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Tangerine meringue pie

February 19, 2011

Tangerine Meringue Pie

Winter seemed to have loosened its icy grip on us the past couple days.  There was just enough hint of the warmth to come to make the slap in the face of waking up to a bitter wind and a “feels like” 31º day sting all the more.

But my Spring voice refuses to be stifled by my down coat and wool scarf.  I’m rebelling.  Bring me some tangerines!  {hehe}  Please.  I’ve never been much of a rebel.  I just really want a taste of summer sun, so tangerine meringue pie it is.

I gotta tell you that in my rush to snub all things Winter, I really messed up here.  Someone called while I was in the middle of cooking the filling, and I’m pretty sure I added an entire stick of melted butter.  I didn’t realize it until we tried the pie, but it would explain the caramel kind of texture, wouldn’t it?  That flub actually ruined the pie, though it sure looked mighty pretty.  It ended up being a tangerine-caramel-meringue pie.  Not so good, and definitely not what I had in mind.  Dang-git.

But, guess what?  On a happier note, I’ve received several awards!  Big thanks to Jen from Mrs. Goldilocks, Alicia from The Red Deer, and Nourhan from Miss Anthropist’s Kitchen.  That’s a lot of blog love and I want to thank them and encourage you to check out their blogs.  You’ll be glad you did!

{one year ago:  Let’s Move Campaign}
{two years ago:  ground beef stroganoff}

Recipe:  Tangerine Meringue Pie

(filling recipe from and meringue recipe from Food Network)

single shell pie crust  (recipe below)

1 1/4 c. granulated sugar

3 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 c. fresh tangerine juice (4-6 tangerines)

4 large egg yolks, whites reserved for meringue

1 tsp. finely grated tangerine rind

1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted


4 large egg whites

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

6 Tbsp. powdered sugar

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425°. Prepare pie crust and refrigerate 30 minutes. Line crust with wax or parchment paper; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until edges turn light brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove crust from oven; remove paper and pie weights. Reduce oven temperature to 350°, return crust to oven and bake until crust turns golden brown, about another 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack; let cool.

To make filling: In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually whisk in tangerine juice until smooth. Whisk in egg yolks until thoroughly combined. Stir in tangerine zest and melted butter. Over medium heat, cook mixture, whisking constantly, gradually reducing the heat as filling begins to bubble and thicken, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; pour hot filling into pie crust. Set aside.

To Make Meringue:

Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beating constantly, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until glossy stiff peaks form, being careful not to over beat.  Spread the meringue over the pie filling completely, going out to the pastry edges, so the meringue does not draw up or weep during baking.

To quickly cook the meringue, preheat the broiler with the rack in the highest position. Place the pie under the broiler and cook until the meringue is set and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning. (My preference is to brown the meringue in a preheated 325 degree oven until set and golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes.)

Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

Recipe: Julia Child’s Pie Crust a.k.a. The Best Pie Crust on the Planet

~yields enough dough for two double-crust pies:

(If you make the full recipe, it freezes beautifully, and you’ll have pie crust at your fingertips whenever you want to bake another pie.  Or, you could cut the recipe in half or quarter it.)

5 1/4 c. pastry flour or all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp. kosher salt

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 3/4 c. solid vegetable shortening (11 ounces), chilled

1 c. ice cold water

(I made my dough in my kitchen aid mixer, but you can also do this by hand or in a food processor.)

Fix mixer with paddle attachment (or use a pastry blender).  Put flour and salt in bowl and mix.  Add butter and mix on low until it is cut into dry ingredients and the mixture looks coarse and crumbly.  Add shortening in small bits and continue to mix on low.  When the mixture holds together when a small bit is pressed between your fingers, add the water and mix only until it is incorporated.  Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold it over on itself two or three times, just to finish the mixing and to gather it together.

Chocolate guinness cake

February 17, 2011

Chocolate Guinness Cake

I can tell St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner because when I popped into McDonald’s for that addicting sweet tea, I noticed my all-time Mickey D’s favorite, the shamrock shake, has returned.  Though I haven’t treated myself to that just yet, you can bet I’ll consume a few before they disappear from the menu for another year.  And while I’m not even the tiniest bit Irish, it seems like a good time to try a Guinness recipe, doesn’t it?

