Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mile-High Strawberry Pie

For a time while I was a child, my family lived in Macon, GA, and that place, more than any place I've lived since coming to Memphis, defined what I feel when I think of "hot summer nights."  It was sticky and humid and gross and there were mosquitoes and we were outside all the freaking time.  If was, of course, wonderful.  I have great memories of summertime there there, playing kickball on my safe, safe cul-de-sac (member of Gen-Y here), running around in the woods, and, most importantly, raiding my parents' deep freeze for ice cream sandwiches, orange sherbet push pops, and, best of all, my mom's mile-high strawberry pie.  She recently scanned and sent me the recipe for this frozen delight of my childhood and now, o interwebs, it is my gift to you.

It should be noted that I recently made this twice in one week - but, in my defense, the first pie was devoured at a Grizzlies watch party.  For the second pie, I have no defense.

Jones Orchard strawberries here.  Strawberries are starting to dwindle at the market, but you may have been lucky enough to snag a basket from either Jones or Whitton Farms early this morning.  On the other hand, blueberries should start coming in in a couple of weeks, and blackberries are trickling in now.

Mile-High Strawberry Pie

1 9" baked pastry shell or crumb crust (I used a simple graham cracker crust recipe)

1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar - adjust to your preference.  The original recipe calls for 1 cup, but that seems like too much.
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries, partially thawed, and sliced
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream, stiffly whipped

Combine sugar, egg whites, strawberries, vanilla,  lemon juice, and salt in a large bowl. 

Beat at high speed for 15 minutes until thick, fluffy, and voluminous.  Fold in whipped cream and pile mixture into pie shell (baked if using pastry shell). 

Cover with plastic wrap or foil and freeze for several hours (you'll need at least 3, and 4 would be better).  To serve, remove from freezer and eat immediately.

There are some adorable handwritten notes under the recipe card, penned by my grandmother.  They say, "Susan [that's my mom] - use a 'spring form' pan like you use for your cheesecake.  This is one of Marie's [my French great-great grandmother] recipes. You'll love it. So will the kids."  And we do.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Scallion Crepes with Stir-Fried Greens

Ahh. I took a hiatus to Move, Take Care of Some Drama, Replace the Grad School Furniture, Replace the Car that Died, Go to California, and Start Looking for a Post-Clerkship Job, and Blogger changed the layout on me.  Anyway, that was a lot of stuff to do, but the market season is opening now, and it feels weird to be cooking but not blogging. So here's a spring post. I used scallions, bok choy, and sugar snap peas from Vu's Homegrown Produce from the Memphis Farmers Market.  I only had three baby bok choy, so our crepes were less filled than they could have been, but were still delicious.

Scallion Crepes with Stir-Fried Greens
From Local Flavors by Deborah Madison

For the crepes:
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon dark sesame or roasted peanut oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus extra for the pan
1 cup water
3/4 cup milk or soy milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup AP flour
1 bunch scallions
1/4 cup toasted black or white sesame seeds

The filling:
6 baby bok choy
1 cup snow or sugar snap peas
[a few handfuls of pea greens, optional - the only vendor I've seen with pea greens so far is the Gracious Gardener]
sea salt
1 tablespoon roasted peanut oil (I used a sesame/vegetable oil mix here)

To make the crepes:
Combine the first 6 ingredient in a blender or food processor on high speed.  Add the flour; blend again for 10 seconds, then stop.  Scrape down the sides and blend briefly once more. Pour the batter into a bowl and set aside to rest.  Note, I filled my mini-prep food processor above the liquid fill line and found out what happens when you do that, which explains why dinner took 10 minutes longer to prepare than it should have.

Trim and wash the scallions, including an inch or more of the greens.  Slice them very, very thinly on the diagonal.  Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Heat a large nonstick pan with a little vegetable oil.  Spread it around with a paper towel.  When the pan is hot, add 1/3 cup batter and swirl it around the pan. Scatter some scallions and sesame seeds over the top and cook until golden on the bottom, about one minute.  Loosen the crepe, flip it over, and cook the other side until it's dry, then slide it onto a piece of aluminum foil on a plate.  Continue making crepes until all the batter is used, stacking them as you do. You'll need to oil the pan at least every other crepe; my stove runs crazy hot, and I had to re-oil between every crepe to keep them from sticking.  Oh yeah, and the first crepe is always a test crepe.

Wrap the crepes in foil and put them in the oven when you start the vegetables.

Vegetable Filling:
Cut the bok choy lengthwise into quarters, or sixths if they are on the plump side.  Sliver the peas on the diagonal (note, I left my sugar snaps whole) and wash the pea greens.

Bring a wide nonstick skillet of water to a simmer; add salt and the bok choy.  Simmer for 2 minutes, then drain (this can be done ahead of time, but if so, rinse the bok choy to keep it from cooking as it cools).

Return the skillet to the stove and turn the heat to high.  Add the peanut oil, swirl it around the pan, and add the vegetables.  I added the peas first, then the bok choy.  Stir-fry until tender-crisp and bright green.  Season with salt and turn into a serving dish.  Present the crepes in a stack, the greens in a dish, and let each person assemble his or her own.

This recipe made ten crepes for the two of us -- a filling dinner.  I liked these a lot, and it's a perfect recipe for mid-spring.