Where the Northerns go…

July 24th, 2009

…this past weekend, Juan and I spent a relaxing time in Kitty Hawk, NC with some of his friends. As the native North Carolinian among the group, everyone wondered if I had ever been there. Well, the Outer Banks has always been in my mind where the Northerns go… we always went to the Southern Beaches near Wilmington since they are closer to home…

In fourth grade Social Studies, we studied North Carolina.  As part of the class, we had to take a “road” trip to explore NC.  We started way up in the Northern tip of the Outer Banks in Kitty Hawk.  I remember thinking that one day I needed to go there and see where the first flight took place.  I’m quite glad that I’ve finally been there now… check another goal off the list… plus it was a wonderful weekend filled with sleeping in, playing on the beach, eating good food, and hanging out with cool people…

Maybe it is my Southern upbringing, but I have been craving peach pie for months now and impatiently waiting for them to be in season … the other day, when I saw this recipe and found delicious peaches at Treasure Island… I decided it was time to make peach galette… like a pie but smaller so I don’t each as much… yea… that’s what I keep telling myself…

Months ago I had bookmarked this recipe from Spicy Ice Cream, which is part of Lisa and Mark’s tour of the Tartine cookbook.  I tried making the Tartine’s Brownies a few weeks ago and did not follow directions.  Mine tasted ok but no where near as amazing as Mark’s.  In trying another Tartine recipe, I followed the recipe as closely as possible but I halved the recipe.  In my haste to get the dough in the fridge to chill, I actually only used 1/4 of the butter but half of everything else.  Regardless, it turned out really well.  The recipe is a little daunting at first but it is not as hard to make as it may seem.  I do not have a bench scrapper but I do have a plastic green apple cutting board that worked great.  Make sure to chill it as written because it helps the dough retain its shape when you bake it.  This recipe did take patience but I was very happy with the peach galettes that I pulled out of the oven at 10:30pm…

I made two small galettes filled with peaches.  I used 2 large peaches and two small ones.  Having recently become a vanilla bean paste fan,  I tested it out on this recipe.  I mixed 1/2 teaspoon with 1/2 the peaches and used them in one of the galettes.  The other I made with just peaches.  I love the addition of the vanilla bean paste but the flavor was more intense the next morning… sigh… I wish there was still leftovers…

I’m back!

May 31st, 2009

Hi everyone! Did you miss me? I have been busy recovering from exams, starting my summer job and attending my friend’s wedding. I decided that I needed to take a short break from blogging and not stress about posting or commenting on everyone’s blogs. But now I’m back and about to unveil my summer project…

Do you remember the picture from my last post?  The huge stack of cookbooks?  It is ok, go back and refresh your memory.

I am quite embarrassed to admit that these cookbooks are the ones in my collection that I have sadly never made something from.  I have a tendency to drool over them but then decide for one reason or another to put off making something.  Well, not anymore.  This summer, I am going to tackle one recipe from each cookbook.

As Mark suggested, I did start at the bottom with The Pastry Queen.  It found its way onto my bookshelf via Deborah‘s cookbook give-a-way sometime last year.  Filled with many delicious baked-goods I was struggling to figure out what to make.  Last week I had a few friends over for a movie night.  Two of these friends are also from the South so I decided upon Southern Comfort Apple Pie.  I am not an apple pie person but this was amazing.  The Southern Comfort deepened the flavor of the apples and cinnamon making it really rich.  I would recommend serving it over ice cream.

Chef Mark’s Southern Comfort Apple Pie
(adapted from The Pastry Queen)


1/2 cup peacans, roasted and chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter

Apple Filling
5-6 tart apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
3/4 Southern Comfort
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 pie crust

1. For the Topping: Mix together dry ingrediants. Cut in the butter. Mix in the nuts.
2. Heat oven to 375.
3. For the filling: Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the apples and saute for 5-8 minutes.
4. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon over the apples, stirring to combine.
5. Simmer for another minute and remove the apples from the pan, leaving as much of the butter-sugar mixture as possible. Spread the apples out flat on a plate because they will get soggy if heaped.
6. Pour the Southern Comfort into the butter-sugar mizture and simmer over medium heat for at least 5 minutes or until the alcohol has burned off.
7. Pour in the cream and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the mixture becomes pourable caramel.
8. Mix in the apples and pour into the prepared pie crust. Spread the topping over the filling.
9. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the filling starts to bubble. I put a pan underneath to prevent the sugar boiling over and burning in the oven. Allow to cool and serve at room temperature.

Happy Pi Day!

March 14th, 2009

Happy ∏ Day!  In elementary school, I wanted to be a math teacher.  Math was fun and  I’ve always loved teaching.  Growing up, I would often make my little brother play school with me.  I set up a chalkboard in our playroom.  Found some workbooks so he had homework.  And I would teach him.  He learned his letters and then we moved on to simple addition and subtraction.  I know, you are all feeling sorry for him.  What good sister gives her brother HOMEWORK?  Is she sick? or just down right evil?  haha!  well, my brother is now kinda a math genius so I would like to think I played a little part in that…

Eventually, I decided against becoming a math teacher but I still love math. Many of my friends are math geeks, so in their honor, I wanted to join in the Pi Day celebration with my Thin Mint Fudgey Ice Cream Pie.  This photo may not be the best.  The pie was difficult to cut but it was delicious.  I altered my Mom’s Marvelous Mocha Pie recipe, using Thin Mints instead of Oreos as the crust.  It was so fudgey!  I wish it wasn’t all gone!  Happy Pi Day!

Thin Mint Fudgey Ice Cream Pie
(adapted from Marvelous Mocha Pie)

20 thin mints, crushed
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1 quart of ice cream (your choice- I used chocolate fudge swirl), melted to a spreadable consistency
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Mix the crusted thin mints and butter together. Press into a pie pan.
2. Spread the ice cream over it.
3. Freeze for an hour or until firm.
4. In a saucepan, bring chocolate, sugar and butter to a boil over medium high heat.
5. Gradually add evaporated milk and cook until thickened.
6. Cool and add vanilla.
7. Pour over the ice cream and return to freezer until set.

P.S. Aren’t Thin Mints the best when they are frozen?  What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie?