Posts Tagged 'fruit'

Bitchin’ Kitchen’s Pink Grapefruit Meringue Pies


Joseph and I were days away from canceling our U-verse subscription a couple months ago. Then we discovered Food Network and the Cooking Chanel.

Bitchin’ Kitchen airs on the Food Network in the US and Canada and is adapted from Nadia G’s web series.  It took me a while to get used to the show, and I think I made at least five tweets complaining about her. But Joseph finally talked me into watching an entire episode, and I fell in love. Nadia G is funny, strange, beautiful (seriously, she is hard to look away from), and she really can cook.  She has an obvious passion for quality of food, but the show doesn’t take itself too seriously. It fits right along with our sense of humor, and it’s the only cooking show on TV that makes Joseph and I laugh. It is seriously bizarre and hilarious.


So a few weeks ago I for the first time was inclined to make a recipe I saw on TV–BK’s Pink Grapefruit Meringue Pies.  They are perfect! I will definitely be making these instead of boring old lemon meringue pies from now on. The dark chocolate graham cracker crust is divine with the citrus filling, and the meringue is not too sweet.

Pink Grapefruit Meringue Pies from Bitchin’ Kitchen”

20 graham crackers
½ cup semi-sweet dark chocolate, grated
¼ cup brown sugar
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

4 eggs at room temperature, yolks and whites separate
1 Tablespoon grapefruit zest
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
¼ cup freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups water
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
pinch salt
¼ teaspoon white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).

In a re-sealable bag, crush graham crackers. Transfer crushed graham crackers into a big bowl and mix in: dark chocolate shavings, brown sugar and melted butter. Line 4 4-inch pie molds with the crust mixture. Note: I used a food processor to crush my graham crackers and only needed to use about half the mixture.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, then cool.

In a bowl, combine 4 egg yolks, fresh pink grapefruit juice, fresh lemon juice, a pinch of pink grapefruit zest, and a pinch of lemon zest.

In a heavy saucepan mix water, cornstarch, 1 ¼ cups sugar, and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture thickens. Slowly add this mixture to the citrus-ey yolks.

Pour mixture back into the pot, reduce heat to low, add 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter and whisk for 8 more minutes, until very thick. Cover and refrigerate.

To 4 egg whites add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar, and 3 Tablespoons white sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form.

Heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).

Spoon citrus filling into graham cracker crust and top with lots of meringue. Bake for 10 minutes, until the meringues brown slightly.


I love the show so much I bought a t-shirt!

Favorite Summer Lunches

I go crazy for raw fruits and vegetables in the summer. In the colder seasons I love eating soup every day for lunch, but now that it’s warm out I find myself eating a plate full of fruit or a light salad with plenty of vegetables.

This is one of my favorites:

Sliced cucumbers, red onions, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese. I can sometimes find “Mediterranean-Spiced” feta that is really delicious. If I can’t find that, I’ll just use regular feta and drizzle everything in a little bit of Italian dressing. Then I garnish with lots of salt and pepper!


Can you tell I really love salt and pepper? This is a spicy salami sandwich with avocado slices.

Because this is low on pictures, here is a really silly photo of my husband:

One-Ingredient Ice Cream


Okay, so this really isn’t really ice cream. It’s much easier to make, does not require an ice cream maker, and is undeniably healthy. And it definitely has the same effect as ice cream on a hot summer day.


Your one ingredient: bananas. When frozen, they’re creamy and smooth like you wouldn’t believe. No artificial sweeteners–bananas do it all! They taste absolutely delicious when frozen; I don’t eat bananas any other way!


Chop the bananas and place in freezer until solid–an hour or two.


Put in blender or food processor.


Blend! You might have to stir with a fork a bit to make sure everything is touched. It will look crumbly for a while but eventually becomes creamy.


That’s it! You can add something if you want (it definitely doesn’t need it!). I added a bit of Nutella to half the batch just to test it out.


After I made it with bananas, I threw in some strawberries. Yum!  This is so, so simple and so tasty!

Ingredients:
Bananas and/or any other fruit
Optional: peanut butter, honey, chocolate spread

Cut fruit into small pieces and freeze for a few hours. Put pieces into a food processor or blender. Blend on high, occasionally stirring to make sure every piece is blended. Keep blending until smooth. Voila!

If desired, add extras like peanut butter or chocolate spread.

