Pie Oh My…

As a cook, is there one dish or technique that you just can’t  master? No matter how many times you try, it is always not quite right.  For Robyn, it is pie crust. It never turns out the way she would like.

Robyn’s mother was the star pie maker of her family. Any family get together would include a request for her pies. Especially popular was the graham cracker pie. Robyn has no problem with this one. Perfect crust and great meringue. It is that flour crust that alludes her. Her mother worked the mix by hand. She said she knew it was right by the way it felt. Sadly, Robyn’s mother died young and she never got to teach Robyn how it was supposed to feel. 

Another great woman entered Robyn’s life. Her mother-in-law soon took her under her wing. She knew a thing or two about pie crust. She once spent the whole day baking various pie crust recipes to find the best one for a custard pie. It did not get soggy. When she heard that Robyn had rolled out her first pie crust with a wine bottle ( A+ for ingenuity, right?), she made sure Robyn had a rolling pin. Add a new recipe that was sure to work and she was set. Still, Robyn could not conquer the crust. Over the years, many more recipes and techniques followed. Finally, Robyn decided that no more often than she made a pie, the store bought refrigerated crust was acceptable.

Robyn says she is forever grateful to the Mothers, Grandmothers, and female friends who answered her call for help. Whether it be cooking or life, all strong women who have and continue to decorate her life with love. And by the way, Happy Mother’s Day!

The favorite pie of Robyn’s husband was lemon meringue. Here is one with a twist and yes, a store bought crust.

Lemon Pie with Blueberry Meringue

Lemon Pie

One 9 inch pie crust ( store bought or homemade)

4  large egg yolks

1 ¼ cup of sugar, divided

1/3 cup cornstarch

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

½ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Blueberry Meringue

½ cup  freeze dried blueberries

1 ¾ cup sugar

6 large egg whites, room temperature

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

2/3 cup of water

Make the pie

Follow the directions on the pre-made crust package for a single crust pie. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

Whisk the egg yolks together in a medium bowl. Whisk in ½ cup of sugar.

In a medium pot, whisk together the cornstarch, salt, and remaining sugar. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and heat over medium heat, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil;  boil for 1 minute.

Gradually pour 1/3 of the cornstarch mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to combine. Return the yolk mixture to the pot ( pour in a slow,steady stream) whisking constantly.

Heat the mixture over medium heat stirring constantly until the mixture begins to bubble. Continue to cook once large bubbles appear on the surface for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Stir in the lemon juice and butter, mixing well to combine. Strain the mixture into the cooled pie crust and smooth into an even layer. Bake at 375 degrees F until the filling is just barely set ( it will still look a bit jiggly), 15-17 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Blueberry Meringue

In a blender or food processor, pulse the blueberries until they form a fine powder ( you should end up with about 2 tablespoons blueberry “powder”). Transfer to a medium pot and whisk in the sugar.

Add 2/3 cup of water to the pot and heat over medium heat.

Stir the mixture until it comes to a boil; once it boils, stop stirring. If any sugar crystals have washed up on the sides, brush them away using a pastry brush dipped in cool water. Boil the sugar syrup until it reads 230 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When the syrup reaches 230 degrees F, begin whipping the egg whites on medium-high speed. The goal is to have the egg whites at soft peaks when the sugar reaches 240 degrees F.

When the sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees F, slowly  pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites, continuing to whip, until it reaches medium peaks, 4-6 minutes more. Spoon the meringue on top of the cooled pie and swoosh with the back of a spoon into an even , centered mound. If desired, you can toast the meringue with a kitchen torch or under the broiler. It is safe to eat un-toasted and it will keep the meringue a prettier color.

Spring Fling…

 April brings the Easter Bunny, flowers and trees budding out, a last minute frost sometimes but the best thing is a renewal of HOPE. If we ever needed a renewal it would be this spring of 2021..right?

