Friday, June 25, 2010

The BBQ Bake-Off

I had this BBQ Bake-Off with myself by the way.  Yes, that's right, being invited to a birthday barbecue on the first Friday of summer vacation translated to me into "I must spend two days baking." 

In the past 36 hours, I have made Corn & Basil Cornbread, Swedish Plum Pie and a Strawberry Pie, and some Pasta Salad with Cilantro Pesto and Corn. 

I also bought a new pie-carrier from The Container Store.  I like it, but the clasp is a little weird. 

Ok, here we go:

1. Fresh Corn and Basil Cornbread from Bon Appetit
I followed the directions as given except that I didn't have a square pan, so I used a round one.  It rose and overflowed quite a bit (making my forward-thinking baking sheet underneath the pan pretty snazzy).  I then ate the overflowed edges.  I think it is good, but maybe would use a finer corn meal in the future and add it needed more salt.

2. Swedish Plum Pie
I based this off a recipe for Swedish Apple Pie that my mother makes often.  It's not a typical pie in that you put the fruit in the pie dish and then pour a batter over it and bake it that way.  It is one of the easiest pies to make, if you're alright with not having the more traditional two-crust version. 
The recipe I used came out of a cookbook, but is basically the same as this one.  I omitted the nuts and only used 1/2 cup of butter.  I added a splash of leftover buttermilk from the cornbread to thin the batter a bit.  I obviously used plums rather than apples.  I have no idea how many plums it was, I just kept cutting, and cutting, and cutting...

3. The Strawberry Pie
I searched high and low for a strawberry pie recipe that was akin to a regular blueberry or apple pie recipe, but with strawberries.  I kept finding ice-box recipes, but I wanted to bake, and I was afraid to just substitute because of the juice factor.  I finally found a recipe in The Silver Palate cookbook for a raspberry pie and decided that was close enough.  I can't find the recipe anywhere online to link to, so I'll have to put it in my hand the next time I have the cookbook on hand.  Found it!
I have to work on my lattice top.  I made the pastry dough from scratch and used the shortening and butter version from which I typically shy away (I am afraid of shortening), and it made the dough tricky to work with.  Even in a lovely air conditioned kitchen (thanks mom).

4. Cilantro Pesto Pasta and Corn Salad.

This one was kind of a mishmosh of leftovers.  I had leftover pasta and one remaining ear of corn and wanted to do something with it, so I tossed them together with some of the cilantro pesto I made the other day. 
The pesto was made from a supermarket-bunch of cilantro, handful of pistachios, one scallion and some olive oil.  And some salt.  It has a surprisingly mild flavor and would probably be helped by some lime. 

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