Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Birthday Pies

Mark requested pie as his "birthday cake" this year. He really wanted a peach pie, but I knew I wouldn't have time on Sunday after we got home from Ft. Worth. So, I made a frozen peanut butter chocolate pie for Sunday and then made a brown sugar-cinnamon peach pie on Monday (complete with locally grown peaches). They both turned out great!

Peanut butter chocolate pie
Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour | Chill Time: 4 hours

For the Crust:
1¾ cups chocolate cookie crumbs (about 20 Oreos)
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of salt

For the Filling:
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1¼ cups creamy peanut butter (not chunky or natural)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream

For the Topping Drizzle:
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons peanut butter

1. To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the cookie crumbs, brown sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and toss with a fork until all of the crumbs are moistened. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then bake until set, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

2. To make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and vanilla. Wipe out the mixing bowl, switch to the whisk attachment and whip the heavy cream on medium-high until soft peaks form. Stir 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture to lighten it up. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the remaining whipped cream. Transfer the filling to the cooled crust and spread in an even layer. Freeze uncovered for at least 4 hours or up to 1 day covered with plastic wrap.

3. To garnish the pie: Put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments at 50% power, stirring after each. Continue until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag and snip a tiny bit off the corner. Hold the bag over the pie and drizzle the melted chocolate in a zig-zag pattern. Melt the peanut butter in the microwave using the same method used for the chocolate. Add the melted peanut butter to a resealable plastic bag, snip off a corner and drizzle over the pie. Let stand for about 10 minutes to set. Return to the freeze if not serving immediately.

4. Remove the pie from the freezer about 10-15 minutes before you are ready to serve. If you have trouble cutting it, running your knife under warm water will help. Cover leftovers tightly with plastic wrap and foil, and store in the freezer.
(originally from Martha Stewart)

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Peach Pie

1 1/3 cups cold butter
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup ice-cold water
8 large fresh, firm, ripe peaches (about 4 lb.)
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1. Cut 1 1/3 cups butter into small cubes, and chill 15 minutes. Stir together 4 cups flour and 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Gradually stir in 1/2 cup ice water with a fork, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened and dough begins to form a ball and leaves sides of bowl, adding more ice water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, if necessary. Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap; press and shape dough into 2 flat disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill 30 minutes to 24 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 425ยบ. Place 1 dough disk on a lightly floured surface; sprinkle dough lightly with flour. Roll dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Starting at 1 edge of dough, wrap dough around a rolling pin. Place rolling pin over a 9-inch pie plate, and unroll dough over pie plate. Press dough into pie plate.

3. Roll remaining dough disk to about 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.

4. Peel peaches, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; cut slices in half. Stir together brown sugar, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1/4 cup flour in a bowl; add peaches, stirring to coat. Immediately spoon peach mixture into piecrust in pie plate, and dot with 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter. (Do not make mixture ahead or it will become too juicy.)

5. Carefully place remaining piecrust over filling; press edges of crusts together to seal. Cut off excess crust, and reserve. Crimp edges of pie. If desired, reroll excess crust to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 3-inch leaves using a knife. Brush top of pie with beaten egg; top with leaves. Brush leaves with egg; sprinkle with 1 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar. Cut 4 to 5 slits in top of pie for steam to escape.

6. Freeze pie 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a jelly-roll pan in oven 10 minutes. Place pie on hot jelly-roll pan.

7. Bake at 425° on lower oven rack 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°; bake 40 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, and bake 25 more minutes or until juices are thick and bubbly (juices will bubble through top). Transfer to a wire rack; cool 2 hours before serving.

(originally from Southern Living 2011)

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Monday, July 25, 2011

World Series 2010

The Rangers went to the 2010 World Series - and we were lucky enough to be able to use some of Dad's tickets!  

Thank you, Dad for a once in a lifetime experience!!

Mark's appendectomy

Mark had an appendectomy October 14, 2010.  Here's a picture of him drinking that yummy contrast solution (he managed to hold his down a little better than I did a few years prior!).

Baltimore & Washington D.C

Mark's job training was in Baltimore...last August.  The timing worked out where I could visit during my "summer break".  We also took advantage of the proximity of Mark's Aunt Susan & Uncle Gary in D.C. for a weekend getaway (complete with Amtrak).  We were so thankful for their hospitality!

Yes, I realize I'm a little bit late posting these.  I was a little bit busy last year.  And now I'll start the photo dumping

Mo's Crab Shack

Julia Child exhibit at the Smithsonian.  I left early Friday morning for D.C with Mark joining me after work that day.  Thus, I did a lot of "museuming" on my own - perfect for the museum lover that I am.
Friday night we had Ethiopian food (meh - not my favorite, but now I've tried it) and then we set out to find the Masonic Temple in the surrounding neighborhood. 

 It was dark, so the pictures aren't great - but Mark loved every minute of it!  We finished off Friday night with Ben's Chili Bowl - and are still talking about those great chili dogs a year later!

Saturday started with a tour of the Capitol

Supreme Court

Saturday evening we had some yummy fondue with Susan, Gary, Phoebe, and Toby.  Thanks guys!

FDR Memorial
Korean Memorial

View of Washington Monument from Lincoln Memorial

And the monuments tour would not be complete without Albert Einstein (at the National Academy of Sciences) - Mark and Uncle Gary deep in conversation.

We returned to Baltimore on Sunday afternoon (catching the Amtrak at Union Station!)

Baltimore Harbor

Annabelle Lee Tavern - complete with duck fat fries.  Totally worth the crazy cab ride.

We also met up with Michael and Rebecca for dinner one night - but I don't have pictures of that :(

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Guess Who...

We went to Ft Worth yesterday to celebrate Mark's 27th birthday. Look who stopped by to wish him Happy Birthday and good luck for next week - Tim Love! Mark was thrilled!!!

More to come later...

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