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Monday, December 27, 2010

Mourning my broken oven

I like baking.  That's why I have this baking/pie blog.  So it was a sad day a month ago when my oven refused to get hot.  My husband tried to fix it but it seems to have a bigger problem than he originally diagnosed, and now I have to wait for him to find time to dig into the oven and figure out how to get me back to baking.  It never really felt like Christmas when I couldn't bake any pies or the cookies we usually have.  I'm still in withdrawal.

My favorite kind of cooking next to baking is wok cooking.  So, since I can't bake I got the wok out and enjoyed making this dish for my family.

This recipe comes from a Weight Watchers cook book called "Take-Out Tonight!"  My family really likes it, try it and see what you think:

Spicy Orange Beef with Vegetables

3/4 pound beef top round, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1/2 cup beef broth
1/4 cup orange juice (fresh is best)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 teaspoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 pound fresh green beans, halved crosswise
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 carrot, cut into matchstick thin strips

  • Combine the beef, 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch, and the orange rind in a medium bowl; toss well to coat and set aside.  Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, the broth, the orange juice, soy sauce, sugar, and chili-garlic sauce or crushed red pepper in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Heat a wok or deep skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles. Swirl in two teaspoons of the canola oil, then add the beef.  Stir-fry until cooked through, 2-3 minutes; transfer to a plate.  Swirl the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil, then add the ginger.  Stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds.  Add the green beans, red pepper and carrot.  Stir-fry until crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes.  Add the broth mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens, about 1 minute.  Add the beef and cook until hot, about 1 minute.
  • Serve over hot cooked rice.  Serves 4.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Comfort food - Butterscotch Pie

One Sunday we had the urge to have friends over for pie, so I scoured the pantry looking for ideas.  Since this was an unplanned pie occasion I didn't have anything special on hand but I did have all the staples.  Since I had some brown sugar I thought it would be fun to try a butterscotch pie.    This pie was sweet, smooth and rich, just right for a cold winter day.  My 9 year-old son was especially fond of this one, and gave it several "thumbs up".

Butterscotch Pie

9" baked pie crust

3/4 packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2-3/4 cup milk
3 egg  yolks
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sweetened whipped cream

  • Combine the brown sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan.  Whisk in the milk and egg yolks and cook over medium heat until it starts to thicken and boil.  Boil and stir for one minute.  
  • Remove from heat and whick in the butter a teaspoon at a time, and the vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.  
  • Pour the filling into the pie shell and smooth the top with a spoon.  Press a piece of plastic wrap over the filling to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate for at least several hours.
  • Top with sweetened whipped cream.