Copy Cat French Silk Pie!

Photo credit: Debra M. Kirsch 2020

After seeing this recipe shared by a friend on Facebook, I just had to try it. French Silk pie from Baker’s Square, formerly Poppin Fresh in my high school days, has to be my all time kryptonite. In HS we used to buy a whole pie, and grab a couple of forks, and watch it disappear. Of course, today’s metabolism is not what it used to be so one slice is my daily limit.

I brought this over to our neighbors’ house for dessert and it was extremely well received! So lucky there is another French Silk fan so close!

This is the recipe, and it’s pretty spot on.

https://amandascookin.com/homemade-bakers-square-french-silk-pie/

If you are concerned about the use of raw eggs, they can easily be pasteurized first. My local grocery didn’t have any already pasteurized eggs, and they are more expensive. Directions for that are I’m edged in the recipe, but basically you put your large eggs in a pan, cover with water, and bring them up to 140 degrees F and hold that temp carefully for three minutes. The eggs hold the same consistency as raw, do this does not effect the recipe at all.

©️Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Enjoy!!

“Gobble ‘em Up Turkey Burgers” & “Clean out the Fridge Pasta Salad”

Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Anything poultry seems to fly in our house. (Ok, that was bad… ) We really like turkey burgers on the grill all year round, but particularly in the summer when the side dishes can be garden fresh.

My “Gobble ‘em Up” turkey burgers are just a couple of ingredients, but in my opinion, they are the best when made from 99% lean ground turkey breast. The burgers are firm and juicy, not soft or mushy as I have found with the less lean grounds. And a couple of add ins make all the difference.

Turkey Burgers:

In a large bowl, combine a one pound package of ground turkey, about a 1/4 cup diced red onion, 2 oz, or +/-half a package, of crumbled Feta Cheese, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, pinch of salt, and some ground pepper. All measurements can be to your taste, there is no real magic formula. You can even just do a package of turkey, some onion, and 1 or 2 Tablespoons of Italian or Greek salad dressing. Mix everything together, and form into 3 or 4 patties.

Grill patties over medium-high heat until cooked through, top with a slice of Swiss or Provolone cheese, and serve on a fresh bun with hummus spread on the top half of the bun, and 3 or 4 slices of ripe avocado. YUM!

Pasta Salad:

For an always popular and fresh side dish, toss together a pasta salad with any veggies you have on hand. I boiled about 1 1/2 cups of garden rotini and added, 1/2 cup of diced peppers (assorted colors), 1/4 cup of red onion, 1 ear of corn off the Cobb, 1 cup of cut up & blanched broccoli florets, some sun dried tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes, 3/4 cup diced cucumber, really anything goes here. You can also add some crumbled Feta. To all of this I add about 1/4 cup of Italian dressing, you can add more or less depending on how you like it. Place it in the fridge until ready to serve.

Chicken with Mango Salsa & Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, onion, and Cranberries

Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020

I had a taste for something different, at least from what I’ve had lately, so I found this recipe at Creme de la Crumb. I used chicken thighs, instead of breasts, and it cooked up fast and delicious. The grill rub for the chicken had a nice flavor, and a little kick, the mango salsa was a perfect balance.

I made a side of Brussel Sprouts, I had them on hand, sautéed with bacon lardons and red onion, then a handful of dried cranberries tossed in at the end. This is one of my favorite sides, and find it funny that they appeal to me, since I wouldn’t touch a sprout for anything until about three years ago. I guess with age comes wisdom. No recipe needed for this one, it’s pretty much fool proof, just use what you like.

Here is what you need:

  • 4 Large boneless chicken breasts, or 6 boneless thighs
  • 2T olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t Italian blend seasoning (or mix equal parts dried basil, thyme, and oregano
Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020
  • 2 Mangoes
  • 1/2 red or white onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch of Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 t salt
  • juice of 1 lime

Instructions:

  • In a medium Bowl stir together everything for the Mango salsa. Set aside.
  • Stir together dry ingredients for the rub
  • Drizzle chicken with olive oil and coat lightly with the seasoning.
  • Grill the chicken over medium-high heat, or bake at 375 degrees until c poked through.
  • Serve immediately with Mango Salsa on top, enjoy!

As I said, the recipe is from lecremedelacrumb.com, and it was great!! Check out the original at https://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/mango-salsa-chicken/

Morning Glory Muffins

Photo credit: Debra M. Kirsch ©️2020

All I can say about these muffins is, thank goodness I finally got around to trying the recipe!! To me, they are perfection in one hand for breakfast. Packed full of fresh and healthy ingredients, they came together quickly, made the house smell great, and made just the right amount.

