Friday, October 17, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Bars

I was never a crust fan.  Never liked pie because of the crust.  I usually scrape my pumpkin pie off my crust as I eat.  I prefer it that way. 

My husband and I just love pumpkin pie. He wanted to bake something the other day.  Wait!  What did you say?  Yes, the man wanted to bake something.  Shiver me timbers I was all happy and excited, cheering him on.  He was going to put the mix in a casserole dish (I have definitely done that before).  But for some reason, it is not the same.  It comes out kind of funky textured.  I suggested the 9 x 13 with a cookie crust. I crushed them in a food processor and added a stick of butter, swirled it in and prebaked it for 10 minutes.  He did the rest.

I have to say we loved it, save for one thing.  He cut the sugar WAY back in the recipe.  I think he put like a 1/3 of a cup.  It was okay but it really could have done with a little more sugar to bring out the flavor.  I compensated with the whipped cream.
 
Pumpkin Pie Bars
Pie part of the recipe from Libby's - see there orginal pie recipe here.  I use their recipe every year for Thanksgiving!

Speculoos cookies (12 ounces) crushed
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, melted

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk


Combine sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. In a separate, large bowl beat eggs. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk until combined.

Pour into prebaked crust in 9 x 13.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.  Top with whipped cream before serving.And if you like, a little sprinkling of cinnamon sugar- especially if your husband put in WAY less sugar.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Green Tomatoes For Breakfast

I gave my husband an idea for his breakfast last Saturday morning.  There was a little sausage leftover from the previous nights dinner. some pickled green tomatoes left over from fried green tomatoes and a potato!

He was very proud of this breakfast that he made and the fact that one of his dishes made it to my blog.  This one rocked babe!

If you want an idea for pickled green tomatoes, go here

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sweet and Sour Sauce - Fast Food Style but Homemade


This. is. the. BEST. recipe for sweet and sour sauce.  Seriously super satisfying sauce.  No kidding.  I loved it.  Dippin' my baked egg rolls into it was freaking heavenly!

I have been trying to recreate the big chain hamburger joint, sweet and sour sauce recipe for years! Thank you Todd Wilbur!

This is it! Nuff said!

Sweet and Sour Sauce
Adapted from this recipe.

1/4 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup canned peaches
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
5 teaspoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons water

Place everything but the water in a blender and give it a good blending!  Pour into a saucepan, add the water and bring to a boil.  Once thickened remove from heat.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Knife Skills

I am taking a class with the Kitchn.  I have always liked that site.  Good information, very thorough and lots of great ideas.  While I would say that I am pretty good with a knife I took the class anyway.  I learned something.  My knives are not as sharp as they should be.  I kind of knew that.  But WOW I didn't realize how bad they were.

Go check out the Kitchn and the class if you like.  All kinds of basics- very helpful, even if you think you have mastered it all.

A few of my favorite knives.
I use the longest one there for going through watermelon and squash and pumpkins.  Love it!  It is the best knife for the job.  I use my wide one for when I have lots of chopping to do.  I like to use it as a spatula after chopping- into the pan or bowl. And the smaller one is my nearly everyday chopping and rocking kind of knife.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Bacon and Pea Salad

Why is it so hard to get myself to exercise?  Once I am doing it I am fine. But why is it like pulling teeth to get to it sometimes? Yesterday I went for a bike ride along the local trails with a friend.  So beautiful.  All the fall leaves lining the paths.  Golden yellow and oranges and browns.I wish I had my bike for that ride. 

The following pics are from a hike the family and I went on last weekend.  We had a beautiful day.  Hiked and went on a row boat in the pond! 





This is one of those sides that is great anytime of year.  Easy to pull together and it tastes great. Great for a picnic or a potluck.  If you want a little crunch add water chestnuts or celery.  I like it without.

Bacon and Pea Salad

2 cups peas
4 slices of bacon, fried and broken into pieces
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 small purple onion, minced
1/2 cup cheddar, shredded if desired.

