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August 8, 2009 in recipes that make me squee2 comments

recipes that make me squee #1

Welcome to the inauguration of recipes that make me squee: the coolest food stuff I’ve found on the interwebs this week. I love reading what other folks are up to, and I try to pick out my very favorites — narrowing it down is hard, I’ve discovered — and share them.

Read more on recipes that make me squee #1…

August 4, 2009 in desserts, PIE4 comments

currant chiffon pie

currant chiffon pie

Oh man. You have to try this. Currant chiffon pie. If you don’t have currants, sub another juice like lemon, orange, or grape or raspberry or…anything. Just make this pie, once in your life. It’s creamy, fluffy, melty, and tart, the perfect foil for a flaky pastry crust or graham cracker crust.

Seriously. Dude. Eat this pie and die happy.

currant chiffon pie, in the pan

This pie will drive you to eat when you’re not hungry. One slice is good, two better, three divine. Consume only in public or with other safeguards nearby.

reverse engineering a mid-twentieth century recipe

Grandma (Dad’s mom) used to make this currant pie, in a convenience-food version using lemon Jell-O and Dream Whip. I wanted to recreate it using less-processed foods, and it was a bit of a challenge at first.

First, we always called it currant cream pie.

Reseaching cream pies on the internet taught me three things:

1. Always turn on SafeSearch when googling phrases like “cream pie.” I cannot emphasize this enough.

2. It wasn’t a cream pie. It was a chiffon pie.

currant-gelatin mixture, ready for the fridge

3. No currant juice-specific pie recipes exist anywhere on the intertubes. They all used whole berries. Which didn’t make sense to me, as currants have nasty raspberry-like seeds. And you know what I think of those.

I turned to a cookbook I always seem to forget about: the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook. It’s not trendy, vegetarian, whole grain, or frou frou, so it languishes on the shelf. What it does have, however, is basic recipes for everything, in spades. And it had a few chiffon pie recipes. The ones closest to my needs were a lemon chiffon pie and an orange chiffon pie.

The first currant chiffon pie. It looks much like the second one, except the second didn't last long enough to get a whole-pie pic

Currants are not as tart as lemons, nor as sweet as orange juice, so I had to play with the sugar amounts a bit. The recipes also differed in that one called for 4 eggs, one for 3. So I did a trial run, with 4 eggs and a cup of sugar. It filled a 10-inch pie plate to the brim, but was a bit sweet and a bit eggy.

So I tried again, with the result here, using 3 eggs and 3/4 cup sugar. Dad and I agreed you could cut another 1/8 to 1/4 cup of sugar for more tartness.

on the bright side, you’ll master beating egg whites and whipping cream

The dry ingredients for currant chiffon pie.

Chiffon pies rely on gelatin for stability…

Beaten egg whites for the currant chiffon pie, ready to be folded in

Whipped cream for currant chiffon pie, ready to be folded into the currant-gelatin-egg whites mixture

…and most add some Look! The egg whites are folded in!

In this recipe you’ll do all those, plus Read more on currant chiffon pie…

August 3, 2009 in gluten-free, how to, salad9 comments

kohlrabi and apple salad with honey yogurt dressing

kohlrabi and apple salad

I know, I know, you’re just antsy for that currant chiffon pie. Because there are no recipes for currant chiffon pie in existence (Google tells me so) I had to tweak from recipes for inferior fruits like lemon and orange. As a result, the first pie (yesterday) was good, but I decided it could be better, and I just shoved the adjusted-recipe version into the fridge.

In the meantime, comfort yourself with a nice, healthy salad. Ha ha.

There’s this gigantic, wizened old apple tree in the front yard. This tree is so ancient no one remembers what kind of apples grow on it, only that they’re tart, ripen really early, get soft quickly, and make good applesauce. As a result, not much usually gets done with them.

At the same time, the second planting of kohlrabi is coming ripe. You know what kohlrabi is, don’t you? Here’s my lovely aunt Linda holding one up for professional photography. You know it’s professional because the wind was blowing so hard this was the only place the leaves weren’t being twisted into even more alien shapes I put the gas tanks and grain bins distractingly behind the kohlrabi on purpose. *nods* (Also, she cherishes her anonymity on the Internet, but she never gets to read this, so let’s not tell her, shall we?)

run for the hills! the kohlrabi are invading!

Everyone seems to think it’s some mystery vegetable. I always had it growing up, so that surprised me. What? Your life experiences differ from mine?

Kohlrabi likes cool temperatures, produces 1 bulb and 1 bulb only, and that above ground. That’s it. It blows its wad making this one not-very-big chunk of vegetation that tastes a bit like cabbage and jicama, and a bit (only a bit) sweet.

what do i do with this green-tentacled space alien?

To prepare kohlrabi, pull off the stems and cut off the root, leaving the bulb. I’m told the leaves may be cooked like other greens but I’ve never tried it.

how a kohlrabi looks as it's being peeled

Now peel off the green outside. It’s soft and not very deep. The end of the kohlrabi near the root tends to get woody, especially near the outside, and especially on kohlrabi that have been neglected and allowed to grow a tad too big, like this one. See the area in the bottom of the pic where the kohlrabi flesh looks stripey and a bit yellower? That’s going to be tough and woody, and you may as well cut it off unless you’re really hurting for fiber.

slicing kohlrabi

One the kohlrabi is peeled, you can cut it up however you want. I like to cube it for straight up snacking, but for this recipe I sliced it thin and then cut it into matchsticks.

Kohlrabi, in matchsticks. Don't they look like those salty potato snacks? Boy are you in for a surprise!

You know, I like how coleslaw kind of mushes up the cabbage a bit when it’s been made for a day or two. I decided I don’t like that mushing effect with this salad, though. If you like your apples and kohlrabi to have a nice crunch, plan on eating this the same day.

The black pepper, of all things, brings out the apple flavor in this salad. I don’t know why, but that bit of spice in the creamy honey yogurt makes it swoon-worthy. Read more on kohlrabi and apple salad with honey yogurt dressing…

August 1, 2009 in rude taunting4 comments

raspberries, to make you jealous

raspberries, just picked

I’m about to whip up some currant chiffon pie for you, but I thought I’d do some jealous-making first. Looky these raspberries, just picked from the bushes in the yard. Read more on raspberries, to make you jealous…