Celebrate Pie Day with a Peachiful Pie!

A delightful long weekend at the Cape and overripe peaches brought us to yearning for a delicious sweet fresh peach pie. As with most of the Empty Nester Gourmet's recipes, this one is easy and quick ... and on your dessert table, warm and ready to top with ice cream, in less than 90 minutes.

Ingredients

3 cups overripe peaches, peeled, pitted and cut in quarters or sixths
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten slightly with fork
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup whipped butter, melted
1 pie crust/pate brisée (bottom and top for lattice)
Egg wash -- 1 egg + 1 tbsp. cold water, slightly beaten with fork
Sanding sugar -- approx. 1 tbsp.
Optional -- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Process
1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
2. Press bottom crust into pie plate, crimping edges decoratively.
3. Mix egg, sugar, flour, lemon juice and butter in a bowl until well blended. Set aside.
4. Peel, pit and slice peaches, and arrange in single layer on bottom of crust, then second layer.
5. Top with egg/sugar mixture.
6. Prepare lattice topping and layer on top of pie mixture, cutting edges and fitting snugly into crimped pie shell. (Use egg wash to seal edges.)
7. Brush top and crimped edges with egg wash, dust with sanding sugar, and cinnamon, if desired.
8. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400F for 15 minutes, or until crust is browned. Reduce oven to 350F and bake for another 30-40 minutes, or until filling is well set. If crust browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Allow to cool for approx. 1 hour before eating. Top with your favorite ice cream, or whipped cream.


Gettin' Our Corned Beef On!

It's time for corned beef and cabbage ... now as St. Patrick's Day is in a couple of days, and really anytime of the year. It's always delicious and always a big hit ... day of, and day after! You'll need a big pot of water, lots of pickling spices, a quality cut of corned beef, a bunch of yellow or russet potatoes, an onion or two and time to let it simmer on the range. Here's how we do it:

Corned beef simmering in large pot of water with pickling spices (recipe below).


Add cabbage and potatoes ...

Cabbage, cored and quartered, ready to jump into the pool!


Ingredients

One 4-lb. corned beef brisket, thin cut (get the best you can find)
2-6 tbsp. pickling spices
4-6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
One large onion, peeled and quartered
One medium head cabbage, cored and cut into 8 quarters

Process

1. Put the corned beef into a large pot and cover with cold water. Add 2 tbsp. pickling spices. Cover and bring to a boil.
2. Skim the gray residue that comes to the top of the pot. Cover. Simmer for 30 minutes. Skim residue. Add 1-2 tbsp. more pickling spices to make up for ones you skimmed away.
3. Cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours on medium heat.
4. Add potatotes, onion, more water (boil it first) to cover corned beef. Adjust spices by adding more if needed. Simmer 30 minutes.
5. Add cabbage and simmer 30 more minutes.

Serve with Irish soda bread and a pint of Guinness! Top of the evening to you, mateys!

Winning Hearts with a Heart!

 
Tell each other sweet nothin's over a heart shaped butter cake bursting with strawberries and vanilla-scented, sweetened whipped cream. This one is so easy to bake and assemble, you can do it in the morning, let it set during the day, and have it for dessert for three or more days. It also freezes really well. Serve it with a glass of sparkling Prosecco, or for the purists, a big frosted glass of milk.

As American as ... Apple Pie


An American classic, filled with juicy apples, cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg!  When you're pressed for time, as I was today, instead of making my own pate brisée, I used store-bought pie crusts from my grocer's refrigerated section.

This pie is a big winner for not a lot of effort.  It travels well, doesn't need refrigeration on first day, is delicious alone, works in every season and gets lots of oohs and aahs when you bring it to the table.  Perhaps best of all, it takes only 1-1/2 hours start to finish (one hour in the oven), and will keep for up to two days in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Ingredients

Pastry crust: Use your own favorite pate brisée or one box of refrigerated crusts
1 large organic Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut in 2" rough pieces
5 large organic Gala or other upscale apple,  peeled, cored and cut in 2" rough pieces
3/4 cup sugar plus 2 tsp. for topping
3 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon plus 1/8 tsp. for topping
1-2 tbsp. butter

In large bowl, mix ingredients well with a wooden spoon.  Let sit for a few minutes while you spread the bottom crust in the pie tin.

