Lipstick On, Knockers Up: Pumpkin Chess Tart in a Fancy Pan

Lipstick On, Knockers Up: Pumpkin Chess Tart in a Fancy Pan

  Sometimes it’s how you present that makes the difference, and that’s what this recipe is about.  This pumpkin chess tart combines an old Southern favorite with pumpkin for a holiday dessert that’s a blessing for people (me!) who don’t like the eggy, condensed milk texture of the traditional pumpkin pie.  The recipe was developed by the stonkingly talented Mindy Merrell, whose blog, Cheater Chef, is a goldmine of simple brilliance in the kitchen. Mindy developed recipes for Martha White for ages, and it’s not an exaggeration to call her gifted in the kitchen. In fact, she’s a Chopped champ! (Go see her Pinterest board if you’re looking for inspiration.) Honestly, I could go on.  But back to the lipstick and knockers. This pie is so good, but the pan takes it to greatness. The shape looks so professional, and the removable bottom means no soggy slices and no broken-off wedges. You cut it into squares or slices, and they lift off the bottom easily, so you never end up with crustless servings or crust left behind in the pan.    Brown Butter Pumpkin Chess Tart 2015-08-07 12:32:10 Serves 8 "Some people just don't like pumpkin pie," says Mindy Merrell, "but they love this." Write a review Save Recipe Print Ingredients 1 (9-inch) pie crust, storebought or homemade (I use Dufour brand pastry--pricey but worth it) 2 tablespoons butter 1 1/4 cups sugar 2 tablespoons cornmeal or cornmeal mix 3 large eggs 1/4 cup sour cream or buttermilk 1 cup pumpkin puree 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg Whipped cream for serving Instructions Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the pie dough and press into the pan, over the bottom and up the side. Trim any dough that hangs over the side. Melt the butter in a skillet or small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, watching closely, until the butter has browned. Let cool. Pour the butter into a medium bowl and add the sugar, cornmeal, eggs, sour cream, pumpkin, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg and mix well. Pour the filling into the pie crust Bake for 45 minutes or until set. Let cool on a wire rack. Remove the pan rim and transfer the tart to a serving platter. Slice and serve with whipped cream. Notes You can use pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. By Mindy Merrell Adapted from Cheaterchef.com Adapted from Cheaterchef.com The Project Kitchen...

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News from the Dairy Section

News from the Dairy Section

Most of the time I’m blathering about food, but now I’mma tell you about your breasts, okay? Because I’m a mammographer as well as a food writer and cookbook editor. This makes me (as far as I can tell), a Venn diagram of one. Anyway, about once a week, a woman asks if she reaaaallllly needs a mammo every year. Until about 2009, there was an official answer for this question, which was “it’s a good idea, yeah.” But then there was this report (a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report, to be exact), a huge study of studies that concluded an annual screening mammogram for women ages 40-49 doesn’t do more good than harm. The task force gave a grade “C” to the recommendation for routine annual screening mammograms for women in their forties. In its own words, that’s a recommendation against the every-year mammogram as needless expense, inconvenience and worry for not much benefit. It’s sort of shocking. The annual mammogram is carved in stone for so many women. It’s common for a woman to schedule her mammogram on her birthday as a way to remember to get those mamms grammed. Walking out of a yearly mammogram feels like getting a clean bill of health. It’s hard to change a routine that feels safe, so it’s understandable that women and clinicians have been slow to change (although there was a measurable drop in mammography numbers last year, 2014). The report’s complexity is another speed bump on the road to less rack-smashing. The recommendation is sort of the legal equivalent of saying someting “is not not legal.” It’s full of qualifications and “howevers,” starting with a risk assessment statement: “Applies to women 40 and over who are not at increased risk by virtue of a known genetic mutation or history of chest radiation.” Most women haven’t been tested for the mutation, so they don’t know whether or not to start or continue with annual mammograms. And this statement, which presumes a woman knows a whole lot about her breasts, her genes and her family’s medical history: “The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) makes recommendations about preventive care services for patients without recognized signs or symptoms of the target condition.” What is your action step if you don’t know whether you have recognized signs or symptoms? And what the heck is the “target condition”? And then there is this note that screening does save lives. “The frontier curves for the mortality outcome show only small gains but larger numbers of mammograms required when screening is started at age 40 years versus age 50 years.“ Huh. So there were some small gains in extra years of life. That definitely...

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Crispy Okra Salad

Crispy Okra Salad

I believe people who say they don’t like okra. I just don’t think they’ve tried very hard. Case in point: this salad. Thin, crunchy fried strips of okra and onion tossed with good garam masala and a fresh tomato hits flavor receptors all over the mouth. A crunch! A tang! A spice! A sting! It’s not Southern cooking for company–slicing okra into strips for more than 4 people would be a pain. But for the home team, it’s a thrilling taste of high summer like you’ve never known. Crispy Okra Salad 2015-08-18 20:48:04 Serves 4 I fry the onions; the original recipe kept them raw. Fried is better. Isn't it always? Write a review Save Recipe Print Prep Time 15 min Cook Time 10 min Prep Time 15 min Cook Time 10 min Ingredients 1 pound young okra, halved lengthwise, cut into long, thin strips Vegetable oil for frying Kosher salt 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup) 1 medium tomato, cored, deseeded and sliced into thin strips 11/2 teaspoons garam masala Salt to taste 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice Instructions Heat 1 inch of oil in a deep skillet to 350 degrees. Fry the okra (and optionally, the onion) in three batches, stirring a few times, for about 4 minutes until golden. Drain on paper towels. (Which I never use--I use brown paper bags.) Sprinkle with the garam masala and salt. Toss the okra, onion, tomato, cilantro and lemon juice in a large bowl. Season with more garam masala and salt. By Suvir Saran, Devi and Veda restaurants Adapted from Food and Wine magazine Adapted from Food and Wine magazine The Project Kitchen...

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Hello, I’m Nicki

I've written about food for a living since The Silver Palate was new. Discovering a new cookbook or technique is my idea of fun. And kitchen gear--I'm helpless to resist. Like kitchen projects, the posts here are occasional and open-ended, so please subscribe. You can read more about my work at the "About Nicki" page.

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