Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Key Lime Pie

There are very few things that I am "foodie" about.  I break all kinds of food rules in the kitchen, I don't take myself too seriously, and I am not an uppity cook.  Hello, I use canned cream of mushroom soup--um, the off-brand--so I'm really, really laid back and not picky when it comes to cooking and eating.

There is one thing, though,  that I am very serious about and that is my Key lime pie.  I would never, ever serve it plain, but, I would never, ever top it with meringue either.  Yes, I would use bottled regular lime juice if I had to.  Yes, I would use a store-bought graham cracker crust if I had to.  But I would never put meringue on it.  Eeeew!  Key lime pie just cries out for freshly whipped and sweetened heavy cream in my book.  

We went to one of my favorite seafood restaurants back in the summer and for dessert, my husband ordered a piece of Key lime pie.  It came to him plain and although it was decent, I was completely disappointed that there was no whipped cream on it and I was really, really happy that I had ordered the mile high peanut butter pie  instead.

Here is my recipe for Key lime pie that I have tinkered with over the years.  I like my crust  thick, so this should deliver if you like it that way, too.  I know my son-in-law, Isaac, agrees with me on this. :o)

Here are some tips if you make this:

-I like to whip my cream until it's slightly stiffer than soft peaks, because it's going on a pie and I want a clean cut. (This is another one of those foodie rules I break, over-whipping cream, but hey, I like it slightly over-whipped on a pie.)  If you want to serve it on the side, it can be whipped to softer peaks.  I like my whipped cream spread on my pie because then I can take some lime wedges and a maraschino cherry and make a beautiful flower on top as a decoration.

-Key limes are much more tart to me than regular limes.  If you need to substitute regular lime juice, you can decrease the powdered sugar by 2 tablespoons.

-This pie freezes well.  Just let it thaw out in the refrigerator, then add a little garnish.  You know, like a beautiful flower made from lime wedges and a cherry.

-Yes, you could certainly buy the graham cracker crumbs, but I like crushing my own to get a variety of sizes within the crust.

-The zest of the lime is very important here.  I wouldn't skip it.

Key Lime Pie


1 2/3 cup finely crushed graham crackers

1/4 cup granulated sugar

6 tablespoons melted butter


3 egg yolks

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup key lime juice (Nellie and Joe’s is the brand I use or substitute with regular lime juice)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup powdered sugar plus 2 tablespoons

The zest of one lime


1 cup heavy cream, well chilled

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2.    For the crust, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar.  Stir in the butter until well mixed. 

3.    Press the mixture on the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch foil pie plate or glass pie plate that has been placed on a baking sheet for easier removal from oven. 

4.    Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven.

5.    Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, sour cream, powdered sugar, and the lime zest until smooth.  Pour into pie shell.  Pie shell will be full. 

6.    Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until set in the middle.  Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until well chilled.

7.    Beat the heavy cream on high speed until frothy.  Gradually add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until medium-soft peaks form.  Spread evenly over pie, then garnish as desired.  Keep refrigerated.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Turnip Green Pot Pie

This recipe ran in this month's edition of Today in Mississippi and I made it for dinner last week.  I always check out the recipes in this little publication and have cut out more than a few over the years.  I also cut out the turnip green soup recipe, but haven't made it yet. 

I was really pleased with the outcome of this pot pie.  That said, I did change a couple of things:   

-I swapped out smoked turkey sausage for the ham. 

-I added an extra 1/2 cup of chicken broth because the mixture was supposed to simmer for 10-15 minutes, but it was so thick I basically just cooked it while stirring frequently until the turnips thawed out. 

-And last, I was lazy and used a package of Martha White Cotton Pickin' Cornbread Mix, which was good, but I definitely could have used two packages.  Next time I think I will make the cornbread topping as directed in the original recipe.

A similar recipe ran in this month's Southern Living, but with collard greens.  I love turnips, though, so this recipe spoke to me.  This would make a good main dish or side dish, depending on how much meat is added. 

The only clear picture I took was a close-up of a bite; I know it looks a little messy.  The original recipe is here.  My changes are below. 

Turnip Green Pot Pie
(Adapted from Porches Turnip Green Pot Pie)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound diced smoked turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 (1-pound) packages frozen chopped turnips
1 (15-ounce) can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 packages cornbread mix, plus ingredients to make the cornbread
4 tablespoons melted butter
1.     In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the smoked turkey sausage and cook until golden brown around edges.

2.    Add onion, celery, and chopped red pepper and cook until soft.

3.    Add flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. 

4.    Add chicken broth. Cook, stirring often, until thickened.

5.    Stir in frozen turnips and cook for 10-15 minutes or until heated all the way through, stirring often.  Stir in peas and crushed red pepper.  

6.    Transfer to a 13 x 9-inch casserole dish and smooth out top.

7.    Mix cornbread according to package instructions.  Spread over turnip mixture. 

8.   Drizzle with melted butter and bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  If top is not golden brown, place under broiler for a few minutes. 
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chocolate Toffee Caramel Crunch Cake

You see this leg below?

This is the thigh of a well-fed baby.  It's soft and squishy with deep folds that must be stretched to be thoroughly washed during bath time.  And, unlike an almost forty year-old woman, it's the kind of thigh that is highly desirable if you're a baby.

This kind of thigh means that "the breast milk's aggreein' with him"  or so says my husband's eighty-one year-old mother.  I think Grandma Mert is right.

