Category Archives: Cooking

I Scream! You Scream! We All Scream for Ice Cream!

It’s been pretty hot lately! We have been eating a lot of cold things to stay cool and I have been very inspired by my ice cream Pinterest board. Here are just a few things that have caught my eye:

Jennifer Michie Ice Cream Pins

1. Blackberry Pie Frozen Yogurt: Amanda K. By The Bay
2. Cherry Almond Ice Cream Cake: Love, Life & Sugar
3. Copycat Baskin Robbins Mint Chocolate Chip: Something Swanky
4. Classic Vanilla Bean Ice Cream: Drizzle & Dip
5. Blueberry Pie Milkshake: Saveur
6. Lemon Meringue Pie Ice Cream: Your Home Based Mom
7. Tangerine Sherbet: Shutterbean

{Don’t follow me on Pinterest already? Click HERE}
{Ice Scream! You Scream! We All Scream for IceCream! board HERE}

Summer Squash Pizza

Jennifer Michie Summer Squash Pizza

I love vegetables! One thing I truly miss living in London is the roadside vegetable stands and pop-up Farmer’s Markets that exist in the South. The places you stop by on a hot Summer day, the vegetables still warm from being picked out of the fields. A Southern staple is yellow squash. I have not been able to get it in England until recently. Last year we noticed that Whole Foods was selling it and like crazy people we stocked up.

This year, I have done the same. Stocking up, slicing it and throwing it in to the freezer, so we have it as a side dish or to throw in to soups, pastas, risottos or in a vegetable medley. I picked some up on my way home from work on Friday and an idea started buzzing in my head. I knew just what I was going to do with it. Mr. Michie was on a school field trip on Saturday and I decided that I would make pizza for dinner. I have played around and around with this one particular dough recipe we like, making adjustments and tweaks and I have finally perfected it to satisfy our tastebuds.

I made the dough early in the day, so it had plenty of time to rise and just be. Before, Mr. Michie got home, I sauteed thin slices of yellow squash and cubes of pancetta. I also slowly cooked down an onion, till it was golden yellow and tender. Once he arrived home we got to work. I shaped the dough and brushed it with garlic oil and a little salt. We sprinkled freshly grated mozzarella over the top and then layered on onions, squash and pancetta. We finished it off with little dollops of ricotta, here and there. Once it was out of the oven it had a sprinkle of freshly chopped basil and some oregano.

It was wonderful. It was the taste of Summer in your mouth, the salty, the sweet, the savoury. It is most definitely a combination that we would make again.

{We have tried many different dough recipes over the years and this has become our favorite. I have made my own tweaks to the dough, but this is the recipe I used before I took the leap to start changing things: Annie’s Eats Homemade Pizza Dough}

A Slice of Pie

Jennifer Michie Nutella Pie

Last year I read Beth Howard’s book, Making Piece. I was excited to learn that she was writing a cookbook, Ms. American Pie and I eagerly awaited it’s release. Not only is she a fabulous baker, but she lives in the American Gothic House, that was immortalized by Grant Wood.

Ms. American Pie

I ordered the book the other week and planned to make a pie at the weekend with one of the recipes. I love pie! I was always making pies and cakes and cookies growing up. My Grandpa said that my pie crust tasted like his Mother’s and that was high praise indeed! My Nana taught me how to make little cinnamon bites with the leftover dough, that was always my Grandpa’s treat that he had with his coffee, my Mom said that no one else was allowed to touch it.

Mr. Michie is not such a fan of pies, he loves pecan and pumpkin, but that is pretty much where he stays. I am working to slowly convert him and Beth Howard’s Pie Book is helping me do just that! Her crust recipe is simple, it is just like the one I used to make, it is what the crust should be: a sturdy base that is light, flaky and has that perfect crunch you feel your fork sliding through as you dive in for a bite.

