Friday, May 28

coconut and pasta - separately, of course

yesterday i left work, went grocery shopping and got to the house about six. i generally need a little relaxing time, so i made a sandwich and finished watching a movie, so by the time i started making my food contributions for branding this weekend it was approaching 8:30. but nevertheless, i forged on with a coconut cream pie and one of my favorite salads - whole wheat pasta salad with spinach and feta cheese.

meanwhile, i talked to scott and he insulted me by asking if i had already bought the pie crust. i replied - have you ever seen me cook or bake with anything premade or from a mix? i don't know, i just have a thing against it and i like making everything from scratch.

the above recipe is my mom's recipe that she always used for pie crust, and hers always turned out great, so it's the one i continue to use. sometimes mine turns out better than others, and thankfully last night's crust turned out acceptable - such that i'm not embarrassed to take it out in public.

it has a few simple ingredients, started out in a bowl with a pastry blender. i did use part butter shortening for this crust, because roommate a had left it behind and it's been languishing in the cupboard. i was concerned it might affect the crust negatively, but it seemed to turn out just fine.

 after the pastry blender incorporates the shortening and flour, you lightly toss in just enough water with a fork.

then roll it out - i like my pastry mat my mother gave me a while back, and she gave me the rolling pin and sleeve, too. i like to roll it out, fold it in half, then transfer it to the pie plate and crimp the edges.

put it in the oven to bake a little while, and ta-da! a nice flaky crust turned out, and i didn't forget about it and burn it, so i was doing pretty good at this point.

the next step was coconut cream filling for the pie shell.

heat milk, sugar, egg yolks and cornstarch in a saucepan until thick and bubbly, then add it to the coconut, butter and flavoring in the other bowl. along with vanilla i added a little almond flavoring.

then pour the delicious mixture into the prepared pie shell.

and top with meringue made from egg whites and white sugar. i screwed up and dumped the sugar in with egg whites right off the bat, before whipping the whites a little, but it all turned out ok. whipping to stiff peaks with my kitchenaid makes meringue really easy.

and the finished product! it looks very tasty, and i hope it really is tasty, because i won't get to try it before i offer it up to the branding crew.

and of course i had to bake the extra pie crust, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar like my mom always does.

hopefully messy counters are a sign of productivity! most times my laptop serves as my cookbook. and provides my cooking soundtrack. that oven really heats up the kitchen, so i had both windows open and a nice summer night's breeze blowing through.

after the pie i moved on to the pasta salad. toasted walnuts are also something i tend to forget and burn, but i also did ok with these last night.

a few of the ingredients include feta cheese and finely diced red onion, along with the walnuts.

the dressing ingredients are simple, but delicious and healthy.

and the finished product. i left both to chill overnight, which will only make the salad better.

find the pasta salad recipe here at foodnetwork, and the pie recipe here at taste of home.

but for now, the paper is sent to press for this week, i've already got my correspondents paid for the month, next week's paper is planned and started on, and i'm headed out to load up my horses and drive to the ranch to chase cows over the next several days. the weather is gorgeous.

have a good weekend!

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