Pie Crust

Judie’s Easy Pie Crust

Yield: 5 single pie crusts

4 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 ½ teaspoons salt

¾ cup butter

¾ cup shortening

½ cup water

1 egg

1 tablespoon vinegar

  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and shortening and cut in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together water, egg, and vinegar. Add to flour mixture and stir until mixture holds together. Dump out onto floured surface and use your hands to form into a round disk, about 1-inch thick. Use a pastry cutter or knife to cut disk into 5 even pieces. Form each piece into a flat disk and wrap with plastic wrap.
  3. Refrigerate dough at least 20 minutes before rolling out, or freeze to use later.

Judie’s Paella with Sausage, Chicken, and Shrimp

Judie’s Paella with Sausage, Chicken, and Shrimp

Yield: 4 big servings with leftovers

1 pound bulk sausage (I use Jimmy Dean regular)

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced (or to taste)

2 cups sliced mushrooms (optional)

½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Large pinch of saffron

1 tablespoon paprika

1, 15-ounce can whole tomatoes, hand-crushed

3 cups deboned deli chicken meat, chopped or torn into bite-size pieces

2 cups short-grain rice (Often suggested is Spanish rice, Bomba, but it’s easier to find Arborio.)

4 cups chicken stock plus more as needed

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup frozen peas or lima beans

24 raw large shrimp, peeled

 

  1. Brown sausage in a Paella pan or very large skillet. When done, remove to a platter. To the pan, add onion, garlic, and mushrooms and cook until soft. Add saffron and paprika and stir well to spread flavors.
  2. Add tomatoes and simmer until thickened and slightly caramelized. Add chicken and rice and stir to coat everything well. Stir in cooked sausage and chicken stock. Simmer over low heat for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring often and adding more stock if needed. (Cooking with rice is not exact – some rice may absorb more liquid than others.)
  3. When rice is tender, stir in peas and then place shrimp on top, pushing down into hot mixture. Cook 5 – 10 minutes, or until shrimp is done.
  4. Turn heat to medium and cook, without stirring, for a few minutes to allow the rice to form a crust on the bottom of the pan. This crust is called “socarrar,” which means “to toast.” Don’t worry if you omit this step – your paella will be  delicious no matter what.

Strawberry Pie

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Yield: 1, 9-inch pie to serve 6

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1, 3-ounce package dry strawberry gelatin

2 quarts whole strawberries, stemmed, washed and dried

1, baked pie crust (9-inch, deep-dish)

 

Place water, sugar, and cornstarch in a saucepan and whisk to combine. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, whisking often. Lower heat; whisk and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in gelatin. (If there are any lumps of cornstarch, pour mixture through a fine sieve.) Cool mixture. (If I’m in a hurry, I place the pan over a bowl of ice and whisk until cool.)

 

Place a layer of strawberries into the baked pie crust. Spoon cooled gelatin mixture over the berries. Add remaining strawberries. To make a smooth dome, cut a few berries in half and stack on the sides. Top with as much remaining gelatin mixture as needed for a generous glaze. Refrigerate at least an hour, but DON’T cover with plastic wrap – it will stick to the glaze.

 

 

 

Seven-Minute Icing

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Seven-Minute Icing

Yield: Frosting for two- or three-layer cake with lots of fluff on top

4 egg whites (1/2 cup)

3 cups white sugar

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

pinch of salt

2/3 cup water

2 teaspoons vanilla

Whisk together egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, salt, and water in the top of a double boiler. (If you don’t have a double boiler, use a stainless steel bowl placed on top of a saucepan of simmering water.) Before placing egg white mixture over simmering water, use an electric mixer (a hand-held mixer is essential here) beat on high speed 1 – 1 1/2 minutes.

Place over simmering water (don’t let the water touch the bottom of pan with egg white mixture). Beat on high speed for 7 minutes, while water simmers. This will cook the egg whites and thicken the icing.

Remove pan from heat and add vanilla. Beat 2 more minutes on high speed (off the simmering water). This will thicken and cool icing.

Use an 8-inch metal, offset spatula to fill and thickly frost cake. Pile remaining frosting on top of cake.  Yes! All of it!

Fig Preserves

The beginning of my yummy Fig Preserves.
The beginning of my yummy Fig Preserves.

