Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie( Emeril)...

I really do NOT like Emeril. I think its the screaming and how he takes forever to garnish food. I especially hate The Bam!! Nevertheless, I saw this pie on someone's blog( I can't remember now) and thought it looked good enough for me to make for my Robin. Poor, Poor Robin. She ate like crap when I was in Florida so I wanted to make her a dessert using her favorite ingredient peanut butter. When I make her a peanut butter pie, I usually make the one that has a nutter butter crust(Nutter Butter's arent sold in Canada so I have to bring them back from MI) and cool whip. Like the aformentioned blogger, I used Nabisco Famous wafers because I had them. I also used bittersweet chocolate and I skipped the Sauce. I used some of the Hot Fudge sauce I made a couple months ago.

Verdict: Robin liked it but she said she likes a pure peanut butter pie better. Maybe next time I'll make the Nutter Butter pie, but use whipped cream instead of the cool whip.

Source: Emeril's Potluck: Comfort Food with a Kicked-Up Attitude, by Emeril Lagasse

1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (I used 1/2 cup and would use all chocolate next time)
1 cup finely ground Oreo cookies (cream filling removed) (I used 2 cups of Nabisco's Famous Chocolate Wafers)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (I used 1/3-less fat cream cheese)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
4 ounces melted semisweet chocolate (I used bittersweet)
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup toasted chopped peanuts
Rich Chocolate Sauce (recipe below) (I skipped)

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, Oreo cookie crumbs, butter, and 4 tablespoons of the granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Stir to throughly combine. Press the mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, let the crust cool completely, then wrap it with plastic wrap and place the pan in the freezer for at least 1 hour and for up to 2 weeks. Allow the crust to come to room temperature before filling.

Combine the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and milk in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until well blended and smooth, about 1 minute on medium speed. Add the melted chocolate and the peanut butter and continue to blend for another minute on medium speed. Combine the cream with the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in another medium bowl. Beat with a whisk or electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate and peanut butter mixture until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Pour the filling into the piecrust. Smooth the top of the pie with a spatula, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

To serve, use a hot wet knife to slice the pie into 8 portions. Garnish with the peanuts and drizzle with the Rich Chocolate Sauce.

Makes one 9-inch pie, 8 servings
Rich Chocolate Sauce

3/4 cup half-and-half
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

In a small heavy saucepan, bring the half-and-half to a bare simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat.

Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Whisk the half-and-half slowly into the chocolate. Add the vanilla and butter to the sauce and whisk until the butter is completely incorporated. The sauce can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for several days, but it must be returned to room temperature before serving.

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Chocolate cherry cake.....

Well I'm back from Florida. I worked on Friday and I havent done much cooking since then( I made Robin coal fired wings again). While in Florida, my grandpa had his 97th birthday. My sister and I( thats her in the pic) made him a chocolate cherry cake. We also made him the jam thumbprint cookies and he loved those. This is another one of those cakes that starts with pre-measured ingredients. My sister recently aquired both Cake Mix doctor books( thanks to her generous older sister) and she was anxious to try out a recipe. I've made this cake before but in a milk chocolate version. The recipe is actually called Milk chocolate cherry pound cake, but since it calls for a Swiss Chocolate mix and thats not availble in Florida, we used a devils food mix. You add 1/4 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of water and a 1/4 cup of cherry juice( from the marashino cherries) and the eggs and oil the mix calls for. You also add chopped up cherries and choc. chips and a package of pudding mix. The frosting is supposed to be hershey choc. bars but since we went with a devils food mix, we used choc. chips. Powdered sugar, some milk and more cherry juice. Its a sweet cake, but everyone really loved it. I'm over the whole cake mix phase, but in certain instances(like me on vacation) it works.

Btw, I absolutely loved baking with my sisters insulated cake pan. She said she's had it for years and it came with a cover that she accidentally melted. I need to find one of those pans because the cake baked so evenly.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

This is what I've been doing all week.....

I've been cooking and baking my ass off all week. We had a huge Mother's Day Brunch at work today. 120 people between two seatings. I also cooked for the senior's twice. On Tuesday and Thursday. To say I'm exhausted and sick of cooking would be an understatement. To top it off, I'm leaving for Florida tomorrow. I have a million things to do and so little time. My boys miss their momma and Robin misses her wife. I've barely seen any of them this week.