This story will put a smile on your face from the Thoroughbroad years. Back in Louisville in the late 80’s the girls celebrated the month with a “Spring Fling Luncheon” at Kristen’s house. We were greeted at the front door by a lovely artificial floral wreath in pastel colors. Once the door was opened we entered and were handed a libation or an orange blossom tea, you made your choice and walked into her living room. Kristen’s house was always a treat. She decorated for all holidays and with her artistic background it was always amazing. From furniture to fabrics to her original artwork it was just the place to be on this lovely sunny start to spring.

After catching up on everyone’s March activities, we were directed to the dining room for a delicious lunch. Main dish was a Chicken Ginny Rose whose recipe came from another friend of the gang…Cindy who was one of the best cooks any of us knew.(all recipes are below). It was accompanied with herb bread, a cucumber and rice salad and an asparagus with delicious vinaigrette. Everyone’s dishes deliberately did not match but all of the pastel colors and patterns played perfectly with her low bowl centerpiece of a gathering of eggs of all colors and greenery to nestle them in. Simply perfection…and that was before we ate our meal!

We got on the subject of golf, as Kristen’s husband was the GM of Valhalla and now would be the busiest time of year for her and her husband with golf outings, events, tournaments and general entertaining. That brought us to Robyn telling the gang that she and Scarlett were taking classes at one of the public courses to get some exercise and since both of their husbands played early every Sunday, they could probably go with them sometime.

Robyn was pretty good, Scarlett on the other hand, let’s just say she was still learning. The golf pro told all of the women in the first class that they should not let the men intimidate them and that they did not necessarily enjoy having women on the course. He said, “They will try and rush you, they think women play too slowly. In fact, they are the slow ones. They watch golf on TV and see what the pros do and try to mimic it. Now these pros are playing for big money so they will step up to hit, then step back, swing a number of times in the air to loosen up, play with their grip, then hit the ball. The men will want to do the same thing. It is hilarious so our ranger will yell at them saying this ain’t no Easter egg hunt you are not looking for a swing, hit the ball already.” With that said we felt at ease. So, the girls headed out to the first whole, then the second and on the third some men had caught up with them and yes you guessed it, they started rushing them, getting closer and closer until one of the men hit a ball into our group! A big no no so one of the older women who played very well yelled back. On to the next hole and they hit into us again. Now she was fired up and so she went over to their ball and hit into the woods…a very accurate shot. We thought they got the message. On the fifth whole there is a Porta-Potty and she had to go, as soon as the door shut and she dropped her shorts, one of the men hit a ball which landed right on top of the plastic roof of the potty. It made a huge noise and that door few open and she came out with her shorts and panties down around her ankles. She pulled her drawers up, jumped on the golf cart and drove straight up the hill to them and they scattered like rats. She drove around them like an Indian circling a wagon train until she had cussed each one of them out then headed to the Pro Shop to turn them in. We watched as the men scattered to another whole no where near us. We to this day honor that older woman for showing us we need to stick up for ourselves. Isn’t it funny that 30 years later we are still having to fight for the same consideration men have been given?

Asparagus Vinaigrette

2 lbs asparagus (6-8 spears per person)

Pick them with smooth skin and tight buds and ½” in diameter and 2/3” green.

Roast them on a baking sheet in the oven until slightly charred remove and let cool. Dressing: 4 Tbsp peanut oil, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp lemon juice,  ¾ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, 1 garlic clove minced, ½ tsp Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chives, tarragon, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, dill (rub if dry herbs between your hands as you add them.

Mash the salt, pepper and garlic together until a paste. Add mustard, herbs, vinegar, and lemon juice and blend well. Whisk in the oils and slowly cream. Makes ½ cup of mixture. Pour over the roasted asparagus and enjoy.

Herb Bread

Buy 2 loaves of a deli – style bread and cut a slice almost thru the loaves lengthwise. Mix spices in a softened butter and spread over the top and down into the sliced area. Place the loaves in aluminum foil each and bake at 400 for 10 minutes.

