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G-ma’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Posted by Hilary on July 16, 2010

This one gets hauled out around about July 11th annually for the fabulous Ms. Liva’s birthday. I grew up getting this treat only occasionally at my G-ma and Papa’s house. This post is mostly for me, so I can finally get the recipe off of post-it notes and into a more neat and readable form (eventually I hope to get G-ma’s potato salad, Dad’s cucumber salad, and Aunt Judy’s tabouleh off of paper scraps as well).

Top/ Bottom (!)

1 can of pineapple rings

4 TBSP Earth Balance or butter(-y product)

1/2 cup brown sugar


1/3 cup Earth Balance or butter

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

2/3 cup pineapple juice

1 1/2 cup flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

Garnish: maraschino cherries


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt 4 TBSP Earth balance/ butter and mix with 1/2 cup brown sugar. Spread this evenly in the bottom of your pan (a 9″ or 10″ round pan works well). Then lay a single layer of pineapple rings (save the juice from the can) in the bottom of the pan.

3. Combine the following cake ingredients in a medium bowl: EB/ butter, sugar, eggs, pineapple juice.

4. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small or medium bowl.

5. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients from step 4 into the wet ingredients. Add vanilla.

6. Pour batter into the pan and bake for about 35 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and flip out onto plate or platter. Garnish with maraschino cherries. Serve plain, with whipped cream, or with vanilla ice cream.


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Chocolate Cupcakes, More Vegan-y and Tasty than Usual

Posted by Hilary on April 7, 2010

This not my recipe, but is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.


  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or other extract, but almond always wins at my place)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Either grease or line muffin pan.
2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar, then set aside and allow to curdle.

3. After a few minutes add sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract to the soy milk/vinegar mixture and beat until foamy.

4. In a separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in to wet ingredients and combine (do not overbeat).

5. Bake 18 to 20 minutes.

I made the vegan buttercream frosting once with these and was not impressed, so now I prefer to dust them with powdered sugar or leave them plain. However, Kelly liked the vegan frosting so maybe it’s good. It has a lot of good reviews. Anyways, I go minimalist based on personal preference.

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Homemade Girl Scout Cookies! Happy Kapril!

Posted by kathleenerindavis on April 2, 2010

Yesterday was April 1st, which marked a lot of events: April Fools Day, The start of Birthday Month (or as I call it, Kapril…there’s a whole song all leading up to my birthday on April 22nd), and the end of my roommate and good pal Shawna’s 3 months of abstaining from booze and sugar.

To celebrate all these events I under took the biggest baking project I’ve ever done. I made a replica of my favorite Girl Scout cookies: Caramel Delights (to make things a little easier on myself I made them in bar form). I was advised to buy parchment paper, but the only roll I could find was fancy recycled “if you care” brand for $6, so I opted out and used this cool baking liner my mom gave me. It worked like a charm.

The first step is making the shortbread cookie, I had enough dough to fill this pan and then had some leftover, so I decided to make a giant heart-shaped one for Shawna’s big day. Here’s what they looked like after being baked while they were cooling on the windowsill.

Next, I had  toast the coconut (it didn’t all brown like the recipe said it would but it turned out fine), then unwrap a million caramels, melt them, mix the coconut, and spread it over the cookies.

The next step proved the most difficult, after cutting the cookies, I attempted to melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave as per the recipe, but they turned into a fried mess. At this point Shawna came home and advised that I should use dark chocolate instead and try a double boiler, something that has always scared me. I set out to buy dark chocolate, but there must have been a run on it in my hood because there was none to be found. I came home and after watching a video online and with Shawna’s guidance I successfully melted the semi sweet chocolate and dipped the bottoms of the cookies, then made a makeshift pastry bag from a sandwich bag with the end clipped and drizzled the chocolate  on top! The whole process took over three hours but…YUM!!

Here’s the Recipe:

Homemade Samoas Bars
Cookie Base:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

First, make the crust.

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

Preheat oven to 300.

Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.
Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.
When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).
Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.
Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.


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Camera files evidence intent to blog

Posted by Hilary on February 25, 2010

I am a delinquent blogger! However, a cursory look through by camera files shows that I must have at least intended to blog on occasion.

Early November, 2009: Homemade applesauce with honeycrisps. I remember this taking longer than expected, but being awesome.

I must love apples, cause for the dessert party/ my birthday party on 11/7 I made apple oven pancake. This was a new recipe for me. Link to the recipe here.

Flash forward to Thanksgiving. We actually had guests! Kelly’s friend Mike, who moved here from Michigan over the summer, and Nicole, my cat’s friend. The cats had a lovely turkey dinner:

Nicole, Mike, and Kelly had a lovely turkey diner as well, whereas I had a lovely tofurkey dinner. We had a ridiculous amount of food, including a new roasted cauliflower recipe. No pictures of the cauliflower, and to be honest, no real recipe, but it involved olive oil and a lot of garlic. I made my traditional apple pie as usual, but tried a new pumpkin pie recipe, “sugar and spice pumpkin pie with brandied ginger cream”. This pie was more delicious than your every day pumpkin pie. I followed the recipe (linked above) pretty much to the letter. I even stole some brandy from Mango and Nicole! The only thing that I changed was leaving the brandy out of the actual whipping cream.