This is just some of what I made.
3 Brooklyn Blackout cakes( The cake book, by Trish Boyle). Totally delish.
2 batches of Jam thumbprints( Ina Garten)
4 recipes of NY crumb Cake( Cook's)
4 recipes of Butterscotch pudding( Joy of cooking)
8 Key Lime Pie( williams Sonoma). I just enough limes for 6 cups of juice
3 batches of Toffee cheesecake bars( Bon Appetite)

Anyway, you wont see me for about 2 weeks. The sun and sand and my sweet niece Emily await!!!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Just for Emmy....

I promised Emmy that I'd post some of the "thrifty finds" we've bought recently. I feel somewhat guilty about it because the majority of what we buy, we end up reselling on ebay. I picked up the depression glass bowl thinking I'd keep it. A few days later we were at another sale and saw that the person had the same bowl with the flower frog in it. We didnt know it was for a flower frog. So, we got home and Robin dug out a flower frog and there ya have it. That bowl is currently up for sale on ebay. I do end up keeping all the clamp top jars I buy. I only buy ones that are made in Italy or France. I use them for spices, candy, specialty flour, etc. I paid 10 cents for the depression bowl and 10 cents for the clamp top jar. I also pad 10 cents for the juice jug. I havent decided if I'm going to keep that one.

We picked up the cheese buttons( made in Switzerland) and the little knives( bakelite, but missing one) at a church rummage sale. 50 cents each.

Robin found those vintage ice cream scoops yesterday. I think she paid 25 cents each. I'm selective about the cookbooks I buy because we really have limited room. I recently went thru my cookbooks and I'm donating a bunch of them to the Egullet Heartland Gathering in July.

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chocolate topped peanut toffee bars....

Anna won the grand prize in the Mix it up with Betty contest. This was her entry and boy are they good. Very sweet and super easy to make. I baked a few things over the weekend because I'm leaving town next week. Robin can still have a treat when I'm not here. Try these peanut toffee bars, you wont be sorry.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Coal fired wings( my own creation).....

Way back in March when we were in Florida, we ate at a restaurant called Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza. Its a pretty busy place and pretty smart too. They only serve 1 salad, pizza and coal fired wings. They have 2 sandwiches too and thats it. Anyway, Robin had their famous coal fired wings. The link will take you back to a post I wrote in March. Anyway, Robin loved them and I wanted to try to replicate them. The grocery store in town had wings on sale for 99cents lb. I must really love Robin, because I absolutely hate dealing with chicken. I had to separate the wings into the 2 joints and remove the wing tips. After dealing with that and the resulting disenfection job I had to do on every single surface, I made a brine with kosher salt, sugar and water. I let the wings brine for 2hrs while I went and had my hair highlighted!! When I was ready to cook them, I preheated the grill( gas in this case) and used the fabulous product Pam for grilling. Nothing sticks!! I used some salt free chicken seasoning blend( by Mcormick) on the wings. I grilled both sides. While they were grilling, I squeezed the juice of 1 lemon along with some Evoo, fresh pepper and more seasoning mix in a bowl. When the wings were ready, I tossed them in this mixture. Robin absolutely loved them and she said they were better than the wings she had in Florida. I have another package of wings in the freezer( I couldnt deal with cutting them up so I just chucked the entire package in the freezer) so I guess I'll be making these again in the near future.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Holy Cow Cake......

I've been a bad blogger. Its not that I havent wanted to blog, its just that I really havent been cooking. I've been working a lot and my boss is really generous with leftovers. I helped her with a cooking class last Tuesday and she gave me lots of food to bring home. I fed that to Robin and I skipped dinner. I worked with the seniors on Thursday and I ate what I cooked. I ate leftovers on Friday. Truthfully, I havent felt like cooking at home much because I've done so much of it at work. I did make this cake tonight to test out the recipe. I have this planned for the Seniors for May 10th. This recipe comes from The Cake Mix Doctor. Yes, Yes, I know its a cake mix, but honestly, I dont have the time or the inclination to make from scratch cakes for the Seniors. I only get paid for 7.5hrs and I have to plan the menu, shop for and cook a salad, a main, 2 sides and a dessert for 50 ppl.

So, this is your basic chocolate cake mix( with pudding). The recipe calls for poking holes in the top and then pouring over a mixture of sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping. I skipped the milk, because I think it will just be too sweet. Then, you crush up butterfinger bars( I used butterfinger jingelers left over from xmas) and sprinkle those on top. The "frosting" is a mixture of cream cheese and coolwhip. More butterfingers go on top. Verdict: It was good, nothing spectacular but good. I'm going to bring the rest of this cake to the ladies in the agency I work for. I'll see what they say.

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