NOT go down the drain.

I only made 1/2 of the recipe and that was perfect for two ramekins. Thank you, Dorie, for perfect pudding. And than you, Melissa of Melissa’s Kitchenfor helping me conquer PUDDING!! The recipe is on her page. (Page 383 in BFMHTY) Melissa served hers with Whipped Cream and Chocolate Sprinkles. So Cute!!

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Last, for this TWD Catch-up installment, I give you….

    Brioche Plum Tart

I had planned to make this one back when I was making up the Pecan Honey Sticky Buns and Brioche Raisin Snails because they were also made with Brioche dough. But after reading the recipe I discovered the recipe was just different enough to warrant a separate post.

So glad I did because these tarts deserve to be on their own. The dough was a sweet contrast to the somewhat tart plums {not what I had planned but…}I used Muscadine Jelly for the base because it tends to go with every other type of fruit out there without overpowering the taste.

Denise of Chez Us was the host for this lovely little Tart July 14, 2009. She opened her post with,


    “Lightly sweetened brioche dough is pressed into a tart pan and filled with jam and fresh plums, to make a wonderful breakfast treat.”

1/2 of the dough recipe and two nice plums were enough for three 4′ tarts.

And she is absolutely correct. GREAT breakfast!! The recipe is on her blog. (Page 54 in BFMHTY)

THat takes care of July TWD selections. August will be a potpouri of recipes as I only missed one so I am filling in. Maybe I CAN finish before the end of the year!!!!

Sitting in my pantry is a clean PB jar filled with something. I thought I knew what it was, but I wasn’t sure. I had forgotten to label it. There was a piece of paper in the jar with a number. Just a number. 5087.

    What Are You??

I knew where I had purchased it so I called Whole Foods, gave them the number and they confirmed what I thought I knew – semolina flour. PERFECT!! NOW I can make …

    Nick Malgieri’s Semolina Bread

This was supposed to be a free-form loaf but it started to spread so much I slipped it into a loaf pan, which partially deflated it. I thought the bread would be dense and inedible but the crumb was just perfect.

The dough is a very wet and very sticky and can be difficult to work with. Rolling the into a cylinder on a floured surface was just enough to bring it under control (I thought).

Having never made bread with semolina flour I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was delightfully surprised to have a chewy, crunchy, slightly salty loaf of bread. Even though it only has 3/4 cup of semolina flour it has less than two cups of flour so I was expecting more of a cornbread like texture. Which would have been just fine, too.

Anna of Keep it Luce and Renee of The Way to my Family’s Heart were the co-hosts this week and the recipe for the bread is on both of their blogs. Thanks Ladies. Now I have a new bread to bake. Regularly!!

And please visit Tuesdays with Dorie for the other member’s lovely loaves. If you Have Julia Childe’s Baking With Julia it is on page 102. Contributing Baker was Nick Malgieri.

So when doesn’t chocolate cake taste like chocolate?

When you mix in Blackberry Jam!

This is one combination I would not have come up with, but Nick puts the two flavors together in a delightful little bundt cake and it was quite tasty. The taste of chocolate is actually only a background taste even tho it is a chocolate cake. The blackberry jam (1 cup) is the big flavor in this cake.

I made 1/2 of the batter with the plan to make a 6″ bundt but then decided I could use small ones for bribes gifts and ended up with 1-4″ bundt and 3 smaller ones. Pretty with powdered sugar. Delicious with just a little chocolate whipped cream!!

The recipe is in Malgieri’s the Modern Baker on page 233. But I also found it on Amanda’s Blog and an adapted version with some delightful bundt shapes on my Friend Nancy’s Blog. And, yes Kayte, you cannot taste the chocolate!! LOL

We, or rather B, eats a lot of ice cream. And although I LOVE Ice Cream I haven’t been eating it because of the sugar. I take small bites of everything I make/bake that contains sugar just to test/taste but that is it. So when I made this ice cream I used 1/3 of the sugar and finished the rest with Splenda. It’s a compromise, but I feel better about making it that way.

