R and I recently moved into some new digs. It’s a big change from our last place because the furniture is ours and not someone else’s. It makes being here feel more permanent.
We threw a housewarming party and made it Western themed (plaid shirts and cowboy boots mandatory). Here’s the food I served:
– Miracle Jalapeño Corn Bread from Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook. I use the word miracle because it’s amazing this even baked up properly. I accidentally had it in the oven 100 degrees lower than it should have. With some tweaking of times and temperatures it turned out. I felt a bit like a Top Chef contestant where everything is going wrong and you’re scrambling to make things work. The jalapeño gave it a bit of a kick, but it wasn’t so spicy that you needed a big swig of alcohol to cool your mouth down.
– Jalapeño poppers from Pioneer Woman. I could not actually eat these and warned my guests that they were on the hot side. Clearly my guests can handle the heat better as most of them were gone by the end of the night. The winning ingredient for these poppers? Bacon.
– S’more pie from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook. I’m still trying out recipes from this book and it’s quickly becoming a favourite of mine. This pie was incredibly rich and over-the-top. My favourite kind of pie! I’d been eyeing this recipe since this book arrived in my grubby little hands and I even bought a kitchen blow torch for it.
Other things I made:
– Oven fries with garlic aioli from Real Simple. I wasn’t even going to include it for the party, but R requested it. It’s dead simple to make and addictive.
– Mini Meatball Sandwiches from Pioneer Woman. I substituted ground turkey and found it didn’t hold together as well as beef would have. These were quite saucy with the marinara sauce. Leftover meatballs? The obvious answer is to make spaghetti and meatballs.
– Pico de Gallo from Pioneer Woman. I made this mild so the spice averse people (me) could eat this.
Jalapeño Cornbread (makes eight muffins or six 3×5 inch mini loaves)
1 2/3 cups whole milk
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeño pepper, seeds removed
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour 8 muffin tins or 6 mini loaf pans.
2. Whisk all the wet ingredients together in a bowl.
3. Mix all the dry ingredients in another bowl with the jalapeño.
4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together with a whisk or spoon in a larger bowl. Do not overmix.
5. Pour the batter into the tins or loaf pans.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin or a loaf comes out clean.
Excerpted from Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook by DeDe Lahman and Neil Kleinberg (Little, Brown and Company)
S’more Pie (serves 8)
Graham Cracker Crust (makes one 9-inch piecrust)
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (16 crackers)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.
2. In a medium bowl, blend together the graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Drizzle in the butter and mix with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
3. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and about halfway up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly golden. Let cool completely before filling.
5 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
1 recipe Graham Cracker Crust, prebaked
For the marshmallow topping
6 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions for the pie
To make the filling: Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a heatproof bowl until thick and pale in color. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a gentle boil. Whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot milk into the egg yolks to temper them, so they won’t curdle, then, continuing to whisk, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream.
Set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water) and cook the egg-milk mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and glossy, 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and melted chocolate until well combined. Let the filling mixture sit for 2 minutes to cool slightly, then whisk in the butter until the custard is smooth and silky. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the chocolate filling so that a skin does not form and let cool for 30 minutes, or until it reaches room temperature.
When the filling has cooled, pour into the prepared crust. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hour or overnight.
To make the marshmallow topping: Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar in a large heatproof bowl, set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bottom bowl touch the water) and whisk constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites are warm to the touch, 3 or 4 minutes. The mixture will appear pale and opaque. Rub a little of the mixture between your fingers to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or leave in the same bowl if using a handheld mixer). Add the vanilla and, starting on low speed, whip the egg whites, gradually increasing the speed to high, until the marshmallow topping is glossy and forms stiff peaks, 5 to 7 minutes.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip with the marshmallow topping and pipe it over the entire surface of the pie, making sure it touches the crust all around. Then loosely pile the rest of the marshmallow topping on top and use a spatula to spread it in big, luscious swirls. (If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can do both steps using a spatula.) Toast the topping lightly with a kitchen blowtorch.
The pie is best served the same day, but it can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Excerpted from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day (Artisan Books)
Book courtesy of Thomas Allen & Son