Saturday, June 30, 2012

Strawberry Fields Forever

Strawberry fields

Love those trees.

No roll pie crust

Beautiful berries.

Such a lovely pie.
I recently had the pleasure of escaping the dreadful, oppressive Texas heat to visit one of my very best friends near Portland, Oregon.  If I could transplant my family there I would move in a heartbeat as it is one of the most beautiful places I've visited.  There are farms where you can pick your own strawberries.  I must say Oregon strawberries are like no other I've tasted.  More colorful, juicy and sweet than what I've had in the past.  My friend is an excellent cook and baker among her other amazing talents in decorating a beautiful home.  We had a little trouble with this recipe not setting quite right, but that did not change the taste at all.  Her addition of spreading a cream cheese layer made this a great pie and keeps the crust from being soggy. This pie used a no roll pie crust which was amazing and so easy.


Pie Crust:
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons cold milk

Sift dry ingredients into pie pan. Combine oil and cold milk in a measuring cup. Whip with a fork and pour all at once over the flour mixture. Mix together with fork until flour is completely dampened. Press evenly and firmly with fingers to line the bottom of pan, then press dough up the sides and partly cover the rim. Be sure dough is uniform thickness. Prick dough with a fork and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. 

Mix together 6 ounces softened cream cheese with 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until smooth and spread over cooled crust.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 tablespoons strawberry gelatin mix
3 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced -- save some big ones for the top

Combine sugar, gelatin and cornstarch and stir well.  Add water and cook until thick and clear over medium high heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.  Set aside and let cool.  Hull and slice strawberries and place over cream cheese layer, placing whole strawberries on top.  Spread cooled gelatin mixture over all and refrigerate for several hours.  Can be served with whipped cream, but we didn't even need that.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Trisha Yearwood's Key Lime Cake

I had family over for dinner last evening.  I had seen this cake on Trisha Yearwood's show on Food Network.  My menu was Mexican food, so I thought this would be kind of 'Margarita-ish' and would go well.  It was well received.  I made a few adjustments to her recipe but it is a good cake.


1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3 oz. package lime-flavored Jello, dry mix
 3/4 cup vegetable oil (her recipe calls for 1-1/2 cups which I think is way too much)
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
5 large eggs slightly beaten

1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup softened butter
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan or three 9 inch layer pans.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the gelatin, granulated sugar, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir to mix well. Add the oil, orange juice, lemon juice, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until well combined. Pour the batter evenly in the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Test for doneness by lightly touching the tops or inserting a toothpick. Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.

For the glaze:
While the cake is still hot, mix the lime juice and confectioners' sugar together well. Pierce the cake with a fork to allow the glaze to soak in and pour it over the cake on the cooling rack. Allow cake to cool completely as you prepare the icing.

For the icing:
Cream the butter and cream cheese and vanilla. Beat in the confectioners' sugar until mixture is smooth and easy to spread. Spread the icing on the top and sides of the cake.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

I've got lots of cookie recipes but was looking for something new.  I came upon these cookies from Shugary Sweets and they looked really good.  I prefer my cookies to be a little more crisp, but I think these are pretty nice.  This is my version.


For the Cookie:
1 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled.
1 cup granulated sugar  
1/2 cup brown sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 eggs 
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon  
1 teaspoon salt  
1 teaspoon baking soda  
1 tablespoon baking powder 
2 cups quick oats 
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped pecans
For the icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In mixing bowl, blend together butter with sugars. Mix 1-2 minutes until combined. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla.  Mix together dry ingredients and add to wet mixture.  Stir until thoroughly combined.
Drop by tablespoon or cookie scoop onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 16 minutes. Remove and cool.  To make glaze, whisk together powdered sugar with heavy cream and cinnamon until smooth. Frost each cookie and allow to harden. These harden nicely and can be stacked.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Shrimp Etouffee

The first night in D.C. we had a taste of Louisiana. My first time to have Shrimp Etouffee and it was delicious.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped heart of celery or celery leaves
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 can of original Rotel diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning or Slap Yo Mama
8-10 oz. seafood stock
1 1/2 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
6 servings of steamed rice for serving
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion tops for garnishing the serving of étouffée

Melt the butter and oil in a large skillet or dutch oven set over medium heat. Sauté onions, bell pepper, celery, and garlic for 10 minutes. Add flour and stir continuously until thickened. Add tomatoes to the pot and season with the bay leaf, add season salt. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and then whisk in the stock.

Bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.  Remove bay leaf. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season the shrimp and add them to the pot, stirring to evenly distribute. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the shrimp are firm and cooked through. Add chopped parsley to the pot and stir to combine.

Serve over rice

Yields 6 servings

Trip to Washington, D.C.

I've been in a blogging slump lately as far as baking or cooking, but I went on my first trip to Washington D.C. in April. I had hoped to see the cherry blossoms in bloom, but they bloomed early this year and there weren't too many to be found. I had a great trip though with so much to see and do.
Cherry Blossoms

Union Station

Capitol Building

Washington Monument

White House

White House

Arlington Cemetery

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

National Cathedral

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Senate Building