Sunday, September 30, 2018

Peanut Butter Pie

I know what you're thinking? Peanut butter pie? Is it like Reese's peanut butter cup? Or a peanut butter cookie? No, it's not. It's so much more.

Before Don and I were married we were living in Houston, Texas. We had a few favorite restaurants we would frequent on a regular basis. One of them was called Calypso Caribbean Cuisine. They had really great jerk chicken and pork, and ginger chicken with mango. But our very favorite thing was dessert, specifically, their Peanut Butter Pie. The peanut butter crumble on the crust topped with vanilla custard, homemade whipped cream, and a few more peanut butter crumbles on top made our mouths water. The recipe was handed down to Tim McGann from his mother. A family gem for sure.

Lucky for us, the great chefs and caterers in Houston put together a cookbook with some of their favorite recipes. Our favorite Peanut Butter Pie recipe was in the book, so of course, we grabbed a copy.

There are a few other amazing recipes in this book. There's one from Carrabba's - before they were a chain. And were one of the hardest restaurants to get a table at.

Other restaurants include Cavatore's, La Tour D'Argent, Ninfa's, Post Oak Grill, Rao's, Four Seasons, Jalapeno's (famous spinach enchiladas), Adam's Mark, Backstreet/Prego, Jack's on Woodway, Fu's Garden, and more. I have no idea if any of these restaurants are around anymore, but the recipes stand the test of time. And now that I've rediscovered this cookbook I can't wait to make the artichoke fritters with curried yogurt sauce recipe from the Rainbow Lodge.

Happy eating!

Peanut Butter Pie
Recipe from Calypso Caribbean Cuisine, Houston, Texas

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
1 cup solid all-vegetable shortening
3/8 cup milk

Combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening with pastry blender until the size of course cornmeal. Add half the milk all at once, then add more gradually until dough is wet enough to hold together without being sticky.

Divide in half. Reserve half for future use (freezes well.) Roll dough into a ball. Roll dough out slightly larger than a 9-inch pie plate between sheets of plastic wrap. Dampening counter with a wet sponge will help keep bottom piece of wrap from sliding.

Remove top piece of wrap and turn the dough into pie plate. When centered, remove wrap and crimp edges. Pierce dough all over with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees until brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool.

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 T cornstarch
Dash of salt
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 t vanilla
1 cup whipping cream + 1 T sugar

Mix powdered sugar and peanut butter in food processor and process until crumbly. I use my mini food processor. Don't over mix. You want it to be crumbly. Spread two-thirds of the mixture in baked pie shell. Set remaining third aside for topping/garnish.

Heat milk in a saucepan until warm. In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Beat in egg yolk. Whisk in a little of the warm milk. Mix well, then add this mixture to remaining milk in the pan. Cook, whisking until thick and bubbly. Cool slightly; add vanilla.

Pour over peanut-sugar mixture. And let chill.

Whip cream and 1 T sugar (chill cream, bow, and beaters well before whipping.) Cover top of the pie with whipped cream and sprinkle rest of peanut sugar mixture over top. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

Note: pie can be made ahead and refrigerated and whipped cream added just before serving. I do this most of the time unless we are serving it at a dinner party. I just sprinkle the remaining peanut butter mixture on the custard then add whipped cream to each slice.

Crust: You can use a store-bought crust. I do that all the time to save time.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Cheesy Egg Bites Recipe

I am so excited to share this recipe with you! The egg bites have a creamy, cheesy texture just like the egg bites at Starbucks and they only have three ingredients! You don't need a crazy Sous Vide cooker thing. All you need is a pan and water. 

The egg bites are perfect for busy weekday mornings. You can blend everything up, pop them in the oven, go get ready, then have this super yummy low-carb, high-protein breakfast ready to devour. Trust me when I say they are delish.

Cheesy Egg Bites
serves 2

2 eggs
1/4 cup cottage cheese (I used small curd)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese or Parmesan (or whatever cheese you have on hand.)
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Salt and Pepper
Cooking Spray

1. Add eggs, cottage cheese and cheddar cheese into a mini-cuisinart (or blender.)
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Pulse until mixture is liquified.
4. Spray two 1 cup glass bowls with cooking spray.
5. Divide egg mixture into each bowl.
6. Top with a pinch of cheese on each
7. Place bowls in a glass baking dish filled with about an inch of water
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or the eggs are golden brown and solid.

