Loaves & Dishes
By Jennie Geisler Erie Times-News staff blogger
Follow Jennie Geisler's kitchen adventures on her Loaves & Dishes blog.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1885
Posted: August 15th, 2014

p6_loaves040914It’s Lemon Meringue Pie Day.
I needed to look up the recipe anyway cuz I told my neighbor I’d make him one in exchange for cutting our tree down.
So here:
1 9-inch pie crust
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup plus one tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup cold water
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (almost 2 lemons)
4 large egg yolks
Pinch kosher salt
11/4 cups boiling water
7 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch, and use to line a 9-inch pie tin. Crimp the edges decoratively. Chill until firm.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and cream to make a glaze. Prick the bottom of the chilled pie crust with a fork, brush the top edges with the glaze and line with parchment paper. Weight the shell with pie weights or dried beans, and bake until the edges begin to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove paper and weights; continue baking until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes more. Let cool.
3. In a medium heavy-bottom sauce pan, combine sugar, cold water, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest, egg yolks and salt. Whisk until starch has dissolved and the mixture is thoroughly combined.
4. Whisk in the boiling water and then place the saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil stirring gently with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for up to one minute and no longer, continuing to stir gently.
5. Immediately pour the filling into your prepared pie crust.
6. To make the meringue, combine egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of simmering water; beat until warm and sugar is dissolved. Remove bowl from heat; whip into stiff peaks.
7. Spread the meringue over pie so that it touches crust all around. Broil until brown, about 2 minutes, watching constantly. Serve at room temperature.
– www.marthastewart.com
– http://notsohumblepie.blogspot.com

- Per serving: 331 calories, 7.6 grams fat, 0.3 gram fiber, 5.4 grams protein, 62 grams carbohydrate, 231 milligrams sodium, 93 milligrams cholesterol
Values are approximate.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 15th, 2014

nut butter coverThanks to everyone who entered the drawing for “Revolutionary Pizza.” The winner is Gay D. Cook. I’ll pop it into the mail today.
Everyone is running pell-mell to the nut butter aisle and grocers are responding. Next to the Jif and Nutella, you can now find natural peanut butter, almond butter, tahini (sesame paste), sometimes even cashew butter.
Why the heck not? It’s all high-fat, but in a good way, and a lot of it is low-sugar and adds lots of flavor to stuff that vegans and other health nuts (sorry) like. I’m not against trying cashew anything, frankly.
Look below for a recipe that looks good, and unusual, at least right now, from “The Nut Butter Cookbook,” by Robin Robertson. I have a copy to give away. To enter the drawing, send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com including your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE BOOK you want. I don’t use this info for anything else, and I toss it out when the drawing is over.


Serves 6
Allergy Tree Nuts
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan
Meal type Appetizer, Soup, Starter
Misc Gourmet, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
From book "The Nut Butter Cookbook"


  • 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil or 1/4 cup water
  • 1 yellow onion (diced)
  • 1lb carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 rib celery (chopped)
  • 1 baking potato (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 Large cooking apple (peeled and cut in chunks)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1/3 cup cashew butter
  • 1 Small apple (unpeeled, thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons cashews (roasted and chopped)


Step 1
Heat the oil or water in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and potato.
Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened. Add the apple, ginger, cinnamon, broth or water, apple juice, and salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the cashew butter.
Step 2
Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth, or use an immersion blender to pure the soup right in the pot.
Step 3
Pour the soup back into the pot and heat until hot. If serving cold, pour the soup into a container and refrigerate until chilled. Serve garnished with apple slices and chopped cashews.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 13th, 2014

This Washington Post recipe has me motivated to get off Facebook tonight and remember one of the things I love about August.

This Washington Post recipe has me motivated to get off Facebook tonight and remember one of the things I love about August.

I don’t know how you feel these days, but I’m in no mood to work my late-summer butt off in the kitchen on a weeknight. The other night I made zucchini soup and mashed potatoes and I felt like I’d just got done with Thanksgiving. Last night I got wrapped up in Robin Williams stories and couldn’t bring myself to get up and start chopping anything.
Tonight, though, I’m getting it in gear for melon salad. Fresh, ripe cantaloupe and honeydew are up in my 10 favorite things about August, and I usually just cut one in half — room temperature please — scoop out the seeds and sit down with a spoon.
This idea for Melon Salad With Chilies and Mint has me motivated. The picture doesn’t show honeydew, but mine sure will.
Speaking of that lovely picture, don’t let it fool you. I don’t think I’ll be digging out the melon baller tonight. But I might make it out to the garden to get that hot pepper I saw curling up in the plant the other day. And it’s probably time to pull that lemon mint out of the myrtle.
I’ve officially read all I care to about depression and addiction and that genius of comedy.
Come relax with me — and a spoon — tonight.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 12th, 2014
Food Network's Broken Lasagna With Zucchini-Tomato Sauce will do just fine tonight.