I found the recipe through sallysbakingaddiction.com and had saved it for awhile. I admit that I needed to gather a few ingredients, like the flax meal and coconut oil, but everything else was on hand. I also am not a big fan of nuts in baked goods so I substituted shredded coconut and it worked flawlessly.

So give it a try, you will want these to have these on hand on a regular basis!

https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/simple-morning-glory-muffins/

Have you had a Saskatoon?

Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Well, this is my first batch, and they are very interesting! I stumbled on these berries while horse showing, over the last two years, near Traverse City, Michigan. I kept seeing signs on the roads leading to the show grounds for U-pick Saskatoons. I had no idea what these were, and last year I left town after the show and forgot about investigating. This year, same shows and same signs, so I checked it out and decided I should try some. Now I’ve noticed them at the local farmers market, too.

Native to North America, Saskatoons are actually a member of the apple family, though they look like blueberries, and have a kind of a wild and nutty flavor with an apple-like finish. They have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, more than strawberries, raspberries, or wild blueberries. Antioxidants are found to fight certain cancers, reduce inflammation and diabetes, as well as reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. They are also high in fiber, which is beneficial in defending against high blood pressure, aid in digestion, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Saskatoons are also a great source of calcium; better than red meat, vegetables, or cereals, as well as a rich source of vitamin C.

Touted by some as the next super fruit, the growing conditions in the Traverse City area have brought a robust of harvest that is making it’s name more widely known. They can be eaten raw, in salads or smoothies, or made into jams and fruit fillings. Currently there are around 20 commercial growers, with a 50 to 10,000 plants each, here in lower Michigan.

Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020

I tried a generous amount of these super little berries in a smoothie, along with watermelon, raspberries, banana and pineapple-coconut water and a little ice. Totally delicious and packed with good stuff, there are loads more things you could do, so get creative!

The Canadian Food Network has a bunch ideas too, from sweet to savory so that’s a good resource. https://www.foodnetwork.ca/shows/great-canadian-cookbook/photos/saskatoon-berry-recipes/#!saskatoon-berry-lentil-muffins

Bang Bang Corn! 🌽 From Delish.com

Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020

My current obsession is fresh sweet corn on the grill, so when I saw this recipe from Delish.com I just had to try it.

Everything the recipe calls for is likely in your kitchen, perhaps you need to add some Sweet Chili Sauce to your grocery list. That’s an easy one, you can find it in the grocery store along side the Asian sauces and marinades. Just mix everything together, paint it on the corn, and pop it on a medium-high grill, turning occasionally & basting to get it cooked all the way around. It just takes 10-15 minutes and worth every minute!

https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a53994/bang-bang-corn-recipe/

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C sweet chili sauce
  • 3 T melted butter
  • 1 T sriracha
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ears corn, husks removed
  • Freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish

Juiciest Pork Chops!

Photo credit: Debra M. Kirsch ©2020

Say “no more” to dry, tough chops, impress your family with these wonderful, moist, tender pork chop beauties! The secret is in the method, you can really use and seasoning that you are in the mood for.

One key point, is to make sure your meat is room temperature. It’s best to take them out of the fridge a good 30 minutes before you cook them and sprinkle with salt on both sides. Since the meat is very lean, this initial seasoning helps to bring out more flavor.

Then pat your meat dry and take your favorite spice blend and pat it over the chops on both sides. If you want to add a little flour to the spices, it will help create a nice crust, I skipped it.

In a hot cast iron skillet, or braiser, with a little olive oil, sear one side of the chops until nicely browned, about 2-3 minutes. Then, flip them, cover the pan and turn down the heat to low. The second side will brown and the meat will cook through, gently, with the lid on, yielding flavorful and tender results. Cook meat to 145 degrees internally, about 8-10 minutes, depending on thickness.

Transfer meat to a plate and let rest while you finish the sauce. On medium-high heat add some chicken stock, honey and vinegar, adjusting to taste. Let it cook down by about half, you can add a little butter if you want something a little richer, I skipped that.

You can return the chops to the pan to cover with sauce, or slice them and pour sauce over them, or serve it on the side and pass it at the table. A little green parsley to dress it all up, would be nice, clearly my plate was whisked away before that step… Hungry spouse lives here!😂

Here is where I learned about this method, it hasn’t failed me yet! https://www.inspiredtaste.net/37062/juicy-skillet-pork-chops/ ENJOY!

