Wednesday, December 31, 2008
This one looks just like all those snowflakes you drew as a kid. Well at least I drew them as a kid and they almost always looked like this one.
The last one I captured was this teeny tiny little baby snowflake. I cropped the hell out of the picture just to be able to see it. It's off to the left too. Really I wish you could have seen how minuscule it was.
Ok enough flakiness, back to the pie. Not only is this pie easy to make, it makes it's own crust! Honest, I'm tellin' ya, it's just unreal. Oh and another thing, you make it in the blender! Only a blender to clean. How's that for easy?
Super Easy Coconut Custard Pie
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a 10 inch pie plate with cooking spray and dust with flour, or just use Baker's Joy like I do.
Place everything but the coconut into a blender. Blend for about 20 seconds. Add the coconut and pulse just a few seconds. Pour into the pie plate and bake 50 - 60 minutes. I toasted up some coconut and sprinkled it on the top as soon as it came out of the oven. It will look a bit puffy when it comes out, but it will deflate as it cools.
Next time I might decrease the sugar just a tad. It was very sweet. All in all if you like coconut custard pie and want to make one in a hurry, this is the pie for you.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I already have the recipes I want to make marked with post-its. There's lots of post-its. Lots. Since I'm off this week I thought it would be a nice treat to make buttermilk cheddar biscuits for the men for breakfast. After a brief warm spell the weather here is cold and windy again. Tomorrow we are expecting some snow. I've got all my recipes in order and all my ingredients ready so I can spend all day in the kitchen with the oven crankin' away.
One other great thing about this recipe is it can be made the night before and kept in the fridge, so all you have to do in the morning is brush them with egg, throw on some sea salt and pop them in the oven....and that's just what I did. Remember to keep everything cold when your making any kind of biscuits....that's where the flaky part comes in.
We each had one biscuit (with butter of course) this morning and it filled us right up. These would be great as a main course with a nice salad or a big bowl of soup or chili. Delicious hearty biscuits for a cold and blustery day.
Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits
All purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
12 tablespoon (1 1 /2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup cold buttermilk, shaken
1 cold extra large egg
1 cup grated Cheddar
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water or milk
Preheat the oven to 425. Place 2 cups of flour, the baking powder and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, add the butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas.
Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small glass measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork. With the mixer still on low, quickly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix only until moistened. In a small bowl, mix the cheddar with a small handful of flour and, with the mixer still on low, add the cheese to the dough. Mix only until roughly combined.
Dump onto a well floured board and knead lightly about six times. Roll the dough out into a rectangle 5 x 10 inches. With a sharp floured knife, cut the dough lengthwise in half and then across in quarters, making 8 rough rectangles. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with the egg wash, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the biscuits are cooked through. Serve hot or warm.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl combine the milk and instant coffee and stir until dissolved. Melt the butter and let it cool for a few minutes. Add the egg and vanilla to the butter and mix lightly. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Please don't over mix your muffins....terrible things will happen!
Fold in the mini chips. Fill a paper lined muffin cup 2/3 full. Bake at 375 for 17 - 20 minutes, or until muffin tests done. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack to cool.
Friday, December 26, 2008
December 26, 2007
I have been saying that I was going to start my own blog for almost a year now. Well the year is almost over so I decided I better get my butt in gear and start one. Here is it.
I have had some friends tell me they wish I would post my recipes, pictures, even my thoughts and ideas. I never really thought that I was interesting enough for anyone to want to read any of it. We shall see. I named it The Cutting Edge of Ordinary. Please don't think that ordinary is a bad thing. I am ordinary. My life, my job, my skills, all ordinary. I think it's the ordinary in the world that connects us all. What is extraordinary is the family and friends I surround myself with. Most of which I am sure you will meet in upcoming posts. You will not be disappointed. So here is my first post on my brand spankin' new blog. Pretty ordinary so far.
Here's hoping 2009 brings even bigger and better things to The Cutting Edge of Ordinary. Thanks for sticking around.
My brothers and Dad got together for this nice shot.
Gram came for Christmas Day. She's my Gram and the boys great-grandma. She'll be 85 in March and she has Alzheimer's. Were not sure if she even knew it was Christmas, but she did know that there was chocolate and sweets, and that's plenty enough reason for her to celebrate. She ate 9 brownie bites, cheesecake, a handful of fudge, a dozen hard candies and 2 canes canes. All that after she picked at her "real" food. The lady has a wicked sweet tooth....worse than mine! She was sucking on a candy cane, making faces at me. It was so funny.
