Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Chess Pie

When I found myself with extra buttermilk last month, I googled around for a few ideas. Chess Pie was one, and since I had never heard of it or made it before, I decided to try it. I'm glad I did! I love custardy desserts, and this one had just the right amount of sweet. The sugar on top carmelizes to make a nice crunch which is an added bonus!

Although I still haven't fulfilled a resolution (many years old now) to learn how to make pie crust, in this case, it worked to my advantage! For this pie, you want a cold crust so that the filling and crust bake together. The cold crust helps the filling bake more slowly. This is a perfect recipe for a frozen ready made crust! 

The only other "secret" to making this easy pie is to let it cool completely. This allows the custard to fully set up. I even refrigerated it for a few hours after it was cool. If it's not too hot to have the oven on where you live, I recommend this is a nice summer dessert. It would be especially nice with some berries on the side. 

And if it is too hot, just save this recipe for later!  :)

Chess Pie

1 - 9 inch pie crust
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. cornmeal
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Place the eggs, sugar, flour, and cornmeal in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk, butter, vanilla, and salt and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute.

Place the prepared pie crust on a baking sheet. Pull out the oven rack halfway and place the baking sheet on it. Pour the filling into the crust. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the top Slide the oven rack back into place.

Bake at 350 until the center of the pie is barely set in the center, reaches 200°F, and a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes total.

Let cool for 3-4 hours on a wire rack, then wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Serves 8.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Apple, Pecan and Craisin Coleslaw

It's almost summer! This coming weekend marks the delineation between spring and summer, even though the equinox is not until June 21... and along with summer comes picnics, potlucks, food on boats, eating outdoors, grilling, and lots of memory making involving food.

This salad is sure to create some of those good memories. Although our family's favorite summer salad of all time is Oriental Coleslaw, this new version of cabbage salad got high reviews. It's a nice change of pace from the vinaigrette based salad. 

An easy homemade dressing added to bagged coleslaw (or shred your own like I did here) is fancied up with apples, pecans and craisins. I even toasted the pecans! Get ready for the rave reviews when you bring this salad to the next summer get together. 

Apple, Pecan and Craisin Coleslaw

1 large apple, chopped (Honeycrisp or Gala work well)
1 cup craisins
1 cup chopped pecans
2 - 11 oz. bags prepared coleslaw (or shredded cabbage and carrot equivalent)
4 green onions, sliced
3/4 cup mayo
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, toss together the coleslaw, craisins, pecans, green onion and apple. 

In a large measuring cup, whisk together the mayo, sour cream, vinegar, honey and salt. Pour just over half the dressing over the combined veggies and toss to coat. Add more dressing as needed. 

Refrigerate if not serving immediately. You may need to add more dressing before serving if the coleslaw has been sitting awhile.  Serves 10-12.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Chocolate Banana Muffins

Banana muffins are a mainstay at our house, sometimes filled with chocolate chips, mixed berries, strawberries or just "plain." But this new to us variety will become a regular part of the rotation.

Not only do these muffins have chocolate, they have coffee, too! And a nice combination of butter, buttermilk and yogurt, so they are super moist and extra delicious. I gave some of these to my brother's family and I heard that my niece hoarded hers. (So of course I made her more!)

These muffins go equally well with coffee or a tall glass of milk. They're great for breakfast on the go, or for a quiet morning at home. Or for an afternoon snack! Just try them - I know you'll love them.

Chocolate Banana Muffins
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 bananas, very ripe and mashed
1 - 6 oz. container banana or vanilla yogurt
2 eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup coffee
1 Tbsp. vanilla 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, cinnamon and salt.

Place the butter in another bowl, and microwave at 50%  power til melted. Let cool slightly, then add the sugar and mix well. Add in the yogurt, eggs, bananas, buttermilk, vanilla and coffee and stir until combined. 

Gradually add in the flour mixture, whisking well until all the flour is incorporated.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake at 350 for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Makes 18 muffins.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Balsamic Red Wine Beef Ribs {Instant Pot}

I love using the Instant Pot for cuts of beef that take a long time to braise. It's still not a freaky fast dinner, even in the IP, but a lot faster than the oven. And beef short ribs turn out so tender! I love the combination of red wine and balsamic vinegar, and it turns out to be a winner when used with these ribs.

First, the ribs get a good sear in your IP, then you saute some onions and garlic in the delicious leftover beef left behinds in the pot. (Beef left behinds is a technical cooking term.) Add in some red wine (pour yourself a glass first!) and deglaze that pot (which means getting all the beef left behinds stirred up) then cook the beef in the winey goodness. At the end add the balsamic to create a delicious sauce. 

If only I had TWO IPs so I could also make the mashed potatoes!  That would be a little much, even for this appliance loving cook. So I made them on the stove. Saute or roast some green veggies, and you'll have a super delicious dinner on your hands. And in your mouth. 

Balsamic Red Wine Beef Ribs 

2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 cup red wine
1 tsp. rosemary leaves, crushed
1 tsp. parsley
1 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Preheat the Instant Pot on Saute. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Place them in one layer in the pot and let them sear. Leave on this side for about 5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove to a plate, and repeat if you have remaining ribs. 

Add onion and garlic to the pot and saute for 5 minutes. Add in the red wine and deglaze the pot, (stirring up all those brown bits that have caramelized at the bottom).

