Friday, July 31, 2015

Coconut Cream Pie

I have attempted and failed coconut cream pie on various occasions. Scrambled egg custard, gelatinous custard from using corn starch. But today. Today I got it right folks! By combining two recipes (this and this), I got just what I wanted for my husband's birthday. A pie sturdy enough to hold its shape when cut, but creamy and not gelatinous.

Coconut Cream Pie
4 egg yolks
1/3 c. flour
3 cups of liquid (I did 1 can of coconut milk + enough whole milk to equal 3 cups)
2/3 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla (optional, I forgot it, and honestly, I don't think it needed it)
1 c shredded finely shredded unsweetened coconut (I found mine at WinCo) 
sweetened shredded coconut to toast for the top
Whipped cream for topping
1 baked pie shell, 9 or 10″ 
  1. Scald the milk in the microwave or on the stove top to almost boiling. Microwave works best as there is no chance of burning the milk.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan combine the flour, sugar, salt and coconut.
  3. Over medium low flame slowly add 1 cup of the scalded milk, whisking constantly.
  4. As you notice the filling beginning to thicken, add another cup of the scalded milk continuing to stir constantly until it begins to thicken again.
  5. Add the final cup of scalded milk, stirring constantly. Continue to cook over medium low heat until mixture begins to slightly thicken.
  6. At this point remove from heat and pour about a half cup of this mixture onto the beaten egg yolks, whisking constantly. Don't just dump it in. Do it gradually while stirring fast to keep it from scrambling the egg. This is called tempering.
  7. Pour the egg mixture immediately back into the pot, continuing to constantly stir.
  8. Cook for an additional three to five minutes until the filling reaches pudding consistency and remove from the flame. The mixture should just be beginning to boil at this point.
  9. Stir in vanilla if you are using it. (I didn't)
  10. Cool for about 40-60 minutes before pouring into the baked pie shell/s.
  11. Chill the pie/s completely for several hours or overnight.
  12. We just used the real whipping cream in a can when we cut up the pie. 
  13. I toasted the sweetened coconut in the oven under broil, but you really have to watch it (literally with the door cracked open) because it goes from normal to burnt quickly!
So, pie crust was always one of those baking things that seemed so finicky. Add JUST enough ice cold water to get it to form. But it always seemed too crumbly. Anyway, this recipe changed my pie making world. I use it for all my pies, and if for some reason I don't, I end up disappointed. The fat to flour ratio is pretty high, and this always gives me a nice flakey crust.

Melanie's Grandma's Pie Crust
makes three to four 9" crusts (depending on how thick and big you are doing) 4 cups flour 2 cups crisco 1 tbsp sugar 2 tsp salt
1tbsp vinegar 1 egg 3/4 cup water
Mix 1st four ingredients with a pastry cutter, knives or fork. In a separate dish beat remaining ingredients. Pour wet into dry. You may not need the entire amount of liquid. I usually have a little left over. Stir until moistened and (gently) with hands work into balls. Chill 15 minutes. Can be left in fridge for 3 days.
(cover edges of crust with tin foil when baking. Remove foil from edges 10 minutes before baking is completed.)
When I roll it out, I always roll it between two large pieces of parchment paper or freezer paper. It makes getting it into the pan SO MUCH EASIER than trying to fold it in fourths and then unfold it like I used to.
For the cream pie I formed the crust, chilled it, poked holes in it, and baked it with foil and beans in the bottom. 400* for 15-20 min. take the foil and beans out after about 10 min. so it can get to a light brown.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pumpkin bread

I made some yummy pumpkin bread, but of course I seriously altered the recipe, so I am writing down what I did.

2 C Pumpkin puree
1 C white sugar
2 C brown sugar
1 C oil
2/3 C milk
4 eggs

3 1/3 C flour (I did 2 C white AP and 1 cup wheat berries ground into wheat flour which would approx. make 1 1/3 C wheat flour)
2 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp cinammon
some grated nutmeg (not to exceed 1 tsp)

mix the two sections in separate bowls, add the dry ingredients to the wet. Grease two 9x5 pans and cut out parchment paper for the bottom of the pans. Separate the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake at 350 for 45-55 min. and test with a toothpick.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chana Masala

I kind of had a loose recipe, and I didn't measure out exactly, but I'm writing down as much as I remember doing to hopefully replicate it somewhat closely again since Matt said it was one of my better attempts at Indian Food. How was that for a run-on sentence. =)

Chana Masala
a little oil
1 onion, minced
2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp corriander
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garam masala
lots of salt (TO TASTE!)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
About 1-2 Tbsp garlic ginger paste
1/2 cup water
cooked chickpeas
1 medium potato, peeled, diced, and boiled to soft

chopped cilantro to garnish

1. Cook the onion, add the garlic, add the spices when soft.
2. Add the tomatoes and water and ginger paste.
3. Let simmer for an hour or so.
4.  Add the chickpeas and the potato. Salt to taste. Add any more spices that you think it's lacking. Add cilantro just before serving.

Served over basmati rice with naan.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mongolian Beef (with broccoli)

Ingredients: (I usually half all of this for just 2 of us)
For the meat:
1 lb. flank steak
1/4 C cornstarch
2 Tbsp oil
For the sauce:
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated finely or minced
1 Tbsp or about 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 C soy sauce
1/2 C water
1/2 C brown sugar
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes- depending on how hot you like it. You can leave it out all together to be more like broccoli beef as well.
2 green onions, sliced
2 tsp. cornstarch mixed with a little water
1-2 heads of broccoli, cut to florets - you could also just slice up an onion and stirfry it if you don't want broccoli with this.


