Crab Pie

I have loved seafood since I was very small. When I was two years old, Mother and Daddy moved with me to New Orleans, LA for Daddy to work in the shipyards during WWII.  He worked a night shift and would meet the shrimp wagons on the street on his way home.  He often brought fresh shrimp home which Mother cooked for his “supper” after work.  But this was my breakfast time and I had shrimp for breakfast!  Now, most of my family loves any kind of seafood, especially shrimp and crab.  Living on the Texas Gulf Coast helps as well!  This pie is made from tender lump crabmeat and tastes like crab cakes!

 Crab Pie

  • 1 lb. lump crabmeat
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Cup mayonnaise (I use the lighter Mayo with Olive Oil)
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 8 oz. shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 8 oz. Shredded Swiss Cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (white)
  • 1/3 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 2-ounce jar pimientos
  • 2 Nine Inch Deep Dish Pie Shells
  • 1 finely chopped jalapeno

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine eggs, flour, mayonnaise, and milk in a bowl and mix well.  Without breaking up the crab lumps, gently stir in the rest of the ingredients and set aside.  Bake pie shells at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, remove from oven and spoon crab mixture evenly into pie shells.  Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Garden Vegetable Pie

There are a variety of recipes for pies or tarts using summer vegetables. I find some in my cookbook collection; many more are found online. Some recipes use a crust for the pie, others do not. A combination of eggs and cheese makes the dish set up so that it can e sliced into wedges.  Some would say that makes this a fritttata or crustless quiche, but plain old pie works just fine for me. Almost any assortment of fresh vegetables can be combined but I got great responses last week when I took this zucchini pie to a friend’s home. The entree was roasted pork tenderloin, and guests were asked to bring salad, vegetable, fruit, and dessert. The combination of pork, spinach salad, fruit salad, and this vegetable pie was delicious and hearty. We almost did not need Key Lime Pie for dessert, but it was yummy, too.

Garden Vegetable Pie

4 tablespoons butterhalf

1/2  onion, diced

2 ears sweet corn, kernels removed

2 large zucchini, sliced very thinly (about 4 cup

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

12 ounces shredded cheese (I used white cheddar)

4 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the butter in a large, deep skillet. Add onions and zucchini. While the veggies saute, cut the corn kernels off the cob. Add them to the pan and continue to saute for another 5 minutes.. Remove from heat.

Once the mixture has cooled for a few minutes, stir in basil, oregano, salt, cheese, and the beaten egg. Line a pie pan (9-inch or larger) with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Arrange a few zucchini slices so they lay flat and look nice. Top with a little extra cheese, cover with greased foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes to brown the top. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into slices.

Blackberry Crisp

blackberrycrumbleUse blackberries, dewberries, raspberries, or blueberries (or a combination) in this old-fashioned crisp .A crisp is like a cobbler and depending on the fruit used can sometimes be called by names that make us smile –  pandowdy, grunt, slump, buckles, , croustade, bird’s nest pudding or crow’s nest pudding.  They are all simple variations of cobblers, and they are all based on seasonal fruits and berries, in other words, whatever fresh ingredients are readily at hand.  They are all homemade and simple to make and rely more on taste than fancy pastry preparation.

Early settlers of America were very good at improvising. When they first arrived, they brought their recipes with them, such as English steamed puddings.  When they could not find their favorite ingredients, they used what was available. That is how these traditional American dishes came about with such unusual names.

I made this one for a Saturday breakfast, but Joe can eat berry cobbler anytime!  It is tastiest when right out of the oven, and any leftovers never last long.

Blackberry Crisp

6 cups fresh Blackberries

1-2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest.

For Topping:

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oatmeal

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

6 Tablespoons butter cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a deep baking dish. Combine berries, 2 Tablespoons sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl and pour into baking dish. In another bowl, combine flour, remaining sugar, oatmeal, and cinnamon. Add the butter bits and mix with hands until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle on top of berry mixture and bake until lightly browned and crisp, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.

 

 

 

 

 

Cranberry Breakfast Pie

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I had never heard of a Cranberry Breakfast Pie, much less baked one until I decided to try one more cranberry recipe to use the rest of my batch of fresh cranberries. Now, it has become one of my favorite cranberry dishes. This pie was delicious for breakfast, but would make a wonderful dessert with a bit of vanilla ice cream, or a welcome offering to serve with coffee anytime. Fresh or frozen cranberries can be used, but fresh is always best. I discovered the recipe on The Texas HIll Country website, which reports it is served at  The Seasons Bed and Breakfast in Tyler, Texas, which is the area where I was born and grew up.

