Thursday, December 31, 2009

Three Cheese Mac and Cheese

This recipe has been adapted from one found on MyRecipes.Com which credits Cooking Light, September 1996. I simplified and upped the cheeses. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture, so here we are at the table.


1/3 c all purpose flour
1/3 c butter
2 2/3 c skim milk
2 oz smoked fontina, shreddeed
6 oz cheddar, shredded
3 oz parmesan, shredded
1 lb small shaped pasta (e.g. macaroni, rotini, or penne)
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1/2 c seasoned bread crumbs or crushed onion melba toasts
1 tbs butter, softened

Prepare pasta according to the package directions, cooking til al dente in salted water. Drain and set asside.

Combing flour and butter over medium heat to make a rouge. Whisk in milk and cook until thickened, stirring frequently. This will take about 8 minutes.

Melt in all cheeses and cook for another 3 minutes. Stir together cheese and pasta, adding salt and pepper.

Pour into prepared dish (spray or rub with butter) and top with bread crumbs mixed with butter.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Serves 6-8.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chocolate Log

This recipe appeared in this month's Good Food. While I would have substituted granulated sugar for caster sugar and brown sugar for muscovado, my auntie found both sugars and quark at Whole Foods.


For the cake

1 tsp instant coffee, mixed with 1 tbs warm water (I just used a tbs of coffee leftover from the morning)
4 eggs, room temp
85 g/3 oz golden caster sugar, plus extra for rolling
50 g/2 oz light muscovado sugar
120g/4.5 oz self-raising flour
2 tbs cocoa powder

For the icing

50g/2 oz 70% dark chocolate (I doubled this), chopped
250 g/9 oz mascarpone light
140g/5 oz quark (This is best described as a sour cream cheese--I did not like its strong flavor and will use regular cream cheese in the future)
50g/2 oz powdered sugar
1.5 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line with parchment paper and lightly spray a 15x9 jelly roll pan.

Beat the eggs, both sugars, and the coffee together with an electric whisk for about 8 minutes until it is thick and airy and hold a trail when you lift the beaters. (This process amazed me. The mixture also thickened as it stood, so it may be okay to only beat for 6 minutes and let it stand while you prepare the dry ingredients).

Sift flour and cocoa powder together and gently fold into egg mixture. Pour into prepared baking pan, spreading gently to make it even. Bake for 12 minutes or so until it feels spongy but firm when touched.

Dust another sheet of baking paper with caster sugar and turn out cake. (This must be done soon after taking it out of the oven). Peel away the old paper. Roll the cake, keeping the new paper inside into a log. Cool completely or put in the fridge overnight, which aids moistness.

Prepare the icing by first melting the chopped chocolate in a double boiler. Cool.

Beat the mascarpone and quark (use cream cheese) together and sift in the powdered sugar and cocoa. Stir in about 2/3rds of the melted chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. (Reserve the rest of the melted chocolate to drizzle over the top).

Unroll the cake and discard the paper. Spread half of the icing evening over the cake and reroll, putting the seam on the bottom. Spread the rest all around the top and sides of the log, smoothing in any cracks. Drizzle with remaining chocolate and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Serves 8.



Monday, December 28, 2009

Apple Potato Pancakes

This recipe appeared in either this month's Good Food or Olive. Probably Olive because of the helpful approximations to the metric system. My husband loves potato pancakes, but I have been unsuccessful in the past. This recipe uses no onions and whips up very simply.


2 lbs or 6 c shredded potatoes (I used regular baking potatoes)
2 c shredded apple (I used 2 medium Gala)
1.5 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2.25 oz all purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
6 tbs canola oil
1 tsp granulated sugar

Combine apples and potatoes with 1 tsp of salt in a colander. Let set for 20 minutes, occasionally pressing as much liquid out as possible using the back of a spoon.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and remaining salt and pepper. (I also threw the sugar in here, rather than dusting at the end as directed). Mix with the potato mixture until it clumps.

Heat a couple of tbs in a large skillet over medium high heat. Flatten 1/3 c sized balls of the mixture and lightly fry until golden brown on each side in oil. (You need at least 1/4 inch of oil in the pan to get the golden brown color.) The frying takes about 6-8 minutes.

Repeat with remaining batter, keeping others warm. Serve with apple sauce (shown in picture) or sour cream.

Serves 4-6 (I made about a dozen silver dollar sized latkes)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Roasted Cornish Hens with Cherry-Port Glaze

This recipe appears in this month's Cooking Light. My auntie prepared this while I was at work and it turned out beautifully.
1/2 cup cherry preserves
1/2 cup port
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 (1 1/2-pound) Cornish hens

Preheat oven to 400°.