I want to try adding a few ingredients next time: diced peppers, mushrooms, spinach, bacon bits, sausage, etc. Would also be great with a dash of Sriracha hot sauce.

You can easily double or triple this recipe.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Game Day Menu

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

The key to a great game day party (or any party for that matter) is great food and drinks. Without that, well, it's just another Sunday. 

I love creamy spinach and artichoke dip, crunchy veggies so I feel like I'm eating something healthy, salty chips and nuts, and something easy like chili for the main dish. I don't want to be a slave to the grill or stuck in the kitchen. So find things you can make ahead of time or buy pre-made. 

A signature cocktail which you can make in one large batch is easy and fun for you, and your guests. Add a bucket of beer, some chilled bottles of wine, and specialty sodas (from Cost Plus or BevMo!) so even if you're not drinking alcohol you have something interesting to sip on. 

Game Day Menu


Herb Salt Roasted Almonds

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Roasted Tomatillo Dip
served with tortilla chips, salsa and sour cream

Veggie Tray
Carrots, Celery, Peppers, Jicama, Radishes

Main Dish

Chili and Cornbread

The Bar
Signature Cocktail: First Kiss 

Beer and Wine

Something Sweet
Praline Popcorn

Links to a few of my favorite recipes below.

Easy Egg Cups with Spinach and Mushroom

Two of my favorite shows are Top Chef and Chopped. I love watching the chefs create something delicious and unexpected out of random ingredients. I raided the fridge to make these egg cups. It felt a bit like a Top Chef Quick Fire challenge because I knew what I wanted to make but didn't really have a plan. LOL. You can make these egg cups with any veggies you have on hand. You don't need much to make them tasty.

These can easily be made ahead and refrigerated for 1-2 days for a quick and easy breakfast which can be reheated in the microwave. (I do not recommend freezing them. The texture changes.)

Step 1: Raid the fridge!

Step 2: Saute the veggies and whisk the eggs.

Step 3: Fill the muffin tins to the top.

Step 4: Bake the eggs until firm.

Step 5: Eat!

Spinach and Mushroom Egg Cups
makes 6 egg cups

7 eggs
1/3 cup diced onion (yellow or red)
1 large mushroom diced
1 handful of fresh spinach
1 slice of ham, diced
1 T shredded cheddar cheese
olive oil
unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 and butter six cups in a regular size muffin tin.

Saute the diced onion with a little olive oil and butter until translucent. Add the diced mushroom and spinach and cook for a minute more. Take off the heat and set aside.

Whisk the eggs with a splash of water in the mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the onion mixture and shredded cheese. Stir to combine.

Pour the egg mixture into the prepared muffin tins. Fill all the way to the top. Bake for 12-15 minutes until no longer runny.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

My favorite Maker's Mark cocktail recipe

This was the most popular cocktail we sampled when I was doing events at BevMo! Hands down. It was a winner with everyone - even folks who thought they didn't like whiskey. People would linger near our table to get another sample. It was quite funny.

A key ingredient in this recipe is the Maker's Mark whiskey. I've tried it with a variety of whiskey's, but Maker's Mark is the way to go. The sweetness in the whiskey is just the right flavor. I never use another brand.

This cocktail is great for any party, celebration, wedding or fun get together (like football parties!) where you want an easy signature cocktail which everyone will like - and can be self serve.

makes 40 cocktails

1 bottle (25oz) Maker's Mark Whiskey
12 oz Triple Sec
64 oz Simply Lemonade
16 oz Simply Orange Juice
1T orange marmalade
1/2 jar maraschino cherries
Garnish: cherries, lemon and orange slices

Mix whiskey, triple sec, lemonade, orange juice and marmalade in a large punch bowl or drink dispenser. Add 1/2 jar of cherries (not juice.) Serve each beverage on ice.

Garnish with a cherry, lemon or orange slice.