This is based on the Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream from Saveur

    2 cups milk
    1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup Splenda
    1/2 cup light corn syrup
    1 cup smooth natural peanut butter
    2 cups heavy cream
    2 tsp. vanilla extract (or 2 vanilla beans, scraped.)

1. Pour the cream and milk into a medium-sized stainless steal bowl and place over a steaming pan of boiling water.
2. While the mix is scalding, cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Add the pods and seeds and sugar/Splenda mix to hot milk and seep for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally to mix in the sugar. Remove pods from mix.
2. Remove bowl from heat and slowly stir in 1/2 cup of Peanut Butter until mix is completely smooth. Add corn syrup.
3. Chill mixture in the fridge until cool (or overnight for a fuller flavor).
4. Pour mix into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
5. Transfer to a bowl and quickly swirl in remaining 1⁄2 cup peanut butter, cover, and freeze until hard.

By waiting until after the ice cream is churned and adding the PB you end up with large swirls of PB.


    OH! MY!
      Just Right!

On the last Tuesday of the month there is a rather eclectic collection of women who gather together to exchange books, eat, talk, gripe, laugh. We are NOT a book club. We don’t discuss books, we just share them if we enjoyed them. We are our own lending library.

Each of us brings a dish, mine is usually a dessert, and we spend an inordinate amount of time enjoying the selection of food and each other. Sometimes there is a theme – salad night – but usually not.

In July my long time friend and confidante, who hosts each month, presented us with….


    Marinated Crawfish

My friend does not cook. Her oven has been unplugged for several months and with both of her children either gone or partially gone she and D eat a lot of salads or microwaveable dinners. So this dish was perfect for her to bring.

    3 – 5 green onions, chopped
    1 small stalk celery, chopped
    1.2 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    1 lb crawfish tail meat
    1/2 jar capers
    1 bottle Wishbone Italian Dressing
    2 tbl butter

Sauté the tails in butter. Cool. Mix all ingredients together. Marinate for a few hours. (The long you marinate, the better it is.)

She served these with pita bread.

Delicious.

Several years ago when I joined Craving Ellie there were several recipes I had missed and wanted to try. Back then there were weekly choices made by each individual member. Now we only have one monthly member pick and the other Fridays are ‘free’.

    Chicken Cacciatore

I haven’t made cacciatore in years and the last time I did it was with a very heavy sauce. Ellie’s has a nice light sauce made with diced tomatoes, garlic, onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. (I left those last two out because B doesn’t care much for them.) With the white wine the sauce was just right in taste. I decided to use boneless chicken thighs rather than breasts. It may not be as healthy as Ellie’s version, but it was definitely flavorful. The only thing I would change would be to thicken the sauce a little. Not much, must a little.

(I forgot to take a pic of just the sauce before I mixed it with some egg noodles.) It seemed the best way to serve the dish.

Ellie’s cacciatore is on page 204 of The Foods You Crave it is also HERE!!

WHEW!! I really didn’t think I would get a post up today. Halfway through the morning I realized it was Tuesday and I had not baked in almost a week!! What IS my problem?? So on went the oven, out came the measuring cups.

I have been trying to do all the catch-ups in month and date order – not year – but it looks like it isn’t going to happen this time. I just didn’t have the ingredients or wasn’t in the mood for something – like making brioche dough – so these are July recipes just not by date – sorta kinda!

Scones are always welcome. I had missed these…

Chestnut Pecan Scones from July 19, 2011 and the only reason I had not made them on a rewind was because of the chestnut flour. Not available unless I wanted to purchase at least 3 pounds and all I needed was 3/4 cup. Following the lead of other bakers I used another nut – pecans – and made some flour/meal.

OH! MY! GOODNESS! These were so sweet and delicious and nutty and…Shucks! They were just good!! They didn’t need any butter or jam. They were perfect alone. And crunchy! And sweet. Wait!! I said that already…..

