October 14th, 2019
It’s hard to believe that the holidays are sneaking up on us in just a few weeks! This summer flew by, and fall is passing just as quickly. Usually November and December are a great time to think back on the past year, on everything that’s changed and everything you want to accomplish in the future. I’ve felt like life has been moving in fast forward lately, so one of my pre-New-Year’s resolutions is to try to take stock, in a more focused way, of everything that’s happened in 2010.
And while I’m taking stock, I plan to eat some pie.
What I’ve learned in the 3 (!) years of keeping this blog, is that it’s better to hold off on posting holiday pictures for the next year — better, in this case, to be eleven months late than just a few weeks late. So this is the pie that my family made for Thanksgiving last year, and it’s been sitting in my To-Post folder since November 2009. That is some serious patience on my part, guys.
Because ZOMG, was this good. My mom is a big apple-pie/apple-crisp-er, but what really put this over the top were my sister’s gorgeous decorated leaves. I only wish I could take credit for them — she’s been doing them every holiday for as long as I can remember, and she hasn’t shared her technique with me yet. Aren’t they lovely though? I’m sure some of you artistically-inclined bakers out there can recreate them.
4 pounds Braeburn or Gala apples, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon to sprinkle on top
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 premade pie crusts (or use my recipe here)
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cut each apple into small slices and combine in a bowl with the lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Press one pie crust into a pie pan (gently), and let the edges extend over the sides of the pan slightly.
Fill the crust with the apple mixture. Top with the second pie crust and crimp the edges together with a fork — trim any excess as desired (and use them to decorate the pie!). Brush the top crust with the egg wash, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar, and cut 4 or 5 slits.
Place the pie on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour, or until the crust is slightly browned.
October 11th, 2019
Sometimes when I post a recipe, that recipe lends itself very easily to an accompaniment. My marshmallows became marshmallow caramel bars, my chocolate fudge frosting went into the perfect party cake. So what was I going to do with Monday’s homemade pita bread? That’s right, I was going to make dip.
Actually, what really happened was that whenever anyone comes over to my apartment, I like to have something ready for them to eat. And with the pitas already made, it was relatively painless to find ingredients for an excellent little dip. The only bummer was my lack of greek-style yogurt, because it would have made the dip thicker, richer and all around better. But in a pinch, this was pretty darn good.
So how many of you have made the pitas already? Get out your food processor, because this is the perfect thing to serve with them, and it comes together in about 20 seconds flat. How could you resist?
Yogurt Dip with Pita Chips
2 homemade pitas
Olive oil and salt, for brushing
6 ounces nonfat greek yogurt (or 2/3 cup regular yogurt)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp chopped chives
Cut pitas into wedges, brush with olive oil and sprinke with salt. Bake in a 300 degree oven for about eight minutes.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine yogurt, garlic powder, sea salt and chopped chives. Process until evenly distributed and transfer to a bowl. Surround with pita chips, and serve.
Serves 3-4 as an appetizer.
October 9th, 2019
A long time ago, I read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, where he said there were three things that made all the difference between restaurant kitchens and home kitchens. Those things, if you can’t guess, are fresh herbs, squeeze bottles, and pastry rings.
Those three items, at least to me, were a bit of a revelation. Fortunately, I live fairly close to a kitchen supply store, so within a few weeks, I’d picked up squeeze bottles and pastry rings. The squeeze bottles led to lovely dishes like this and this, and fresh herbs had always been a staple of my kitchen. But those pastry rings — for some reason, I remained a little terrified of them.
I mean, I used them for desserts fairly regularly. But here, where I wanted to take a simple summer salad and make it into something special-looking, I had a feeling it was time to get over my fears.
And wow, they sure did. Anthony Bourdain knows his stuff! This was so pretty and elegant, I only wished we had company to serve it to! So if you’re looking for something to add a little ‘wow’ factor to an everyday dinner (and a really healthy one, at that!), all you need is this little restaurant trick. Get them on Amazon here, or at your local cooking supply store!
strawberry tomato salad recipe
1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced into very small cubes (about 1/4″ per side)
1 cup small strawberries, trimmed and diced into very small strips (about 1/4″ per side)
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
In small mixing bowl, toss together tomatoes, strawberries, oil, vinegar, and salt. Let marinate at room temperature 10 minutes.
To serve, place the mixture into a 3″ diameter pastry ring on individual plates, pressed to pack lightly. Remove the rings delicately, top each salad with goat cheese, and serve.