I picked up my first Guinness beer while shopping with my sister and my mom last weekend.  See, if you live in PA, you can’t just grab a 6-pack while you’re grocery shopping.  You have to stop at a beer distributor for a whole case, and I definitely didn’t need a case of Guinness to try a few recipes.  My sisters are so close to NY state that they do much of their grocery shopping there, and lo and behold, to my surprise, you can buy a 6-pack while you’re filling your cart at the local superstore.  I was a little giddy, because I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for ages, so I grabbed some Guinness right quick and off we went.

Most of this cake disappeared before the day was even over.  When you’ve got kids and those kids have friends, chocolate cake doesn’t stick around very long.  My only issue with it was that the middle sank and the edges seemed overbaked.  Definitely didn’t look like Nigella’s did, but it tasted good anyway.  Of course, when you’ve got that big pile of yummy cream cheese frosting on top, just about anything would taste good, don’t ya think?

{two years ago:  cauliflower cashew salad}

Recipe:  Chocolate Guinness Cake

(from Feast by Nigella Lawson, found at the kitchn)

For the cake:
1 cup Guinness stout
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar  (Nigella says you can also use regular granulated sugar instead.)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the topping:
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream

For the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.

For the topping: Using a food processor or by hand, mix confectioners’ sugar to break up lumps. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream, and mix until smooth and spreadable.

Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.

February 16, 2011

I have to thank you guys for the outpouring of love and concern you’ve been sending my family’s way.  Bea and her family are settling into a temporary house and can start the process of moving forward with their lives now.  They’re doing better and I know they’re all gonna be okay.  Bea already feels like the fire has blessed their lives in countless ways, because of the overwhelming love and support they’ve received from so many people.  You’re all included in that list of people, and I just want to tell you how awesome you are and how much I appreciate you and this blogging community we’re a part of.  Thank you!



Nutella stuffed french toast

February 10, 2011

Nutella Stuffed French Toast

I know I totally missed that boat when it came to World Nutella Day, but I wanted to share this french toast with you anyway.  After all, who needs a special date on the calendar to eat Nutella?

At first glance, this looks like your run-of-the-mill french toast, but when you dig in, you find a perfectly delicious layer of Nutella goodness tucked inside.  Mmm.  This is some seriously good french toast that tastes like a rich bread pudding.  The best part is that you can eat it for breakfast!

{one year ago:  valentine lollipops}
{two years ago:  breakfast bake}

Recipe:  Nutella Stuffed French Toast

(adapted from Ina Garten)

6 large eggs

1 1/2 c. half and half

1 tsp. grated orange zest

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 Tbsp. honey

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 large loaf of stale bread  (such as challah, brioche, or French)

Nutella spread

unsalted butter

vegetable oil

confectioners sugar, syrup, or fruit for topping

Preheat oven to 250 degrees, to keep french toast warm until you’re done cooking.  Slice the bread into thick slices.  Carefully cut a slit into the flat side of each slice to create a pocket.  Spread a generous dollop of Nutella into each of these pockets.

In a large glass baking pan, whisk together eggs, half and half, orange zest, vanilla, honey, and salt.  Soak the bread slices in this mixture for 5 minutes, turning once.

Heat 1 Tbsp. of unsalted butter and 1 Tbsp. of oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the soaked bread and cook a couple minutes in each side, until nicely browned.  Place finished french toast on a baking sheet in the warmed oven while you continue cooking.  Add more butter and oil to the pan, as needed.  Serve hot with a dusting of confectioners sugar or fruit or syrup.

Roasted no-knead garlic bread

February 7, 2011
tags: ,

Roasted No-Knead Garlic Bread

When you think about garlic bread, I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is a nice loaf of bread slathered with buttery garlic topping, right?  Well, how about putting bits and pieces of roasted garlic right inside the bread?  How’s that for some garlic bread, eh?  Let me tell you, this is tasty.  So good, in fact, that Jim and I were both hoping our picky eaters wouldn’t even like it.  We would have liked to just cut this bad boy in half and call it a day.

