Thursday, September 10, 2009


I recently visited Chile, to ski. DSC01817









There were some nice graphics on the way to the resort.DSC01839

I noticed that the Chileans are fond of empanadas. They are pretty much the same as our empanadas.  Shrimp and cheese are really typical, and beef, similar to pot roast is offered. The food is not very hot. And they like steak and seafood.   Here are the empanadas in Chile:DSC01925 We went to the grocery store, and noticed about four varieties of avocados, which they call palta, not aguacate, and eat on hot dogs, along with many other things. That’s called a DSC01935  completo italiano.

And the grocery carries quail eggs as well,


plus more beautiful produce, including artichokes and pears.


DSC01936They have an interesting wine variety, carmenere, killed in

France during the phylloxera epidemic. They claim that their carmenere is the only pure carmenere, and that those in other wine growing regions are blends.  We went to the Conch Y Toro tour, and you would probably say why not go to a smaller winery for a tour?  Sometimes it’s better to be in a big group and look around, and not be in a small captive audience. Plus they have a nice little set-up for visitors. The tour was of the cellar only, not of the factory. 


So in August I set out to make some empanadas, and used the dough recipe on page 264 of Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz’s  The Complete  Book of Mexican Cooking.The Complete Book of Mexican Cooking by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz 

These empanadas were peach, and filled with actual peaches prepared just like peach pie and cooked on the stove long enough to cook the corn starch in the filling. I used a four inch cocoa can to cut out the dough which I rolled as thin as possible. The empanadas were fried in peanut oil. I over-filled most of them, unfortunately, and it doesn’t seem to matter much.


They could look prettier, but

 DSC01977   powdered sugar covers a lack of talent, and tastes really good.


We didn’t have any problem finishing these.


This taste tester ate plenty. I think she is the one who gave me the Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz cookbook.  Thanks!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Since the Oven Outside is Already On.....

Don't turn on the oven inside. Just make the chocolate pie here. It's inspired by Alton Brown Moo-Less Chocolate Pie Moo-Less Chocolate Pie, which is good, but I prefer it my way. I think his recipe may have been inspired by the recipe for Chocolate Dream Dessert on the Mori-Nu web site at Chocolate Dream Dessert which I have not tried, but it is more dietetic. For my pie, here is what you will need:
1 chocolate cookie crust
3/4 cup real maple syrup
2 cups chocolate chips, your favorite type, I use semisweet
1/4 cup Kahlua(optional, you could use strong coffee)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 block of silken tofu

Open up the crust and wash the plastice lid. Put the chocolate chips in the blender.

Heat the Kahlua and maple syrup in the microwave until boiling. Watch it carefully. It will take atleast one minute. Pour the syrup mixture over the chips and let it stand until the chips are soft. Then add the tofu and blend. Pour that into the crust and chill it until it's cool, two or three hours. Then try not to eat it all at once.

This is how is looks:

This is an odd combination of home-y food combined with tofu. I don't often advertise that I use convenience foods like a cookie crust, but when I made my own, it was not as good, and fell apart. And if Alton Brown can us a store bought crust, I guess it's OK. And the semi-sweet and bitter sweet chocolate chips are pretty bitter, and some children would prefer milk chocolate, although I don't care for those at all. I like to use the lid as a cover, upside down.

Below is a really pretty, summery tomato pie with a rosemary crust, and I hope to write more about it later.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fiddle Camp

Here I am at fiddle camp in the beautiful cross timbers of Texas. This is not a bad view to wake up to in the morning.The views remind me of the Texas artist Frank Reaugh. It was as cool at 71 'F at 6:45 AM on monday, and got hotter from that point on. And guess what, there is no pie at fiddle camp, not the kind I am used to, anyway.

The moon was still up. It was really pleasant.

Here is one of the quaint buildings at Cisco Junior college where the Elmore Fiddle Camp is held every summer for the past 10 years.

It's nice to get some exercise including hills in the morning before a day of music.

I had a great time with my son at Elmore Fiddle Camp. Every night there is a concert, and instructors and others play for the student "campers." Randy Elmore , Wes Westmoreland , and a student are shown above in a youtube link, and if you visit that link you can enjoy their version of Black and White Rag.
Below Randy, Wes and Rich O'Brien play in that brief video.

And Dick Gimble on bass playing Thelonius Monk with instructor Danny Levin on piano.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Best Texas Peach Pie

is the one you are about to eat right now. This one has Texas Peaches, from Mexia, in June, I am behind in my blogging because now it's july They are not very big, but there are none better. Of course, I can't speak to the issue of Alabama and Georgia Peaches because by the time they get to Texas, they aren't good anymore.

I could see that I could use more fruit, so I added the few blueberries I had. Blueberries and blackberries are both good with peaches. I use a recipe for the crust, usually from Ken Haedrich Pie: 300 triedand True ..... blah blah blah I also like his Soup Makes the Meal cookbook.