Put the short ribs back in and add the rosemary and  parsley.

Seal the Instant pot insuring that the venting switch is set to "sealing."  Press the Soup/Stew option and set the time to 35 minutes. 

When cooking is completed, let the pot release naturally for 15 minutes. Then, carefully, release all the steam and remove the lid of the pot.

Remove the meat, then skim the sauce off with a spoon to remove the fat.  Add in the  balsamic vinegar, and turn the pot to saute.  Allow to boil until it has reached a glossy and glaze consistency. Serve ribs over mashed potatoes, and covered with glaze

Monday, April 26, 2021

Sugared Buttermilk Donuts

Homemade donuts are a real treat, and these light and fluffy buttermilk donuts will melt in your mouth! And they're baked, which means they're not nearly as indulgent as you think, so you can eat one (or two!) in good conscience. 

These are some of the quickest donuts I've ever whipped up, and they were devoured just as quickly. (That sugary coating is sure helpful in the devouring department.) 

 Liven up your next breakfast or brunch with these delicious beauties!

Find lots of inspiration at Inspire Me, Inspire Me 2, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul.

Sugared Buttermilk Donuts

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar, for topping

Stir together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, sugar, salt, baking powder and vanilla. Add the flour and continue stirring until smooth. 

Fill greased donut wells about 3/4 full; bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. 

Place remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large zip top plastic bag; add donuts one at a time and shake until each one is coated in sugar.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container on the counter for up to 2 days.  Makes 12 donuts.

Recipe Source: Brooklyn Farm Girl

Monday, April 19, 2021

Teriyaki Shrimp and Asparagus

I love making stir fries! I love the variety, the fresh vegetables, the speed in which you can get dinner on the table, the satisfying combination of meat and veggies, the different rice(s) and noodles you can eat them with, the all around deliciousness. Some of my other favorites are Cashew Chicken, Chicken with Zucchini and Mushrooms, Beef with Asparagus, Beef with Broccoli, Kung Pao Steak and Vegetables, and Pork and Green Beans (making this tonight!). This doesn't even mention all the noodley "stir fries" - just poke around here a little and you'll find lots of good options.

Once you learn how to make a few different sauces, you can basically use stir fries to make a delicious dinner out of whatever veggies and meat you have on hand. This is a recipe for a fantastic homemade teriyaki sauce, which goes beautifully with this shrimp and asparagus, but would work equally well with beef, chicken or pork.

It comes together so quickly - get the sauce cooking in a small saucepan, then saute the shrimp, then the asparagus. Add the sauce and whoop, there it is. I hope you started the rice cooking, cause you're ready to eat!

Since first trying this recipe several weeks ago, I've made it three times. It is just that good. And that easy. And that quick. Now that spring sports and other activities are in full swing, it's nice to have a few super fast recipes that the whole family will devour. 

Find more great ideas at Inspire Me, Inspire Me 2, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul.

Teriyaki Shrimp and Asparagus

4 Tbsp. soy sauce
7 Tbsp. water, divided
2 1/2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. peeled and minced ginger
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
black and white sesame seeds, optional

In a small saucepan, whisk together the soy sauce, 6 Tbsp. of water, honey, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and rice vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then whisk together the cornstarch and remaining water. Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce, and boil for another minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and set aside,

In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 Tbsp. of the sesame oil over medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook 1 minute, then flip them over and cook another minute, or until opaque. (This will happen quickly! By the time you have them all flipped, it will be time to remove the first ones...)

Remove the cooked shrimp to a plate or bowl and heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. sesame oil over medium high heat. Add the asparagus, and stir fry 2-3 minutes or until it's bright green. Return the shrimp to the skillet and add the sauce. Reduce heat to low and stir until all the shrimp and asparagus is coated.

Serve over rice or noodles and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Serves 4. 

Recipe SourceCooking Classy

Monday, April 12, 2021

Salted Caramel Blondies

Oh, blondies, how I love thee. Easier to make than cookies, more versatile than brownies (consider the mix-ins!), blondies are probably near the top of my favorite desserts (again, so many varieties!). I have made many different kinds in the past, including with cookie butter, white chocolate and peanut butter chips, coconut and chocolate chips, bananas, caramel, chocolate and pumpkinpeanut butter, caramel and chocolate chip, cranberry and white chocolate chips

Even with all of those to choose from, these beauties are sure to make a repeat appearance at our house. A standard blondie base (hello brown sugar!) is studded with salted caramel chips, which ups the deliciousness factor exponentially. When served with ice cream and additional caramel sauce, this is a legendary dessert.

I made these for Valentine's Day so I made them in my heart shaped pan. Can you stand the cuteness? But they will be equally good in a 9" pan and cut into squares. Just make them.

There are lots of other great ideas at Inspire Me, Inspire Me 2, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul.

Salted Caramel Blondies

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup Salted Caramel baking chips
Caramel ice cream topping, optional

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Do not boil. Allow mixture to cool slightly.

Stir in vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, followed by the baking powder and salt. Stir in one cup of flour at a time until a soft dough has formed. Stir in the salted caramel chips. Spread the blondie batter into a greased 9" baking pan.

Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes or until center is set and the edges are lightly golden; do not overbake. Blondies will continue to cook slightly after being removed from the oven. Cool completely on a wire rack, then cut into squares and serve with ice cream and caramel sauce. Makes 16 bars.

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