  1. Slice the steak against the grain thinly (1/4 in. or thinner). Tilt the knife blade at a 45 degree angle if you want a wider cut. Toss the steak slices with cornstarch and let the beef sit for 10 min. This is very important. Do not skip.
  2. To make the sauce: In a small sauce pan, heat 2 tsp oil, add garkic and ginger and stirfy 10 seconds, add soy sauce and the rest of the sauce ingredients except cornstarch. Bring it to a boil and then turn down very low while you do the rest of your prep. You will add the cornstarch slurry later.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the broccoli in and blanch. Meaning, right after you get it submerged in the water, dump it all out in a colander.
  4. Heat 1-2 Tbsp. oil in a wok and heat over medium high. Stirfry the broccoli for 1 min. and remove.
  5. Turn the sauce back up to a boil and add the cornstarch slurry. Stir till it thickens, take off the heat.
  6. Put a 1-2 more Tbsp oil in the wok and heat again. Cook the beef. It will cook quickly. Don't over cook it.
  7. Add back the broccoli and stir in the sauce. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Scottish Meat pies

I've been working on meat pies for a long time and this is the closest I've come in both pastry and filling to a meat pie from a Scottish festival. Adapted from this recipe.

2 1/2-3 C flour
1 C water
1/2 C lard/ shortening

Bring water and lard to a boil, pour into a metal mixing bowl. Add 2 C flour and mix with a spoon and when you have a glob, dump it onto a floured surface. It will be hot, so be cautious. Knead in about 1/2 C more flour, or until it is not sticky, but not dry.  I think I did 2 1/2 C total. Maybe a little more. Cover till ready to use so it doesn't dry out.

1 lb ground meat -- I did beef, but you could use lamb
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 small onion grated or chopped finely
1 C oats (I used quick cooking oats) or bread crumbs (I may even like this better than the oats)
1/2 C beef broth
fresh grated nutmeg
Salt - depends on your taste preference
pepper (liberal)
white pepper - dash


Roll out the dough half at a time (keep other half covered). Roll it thin, but not too thin. The bigger pies don't need a paper thin crust.

I only have 4 ramekins, so I did four ramekins and the rest were smaller pies in a muffin tin.  (I think I prefer the muffin tin pies because they cook faster and cool down faster for the boys.) I cut a circle out of dough big enough to press into the ramekin, filled it with the raw meat mixture, and the cut a smaller circle for the top. I pressed the top and bottom edges together well and cut two slits in the top for steam.

Put in a cold oven and set to 350* cook for about 40-45 min.  The crust should be golden. If the bottom is not golden, cook it a little longer. You don't want under done crust.

Mexican Rice

I adapted the recipe from here.

1 can tomatoes (I had fire roasted with garlic)
1/2 onion, chopped finely
1/2 jalapeno (I used a canned rather than fresh since they seem to have more heat)
1 C long grain white rice
1-2 garlic cloves, pressed (I used 1 since the tomatoes had garlic)
1 C chicken broth
3/4 tsp salt
lime* optional
cilantro* optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Puree tomatoes and jalapeno in blender or food processor
  3. Rinse rice under cold water in a fine mesh strainer till the water comes clean. I didn't do this and it was fine, but it does make for fluffier rice.
  4. Heat  a little oil over medium heat in and oven safe saute pan or dutch oven with a tight fitting lid. I didn't have this, so I just did it in a pot and dumped it into a 9x13 pan when I was done sauteing.
  5. Cook the onions till translucent. Add rice and garlic. Cook till rice is light golden, just a few min.
  6. Stir in pureed tomatoes and broth. 
  7. Put in the oven (either in the oven safe saute pan or 9X13 baking dish), cover tightly, and cook for about 30 min. or till tender. I checked mine around 20 min. and it seemed like it needed more water, so I added a few tablespoons.
Stir in lime juice and chopped cilantro if you so desire. I didn't, but I'm sure it would be good.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Moroccan Stew

1 pound Stew Meat or meat of your choice--or leave it out all together and go vegetarian!
3 T Olive Oil
1 T Cumin
1 T Cinnamon
1 T Coriander
1 T Paprika
1 tsp Pepper
1-3 tsp Salt 
1 bunch fresh Thyme
4 Bay Leaves
6 cloves Garlic
1 T Red Pepper Flakes or 1 to 2 tsp of Cheyenne Pepper
1 large Onion
1 bunch of Celery
2 Zucchini
1 Butternut Squash
2 large Potatoes
3 bell peppers (use different colors)
1 large can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 quart Beef Broth
1 quart Vegetable Broth
1.5 C Lentils
2 cans Garbanzo Beans 
1 large bunch of Parsley
1 small cup of Plain Greek yogurt

Chop all veggies in large pieces. Chop parsley roughly, reserve a bit for garnish. Chop thyme and garlic roughly. In a large stock pot, brown your stew meat with salt and pepper and olive oil.  Remove to another bowl. Add dry spices to pot, stir until your house smells amazing (approximately 1 minute).  Add garlic, onion and celery and cook till onions are starting to become clear.  Add the rest of the veggies, thyme (you don't need to remove it from the stem, but don't forget to fish them out later), bay leaves (fish them out later, too) and crushed tomatoes.  Cook for a few minutes.  Add broth, stew meat and lentils.  Bring to boil and allow to cook for 15 minutes or until lentils are soft.  Reduce heat to simmer.  Add beans and parsley.  Cook for 10-15 more minutes until potatoes and squash are desired softness/firmness.  :) 

Garnish with large dollop of yogurt, sprinkling of parsley and a little paprika.  Serve with warm, crusty bread.

This makes a TON of stew...  The good news is, it only gets better as it sits.