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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sweet Potato Pie

Desserts have never really been a big deal to me. To stay away from the "super-sweet" stuff, cakes and pies have been my choice. One that I always loved was traditional pumpkin pie. Rich and creamy, but not too sweet. Well, my favorite pie has been replaced! It's hard to believe, but I had never tried sweet potato pie until recent years...I just didn't know what I was missing!

Here is a recipe for a simple but great tasting sweet potato pie. I just use a frozen pie crust, but if you are talented enough to make home made, that's even better! Maybe I'll master that next year.

1 (1 pound) sweet potato
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.

Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. This is from scratch, so you need to mix it quite a bit to make it smooth. Just pick any stringy stuff off the beaters. Make sure it's smooth! Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie may puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Soergel's Orchard

I love going to farm markets. A couple of the one's that I like are Trax Farms in the South, and Janoskis out in Clinton. but Soergel's (just off of interstate 79 at Wexford) has always been my favorite farm market in the Pittsburgh area.

My trips are usually for their fresh produce, bakery items or freshly baked pies. They will sell you a half pie...a very nice touch. When in season, the farm grown items are tremendous. The summer months bring strawberry picking, corn roasts and apple festivals, then in October pumpkins and hayrides rule. Soon the lot will be filled with Christmas trees. They also have an entire store dedicated to glutin free and allergen free food selections. A nice gift shop sits next to a few farm animals that the kids (and Stacy)can pet and feed.

Soergel's is a fun place, and easy to get to from 79. Beware, the afternoons on the weekends can be crowded so go early!

The Blue Water Tavern

I've been in the North Hills alot recently and have had the pleasure of trying some new places. The Blue Water Tavern has received a lot of press in the local papers and for good reason. Being in Wexford, the place is in The Pine Tree Shops, a strip mall. Not usually my favorite atmosphere, but owners clearly overcame the "mall" feeling by presenting a very smart, modern and very comfortable decor. As you enter to the right is a long bar with a couple of HD screens that would be perfect for a Steeler game. The restaurant and bar are separated by an attractive glass wall that leaves an open feeling, but still provides a physical division.

The menu started off with a nice selection of Tapa's including Kobe Sliders, The Best EVER Crab Dip, and Calamari. A nice selection of sandwiches, burgers, pizza, and entrees followed. A couple of items that caught my eye included Mediterranean Chicken, chicken breast grilled with artichokes, green olives and peppers tossed in a white wine and garlic sauce and served with balsamic rice ($14.99). They also have several seafood selections including Mahi Mahi and fresh Norwegian Salmon and a good looking Porterhouse steak.

Stacy went for special of ravioli stuffed with lobster or crabmeat in a light vodka sauce. The waitress noted that she could split these (she did) which is a nice touch. It was lunch time, and I wasn't interested in a full meal so I chose the Blue Water Chicken Club which is a grilled chicken breast served with apple wood smoked bacon, tomato, lettuce and provolone cheese on Italian Panini bread. Both were excellent, although I didn't taste the rav's until we got home!

Since our lunch, I've talked to others that just rave about their burgers. The comment was made that you don't have to go to Bloomfield to get a great burger anymore, a reference to the great burgers at Tessaro's. It won't be long before I find out!!!