1 stick butter, 1 Tbsp Fresh parsley, ½ tsp of basil, dill weed, oregano, garlic salt. We used McCormick brand dried herbs.

Rice & Cucumber Salad

2 cups water

2 Tbsp vinegar

1 cup rice

1 cup diced cucumber

1 cup chopped green pepper

½ cup chopped green onion

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1 tsp celery seed

Pepper to taste

½ cup mayo

1 cup plain yogurt

Mix water, vinegar, chicken cubes, celery seed in saucepan and boil, add rice cover and simmer 15 min. Remove from heat pour into a colander and rinse quickly. Pour into bowl and add remaining ingredients mixing well and chill…it is better if made a day ahead.

Chicken Ginny Rose

5 oz apricot preserves

5 oz orange marmalade

1   8 oz bottle creamy Russian dressing

1 pkg dry onion soup mix

Mix all ingredients together and pour over 8-10 pieces of chicken and bake in 350 oven for approx. 40 minutes. Serve on a platter so everyone can pick their favorite piece of chicken…this will be a family and company favorite!

Corny Cocktail…

CORN WHISKEY SOUR to celebrate the first day of SPRING!
Makes a mess….but sooooo worth it!

So, Robyn sent Scarlett a pic of her adult libation at the end of the first day of spring 2021. Celebrating her second vaccination coming this next week and Scarlett and her husband surviving COVID and getting their first shots this week was worth the effort it took to make this delicious drink!

March being Irish Whiskey month..she chose Bullitt Bourbon (one of the gals fave Bourbons) instead of the whiskey since Scarlett lives in the Bourbon Capital of the World – Bardstown, KY, it is only Kentucky Bourbon used for adult beverages. Well, there is that exception for Tequila…Margaritas you know, oh and Gin for Gin & Tonics, oh and Vodka for Cosmos, oh and Rum for Dark & Stormies…you get the picture of what a girl wants on a late spring evening.

The recipe is below..however, you may want to make these changes as Robyn found them to make a better drink.

“Place corn & whiskey in blender & process to get juice. Pour in sieve over bowl, press with back of spoon to get all the juice.

I added the Bourbon because it wasn’t processing well. Perhaps summer local corn will be more juicy. Also I used simple syrup instead of agave.”

Strawberries..chocolate covered or not…

A few Valentine Stories to enjoy…

It is February and Thoroughbroad Scarlett waits until after Valentines to buy her chocolates and the next year’s goodies that will keep, like cards, and gifts to mail. She has done this religiously for years. But, the best way to not spend a lot of cash on that holiday is best performed by a couple she knows in Bardstown, KY. They meet for a quick Valentine’s Day at the local card shop and find the aisle with all of the loving and whimsical holiday cards. They each pick out a card that professes the true meaning of their hearts and one that is on the funny side, then they hand them to each other…get a big laugh and get a warm feeling each and then put them back on the shelf and leave…isn’t that funny. Then they meet at the local drug store with a vintage soda shop and get a malt or shake and watch the people shopping for loved ones through the big glass window facing the downtown street.

Scarlett’s husband tells of a story when they both had started dating. He went to a local florist to buy flowers and told the woman behind the counter he would like one each of their travel size hand cream, body lotion, travel size spray fragrance and a bar of soap that all matched or blended in floral scents. He had her make one bouquet of flowers and one box of the toiletries that matched in color and presentation. He was done in maybe 5 minutes..he said every man in the place was watching and listening and before he left they all had ordered the same thing…it was that famous line from when Harry Met Sally, ” I’ll have what HE is having.”

