Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fresh Strawberry and Blueberry Pie


Berry pie-making is a cinch, and I don't know why I don't do it more often.  Your family will forgive you for heating up the kitchen with your oven while it's a 104 degrees outside when they smell this pie.

This would be perfect for the upcoming holiday weekend.  

Here's a few tips:

-I used this pie crust recipe because I like the vinegar in it.  A few weeks ago, I made a double batch which yielded six crusts, and since I already had flour everywhere, I turned right around and made another double batch.  I patted them all into balls, then wrapped each one separately in wax paper and put them into two freezer bags and into the freezer.  When I want to make a pie, I take a dough ball out, let it thaw in the fridge, then proceed as I normally would with any given recipe.

-I did not use a whole dough ball for the cutouts.  The remainder was left in the freezer for the next time I need a design for the top of something.  Or for when I want a nice bite of raw pie dough.  

Just kidding.  I don't eat raw pie dough.  Anymore.


-I usually use an egg and water egg wash, but here is a great article about different types of egg washes, such as water and egg, cream and egg, egg and salt, etc.  There are pictures that show the results from each one.  Very informative.

-I love the orange zest in this pie, and I prefer it to lemon zest.  I really think it makes this pie pop.

-Let it cool before cutting.  You'll probably want to cut it while it's hot and put ice cream on top, and there is nothing wrong with that, but if you want it to cut cleanly, then it needs to cool.  I let my pie cool completely and had perfect slices, but I forgot to photograph. 

Fresh Strawberry and Blueberry Pie

2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
The zest of one medium orange
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1 unbaked pie crust plus enough pie crust scraps to make
decorative cutouts for top

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Stir together the blueberries, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, and orange  zest in a large bowl.  Pour into an  unbaked 9-inch pie crust.  Cut butter into small pieces and dot the top of the fruit.

Roll out the remaining pie crust scraps and cut shapes using cookie cutters dipped in flour.  (I used different sized star shaped cutters.)  Place the shapes on top of the pie in a decorative pattern.

Beat together the egg and water.  Lightly brush the mixture onto the pie crust shapes and around the perimeter of the crust.  Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 50-55 minutes or until  bubbly and golden brown.  Let cool on wire rack completely before cutting.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Gnarly Head Rippin' Ribs Cook-Off, 2010

In March I was invited to Lake Tahoe to a rib cook-off.  Gnarly Head Wines sponsored the cook-off and flew me and Richard to Lake Tahoe.  The minute I stepped off of the plane in Reno, I began retaining water at a rate that astonished even me.  Never, NEVER have I been so bloated.  My face looked like a basketball. 

Apparently there is this horrible thing called altitude sickness, and I contracted it.  One of the symptoms is bloating, among others.  I felt awful the whole trip.

Anyway, we were wined and dined, and we skied (it didn't go well for me but I don't want to talk about it), and we ate, and we had a grand old time. The resort was absolutely beautiful.

There was lots and lots of snow.

This was the view from our breakfast table every day.  We were always the first ones in the restaurant when it opened each morning because we wanted to make sure we got our share of the smoked salmon before it ran out.  We're greedy when it comes to delicacies we don't usually experience in Buckatunna. 
And this was my view at breakfast every morning.  "Hi lover, and roll tide!  Are you going to finish your salmon?"
I bet my daughter is going to cringe when she sees that I called him lover

This is the view from our hotel lobby.  Heaven.  Pure heaven.

This is me before I skied.  I'd like to entitle this picture "Lorie's last happy face of ski day."

We got on a gondola and went up to the top of Hell Mountain Base Camp.  They call it Base Camp for some reason even though it's at the top of the mountain.  

My hubby hired a private ski instructor to teach me how not to kill myself, since I've never skied.  He taught me a lot, but in the end, the mountain won.  

I was defeated.  

And bloated.  Very bloated.


I really liked hanging out in the alpine village, however.  It was very relaxing, unlike skiing.

Here I am prepping my ingredients in one of the restaurants at the resort on the day of the cook-off.


The folks at Gnarly Head really paid attention to all the details. 


I can't tell you how nice my two competitors, Elise and Lisa, were.  They made the cook-off fun. 

And I'm happy to report that my grilling went well.


So well, in fact, that I actually won the grand prize.  What a shocker!  I would have had just as much fun even if I hadn't have won, though.

Except for the bloating part.  That was difficult to endure.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Snickers Salad

A couple of months ago, I bought a church cookbook from a lady at my church who was selling them for her daughter who goes to another church.

There are a lot of churches here in the South.  Most of them have cookbooks.

Anyway, I was thumbing through the cookbook, and my eyes were immediately drawn to a recipe called Snickers Salad, for obvious reasons.  It reminded me of a fruit salad my mother made when we were young, except this looked WAY better, because, hello, chopped up Snickers bars instead of oranges and bananas. 
I had never heard of Snickers Salad, which is surprising, because it's drenched in Cool Whip, and it's a widely known fact that desserts drenched in Cool Whip grace every southern function that has food, from church homecomings to after-the-mud-bog-eatin's, to many, many more.  So, I'm wondering why I haven't ran into this recipe before?  It's a mystery to me because I've eaten a lot of Cool Whipped desserts in my time.

I made it for a family get-together recently, and just ever so slightly adapted the recipe to fit my own personal needs (I added honey roasted peanuts and drizzled with caramel).  I really liked it, and I was patting myself on the back thinking I am SO on to something here, but then I Googled it, and no less than 47 million thousand hundred recipes, posts, and pictures came up for Snickers Salad.


But here it is anyway because I like it, and I can post things that I like on my very own personal blog. 

Booya, Internet, booya. 

Snickers Salad

Printable Recipe

1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 full size Snickers bars, chopped into bite-size pieces
3 small green apples, chopped into bite-size pieces
3/4 cup honey roasted peanuts
1/4 cup or more caramel ice cream topping

Stir together the Cool Whip, powdered sugar, and vanilla
until smooth.  Add the Snickers bars,
apples, and peanuts; stir to evenly coat.
Drizzle the top with caramel topping.

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