 

This batch is made from whole figs. Beautiful and jewel-like when they cook down and get transparent.
This batch is made from whole figs. Beautiful and jewel-like when they cook down and get transparent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig Preserves

Yield: about 10 cups preserves

8 cups chopped figs

8 cups sugar

½ cup water or fresh lemon juice

half a lemon, thinly sliced

 

  1. Place figs, sugar, water, and lemon slices in a Dutch oven or other large pot and stir to combine. Place over medium heat and cook carefully until mixture begins to simmer, stirring every so often. Turn heat to low and cook, stirring very often, until figs are translucent, and syrup is thick. This will take 2 – 6 hours.* As mixture thickens, be sure to stir and scrape down the sides of the pan often to keep mixture from settling to the bottom and burning.
  2. Fill hot, sterilized jars with boiling figs and syrup to within ½ inch of the top. Wipe sealing edge clean and put on lids and rings. Tighten rings just to “finger tight” or just to snug. Process in boiling water bath for 12 minutes.

 

*I like to cook my fig preserves until they are very thick, up to 6 hours. You might like yours thinner. Sometimes I pick the figs, cut them up, and start the cooking process – maybe an hour or more of cooking. Then if I get busy, I take them off the fire, cover the pot, and just leave it on the counter overnight. The next morning I continue the cooking process, until they are really good and thick.

I also like to make some of my preserves “caramelized.” For this, I simply cook the fig mixture until it is dark and almost gooey. Just be very careful not to burn them – keep the fire very low and stir often.

Fig Preserves, sitting in my kitchen window.
Fig Preserves, sitting in my kitchen window.

Curried Chicken and Rice Salad

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Yield: 6 servings

Salad:

3 cups cooked rice, chilled (1 cup rice cooked in 2 cups water)

4 chicken breasts, poached, chilled and diced

1 green bell pepper, slivered

1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and chopped or

1, 2-ounce jar chopped pimentos

3 – 4 green onions, finely sliced

¼  cup minced fresh parsley

¼ cup golden raisins

Curried Dressing:

½ cup red wine vinegar

Juice of 1 large lemon, about ¼ cup

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

½ teaspoon pepper or to taste

¾ cup olive oil

1. In a large bowl, toss together cooked rice, chicken, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, green onions, parsley and raisins. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, ginger, sugar, curry powder, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly add olive oil. Pour dressing over salad ingredients and toss well. Serve room temperature or refrigerate until cold.

Bread Pudding

317266582a889ef789257c038c572541c1437a51Bread Pudding

Yield: 6 servings

8 cups stale French bread, broken into small pieces

2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

5 tablespoons butter, melted

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with vegetable oil.

2. Place bread in a large bowl and pour milk over it. Stir several minutes until all bread is soaked. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

3. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake 1 hour or until middle is set and top is golden brown. Serve with Butter Sauce.

Butter Sauce:

1/4 cup butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup cream

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and whisk until all butter is absorbed; remove from heat. Beat egg yolk into cream. Whisk egg yolk mixture into butter mixture, beating until smooth.

2. Heat and stir over low heat until hot. Pour over individual servings of warm bread pudding.

Warm Cherry Tomato Salad

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Warm Cherry Tomato Salad

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Wonderful served warm or cold.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 pints cherry tomatoes, rinsed and stems removed
6 green onions, sliced on an angle, or ½ cup finely chopped onion
2s red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and garlic and cook 2 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes and green onions; cook until tomato skins begin to burst. Add vinegar, salt, and pepper; stir a few times and remove from heat.
  3. Add parsley and toss to mix well.

Five Cup Fruit Salad

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Yield: 4 to 6 servings

So easy. Keep this ingredient list in your head so you can grab the items quickly in the grocery store.

 

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup mini marshmallows

1, 8-ounce can pineapple tidbits, drained

1, 8-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained

1 cup sour cream

  1. In a large bowl, combine coconut, marshmallows, pineapple tidbits, and mandarin oranges. Gently stir in sour cream.
  2. Refrigerate several hours.

Pull Apart Cinnamon Monkey Bread

Pull Apart Cinnamon Monkey Bread
Pull Apart Cinnamon Monkey Bread

Gooey Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

Yield: 12 to 16 servings

3, 10-ounce cans flaky refrigerated biscuits (such as Hungry Jack)

2 sticks butter

1 ½ cups brown sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 cup chopped pecan

1-Preheat oven to 300º.

2-Remove biscuits from cans and cut into quarters.* In a saucepan, heat butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until  butter is melted. Place half the biscuits in the bottom of a tube pan or bundt pan. Top with half the melted butter mixture. Repeat layers.

3-Bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.

*Cutting the biscuits into quarters is easy if you take a third of the roll at a time, lay it on its side and use a serrated knife to slice first in half and then slice each half in half.

One secret of having a very moist and gooey cake is to not over bake. Be sure to take this cake out of the oven after just 45 minutes!