Monday, January 31, 2011

Old Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie

Okay, so I did not actually eat this pie myself, but it got rave reviews. I made it yesterday for my hubby, who has been kind of complaining about my "diet" food and also for neighbors. My neighbor came over like one hour after giving it to him and he said, "Oh my gosh, Heidi. I don't even like pie but this was amazing! I died and gone to heaven." Those were direct quotes. My husband, whom this is his favorite pie, said it was BETTER than MARIE CALLENDARS. It could have been because he has been dieting with me for a month and this is the first dessert to touch his lips in a month or he could have been sincere. Anyways, I have heard it is amazing! It was also so simple to make, totally worth it.

*Makes one 10-inch pie. (My pie plate was 9 inches and it was fine)

1 can coconut milk (can be found in the Asian foods section)
Half-and-half or heavy cream (enough to add to the coconut milk to make 3 cups)
3 egg yolks
¾ cup white sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup flaked coconut, toasted*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 recipe graham cracker crust (below)
Fresh Whipped Cream, lightly sweetened

In a medium saucepan, combine half and half, coconut milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Mixture will become very thick. Remove from heat, and stir in ¾ cup of the toasted coconut, coconut extract and the vanilla extract. Pour into baked and cooled pie shell and chill 2-4 hours or until firm. Top with whipped cream and the remaining ¼ cup of toasted coconut.

*To toast coconut, spread coconut on rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake at 325 degrees, tossing often, until lightly toasted, about 12-15 minutes.

Graham Cracker Crust
12 whole rectangular graham crackers
1 stick butter, melted and slightly cooled
3 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Finely crush graham crackers in a food processor or in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin. Pour crumbs into a bowl and add sugar, stirring to combine. Drizzle butter over the top and mix with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.

Press the crumbs evenly in the bottom and up the sides of a 9- or 10-inch pie plate. Bake for 13-15 minutes until the crust is just barely beginning to brown. Remove from oven and cool completely before filling.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chili Verde (Mexican Stewed Pork)

This is utterly, amazing! I only had a little bit, because I am dieting, but Chris could not get enough. Really, really good is all I have to say. Chris put this in a tortilla with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, romaine lettuce, diced roma tomatoes, avocadoes, and sour cream. He loved, LOVED it! I had it on top of a romaine salad with tomatoes and a little bit of reduced fat ranch dressing and it was delicious that way as well! It would be good inside enchiladas, really, anything it would be good on. It makes a ton, but freezes well, so I think it is worth making the whole batch. I did the crock pot method, so I cannot vouch for the oven method, BUT Mel over at Kitchen Cafe is like my food celebrity, I trust her, so I am sure either or is fine. I love how I act like I am personal friends with this lady, but seriously, all of her food is so good. Enjoy!
from My Kitchen Cafe (

*Note: don't even think about skipping the step of reducing the sauce. It is absolutely essential to the flavor of the sauce! Just make sure to plan ahead - the roast takes 8-9 hours on low in the crockpot (or 3-4 hours in the oven) and an additional 30 minutes to reduce the sauce.

*Serves 8-10

2 tablespoons canola oil
5 pounds boneless pork roast, trimmed of as much fat as possible
Salt and pepper for seasoning roast
2 yellow onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed
1 (15 oz.) can green enchilada sauce
2 (4 oz.) cans diced green chiles
2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 beef bouillon cube (or 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon black pepper

Cut the roast into 3-4 large chunks. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper on all sides. In a large heavy pot, ( I used my cast iron skillet and it worked well) the oil over medium heat until the oil is shimmering and hot. Add the pork, being careful not to crowd the pot (brown the pork in shifts, if needed). Brown the pork on all sides until golden and well-browned, about 30 seconds to a minute on each side. Leave the roast in the pot and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Place the pork and garlic and onions in the slow cooker (read below for oven-roasting method). Stir in the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours. After the roast has cooked for the allotted time, remove the roast. Shred it into bite-size pieces and set aside, covered with foil to keep warm. Pour the remaining liquid and ingredients from the slow cooker into a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil on the stove, and simmer vigoriously over medium-low or medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking or burning, until the mixture considerably reduced and thickened. Add the pork roast and sauce back to the slow cooker. Stir to coat the pork with the sauce. Turn the crockpot to low or high and allow the pork to heat through again. Serve with warm tortillas and desired toppings, such as sour cream, cheese, avocados, lettuce, tomatoes.

Oven-roasting Instructions: When beginning the recipe, make sure to use an oven-safe pot for the browning (such as a large enameled cast-iron pot). Follow the recipe up until the point of adding the pork to the slow cooker. Instead, keep the pork in the oven-safe pot. Add in all the other recipe ingredients plus 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine. Cover the pot and cook in the oven at 300 degrees for 3-4 hours. When finished cooking, remove the roast as directed in the above instructions. Follow the recipe to reduce the sauce.