chess pie

title page southern chess pie

Oh Pi Day- the most delicious contribution from mathematics since Avogadro’s Number.  Get it?  Avogadro sounds like Avocado?

What kind of food nerds would we be if we didn’t celebrate?  And celebrate we did.  I hosted a Pi Day bake-off at the office, and while I may have fudged the scores a bit because of Bakeoff Rule #451 (Though shalt not win thine own bake-off), I think I can spill the beans here: my Chess Pie won!  

Now y’all, I thought I was up a creek without a paddle attachment when I realized that my roommate had taken the stand mixer.  But this classic southern Chess Pie is not only scrumptious, you can also make it with a fork.  No fancy mixer needed here!  Although you can, of course, use a Kitchen-Aid to make your life easy and breezy.

For the Filling:

2 cups sugar
2 tbs cornmeal
1 tbs flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup milk
1 squeeze of lemon or 1 tbs white vinegar (you could also replace milk + lemon/vinegar with buttermilk)
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

For the Pie Crust: Use your favorite!  I’m really not the baker in this friendship, so I would go with any of Julia’s pie crusts.

 

Preheat the oven to 425° and bake your pie crust in a pie pan (you can line with foil and fill with beans, or you can not) for ~5 minutes.

pre baked crust

In a large bowl, stir together sugar, cornmeal, flour, salt, melted butter, milk, lemon/vinegar, and vanilla.  Then lightly beat your eggs and add them to the mixture.  Ok, are you ready for the hard part?

Stir.

add your eggs and stir

Pour into your pie crust.

pre-baked pie

Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes.  After about 10 minutes, wrap the edges of the crust in foil so the edges don’t get too brown.  Once your Chess Pie has cooled completely, enjoy a slice.  Or two.  And then take it to your Pi Day bakeoff and win because it’s basically cheating to make a pie out of butter and sugar.

out of the oven

If you want to mix it up, you can add baking chocolate, lemon, raspberry, or top it with whipped cream or powdered sugar.  You can vary it all you want, but this pie will always be delicious and old-fashioned.

post-baked pie

xoxo,

Liz

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red beans & rice

Red Beans and Rice Hero

Nothing says NOLA like red beans and rice. I know it’s sacrilege, but believe it or not these red beans and rice have no bacon, sausage or any hints of meat. They’re slow cooking, flavor-packed, and will make your kitchen smell like a French Quarter cafe. The real secret to these is time (you’ll also need a little thyme).

You’ll need:

Ingredients_Red Beans & Rice

 

Kosher salt
1 pound small red beans, rinsed and picked over
3 tbl butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 small bell pepper (I used orange), seeded and chopped fine
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Ground black pepper
3 cups veggie broth
6 cups water
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, plus extra for seasoning
Basic White Rice

DSC_0319

Your beans: Start by soaking & brining them — combine 3 tablespoons of salt with 4 quarts of water. If you’re a planner, you can soak your beans for 8-12 hours over night the night before. I am not that on top of things, so I erred on the side of the quick soak. To prep your beans with the quick method, rinse your beans then combine them with salt & water in a large, covered dutch oven. Bring the water to a boil and then remove from the heat and let them rest for 1 hour. Drain your beans and then start making them tasty!

DSC_0311

Melt your butter in a large dutch oven & add your onion, celery, and peppers. Cook until your vegetables are soft (~4-5 minutes) and then add your garlic.

DSC_0316

 

Add your spices (thyme, paprika, bay leaves, cayenne, and pepper) & let the flavors start to meld for a few minutes.

Add your beans, broth & water, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once your mixture reaches a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an hour. Stir in your vinegar and continue cooking for at least 30 more minutes. Honestly, I kept the beans on low heat for at least two additional hours. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

xoxo,

HungryTexans



green chile & cheddar grits

hello and welcome to one of my favorite food groups in the whole world.  what?  grits aren’t a food group?  nonsense.  grits are so versatile- they can be sweetened up with a little brown sugar, buttered and cheesed until they’re delectably savory, or (my personal favorite) spiced with green chiles and white cheddar.  and that’s what i did here!  i let these be the base for roasted shrimp, zucchini, corn and brussel sprouts.

 

you’ll need:

1 cup 5-minute grits

2 cups water

2 cups veggie stock

1 tbs salt

3 tbs butter (sorry I’m not sorry)

1 cup shredded white cheddar

1 can hatch green chiles

Green chile tobasco, to taste

 

Ok, this one is easy.   Bring the water and veggie stock to a boil, add your salt, then add your grits and give it a stir.  Reduce your heat to medium-low and cover the pot.  Stir occasionally for 5-7 minutes.  Add  your butter, shredded white cheddar, and green chiles and stir until smooth.  Season with the green chile tobasco and let it simmer for a couple minutes to thicken.  When the grits are at your desired consistency, serve them up!

Here are mine with roasted Old Bay shrimp and balsamic veggies:

And the veggies:

 

happy eating!

xoxo,

hungrytexans