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Monday, July 17, 2017

Southern Style Tomato Pie

I asked the Hubby to go pick the ripest, prettiest tomatoes he could find from the garden. I told him that I wanted to cook a tomato pie. He said, "A what?" I laughed and told him he'd like it! Most people don't know much about tomato pie unless their Grandmama made it. Quite frankly, I don't remember Mama or my Grandmama making a tomato pie. The first time I tried it was in Santee, SC at Lone Star Barbecue & Mercantile. That first taste was enough to inspire me to make them from then on! I finished the pie and offered a slice to him. He is now hooked! I was short on tomatoes because I had already processed a lot for sauce the day before, so this pie is a little pitiful. The next one will be more substantial! LOL

This is what I found on the counter this morning!
I think he liked it! LOL

  • 1 - 9 inch pie shell (or homemade pie crust, below)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 cups cheese I used a combination of Sharp Cheddar and Mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon Hot Sauce, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Pre-bake the pie shell in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned.

Lightly salt the chopped tomatoes and set them in a colander over a bowl to drain (I used my Easy Greasy Colander System.) while you are pre-baking the crust. Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the chopped tomatoes using paper towels.

Sprinkle a layer of chopped onion over the bottom of the pie crust. Spread the tomatoes over the onions. Sprinkle the basil over the tomatoes.

In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and freshly ground black pepper. Spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes.

Place in oven and bake at 350° until browned and bubbly, about 25- 30 minutes.

My pie crust was a little thin and rustic,
but it was not soggy. It was crispy and delicious!

Pie Crust:

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
8 Tbsp (1 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 to 4 Tbsp ice water

Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add half of the butter cubes and pulse about 6 times. Then add the other half of the butter cubes and pulse about 6 more times. You should have a mixture that resembles a coarse meal, with many butter pieces the size of peas. 
Work quickly with the dough, you don't want the processor to heat up and start to melt the butter.

Add a couple of tablespoons of ice cold water to the food processor bowl and pulse a couple of times. Then add more ice water, slowly, about a tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture just barely begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again. 

Remove the crumbly mixture from the food processor and place on a clean, smooth surface. Use your hands to press the crumbly dough together and shape into a ball. Work the dough just enough to just bring the dough together. Do not over-knead or your hands will overheat the dough and break down the butter. This will make the dough tough. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough.

Sprinkle the dough with a little flour. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (You can freeze the dough for several months until ready to use. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before using.)

When you are ready to roll out the dough, place it on a clean, smooth, lightly floured sheet of wax paper. (You can place it on a counter top, but I like to transfer the crust on the paper.) Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 12 inch circle, to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch thick.

As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking.

Place dough onto a 9-inch pie plate. (If you use the wax paper, it's ok for it to stick a little. I invert the paper over the pie plate and gently peel the wax paper from the dough.) Gently press down to line the pie dish with the dough. Crimp or pinch the dough around the top or press with the tines of a fork.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Bacon-Wrapped Teriyaki Chicken Livers and Chicken Bites

I was admiring a plate of fried chicken livers my friend Julia over at Julia's Southern Simply Southern blog cooked, and it made me think of my brother's creation of Bacon Wrapped Teriyaki Chicken Livers. For the liver haters out there, I also included Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites! Check out Julia's Southern Fried Chicken Livers on her page here... Southern Fried Chicken Livers.

Bacon-Wrapped Teriyaki Chicken Livers

1 lb. chicken livers
Approximately 8 oz. bacon (not thick cut)
Teriyaki sauce, Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste and Glaze
Kebab skewers

Wrap bacon around chicken liver, stretching the bacon to fit, if needed. Secure with a skewer. Repeat until skewer is full. Repeat with remaining chicken livers and skewers.

Pour teriyaki sauce over skewers, reserving about 1/4 cup. Marinate skewers for at least 4 hours, but no more than 8 hours.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place skewers on grill and baste with reserved teriyaki sauce. Cook until bacon is done about 7 minutes and flip skewers. Baste again with teriyaki sauce and cook for another 7 minutes making sure not to burn the bacon.