When Thoroughbroad Robyn was 9 years old, she received 2 Valentine surprises. First, she was given the task of decorating a box to hold the class valentines. This usually consisted of a cardboard box with lots of red hearts and white lace paper doilies. She delivered this news at home and her dad said he would help. He came up with a design. The generic cardboard box became a 3D heart shape box. A slot was placed at the top where the heart starts to curve to collect the valentines. A trap door was placed in the back to remove the valentines. He then constructed a stand that the point of the heart fit into. All of this was covered in glossy red wrapping paper. A cluster of white tissue paper flowers, Robyn did this part, was placed in the center of the heart. Robyn’s father delivered the box to the classroom. Needless to say, everyone was suitably impressed. Other teachers came to see this feat of engineering. Robyn was proud of her father.

Robyn’s second surprise came in the form of an admirer. She was presented with a card and small wrapped package. Inside the card was a sheet of paper. The young boy  had written all the words to the popular song Calendar Girl by Neil Sedaka. She was his Calendar Girl. The box was chocolate covered cherries. Robyn did not share this young boy’s feelings. She accepted the gifts graciously as she had been taught. She never told him that there was nothing she disliked more than chocolate covered cherries. Her parents were the happy recipients of the cherries.

And, then it was Christmas. The young boy was still crushing on Robyn. You guessed it. Another box of chocolate covered cherries. No more gifts arrived after that. He a victim of unrequited love. We have all been there. Robyn still doesn’t like chocolate covered cherries but she always remembers this young boy.

So to celebrate February in a unique style we have various strawberry recipes you can use throughout the month to extend that “LOVING FEELING” with a friend, a significant other or a loved one or two. See below…

Delicious Strawberry Bread with Strawberry Butter from our Thoroughbroad J.J.

J. J.’s Strawberry Bread

Ingredients: 1 cup flour, 1tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 2 cups sugar, 3 eggs beaten, 1 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 2 10oz pkgs of frozen sliced strawberries crushed, 1 1/4 cup chopped pecans, red food coloring is optional

Grease and flour 2 9×5 baking pans, sift flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar together into a bowl. Beat eggs, oil and strawberries together. Add in the flour mixture, the nuts and a few drops of food color. Pour into pans and bake 55-60 min. at 350 until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let chill then serve with this Strawberry Butter

1 10 oz pkg of frozen strawberries thawed and crushed, 1 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Combine all together and mix well, then form into a mold or rolled into ball shapes and store in fridge until ready to slice up the bread and serve with the room temp butter.

Strawberry-Banana Cheesecake Salad

Ingredients: 1 package cream cheese, softened, 16 oz of vanilla yogurt, 1 (8 oz) tub of cool whip, Thawed, 1 (3½ ounce) package cheesecake flavor instant pudding or pie filling mix, ½ bag of miniature marshmallows, 3 pints strawberries, sliced, 4 bananas, sliced, 1 container raspberries (optional)

Instructions: In a bowl, mix cream cheese, yogurt, pudding and cool whip until creamy. Stir in marshmallows. Fold in fruit.

Strawberry Cheesecake Salad from Thoroughbroad Scarlett

Strawberry Lemonade Muffins

2 ½ cups flour, 1 ¼ cups sugar divided, 1 8oz container of sour cream, ½ cup melted butter, 1 Tbsp lemon zest, and 2 large eggs lightly beaten, 1 ½ cups diced fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 400 and in large bowl combine flour  and 1 cup sugar then make a well and add the mixture of sour cream, butter, zest and eggs pour into well stir all the flour mix and wet mix until dry ingredients are moist. Gently fold the strawberries into the batter. Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin fill each opening with3/4 full and sprinkle remaining sugar on top of each muffin. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Cool in the pan then remove to wire rack. ENJOY!

Strawberry Lemonade Muffins from Thoroughbroad Robyn

In Hindsight is 2020…

Let us start 2021 with a picture of how Scarlett & Robyn intend to spend time together this year…with Skrewball Peanut Butter Whisky Chocolate Truffles…gold dusted of course!

