Monday, November 21, 2011

Easy Lemon Pie

In a rush to find something to bring for your next holiday gathering? I hate cliches but when it comes to "easy as pie" it doesn't get any easier than this. Another one of my grandma's recipes this lemon pie is easy and delicious- a win-win in my book. With just a few simple ingredient and a pre-baked pie crust you can have this pie ready to go in under 30 minutes (my personal best is 21). This pie has the right combination of sweet and tart. When life gives you lemons.... Make lemon pie!

The filling should look like this after boil and cooling

Easy Lemon Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

Prebake a deep -dish 9-inch pie crust according to directions on package (or make your own crust!).

1 large box of lemon pudding mix
2/3 cup of sugar
¼ cup water

Mix together in a saucepan until smooth then add

3 Beaten eggs yolks
2 cups of water

Bring to a boil while stirring (Mixture should become thick). Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Then stir in

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest

Mix together and pour filling into baked pie crust. Let cool completely, cover and refrigerate. Serve chilled with whipped cream.

Rum Cake

Photo Credit: Pioneer Woman Home and Garden
The Holidays are upon us!

Starbucks is officially serving drinks in their Christmas cups which means its finally here: The Holidays! Growing up the holiday season was always a huge deal. My mom and dad would decorate the entire house with lights making sure to always "out-do" the neighbors. The day after Thanksgiving my Grandma would have our tree up and decorated with all of her beautiful ornaments. It was all so magical back then that as an adult with my own home I try to recreate the memories.

The holidays also meant lots of cooking and baking, something I did not appreciate until I was older. Luckily I have been passed down the wonderful recipes of my Grandma Mable which I make every year to keep her spirit and traditions alive. To start of my month of Holiday recipes I am sharing with you my favorite recipe that I look forward to having every year. I love this recipe so much, that when I moved to Hawaii and couldnt make it home for the holidays I asked my Aunt Barbara to send it to me in a care package. The first recipe in my holiday collection is my Grandma Mable's Rum Cake. Moist yellow cake topped with crunchy pecan and soaked with a delicious rum glaze is sure to bring out the holiday spirit in you. The best part is that it is so easy to make! A wonderful dessert to bring to any holiday gathering. Enjoy!

Rum Cake

1 box instant vanilla pudding
1 box yellow cake mix
½ cup oil
½ cup water
1/3 cup rum (light or dark)
4 eggs
¼ cup chopped pecans

¼ cup water
1 cup sugar
¼ cup rum
½ cup butter (1 stick)

1. Preheat oven to 325. Sprinkle pecans in the bottom of a WELL greased bundt pan.
2. Mix together cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil and rum. Beat together with electric beaters until fully combined.
2. Pour batter into pan over the top of the pecans.
3. Bake at 325 or 1 hour. Make the glaze ten minutes before cake is done. On stovetop in small saucepan combine butter, sugar, water and rum. Heat until boiling.
4. Remove cake from oven, let cool 3 minutes, then pour glaze over top. Let stand in pan overnight or at least 6-8 hours. Flip pan gently to dump cake out. 
**Note: The alcohol is cooked out of the glaze when it boils so this recipe is suitable for all**

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New England Clam Chowder

Looking back on my childhood I never fully realized how lucky I was to live with both my parents and grandparents. Yes having three stubborn Portuguese in one household at times could be chaotic but it also meant there were home-cooked meals every night of the week. Everyone in my family loved to cook!  Takeout food was nonexistent and only on special occasion would we all go out to dinner. Growing up my Grandpa Tony owned a few restaurants, one of which was called The Thirsty Whale. It was at this restaurant that his famous New England Clam Chowder came into existence. Originally from Massachusetts my grandpa understood the true meaning of New England Style; simple and basic, clam and potatoes, not too thick and not too thin, creamy and delicious. While there are many versions of this chowder that have celery, carrots, corn, etc. it is not authentic New England Clam Chowder like you would have if you went back east to his hometown. So in honor of the most wonderful and loving grandfather a girl could ask for, I am sharing with you his famous recipe, which I hope you will enjoy as much as I do. 
Fresh clams are great here in the Pacific Northwest

Mise en place

Just before making the roux

Grandpa Tony's                        New England Clam Chowder

Serves 6
4 slices bacon (thick) finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups finely chopped white onions
2 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoons of special seasoning, recipe below
1 bay leaf
5 tablespoons all purpose flour
2- 8oz bottles of clam juice
1- 6.75oz can chopped clams, drained and juices reserved
1lb fresh clams, steamed and shucked
1- 10oz can baby clams, drained and juices reserved
3 cups half and half
3 large Russet potatoes, peeled, boiled and cubed
1 ½ teaspoon of white pepper

**You should have about 3 cups total of clam juice from the two bottles and the juices reserved from the cans. If you are using more fresh clams than canned, then have enough juice to make sure you have 3 cups. Also the total amount of clams is about 2 ½ cups**

Special Seasoning
½  teaspoon dried thyme
½  teaspoon garlic powder
½  teaspoon dried oregano
¼  teaspoon dill weed
¼  teaspoon tarragon
¼  teaspoon salt
Mix all spices together, if possible use a morter to crush.

1. Use a soup pot, put bacon and butter in on medium low heat to brown bacon about 8 minutes, do not let butter brown. Add in onions, garlic, bay leaf and seasonings, cook until softened about 6 more minutes
2. On medium heat whisk in flour, keep whisking and let the flour cook for about a minute. Then gradually whisk in the 3 cups of clam juice. Bring to a boil then reduce heat.
3. Whisk in the half and half, let simmer for 20 minutes (do not let boil).
4. Stir in potatoes, clams, and white pepper, heat until serving temperature. Careful not to let boil, it will toughen the clams. Serve in a bread bowl or with oyster crackers. This recipe can be prepared a day ahead. Just make sure to cool completely before refrigerating and then reheat the next day to serving temperature.

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