The first recipe I made was simply her pie crust, I had my own recipe for a Kentucky Derby Pie that Mr. Michie fell in love with. However, we were greedy, we ate it, didn’t share and didn’t take any pictures. I had planned on making a pie this weekend, but this week so far has not been going too great for either of us, so I thought a bit of pie making would brighten our moods.

I decided that this week called for chocolate. So we chose to make the Nutella Pie. I got out the ingredients to make the crust while my cream cheese softened in a mixing bowl. Once my crust was rolled, fitted in to my pie pan and the edges crimped, I started to work on my filling. I placed all the other ingredients into my bowl with the softened cream cheese and whipped it by hand. There is something about pie that just makes you want to go all pioneer girl on it, at least that is how I feel! Using your hands to work your dough, whip or slice your filling. Doing it by hand adds in those extra layers of love and I know you can taste it.

I poured the filling into my shell, gave it a bit of a wiggle to smooth it out and placed it in the oven! The house smelled like a little chocolate factory! The hardest part was letting it cool, it wasn’t cool enough to put the whip cream on top before we went to bed and although we could have had a warm slice with whipped cream on the side, I wanted mounds of pillowy cream piled on top! Our patience was rewarded this morning. When I got up for work, I decided in the shower while washing my hair at 5:30am, that we would eat pie for breakfast!

I got dressed, went downstairs and got to work. I poured fresh whipping cream in a bowl followed by sugar and vanilla. I whipped it till soft peaks formed and then took it just a little bit further. Next I piled it on top of the pie, it tumbled down like giant feathery pillows. I looked at it and just sighed. Before me was a thing of happiness.

Mr. Michie grabbed a knife and two forks, I got the plates and cut us each a slice, the knife gliding through the creamy layers to hit the perfectly cooked crust on the bottom. A slice was put on each plate, we touched our forks together in salute, dug into our slices, took a bite and closed our eyes. This was an eye closing moment, this was a moment of pure joy.

I love cream pies and I think that this has turned Mr. Michie in to a full cream pie lover as well! Pie is a humble offering not always as fancy as cakes in appearance or beautifully iced cookies, but don’t be fooled by it’s sometimes humble appearance, inside that shell holds the secret to happiness, quite possibly the secret to world peace. Pie is love! Thank you. Beth Howard for sharing your journey with us and for giving the world this delectible book!

{Please forgive my picture, Mr. Michie tried very hard to be patient while I took a few pictures, and then tried to get a shot with a wedge cut out, but I kept fiddling and he said no more, so we ate pie and smiled and didn’t care about pictures!}

Biscuits

Jennifer Michie Biscuits

Nothing better than fresh biscuits and strawberry jam for breakfast! I made the lovely Carrie of Callie’s Biscuits, Buttermilk Biscuit recipe! The only thing that would have made them better would have been to enjoy them with a glass of iced tea on my own Charleston porch.

Happiness is…

I’ve included Carrie’s biscuit recipe below:

Callie’s Classic Buttermilk Biscuits

This is the recipe that started it all. Sitting in my mother’s kitchen and watching her prepare the pans of these highly sought-after, melt-in-your mouth bites of goodness for her catering business gave me the lightning bolt of inspiration for Callie’s Charleston Biscuits. It took some convincing to persuade my mother that a biscuit business was a good idea. She was under the impression that people still made their own biscuits! Once I convinced her that the art of biscuit making was far from a daily ritual for most, she warmed to the idea. I don’t think she ever dreamed that in a few short years, we’d be making 110,000 biscuits a month and I’d be featured on The Martha Stewart Show.

The beauty of this recipe is that biscuit making can be part of your family tradition. Just save it for a day when a little bit of a mess in the kitchen won’t derail the rest of your plans, because this dough is wet and sticky. If the dough gobs between your fingers with the consistency of pluff mud (what we in the South call marsh mud), don’t worry! That’s a good sign! Getting my hands dirty is part of the fun for me, but if you are a little more averse to gooey hands, you can certainly use a rubber spatula to mix the dough.