Bacon-Wrapped Teriyaki Chicken Bites

4 chicken tenders, cubed
1 package Bacon (not thick cut), cur in half
Kikkoman Teriyaki marinade
Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste and Glaze

Wrap bacon around chicken cube, stretching the bacon to fit, if needed. Secure with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining chicken cubes, bacon and toothpicks. Pour teriyaki sauce over chicken and marinate for at least 4 hours, but no more than 8 hours. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place chicken on grill. Cook until bacon is done on the bottom, about 7 minutes, and flip. Brush with teriyaki glaze and cook for another 7 minutes making sure not to burn the bacon. Add more glaze to taste. Plate and serve.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Easy Chicken and Rice Foil Packets

I was looking for an easy meal to make pretty quickly this past Sunday. I basically wanted a one pot type meal with minimal effort or clean up. I hate doing a lot of dishes after a meal. These foil packets are an easy week night meal for the family or can be quickly thrown on the grill on the weekend. Super easy clean up is also a plus!

1 can (10 1/2 oz) cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 teaspoons Greek seasoning
Salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
2 cups uncooked instant white rice
½ cup shredded carrot
½ cup fresh sweet peas
½ cup chopped onion
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 slices cooked bacon, coarsely chopped
1 ⅓ cups Colby Jack cheese
2 green onions, sliced (optional)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 4 (18x12-inch) sheets of heavy-duty foil. Spray with oil.

Measure 1/2 cup of the condensed soup, and set aside. In 4- cup glass measuring cup, mix remaining condensed soup, the chicken stock and 1 teaspoon of the seasoning; beat with whisk to blend. Add instant rice; stir and let stand about 8-10 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in carrots, onions and peas. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness. Season chicken with remaining 2 teaspoons seasoning; place on center of each sheet of foil. Dividing evenly, spoon rice and vegetable mixture around each chicken breast. Divide any remaining soaking liquid over tops of breasts. Spread 2 tablespoons reserved soup over each breast; evenly top with bacon and cheese.

Bring up 2 sides of foil so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2-inch fold; fold again, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal.

Place packets on a baking sheet.  Cook 30 minutes. Cut a slice in each packet to vent the steam. Carefully fold back foil, and garnish with green onions. For the grill: Heat gas or charcoal grill. Follow directions above for assembling the packets. Place packets on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 10 minutes. Rotate packs 1/2 turn; cook 9 to 10 minutes longer or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (at least 165°F).

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Mama's Coconut Cake

Mama's Coconut Cake has finally come back to reality. If anyone remembers this legendary cake, let me know. She never publicly released the recipe. Years ago, I asked around. People said they had the recipe, but theirs never measured up to the taste of hers. I remembered a secret step she added to hers, and I think I got it right, finally!!! 

This cake was Mama's pride and joy. She never gave anyone the "entire" recipe. She would give them the recipe but left one step out. They would fuss at her and tell her that it didn't taste the same! She would make one for them, (for free) but she kept the recipe for herself. She said that she figured it out and anyone else could too!

A while back, I had a man that received this cake for a high school graduation dessert contact me. He described the taste and texture. He told me that he had been in search of this cake for 36 years. I laughed, and told him it was Mama's recipe. He asked if I could try to duplicate it. That is when the journey began. At first, he didn't think I got it right. After a couple of busy days and forgetting about it, he tried another wedge. He was shocked at the transformation the cake had made. The cake layers had soaked up some of the filling leaving incredibly moist layers, creamy sweet filling, and a buttery cream cheese icing that melded into the perfect cake of his past. After 36 years, his cake nirvana moment! Just trying to make Mama proud!

For the cake layers:
1-1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
3-1/4 cups cake flour (sifted)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1 (13-1/2 ounce) can coconut milk
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons stirred, sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez)
5 egg whites
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 teaspoons pure coconut extract
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with shortening and flour the pan, discarding the excess.

Place shredded coconut in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped coconut, flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the coconut milk, cream of coconut, egg whites, vanilla, and coconut extracts until completely blended.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter on high speed until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and beat in the three whole eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the coconut milk mixture, to the creamed butter, starting and ending with the flour.

Divide batter equally into the three prepared pans. Bake the layers until they are light golden and set, and come out clean when pricked with a toothpick, approximately 35 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes. Cut around the edges with a pairing knife and remove the cakes to wire racks. Cool completely before moving forward with the recipe.

For the coconut filling:
1-1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt

Place shredded coconut in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped. Set aside.

In a medium to large saucepan, bring butter, cream, and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and sugar completely dissolved.

Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch, water, vanilla bean paste, and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl, then stir the mixture into the saucepan with the cream mixture. Bring cream back to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the mixture returns to a boil, cook for an additional minute or so, until just thickened.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the chopped coconut. Continue stirring for another minute or so to release some of the heat. Transfer the filling to a mixing bowl and cool at room temperature for an hour. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill, stirring occasionally, until cool, 3-4 hours (or overnight).

When ready to assemble the cake, beat the chilled filling with a handheld mixer on high speed until thick, light, and fluffy, approximately 1-2 minutes.

For the coconut frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons pure coconut extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (16 ounce) box confectioners' sugar

3 cups sweetened shredded coconut plus more as needed, for garnish

Place butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until light and creamy. Turn mixer on low and add coconut extract and vanilla, followed by the confectioners' sugar. Continue beating until smooth, about 3 minutes.

To assemble the cake: Place one cake layer on a large plate or cake stand and coat with half of the coconut filling. Add the second cake layer and cover with the remaining coconut filling. Add the third cake layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with a crumb coat of coconut frosting, followed by thicker layer. Thoroughly cover the frosted top and sides of the cake with shredded coconut, pressing gently to adhere it to the cake. For the cake to be the moist delicious cake of the past, let it rest overnight in the refrigerator. It gets better with time.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Strawberry Syrup

I had a request for strawberry syrup,
so I went to my friend Jay at Willard Farms

They smelled delicious, and the hubby could not resist eating a few off the top on the ride back home. Once home, the prepping begins. It takes quite a while to clean and chop two gallons of strawberries!

The syrup recipe is a simple one and can be used to make any flavor syrup you would like to try. I've made Blueberry and Blackberry already. Now strawberry, and I think I'll make cherry next. They are great to have on hand for pancakes, crepes, ice cream, yogurt and much more!

Basic Syrup

1 cup fruit
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water

Clean and chop fruit. Combine fruit water and sugar. Bring to a boil, then simmer until thickened.* (about 20-30 minutes) Cool and pour in jars. Store in the refrigerator or process in a water-bath for 10 minutes for pints and 15 minutes for quarts.
*The request I had for syrup was to leave the fruit in the syrup, but you can strain it out if you like.

I also made some strawberry ice cream using
Strawberry Ice Cream with Strawberry Syrup

Shared on Meal Plan Monday 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Blackberry Syrup

A little over a month ago I had a customer send me a message... " I ate some stuff at a place and you poured it out and it was like blueberry syrup and it had whole blueberries in it you could put it over pancakes it was like a syrup that you poured over pancakes and it was floating in blueberries you know how to make that?" Sure! I can do that! So he ordered 6 QUARTS of Blueberry Syrup! LOL

Apparently, that inspired him because he also wants 3 quarts of Blackberry Syrup and 3 quarts of Strawberry Syrup.

Blackberry Syrup with whole berries!

3 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup water

Add blackberries, sugar, lemon juice and water to a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and boil until the temperature reaches 225 degrees. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before use. Transfer to a quart jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

*You can process the quarts in a waterbath for 15 minutes and store in your pantry.

Blueberry Syrup

Blueberry Syrup

A little over a month ago I had a customer send me a message... " I ate some stuff at a place and you poured it out and it was like blueberry syrup and it had whole blueberries in it you could put it over pancakes it was like a syrup that you poured over pancakes and it was floating in blueberries you know how to make that?" Sure! I can do that! So he ordered 6 QUARTS of Blueberry Syrup! LOL
Usually it takes double the berries to make the amount of syrup you want, but since he wants whole berries in the syrup that helps with the volume. However, if you don't want the whole berries in your syrup, remember you will need twice the fruit for the yeild you want.

 This is 6 pounds of blueberries, water and sugar.

 Boil until the temperature reaches 225 degrees.

Yeilds 6 quarts of Blueberry Syrup
including whole berries.

Blueberry Syrup

  • 1 1/2 pounds blueberries
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a pot, combine the blueberries with 1 cup of the water. Crush the berries with a potato masher and bring to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Strain the juice into a heatproof measuring cup, pressing hard on the solids. Discard the solids or use for jam. Add the sugar and the remaining 3 cups of water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil the syrup over moderate heat until it registers 225 on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes. Add the blueberry juice and lemon juice and boil over high heat for 1 minute. Let the syrup cool. Pour the syrup into just-cleaned bottles. Seal and refrigerate for up to 6 months. *

*You can process the quarts in a waterbath for 15 minutes and store in your pantry.