Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sour Cream Lemon Pie - It's Raining Again!

Around this time last year Nashville experienced one of those so-called "200 year floods". I hope we are not about to get another one. Isn't it supposed to wait 200 years before it does that again? Thankfully we live in a place that stays pretty "flood free", but so many friends experienced damage. My sister-in-law's hill behind her house slid and damaged their garage. The contractor was supposed to have the hill fixed by May 6. Let's hope the hill does not slide again before he finishes the job!

Easter Sunday was the first holiday that one of my children was not around to be with the family. Ali had to work and so did David. Nate, Kami and I went to Sandy's for traditional Easter dinner. I made lemon pies, one of my dad's favorites as well as David's dad's favorites. My mom made a sour cream lemon pie that I remember so fondly. I have made it a few times, so this year I made a regular one (Alton Brown's recipe) and one of her sour cream ones. I don't know if I have said this before, but I do NOT make my own pie crust. I don't pretend or even try to make people think that I do it myself... I do buy the Pillsbury refrigerated kind so that if someone is polite enough to not ask (just kidding - you can ask), they MIGHT think that I made it since I did crimp the crust!

Sour Cream Lemon Pie

1 c. white sugar
1/3 c. corn starch
1/2 t. salt
2 c. milk
1/2 c. sour cream
3 egg yolks
1/4 c. butter
1 1/2 t. finely shredded lemon peel
1/4 c. lemon juice
whipped cream (fresh, of course)
9-inch pie shell, baked

In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir on medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat and cook and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks slightly. Gradually whisk in 1 cup of thickened mixture into yolks. Return egg mixture to the saucepan and whisk completely. Return pan to heat and bring to a gentle boil. cook and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter, peel and lemon juice. Stir in sour cream. Pour filling into baked pie shell and cool completely. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Quinoa Pilaf... Never had it before? You will LOVE it!

I have been in a cooking slump. Kind of like the Red Sox, as my dear friend Sheri pointed out. Only mine is not causing the New England states to rise up and almost change their allegiance to the Yankees... I said ALMOST. I doubt that is ever going to happen. Thankfully 2 days ago I shook off my own cooking slump and got the creative juices flowing again. I made this delicious pilaf and some black cherry glazed pork shops and I could feel the fires beginning to smoulder. At about the same time (ie, the next day) the Red Sox broke their 0-6 losing streak and actually beat those (ahem) DARN Yankees :) That was an extra step toward their redemption, much better than if they had beat the Indians or the Orioles... yeesh! So the Bo Sox and I are back :) Hopefully we will both keep it alive for a while and maybe even win The Series :) (do they have one of those for cooking??)

Now for Quinoa... I wasn't so sure the first time I heard of it. I even watched a few episodes of shows on Food Network that used the stuff and I still wasn't convinced. But then I made it and experimented with it and found that not only do I love it, but the whole family eats it, too! Quinoa is a seed, so it is a little like a grain and a little like a nut. For people who are gluten-intolerant (Melissa), it is a great alternative. And it is as easy as rice to cook. It has a slightly nutty flavor and a nice texture. I'm glad I tried it! The pilaf is the result of an experiment and it came out delicious, if I do say so myself.

Quinoa Pilaf

1 1/2 c. quinoa
3 c. broth (I used homemade chicken)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. pine nuts
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper

In large saucepan heat the olive oil and saute the peppers, onions and garlic until the onion is translucent and the peppers are softened. Stir in the broth, quinoa, salt & pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to simmer and allow to cook for approximately 20 minutes (see, just like rice!).

The pork chops were equally delicious.

6 pork chops
1/2 c. black cherry preserves (I buy mine from the Amish!)
2 T. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 t. black pepper

Thin the preserves with soy and remaining ingredients. Place pork on a lightly greased baking sheet and brush the sauce over pork chops and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until done. It depends on how thick your chops are. Mine were about 1/2 inch. I think this would work with just about any preserves you have. Next time I am going to try it with balsamic vinegar instead of soy sauce.

and she's back :)

Until next time... stay warm (or cool) and loved, my friends!!