I got nothing to offer for Christmas. I made my apple pie, but otherwise I can’t remember cooking anything, which is strange for me.

And continuing on the path of the lazy graduate student, my attempt to make something semi-special on Valentine’s Day was chocolate-covered strawberries. On a side-note, these things are admittedly delicious, but why do people pay so much money for them (they sell one strawberry for $2-3 at a local store’s deli)? They’re possibly the easiest dessert to make.

Kelly had to work all of Valentine’s weekend, but luckily I had my sweet feline fellows to keep me company.

I can’t promise that I’ll be a better blogger anytime before the end of this semester, but I’ll try!


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Caramel Apple Slices and General Autumn Goodness

Posted by Hilary on October 8, 2009

At a recent gathering dubbed “Patrick Swayze Memorial Weekend” I was charged with the “Ghost” food, perhaps because I was unwavering in my support for Ghost’s inclusion in the movie marathon. The thing is, there’s really not much food in Ghost… pottery, yes- food, not so much. We decided that Ghost-themed food therefore equalled Halloween food. I, of course, took this opportunity to make a variation of one of my favorite treats- caramel apples.

Also, I found honeycrisp apples! My heart was all aflutter and I had to use them.

Caramel apples are finicky (see my last caramel apple post from November 2008), as caramel tends not to stick all that well to apples. The result is often a caramel coated apple sitting in a huge pool of run-off caramel. I decided to try and make caramel apples slices (really wedges).

First I used an apple corer/slicer to, well, core and slice the apples. I didn’t want them to get brown while I was working on the other stuff so I threw them in a bowl with water and lemon juice.


Once I was ready to assemble the ingredients, I lined a baking sheet with a silpat, although wax paper would work just as well. I tried to dry off the skin-side of the cut apples, but I didn’t spend too long on this, because that would be tedious and annoying. From here, I applied caramel (very sophisticated, I melted a couple of bags of werther’s) and chopped peanuts. Not much to it, but delicious! The caramel sticks better to the skin-sides of the apple than the cut sides, but it’s easy enough to use the excess caramel on the silpat as a dip if you want more caramel than is stuck to your apple slice. I left peanuts off some of the apples, in case some people didn’t like peanuts, but in hindsight, no one cared and I could have added them to all the slices.






On a related note, keep your eyes open for a post involving this super-cool pumpkin patch pan (link below). I had been coveting this pan for a while, and then it showed up on my doorstep, courtesy of Erin and Becca! Thank you lovely ladies!

Pumpkin-patch pan!


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Unemployed Cooking Week 4: Birthday Week!

Posted by kathleenerindavis on September 9, 2009

Last week was Mark’s birthday week, there were events and excitement everyday including a trip to Six Flags and a BBQ in my backyard. The food highlight however was my cooking a key lime pie. I got the recipe from a mutual friend, and made a few mistakes along the way. The first of which being there is a difference between limes and KEY limes, and it turns out not a lot of stores carry key limes. After buying 10 regular limes and learning my mistake I ended up traveling to the Whole Foods in Manhattan at 10pm on a Sunday night to get key limes and a juicer.

key limes

But it was worth it. The pie turned out perfectly. And according to Mark it was “the best food I’ve ever tasted”

Best Key Lime Pie Ever


  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted


  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup fresh Key lime juice (squeezed from the limes, no cheating with the bottled stuff)
  • Whipped cream
    • For crust:
      Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt in medium bowl. Add butter and stir until crumbs are moist. Press mixture onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Bake crust until set and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool crust completely. Maintain oven temperature.
    • For filling:
      Whisk sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks in medium bowl to blend. Squeeze the limes, then add lime juice and whisk until blended. Pour filling into cooled crust. Bake pie until filling is set, about 18 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate pie overnight.

Posted in KK, Parties, pies, unemployed cooking | 2 Comments »

Apple Pie, HilHil Style

Posted by Hilary on November 15, 2008

I adore apple pie, but only if it’s made properly. The last time Kelly and I tried to eat store-bought apple pie it was…. well, let’s just say we agreed never to buy it again. What can I say, I’m a pie snob. There are worse things that I could be. Here’s my technique:

1. Get yourself some damn good apples. Tradition calls for straight Granny Smith & I reject tradition. I like a mix of sweet and tart apples. Do not buy anything less than firm apples (nothing mealy or soft… no McIntosh, no Cortland, you get the idea). My favorite sweet apples are Honeycrisp and Pink Lady. Granny Smith are good for tart apples, as well as Idared, Northern Spy, etc. Get yourself about 7 apples, half sweet and half tart, for a great pie.