Makes about 10 (2-inch) biscuits

  • 2 cups self-rising flour (White Lily preferred), plus more for dusting
  • 5 tablespoons butter: 4 tablespoons cut in small cubes, at room temperature, and 1 tablespoon melted
  • ¼ cup cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup whole buttermilk (may substitute low-fat buttermilk)

1.      Preheat the oven to 500°F. Make sure the oven rack is in the middle position.
2.      Measure the flour into a large bowl. Incorporate the cubed butter, then the cream cheese into the flour, using your fingers to “cut in” the butter and cheese until the mixture resembles cottage cheese. It will be chunky with some loose flour.
3.      Make a well in the center. Pour in the buttermilk and, using your hands or a small rubber spatula, mix the flour into the buttermilk. The dough will be wet and messy.
4.      Sprinkle flour on top of the dough. Run a rubber spatula around the inside of the bowl, creating a separation between the dough and the bowl. Sprinkle a bit more flour in this crease.
5.      Flour a work surface or flexible baking mat very well. With force, dump the dough from the bowl onto the surface. Flour the top of the dough and the rolling pin. Roll out the dough to ½-inch thickness into an oval shape. (No kneading is necessary—the less you mess with the dough, the better.)
6.      Flour a 2-inch round metal biscuit cutter or biscuit glass. Start from the edge of the rolled-out dough and cut straight through the dough with the cutter, trying to maximize the number of biscuits cut from this first roll out. Roll out the excess dough after the biscuits are cut and cut more biscuits. As long as the dough stays wet inside, you can use as much flour on the outside as you need to handle the dough. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet with sides lined with parchment paper, or in a cast-iron skillet, or a baking pan with the biscuit sides touching. (It does not matter what size pan or skillet you use as long as the pan has a lip or sides and the biscuits are touching. If you are using a cast iron skillet, no parchment paper is necessary.) Brush the tops with the melted butter.
7.      Place the pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 450°F. Bake 16 to18 minutes, until light brown on top (or as dark as you prefer), rotating the pan once while baking.

Note: You can freeze any leftover biscuits. To reheat, do not defrost. Wrap the biscuits in foil. Bake in a 400°F oven 25 to 30 minutes. Open the top of the foil for the last 3 to 5 minutes to brown a little on top.

{Please Note:  The recipe listed above is copyright to Callie’s Biscuits. I have eaten her biscuits at a number of events I have attended when at home in the South and was enraptured with their heavenly flavour and as any good Southerner knows, biscuits are a hot topic (no pun intended!), everyone has their favorite recipe and some are a closely guarded secret. I have a few favorites of my own and this is definitely in my list! This recipe was originally posted on the Design Sponge Blog}

Blueberry Pancakes

Jennifer Michie Blueberry Pancakes

We had lumberjack sized blueberry pancakes this morning for breakfast. They were heavenly! While the pancakes cooked, I worked on turning our leftover spicy carrot and celery slaw into a pasta salad. Made homemade pimento cheese and threw a couple of chicken breasts into a buttermilk marinade for the fried chicken I am making tonight in our new cast iron skillet!

Last night we made these buffalo chicken burgers, with a few minor changes. I used turkey instead since I can’t get ground chicken at my grocery store and I was so busy singing to a song I was listening too that I threw the chopped green onions in with the onions that were sauteing, instead of putting them in the slaw, but that was just fine. I also didn’t put any blue cheese in the slaw, but we did put cheese on top of the burgers, which I cooked in the oven and we toasted our buns so they would withstand the juicy slaw. So, I guess I really made more than a few changes.

Anyway it was delicious! So I made another batch of the slaw added it to the small amount that was left over, threw in some pasta and viola, pasta salad for our fried chicken picnic tonight! I love having cooking days where you can accomplish so much in a good space of time and this will help set us up for the week, because the first week back after a break is always a doozie!