Place a wire rack on a baking sheet; coat rack with cooking spray.

Combine preserves, port, ginger, vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 9 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard giblets and necks from hens.

Rinse hens and pat dry. Tie ends of legs together with twine. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under hen. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Set on wire rack on baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes.

Brush hens with cherry mixture; bake 40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the meaty part of thigh registers 165°, brushing with cherry mixture every 10 minutes.

Remove from oven. Let stand 5 minutes.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Braised lamb with wine tomato reduction

This recipe appeared December 2009's Cooking Light. The only changes I made was to use plain tomatoes (the recipe called for pre-seasoned) and substitute dry parsley for fresh. This was the easiest way I've ever cooked lamb and my first ever lamb shank.

4 (12 oz) lamb shanks
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 dry red wine
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried parsley
salt, pepper, and olive oil

In a large dutch oven, salt and pepper lamb and brown in oil over medium high heat, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pot.

Add the garlic to the pan, cook for 15 seconds (it will immediately sizzle and start to brown/burn). Add the wine; cook for 2 minutes while scrapping the bottom of the pot. Stir in tomatoes and cook for another few minutes.

Return lamb to pot; cover and reduce heat; and simmer for 1 hour over low. Turn lamb over and cook for another 1-1.5 hours until meat is tender (My lamb shanks were huge, so it took nearly 3 hrs).

Remove lamb from pan and loosely cover with foil. Bring wine/tomato mixture to a boil and cook until reduced (about 10 minutes). Season with salt, pepper, and parsley. Return lamb to pot and cook another few minutes until lamb is heated.

Serve with sauce.



Monday, December 21, 2009

Belgian Beer Beef Stew

This recipe has been adapted from one found in December 2009's Cooking Light. I used a Belgian beef called Mathilda from the Goose Island Brewery. Yum! The recipe called for cooking on the stovetop 2 hrs+. I threw it in the slowcooker and it turned out perfectly.

3 bacon slices, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2.5 lbs boneless chuck roast, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
2 c onion, chopped
12-16 oz mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs all purpose flour
2 c carrots, sliced 1 inch thick
1.75 c parsnips, sliced 1 inch thick
1 c beef broth
8 oz Belgian beer (up
2 Tbs dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf

Cook bacon in a large pot over medium high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings. In the bacon fat, brown beef on all sides (do this in two batches as not to cool the pan). Remove beef from pan and place in slow cooker.

The next set of directions apply to the stove top version. I did them, but you probably don't have to if you're cooking in the slow cooker.

Saute onions in bacon grease over medium high heat until they begin to soften. Add mushrooms and cook until browned and liquid is mostly evaporated. Add salt, pepper, garlic and cook for one minute. If cooking in slow cooker, place meat (bacon too) and veggies in the slow cooker.

[If cooking on the stovetop, add flour, cook for one minute. Then stir in beer, scraping up brown bits.]

Mix the flour, mustard, thyme, broth, and beer. Pour into slow cooker and mix well. Add bay leaf. Cook on low for 4-6 hours until meat and veggies are tender.

[On the stovetop, add bacon, beef, carrot, and remaining ingredients to pot. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 2 hours or until tender.]

Discard bay leaf before serving.

Serves 6.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cheddar Biscuits with Sage

This recipe is adapted (and halved) from one found in this month's Every Day Food. As you can see from the picture, I served them with a beef stew, recipe to come tomorrow.

2 c all purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp coarse salt
1.5 c cheddar cheese, grated finely
1 Tbs fresh sage, chopped finely
6 Tbs butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 c buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a food processor or stand mixer, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda,and salt. Add cheese and sage. Add butter and mix until you have coarse sand. Slowly add milk until combined.

On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until just combined. Roll to 3/4 inch thickness. Cut using floured biscuit cutters.

Bake 12-15 minutes until puffed and golden.


Makes 6 large biscuits or 12 smaller ones.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gingerbread Friends

I found this recipe at It's from McCormick and I only made a few minor adjustments. The icing is store-bought. Here they are at work.

3 c flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon (heaping)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg (hate nutmeg, so I used maybe an 1/8)
1/2 tsp salt (recipe called for less, but I used unsalted butter)
3/4 c butter (I used 1/2 salted and 1/2 unsalted)
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c molasses
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Using stand mixer or hand mixer in a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses; beat well. Gradually add in flour until well combined. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. (Some of the dough went 2 days before I had time to bake it all without an difficulty).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface. Cut into cute things. The recipe says to space them at least an inch of part, but since these guys didn't expand much, so I arranged them as closely as possible without touching.


