Shaking Things Up with my “Shaker Pie”

Shaking Things Up with my “Shaker Pie”

Hi there!  This week I have an old recipe probably long forgotten but let’s revive it!  If you like desserts that are sweet, tart and a little “boozy” then you’ll like this one.  I found this recipe while I was doing some research for another dish.  I found it so interesting that I made it.  Then I made it again until I reached the flavor I wanted.   This Lemon Shaker Pie uses the entire lemon peel and all (well, not the seeds).  Lol I used Meyers lemons but feel free to use regular lemons. Meyer lemons are sweeter as they are a cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange. Most of the time they are smaller and a little more round other lemons.  Also, their skin is smoother and thinner.   I love them!  Use your favorite pie crust recipe or store bought crust is just fine.  For added flavor serve with a lavender or homemade vanilla ice cream.


3 Meyers lemon sliced paper-thin (no seeds)

Juice of 1 regular lemon

Zest of 1 regular lemon

2 cups sugar, granulated

1 tablespoon  Grand Marnier (or lemon liqueur)

4 eggs    + 1egg

double 9-inch pie crust

Whipped topping or ice cream

1 tablespoon of water

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450º.
  2. Place thinly sliced lemon in a shallow dish.  Pour the liqueur and lemon juice over the slices and cover with the sugar.  Refrigerate lemon slices overnight.
  3. When ready to cook remove the lemons from the refrigerator and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Stir.  Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, gently beat the eggs, water and zest together.  Set aside.
  5. Line a 9-inch pie plate with 1 pie crust.  Stir the lemon mixture into the eggs until thoroughly incorporated.  Top with the second pie crust.  Seal the edges.  (Here’s your chance to be creative with the edges.)  Cut slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape.
  6. Brush the top of the pie with the eggs wash and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes checking the edges of the crust after a few minutes.  If the edges are browning too quickly, use a pie-edge cover or aluminum foil to cover the edges and continue baking until done.  When done, remove the pie from the oven and serve very warm or allow to cool slightly and serve at room temperature.
  7. Serve with whipped cream or  vanilla ice cream!
Books, Cooks, Aprons and more!

Books, Cooks, Aprons and more!

“Eat in Color!” is my new cookbook filled with colorful dishes for you to whip up and enjoy.  There’s nothing quite like cooking and eating with friends and family so I’ve added a lot of meals sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.  For the cooks out there, I hope you will try these colorful dishes and change them up to fit your needs and tastebuds.  I always look at a cookbook as a blueprint, a foundation to build on and grow with and that’s what I’d like you to do with my recipes…build on them and create your special meal.

We also have aprons on sale in both black and white for when you’re cooking (from “Eat in Color!”).  They are beautifully embroidered with my logo and “Cooking with Chef Renée” on them.  Get one for yourself or get two with one to share or as a gift at your cook-with-me-party.


We are also gearing up for our brand NEW monthly events “Meet ‘n Eat!”   “Meet ‘n Eat” is a monthly networking and meet-up opportunity for young professional singles to get together and eat and have drinks and just enjoy one another.  Tentatively the events are being scheduled at Upward Hartford but check each month to see if the venue has changed.  There will be a nominal fee (to cover food cost…guess who’s cooking).  So get your “car washed and your hair done too…come looking fly in your suit…” thank you Beyonce!  This is a great chance to get a delicious meal, enjoy the scenic view (right at sunset) from the 17th floor and meet new and interesting people.  



My NEW cookbook is here! Available for pre-ordering now!

Hello and let me say it seems like forever since we chatted!  Lol. Below is what I’ve been working on…my first ever cookbook!  I wanted to share it with you and let you know how much I appreciate each of you for your support and understanding.  It’s filled with colorful dishes and there’s something for everyone in it (I hope!).  This has truly been a long project but so very rewarding.  I hope you will sit and read a few of the recipes then glide into the kitchen and prepare a delicious, colorful meal for yourself, your family or anyone visiting.  Just enjoy!  Please let me know what you think about it!New Book Cover

Kimchi and Seafood Soup

Kimchi and Seafood Soup


1½ tablespoon of garlic infused olive oil

½ tablespoon of sesame oil

3 ounces fresh breech mushrooms (or your favorite mushroom)

½ small onion, diced

2 scallions, divided (bottoms and tops) bias cut

1 celery stalk, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped

2 quarts of seafood stock

½ cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 bunch of bok choy, green parts only, chopped

1 pound cod, cut into chunks

1 pound of shrimp, deveined, shells removed

3 tablespoons miso

2 cups kimchi (cabbage), drained and chopped


Method of Preparation

In a large Dutch oven add both oils and heat on medium-high heat.

