Baking at Thanksgiving. It’s a big deal to some people and a late afternoon stop at the grocery for others. Perhaps because often folks are cooks OR they’re bakers and rarely both. The pumpkin pie may have all the memories the turkey never garnered and the homemade yeast rolls and butter just might be why your grandson shows up. On the other hand, it could be all about the dressing, gravy or even the ham at your house where no one looks twice at dessert. I once brought turkey and dressing to a summer potluck, where a close friend refused to eat a bite. When I asked why, she said, “You didn’t make gravy. I don’t eat dressing without gravy.” She truly had some serious food traditions and it’s not unusual. Listen to your friends and family talk about Thanksgiving and you’ll see.
As the bittersweet arrival of the last of the northwest blueberries coincides with the happy coming of the first glorious Colorado peaches, the two together feel exactly like a match made in heaven in my kitchen on a beautiful cool morning. With just a smidge over 5 cups of beginning-to-pucker and wilt Oregon blueberries in the fridge, I had not quite enough for a 9-inch pie. A case of peaches sat wafting their keen aroma from the mudroom, so I followed my nose out there and snagged a couple of not-too-ripe beauties to peel and slice for the bottom of the pie, filling that empty extra inch of space. The buttery sweetness from the berry mixture on top would provide plenty of juicy goodness for the still somewhat tangy peaches. Making something with peaches that aren’t quite ripe or up-to-snuff? Add a pinch of ground mace to increase their flavor.
Other food bloggers or food writers will get this: Thanksgiving is so over photographed, written about, schmoozed on, slobbered over, that we usually just don’t know what to do with it that hasn’t been done ad nauseum. (How about another post on SIDES??? Another torch-browned turkey on the front of a magazine?)
There’s this odd baker’s conundrum every summer and it’s all about having the best fruit of year on the days when it’s really too hot to bake. Even with air conditioning. I usually get up really early –you’ll know this if you’re a regular reader– and get it done before light comes over the eastern plains horizon.
There seem to be fruit people and chocolate people when we’re talking dessert. You know who you are. I, for instance, am definitely not crazy about apple pie. (I love fresh apples.) I make a mean one and will have one small slice on the day it’s baked. It then belongs to Dave, his Dad, Sean, or whoever else is a pie lover. I love chocolate. Dave’s never loved chocolate, though in the last few years he’s begun to eat some. No longer are all the chocolate things in the house exclusively mine. At formal dinners when chocolate mousse or cake was served, both portions ended up in front of me; for years, he wouldn’t touch them. Then one day, he began eating his chocolate dessert, leaving me in the dust. He occasionally drinks a cup of decaf coffee, too. I don’t know what’s happening to my world. The coffee pot has always been totally mine.
I’ll admit, though, that I’m crazy about rhubarb or pie plant, (which is now in season in Colorado) just as I am about cranberries. The two have a lot in common when it comes to cooking and eating them. Both are so rude, crude, and sour that they’re inedible without some sweetening and cooking. Both are gorgeous, glorious, royalty red. I adore either mixed with other fruits; apples do well as a companion for rhubarb and cranberries.
Last year, I made a much larger Rhubarb-Blueberry Crisp with cinnamon and oatmeal: recipe here.
And, of course, all berries happily couple with each. Both of these red gems freeze perfectly with no great work. Throw the cranberries in a heavy plastic bag and dip into them for a year for muffins. Chop rhubarb in the spring, place just as it is in quart freezer containers, and you can have rhubarb-apple pie for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas Day brunch. Stewed rhubarb or cranberry sauce can be frozen in small or large amounts; I like the small containers for topping yogurt or ice cream:
To stew rhubarb: Heat 2 cups chopped rhubarb with 1/3 – 1/2 cup granulated sugar and water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer, and cook until tender–maybe 15 minutes. Cool and place in two small freezer containers or serve on yogurt or ice cream. Also good on a peanut butter or a cream cheese sandwich. Makes about 4 small servings. Can double or triple, though make sure and taste the liquid as it cooks to see if you’d like more sweetener. (Optional: 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon for each 2 cups rhubarb.) You can also make rhubarb sauce. Just continue to cook until the rhubarb is mushy and mash with a potato masher.