Bake 8-10 minutes. If your cookies are too thin, they will brown too quickly on the edges, so monitor them closely. The cookies are done when they just begin to brown.

Cool completely on wire racks before decorating. Make sure to use an icing that hardens.

Makes 2-3 dozen, 3x2 inch cookies. (I got nearly 4 dz out of this batch, but an entire pan was too thin)



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

French Onion Soup

This recipe is adapted from one found in this month's Every Day Food.

7 medium onions, sliced 1/4 inch
4 T butter
1.5 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
5 c beef broth
salt and pepper

Melt butter in large pot over medium high heat. (I used my large le creuset) Add onions and salt. Cook stirring frequently until softened and beginning to brown. This will take approximately 20-30 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium or medium low. Add sugar and cook until golden brown with a jam-like consistency. Stir very often.

Add broth and bring to a simmer. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with crusty bread and topped with cheese such as monzarella, gruyere.

4 servings


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Printable Version

1.25 lbs ground turkey
1/2 c bread crumbs, unseasoned
1/3 c grated parmesan
1 med onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 egg
1 lb pasta of choice
4 c sauce of choice
Olive oil

1. Saute onions until tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove to bowl, allow to cool.

2. Combine ground turkey, bread crumbs, cheese, onion mixture, seasoning, and egg. Form into 1-1.5 inch meatballs.

3. In a 400 degree oven, place meatballs evenly apart. Bake 15 minutes, turn, bake 10 more minutes.

4. Prepare pasta until al dente. Toss pasta, sauce and meatballs together.

Makes 24 1-1.5 inch meatballs. Serves 4-6.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

This recipe came off the back of a package of Hershey's Classic Chocolate Chips. I just added the pecans and substituted egg whites for one of the eggs.

2 1/4 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1 c (2 sticks) butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg and 2 egg whites
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 c pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 375.

Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well.

Separately, whisk or sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to wet mix and combine thoroughly with a whisk or mixer.

Stir in pecans and chips. Put dough in freezer or fridge for a few minutes while you grease a couple cookie sheets or cover them with parchment paper. I recommend keeping any dough in the fridge in between batches. This helps the cookies stand up a bit better.

Drop tablespoons of dough, spaced at least 1-2 inches apart. Bake about 10 minutes per batch, until golden brown. Allow to rest for a minute on the cookie sheets before removing to cooling racks.

Makes 5 dozen
Photobucket Photobucket


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bourbon Pecan Pie/Tart

Using 1/2 of my double pie crust recipe, this recipe is made in a tart pan. I modified this recipe from Bon Appetit, November 2009. Note, even though I used one tsp less than 2 tablespoons, even after cooking, I could smell the boubon. Not sure how it will taste, but it wound up looking like a tart even in a pie pan-ish dish.

1 pie crust to fill 10 inch tart pan
2 eggs, 2 egg whites
1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 c dark corn syrup
2 T bourbon
1 tsp vanilla
3 T butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
2 c pecan halves, toasted

Roll pie crust to fit tart pan. Press into pan, trim, and refrigerate for 3 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line crust with foil and fill with beans or pie beads. Bake on a baking sheet until crust is set and golden, about 30 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Bake another 10 minutes.

While crust is baking, prepare filling. Beat eggs and sugar in a medium. Beat in corn syrup, butter, bourbon, vanilla and salt until well blended. Stir in pecans.

Pour filling until hot pie crust. Bake until set about 25 minutes.

Cool tart on rack for an hour before removing pan sides.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Apple Pie

I use the William Sonoma double pie crust posted a couple days ago. This filling also appeared in my apple pie pocket recipe earlier this year.


Double pie crust
6 medium apples (a mix of tart and sweet)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (2 T)
1/2 c granulated sugar
1.4 c brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 T flour
1 T butter
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the dough and roll 1/2 into a large disk that just hangs over the rim of the pie pan.

Peel and slice the apples about 1/2 inch thick. Dunk them in water and lemon juice as you chop..this stem hinders oxidation which isn't important when baking a pie, but I always do this whenever I cut apples.

Toss apples with sugars, salt, flour, and cinnamon. Pour into pie and dot with butter.

Roll the other 1/2 of the pie dough and make a lattice or top with a couple of slices for steam to escape. Brush with egg wash.

Bake for 45 minutes until mixture is bubbly and crust is golden brown.

Serves 8.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Caramelized Onion-Balsamic Gravy

I've used this recipe since I first started doing Thanksgiving dinner in 2002 or 2003. The recipe appears in a November 1998 Bon Apetit, but since I didn't subscribe to that mag in 2002, I don't think I got it there. I absolutely love this recipe because of the richness the balsamic vinegar provides.