She also had a klepto moment yesterday (very common with people with Alzheimer's) She went to use the bathroom and came out wearing 2 of my rings on one of her fingers. When she sat down my Mom noticed and questioned her.
"Mom where did you get those rings?"
"These?" she said pointed to my rings on her finger.
"Yes those, let me see them" said my Mom
So she takes them off and I can now see that they are two of my rings. I whispered to my mother, those are mine.
"Mom these are Lisa's rings"
"They certainly are not, those are mine" my Grandma protested.
"Ok, ok" we say.
You can't argue with someone with Alzheimer's. There is no point in it. We just quietly slid them across the table and she forgot about them. Then I went into the bathroom and hid all my jewelry. We all had a laugh, which confuses poor Gram even more cause she has no idea why we are laughing, but she giggles along anyway.
She looks like a little imp standing near the tree.
Here are the boys minutes after they came downstairs to see what was under the tree. It was 6:00am. Both of them quietly surveying what loot they received. There were no yelps or screeches like in years past, just some quiet spoken "oh cool's" and "check this out" and "awesome's". I guess they are growing up. I miss the screeches and yelps.
Here is my living room at 6:07am, and this is only half the mess!
Moose so kindly serenaded us with his rendition of Rudolph (it's his favorite Christmas song). Here he is singing (we call it howling, but shhhhh never to his face, we wouldn't want to hurt his feelings).
All in all we enjoyed a great Christmas. Tonight we celebrate with a few more friends, some more food and then prep for New Years begins!
Hope you all had a great Christmas too!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I believe this was the following year. Yes the Tinsel Tree is still with us, same ugly blue satin ornaments. This was the year of the new bikes. See that bike basket behind my head? I loved that thing. Big plastic daises on it. I was stylin'.
I think this was '72. I asked for a Fancy Curl. You know, one of those big giant doll heads that you could put makeup on and curl the fake hair? It came with a carrying case too. Fancy indeed.
Oh and check out that plastic Santa decoration on top of the TV? My mom had a whole set of them...reindeer's and angels too. She hung them in the windows for years and years. They always creeped me out.
I believe this next one was around 1973. My cousin Tom is the redhead in the middle. I remember those Charlie Brown plastic dolls. I should have hung on to them, there probably a collectors item now.....along with my Mom's Tinsel Tree.
This was our official Christmas photo for 1972. My brother Mark was just a year and a half old. There's not a whole bunch of Christmas photos after 1972. I think my Mom was getting tired.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Along with all the other sweets I'm making for Christmas, I always have to have something chocolaty. Now remember I am not the only chocoholic in the house. I gave birth to a child who is as fierce a chocolate lover as I am. Evan will pick and sample some of the dessert I have made, but he will devour brownies when I make them. So for Evan, a child after my own chocolate covered heart I give you Brown Sugar Brownies.
These are not cake-like brownies. They are intense, moist, fudge-like bites of deep rich chocolate. I turned these into "bites" by cutting them into small pieces and placing them in mini paper liners.
Brown Sugar Brownies -recipe from Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters
1 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cocoa (not Dutch processed)
1 1/2 cups butter10 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used
2 oz bitter chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar, sifted
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Set the oven rack in the middle position. Heat to 350. Cover the bottom of a 9x13 pan with foil, shiny side up. Coat with butter or spray.
Sift together the cake flour, salt and cocoa.
Melt the butter and chocolates in a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of slightly simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and sift in the sugar, and brown sugar. Whisk to combine. Blend in the eggs one at at time. Stir sifted dry ingredients into batter. Add the vanilla.
This was one thick batter. My arms got so tired that I recruited my husband in as a backup stirrer. Now I know why bakers have big biceps.
Pour the batter into the pan. Bake approximately 40 minutes or until the ops seems firm and a tester inserted into the middle comes out fairly clean. There may be a few cracks on top. Mine cooked for 45 mins. Do not overbake.
Cool in a pan on a rack to room temp then place into the fridge for 3 hours or overnight to chill for easier cutting. Remove cake from the pan and foil and place on cutting board. Using a wide knife or cleaver, cut into 1 inch squares, wiping knife or cleaver as needed. You will lose the edges of these brownies. Fear not, jut pop them into a freezer bag and save them to fold into your ice cream another time. Store in layers between sheets of wax paper in a covered tin.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
The toasted coconut is just heaven. The crunchy topping (and bottom) really makes these fabulous. I like the plain ones (mostly in hot chocolate) but the toasted coconut ones I could eat by the handful.