It may at first be smoother than you’d like, similar to frozen yogurt. If so, place in the freezer again until the desired consistency.

I can’t believe how long it took me to do this–I did it all the time as a kid! I had a kit (with a McDonald’s label on it, oddly enough) that made soft serve-style “ice cream” when you put the fruit in the top and turned a crank to blend it. I loved it with bags of mixed fruit. I saw this featured on The Kitchn and had major flashbacks.

Strawberry Shortcake

Thank you, Spring. Although Italians are crazy and are still wearing down coats, I actually comfortably went outside with a cardigan yesterday!
And… I found good strawberries! Again, thank you Spring.


Strawberry shortcakes are one of my favorites in warm seasons; I dream of them all winter! I’m not normally very big on fruit, but these are a great break from the heavy cupcakes and cookies usually found in my kitchen. Something is much more rewarding with strawberry shortcakes; a little prepared dessert satisfies me more than picking up a cupcake and trying to keep myself away for the rest of the day. Plus, I can trick myself into believing these are kind of good for my virtually fruit-less (but heavy in vegetables!) diet.

I actually posted this recipe once before but decided it deserved a re-post… and better photos. I’ve come far since then; I can’t believe I actually used FLASH on those earlier photos!

Recipe from the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook
Makes 8 small cakes

1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup cold butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ cup sour cream
2 Tbs milk
5 cups sliced strawberries
3 Tbs sugar
Whipped Cream

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly grease a baking sheet; set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, the ¼ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. In a small bowl combine egg, sour cream, and milk. Add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until moistened.

Drop dough into eight mounds into prepared baking sheet.* Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.

Meanwhile, combine 4 cups of the strawberries and the 3 Tbs sugar. If desired, mash berries slightly; set aside. To serve, split shortcakes in half; fill with strawberry mixture and whipped cream. Top with remaining sliced strawberries.

*Note For a whole shortcake, spread all the dough into a greased 8×1½-inch round baking pan. Bake in 400°F oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool. Cut into wedges and continue with directions in step 3.

Key Lime Pie

The second half of my day’s adventures in pies–Key Lime Pie! Burnt out from making the banana cream pies in my too-small kitchen, I used a prepared pie crust. This recipe is very, very easy! Really, anyone could make this. I didn’t even have to write down the recipe! I halved it and ended up with six miniature pies, and they all disappeared within the day (Joseph had four, I had two). I think I’ll keep this around as a go-to when we’re craving easy sweets.

Key Lime Pie from Allrecipes.com

1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust (or 12 miniature ones)

3 cups sweetened condensed milk

½ cup sour cream

¾ cup key lime juice

1 Tbs grated lime zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, combine condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice, and lime rind. Mix well and pour into graham cracker crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 5 to 8 minutes, until tiny pinhole bubbles burst on the surface of pie. Chill pie thoroughly before serving. Garnish with lime slices and whipped cream if desired.

Banana Cream Tarts

It’s been a big week for pies and tarts around here! I have been dying to make my grandmother’s chocolate pie again (I need to post the recipe here!), then decided to do some sort of berry pie; I asked Joseph what his favorite pie was and he said he liked banana cream pie and key lime pie. I’d never had either, so I had to make them both instead, on the same day!


Banana cream pie is now my absolute favorite dessert! I am going to have to make these again next week; hopefully the meringue will fluff next time.


I made these in my six-inch tart pans with removable bottoms.

Nilla Wafer Crust
40 Nabisco Nilla Wafers, finely crushed. I placed mine in a bag and beat them with a rolling pin
¼ butter or margarine, melted
1 Tbs sugar

Throughly mix wafer crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press into even layer against bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate or three 6-inch tart pans. Bake at 375F (190C) for 6-8 minutes.

I ended up having to make a completely different pastry crust from scratch half-way through cooking the cream because this recipe only filled three tart pans.  Maybe I just make my crust extra-thick, but you might want to prepare to have extra cookies in case you run out of crust.

Banana Cream Pie from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook
Pastry shell of your choice
4 eggs
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
2 ½ cups half-and-half, light cream, or milk
1 Tbs butter or margarine
1 ½ tsp vanilla
3 medium bananas

Prepare crust of your choice. Set aside yolks for filling and whites for meringue.