I was running out the door with the turkey this year, and completely forgot to take a picture of the gravy in all its glory. Maybe next year.

5 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
6 tablespoons butter
2 cups onions, halved, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Combine turkey neck and giblets, 5 1/2 cups broth, quartered onion and bay leaf in saucepan. Simmer until reduced to 3 cups liquid, skimming occasionally, about 1 hour. Strain turkey stock.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions; sauté 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon rosemary and 1 tablespoon sage and sauté until onions are golden, about 10 minutes. Add flour; stir 1 minute. Gradually whisk in turkey stock. Boil until gravy thickens, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon each rosemary and sage.

Transfer turkey to platter. Tent with foil. Pour juices from pan into large glass measuring cup; spoon off fat. Add juices to gravy. Add vinegar to roasting pan. Bring vinegar to simmer over medium heat, scraping up browned bits. Pour mixture into heavy small saucepan. Boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes; add to gravy. Rewarm gravy; thin with more chicken broth, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

In the left-hand corner, there's my gravy all packed up and ready to go. Note the rich dark color. Yum!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey Leftovers and Black Bean Chili

This recipe is an adaptation of my other turkey chili recipe, only using leftovers.

Printable Version

1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked turkey, chopped
1/4 c chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
15 oz black beans
28 oz diced plum tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
1 c corn
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat till tender. Add in garlic and cook another minute. Add chopped turkey, chili powder and cumin, and cook for 2 minutes (while you open the canned goods).

Stir in black beans, tomatoes, tomatoe sauce. Heat to simmer; cover and cook 20 min.

Add corn, bell pepper. Cook till heated through and veggies are tender, about 8 min. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheeses, about 6-8 servings.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Herb-buttered turkey

I was extraordinarily pleased at how well this turned out, even though there was a bit of a thermometer mishap. I would definitely do the brine thing again.

Printable Version

Brine mixture of your choosing (I used a William-Sonoma packaged version)
1 Tbs minced herbs(chose as many as you like e.g. thyme, rosemary, italian parsley, sage, marjoram)
8 Tbs butter, softened
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp salt

Prepare brine according to directions. Brine bird 12-24 hrs prior to roasting.

Preheat oven to 400.

Drain bring and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine herbs, garlic, butter, and salt and pepper. Chill butter until firm but still malleable. Rub under skin in breast and drumstick area. Coat bird with butter mixture.

If not stuffing, season cavity with salt, pepper, a few crushed garlic cloves and a handful of fresh herbs.

Cover with tin foil. Cook for 30 min at 400 degrees, then lower oven to 325 degrees.

Baste each hour with 2-4 cups chicken stock and then pan juices.

Bird is done when an instant read thermometer reaches 165-170 in the thickest part of the thigh. (My 17 lb bird took around 4 hrs.)In 2008, the USDA reduced the required internal done temp from 180 to 165 degrees. At 180, the breast is definitely not as juicy as it should be.

Remove foil in last 30 minutes of roasting to brown skin.

Allow to sit for 30 minutes covered after removing from oven before carving.

Photobucket Photobucket
Yes, that's my fantabulous carmelized onion and balsamic gravy in containers to the left. Recipe to come.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Blueberry Pie


Dough for a double pie crust
32 oz frozen or 4 cups fresh blueberries
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, strained
3⁄4 cup sugar
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1⁄2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg beaten with 1 T of water

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Allow dough to come to room temperature before rolling out--dough should be rolled at least 2 inches larger than the size of your pie pan.

3. Toss blueberries with lemon juice, zest, sugar, salt, corn starch, and cinnamon. Dot with butter.

4. Pour blueberry mixture into one layer of the pie dough. Top with reserved pie dough, formed into a lattice or whole with several slices in the middle to allow steam to escape.

5. Brush crust with egg mixture.

6. Bake for 45 minutes up to an hour until golden brown and bubbly.

Serves 8.

Wednesday Night before Thanksgiving Piemaking

Let's just say that my making 4 pies the night before Thanksgiving sounded like a good idea, but turned out not to be my best plan. Granted, I did this last year without a hitch--same 3 pies, in fact. However, the sum of one new recipe for pecan pie + an unfamiliar kitchen/oven + someone else making the pie dough amounted to 6 hours of pie-making fun when it should have taken me a mere 2-3 hours.