Now, the reason for my soft and squishy thighs is probably due to this cake.

This is absolutely my new favorite cake.  I've had the recipe printed off for more than a year, but I just got around to making it this summer.  This recipe took top honors at the Hershey's Cocoa Classic at the Pennsylvania State Fair in 2008.  It was created by a fellow contesting friend, Kelly Madey.  What a talented woman!

The icing is like none other.  It's a little bit meringue and a little bit buttercream and a little bit peanut butter and I am more than a little bit in love with it.  Seriously, this is probably my favorite frosting of all-time.  All-time, I say!

The cocoa cake layers are super moist with a hint of coffee.   The toffee bits add the crunch and the caramel sauce makes it rich.

Here's a few tips to keep in mind while making it:

-I whip the meringue for the full 15 minutes with the whip attachment.  This will cool it down so the butter won't melt too much.  Then, when I have all the ingredients in, I whip it again on high speed.  I whip it.  I whip it good.  Heh heh.

-The caramel sauce sets up quickly.  If it gets too stiff to drizzle, and it probably will, gently reheat it over low heat, stirring often and/or stir in a little more cream, just until drizzleable again.  Now THAT is a hard word to say, if indeed it is a word.  I wonder if I can say it three times fast?

Drizz-uhl-able,, I can't.

-I did not use cake flour like the recipe says, I used all-purpose, but I still had great results.

-I used egg whites, not the pasteurized organic egg stuff that is in the note.  Seems like I may have had a conversation with Kelly about this and she said to just use regular egg whites because the other stuff didn't whip up as well.  I could have dreamed this, though.  I'm almost forty now and my mind is a little foggy.  Some days I don't know what's real and what's not. 

-I add a full teaspoon of instant coffee granules (sometimes two) instead of the espresso, because I haven't been able to find instant espresso lately. 

Chocolate Toffee Caramel Crunch Cake

Nonstick cooking spray for baking

2 cups sugar

2 cups cake flour

1/2 cup cocoa

11/2 teaspoons baking soda

11/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon espresso powder

1 cup boiling water

1 8-ounce bag toffee bits

Peanut Butter Meringue Frosting (recipe follows)

Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 9-inch cake pans with parchment circles and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Beat mixture until combined and smooth (about 1 minute). Stir espresso powder into hot water. Add to batter and mix until just combined. Pour batter into pans and bake for approximately 17 to 20 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove cakes to wire racks to finish cooling.

While cake is cooling, make frosting and caramel sauce.

To assemble cake: Place bottom cake layer on serving plate. Spread with 1 cup frosting. Sprinkle 1/4 cup toffee bits over top. Drizzle with caramel sauce. Place second layer on top. Spread with 1 cup frosting. Sprinkle 1/4 cup toffee bits over top. Drizzle with caramel sauce.

Spread remaining frosting over cake. Place 3/4 cup toffee bits on top of frosted cake. Drizzle with remaining caramel sauce.

Peanut Butter Meringue Frosting

1 1/8 cups sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup pasteurized organic egg whites (see NOTE)

3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Place sugar and water into a saucepan. Stir to combine. Cook over medium heat until temperature reaches 240 degrees. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, whip egg whites in a stand mixer to stiff peaks. Slowly add hot sugar syrup and continue to beat for approximately 15 minutes or until mixture has cooled. Add butter, a tablespoon at a time, whipping after each addition. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Whip until fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar and whip until combined and creamy.

NOTE: Since the egg whites in the frosting aren't cooked, it's best to use pasteurized egg whites. Look for cartons of pasteurized liquid egg whites near the eggs in the supermarket.

Caramel Sauce

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Place all ingredients except vanilla into a small sauce pan. Heat to a boil, stirring. Cook for 2 more minutes. Remove mixture from heat. Carefully add in vanilla (mixture will sputter). Stir to combine. Let cool until thickened but still liquid enough to drizzle.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Would You Help Me Out? Pretty Please, With Salsa Verde On It?

Hi All!

I am semi-finalist in a recipe contest sponsored by Jose Ole (food products, not the man.  Who is Jose Ole by the way?), and a portion of the score that they use to determine the fifteen finalists is determined by an online vote.   If any or all of you would take a look at my recipe, and, if you decide it is worthy of a vote, I'd appreciate your support!  (Links in a minute.)  And yes, there should be little accent marks over the E's in Jose Ole, but I don't know how to put them there.  Anyway...

The final fifteen will receive a one hundred dollar gift certificate to (Yay!) and the grand prize winner will receive.....GULP......a $20,000 gift card to the home improvement store of their choice!!!!!!  (Applause!)

It's hard to imagine winning such a big prize.  So I'm not going to imagine it.  No, I will not even think about what I could do with a $20,000 gift card.  I will not think about the lumber that I could buy to help build our dream house in the woods.  I will not think about a brand new stainless steel French door refrigerator with two freezer drawers on the bottom.  I absolutely WILL NOT picture any granite countertops in my mind.

No, I will not.  My mind is blank.  No, wait.  I am thinking about lint.

But if you wouldn't mind, here is the link to my recipe:

If for some reason the link doesn't work, you can hop on over to and look for my recipe in the quick and easy meals category.  I'm Lorie R. from Buckatunna, MS.

There is only a one time vote per email address.  It just takes a second and all you have to do is click on the voting link, then type in your email address.  It's as easy as frittata!

There's only one more week left to vote!!

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