Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fresh Peach Pie

This is one of my top 3 favorite pie recipes from Anne Christensen (her daughters taught my first cooking class when I was 8), and it comes from the best cookbook I own.

When I was in Young Women's, we did a fundraising project for Girl's Camp and made a cookbook (which is what our dear leaders wanted us to think).

Um, we, the Young Women, didn't do much more than collect recipes from our moms. I can't imagine putting together this big of a cookbook today without the conveniences of email, cutting and pasting (all the recipes were written by hand and turned into the Young Women--the adults organized, indexed, typed AND typed!).

15+ years later, this cookbook is highly coveted because it is so full of the BEST recipes ("Really?" someone will say, "You have a black Arcadia Ward cookbook?"). It's everything a ward cookbook should be, full of my favorite childhood recipes by my favorite people growing up. I'd be so sad if I lost mine!

Coconut Almond Crust:
1 c blanched almonds
1 c canned moist-style coconut, flaked--I just use the bag of coconut in the baking section
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grind almonds medium-fine. Mix with cocnut. Work in sugar and butter with fingers or spoon. Press evenly in bottom and sides of a 9-inch glass pie plate, reserving 3 T of crumbs for the top. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown. If edges get too brown, cover with foil. Place remaining crumbs in pan and toast in oven, same time as pie shell, about 5 minutes.

1 c sour cream
dash salt
6 T powdered sugar
1 t orange juice
1 t orange zest
1 t vanilla
4-5 large peaches, peeled and sliced
1 c whipping cream

Beat sour cream. Add salt, 4 T powdered sugar, orange juice, zest, and vanilla. Spread on bottom and sides of shell. Cover with peaches, arranged in attractive manner in shell (or just dump them all in). Whip cream. Fold in remaining 2 T powdered sugar. Cover peaches with whipped cream. Sprinkle top with remaining mixture from pie shell. Chill.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mango Chicken Summer Rolls

Is it just me or is it hard to think of something to make for dinner when it's 114 degrees? This is my version of Gourmet's Mango Shrimp Summer Rolls because alas, shrimp in a Phoenician summer tends to be nasty.

Dipping Sauce: Trader Joe's Satay Peanut Sauce

2 grilled chicken breasts (I sprinkle McCormick's Steak Seasoning Salt liberally over each breast), cut into strips
6-8 oz rice noodles
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt I often forget this and can't really tell a difference
16 (8-inch) rice-paper rounds plus additional in case some tear approximately
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves* approximately
1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves* approximately
1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves*
*I like to use 2 of these; I've never had all three on hand.

Get your knife ready!

1 seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped; 1 lb), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks
3 scallions, cut into 3-inch-long julienne strips
1 lb firm-ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks

Add noodles to boiling water and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes.

Drain in a colander, then rinse under cold running water and drain well. Stir together vinegar, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved, then add noodles and toss to coat.

Find a shallow bowel that will fit the rice rounds. Fill with fairly hot water (the hotter the water, the faster the rice rounds soften). I have to refill my water often because I'm kind of slow.

I use 2 rice rounds at a time to make the summer rolls more structurally sound.

Soften 2 rice rounds by placing in the warm water; it'll take about 30 seconds (sometimes longer if the water isn't very hot). Gently lift the rounds together and lay on work surface.

I like approximately a tablespoon of each herb, 2-3 mango, scallions, and cucumber matchsticks each, 3 T of rice noodles, and 2 chicken strips. Sometimes, I'll add bell pepper, carrot, or grilled portobello mushroom or grilled tofu (in place of the chicken, but if I didn't make the grilled chicken, I'd have a riot on my hands).

Wrap like a burrito, or chimichanga, or spring roll--you know, a nice neat packet (but mine don't always look very nice or neat). Repeat again, and again, and again :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dinner Rolls

I have a friend who makes the most fabulous rolls every Sunday. Katie was nice enough to share her recipe for our church's cooking group. Watching her make those rolls was amazing, and she gave me enough tips that I was able to make them Asher-safe (no eggs, soy, milk). I put her tips in bold and mine in the usual italics

2 cups warm milk (45 second in the microwave) I use water
2 T dry yeast (Costco sells huge yeast packages that last for 1 year in the fridge that come out to a fraction of the cost of grocery store yeast packets)
1/3 c sugar

In a large bowl, combine the above ingredients. Let stand for 10 minutes (or until yeast has dissolved and mixture is fluffy).


1/3 cup shortening (Crisco butter-flavored) (Spectrum palm oil shortening for us)
2 1/2 t salt
1 egg (optional)
5-6 cups flour

Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time until well mixed. Don't need to worry about overmixing; you can tell the dough is done in the mixer when the dough pulls away from the bowl and balls around the dough hook. Let rise in a warm place until triple in size (this normally takes 45 minutes to 1 hour). A good place for this is in a cool oven with a pan of hot water under the racks.

Divide the dough in half. Roll out into desired shapes. Katie makes lovely evenly sized crescent rolls; mine are haphazardly-sized, often slightly deformed crescent shaped things. Let rise in warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Bake rols at 400 degree for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Another friend made a very tasty orange butter to go with these rolls. Thanks, Leonore!

1 lb butter, 4 sticks, softened
1/4 c frozen orange juice concentrate, defrosted
1 1/3 c powdered sugar
2 oranges' zest

Dissolve powdered sugar in orange juice. Add zest and butter.