Cranberry Breakfast Pie

3 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed, sorted, and drained dry

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

½ cup sugar

¼ cup butter, melted

2 eggs

1 tablespoon orange flavored liqueur

1 Tablespoon fresh orange zest

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 cup flour

Instructions:

Butter and flour a deep 10-inch pie plate. Place cranberries in the bottom of prepared dish. Sprinkle with pecans and ½ cup sugar.

In mixing bowl, combine melted butter, eggs, liqueur or juice, orange zest, sugar, and flour. Beat with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over cranberries. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until a pick comes out clean and top is golden brown. Cool pie on a wire rack.

Texas Pecan Pie Bars

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Maddie helped with baking Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie Bars for our Thanksgiving feast. She is recently very interested in history, so it was fun to talk about the history surrounding this recipe. I found the recipe in a cookbook I bought over 30 years ago while visiting Colonial Williamsburg, a wonderful living history site. The Williamsburg Cookbook, compiled by Letha Booth, is one of my most favorite cookbooks. It is a collection of nearly 200 traditional and contemporary recipes adapted for home kitchens – a good way of remembering my trips to Colonial Williamsburg.  I have never tried a recipe from this collection that was not delicious. Not surprising, since many of these are served in different Inns there.  Christian Campbell’s Spoonbread and Chowning’s Tavern Brunswick Stew have become family favorites as well as Williamsburg Inn Pecan Bars. I adapt this recipe to include Texas pecans and Meyer Lemons grown in my back yard. Pecan pie in small bites!

Texas Pecan Pie Bars

      Bottom layer, or crust

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

zest of 1 whole Meyer lemon

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat overn to 375 degrees. With baking or cooking spray, coat 2 nine inch square baking pans.  Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, lemon zest and mix.  Add flour and baking powder and add to creamed mixtures.  Combine well. Pull dough into a ball and chill for 15 minutes to provide easier handling.  Divide in half and press each half into bottom of baking pan.  Bake 12 -15 minutes but remove from oven before browning. Add pecan topping which can be assembled while crust is baking.

        Pecan Topping

1 cup butter

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup honey

1/3 cup whipping cream

3 cups of pecans, chopped coarsely

Change oven setting to 350 degrees. Combine butter, sugar, and honey in a heavy saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool 5 minutes, add cream and pecans and mix well.  Spread topping evenly over baked crust with a buttered wooden spoon.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Cool and cut into 1X2 inch bars.

 

 

 

Zucchini Onion Pie

IMG_2701Summertime vegetables are best when cooked simply. Even though I prefer not to heat up the kitchen with baking, this veggie pie is a great one dish meal, delicious with a crisp salad for supper.  I like adding some color with slices of red pepper from our garden.

Zucchini Onion Pie

3 eggs

1 cup flaked or grated parmesan cheese

1 cup cooking oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups thinly sliced zuchinni

1 small onion, chopped

1 cup biscuit mix ( I used Cheddar Bay biscuit mix and loved it)

In a large bowl, whisk the first seven ingredients. Stir in the zucchini, baking mix and onion. Pour into a greased 9-in. deep-dish pie plate. Bake at 350° for 25-35 minutes or until lightly browned.Yield: 6 servings.

Lemon Cream and Berry Delight

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For Ben’s birthday I made Peanut Butter Pie –  no baking, no heating up the kitchen.  For Joe’s birthday last week we enjoyed another cool sweet for the birthday “cake.”  I found a recipe for this layered dessert in the most recent Food and Wine magazine, titled Lemony Layered Cheesecake.  It does have mascarpone cheese, but is more light and fluffy than any cheesecake . It looks complicated and would certainly be elegant enough to grace a table for guests, but by some clever application of plastic wrap, it turns out like magic  Oh yes,  it is absolutely delicious!  This combination works well especially when berries are in season, but other combinations are great, too..  Try using the  cream paired with raspberry preserves spread between layers of chocolate wafer cookies, or mix apple butter with the mascarpone, layer with ginger snaps, and sprinkle with minced crystallized ginger.

Lemon Cream and Berry Delight

1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup homemade*  or purchased lemon curd

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

20 whole graham crackers

Berries for topping’- blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries

Line a 9X5 inch loaf pan (I used pyrex) with plastic wrap, leaving 5 or  inch overhang on all sides. In bowl of electric mixer, combine mascarpone and cream and beat on medium speed until smooth and beginning to be firm . Don’t over beat.  Fold in lemon curd and 1/8 teaspoon sea salt.

Spread a thin layer of lemon cream over the bottom of plastic wrapped pan. Arrange a layer of single graham crackers on top of this, breaking some to cover.  Repeat the layers of cream and graham crackers 5 or 6 times until you have just enough cream to spread on top.. Wrap the dessert with overhanging plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator, unwrap top pieces of plastic wrap, place flat serving dish on top and invert pan.  Remove all plastic wrap, decorate with berries as you wish, and serve, adding berries alongside.

