Pages

Pie Crust Cookie Search

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Pecan Bars

I've been a long-time fan of pecan pie but I may come to prefer the buttery, nutty flavor of these bars, especially once I detach myself from the sentiment resulting from years of gooey, oversweet pies at holiday meals.



print

Pecan Bars

Makes a 9X13 pan, about 24 bars

High altitude (4300-5300 ft) advice:  Check to see if bars are done at least 5 minutes before the recommended time. Mine were rather like hard butterscotch on the edges and they were baked for the lower amount of  time. 

For the crust:

8 T unsalted butter, melted
6 T granulated sugar
1/2 teas salt
1 3/4 AP flour

For the topping:

3/4 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
7 T unsalted butter, melted and hot
1 teas vanilla extract
1/2 teas salt
4 c (1 pd) pecan halves, toasted
1/2 teas flake sea salt (optional)

First toast the pecans. Recipe authors recommend you don't use pecan pieces.  If you can't find halves or can't go shopping use what you have (you could even use walnuts.) I had on hand New Mexico-grown pecans which come in rough quarter pieces and I used about half a cup less since I was afraid the butter mix wouldn't cover everything.

Make the crust:

Place the oven rack on the lowest position and preheat to 350F. Prepare a 9X13 pan by making a foil sling, generously lining your pan with foil and leaving extra over the narrow sides for removing the cooled bars. Push the foil into the corners as fully as you can without tearing it. Spray lightly with cooking oil spray. 

To save on clean up, melt the butter in a medium glass bowl in a microwave. Mix in the salt and granulated sugar; stir, and then mix in the flour and stir until a dough forms. (If you prefer to melt your butter outside of the microwave, mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl of any kind and pour the butter over.) You will likely need to use your hands to get the flour to mix in completely. It is ready when you squeeze a little of the dough in your hand and it remains in place and no streaks of flour remain. Take rough walnut size pieces of the dough and place over the bottom of the prepared pan. Press them together using your fingertips and palms. Smooth the dough as well and as evenly as you can. It's best not to have holes. 

Make the topping:

Wipe out the bowl you've already used with a paper towel and add the brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, vanilla, and salt. Whisk together for about 20 seconds; at first it will look like is won't come together but keep stirring. Fold in the pecans until nuts are all coated evenly.

Use a spatula to pour the nut mixture over the crust; it will be easier if you pour some near the corners. Spread it evenly over the crust and lightly push some nuts into each corner and to all edges. The recipe authors said there might be inconsequential bare patches but I had no problem with this. Place in the oven  and bake until the topping is even over the top and is rapidly bubbling over the entire surface, 23-25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool for 90 minutes. This may be hard to do but let them sit at least an hour so you can get them out of the pan. More importantly, let them cool so you don't end up with what my dentist calls "pizza palate."


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Lemon Dijon Green Beans

Most summers I grow more green beans than I can eat and then I don't eat them again until the next summer. Because this recipe doesn't take too long, it fits nicely into my rotation so I don't get bored dealing with the overabundance.






print

Lemon Dijon Green Beans


This dish is meant to be eaten at room temperature or cool. But I'm sure you could eat it hot.
 
Serves 2-3

1/2 lb green beans, ends trimmed (or use yellow wax beans or dragon tongue beans)
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 T Dijon mustard
1/4 teas salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teas agave nectar
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 teas chopped fresh tarragon (or 1 T fresh parsley or dill)

Cook beans in boiling salted water for 5 minutes or so until crisp-tender. Drain the water and shock the beans with cold water.

Mix together the lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, agave, and garlic in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle the olive oil in while continuing to whisk it all together. Stir in the tarragon and toss this mixture with the beans. Serve immediately or reheat in the microwave if you prefer to eat the beans warm.


Thursday, October 8, 2020

Peach and Celery Salad with Pistachios

I had hoped to sneak one more peach recipe in before it became time for pumpkin and winter squash recipes. Didn't make it. However, there is always next year. Just don't forget;  this unusual combination of ingredients works very well together. 




print

Peach and Celery Salad with Pistachios


Adapted from: Cooking Light
Serves 3-4


2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 teas kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teas freshly ground black pepper
3 c diagonally sliced celery
3 c sliced peaches
3 c baby arugula
1/4 c basil, cut in chiffonade (thin slices)
1/4 c chopped salted pistachios