2021 will be a year to celebrate friendships, family and food more than just on Fridays! Scarlett & Robyn have vowed to visit each other more…even if it turns out to be by ZOOM. They have also vowed to try out more adult beverages. Scarlett says she sleeps better if she has a little booze with dinner and Robyn says why wait for dinner.

Old wives tales state that if you eat Black eyed peas in the New Year it will bring good luck. Also, if you do not use the first slice of bread until you are at the last you will make ends meet in the year. And another suggestion is to open your front door and your back door on a windy day in January to blow the old year out and welcome the new one. We will doing all 3 as we do not want to live another 2020!

Scarlett & Robyn will be looking thru their old recipes and some new ones to find away you can truly enjoy eating black eyed peas..it may take awhile as they are not a favorite with either Thoroughbroad, so if you have one you would like to share, they would love for you to post it!

Stay tuned…in the meantime these truffles ROCK! Recipe to follow.

Ending 2020 On A Good Note…

After “bubbling” in Kentucky for 2 weeks, Scarlett and husband visited Robyn in Alabama for Christmas 2020 to bring a bright light to the end of the worst year ever. While there, Robyn offered up a homemade mince meat pie, of which Scarlett’s husband had never eaten just because of its name. Well, he loved it and ended up eating ¾ of it.

Her recipe follows below.

While there, they noticed she wore a pin in her lapel that read “I hate fruitcake” every time she went out of the house. Wouldn’t you know it, a neighbor friend left a homemade fruitcake and a gingerbread cake on her front porch while she left for additional groceries mid week and she came back with a great story to tell her guests? It seems that Robyn spied the husband of the fruitcake friend in the produce aisle. Remembering that she had that pin on, she ducked behind anything she could find only to be spotted and approached by the husband all smiles and glad to see her. When he saw the pin he immediately said he was so sorry that they had left her a fruitcake…what could she do? She immediately recovered by saying “My gal pal is visiting me from Kentucky and she LOVES fruitcake.” which is a true statement. He was thrilled and said back one of the two lines everyone hears about fruitcake…”I don’t like fruitcake either.” or “Oh, you would love (fill in the name)’s fruitcake.” He responded with the second line.

Scarlett and her husband both laughed so hard they snorted and said they had to get her another pin for her right shoulder that stated “But my friend loves it!” Isn’t it funny how you never get away with expressing your opinion innocently? Scarlett and husband will be sending that holiday pin to Robyn as soon as they can get one printed. What a great memory to end 2020 with.

Robyn’s Mincemeat Pie

Heat oven to 425. Use Nonesuch Mince Meat pie filling available at Publix Grocery (seasonal so you may want to stock up). Use Pillsbury ready made crusts as directed as bottom and top crusts, place a few slits in the top crust and paint with an egg wash to brown and shine the top. Bake for 30 minutes.ENJOY with friends.

The infamous lapel pin.
The vintage pie plate the mincemeat pie was served on was Robyn’s mother in laws from the 60’s.
To a happier 2021..PLEASE!

The Pumpkin Pie Trilogy…

As we come to the end of the infamous “RONA” Thanksgiving, we want to look back to the turkey days of sharing a great meal with family and friends and when hugging was something we all took for granted.

As Scarlett made her popular pumpkin pies the year of the COVID 19 virus restrictions, she pulled out a Folk Art painting she had done in art class in 2009. When she had it framed, she decided to add her famous pumpkin pie recipe..which she had kept secret for many years from all those that asked for it. She would finally come clean and let others know it was the recipe on the Libby’s can of pumpkin..only she added a little maple syrup and a little brown sugar to the recipe (just a little).

There the secret is out!

Robyn supplied the picture of how you are really supposed to eat a slice of pumpkin pie…we all agree! So toast to the Thanksgiving of 2020 that has taught us all what we really have to be thankful for…our loved ones and the memories of past turkey days.

Stay safe and pray this pandemic is over real soon.