*see my recipe for lemon curd in a November 3, 2011 post

 

Blackberry Cobbler

IMG_1829When I was a little girl, my Grandma Terrell and I could walk down one fork of the dirt road that led up to their house and pick buckets of blackberries which grew wild between the roadside and the barbed wire fence where cows were pastured. I loved picking the berries, the inevitable chigger bites, not so much.  We ate freshly picked berries sprinkled with sugar. Grandma made jars of blackberry jam and jelly, blackberry pies, and blackberry cobbler.  Today we can still find them along fence rows and roadsides, but in our suburban life, that is what they are – a find!  We sometimes find fresh berries at the Farmer’s Market, or wait for them to go on sale at the supermarket. Out of season, frozen berries can be used.

This cobbler was made from berries shared with me which were picked by my good friend near her house. We like the crispy results of using regular pie crust instead of making a cakey batter for topping.  As you see in the photo, I made a very rustic lattice top crust from purchased refrigerated pie dough. Since fruit pies and cobbler are the very best when eaten soon after they come out of the oven, I had to photograph this cobbler quickly!

Blackberry Cobbler with Lattice Pie Crust

5-6 cups fresh blackberries

1 cup sugar

4 Tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest

2 pie crusts, homemade or purchased – used Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts

1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Place blackberries in large bowl, add lemon zest, sugar, and flour, and toss. Lightly butter 8X12 baking dish and pour in blackberry mixture.  Cut both pie crusts into 1-inch strips and roughly weave across top.  Make egg wash by scrambling the egg, then brushing over crust.  This does not have to be perfect – the crust will come out rusttic, golden brown and delicious!

Serve with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream if you wish.
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Bake for 1 hour or until crust is golden.

Allow cobbler to cool at least 1 hour before serving

 

Quiche Lorraine

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This pan of quiche may not look as good as it tastes here due to my blurry picture, but trust me, it is delicious.  This dish is wonderful for brunch, lunch, or supper and pretty on the plate with some asparagus spears and fresh fruit.  It is just as good with bacon subbed for the ham. If you, manage to have any leftover slices can be reheated in the microwave but I prefer to reheat in the oven.  The crust stays crispier.

Quiche Lorraine

6 ounces grated Swiss cheese

2 Tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups half and half cream

4 eggs, slightly beaten

8 slices thinly sliced ham from the Deli, chopped  or  1 1/2 cups leftover baked ham, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell (I use Pillsbury refrigerated crust or make my own)

nutmeg, for sprinkling on top of quiche

Toss grated cheese with flour.  Add cream, eggs, ham, and seasoning; mix well.  Pour into pie crust, dust lightly with nutmeg,   and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set.  Serves 8. Substituting  crumbled bacon (8 cooked slices) for the ham works well.

 

 

 

Basic Broccoli

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I learned a few years ago that broccoli is one of the winter garden vegetables that does not mind cold temperatures, snow, or ice in our area of South Texas.  When everything in the garden seems to be brown, gray, and soggy, it is fun to go out and cut as much as we need for a side dish or stir fry.  And the taste is so bright and fresh that only a sprinkle of salt and squeeze of fresh lemon is enough.  But there are so many ways to use broccoli and many ways to season or top it, that it really can be a go to choice to make a meal special.

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The biggest thing to remember is to never overcook broccoli. It is very tasty raw, added to green salad, mixed with cauliflower and dressed with lemon vinaigrette, or served with other crunchy veggies along with hummus or dip. When you do cook it, it can be roasted, steamed, grilled, or sauteed – just aim at undercooking!

My favorite way to cook broccoli on the stove top is to add 1/2 to 1 inch of water to a skillet, sprinkle with salt and lay the broccoli stalks flat in the skillet.  Bring water to a boil and let simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, then cover and steam to desired tenderness. This lets the broccoli turn bright green before steaming, and it will keep its color.

You can also steam broccoli by filling a pot with a few inches of water and inserting a steamer basket . Be sure the water does not touch the bottom of the steamer basket. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli florets and stems and cover. Steam for 4-5 minutes, until tender.

Broccoli can also be sautéed. Make sure the broccoli is as dry as possible. Add only enough oil to coat a skillet, and set over medium-high heat. Add broccoli florets and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat with oil. Add the sliced stems 1 minute later. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is bright green and tender.

Roasting broccoli is another great way to use the vegetable, and is very easy.  Heat the oven to 425°F. Toss broccoli florets and stems with a few teaspoons of oil and a half teaspoon of salt. Spread the broccoli on a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the broccoli is crunchy with caramelized brown spots. Serve immediately.

Any of these methods of preparing broccoli can be used to make a side dish, cold or warm salads,add to a frittata, Quiche, or pizza. And as if that weren’t enough options, you can always dress things up a little by adding cheese or cream sauces.

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