Apricot Almond Cake

Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020

With a haul of fresh apricots from a local farm stand, I set about finding ways to use them and enjoy the fresh sweet-tart flavor. Today, I settled on an Apricot Almond Cake, the bonus was that I had everything I needed already on hand. I used a recipe, as a base, I found from food52.com, and cut it down to a smaller square pan.

This was the original: https://food52.com/recipes/77272-apricot-almond-cake if you would like to check it out.

An additional bonus of this cake, was that it works for loads of different fruits; cherries, peaches, or even pears. It isn’t too sweet so besides a light dessert, I think it will shine as a breakfast cake with my morning coffee.

Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 C confectioners sugar
  • 1 C all purpose flour
  • 2 C Almond Flour
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 tsp baking powder
  • 3-4 fresh apricots, halved & pitted
  • 2 T granulated sugar

Process:

Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Line a 9×9 square pan with parchment, grease parchment and sides
  • Beat egg whites until foamy
  • Add confectioners sugar to the egg whites and beat an additional minute
  • Add flour, almond flour, baking powder, melted butter, and salt, folding gently
  • Pour batter into pan and place apricot halves, cut side up in the batter.
  • Sprinkle granulated sugar across top
  • Bake for 30 minutes
  • Serve with vanilla whipped cream or enjoy as a breakfast treat!
Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020

NOTE: As a post coffee update, I would suggest more apricots! They were so tender and gave great flavor, I would definitely double them next time! Also, since the fruit sank deeply into the cake, I would suggest placing the halves on top of the batter and not pressing them into it, then you might have a prettier line across the top surface. ENJOY🍑

Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars 🍒 from @averiesunshine

Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Kirsch means cherry in German, so it natural that we Kirsches gravitate towards these sweet treats. These were the perfect project today, I’m surrounded by fresh cherries everywhere I go up here in Michigan! The stores are full of them, farmstands are bursting with fruit from local orchards, and little stands with honor boxes dot the roads. I came across this recipe from @averiesunshine and her blog averiecooks.com, then one of my daughters messaged it to me with a “must do” tag. Great minds think alike, so here we go.

These were so easy to make, basically blondies with chocolate chips and fresh cherries folded in. They came together in minutes and made the house smell wonderful. I baked them a bit longer than recommended, as I used a lot of fruit and they were very juicy, just watch for a lovely golden color and the center to set.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 3/4 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup cherries, fresh or frozen (you could use other berries, or stone fruits, too.)

PROCESS:

Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a square baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 30-60 seconds, depending on your microwave.
  3. To the melted butter, add the brown sugar and stir to combine.
  4. Add the egg, vanilla, and stir to combine. Add the flour, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over mix or the blondies will be tough.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips and fruit (I halved the cherries, as they were really big), and scoop batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula.
  6. Bake for 27 to 32 minutes, or until edges begin to slightly pull away from sides of pan and center is set. Baking time may vary depending on moisture content of fruit. (My batch went 36 minutes.)
  7. Allow bars to cool before slicing and serving. Blondies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Enjoy these wonderful treats and check out the full recipe and blog at https://www.averiecooks.com/chocolate-chip-and-cherry-blondies/ she has loads of great recipes!

Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020

Melon Caprese Salad, or Skewers if you want!

Photo credit: ©Debra M. Kirsch 2020

I spotted the idea for this salad on one of my favorite Instagram accounts, @whatsgabycookin. She did them as appetizer skewers, with the addition of Honeydew melon, and they were so beautiful. I decided to toss what I had into a bowl and present it as a side salad, it turned out great and was a fresh accompaniment to grilled flank steak.

With the summer in full swing, we have such wonderful fruits bursting with fresh flavor, and these local melons were spectacular. I have to admit, I was a little dubious about drizzling on the basil vinaigrette, but it was the perfect foil to the melon, and it went perfectly with the mini mozzarella balls, and chopped prosciutto, kind of a perfect balance of sweet and salty. The bonus was that my basil plants were in desperate need of cutting, so I had plenty of fresh basil on hand.

I think, as skewers, this will be a definite addition to my appetizer list. It’s colorful, delicious, and easy to prepare, making it a real winner!

Check out the full recipe and more from @whatsgabycookin, you wont be sorry. Enjoy! https://whatsgabycooking.com/melon-caprese-skewers/