If you’ve never roasted garlic, it’s so easy and so delicious, that I hope you try it asap.  When I made this the first time, I actually bought several heads of garlic, roasted them all up, then froze half when I was finished.  I think the garlic flavor was diminished slightly in the second loaf (when I used the frozen garlic), but I’m going to try it again before I make a final call on that.  I think being able to freeze roasted garlic would be great for adding to breads, soups, mashed potatoes… I definitely want to try it again to see for sure if the garlic loses too much of its goodness during its deep freeze.

{one year ago:  cinnamon roll pancakes with brown sugared apples and glaze}
{two years ago:  whoopie pies with attitude}

Recipe:  Roasted No-Knead Garlic Bread

(recipe adapted from Macheesmo and from Lick the Bowl Good)

4 Cups bread flour (or 2 Cups bread flour and 2 Cups whole wheat flour)
1/2 Teaspoon instant yeast (or active dry yeast)
1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
2 1/4 Cups room-temperature water
2 whole heads of garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil (for roasting garlic)
Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting loaf

Roast the garlic by slicing the tops off of each head of garlic.  Place in the center of a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil.  Fold foil up into a pocket and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cool slightly, then squeeze out garlic bulbs and mash with a fork.

For bread dough, combine flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl.  Add the roasted garlic and mix it in with your finger tips to make sure it’s evenly distributed.  Add water and stir until blended; dough will be sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 14 -18 hours, at warm room temperature.

When its surface is dotted with bubbles, the dough is ready. Lightly flour a work surface and “pour” the dough onto it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Coat a cotton kitchen towel with semolina flour or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 5- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up.   Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is browned. Cool on a rack.

Buttermilk oven “fried” chicken

February 3, 2011

Buttermilk Oven “Fried” Chicken Wings

My boy is a carnivore.  A major meat-eater.  For his birthday last year, he wanted to celebrate at a restaurant that had “a lot of meat.”  Really.  And since I love him, it’s hard to ignore the constant nagging… I mean requesting… for me to make him fried chicken.  Fried chicken has just never been on my radar.  Growing up, the good Colonel supplied our fried chicken occasionally, but I don’t ever remember eating homemade fried chicken.

All that being said, and even though I totally love the boy, I didn’t want to make actual fried chicken cause it would really mess up the top of my stove.  I know, I’m a great mom, right?  hehe  Instead, I did the next best thing.  I made him a bunch of oven “fried” chicken wings instead.  And guess what?  He didn’t like them!  Ha!  Luckily, Jim and Sam’s best friend did, and they ended up eating all of them.  My kids are so weird.

Recipe:  Buttermilk Oven “Fried” Chicken

(slightly adapted from Dinner: A Love Story)

4-6 drumsticks  (I had wings and used them instead, though I probably wouldn’t choose those again.  It’s a lot of breading for such a small bit of meat, and something more substantial would be better.)

4 garlic cloves, halved

buttermilk to cover chicken (one carton is more than enough)

1 1/2 c. corn flake crumbs  (I used panko bread crumbs.)

1/8 tsp cayenne

1 tsp oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken pieces in a large ziploc bag, add buttermilk to cover, and garlic.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

When ready to cook chicken, preheat oven to 400°F.  Line large shallow baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking oil.  In large bowl, combine corn flake crumbs, herbs, salt, and pepper.

Drain chicken and discard buttermilk.  Dredge chicken in bread crumbs until well coated, then place, skin side up, on baking sheet.  Spray pieces lightly with cooking oil.  Bake until golden and cooked through, 35 to 45 minutes.

My shopping bags

February 2, 2011

I haven’t done a whole lot around here lately to share any of my “going green” efforts, but one of the things I’m adamant about is using reusable shopping bags.  I have a bunch and I love them.  They’re good for so much more than grocery shopping.  They lug my books to the library, my projects to school, and are handy for a lot of tasks.

Imagine my dismay when I read an article today saying that many reusable shopping bags contain high levels of lead!  Grrr.  Seriously, we’re trying to do the right thing by buying these bags, so couldn’t the manufacturer put a little effort into making sure they’re safe??

This is definitely a setback in the strides we’ve made to be more environmentally responsible, but it’s not going to change my mind.  I still insist that reusable is far superior to the numbers of plastic bags that are sent home with shoppers every day.  If you have reusable shopping bags, please click here to see if yours is on the list for containing high levels of lead.  And if your bags have those sturdy removable bottoms in them, take them out and get rid of them.  Be green and safe.


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