Archive for June, 2011

June 18th, 2011

Egg & Vinegar Pie Crust

 

Okay – I know what many of you are thinking -egg and vinegar in a pie crust???  But let me tell you – it makes a simply delicious crust! This is the pie crust I grew up on, and my mom was nothing less than famous for her pies.

I’ve tried a lot of other recipes and I always come back to this one:  1) it’s practically fool-proof,  2) I think the egg and vinegar give the crust a wonderful flavor, and 3) it turns out flakey and tender every time.

So, if you think you can’t make pie crust give this one a try – in under 15 minutes you can make a world of difference in your pie.   No fussing with food processors, chilling your shortening, or checking the water temperature!  Just a fork and a rolling pin are all the equipment you need.

I really don’t have anything against Pillsbury – their pre-made crust have a time a place, but if you’re going to make a homemade pie it just deserves a homemade crust!

Egg & Vinegar Pie Crust 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 egg
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 cup warm water

Instructions:

Mix salt with flour in mixing bowl, cut in shortening until completely incorporated and mixture is crumbly. I just use a fork and work it together.

 In a separate bowl mix egg with vinegar and water, add to flour mix. With your fork work the dough until the liquid is just mixed in and all the flour is moistened – don’t over do it. The dough will clump together and be soft. Take your hands and separate it into two balls.

 

 

 Okay – now that we’ve already broken all the pie crust rules by using warm water and a fork, let’s break one more and roll it out immediately rather than chill it first. Make sure you use plenty of flour on your surface. Work the dough out into a small circle then flip it over so you get flour on the underside. Finish rolling dough out into approx. a 12″ circle. You can fold the dough in half and lift it into your pie plate, or flour your rolling pin and roll it onto it, then lift into plate.

 Here’s the really great part – if it cracks or breaks – just mush it back together and it will be just fine! You really can’t go wrong here. You can even take some of the excess dough and work it into any trouble spots if you have them! :)

See that was easy. Now you can run a sharp knife around the edge of the pie plate and cut off the excess, or I like to cut the crust off about a half inch out and fold the excess under to give a nice thick border around the top. Either way works. To finish I just use my thumb and index fingers to make a ruffle around the edge. You can check out a tutorial from Taste of Home here to see how to finish the edges.

Finally take a fork and poke lots of holes in the crust to prevent it from bubbling – be sure to get the sides also. (You can use pie weights, but I usually just make the holes with the fork).

 

 Bake at 425 for 15-17 minutes or until golden.

 Now – fill it with something yummy!

(Don’t worry – strawberry pie will post soon!)

 

 

For double crust pies bake according to recipe directions.

Happy Pies - Kyra

Note: if you want to make the pie dough in advance (for thanksgiving or another big event), cover each round with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 2 days or freeze for 2 weeks. Be sure to let the dough thaw and let it set out to room temperature before rolling – it just always works better for me.

 

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June 11th, 2011

Taco Salad

My kids and I tend to spend most of our summer days at the local pool with friends.  I love summer and enjoying the sunshine outside.  Sometimes we stay a little longer than we should and we get home and it is already time for dinner.  All the staples of this salad are things that are on hand at my house, so I can have dinner ready in a short amount of time for my starving children (swimming all day sure makes for hungry kids).

Taco Salad

Chips (we like Doritos but tortilla chips are yummy too)
1 pound hamburger
taco seasoning
1 can Ranch Style Beans
lettuce
Catalina Salad Dressing

optional ingredients:
cheddar cheese, shredded
tomatoes, diced
olives, sliced
avocado, diced
sour cream

Brown hamburger in large skillet and season with your favorite taco seasoning.  Meanwhile wash and dry the lettuce.

Once you hamburger is cooked and seasoned; add the ranch style beans (do NOT drain).  Stir to combine, and just warm the beans.

To make the salad we crush chips on our plates and then add lettuce, meat/beans, and other optional toppings.  Top with Catalina salad dressing.  YUM!

 

 

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June 3rd, 2011

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

 I think the picture here says it all . . . buttery, creamy chocolate frosting just like your mom use to make!  This frosting is quick and easy and perfect for cakes, cupcakes, brownies, cookies, and peanut butter bars.

 

 Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
3 1/2 – 4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Directions:

Sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

 

Cream butter on medium speed.  Turn mixer to lowest speed (so powdered sugar doesn’t fly all over you) and add sugar and cocoa – mix until blended.  Return to medium speed and add vanilla, and milk.  Beat for 2 minutes.

 

Now take your finger and scoop up a taste to make sure it’s as good as it looks!

This frosting is completely versatile.  If you want a thicker frosting, use more powdered sugar.  If you want it light and airy, beat a little longer. Too thick – add more milk  . . . you just can’t go wrong!

Makes approx. 3 cups of frosting.

Note:  If you want a more rich, dark chocolate flavor add another 1/4 cup of cocoa powder.


 

June 3rd, 2011

Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate Frosting

When I was a freshman in college (which was more than a couple of years ago :) ) I had a roommate who would make these peanut butter cookies for us all the time – our apartment was famous for them! – it’s been a family favorite of mine ever since.

What’s not to love - that incredible taste of a peanut butter cup in a cookie – plus; easy to make, makes enough for a crowd, and they are always  always a big hit!

Perfect for all those family reunions or for all the hungry kids who will soon be hanging out at your house all summer . . .

Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate Frosting

3/4 Cup Butter
3/4 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Peanut Butter (extra for topping cookies)
1 Egg
3/4 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Cup flour
1 1/2 Cup Quick Rolled Oats
Chocolate Frosting (recipe here) – or true confessions, I must admit I generally use a store-bought tub for these to keep it fast and easy!

Directions:

Mix butter and sugar with electric mixer until smooth. Add in egg, peanut butter, and vanilla until mixed well. Stir in flour, oats, soda and salt. Press into a jelly roll baking pan.

 

Bake at 325 for about 10 minutes – do not overbake.   Cool, but not completely – when still a little warm spread a thin layer of peanut butter over the cookie – then cool completely. Frost with chocolate frosting!

 

One bite and you’ll be hooked!

 

 

Note:  I like to use chunky peanut butter in the cookies (so you get the pieces of peanuts), then creamy on top (so they frosting doesn’t look lumpy) – but either will work in both!

 

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