Monday, November 30, 2009
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.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
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
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.
Friday, November 27, 2009
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.
Yes, that's my fantabulous carmelized onion and balsamic gravy in containers to the left. Recipe to come.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
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.
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.
Bourbon Pecan Pie
First Apple Pie
Second Apple Pie (he had some trouble with his crust)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
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
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.
Monday, November 23, 2009
1 1/3 c warm water (100 degrees)
2/3 c skim milk
2/5 tsp active dry yeast
5 3/4 c bread flour
4 tsp sugar
1 T salt
3 T butter, melted
2 c raisins
1/2 c sugar
5 tsp cinnamon
4 T butter, melted
1. In stand mixer bowl, combine 1/4 c warm water and yeast. Let sit 10 minutes.
2. Add flour, sugar, salt, 3 tablespoons melted butter, milk and remaining water. Mix, using the paddle attachment, on low speed for 1 minute. Change to dough hook, and mix on medium-low speed for 7 minutes. Add raisins, and mix on medium-low speed until dough is firm but not dry, 3 minutes.
3. Transfer to a lightly floured surface, and knead by hand into a ball. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
4. Spray two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray, and set aside. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon, and set aside. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, and cut in half.
5. Roll 1/2 if the dough into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Brush with half of the beaten egg, sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar, and drizzle with half the melted butter. Roll up dough tightly, shaping into cylinder. Place in a loaf pan. Repeat with other half of the dough.
6. Let loaves rise in a warm place for an hour. Thirty minutes before this final rise is completed, place a baking stone, if using, in the lower third of oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
7. Brush tops of loaves with egg white. Bake 15 minutes; lower oven to 400 degrees, and bake 15 minutes more. Remove from oven; cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Makes two loaves
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
It used a whole skein of Lion Brand Homespun and maybe a little more. Used a K hook. The pattern was fairly simple and went something like:
Chain 3. 2 hdc in 2nd chain from hook, hdc in last.
Turn and ch 2. 2 hdc, hdc, 2 hdc in last.
Turn and repeat increase on either end until you've reached the the desired maximum diagonal for your pillow. Then decrease hdc on either side until you reach the other corner.
For the back, I did simple rows of hdc to close up the pillow. It also created the nice visual of diagonal stripes on one side and horizontal stripes on the other.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
1 oz dried mushrooms (I used porcini and a mixed pkg from World Market)
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
This recipe stemmed from me really wanting mac and cheese, but not having the ingredients for the traditional deal. I basically made this up as I went along.
6 oz grated swiss cheese
2 oz grated parmesan cheese
3 T butter
3 T flour
2 cups skim milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 cups swiss chard, cooked until just wilted (you can do this in boiling water/stock or in a saute pan with a little bit of olive oil.)