Here it is with it's top on. Why no overall recipe? Well I like the pie on the cover of Fran McCullough's Best American Recipes of 2002-2003. It uses an all butter crust, and several berries, including strawberries. The recipe also calls for rolling the dough and assembling the pie, and then refrigerating it for an hour. It really makes the crust turn out nice. The photo of the pie on the cover of the book is below. This book series is very interesting as well, and I own several of them. But, anyway, they thicken the pie filling with tapioca and corn starch if I recall correctly. I don't use that tapioca anymore; it's gritty. Now I just use corn starch. Use a heaping tablespoon mixed in with your one half to three quater cups sugar and pinch of salt. That is a good starting point for a fruit pie, but I really don't use recipes much for the fillings except for the berry pie in the book below because

1.You never have exactly the amount of fruit they call for.

2.Recipes always call for too much sugar

3. Your fruit is never the same as the fruit they used in the recipe.

4. Rarely are my pies not good even though I don't try very hard, just hard enough to make a pie that I want to eat.

and if you are really tired don't peel the peaches, and Spenda is not as good as sugar, but better than no pie at all, if you have a diabetic in your family

This one was really good. It's hard to let it sit there to take a picture of it. It looks really homemade, almost rustic. You can usually get one like this only at someone's home, and a few special restaurants.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Colorful Coconut Easter Egg with Peeps

This is  how the beautiful the Easter cake from Martha Stewart Living Magazine looked this Spring, and my boys and I were inspired by the interesting shape, but we couldn't leave the all white classic color scheme alone. We had to have a little more fun, and substituted classic butter cream from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible for the seven minute frosting suggested in this recipe, but first we had to get the Egg shaped pan from .

The egg cake needed a meadow to rest on. So we used the old colored coconut trick. We mixed green food coloring with water and spooned it over the coconut, and tossed it around.

The egg pan has rings for the egg pan to sit steadily on while baking.

Then we prepared a community of color for the egg cake to be with, and not shown are chocolate candy river rocks.

Daisies decorate the cake, and my son and I both tried, and learned to make them with meringue powder and confectioner's sugar as called for in the original recipe at the link below:

Then we baked the cake according to the directions, using a scale as we poured the batter into the pans to verify we got equal amounts of batter in the two pans. I had to trim the rounded tops off, and this is actually the second try. As it turned out, they didn't have to be very perfect after all.

Here is one of my favorite Easter egg hunters.
And here they are are putting the whole thing together, with the grass, peeps, and chocolate rocks, with the final cake on the way to thier grandmother's house.

This is the cake almost finished with the meringue flowers, chocolate rocks, and pretty birds.
Below is our table set before the cake, with a pretty linen table cloth from our cousin Sheila Thomlinson, of Carlisle, England. The edge was knitted during WWII of sewing thread. Sheila knew that I collected knit lace, and was thoughtful enough to send me the cloth some time ago.

Maybe next Easter I can hop around in one of these Lilly Pulitzer Jeeps!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pie Baking While Canoe Camping

Six of us went camping in three canoes over spring break, on the Colorado (Texas) River, East of Austin, toward Bastrop. Over the course of the weekend of March 20, we had fried catfish, bread pudding, chicken chili, apple pie, and breakfast one day was monkey bread, and eggs the other another. My sister cooked most of it. My brother-in-law worked on the coals for the dutch oven. Everyone else pitched in. But here is our apple pie, and no recipe is needed.
I had expert help prepping apples. We used about six small fuji apples.

I used a store bought pie pastry. Nobody would make pastry out on the river. I like the type that come in a roll. I brought all of the streusel ingredients in a bag, and mixed them on site. I used a typical streusel topping recipe, and added pecans. I have used almonds before, too. I forgot sugar for the apples, so I used some of the streusel topping. I had made extra, and it came in handy.

The pie, ready for the dutch oven

Above is how it looked going in to the dutch oven. Pretty good, I think. We had to scrape some burn off, so it was very lucky to have so much streusel topping. We ended up with just the right amount.

Here is the finished pie in the dutch oven. It was a nice reward after a long day of laying around outside. Below, see the picture of the tired camper eating the pie. He can barely hold his head up.

And we had a great fire on that cool night.

This is how the river looks early in the morning.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lime Orange Chess Pie

The other day, my son wanted to make a pie and I suggested a chess pie, because I knew we wouldn’t have to go to the store. We made a few substitutions. We tried lime juice, and orange zest. It worked out very well. The orange zest smells really wonderful. We have made it again since, and the picture shown is of one I made yesterday, and it's gone now. We used 1 ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup soy milk, ¼ cup cream, ½ stick salted butter, 2 tablespoons corn meal, 2 whole eggs, 3 egg whites, 4 tablespoons lime juice, zest of one orange, ½ teaspoon vanilla, in a partially pre-baked crust, bake at 350 45 to 50 minutes. The recipe owes much to Ken Haedrich’s Lemon Chess Pie on page 367 of Pie 200 Tried and True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie. And by the way, the molas potholder was a gift from a friend who went home to Panama for a visit.

I have recently started looking again at this vintage cookbook,above, Farm Journal Complete Pie Cookbook. It has some strange recipes that are off-beat such as oatmeal pie, raisin orange, apple grapefruit, strawberry cantaloupe pie, and so forth. They overdo the raisins. But you get an opportunity to read about unusual ingredients. I would like to try the fried pies. This cookbook is going for $30 on but I wouldn't sell. It's too funky.


My Blog List