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

Jennifer Michie Cast Iron Pizza 1

Tonight is date night! And while I am still enjoying it, I just couldn’t wait to blog about dinner! I have wanted a Lodge cast iron skillet for ages, but in the many things that I always stuff in my suitcase to bring back to London, I could never truly justify putting a large heavy skillet in my suitcase, since all of my bags are usually marked HEAVY anyway. The skillet is where Mr. Michie drew the line.

My Nana has had her cast iron skillets for over 50 years and they are still beautiful! So, when I saw this gorgeous Lodge skillet at West Elm yesterday, it just jumped into my hands. Now, I broke all of my Southern upbringing rules today, because the first thing I should have been cooking in this pan was either fried chicken or a fresh batch of biscuits. I went to my Italian roots instead and the first thing we made was a cast iron skillet pizza.

It is a recipe I mentioned in my post yesterday. I used my favorite dough recipe from Annie’s Eats, although it isn’t quite her recipe any more. I have made it so many times and have incorporated elements from an Ina Garten recipe I like and some of my bread making techniques.

Mr. Michie made a delicious fresh sauce with wispy strips of basil ribboned through it, while I rolled out the dough. I was in charge of pizza making, he was in charge of pizza cooking. Now, just like the gorgeous Jessica, I don’t own a pizza peel either. So, we improvised, I wasn’t a Girl Scout for nothing!

Once the pizza hit the blazing hot pan, dinner went 1,2,3, literally! In 3 minutes we had dinner and you would have thought that we cooked it in a wood oven grill in our backyard, not in a cast iron skillet under the broiler!

It puffed up, some of the edges charred, the cheese was perfectly melted. We let it set up for a few minutes and then transferred it to our cutting board. Mr. Michie cut it and we couldn’t even wait to get it onto plates before we devoured the first slice. Oh My God! I don’t think we can ever go back to our normal pizza methods ever again! This was fantastico!

Jennifer Michie Cast Iron Pizza 2

On a side note there was a bit of smoke, so while Mr. Michie took care of the pizza, I had the front door ajar and was busily fanning our smoke detector. It was like an “I Love Lucy” episode in here for a few minutes. Also, one section of the pizza stuck to our skillet, so next time I might need to use a bit more flour. I managed to get it all out and after re-seasoning my pan, it looks as good as new.

What a perfect date night. The pizza was so good we never even bothered making the salad or opening the wine. We split a beer, listened to music and ate dinner by candlelight! What could be better?

Apple Butter

Last weekend we went to the market and came home with bags of apples. I peeled, watching the skin tendril down from the delicate pinky white flesh of the apples, while Mr. Michie sliced them up.

Together we made our first batch of apple butter of the season and it is delicious! The house smelled of Christmas. A sweet tangy cinnamon scent filled the air, while it slowly simmered down. We have spent this past week, gobbling up our first jar. We have had it smeared over toast, biscuits, sandwiches and last night I had some mashed into a baked sweet potato! MMM!

So, our first batch is ready and jarred up for us to feast on and to give as Christmas presents.

Jennifer Michie Apple Butter 1 Jennifer Michie Apple Butter 2 Jennifer Michie Apple Butter 3 Jennifer Michie Apple Butter 4

Savory & Sweet

Look what I’ve been pinning lately on my Food & Drink Board:

Jennifer Michie Pinterest Savory

1. Lamb Burritos with Lemon Oregano Rice
2. Taco Pickles
3. Coconut Ginger Chicken & Vegtables
4. Roasted Beets
5. Mini Cream Cheese & Chives Biscuits
6. Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Lemons

Jennifer Michie Pinterest Sweet

1. Mini Deep Dish Apple Pie
2. Mexican Honey Puffs
3. Happy Hour Hot Fudge Milkshake
4. Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes
5. Italian Lemon Slush
6. Kolokithopita