Pickin’ Punkin’s

October in Louisville is just plain lovely. The many varieties of trees (especially the Maples) are actually neon colored! Being an Atlanta girl Scarlett could not believe that Kentucky could be so beautiful in the Fall.

Everyone one from Louisville takes the annual 1 hour drive across the Ohio River to Starlight, Indiana to eat and shop at Huber’s Farm, Orchard & Winery when the pumpkins are ripe. You have to call ahead for reservations as it is packed because the food is soooo good! Served family style at big tables, big bowls of home grown veggies, ham, fried chicken and their famous fried biscuits with apple butter are just some of the favorites.

One October before Halloween, the Thoroughbroads took their annual trip along with another couple…Pat & Tony from Texas to enjoy the fun in the mid 1980’s. They all piled into Pat’s blue van (no seat belts and Scarlett and her husband in the back floor board as there was no seat belt law back then) and off they set out for the curvy road to Starlight. Going there was no problem but coming back became a laughable joy ride home. Scarlett’s husband started moaning and groaning from the floor board as we whirled our way around the curves on the way home. Upon interogation, we found he had eaten two entire baskets of fried biscuits with apple butter and drank at least 4 glasses of sweet tea along with an entire country meal with all the fixin’s while no one paid attention. Well, those biscuits with all that tea had become loaves of bread as they swelled up in his stomach! He wasn’t sick, but he thought we were going to have to take him to the hospital and get his stomach pumped because it was swelling up way over his belt. He looked like he had swallowed an entire car tire! It was hilarious and he learned a lesson…the lesson to share biscuits the following year. We all wondered why we did not have but one each and now we knew why. It was a lesson well learned.

A KENTUCKY FALL

BEST SWEET TEA EVER!

FRIED BISCUITS, VEGGIES, HAM, FRIED CHICKEN & FUN! JUST DON’T EAT TOO MUCH!

September Brought The Love of History…

Peggy did not stay with the “Thoroughbroads” long but she made a huge impact when she was able to attend or host. She had a full-time job with a local paint company, but could get away from time to time and it was always a delight. Her hobbies kept us entertained and she was a wonderful story teller of her adventures.

An avid antique collector of very early Americana, long before it became fashionable, she invited us all to her home for a luncheon.  Upon arrival, she greeted us in full Williamsburg attire, the house smelled wonderful as she handed us a vintage recipe beverage she had uncovered. We were in for a great day, for she had cooked the entire meal in her living room fireplace with her vintage cast iron cookware…and it was still bubbling over the warming coals as we came in.

The living room, or rather the gathering room, was full of lovely copper items, vintage books and wooden ware she had collected and loaded the bookshelves with. The furniture was overstuffed colonial styled seating and placed over an old hooked rug. The walls had early primitive paintings and pottery pieces, a bittersweet wreath and candlesticks with beeswax candles were lit on the mantel and comfy quilts were available for anyone who might be a little chilly on this early fall day. It was a very welcoming home in the country just outside of “the Ville”.

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The table was set with her collection of various pieces of glassware silver and linens. Meant not to match..she was ahead of her time back in the 80’s. The food was served into bowls and small plates by our hostess directly from the pots in the fireplace. The iron swing arm pot holder attached to the inside of the brick fireplace held a cast iron pot full of a vegetable and beef stew, out of another cast iron piece came corn bread, and an iron Dutch oven was full of cobbler…this piece was unique as the top had a deep rim where the red-hot coals were placed to cook the top of the cobbler as well as the bottom.

hearth cookingstew

As we enjoyed the delicious meal Peggy told us stories of where all the iron came from, auctions, trades with other collectors, flea markets and yard sales. We felt we were right there with her bargaining our way to a lovely day like today where we would enjoy the history of early cooking and vintage recipes from the women who helped build our country. We left with a new appreciation for how lucky we all were.

For colonial recipes, additional pioneer stories and history visit www.tashatudorandfamily.com