Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Derby Time Again...

Saturday is Derby Day and in Kentucky this means Derby Hats, Derby parties and my personal favorite Derby Pie®. Derby Pie® was born nearly a half century ago as the specialty pastry of the Melrose Inn, at Prospect, Kentucky.

I don't have the secret, copyrighted recipe, but I do have a facsimile that I call Kentucky Pie. I also invented a similar bar cookie that I call Kentucky Derby Squares.

So, grab your hat like my granddaughter did, whip yourself up a pie and enjoy the Derby.

You will need one unbaked crust. I use a Pillsbury when I am pressed for time, but I have included my favorite crust recipe below if you want to make one from scratch.

Kentucky Pie

1 unbaked pie shell, put in pan and crimp edges.

1C sugar
1C choc. chips (6oz)

4T cornstarch
1C finely chopped pecans
2 eggs lightly beaten

1/2C butter, soft or melted and cooled
1t vanilla
whipped cream [for topping, pressurized in a can works fine]

Combine sugar and cornstarch; beat in eggs, butter vanilla, chocolate and pecans. Pour into pie shell. Bake 350* for 40 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut in SLIM wedges (very rich) and top with whipped cream, serves 8+.

This pie freezes well. Bake, cool and wrap in foil or plastic and freeze. To serve, unwrap pie and place in 300° oven to warm gently for 35-40 minutes.

Linda's Pie Crust

Yield 4 crusts, can be frozen for later use

3 C flour, don't sift
1 tsp salt
1 C butter, cold

Cut in butter till it is incorporated. You can use two knives, a pastry cutter, or my favorite, low speed on a Kitchen Aid mixer.

Mix in separate bowl: [I whipped it all together with a wire whip]
1/2 C ice water
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vinegar

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; pour in liquid and mix. Knead about 20 times. Separate into 4 balls. Use now or flatten balls a little and freeze in zip-loc bags. To use, let thaw on counter about a half hour and roll out with a bit of flour.

Bake according to whatever recipe you are using.

NOTE: This is my absolute first choice for a crust. It is very easy and the amazing thing is the crust is easy to roll out, very elastic. This makes for an unbroken crust so you don’t have the problem of the filling oozing out under the crust into the pie pan. Since I have gotten this recipe I will never go back to my old recipes.

Kentucky Derby Squares
Oven at 350°

Crust: 1 1/2 C flour

1/2 C soft butter (1 stick)
1/4 C brown sugar
Mix together and press into 13”x 9” greased pan, I use a glass casserole dish. Bake for 12-15 minutes till light brown.

1/2 C butter (1 stick) melted and cooled
1 C sugar
4 T cornstarch
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 t vanilla
1 C chocolate chips (6 oz)
1C broken or coarsely chopped pecans

Combine Sugar and cornstarch; beat in eggs, butter and vanilla. Beat for about a minute, till well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and the pecans. Mix till distributed evenly through batter.

Pour over baked crust. Put back in oven and bake about 20-30 minutes more, till light brown and nearly “set”. Better a little under-done, than over done. Let cool and cut into squares. Makes about 32 squares. You may want to have a can of whipped cream so folks can add a dollop to their square.

Enjoy Derby Weekend,

Monday, April 26, 2010

Grandma Jill

Elinor Grace came home last Friday after spending 7 full days in the hospital.

Born five weeks early and weighing 6#2oz, Elinor had to spend a bit of time with oxygen, lights, feeding tube and some other monitors.

But, now she is home and we are delighted. What a sweet little baby. We all agree she is the cutest baby ever. I was privileged to give her one of the three bottles of high iron formula that she gets daily, in addition to being breastfed.

A new baby is a miracle and a blessing every time. What a marvel that God has wrought. Cliche though it may be, it does not seem that long ago that Elinor's daddy was a baby himself. Where has the time gone?

Take care,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sunrise on our farm...Amazing, huh?

Today we went out to see how the cottage is coming and to meet a guy who can fix Ford 8N tractors [we have two].

Our builder showed us this picture he took one morning from our soon-to-be-completed cottage. This is the view I will have from my living room and bedroom every morning!

The mist rises over the Kentucky River and with the sun rising behind, it is an amazing site.

The cottage is coming along. They finished the roof, finished the wiring and plumbing and the HVAC people have the heat pump in place and were working hard today to get all the duct work finished by the weekend. Next week: windows and dry wall.

It won't be long now.

Take care,

Grandpa Bob...

Here are some great shots of my husband Bob with our first grandchild, Elinor Grace. Although she was born less than a week ago, 5 weeks early, she is doing great and should come home soon.

I think I am married to the best Grandpa in the world!

Take care,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Dream is on its way...

The Little House on the Big Hill now has a steel roof and a bathtub! Things are really coming along.

A two inch water pipe has been run 1000 feet up to the house with a "frost proof hydrant" about 1/2 way up. We are thinking it might be a good location for a Christmas Tree farm and a garden, so putting a hydrant there seemed like a wise thing to do. I can't believe after over 6 years and all the water hauling we did, that we finally have running water. Scrappy and I were both pleased to see it! I felt like Helen Keller when she put her hand under the pump, felt the water and realized that things have names. I was about that excited to see water running on our farm.

I climbed up a ladder to get a peek in the loft. In my mind's eye I can see our grandchildren camping up there or me up there reading. I think the loft will definitely need some bean bag chairs or a Luv Sac.

On Monday, Chad borrowed his mother-in-law's truck in order to pick up the soapstone woodstove I ordered from Vermont. The little blue wood stove weighs 440 pounds and the chimney package over 300! We went to the shipping company in Lexington where they loaded the truck and then we drove to the farm where one of our builders met us and unloaded it with a truly amazing fork lift.

Here it is coming off the truck.

And then into the barn for safe keeping until they are ready to install it in the Little House.

I imagine cozy evenings by the wood-stove with a cup of tea and a good book to read. I wonder how come all my fantasies end with me reading a book?

The electrician was out yesterday. I can't wait to go out tomorrow and see what he did.

Take care,