Mix ingredients together.  Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Canned Grape Pie Filling

I am really not a pie fan but there are a few I love. Pumpkin, coconut cream, banana cream, chocolate silk ( I do see a common thread).  Maybe I should say not a fan of fruit pie (besides cherry and apple...). Hmmm, maybe I am more of a pie fan than I think.

Maybe it is a crust thing because most of the time I shave the filling off of it and just eat the pie insides.  Heck, I even make crustless pumpkin pie.
 
Though, I find, as the years go by that I like fruit pie more and more.  This grape pie is one of my favorite kind of pies. The recipe for the pie can be found here.

At the market last week I found a peck of Concord grapes.  Yes, I bought a peck!  I was busy.  Seriously busy.  You have to slip them all.  What a freaking job! So worth it.  Most anything you really have to work for ends up good.

Grape Pie Filling No Additions

You want about 7 pounds for 2 quarts of filling. That is about a half of a peck, depending on how full your peck basket is.

Slip skins from grapes, set skins aside. Bring pulp to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until the grape pulp starts to fall apart. Press through a sieve to remove seeds. Add skins to pulp, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add to jars, filling to within a 1/4 inch of the rim. Put lid and ring on. Place jars in a canner and process for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and remove lid.  Let sit for five minutes then remove jars from canner.

OR

Basic Concord Grape Filling

This recipe is from Jerome's U Pick.  You can visit their site here.

6 cups Concord grapes
2 c. sugar
6 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Remove grapes from stem and wash. Measure six cups grapes. Slip skins from grapes, set skins aside. Bring pulp to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Press through a sieve to remove seeds. Add skins to pulp, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Combine cornstarch and sugar, mixing until well blended. Add this and the lemon juice to pulp and skin mixture, bring to a boil again and cook 5 minutes or until thick. Cool. May be stores in tightly covered container in refrigerator for several days or frozen. To can: Process 20 minutes in boiling water bath. Note: Grapes may be put in the blender for a few seconds after adding skins. Makes about 4 ½ cups.

Use for pie, over ice cream or filling in other grape recipes. 


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fried Green Tomatoes

Yes, I have a boat load of tomatoes around here.  Yes, I really had no business buying more.  Yes, I see canning in my near future.  I just cant help it because the tomatoes are so mazing in the summer and it is almost over.  Sadly.  But then I had to buy those plump green tomatoes at my favorite farm stand at the market- Maier's Farm. After all I need to make fried green tomatoes at least once in a summer, well, fall, really.

Oh yeah!  Oh yeah!  This is like the gazillionth time I have made these and I think I conquered it.  Might I say that I hate the way the house smells after frying.  Hate it!  But these are worth it!  Totally! Is that enough exclamation marks?


Fried Green Tomatoes


Kosher salt
green tomatoes (of course- I had four that just fit into my hands)
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup corn meal (fine grain)
peanut oil for frying (use any one you want but it should have a higher smoke point)

Salt the tomatoes pretty generously.  You can rinse them (and probably should). Let them sit for about 20 minutes.  This is really a key step here.  They will not spend enough time in the fryer to really cook so they will be crunch rather than a nice tender inside with a little bit of crunch.

Flour them first, dip in egg wash and then the corn meal/bread crumb mix. I had my own bread crumb mix.  Not that I am amazing or anything but your own bread crumbs are far superior then the store bought ones.  But the store bought one will work too.

While you are doing these first few steps get your pan ready.  I used a heavy iron skillet.  You want about an inch, maybe a little less, of oil.  You want it to be good and hot when you put those green tomatoes in.  When it is the right temp they will be less greasy.  Aim for around 350F.   You should hear sizzle when you put something in.  The sizzle is a good gauge when you do not have a thermometer on hand (ahem, or are too lazy to get one out of the drawer). 

Place those bread tomatoes into the hot oil.  Turn when golden. Place on a paper towel lined dish.  Season with salt when they come out of the fryer. Maybe even some garlic powder.

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