There was only one problem when I decided to make these. I gave up sugar about a month ago. I love scones. I would eat them all the time, but the sugar….. So I made them with Splenda and they came out just fine!!

This was chosen by Andrea of Andrea in the Kitchen. Andrea lives in Australia and while it was hot and NOT chestnut season here it was cold and wintery in Australia. Maybe some day I will find chestnut flour and make these the right way. Until then they are tasty made with pecans.

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I was on a roll so after making (and devouring several) scones I went for the

    Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

picked by Amanda of Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake July 22, 2008.

I got smart back in April during Rhubarb season and bought enough rhubarb for this cobbler and the Strawberry-Rhubarb Double Crisp. And I had bought a pound of cherries only a week ago so I was ready. Until I looked in the fridge and found all I had left was about 1/4 pound of cherries. HMMmm!! Wonder who ate those…..

Anyway, it was enough to make a single serving cobbler (1/4 recipe) in 4 inch bowl. Which B ate after lunch today. I get ONE bite and it was quite good. NOT real sweet but not real tart with the rhubarb. The topping is made with AP and whole wheat flour which gave it a nutty flavor. both the filling and the topping contained ginger and that added a real kick to the treat. The whole cobbler fits in an 8″ x 8″ pan and is topped with several balls of dough. Yes, balls. After putting all the ingredients together it is formed into loose balls and placed on top of the cherry/rhubarb filling. 1/4 of the topping mixture was more than enough to make 3 small balls and have some left over. I will have to make this again. Next year. When rhubarb comes back into season.

The recipes for these two delightful treats can be found on Amanda’s and Andrea’s blogs. If you have Dorie’s book – Baking from My Home to Yours, the scones are on page 34 and the cobble on page 415.

This week I met Amanda of Fake Ginger. She was my ‘assignment’ for July’s Secret Recipe Club. What is that, you say? THAT is a group of bakers/cooks/bloggers who get to explore and discover a new food blog every month through a blind pick and cook or bake from that blog. It is a GREAT way to find and meet new bloggers and discover new foods and techniques.

I had been to Amanda’s blog because I was initially drawn by the name – Fake Ginger - and then I stayed because of her food. So this month when she was my pick I finally got the motivation I needed to actually make something from her blog. I am so bad about reading and enjoying and not cooking from the blogs I find.

So many goodies, so litle time…..

Lets begin with…..

    Tempura Fried Asparagus

It hasn’t been that long since I disovered I actually LIKE asparagus. My mom used to buy the canned stuff all the time and I could not even stay in the room because of the smell. But fresh asparagus is a totally different animal. So now I am on the look out for fresh asparagus recipes. I used them in pasta, in risotto, in casseroles, but I had never had the fried. Being a true Southern Belle, I had to try it. GLAD I did! SOOOOO good Even though I didn’t make the sauce.

    4 cups vegetable oil
    3/4 cup flour
    1/2 cup cornstarch
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 cup seltzer, at room temperature
    1 pound asparagus

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until the temperature registers 375° on a deep-fry thermometer.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt and baking soda. Whisk in the seltzer until smooth.
Add the asparagus to the batter and turn to coat. Transferring one piece at a time, add about one-quarter of the asparagus to the hot oil and cook, turning, until golden and crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining asparagus, allowing the oil to return to 375° between batches. Serve hot with the dipping sauce.

    1/4 cup yogurt
    2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon honey

In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard and honey.

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I stayed with my Daughter and family last Thursday night. They work late every night and don’t have time to really cook except on the weekends so I made dinner for them.

    Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce

This picture does not do the ooey gooey goodness of this recipe justice. The cheese just oozes from the enchilada tops and makes this incredibly tasty.

