Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Weiner and Best Bun

After I got married, I bought the "wrong" hot dogs and the "wrong" bacon for many years. Not on purpose. I figured they were all the same and I could buy the one that is on sale. Now we have our favorites and I don't need to call Brian from the grocery store to make sure I'm not buying something gross. (The Rule of Bacon is usually that the most expensive one that never goes on sale is the one that will taste the best.)

Best Dog (if it's not Polish)

Oscar Meyer Bun Length All Beef Franks

Best Bun

Wonder Hot Dog Buns

What do y'all think? Or are you too good for hot dogs? :)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dr. Maxwell Strawberry Cream Pie

This was the winning pie at Jeff's surPIES graduation party. It was submitted by my friends Heather and Jeremy. It tastes as good as it looks!

Prebaked pie crust
1 quart strawberries -- cleaned and hulled
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup water
8 ounces cream cheese -- softened
14 ounces canned sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
For chocolate leaves:
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
¼ teaspoon shortening

Slice one cup of strawberries. Dissolve cornstarch in water, then put sliced strawberries, cornstarch, and sugar in a saucepan. Mash strawberries with a potato masher. Heat until boiling, stirring constantly. Once mixture has thickened, continue to boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, and chill in refrigerator.

In large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into prepared crust (there was too much for my 9”, non-deep pan). Place remaining whole strawberries, tips up, on top of filling. Once jelly mixture is cold, spoon over pie. Let chill.

Garnish with mint sprigs and/or chocolate leaves if desired.

Chocolate Leaves

Choose about 12 rose leaves or camellia leaves (or use other pesticide-free non poisonous leaves). Wipe with a clean towel. In the microwave or in a double boiler over hot water, melt 2 ounces semisweet chocolate with ¼ teaspoon vegetable shortening. Use the back of a teaspoon to coat the undersides of leaves with the melted chocolate. Do not coat edges. Place coated leaves on wax paper-lined plate or pan. Place in refrigerator or freezer to harden. When ready to use, loosen edges. Starting with stem end, carefully peel leaves away from the chocolate. Leaves can be trimmed with scissors to even out jagged edges.

(single 9-inch, not deep-dish)
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1/8 – ¼ tsp of salt (depending on how you like your crust)
¼ cup cold, good quality butter (gives it a better taste)
2 Tbs cup shortening
2-4 Tbs ice water

Cut butter into small cubes, then keep cold until use. Blend flour and salt in food processor. Add butter and process at low speed or intermittent bursts until crumbly. Transfer into a mixing bowl and add water one tablespoon at a time, just until crumbs stick together when pressed and can form one large ball. Wrap ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425° F. Roll out dough, place in pie pan, pressing down everywhere to remove air pockets. Prick sides and bottom of pie shell with fork. Place pie weights, dried beans or rice on a piece of foil or parchment paper in bottom of shell to keep pastry flat while baking. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crust is brown as desired.