Add mushrooms and onions and cook until the mushrooms turn brown.

Add in the garlic, ginger, celery and scallion bottoms.  Cook for another 3 minutes or until fragrant.

Pour in the stock, wine and sprinkle with turmeric.  Bring to a boil uncovered.

Reduce heat and add the bok choy and cilantro and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.

In a separate bowl, add the kimchi and miso.  Stir together using the soup to thin.

Add the seafood.  Cover and cook until the seafood is done.

Remove the pot from the stove to prevent over cooking the fish and serve.

Garnish with scallions or cilantro.



“Twisted” Italian Sausage Soup

“Twisted” Italian Sausage Soup

Twisted Italian Soup

I don’t know about you but I love a good, stick-to-my-tummy soup on a fall or cold winter day.  Add a nice glass of wine and you won’t see me until the next morning!  Here’s a soup I made one day for my family while I was developing a new, whole grain, cornmeal cornbread recipe (but please, use your favorite cornbread recipe).

For this recipe, I started by browning some Italian sausage, both hot and sweet.  I then drained the meat and set it aside.  Next, I drizzled a little oil in the pot and added my onions and garlic.  Once the onions were translucent I added chunk, fresh rutabagas, diced carrots, and half of a sweet potato which I diced also.  I browned the root vegetables for about 5 to 7 minutes and then added my broth using enough broth to cover the vegetables.

I cooked this for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to harmonize.  Next, I added fresh, chopped thyme, dried parsley, turmeric, a variety of canned, rinsed beans and peas (cannellini, chick peas, black-eyed peas) and a can of whole, peeled tomatoes.  I used my potato masher to smash a few of the beans, peas and tomatoes.  Doing this will act as a thickener without having to add flour or cornstarch, but if you feel better using either, do so.

I returned the meat to the pot and added a little more broth to cover all the ingredients.  Lastly, I covered the pot with a tight-fitting lid and allowed the soup to cook until the beans and peas were tender and the desired flavor had been reached.  In the last 5 minutes of cooking, I added sea salt, fresh, ground, black pepper and chopped, fresh kale.

Optional:  A small amount of heavy cream at this point may be added to the pot for a richer soup.  I served it over a slice of my new cornmeal cornbread and shared some with my neighbors!  I needed the feedback.

For this soup, I really did not measure the ingredients because I make it slightly different each time (trying out a new herb, adding tomato sauce instead of tomatoes, adding potatoes…it just depends). Try it out and use as much or as little of any ingredient you choose.  Send me feedback! I’d love to hear from you.

Eat in Season-It’s so good for you!

Eat in Season-It’s so good for you!

Fall is here and I for one am so excited to see it!  I love fall!  I feel almost as though it has crept upon us as quietly as the tiny caterpillar I saw squirming up the stem of my basil plant today.  Don’t worry, I didn’t eat him…I sent him on his way (with the stem he was so attached to and enjoying).   One of the reasons I enjoy the fall so much is the great outdoors and how my garden changes.  My heirloom tomatoes are still thriving and looking even more beautiful than the day before, my red-veined sorrel which showed up early this spring and is still growing strong.   I enjoy cooking with hearty vegetables like cabbages, parsnips and rutabagas.  Have you ever tried rutabaga French fries with chipotle or red pepper dip?  Yummy to my tummy!  The sweet to my soul in can be found in the magical fruits like apples, pears, peaches and plums all beautifully colored and plump and juicy.  Pies and cobblers here I come.   It’s also a season of roasting and stewing and braising meats until they fall off the bone or melt in your mouth.  To wake up to hot cider and cozy up with a blanket.  So as the world turns and changes in a direction to give us longer nights (more time for smooching….lol) I gear up for extra time in my kitchen preparing delightful, colorful treats the earth has provided for me and only in this special season of oranges, purple, reds and whites!




