Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Welcome To The Mind Of Rosie. And Coconut Cream Pie.


The other day, Rosie was trolling on Facebook, chatting up her imaginary friends, and one friend... let's call her... "Debbie," asked Rosie, "Rosie, do you have great recipe for a delicious coconut cream pie you would share?"

Well, no I didn't.  But now I do.

As you know, Rosie loves a challenge.
So she had to come up with a coconut cream pie recipe.

 A good pie starts with a good crust, and I got that in spades.
 Pie Crust
1/2 pack graham crackers (Use Nabisco, not Food Lion.  There is a difference.  Rosie Note:  There's a BIG difference in chocolate chips, too.  Use Nestle's!  Not Food Lion.)
1 dozen ginger snaps  (I use Murray's.)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
Process well and press into 9" deep dish pie pan.
I use plastic wrap and a mini rolling pin to get an even crust.

Lightly toast 2 cups coconut flakes. 

For the pie:
 I'm calling this my "Coconut Pudding Pie" because of the consistency.
And after some Monday morning quarterbacking, I think I know what should have been added to give the pie just a bit more body.  Not that anything is wrong with this pie.  It's delicious.  But some people may want something a little sturdier.  Not to worry.  Rosie's got your back.

Rosie's Coconut Pudding Pie
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Combine all ingredients.  Stir to dissolve sugar.  Heat over low heat, stirring, until boiling.

4 egg yolks, beaten

Slowly drizzle about 2 cups of the hot cream mixture into the beaten yolks, whisking constantly.
This is called "tempering" the yolks.  You want to slowly bring up the temperature of the eggs without scrambling them.  Pour yolk mixture back into cream mixture and stir in:

1/3 cup homemade vanilla pudding mix

Rosie Note:  I happened to have a zip-lock bag of homemade pudding mix (recipe below*) in my fridge and thought this would be an ideal time to use it. 

Another Rosie Note:  Now here's where my Monday morning quarterbacking comes in:  In addition to this homemade custard mix, I would whisk in:

1/3 cup cornstarch

I think the additional cornstarch would give the pie the extra thickening quality and tighter consistency which some might desire.

Bring mixture to simmer over low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture starts to thicken.  Be patient and keep whisking.  Maybe 10 or so minutes.  Until pudding starts to boil.  Whisk faster for another minute.

Remove from heat.

Stir in:
1 TB vanilla
2 TB unsalted butter 
1 cup toasted coconut

Pour into prepared crust.  Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface to prevent a film forming on the pudding.  Refrigerate overnight.

Sprinkle remaining toasted coconut over top.

*Rosie's Homemade Vanilla Pudding Mix
 Vanilla pudding mix:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp kosher salt
2 whole vanilla beans 

Whisk together the sugar, dry milk powder, cornstarch, and salt.
Split open vanilla beans and scrape seeds into sugar mixture, whisking to combine evenly.  
Cut pods into pieces, place in airtight container, and add sugar mixture.  Mix well to combine.
Store in fridge.

Now, if you want to know why I keep homemade vanilla pudding mix in my fridge, wonder no more.
Rosie makes a kick-ass Rum Cake, which uses said pudding mix.

And an even kicker-ass Rummy Fruity Bundt Cake


Now, for the step-by-steps.
Slowly whisk the hot cream mixture into the beaten egg yolks.
You don't want to cook the eggs.  Just heat 'em up.
 Return the yolk mixture to the pan and whisk in the vanilla pudding mixture and the cornstarch.

 Cook to thicken, whisking constantly.
Stir in some toasted coconuts.

 Pour hot mixture into prepared crust.

 Cover and refrigerate.
 Try and wait 24 hours for it to set.
Patience, Little One.  Patience.
 And here's your reward!

Thanks to "Debbie" for the inspiration!

And if anybody else has any requests, please meet me on Facebook or e-me at RosieHawthorne@gmail.com.  Thanks!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Rosie Makes Shrimp Bisque And Some Other Stuff.