Preheat over to 325F (165C). For filling, in a medium saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in half-and-half. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly; reduce heat. Cook and stir for two minutes more. Remove from heat. Slightly beat egg yolks with a fork. Gradually stir about one cup of the hot filling into yolks. Add egg yolk mixture to saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat. Cook and stir for two minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Keep filling warm and prepare meringue.

Arranged sliced bananas along bottom of crust. Pour cream on top and spread with meringue. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack one hour. Chill for 3 to 6 hours before serving. Who am I kidding? I ate these immediately!

Meringue
4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup sugar

Beat egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl until soft peaks form, about one minute. Gradually add sugar, beating on high speed about four minutes more or until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks and sugar dissolves. Spread over hot pie filling.

Tips: Learn from my mistake–do not use a plastic bowl! I’ve made meringue successfully once, with a glass bowl. Always use a thoroughly dried glass or metal bowl. My meringue did not form stiff peaks, partially because I don’t have a proper beater (I use a little bitty electric egg beater! I’m waiting for when I move to the US and can buy a KitchenAid Artisan mixer!), but mainly because I only had plastic bowls. It tasted just the same but didn’t look quite as nice.

Next up: the Key Lime Pies I made on the same day!

Strawberry Shortcakes

I’ve made these strawberry shortcakes a few times, and they’re so good! Easy and taste much better than store-bought shortcakes, plus they look pretty impressive! They’d be a great way to wrap up the summer.

 

 

Strawberry shortcake, Recipe from the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook

1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup cold butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ cup sour cream
2 Tbs milk
5 cups sliced strawberries
3 Tbs sugar
Whipped Cream

1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly grease a baking sheet; set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, the ¼ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. In a small bowl combine egg, sour cream, and milk. Add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until moistened.

2. Drop dough into eight mounds into prepared baking sheet.* Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.

3. Meanwhile, combine 4 cups of the strawberries and the 3 Tbs sugar. If desired, mash berries slightly; set aside. To serve, split shortcakes in half; fill with strawberry mixture and whipped cream. Top with remaining sliced strawberries.

 

*Note For a whole shortcake, spread all the dough into a greased 8×1½-inch round baking pan. Bake in 400°F oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool. Cut into wedges and continue with directions in step 3.

Vintage Crystals and Sweet Breads with Fruit

My mother-in-law gave me one of the most beautiful necklaces I have ever seen for my birthday this year!  I am so sad I have no place to wear it, but I occasionally take it out of its box and stare at it.

Isn’t it just beautiful?  It has been handed through my husband’s family for about 60 years.  Apparently one of my by-marriage relatives wore it when she met Jackie O the day before JFK’s assassination.  A depressing story, but interesting nonetheless!

I am sad I have nowhere to wear this now, but I think it will make the first time I wear the necklace more fun!

Today I made one of my favourite treats–fruit brioches!  I made one batch with blueberry and one with mixed fruit.

Mixed fruit – blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries:

Blueberries:

Recipe

(altered slightly from ccroft’s post on LiveJournal)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1½ cups frozen blueberries (or fruit of choice)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • powdered sugar, to dust

Put the warm water in a small bowl and add yeast and sugar. Set aside for 7 minutes for the yeast to activate.

In a large mixing bowl combine the yeast mixture, salt, milk, eggs, butter, sugar, and 2 yolks. Fold in flour until mixture is dough-like.

Sprinkle the benchtop with flour and knead the dough until smooth.  Dough will be very sticky, so be sure to have a lot of extra flour on hand.

Lightly brush a bowl with oil, place dough mixture in bowl, cover with plastic food wrap and leave to stand in a warm place for about an hour and a half. When dough has risen, knead again for a few minutes and roll into a rectangle.

Sprinkle frozen fruit evenly across the dough, then sprinkle the brown sugar on top.

Preheat oven to 190°C (374°F).  Grease a large 12-hole muffin tin, being sure to grease the top. Roll dough vertically (bottom to top, not lengthways) into a log and cut it into 2-3 inch portions. Place portions spiral-side up in tins. Let them sit for 15 minutes. If you like, sprinkle with additional brown sugar.

 

Bake for 20 minutes. Serve sprinkled with icing sugar.  Makes 9-12 muffin-sized rolls.

 

 

Because I know working with dough is intimidating for some, I’ve included photos for step-by-step instructions after the jump!

Continue reading ‘Vintage Crystals and Sweet Breads with Fruit’


Jabberwocky

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

%d bloggers like this: