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.

A twist on the ole’ peanut butter and jelly classic!

November 13th, 2008

As a kid, I hated peanut butter and jelly! I never understood how my friends could eat them at lunch…when the jelly would make the bread all soggy…gross!

I’ve always liked peanut butter. My mom’s hiccup trick is to eat a spoonful and magically they go away. It works! But other than that, I barely ate it. In college, my roommate got me hooked on chunky peanut butter.  I found that it was pretty good and I started branching out into peanut butter, honey and banana sandwiches. The trick is to eat it right away or the bread will get soggy. Also, if you put peanut butter on both sides, the jelly/honey does not bleed through to the bread.

So, a few weeks ago I made an apple-dulce de leche-peanut butter sandwich. It was a little sweet but great. I love dulce de leche! I’ve made David Lebovitz’s recipe a few times! It is really easy and so worth it! I recommend putting a spoonful in your morning coffee!

PROBLEM: No creative title

April 29th, 2008

Sometimes, I wonder where I left my brain…how can I forget all I know about cooking and blogging all in one evening? Come on, Ginny, you are so much better than this…but I am still going to share…

Yesterday was a crazy hectic day at work and during my lunch 15 minutes, I tried to decide what to make for dinner. You know, the normal…devouring my black bean salad while browsing through tastespotting and searching for some inspiration. Given the rainy weather, all I could think of was soup…yummy butternut squash soup! A couple months ago I tried Jen of Use Real Butter‘s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. It was simple, easy, and delicious. I ate it for days and never got tired of it. So after work, I went to the store to get the ingredients.

PROBLEM #1: Butternut Squash is out of season.

Oh, maybe that is why I cannot find any butternut squash anywhere. Well, my mom always talks about frozen butternut squash and that would work, right?

PROBLEM #2: I forgot the shallots.

No problem, I’ll add more onion.

PROBLEM #3: The soup tasted very bland.

Well, I have a ton of leftover thyme that may make it more interesting.

PROBLEM #4: Butternut squash does not photograph well!

Who cares, I’m hungry!

Verdict: My roommates liked it but, always very critical of my own work, I think I can do better. The good part is it was very fast to make since butternut squash takes so long to roast and this cuts out that step. Jen’s recipe is excellent so please check it out and her wonderful blog!

Thyme Butternut Squash Soup
(adapted from Jen of Use Real Butter)

2 12 oz frozen butternut squash purée
1 green apples, peeled, cored, diced
1 red onion, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 qts chicken broth
2 oz. butter

1. Defrost butternut squash purée in a saucepan over medium heat for about 20 minutes.
2. Boil onions and apples in broth and simmer for 30 minutes or until soft.
3. Strain the apples and onions from the broth and reserve the liquid.
4. Purée the solids.
5. Add both purées to the broth and mix well.
6. Mix in thyme.
7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
8. Add the butter and heat the soup until it just begins to simmer. Serve hot.

P.S. Other butternut squash soup recipes I want to try:

Butternut Squash with Chestnuts and Chillies from Kevin of Closet Cooking
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Spices from Warda of 64th sq ft kitchen
Ginger-Orange Butternut Squash Soup from Karen of Family Style Food
Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk from Myriam of Once Upon a Tart