Whisks the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in the bottom of a medium sized bowl. Add the celery and stir to make sure celery is completely coated. Gently stir in the peaches and arugula. With another gentle stir, add the basil. Top with the pistachios and serve.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Brown Sugar Peach Muffins

Here's one more yummy peach recipe while it's still fall. Although very tasty, the peach butter definitely gilds the lily but it does add extra peach flavor (and will use up peaches if you have that need--how I wish I had that problem this year).


print

Brown Sugar Peach Muffins


Source: Washington Post 
Yield: about 20

4-5 fresh peaches, preferably ripe
4 c flour, you can use some wheat flour if you like
2/3 c packed dark brown sugar
1 teas kosher salt
2 T baking powder
1 teas baking soda
1/4 teas ground allspice
2 large eggs
2 c regular or low-fat sour cream (no nonfat sour cream here)
1/2 c vegetable oil
sugar for sprinkling--Swedish pearl sugar, or demerara, something that won't melt while baking is best


Peach Butter

8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 teas kosher salt
1/2 teas ground cinnamon
1/4 teas ground cardamom
1/4 teas vanilla extract
1 teas maple syrup (optional)


Set your oven to 400F and preheat. Place paper baking cups in standard size muffin pans. If you have only one pan, you can bake the extra batter after the first batch comes out of the oven.

Remove pits from the peaches. You may peel them if you like but it isn't necessary. Cut the peaches into half inch chunks, or chop to that size, although you'll likely have less uniform bits. Save one generous cup of chopped peaches for the butter, if you are going to make it. 

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and allspice. Move mixture to the sides of the bowl to make a well.

Mix together the eggs, sour cream and oil in a large liquid measuring cup or a bowl, and pour into the well. Stir until just moistened, forming a lumpy, rather firm batter. 

Use a large ice cream scoop or a measuring cup to fill the paper baking cups, filling them to the top or mounding the batter slightly. Sprinkle with the sugar of your choice and place in the oven. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.

In the meantime make the peach butter, if desired:

Place all ingredients except maple syrup in a mini food processor, or use a stick blender in a bowl. Puree all together until mostly smooth. Taste the butter and if you want it a bit sweeter, add some of the maple syrup.

When the muffins are finished (use a toothpick to test that there is no wet batter) place them on a cooling rack using tongs. If you used only one muffin tin, divide the remaining batter among paper cups, sprinkle with sugar, and bake the rest.

Serve the muffins while warm with the butter if you made it.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Peach Poundcake

I know it's October, but it is still firmly harvest season for me, and I'm nursing a few more peach desserts out of the quarter bushel of peaches slowly going bad in my fridge. Here was a decadent one I tried recently. The simple peach glaze on this cake is out of this world. Judging from the picture on the original recipe, I need to make more of it next time. 



print

Peach Poundcake

Yield: one 9X5 cake

The recipe specifies red-hued peaches. The bolder the color of the peaches you use, the more blush will color the glaze will have. However, if you are bothered by tiny flecks of skin you can peel the peaches. Don't let current shopping difficulties keep you from trying this cake. You can even use frozen peaches.

To bake at altitudes around 5000 feet, make these changes:
add 2 1/2 T flour
remove 1 1/2 T granulated sugar

1 c unsalted butter (2 sticks) melted and cooled to room temperature, plus more for the pan
2 1/2 c all purpose flour, plus more for the pan
3 medium, ripe, red-hued peaches (about a pound)
1 T fresh lemon juice
3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, beaten
1 1/2 teas vanilla extract
1 c unsifted confectioners' sugar, plus more as needed
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
2 1/2 teas baking powder
3/4 teas kosher salt

Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare a 9X5 loaf pan by lightly buttering and flouring it.

Dice 1 peach into 1/3-inch pieces. Use a paper towel to pat them dry and set them aside. 

Place the remaining 2 peaches in a food processor or blender and purée them by running on high. Place 1 level cup of the purée into a mixing bowl followed by the butter, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Combine with a whisk.

Scrape down the sides of the processor or blender and make the icing with the remaining peach purée. Add 1 c confectioners' sugar to the purée and blend on high until well mixed. The glaze should be thick but a consistency that can be drizzled. To adjust add more sugar or water. Set aside, covered, until time to glaze the cake.

Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the peach mixture to the flour mixture and whisk or stir well until well combined. Fold in the diced peaches. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Use the spatula to even out the top of the cake. Move to the oven and bake until the cake is crusty and golden brown about 75-80 minutes. Text by inserting a toothpick in the center. It should come out clean. Remove the cake from the oven. After 10 minutes cooling in the pan invert the cake and carefully remove it from the pan and place it on a cooling rack . 

While the cake is still warm, stir the icing one more time and spread or drizzle it over the top of the cake. Allow the extra to drizzle down the sides. 

Completely cool the cake and slice and serve. You can gild the lily by serving with peaches and cream.

Tightly wrap the leftovers and store on the counter for no more than 3 days if it makes it that long.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Melanie's Green Chile Stew

Late summer and early fall bring an unmistakable and delicious aroma to New Mexico when the chile harvest is roasted in gas cylinder roasters at roadside stands, markets, and supermarkets. It's one of the best things about living in New Mexico and I've missed it this year since I'm home more. However, I was able to purchase chile curbside from a grocery store and roasted them on my grill so I didn't totally miss out on the pleasant smell of roasted chile. This soup is from my sister-in-law who is a native New Mexican with special thanks from my brother Sam who gave me his copy of the recipe. 



print

Melanie's Green Chile Stew


This is one of those home recipes with a good deal of latitude about ingredient amounts, especially with the green chile. Chile can come mild, medium, or hot and people come with varying abilities to tolerate the heat. The original recipe calls for at least a cup and a half of chopped green chile. While the heat is an important aspect of this soup, the flavor of the chile is paramount in my mind. If you are like me, a bit of a wimp when faced with high heat, you should look for mild chile. Stir in a little at a time and taste as you go. I know from experience there's nothing quite like the dismayed look on the faces of a table full of hungry folks who can't eat what you cooked for them. 

 As for potatoes, I think a waxy potato is best, but if you don't mind a russet falling apart while cooking go ahead and use a baking potato. 

2 pds ground beef
1-2 onions, depending on size
salt and pepper to taste
several cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 quarts chicken broth
4-6 potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
green or Hatch chile, see note above--stir in a little at a time, tasting as you go
1 T ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
mexican oregano
bay leaf

Brown the ground beef with the onions. When the onions are translucent and the beef is browned, add the garlic and cook for just a minute. Add the broth. Stir in the potatoes, chile, spices and herbs. Cook until the potatoes are done. Serve with flour tortillas, or corn, if you prefer. Chopped epazote as a garnish is delicious but not everyone can lay their hands on it.

Note: 

I suppose you could substitute poblano chile for the Hatch, or New Mexican chile and this would still be good but it wouldn't be quite the same. New Mexican chile is becoming more available all the time and I've heard of it being sold in Utah, Colorado, and Virginia, so I imagine it is being introduced other places as well. Hoping you can try it with the real thing sometime.  

Grilled Corn Salad

Although this was featured on the Mexican cooking show, Pati's Mexican Table, it doesn't seem exclusively Mexican. I'm certain this salad could be used for a number of other cuisines by changing the herbs or adding other vegetables. I think this would be great with basil or oregano to accompany an Italian meal  The next time I have it with Mexican, I'm going to use epazote or Mexican oregano  instead of the mint and chives.






print

Grilled Corn Salad


Adapted from Pati Jinich's recipe
Serves 6-8

4-6 ears of corn (I found 4 large ears to be sufficient) equaling 6-7 c of corn kernels
10 scallions (or substitute yellow onion slices, chop after grilling)
5 T olive oil
1 1/2 pds cherry tomatoes
1 teas kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 T red wine vinegar
1/4 c chopped or torn mint
1/4 c chopped chives, garlic chives if you have them


Remove the husks from the corn and rinse and dry. Heat a grill or a cast iron grill pan on your stovetop. When warm, cook the ears of corn for about 20 minutes until they are charred and cooked through. Remove from the grill and add the scallions and grill until charred. Watch these carefully or consider turning down the grill heat since they can over cook easily. Set aside.  When you are able to handle the corn, cut the kernels off each cob and cut the scallions in one-inch pieces. Place in a salad bowl. These can be refrigerated for a couple of days before you serve the salad if needed.

Place the 5 T olive oil into a large skillet and heat over medium high to high heat. Add the cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes have released some of their juices and, if you like, continue cooking until the tomatoes have begun to char. I didn't do this because I wanted all the released tomato juice and didn't want it to burn in the skillet.

 Stir the vinegar into the corn and scallion mix. Add the tomatoes and the juice and oil to the salad. Stir gently. Add the mint and chives and stir once more. Serve.