Food Network’s Broken Lasagna With Zucchini-Tomato Sauce will do just fine tonight.

My kitchen is packed to the gills with produce right now. It’s just that time of year. John’s mom came last weekend and brought all kinds of stuff, and I’ve picked up my share here and there around town. It’s kind of nice, because I can look at all these seasonal recipes that come online and say, “Yup, have that, have that, have that, have that …” and realize it’s because all these seasonal summer recipes are made of all the same stuff. You just add grilled chicken, or pasta, or whatever.

Here: If you don’t have it, pick up a yellow squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, onions, garlic. Saute it all in butter or olive oil until it’s a little wilty, a little brown. Make some pasta. Or grilled chicken. Or both. Toss it all with a generous amount of Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Also would be good: Sweet corn, peppers, basil, oregano, lemon juice, zest

If you don’t like all that loosey goosei-ness, here’s a recipe, and a pretty photo to boot: Broken Lasagna With Zucchini-Tomato Sauce

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 11th, 2014

Now seems like a good time to revisit one of my favorite recipes of all time: Zucchini soup. It’s so simple even a caveman could do it. In fact, they probably did. At least the cavewomen anyway.
It was the recipe that introduced me to the genius and deliciousness of vegetable purees in general, and the accessibility of zucchini in particular.
There’s a tiny vegetable stand on our street and I always endanger small animals seeking to cross my path by craning my neck to see what they have out as I’m driving by.
The other day, I couldn’t stop myself from picking up 2 huge zucchinis and 2 big yellow squashes for .50 each. I had no plan, other than it being the time of year to have a kitchen full of squash. I meant to make this all weekend, but failed. Well, it’s going to be dinner tonight.
With a side of zucchini bread and maybe stuffed zucchini boats to boot.
Anyway: Here it is. Perfect for one of those huge suckers you find after a good rain storm.


Serves 5-6
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Appetizer, Side Dish, Soup, Starter
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
From magazine Cooking Light


  • 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 9 cups zucchini (sliced)
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)


Step 1
Heat oil in a 2-quart stock pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add zucchini, broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes or until zucchini is very tender. Let stand 5 minutes.
Step 2
Place half of the zucchini mixture in a blender; cover tightly, and process until smooth. Pour pureed zucchini mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining zucchini mixture. Place pureed zucchini mixture in pan. Cook over low heat five minutes or until thoroughly heated. Keep warm.
Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 1st, 2014

This loveliness will make your blueberries shine.

This loveliness will make your blueberries shine.

If you thought you were going to get through berry season without a crumble, you were wrong. This one is mandatory.
It comes from co-worker Fiona Branton, who made it from a recipe she found at well, actually, she found it on Buzzfeed, which found it at averiecooks. Whatever.
It’s crazy good. We had pot luck today, and various summer fruits found their way into pastries that were enjoyed by all of us, especially me. This and a cherry pie from Sontheimers Bakery here in Erie made for a healthy brunch/lunch/afternoon snack.
I could have done something for the grill, some salad or another, a cocktail, but then I tried this blueberry stuff and there was no other choice. Get some blueberries and make this over the weekend. That’s an order.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 31st, 2014

PIZZAThanks to everyone who entered the drawing for “Scoop Adventures: The Best Ice Cream of The 50 States,” by Lindsay Clendaniel. The winner is Linda Morse. It’s in the mail.
Everyone else is eligible to enter the drawing for Revolutionary Pizza: Bold Pies that Will Change Your Life…and Dinner, by Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau.
Recipes that caught my eye: Jalapeno Pop ‘n’ Loc, Salad Pizza, Skyline Chili, Grilled Cheese with Tomatoes, French Onion Soup, Felafel, Gryo.
I think you get the idea. Anything you really like, especially if it goes well with bread, can make a pizza.
Yes, cheese and pepperoni are luscious when swimming in the right sauce over freshly made dough.
But that’s not what this one is about. This is crazy — and very hard to give up.
It was hard to choose just one, but French Onion Soup really intrigues me.
To enter the drawing, send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com. Please include your name, mailing address and name of the book you want.


