Sunday, March 30, 2008

Key Lime Pie and Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

I've made key lime pie a ton of times, but have never blogged about it. It's one of the easiest desserts I've made, and this recipe makes a pie very similar to what I've eaten when I've been in Florida, the famed birthplace of the key lime pie. The recipe tells you to make your own graham cracker crust, but I just use a store-bought crust. I use bottled key lime juice (I use the Nellie and Joe's brand, which you can get at some grocery stores). I've tried making it with real key limes, but squeezing all those tiny limes made my hand hurt, and the pie didn't taste any better than it does with bottle juice. I'm all for making things from scratch if it makes things taste better, but if it doesn't, well, my mother didn't raise a fool. I've also tried making it with Persian limes (the regular limes you find at the grocery store) - do not do this. It's a totally different taste and not nearly as tart. I also just use Reddi-Wip (the generic version of course, because even though I'm a foodie, I am still cheap) instead of whipping my own whipped cream, because that's what I'm used to having on my key lime pies. This makes a nice, tart pie. Cut back on the juice if you don't want it as tart, or just add more whipped cream on top.

I had to use up all my key lime juice, so I decided to try this new ice cream recipe I found. It was great when it was right out of the ice cream maker and was still soft, and my husband immediately declared that it was the best ice cream I've ever made. However, the next day it was not nearly as stupendous. The texture was kind of icy and gritty... the flavor was good but I could not get past the texture. It was kind of a let down, as I was really looking forward to homemade key lime pie ice cream. Maybe this recipe would be better with more cream and less milk, or throwing some eggs in there. Or maybe I should just make key lime pie and just freeze it. Oh well. I will keep experimenting.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Best Cocoa Brownies

I was in the mood for brownies the other day. I find brownies to be a little easier to make successfully than cookies. I can buy a better cookie than I can make. But I can make good brownies pretty easily. I have been meaning to try this recipe for a while and finally had a good cocoa powder to make them with. These were great - very rich and chocolately. I have been disappointed so many times with chocolate cake and brownies that look really chocolately, but when you bite in there is almost no chocolate flavor. If I wanted brown cake, I would order brown cake, not chocolate cake. These brownies, however, will not disappoint. I didn't get a candylike crust like the recipe described, but I did get some really good brownies. Yum.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cheesy Potato Soup

I've taken the next step in learning how to cook - I made up a recipe today. Well, okay, this soup recipe is not completely original - I looked at a few recipes and got some ideas for a base for it - but it's different enough from the ones I looked at that I feel I can say this one is my own. We had this for dinner tonight. I haven't gone grocery shopping yet this week, so I just used what I had on hand. We thought this was pretty good. It is a nice, creamy, comforting soup for a cold day. I added two secret ingredients - Louisiana hot sauce and a little Worcestershire sauce - and they added some depth of flavor without being too prominent.

1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp butter
5 medium potatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2-3 tsp Louisiana hot sauce
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until onion is transparent. Add potatoes, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Add milk and flour and increase heat to medium. Heat until starting to bubble and thicken. Mix in cheddar cheese until melted. Add hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2-3 servings as a main course.