Just follow the recipe for the original marshmallows. Toast a 7 ounces bag of coconut in a large saute pan on low heat, stirring frequently. Don't walk away from the pan for too long. Coconut can turn from brown to black very quickly. Once the coconut it done, let it cool in the pan while you make the marshmallow mixture. Dust a 9x13 non metal pan with confectioners sugar. Place 1/2 the coconut in the bottom of the pan then pour the batter on top. Cover the top with the other half of the coconut and let it sit, uncovered overnight.This batter was much easier to get out of the pan than the plain version. I took a hot knife and scored around the pan and they fell right out. Cut into squares, roll edges in confectioners sugar and enjoy!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
The soundtrack of Almost Famous is incredible. Every song I hear brings me back to a memory of my youth. I knew I didn't have 2 hours to watch the movie again, but I waited because I knew that there was a song coming up and I wanted to hear it again. Led Zeppelin's That's the Way. Possible one of my favorite LedZep songs...ok I love Kashmir and Going to California too but this song makes my heart happy. I was in high school in the late 70's when LedZep was King and my friends and I adored them. I had Robert Plant plastered up all over my bedroom walls. I even joined the fan club. I listened to my Led Zeppelin albums (yes albums!) so many times I thought I would wear them out. Thanks goodness cassette tapes came out so we could take LedZep with us in the car.
Every song brings me back somewhere. I remember when the neighbor across the street was practicing with a bunch of girls who were in the high school Color Guard and my best friend Kathy and took the speakers from my stereo, put them in the windows and blasted Black Dog out into the streets. Man were they pissed.
I distinctly remember laying on a blanket with my girlfriends in Goddard Park with That's the Way playing from a cassette player behind my head. Off for summer vacation, not a care in the world, loaded up with coconut oil, sun shining down on us...like the song says...nothing really matters.
The graphics on this video dont change, you just need to listen and enjoy (hey I know it's not a Christmas song and 'tis the season, but I love it).
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
This method of cooking fried chicken is mostly my mother-in-law's. I add a step that she doesn't. I soak mine in buttermilk overnight. This chicken is fried then baked in the oven to finish. So the recipe, which really is so easy that you don't even need to print it is:
Soak chicken parts in buttermilk overnight.
The next day take the pieces out of buttermilk and dredge in a flour/salt/pepper and Parmesan mixture. My MIL told me about adding in the Parmesan cheese. It gives it a nice tang along with the buttermilk.
If you want to double dip your chicken, you certainly can. I didn't this time but I have in the past. Once it has it's first dip in the flour you can re-dip it in egg and then flour again.
Fry in about 1 1/2 inches of canola or vegetable oil until pieces are golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 350 for 45 - 55 minutes. You really need to check the chicken because times will vary depending on your oven and how big your chicken pieces are.
It's really good fried chicken. My husband is so happy everytime I make it. I didn't have time to make mashed potatoes this time, but that's usually what I serve it with....oh and gravy....can't forget the gravy.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I read the reviews of this recipe before I made it and noticed that most of them suggested using more ham. I used a half pound of ham instead of the 1/4 suggested. It was the perfect amount. This would make a really impressive appetizers to bring to a party too.
Recipe from Ina Garten
1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ pound black forest ham, sliced
½ pound Swiss Gruyere cheese, sliced
1 egg beaten, with 1-tablespoon water for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 450. Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Lay 1 sheet of puff pastry on a floured surface and carefully roll it out to 10 x12 inches. Place it on the sheet pan and brush it with the mustard, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Place a layer of ham, then cheese on, also leaving a 1-inch border. Brush the border with the egg wash.
Place the second sheet of puff pastry on the floured surface and roll it out to 10 x 12 inches. Place the second sheet on top of the filled pastry, lining up the edges. Cut the edges straight with a small, sharp knife and press together lightly. Brush the top with egg wash and cut a few slits in the top to allow stream to escape.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve hot or warm.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I also worked on decorating my Hot Bean Dip jars, which are going to be given to some people on my list. It's a really cool idea that I got from The Pickled Pepper Patch. It includes almost everything you need to make a batch of bean dip in your crock pot.
Lastly I attached the recipe which I laminated and hung from the raffia. People really seem to love homemade gifts from the kitchen.
Here's hoping that lots of bean dip will be cooking in crock pots all over Rhode Island this winter!