  It's a lazy Sunday and I'm hungry.
 I have some cooked shrimp in the fridge, so I'm going to wing shrimp bisque.

Whenever I'm making something, I generally pick and choose my ingredients.  Unless you're baking cookies or a cake where actual chemistry is involved and amounts need to be measured, you can pretty much pick and choose as you go along.  Take some of this, a little bit of that, add it together, season it, and there ya go. Always taste test throughout.

Hope you enjoy it!

Rosie's Shrimp Bisque
2 handfuls cooked shrimp, peeled
vegetable broth

1 TB olive oil
1 TB unsalted butter
1 small onion
2 celery stalks
2 large mushrooms
2 TB flour
2 cup skim milk
1 cup cream
sherry, to taste
fresh herbs - tarragon, chives, scallions, parsley
sweet red bell pepper, minced

Finely chop onion, celery, and mushrooms.
Heat butter and oil over medium heat and sauté the vegetables 2-3 minutes.
Add flour and cook another minute, stirring, to cook the raw taste out.
Slowly whisk in milk, cooking, and letting it thicken.  
Stir in cream.  Heat through.

In a processor, purée shrimp, with enough vegetable broth until smooth.
Reserve a few whole shrimp to top bisque with.

Add shrimp purée to soup mixture.
Add sherry, to taste.  I used 2 tablespoons.
Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.

Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with a whole shrimp or two, and sprinkle some pretty green herbs and minced red pepper over top.

I like to add some oyster crackers for some crunch.

I didn't stop with the bisque.
I wanted more!

So I made some fried mozzarella and red onion rings.
You gotta try this.
First slice some red onions.
Then squish some fresh mozzarella in between the rings.
It must be the good, fresh mozzarella from the deli.  Not the ubiquitous bricks in the dairy aisle.
Place prepared slices in the freezer for 30 minutes or so.

Then take the onion and mozzarella pieces and give it the 3-bath treatment.
First dredge through flour seasoned with kosher salt and pepper, shaking off excess,
then drop into a beaten egg bath and let it drain off a bit,
then drag it through some panko breadcrumbs.
Fry in 350° peanut oil on each side until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels.
And dig in!

Ooey-gooey cheese.  Crisp crust.
What's not to love?
I'll be making these again.  And again.

And then I had a proper meal - fried oysters, homemade coleslaw, homemade tartar sauce, homemade cocktail sauce.

The oysters were freshly shucked, then tossed in flour with freshly cracked black pepper, a bit of paprika, and a little dried mustard powder.  Lightly fried in 350° peanut oil (Don't crowd the pan!) for about a minute, then drained.

Coleslaw - Shredded cabbage, carrot, and green pepper.
Toss with dressing, cover, and let sit in fridge for at least 30 minutes for flavors to meld.

Coleslaw Dressing:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 TB sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp sugar
1 TB cider vinegar
few shakes of Lawry's seasoned pepper
pinch kosher salt
Mix all ingredients.  Pour over slaw mixture.  Toss to coat evenly.

Rosie's Tartar Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 TB sweet relish
1/2 - 1 tsp chopped capers
1 heaping TB chopped red onion
2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon

Combine all ingredients.
If you don't have fresh tarragon in your herb garden, not to worry.  Substitute with fresh parsley and/or chives, which is a totally different flavor, but quite doable.

Rosie's Cocktail Sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 TB+ horseradish
2 tsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 TB lemon juice

For extra oomph, I like to press the liquid out of my horseradish.  More heat to the mix.
Combine all ingredients casually.  You don't need a homogeneous mixture.  I prefer pockets of flavors.  You dip into one section and get a few flavors here, then dip into another section and get more flavors there.  Add more horseradish if you like sinus-cleaning.  I do.

Rosie Note:  None of these amounts are etched in stone.  Taste test as you go along.  Make it yours!

Bon appétit!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Mr. Hawthorne Makes Butternut Squash Soup.

