Asian-Fusion Stir-Fry Sauce

3 bottles of sauce with finished mix in small bowl, dark brown in color
Asian-fusion stir-fry sauce

Wonderful for fish and seafood, this is good in a stir-fry or basted on grilled shrimp or fish. Use it to make buffalo chicken wings. You can even drizzled it on steamed white rice. There is nothing fancy or complicated here. Anyone can do this and it’s not necessary to stick with these actual brand names, only the general sauce type.

I start by mixing equal amounts (about 2 Tablespoons each) of soy sauce, Korean gochujang sauce and Thai sweet chili sauce. At this point, you should taste and see how you like it. Sometimes I add more sweet chili sauce. That’s it. Easy peasy!

Atlantic Beach Pie: Meringue or Not?

 Bill Smith’s Atlantic Beach PieFor the back story, click here.
This is a newer version of a pie that is commonly served at seafood restaurants on the North Carolina coast. Chef Bill Smith has been serving it at Crook’s Corner and is credited with its revival. He calls it the easiest recipe in the world. I encourage you to go to his website and learn all about it firsthand and follow his recipe. I show the same recipe below, how I made it, along with my comments.

a pie with meringue
Meringue isn’t traditional to Atlantic Beach Pie, but who can argue with this?

For the crust:
1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
1/3 to 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar

For the filling:

a pale cream pie, looks like light butterscotch
This is the Atlantic Beach Pie I made from Bill Smith’s recipe.

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
Fresh whipped cream and sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crush the crackers finely, but not to dust. You can use a food processor or your hands. Add the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough. Press into an 8 or 9-inch pie pan. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until it starts to color. It’s a crumbly crust.

While the crust is cooling (it doesn’t need to be cold), beat the egg yolks into the milk, then beat in the citrus juice. It is important to completely combine these ingredients. Pour into the shell and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set. The pie needs to be completely cooled to be sliced. If you’re not doing the meringue, serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.

Nadia’s notes: I used a 9-inch pan and that was just right. Crust seems thick, but it works. I baked my pie for 25 minutes and that was just right for my oven. I think it is delicious as it is. My husband likes a tad more lemon flavor, so sometimes I add a half teaspoon of lemon extract. I think this pie tastes just as good, maybe better the second day.

Meringue? Yes. That’s good too. This is a lemon flavored pie, so it lends itself nicely to meringue. This is also a great way to use the leftover egg whites. I do it when I feel like I have the extra time (even though it really doesn’t take long).

This is my meringue recipe:
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
a few drops of lemon extract
1/3 cup sugar

Whip the whites and cream of tartar, adding lemon favor and gradually, the sugar until stiff glossy peaks. Do this while the pie is baking. 5 minutes before the pie’s time is up, raise oven temp to 400 degrees.

shows pie with and then without meringue
Atlantic beach pie side-by-. No contest in my book.side

When the pie has baked, remove from oven, spread with meringue, sealing the edges to the crust. I used a butter knife to even out the meringue and make little peaks. Return to the hotter oven and bake another 8-10 minutes or until meringue is browned on top.

For New Year’s Day: Armadillo Turkey

a turkey with pineapple skin covering the breast
The ultimate party presentation: Armadillo Turkey

ARMADILLO TURKEY: Do it for New Year’s Day or Super Bowl Sunday

All you need do, is carefully carve the skin from one fresh pineapple, about 1/2 inch thick. Save the flesh for another purpose. You will have 4-6 pieces (try to keep them as large as you can). Prepare and truss your bird for roasting as you usually would.

Carefully cover the breast area with the pineapple skin pieces, skewering them into place with toothpicks or small metal skewers. You will have cracks between the pieces, that’s okay. The spaces can be filled in later with parsley and kale as you can see in the photo.

Roast the turkey according to the instructions. The pineapple will baste the breast and give it a tropical flavor.

When done, let the turkey rest 30 minutes, then garnish by surrounding the bird in curly kale (or use your imagination). I found parsley was perfect for tucking into the cracks between the pineapple pieces on the breast. Don’t skip the presentation, the look on the faces of your guests will be worth the extra effort.

Raisin Walnut Pie

a dark pie similar in looks to a pecan pie
Nadia’s all-time favorite pie: Raisin Walnut

RAISIN WALNUT PIE
For guilty pleasures, this is my all-time favorite pie. Comfort food and not health food, this recipe has a place at our holiday table. Similar to pecan pie, this is SO good. I saw a version of this recipe in an old cookbook saying it was a Karo Syrup contest winner many years ago. That recipe used margarine instead of butter.

3 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup dark corn syrup
½ c. firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ c. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. raisins
½ c. chopped walnuts
1 pie shell (9-inch)

Make your own pie crust or use a pre-made shell. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a mixer, beat eggs, add corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla and salt. Mix in the raisins and nuts. Set aside and bake shell 5 minutes only, not until completely done. Remove crust from oven and pour filling into shell. Return to oven (with foil around the edges of crust) and bake approximately 50 minutes or until pie is lightly set to the touch. Cool completely. I usually serve with vanilla ice cream, but the original recipe suggested unsweetened, fresh whipped cream (doesn’t THAT sound good?).

Cranberry Orange Sugar Cookies

Cranberry Orange Sugar Cookies
Cranberry Orange Sugar Cookies

My new favorite,
Cranberry Orange Sugar Cookies

For the Orange Sugar:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp freshly grated orange peel

For the Cookies:
1 cup sugar
¾ cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
½ cup pistachio nuts or chopped walnuts
1 TBSP freshly grated orange peel or more

Heat oven to 350F. Zest one medium orange.

Combine 1/2 c. sugar and 1 tsp finely grated orange peel in a small bowl and mix. Set aside.

Combine 1 cup sugar, butter and egg in a large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add nuts, cranberries, and the remaining orange zest ( it might be a little over a tablespoon) and mix again. Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until well mixed.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in orange sugar. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten lightly with bottom of glass.

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes—only until edges are lightly golden. Cool and remove from cookie sheets.

Refried Beans

refried beans
Refried Beans

REFRIED BEANS

2 T olive oil
1 15 oz. can pinto beans
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large jalapeño – diced and seeds removed
1/2 medium onion – diced
3/4 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
¼ c sour cream (opt)

In a medium saucepan, saute’ onion and minced pepper in olive oil. Add garlic near the end. Puree’ the beans and spices in blender and return to saucepan to simmer until desired consistency and flavors marry. Stir in sour cream and serve warm or room temperature with chips as a dip or as a side dish sprinkled with shredded colby-jack cheese.

This is so easy and fun to make. Take it to a party, it’s the season!

Christmas Crack or Soda Cracker Candy

chocolat, toffee and nut candy
Soda Cracker Candy is also called Christmas Crack

SODA CRACKER CANDY (reminds me of Heath bars)

• 35 saltines (1 sleeve)
• 1 cup butter, cubed
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
• 1 cup chopped toasted pecans (toasting the nuts is optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll/cookie sheet baking pan with foil; grease foil. Arrange saltines in a single layer on foil breaking a few to fit if needed.

2. In a large heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar. Bring to a full boil; cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Spread evenly over crackers.

3. Bake 5-7 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Cover with foil and allow chips to soften for 5 minutes, then spread evenly over top. Sprinkle with pecans.

4. Refrigerate, uncovered, 1 hour or until set (or put in freezer 20-minutes). Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 2 pounds.

Editor’s Note: To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.