Let's start with the pecan pie recipe. I thought it would be neat to try a bourbon pecan pie/tart recipe. Basically, it was my regular pecan pie recipe + 2 T of bourbon in a tart pan. How complicated could that be? Well, for starters I don't usually prebake the crust. Thus, the fact that my favorite dough shrinks a bit isn't usually a big problem unless I've majorly over-worked the dough. However, when prebaking in a tart pan, if you cut it to size and only put weights on the bottom, you get a dough disc. 30 minutes down the drain, plus the time I spent working the dough.

Next comes the unfamiliar kitchen problem. Not really a problem, but baking in my husband's kitchen for the first time presented some challenges. First of all, I had never used the oven before. While I had a thermometer to see what temp it was heating to vs what temp I had set it, I had no way of knowing if the heat distribution was even or not or what other kinks it might have. The biggest thing turned out to be that the oven racks were in upside down and backwards. I knew there was something not right about them, so I flipped them only to discover that the door didn't close tightly that way. It wasn't until I had removed pie no 4 that I realized that the damn things were BACKWARDS. There was nothing special about these racks and I have removed the racks from my own oven, but for some reason I just didn't see the problem until the end.

Finally, the dough problem. It was a big problem. I had collaborated with someone else to make the pie dough prior to my arrival today. It's a sturdy dough and keeps for several days in the fridge. I have made nearly a dozen pies with this dough and love it. Somehow, of the 4 batches that were made for me, only one was perfect. The others weren't anywhere near close. They were dry and mealy--clearly the dough had not been mixed thoroughly enough when it was made to realize that it would never stick together. I have no idea what happened, especially since that one batch was so perfect, but the rest were disasters. While I had plenty of butter and all night, I did not have enough flour to remake all the dough I needed. Thus, I did the best I could to rework the dough. I worry that all my crusts will be tough tomorrow, but at least the damn pies held their shape.

On the upside, while I might be a little sleep-deprived heading towards Thanksgiving, (a) that's nothing new and (b) it might all me to be more mellow when presented with all the people tomorrow.

Here's the pies all together in the order that they came out of the oven. Look for the recipe for each later this week.

PhotobucketBourbon Pecan Pie

Photobucket Blueberry Pie

Photobucket First Apple Pie

2nd apple pie Second Apple Pie (he had some trouble with his crust)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Double Pie Crust

Updated 10/31/2015 - I recently used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour and loved the results!

 photo P1016632.jpg  photo D9BBD355-B1BD-43F3-B05A-9944EA05F26A-10025-00000BAA109E0341.jpg  photo PecanPie.jpg

This recipe has been adapted from a William Sonoma double pie crust recipe. It has become my go-to crust recipe over the years as it's super easy, especially when you make it in a food processor, and comes out nice and flakey. Yes, this recipe requires a lot of butter but not as much as others. Moreover, there's no lard or shortening which are big turn offs for me. I always use salted butter instead of unsalted in baking because I like my salt but go easy on the added salt if your preferences are different. This makes a 9" pie.

Double Pie Crust

2.25 c all purpose flour (or try whole wheat pastry!)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 c butter
8 Tbs ice water
Egg wash (1 egg + a splash of water)

1. Combine salt and flour. Using pastry cutter, hands, mixer, or food processor, add butter in small pieces until you have the consistency of coarse sand.

2. Add in ice water, on tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. Do not over-knead as that will result in a tough crust.

3. Form two disks and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to several days.***

4. Allow dough to come to room temperature before rolling out--dough should be rolled at least 2 inches larger than the size of your pie pan.

5. Brush with egg wash before baking.

***Something new I tried recently was to roll the dough to the width of my pie dish before chilling it for about 10-20 minutes. If the theory is that chilling causes the butter to solidify and solid butter makes the flakey crust, this would see to be a good idea since you'd melt the butter a bit when you handle it for rolling. However, be cautious of putting a too-cold pie dish into a hot oven. I let the pie dish rest out of the fridge while I prepared the filling.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tomato Soup with Broccolini

This recipe has been adapted from one that appeared in a recent Rachel Ray magazine.


2 small carrots, chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
28 oz diced tomatoes
14 oz fire-roasted tomatoes (do NOT use the TJ variety with chiles)
3 cups chicken stock
2 bunches broccolini, about 2 cups, cut into 2 in pieces
salt and pepper
Gruyère or Parmesan cheese to serve

In a medium pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook carrots, celery, and onion with oregano until slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, about 20 minutes until the veggies are tender.

In a separate pot, bring 2 inches of salted water to a boil. Cook broccolini and cook until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. (At this step I added another cup of chicken stock as the Rachel Ray recipe only called for 2 cups originally.)Season with additional salt and pepper. Stir in broccoli.

Serve with grated Gruyère or Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4-6.