Fill pie tin with apple mixture.  Brush the outer edges lightly with water using a pastry brush. Dot the top of the mixture with 1-2 tbsp. butter and top with the second crust. Fold top crust over bottom crust and crimp edges to seal.

Cut vents in top to prevent bursting in oven.  I always draw a little design on the top with a sharp knife -- initials if it is a birthday pie, an apple, a fir tree for Christmas or a pumpkin for Halloween. You can be creative!

Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top and bake for 30 minutes at 425 degrees on center rack of oven. This will give maximum crisp to the crust.  After 30 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and move pie to upper third of oven.  Bake 30 minutes longer. Allow to cool two hours before cutting.  Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or all by itself!

Variations:

Add to apple mixture: 1/3 cup raisins, 1/3 cup walnuts and/or 1/3 cup dried cranberries. If adding all three, reduce to 1/4 cup each.
DRY ROASTED RIBS 
Low-carb, almost no sugar


Our recipe for dry roasted ribs is a delicious alternative to slathering sugary, high-calorie, carb-laden sauce. Containing almost no sugar, all you need is an oven set at 300F for four hours, a little water, and the delicious ingredients that are listed below. We serve them with our Poblano Cornbread. This rub works equally well with chicken, just turn up the heat to 375F after 3 hours and roast for another 30 minutes, until brown and crispy.

Preheat oven to 300F

Ingredients

2-4 lb. rack of ribs
1 T high-quality smoky paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 T cumin, or more if desired
1 T ground chili seasoning, or more if desired
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion salt
Generous grind 5 pepper medley (Williams Sonoma)
2 T dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt or fleur-de-sel (Williams Sonoma)
Water

Take ribs out of refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature (about 20 minutes).

Mix spices well in bowl, rub generously into both sides of a rack of ribs. Place ribs on a sheet pan that has been fitted with alum foil to catch drippings and place ribs on a wire rack over pan with 1/4 c water beneath rack. Roast in oven 4 hours, turning every 20-30 minutes, replenishing with 1/4 c water as needed.

Here's what they will look like when they are ready. Carve and enjoy!




SOUTHWESTERN POBLANO CORNBREAD

 

For our Super Bowl celebration, we are baking an easy batch of buttermilk cornbread, spiked with corn, cheddar and a chopped jalapeno, Less than an hour from start to finish, here's how we did it:

Ingredients

2 large eggs, beaten with a fork
1-1/2 c buttermilk OR 1 c whole milk + 1/2 c sour cream
4 oz corn
1 jalapeño pepper (chopped finely)
3 oz shredded white cheddar cheese
6 T melted butter
2 T butter for pan

1 c white cornmeal
3/4 c flour
1 T sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda


Process

1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Grease a 9" x 9" baking pan with butter.
3. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl.
4. Mix all wet ingredients except for corn in smaller bowl.
5. Gently fold in corn, jalapeño and cheddar.
6. Pour into baking pan and bake for 25 minutes until golden and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Enjoy with your favorite chili or chicken 'n' ribs!




2-Napkin Wings for Super Bowl

Extra gooey, super spicy wings, on New Year's Eve

Super Bowl-inspired platter of sauce-laden BBQ wings, which we call "2-Napkin Wings." Put them on the table and they don't last too long -- why this photo is missing at least a dozen! Put out plenty of napkins, too -- enough to dab the sauce from cheeks, chin and fingertips.

The alchemy of these sweet yet spicy wings is simple -- use a base of your favorite BBQ sauce, but amply sprinkle garlic salt, chili powder, fresh-cracked five-pepper peppercorns and hot Hungarian paprika over them before saucing up.

Roast in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes, turn, re-season, and brush on more sauce. Repeat two more times, reducing oven to 325 for last 20 minutes.  The sauce will be the consistency of molasses and turn from ruby to a glistening mahogany reddish brown.  Pile onto a platter with a 1/2 cup of your own homemade bleu cheese dressing, and watch them disappear!