Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Coconut Banana Cream Pie...

Simply put, If you love coconut, this will be, guaranteed, the best pie you have ever eaten...hands down! I never knew this pie existed before...but now I have found heaven on a plate....hmmmm....and easy? yep, you don't need an oven to make this...or even a rolling pin. 

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, plus more for pie plate 
3 cups sweetened flake coconut 
Lightly butter a 9-inch pie plate and set aside. 

Melt the 1/2 cup butter in a large skillet over medium heat and brown the coconut flakes, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. They should be golden brown. Press the coconut firmly and evenly in the pan to form a shell. Chill the crust 30 minutes before filling. 

4 egg yolks
3/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of corn starch
3 cups half and half
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine sugar and cornstarch, gradually stir in half and half...Cook and stir over medium high hear till thickened and bubbly, cook and stir an additional 1 minute,remove from heat. Slightly beat the egg yolks and while beating slowly add about a cup of hot filling to the eggs...then slowly add the egg mixture back into the pan of filling, while beating the filling...return to the heat and cook, stirring at all times and cook for an additional 2 minutes...place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cool in the refrigerator. 

To assemble, slice 2 bananas in the bottom of the pie crust, spread the filling over bananas and top with lightly sweetened whip cream and sprinkle lightly with additional browned coconut...

melt 1 half cup of butter in pan and then add 3 cups of sweetened coconut...

just starting to color....

very golden...this turns darker very quickly...DONT walk away.....

yep I walked away...press into a 9 inch pie shell..save a small amount aside for topping....place shell in the refrigerator...

make the filling.....cornstarch, half and half and sugar....heat till bubbly hot...

add to beaten egg yolks, the next tempering steps happen way too quick to take pictures...you must have all hands on deck!

place finished filling in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap...place in the fridge..

after cooling for a few hours....take the crust out and add sliced bananas...

add the pudding filling...and top with whip cream and remaining toasted coconut....

this pie could win a pie contest....positively the most fabulous pie in the world!!! I want every one of you to have some of this pie...right now, this very minute...the crust is almost nutty, it is crunchy, but not to crunchy, the filling is soft and rich and perfectly sweet...what are you waiting for?

Cheers to Happy  !!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Costco Storage containers...

 I want every one of you to run out and buy these. Don't wait. I saw them a couple of months ago at Costco and liked them but could not bring myself to spend 30 dollars on food storage. I get sour cream containers and cottage cheese containers and even containers from butter. They were all free. So I looked at them and touched them every time I went to Costco. I really, really needed them. I take my food to work and sometimes microwave in the container and eat out of the container. I know doing so, out of plastic is really bad for you. So, after two months of 'petting I thought I owed it to myself to buy me a little present  Boy, oh boy, am I glad I did. They are a very heavy glass. They can go from the oven to the freezer and back in the oven, the lids snap on very tightly. I can microwave in them and eat right out of them.

there are so many different sizes, one for every need. I threw away all of my 'free' plastic containers and now only have these...and I really, really think it is money well spent...I don't want you to be kicking yourself, like I am. So don't wait like I did. Just do it!

Cheers to Happy  !!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

General Tso's Chicken...

General Tso's Chicken...

General Tso's chicken is the most well known and beloved of Chinese cuisine in America. It is in every chinese buffet line.  Almost nobody in Hunan has ever heard of General Tso’s Chicken, the most famous Hunan dish in America. Like many other American-Chinese favorite, the roots to China are vague but interesting.The real roots of the dish lie in the post-1949 exodus of chefs to the United States. The dish is reported to have been introduced to New York City in the early 1970s as an example of Hunan cooking, though it is not typical of Hunanese cuisine, which is traditionally very spicy and rarely sweet...This recipe is easy to make and is not to hot and spicy, it can be enjoyed by all ages...

General Tso’s Chicken

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 peanut or vegetable oil for frying, plus 1 tablespoon for stir-frying
 1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds

1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 egg whites

1/4 cup chicken stock, or substitute water
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon chili paste
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

1. Prepare the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, and egg whites. Coat the chicken to the marinade mixture and let sit for 10 minutes.(or longer)

2. Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the chicken stock, tomato paste, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili paste, sesame oil, sugar, and the 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set the sauce aside.

3. In a large bowl or deep plate, toss the 1 1/2 cups cornstarch with the salt and pepper. Coat the marinated chicken in the cornstarch and shake off any excess before frying.

4. Heat the 3 cups of peanut or vegetable oil in your wok until it registers 350°F on an instant-read oil thermometer. Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the first batch of chicken cubes and fry until golden brown on the outside and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.

5. Drain the oil into a heatproof container and save for discarding. Wipe the wok with a paper towel to remove any brown bits, but don’t wash.

6. Reheat the wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the base and sides. Add the dried chilies and garlic to the wok and stir-fry until just fragrant, about 20 seconds. Pour in the sauce mixture and stir until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.

7. Return the chicken to the skillet and stir well to coat with sauce. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Garnish with white sesame seeds. Serve with white rice

egg white, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, whip together and then add chicken pieces...you can use either dark or white meat, or a combination...let rest in the fridge until you are ready to finish...or at least 10 minutes

chicken ready to go, cornstarch ready....

oil pert near ready....

deep fry the chicken in small batches....takes about 5 minutes each batch...drain on paper towels and keep warm...

add the oil and red pepper flakes and garlic to the skillet or a wok over medium high heat, brown for 20 seconds and then add your sauce mix....

cook for about 1 minute, it will thicken very quickly....then...

add your chicken and stir to coat! It is ready to serve...

This is so very, very good! It is sweet and hot, not to hot, my 14 year old, and very particular granddaughter, loved it.....and you will too! Why go for take-out? My sister Mary bought some of those really cute Chinese takeout containers at the restaurant supply store...this would be so darn cute served in them...

Cheers to Happy!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Breakfast Sausage...

I apologize from the bottom of heart for being away so long...So much has gone on in the last 30 days.The time just flew by. Now we are finally starting to have some fall weather. We are expecting our first rain in 100+ days. It will be a welcome change. We like our rain in the Northwest and our big trees need it right now. So get out your coats and galoshes and bring on the RAIN! 

I began my yesterday by making some breakfast sausage. I dearly love bacon and sausage. But when I go to the store and look at the labels of sausage and the preservatives and additives and fillers, I just end up setting it back down and walking away. It dawned on me that people have been making their own sausage for hundreds of years. I know my grandparents did and most probably so did yours. So, I did a little research and found so many recipes! There are a few great ones out there. The common ingredients are sage, thyme and rosemary ...I ended up using Alton Browns recipe, but took a few shortcuts...you can never go wrong with Mr. Brown!

1 pound fresh ground pork
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

pretty simple really...I also added some ground sage, for extra sagieness....

add it all to the ground pork, (you are not going to measure are you?) Stir it together well, yes, use your hands...

Now you want this to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight...it you would like you can cook a small piece to see if you need to add more spices...you can shape it into a log, or round or patty's...

fry over medium heat in your favorite yellow pan until done!

A great way to start your week-end!!! Oh, and am I ever so happy to be back to my happy place!

Cheers to Happy  !!