Whenever I ask Bob what he wants me to make for his birthday, he says pie. The type of pie caries – pecan, lemon, chocolate – and this year he went with key lime. I’d never made a key lime pie before so I did what I always do – read a ton of recipes, then promptly ignore them.
It seemed like the main thing I needed to do was use condensed milk, limes and eggs. Sounds easy enough, so looked at the proportions from a number of recipes and decided to try my hand at it. It worked. The pie came out light and airy with a lot of the tart lime flavor coming through. I added a whipped cream to the edge and that added a nice flavor to the pie. It was a hit and when we ate it on Mother’s Day there was none left.
- 1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
- Juice of 5 limes
- zest of 3 limes
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups graham crackers (I like the vanilla ones)
- 3 tablespoons butter (melted)
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
For the crust – grind the graham crackers and sugar in a food processor until you have all crumbs. Melt the butter and combine the graham crackers and butter in a pie plate and mix until well combined. Press into plate to form crust. Refrigerate while making the filling.
For the filling – mix eggs on medium speed until light in color. Add condensed milk and continue mixing on medium high speed. Increase speed and add juice and zest of limes. When fully incorporated, add vanilla extract. Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Refrigerate for at least two hours, preferably overnight.
For the cream – With an electric mixer, mix coconut sugar and cream until soft peaks form. Use a piping bag (I used a zip top bag with the bottom corner cut off) and pipe cream around the edges.
I have been accused of wanting the “broken” animals. I fell in love with the cat with no nose and the blind dog, but I don’t think it was the “broken” aspect that made me want them. It was that they were overlooked. When I think about all the animals I’ve taken home, they were all over looked or unwanted in some way. The boys in the neighborhood threw rocks at Patches because they didn’t want her around and when she followed me home, I knew I wanted to keep her safe. Jessie was ignored and then given up and she spent a lot of time in the shelter with no one wanting her. I knew the minute she nuzzled my hand she was mine. Leia was abandoned by her mother and lots of people didn’t look twice at her because she had the nose issue, but she purred in my arms the first time I saw her and that was it – she was mine. Gracie and Tigger were a little more normal – three and a half weeks old when I first saw them and Gracie was instant love. Arthas spent five months in a shelter and I don’t think the volunteer showing me the dogs that day expected me to do more than glance at him – but he walked up to me and didn’t bark and he just looked at me (ok, he can’t see but he does look at you) and I wanted him. Ella was abandoned by her mother and someone threw Alinea from a car. Talk about overlooked and unwanted.
But … they are fantastic and the best pets I could ask for. Arthas has learned the cats are not going to hurt him – he is very good with them now and they just adore him. Tigger is even staying on the couch when Arthas jumps up because he knows it is all okay. The kittens are grown (they are just about a year old now) and so sweet. Alinea is definitely a little smaller than Ella and she is the adventurous one. Ella likes to hide, but she also plays and likes her lap time. They have grown into beautiful cats.
Arthas still has a few issues, but in the almost two years we have had him, he has relaxed, become more energetic and he now wants to protect his home. He likes the cats (he’s tried playing with Alinea a few times) and us. I even think we may be able to introduce him to Falco at some point, something a year ago I didn’t think would be possible.
When I planned my menu the other week I really wanted to make spring rolls. I love the little packets of goodness and they make great lunches for later in the week. However, a cold kind of derailed my intentions, but I still wanted spring rolls. So … deconstructed spring rolls it was. Easy to make, still kind of pretty on the plate and they work for lunch also. No reheating required.
In this case – cut up a bunch of veggies (pepper, carrot, cucumber, scallions) and fry up some tofu with a spicy peanut sauce, make some rice and plate. It really was that simple and took maybe twenty minutes. Cutting up the vegetables was the longest part of this. The peanut dipping sauce does doubt duty as the glaze for the tofu and the sauce on top of the “rolls”. It works.
There is no specific recipe for the dipping sauce. I pretty much take:
- Peanut butter (1/3 cup)
- Soy sauce (3-5 tablespoons)
- Honey (1 tablespoon)
- Chili garlic sauce (1-3 tablespoons)
- Lime juice (1/2 lime)
- Rice vinegar (0-1 tablespoon)
and adjust the amounts as needed. I don’t measure, but I do taste along the way and it tends to work out. For a dressing, I add a little water, but if you add more than two tablespoons you will need to add more peanut butter as the flavor dilutes too much.
There is something very comforting about baking. There is something fairly stressful about baking with a dog trying to help. But Arthas is cute, so I put up with it and do my best to keep him from taste testing what I’m making.
Is there anything better on a rainy Sunday morning than fresh cinnamon rolls? There might be, but they are pretty darn good. I decided to use up the last of the buttermilk I had on hand (from waffles the week before) and make cinnamon rolls. This was the first time I used buttermilk in the dough and wasn’t certain how it would come out, but the final result … oh my good.
Recipe: (adapted from genius kitchen)
- 1/2 tablespoon yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (I used warm tap water for this)
- 1 1/2 cup buttermilk (room temperature or slightly warmed)
- 1/2 cup oil
- 4 cups flour + more for kneading and rolling
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- melted butter (about 1/2 stick, 1/4 cup)
- Filling (mix together)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
In a small bowl, place the water and top with yeast. Let sit at least ten minutes (up to 45 minutes) to proof. Transfer to large bowl and add buttermilk and oil. Mix. Add one cup of flour and mix. Add salt and baking soda then mix again. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time until a soft, but not sticky dough, forms.
Flour a clean surface and dump dough onto the flour. (I like to leave a little to coat the top of the dough and my hands too.) Knead dough, adding a little flour at a time if needed to prevent sticking, for about two minutes. Return to bowl, cover and let rise for about ten to twenty minutes – dough should rise, but not double.
Divide dough in half. Using a floured silpat as a base, roll the dough to cover the silpat. Brush the dough with melted butter. Add 1/2 of sugar mixture and spread to evenly coat dough. Roll the dough starting from the long side, pulling tight through each roll. Cut into rolls, about 1.5-2 inches thick. Place in a buttered pan (I ended up using an 8×11 and an 8×8 pan, but I think a 9×13 would work). Repeat with second half of the dough. Allow to rise for 30 minutes in a draft free place (I use the oven, just not turned on).
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops of the risen rolls with melted butter and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and glaze while still hot with a mixture of milk and confectioners sugar or glaze of your choice.
Best served warm/hot