Chopped Sirloin with Gravy

This dish went so fast we forgot to take an actual picture of it plated properly; but man, was it good!   Chopped Sirloin with Gravy who doesn’t love a good gravy?   We all had to be rolled away from the table.   Prepare the sirloin patties a day in advance and wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until the next day.  It’s a great thing to come home to.  Add a green vegetable or salad and perhaps a baked white or sweet potato and bam!  Dinner is ready.

Ingredients (for the steak)

2 eggs

¼ cup onion, minced

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon liquid smoke

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup crushed salt crackers

1½ pound ground sirloin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon fresh black pepper

½ teaspoon paprika

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Ingredients (for the gravy)

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

8 ounces button or cremini mushroom, sliced

½ cup diced onion

2 tablespoons dry white wine

2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 cups beef broth

¼ cup fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish

Method of Preparation

Preheat an oven to 400º.

For the steaks, combine eggs, onion, parsley, Worcestershire, garlic, and crackers.  Add sirloin, salt, pepper, paprika and crushed red pepper flakes; mix to combine.  Shape meat into four 8 to10 ounce sirloin patties.  Set aside.

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet on medium-high heat.   Add sirloin and sear on one side and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes.  Turn sirloin over and transfer the entire pan into the oven and cook until desired doneness about 4 or 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place on a warm serving plate.  Loosely tent with foil to rest and allow the residual heat to finish the cooking and redistribute all the juices.

For the gravy, using the same hot pan melt the butter until bubbling.  Add the onions and cook until translucent then add the mushrooms.  Sauté over medium-high heat until the mushrooms begin to    release their moisture.  Cover until the liquid has been released and then remove the lid and allow the moisture to evaporate.  Add the wine, for flavor, and allow it to evaporate as well.  Add the flour and mix allowing the flour to brown and absorb all the flavors of the mushrooms and onions.  Stir in the broth and cook until the gravy starts to thicken.  Remove from the heat.  If the gravy is too thick thin it with more broth or water.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve gravy over sirloin and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.


Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey

Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey

Although pictured here with bacon pieces I used smoked turkey.  Remember, I grew up in the South and collard greens were a staple dish on our table every Sunday and for the rest of the week until they were gone (which usually was only the next day)!   My mother seasoned them with pork neck bones, fatback or another part of the pig and they were delicious!  I loved them!  I still do except now with the awareness of health and wellness information at my fingertips I have vowed, not to abandon my traditional foods which bring back memories of family gatherings and cousins and friends sitting around the table or at a picnic bench in the park, but to modify the recipes so that I maximize the natural vitamins and nutrients the foods contain.  I don’t want anyone telling me that I can’t have this or that I can’t have that so in order to avoid that most serious conversation with my physician I will do my part and make the traditional foods I’m used a little healthier (there, I said it).  In this dish there is no loss of flavor, just a slighter different one.  The intake of vitamins and nutrients is significantly higher and the cooking time in my recipe is shorter.  Sounds like a win, win, win situation!  Try it out and let me know what you think.


2 large bunches of collard greens, stems removed

3 quarts of water

2 cups chicken broth

1¼ – 1½ lbs. smoked turkey necks or legs

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

¼ cup canola oil

1 tablespoon EVOO

Optional:  1 teaspoon cider vinegar, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Method of Preparation

  1. In a large Dutch oven (or other heavy bottom pot) add the water, turkey, salt, sugar, ground pepper, paprika and oil.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce to medium heat and allow turkey to cook for 40 minutes creating “pot liquor.”
  2. Thoroughly wash/rinse the collard greens. Chop greens into small pieces.
  3. After 35 minutes check the turkey and pot liquor. Liquor should have reduced by about ¼ and the turkey should be soft but still on the bone.  Add the chicken stock (or vegetable stock) and replace the lid and cook for another 5 minutes to blend.
  4. Add the greens to the pot and sprinkle with a little more sugar, salt and olive oil drizzle. Stir and cover.  Cook for another 30 -35 minutes or until greens are tender and tasty.  The turkey should be falling off the bones.  If not, cook a little longer until desired tenderness.
  5. Note: Serve with cornbread.
  6. Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey
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