It's soup weather.
And Mr. Hawthorne is making Butternut Squash Soup.

I had a bunch of volunteer butternut squash popping up in the vegetable garden behind the house.  This is because I'm basically lazy and didn't bother to actually walk across the yard to the compost piles to dump stuff.  So last winter, I just threw stuff off the back deck into the garden area below (I call it my po' white trash compost pile.), tilled it in the spring, and voila!  I have butternut squash this fall.

By the way, my Hawthornelets loved this soup! 
And we're talking one vegan and two vegetarians. 
I know.  I know...  Where did I go wrong???

Mr. Hawthorne's Butternut Squash Soup              
1 butternut squash, peeled and seeded
1 medium onion
2 medium potatoes
2 carrots
1 celery stalk
some olive oil
vegetable stock 
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Peel and seed squash. 
Dice all vegetables.
In medium stock pan, toss diced vegetables in oil to coat and sauté for 2-3 minutes over medium heat.
Cover with vegetable stock and slow simmer for about an hour, until vegetables are tender.
Purée all with immersion blender, adding more stock if you want to thin it out a bit
Season with salt and pepper.

Peel the squash and scoop out the seeds and pulp.

         Start dicing.
You want a uniform dice.
Sauté in olive oil.  Mr. Hawthorne likes to use a combination of both olive oil and butter, but left the butter out for the vegan.

Cover the vegetables with vegetable broth and simmer away.

Takes about 45-60 minutes until tender.

Process with immersion blender.

If you don't have an immersion blender, 
use a regular blender and just process a cup or so at a time.
You don't want an explosion here.

Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.

I love a good soup!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Rosie Makes Butterscotch Pudding Pie.

In case you haven't noticed, Rosie has a sweet tooth.
And lately she's been obliging it.
Today, I'm making a butterscotch pudding pie to satisfy that urge and scratch that itch.

Butterscotch Pudding Pie

For the crust:
1 package graham crackers
1 dozen ginger snaps
1 cup coconut
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
Combine well and press into an 8" square pan evenly.  Bottom and up the sides. 
Bake in a 325° for 20-25 minutes.  Until it smells good. Let cool.

For the pudding:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
7 oz. skim milk
1 oz. heavy cream
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 TB sugar

In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, melt butter.  Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and throw in the bean for good measure.  Cook, swirling, until butter smells nutty, about 3 minutes.  Add brown sugar and cook until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.  Stir in cream milk, and salt.  Bring to simmer and remove from heat.

Whisk yolks, cornstarch, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth.  Gradually stir  hot cream mixture through a strainer into yolks, whisking constantly.  Reserve vanilla bean. (See notes.)  Pour mixture back into sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until custard thickens and bubbles - 5-6 minutes.

Remove from heat and remove vanilla bean.  Transfer mixture to blender and process at low speed until smooth and silky.  Pour into prepared crust and chill until set.

Rosie Notes:   
1)  Notice I used 7 oz. skim milk and 1 oz. whipping cream.  That's because I always have skim and cream on hand.  You could substitute 1 cup whole milk instead. The 7:1 ratio approximates whole milk.
2)  Save the whites for a soufflé.  Here's just one of many I've done.
3)  Rinse and dry off the vanilla beans.  Place in a container with sugar and save.  Vanilla-flavored sugar is a wonderful thing! 

Now, for the step-by-steps:
 Mix the crust mixture until well-combined.
Press evenly into an 8 x 8-inch baking dish.
Bake and let cool.

Now for the custard:

You want to cook that butter until lightly browned and nutty.
Infuse the vanilla bean flavor in it.
Add the brown sugar.

Add the cream and milk.

Stir over medium low heat until the sugars dissolve.

Pour the hot cream mixture through a strainer into beaten egg yolks...
...whisking constantly so you don't get scrambled eggs.

Return to heat and let thicken, whisking.

I evened up the crust mixture around the sides a bit and used it to sprinkle over the custard.

Now THAT's a butterscotch pie!