Thursday, March 29, 2012

Oreo Cheesecake

We have friends coming this weeknd to stay with us while we "girls" take a watercolor painting class at John Campbell Folkschool next week. I'll be helping with and taking the class. We'll definitely have quick and easy suppers. Here is one of the desserts I'm making. It's always a hit and sooo easy! See my note at the end of the recipe!

EASY Oreo Cheesecake
2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
6 Oreos, chopped
1 Oreo pie crust

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs; mix just until blended. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped cookies.

Pour into crust. Sprinkle with remaining chopped cookies. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

Helen's tips: For company, I make this in a 9x13-inch pan. It's so good that everyone appreciates leftovers.  I combine 20 Oreos (crushed in the food processor) and 3 tablespoons butter. Press it in the bottom of a glass  9x13-inch pan. Then double the filling ingredients and pour over the crust. Bake for about 40 minutes. Cut into squares to serve.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

More Pie

OK, I could already hear some of you moaning about how yuummy Cousin Sherry's recipe sounds but how much WORK it is! So, this one is for those of you who are more busy than you need to be!!
It's called Impossible Pie because it makes it's own crust... impossible, you say! Yes, it does - well sort of crust! If you're in a hurry, this will fill your sweet tooth!!

Impossible Pies
Makes two 9-inch pies

1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing pie pans
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 cup self-rising flour
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups milk

Preheat the oven to 350° and butter two 9-inch glass pie plates.

In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter with the sugar. Add the eggs and beat until smooth. Stir in the flour, coconut and milk. Divide the mixture between the pie plates and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 1 hour, until the pies are firm to the touch and golden. Transfer the pies to a rack and cool completely before serving.

The pies can be refrigerated overnight. Return them to room temperature before serving.

No self-rising flour? Use 1/2 cup all-purpose and add 3/4 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  See, I anticipated your next question!

Coconut Cream Pie

Whoever said being retired was boring was just plain WRONG! I seem to stay even more busy than ever (Of course, I have less energy also!). The past weeks have been a whirlwind of driving back and forth to Atlanta (2 hrs each way) for knee injections, staying overnight with my darling daughter and granddaughter (3 nights) and buzzing around here in between! WHEW! Not even time to post a recipe!
The Riley Family Cookbook is ready to leave my house and head to the printer as soon as Cousin Carvin, the graphic artist, finishes the cover. So, my typing and reading recipes is almost over.. except for when they send the entire book back for final proofing before printing! Anyway, this recipe arrived via e-mail last week from Cousin Sherry in Texas and doesn't is just sound delicious??? I HAD to share it with you especially since to day is PI Day (3.14)! ENJOY while I catch my breath!!

Sherry’s Coconut Cream Pie  
4  egg yolks, reserve egg whites
1 c.  flaked coconut  
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
2 ¼ c.  milk
2/3 c.  cream of coconut
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. butter, unsalted
Baked pie crust

Combine cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan.  Stir in milk a little at time to prevent lumps. Add coconut cream, stirring constantly until bubbly and thick. 

In a small bowl stir egg yolks.  Slowly add some of the hot filling, (stirring quickly) to temper (warm) the egg yolks.  Then add this to the pan and stir well.  Bring to a boil to continue thickening.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla and butter.  Stir.  Fold in the coconut.  Transfer custard filling to a bowl and place over ice to cool .  Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of filling to keep the top from forming a crusty layer.

Once filling is cool you can pour into a baked pie crust.

4 egg whites
1/2 c. sugar

In large bowl combine the egg whites and sugar with a whisk. Place bowl over a pan of boiling water and stir constantly until sugar has melted. Remove from heat and mix with a mixer on low for a minute or so, then increase to high speed.  Whip until stiff peaks form.  Pile in the middle of the pie filling and spread out to the edges. Be sure the meringue touches the edge of the crust.  Top with coconut flakes for decoration and place under the broiler to lightly brown the meringue.  Let pie cool and refrigerate.

* Lightly toast some of the coconut and sprinkle over top of meringue.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Honey Roasted Root Vegetables

I'm still back to warm and cozy winter comfort foods. I love it when the oven warms the kitchen and the cooking aromas fill the air. Of course, my kitchen is in the middle of my house and there's not much chance of getting away from it. When the aroma is pleasant and the warmth spreads, it is especially nice.

I stopped by the grocery on the way home from church in the wind, snow flurry (literally 2 flakes!) and cold to find not one zucchini!  But there were plenty of root vegetables. This recipe was perfect tonight for supper and there are leftovers for later. Double good! Substitute your favorite root vegetables... all carrots, sweet potatoes or a mixture of the ones listed.. whatever you like. I think you'll like this recipe.

Honey Roasted Root Vegetables

2 cups coarsely chopped peeled sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped turnip roots or rutabagas
1 1/2 cups chopped parsnip
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 red onion (or yellow) cut into chunks
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon rosemary,  optional

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Combine ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread vegetable mixture on a lightly greased large flat pan (jelly roll pan or 10x15-inch). Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

How easy is THAT?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Italian Pot Roast

Just when we were enjoying "spring-like" sunshine and warm temperatures, winter blasted through again. We exited church today to find sunshine and snowflakes blowing in gale force winds! What a crazy winter this has been. The good thing about it is that this is perfect weather for comfort food. We ate supper with our dear friends the other night and she shared her recipe with me. I have to pass it along to you because it is perfect for a cold wintry day/night. Anna is my "Southern Ina Gartin". Her table is always beautifully set with linens, crystal, china, silver and a centerpiece (and usually candles) even for a simple meal. In addition, she's an amazing cook and master of pie crust! If I can't live in the Hamptons near Ina, let me live in the mountains near Anna!

 Italian Pot Roast

2T. olive oil
1 (3-4lb.) chuck roast
1 large finely chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1 C dry red wine
1 C beef broth
1 (15oz.) can tomato sauce
2 (6oz.) cans tomato paste
1 t salt
1 t dried basil
1 t sugar
1 t hot sauce
12 oz. uncooked linguine
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese

* See note before starting.

Pour oil into a 6qt. pressure cooker place over medium-high until hot. Add roast and cook until browned on all sides. Remove roast and set aside. Add onion, garlic to cooker and cook, stirring
constantly, until onion is tender. Add red wine and next 7 ingredients, and return roast to cooker.

Cover with lid and seal securely; cook accordingly to pressure cooker for 45 minutes. * See note!!

Cook pasta, serve meat and sauce over drained pasta. Sprinkle with cheese. Yield 6.

Anna's Notes: When I made mine, I browned the meat, following all the directions except for the pressure cooker. I baked mine in the oven until tender. I also did not use the tomato paste. I added 1Tbls. Essence of Provence. It had just a little lavender in it.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Endings and New Beginnings

This was a week of opposites. I was released from my job as recipe tester/Home Economist for the GA Dept of AG yesterday. It was sad (sort of) that after 8 years of testing 5 recipes per month for them, I suddenly have no deadline. They re-organized the department and I was expecting the call, so it was not a total surprise.

Today, the mail delivered a prize that I won on another blog ( The book is a cookbook (pictured above) and is an absolute delight! It is filled with lovely, light, enticing pictures as well as fresh recipes. The author has included personal notes about her life in France and the influences of her childhood that led her to this place. She is an intriguing story teller. So, the book becomes a visual treasure, a cooking inspiration and a fun read for tales of growing up in France.

Check out her website/blog, especially this recipe for Raspberry Lime Custards.

Endings and new beginnings.. that's what life is all about. It's been one of "those" weeks for me.