2. Once you’ve got your apples, peel them, core them, and slice them. Put them in a bowl of water (add lemon juice to stop them from browning too much).

3. In a small bowl mix together 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, whatever other spice you like (such as cloves, allspice, powdered ginger, etc.), 2 to 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

4. Grab your pie pan, complete with bottom crust (as described in the previous post). From this point on I take a layering approach. I start with a layer of apples, then use a large spoon to put a layer of the sugar mixture, then apples, then sugar mixture, and so on until I simply can’t fit any more apples on top. Make sure you use all of the sugar mixture. Really heap the apples on, because although the pie will look monstrous now, the apples will cook down quite a bit in the oven.

5. Take about 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (earth balance for vegans), cut into small pieces, and place them on top of the apples. Put on the top crust and pinch it together with the edge of the bottom crust. Remove any excess crust.

6. Brush a tiny bit of water on top of the crust and then sprinkle sugar on top (not a ton). Cut vents into the top of the crust.

7. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees on a low oven rack.

8. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and move pie to center oven rack. Bake for an hour. It’s best to keep the pie on a baking sheet so that when juices overflow they don’t make a mess in your oven. You’re supposed to let the pie cool for several hours (6, if you can believe it)  before you eat it, but more often than not I just can’t wait.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Here’s our Thanksgiving 2007 pie:img_1124

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Pie Crust (for fruit pies)

Posted by Hilary on November 15, 2008

I promised a pie crust recipe over the summer and here it is. I don’t claim to have created this recipe, but it is the best one I have found so I’m going to pass along my version of it. Shari, this one’s for you!


2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (earth balance if you’re going vegan on this one)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 teaspoons cider vinegar


1. First things first, put the shortening and the butter in fridge or freezer. They definitely need to be chilled in order for the crust to end up properly flakey. Cut the chilled butter into smaller pieces (about a tablespoon each).

2. Mix the flour and salt together. Then use a pastry blender to cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture. This can be done with a fork if you don’t have a pastry blender, but it takes much longer. This can also be done by pulsing the mixture in a food processor, but I’ve never tried that so I won’t attempt to give advice on it. Stop once the pieces of shortening and butter are coarsely integrated.

3. Take out a small cup. In it mix two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with six tablespoons of ice cold water. Incorporate this into the flour mixture all the while stirring and tossing. The dough should gather into a ball, or several ball-like pieces:) Remove it from your bowl and press it into one ball.

4. Separate your dough into two balls and flatten each one into a six-inch disk. Dust with flour, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

5. Once you’re ready to assemble your pie roll each disk out on a lightly-floured surface. One disk is the top crust and the other, of course, is the top crust.

This recipe goes hand-in-hand with apple pie, so that will be posted momentarily.


Posted in Desserts, HilHil, Parties, pies, Vegan-friendly | 1 Comment »

Picnic Planning

Posted by kathleenerindavis on July 24, 2008

Earlier this month The New York Times ran this article, called 101 20-Minute Dishes for Inspired Picnics. First of all I think 20-minutes is a bit too long if you are making several different things for a picnic, and second a lot of them are probably gross. But it’s still a good idea.

So here’s a list of the things that I normally include in a picnic (notice the lack of prep time):

  • My totally awesome picnic basket that I found on the street, it has a deep main section and two wine bottle holders
  • Cups, plates, cutlery, etc.
  • The pretty round table cloth my mom gave me that I have no other use for (good because it’s lightweight and you don’t have to dirty your blankets.
  • White or Rose wine (summer is usually too hot for Red)
  • Strawberries and Chocolate Dipping Sauce
  • Hummus and Pita
  • Wheat Thins and Garlic Laughing Cow Cheese (in those super convienent individual triangles)
  • Various other types of cheeses and crackers
  • Macoroni and/or potato salad (usually store bought)
  • Egg Salad Sandwiches (the egg salad I make uses pickles and sometimes cucumbers)
  • Seedless Grapes
  • Chips and a dip of sorts
  • Other fruits or brownies

And here’s some of the NYT suggestions I might consider for future picnics:

  • Beet Salad with hazelnuts and goat cheese (I didn’t think I liked beets until just a month or so ago, now I think I should try to see what they can do)
  • Interesting sounding celery filler: Process a cup or two of cashews, a chili or two, some garlic, a splash of soy sauce and enough water to get the food processor going; fold in chopped cilantro or chives. Fill celery sticks and chill.
  • This sound good, but I don’t know if I’d for to this much trouble for a picnic: Cook whole unpeeled eggplant in a dry, hot skillet, turning occasionally, until collapsed and soft. While it’s cooling, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic and parsley in a bowl. Chop the eggplant flesh (leave the peel behind) and roughly mash in the bowl. Add red pepper flakes if you like. Serve with pita.
  • Soak a tablespoon or two of black beans in sherry or wine; toss with cooked rice, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and cilantro

(there were more, but the article seems to have locked me out, hmph!)


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