Serves 16
Allergy Milk
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot


  • 2 Medium pizza crust dough
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 Large white onion (sliced thinly)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 French baguette (cut into small cubes)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 cups gruyere cheese (shredded)


Step 1
Heat vegetable oil in a small pan over medium heat. Stir in flour using a fork and continue to stir until fully combined to create a roux. Using a fork to stir the mixture will help eliminate lumps. You want this to be a thick, smooth consistency that is light in color. When this is reached, remove from heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Step 2
In a large saucepan, combine beef broth, dry white wine, garlic, sugar and thyme. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and stir in roux mixture. Simmer over low heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of gravy. Let cool.
Step 3
Add onions with oil and salt in a pan and heat on medium. Stir in water. Cook until water evaporates and the onions turn a deep brown color. Set aside to cool.
Step 4
Cover cubes of French bread in oil and mix with seasonings. Bake on a cookie sheet in preheated oven at 425 degrees until bread gets crispy and browns. This should only take about 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool.
Step 5
If you're making 2 pies, remember to split the ingredients equally between the two during this part. Spread the soup sauce mixture generously over dough. Add onions and shredded gruyere. Bake in preheated oven at 500 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until crust is golden brown. Top with croutons and optional additional shredded cheese. Slice and serve.
Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 30th, 2014

Epicurious.com presents a recipe I simply can't get out of my mind.

Epicurious.com presents a recipe I simply can’t get out of my mind.

This is what I’d call a fancy recipe. Not difficult, mind you, but a smidge above my comfort zone in concept. I try to keep my feet on the ground when I pick recipes, thinking it doesn’t do too much good for me to write about recipes no one will make.
But we can — all of us — handle this. Even though it looks like something you could only find on the specials board at Alto Cucina or 1201, there isn’t a reason on Earth that we couldn’t make it ourselves.
Stone Fruit Gazpacho with Scallops is the reason I like to cook with recipes. I’d never have come up with something as genius, and fantastic, as this on my own.
It contains a few fancy ingredients: yellow watermelon, Champagne vinegar, diver scallops and espelette peppers.
No need to let those stop us.
We can probably find yellow watermelon, sometimes even in the grocery store. We can get Champagne vinegar at Frankie & May’s or even Wegmans (and white wine vinegar would probably be fine). Use any kind of scallops you want.
As far as the espelette pepper: It’s definitely fancy, only grown in communes found in the Basque region of France. No kidding.
I see no reason that a lively jalapeno wouldn’t suffice.
By the way, the only likeness this soup has to gazpacho is that it’s pureed and chilled. Classic gazpacho is typically made from tomatoes and cucumbers, like V8 juice in a bowl. This is just a savory chilled-fruit soup.
I know. It sounds crazy. Crazy good.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 29th, 2014
Can't lay off the Hidden Valley? Me neither. Gonna try this from Food52.com.

Can’t lay off the Hidden Valley? Me neither. Gonna try this from Food52.com.

I have many guilty pleasures. One of them is ranch dressing. I’m reminded of Homer Simpson, in a dream where he is a sultan attended by lovely goddesses. “Quick,” he said. “Bring me my ranch dressing hose.”
No, I’m not that bad. But I’m bad.
I used to virtuously ask for vinaigrette and enjoyed it. But lately its tartness actually hurts on my tongue. Don’t ask me what that’s about, but I’ll tell you, ranch has no such effect.
I know it’s terrible for me. Mayo and salt and goodness knows what else. The fat-free versions do nothing for me, though Hidden Valley’s Lite is perfect.
Nothing tastes better when I’m hungry than a lettuce, tomato and mozzarella salad with ranch.
I don’t glob it on or anything, but I do like to taste it. Many a healthy vegetable has made it into my system with a little help from my beloved ranch.
Therefore, Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dressing caught my eye yesterday. Good time, too, with home vegetable gardens, including mine, about to explode with fresh goodness.
Speaking of home gardens, by the way, I’m looking for home gardeners for a story — trying to find out if the weather has been good, or if the plants are behind because of the cold winter and spring.
Tell me how yours is growing in a note to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 28th, 2014

This recipe, from allrecipes.com, saved my Sunday.

This recipe, from allrecipes.com, saved my Sunday.

I hate when recipes include estimated times for prep and cooking. They’re ridiculous. Most recipes touted as fast simply lie. They call for pre-cooked chicken or rice, easily 20-minute jobs. Or they start the timer after the vegetables are chopped. Some with three ingredients are simply flavorless or have weird textures that make them unworthy of even the 10-minute time investment.
In general, there is fast and then there’s tasty. But is there fast AND tasty? I’ll admit it’s hard to find. Garlic Shrimp Pasta fills both bills.
I had about 500 loads of laundry to do yesterday, and at some point had to get to the grocery store before it closed, so we’d have something to eat this week. John was mowing the lawn and would surely come into the house hungry enough to chew his arm off.
I was sick of everything in my quick and easy repertoire. I started brainstorming. Shrimp is fast. (I got it raw, but it was already peeled and deveined.) Pasta is easy. Have garlic, wine, butter, Parmesan.
By the time the store closed, we were eating, and enjoying, this dish.
Warning: You don’t need the whole box of pasta, and the shrimp was only enough for three people. If you want to feed six, double the shrimp. If you want to feed two, halve the pasta.

Posted in: Uncategorized