Pie Revival

Serviceberry Pie (Yes, you can eat them!)

June 25, 2016
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The berry world has its less-than-romantic nomenclature. I mean, “straw” or “rasp” don’t scream, “Eat me!” But those berries eclipsed their names to become berry rockstars. Not so the serviceberry. Reddish-purple and shaped & textured like a small blueberry (but with more “red-berry” flavor to the juice) serviceberries are the fruit of one of America’s favorite ornamental trees. But most Americans don’t know the berries are edible.  I’d love to change that. Continue Reading…

Pie Revival

Mile-High Strawberry Pie

June 23, 2016
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Max Hess, Jr. was the P.T. Barnum of the department store world, a master at selling with flamboyance and showmanship. Following in the footsteps of his father Max and his Uncle Charles, who founded the Hess Bros. department store chain in 1897, Max Jr. made shopping there an entertaining experience, with flower & fashion shows and “every week a different celebrity,” says Jill Youngken, assistant director and chief curator at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, keeper of Hess-history esoterica. Under Max’s watch (1932 to 1968) Zsa Zsa Gabor, Gina Lollobrigida, Rock Hudson and Johnny Carson all made appearances. Continue Reading…

Cake Walk

Strawberries in a Cloud (Blitz Torte)

June 22, 2016
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I am a strawberry girl. I eat strawberries out of hand, make pies & jams with them, macerate them, even grill and pepper them. So imagine my delight at finding myself  kneedeep in Pete Ambrose’s organic strawberry patch on Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina. Continue Reading…

Strawberry Fields

Strawberries & Cream Fridge Cake

June 21, 2016
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Dreamy, chilled desserts full of cream, marshmallow, or mousse were very popular with housewives of the forties and fifties when the potential of the home refrigerator was still being explored. From bombes and baked Alaskas, to mousses, meringues, marlows and mallobets–cookbooks of that era celebrated them all. Continue Reading…

Frozen Treats

Lime-Chocolate Ice Cream Pie

June 13, 2016
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Serendipity! Two or three people who don’t know each other, and live hundreds of miles apart in separate States, ask for the same lost recipe, on the same day. That’s what happened with this ice-cream pie request. Chuck Weibler wrote in looking for a frozen lime pie he remembered from 1956 the same day that Marcie asked for a similar dessert. Both recipes included chocolate ice-cream under a home-made, frozen lime-cream topper; Marcie’s with a chocolate crust, and Chuck’s with a gingersnap crust. Continue Reading…

Fishy Dishy

Buttermilk Fried Shrimp with Chipotle-Lime

May 31, 2016
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A bunch of Chicagoans wrote to tell us they missed this spicy-good signature shrimp appetizer from long closed Joe’s Be-Bop Cafe & Jazz Emporium (Navy Pier’s erstwhile, family-friendly jazz club.) Marinated in chili-spiked buttermilk overnight before being dipped in Cajun-seasoned flour and deep fried, these crunchy shrimp get extra kick from chipotle/cilantro/lime dipping sauce. Continue Reading…

Baked Treats

Ann Sather’s Carrot Bread

May 30, 2016
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In 1945, Ann Sather plunked down savings earned at a meat-packing plant to buy an already-existing Swedish diner.  Although of Norwegian heritage, Ann kept the Swedish menu to please loyal guests in the then-heavily-Swedish neighborhood. Continue Reading…

Pie Revival

Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie

April 30, 2016
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Was Derby pie named for the hat or the horse race?

The horse race. But a hat does figure in the original name of this rich, chocolate & nut pie. Created in 1950 at the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky, by Walter and Leaudra Kern with some input from their son George, the pie–first made with chocolate and walnuts–sparked debate in the family, each person wanting to call it something else. To resolve the conflict, everyone tossed their favorite name into a hat: The slip that got plucked was inscribed, “Derby Pie.” Continue Reading…

Sausage & Such

Coney Island Chili Dogs

April 20, 2016
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In Southeastern Michigan, “Coney Island” refers to 24-hour diners, and, the specific kind of chili-topped, grilled hot-dogs those diners serve. Invented in 1914 at a Jackson, Michigan joint called Todoroff’s Original Coney Island, the dogs–with their beanless, meaty chili (or “sauce” as it’s called in Michigan), were so popular, many other operators soon spun their own versions. Continue Reading…