    1 teaspoon olive oil
    1 medium onion, diced
    1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced {I did not use}
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    3 tablespoons chili powder
    3 teaspoons ground cumin
    2 teaspoons sugar
    2 cans (15 ounces) tomato sauce
    1 cup water
    1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
    1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
    12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas {I got 14 from the recipe}
    salt and pepper to taste

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400F.
Heat olive oil over medium low heat. Saute onion {and jalapeno} in oil until the onion is translucent. Stir in garlic, chili power, cumin, and sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the thickest part registers 160 degrees on a meat thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside to cool. Strain the sauce through a medium-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the onions to extract as much liquid as possible. Place onion mixture in a large bowl and set aside. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces. Add to the bowl along with the onion mixture. Add in 1/4 cup of your tomato sauce sauce, 1 cup cheddar cheese, and the cilantro. Toss to combine.
Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40 to 60 seconds. Spread the warm tortillas out over a clean work surface. Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them seam-side down in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheddar down the center of the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese browns, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

I only wish I had doubled the sauce. While Amanda used only one can of tomato sauce I used two (as per the original recipe) and it still wasn’t enough. Next time….. Other than that, this was soooooo good!!

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There may be times when you don’t want to make a Birthday Cake. If that is the case, then this Ice Cream may be the solution to your problem. The cake is IN the Ice Cream. Not pieces of cake but some of the cake mix which thickens the ice cream and gives it the cake flavor. An easy alternative.

    Birthday Cake Ice Cream

1 cup milk
1/2 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup yellow cake mix, sifted
2 tablespoons sprinkles

Whisk together milk, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, cream, and cake mix in a saucepan until well blended. Cook over medium-low heat until mixture reaches 160 degrees F (70 degrees C), stirring frequently. Remove from heat and place in the refrigerator or freezer until liquid is cold.

Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions until it reaches “soft-serve” consistency. Stir in sprinkles by hand into the mixture and transfer ice cream to a one- or two-quart lidded plastic container; cover surface with plastic wrap and seal. For best results, ice cream should ripen in the freezer for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Not quite as good as a Birthday Cake with Frosting, but soooooo good!!!

You need to take time and visit Amanda and her yummy recipes. It will well worth the time – BELIEVE ME!!

AND if you want to have some cooking and baking fun come join the Secret Recipe Club.



Today is Tuesday. And while I should be talking about Biscotti I decided to to some more catch-up instead. And I really wasn’t in the mood for biscotti which is what the BwJ Bakers were making for today!!

I love scones so when I saw that there were two scone recipes I missed these were high on my list. Unfortunately the first ones underwhelmed me.

    Apple Cheddar Scones

Sorry, Dorie, but these were pretty bland. I used sharp cheddar cheese but I really couldn’t taste the cheese. I used the dried apple, chopped fine, but they ended up being little tough nuggets in the scones. Next time I would use pieces of fresh apple. I served the scones with some Honey Apple Butter we picked up on our last camping trip. Good stuff.

There was this little stand….

…on the side of the road. Anyway, the butter was perfect with these scones.

1/2 of the recipe gave me about 6 really good sized scones. Thanks to The Floured Apron who loves breakfast and choose these for us to bake July 1, 2008. You can find the recipe on her blog and on page 32 of Dorie’s book.

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July 8, 2008, was Blueberry Pie Day!! I have to confess I have never made blueberry Pie. In fact I have never even HAD Blueberry Pie. I KNOW!! I really wasn’t a blueberry fan until recently. Boy, I didn’t know what I was missing. We planted some plants this summer but they really haven’t produced yet. We visited a Farmer’s Market last week and these big, fat, sweet, juicy berries were calling my name!! I had forgotten all about the pie until I got home. It was fate!!

I cannot begin to describe how excellent this pie is. Sweet and creamy. I was afraid it was going to be runny but by the time time pie cooled it was just right!! The berries have everything to do with the way this pie turns out. If we had bought the berries that were tasteless and mealy the pie would have been AWFUL!! But with good berries – good pie! Delicious Pie!! Repeat soon Pie!! Amy….

….GREAT PICK!! Amy has South in Your Mouth and the recipe is on her lovely blog. (Page 361 in BFMHTY) As usualy, I made 1/2 of the recipe and that gave me three 5″ mini pies. This is definitely in our top FIVE from Dorie’s book.

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