Since Colorado springs are long and complicated–often punctuated by big snow or ice storms–our spring crops come later than in the rest of the country; rhubarb and other true spring happinesses are only now showing up. Asparagus is at the market now late in May, and gorgeous birds, like this Western Tanager in my side yard, are now making nests or filling up before flying on…
If you’re still into spring or just have some rhubarb (I notice the newest food magazines are all summery-grilling issues), enjoy a little crisp. There might not exist a faster baked dessert for your inner pie-lover:
RHUBARB-RASPBERRY ALMOND CRISP
While vegetable gardening isn’t exactly possible up here on the mesa with our herd of daily deer, there are places in which things do grow. My Colorado rhubarb plant died while we lived in Saint Paul, so this crisp is made from rhubarb bought at the store. The cashier says, “Is this chard?” I’ll plant a new patch this fall.
- 4 cups trimmed rhubarb cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 1/4 cups raspberries (about 6 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3/4 cup each: all-purpose unbleached white flour, brown sugar, and granulated white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup finely chopped toasted almonds
- 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter
- Ice cream or whipped cream for serving, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place rack in the center of the oven.
To an ungreased 2-quart, oblong baking dish, add the rhubarb, raspberries, salt, and almond extract; toss. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the flours, sugars, cinnamon, and almonds. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until well combined — big crumbs — using a pastry cutter, your fingers, two knives, or pulsing slowly in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pour out the flour mixture on top of the rhubarb and raspberry mixture, spreading evenly.
Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 40-50 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. Store totally cooled leftovers tightly wrapped on the counter for 2 days and then in the fridge for another 2 days. (Basic fruit desserts without cream or eggs needn’t be refrigerated. They are best warm or at room temperature.)
Truth in Recipes: The basic idea and proportions for my crisp came from an old ’70’s BETTY CROCKER cookbook, which appears periodically as a much-loved guest in my blog. I hope you’ve just such a good old dependable cookbook in your kitchen arsenal. I’ve jacked the basic crisp up with the berries, the almonds and almond extract, and changed both the kind of sugar and amount called for. Perhaps the recipe is nearly mine by now, but I’m happy to share credit with Betty any day.
Just a no reason shot of “the babies,” Tucker and Rosie, whom we often call “Miss Bo-Bo,” as she’s just a tad nutty about running from window to window announcing every person, dog, cat, bird, and bunny that just might be visiting our yard while I bake or nurse a bad cold. I live with a pocketful of kibble trying to persuade her to act otherwise. Exhale.
Sing a new song; sweeten up a little rhubarb today,
EASY FRENCH 3-COURSE MEAL FOR VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME: 2-HOUR COOKING CLASS @ SHOUSE APPLIANCE THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5: 5-7PM. INTRODUCTORY OFFER 2 FOR 1. $50.00 for two students–includes food, recipes and ideas for wine pairing. Email me or leave me a message. Can’t wait to cook with you! Ok, now on to the pie…
I make this apple pie for special people. Special times. I make it when I have a little extra time to think and bake. It’s not simple. I can never remember exactly how to make it. I have two recipes and I never use either one. I use a combination of the two with my own little caveats including a crust I’ve come up with over the years. I think I might have actually documented it now. Make it and let me know. Continue reading
|Turkey Pot Pie|
You might have lived when pot pies were a regular feature of your mom’s menus. Maybe you had them instead of TV Dinners. I have a sketchy memory of frozen pies from the grocery @10 for $1. This undoubtedly dates me in an unkind way. I did not have a mother who refused to cook; she cooked a lot. That didn’t mean we never had a frozen pot pie. I remember liking them, though I maybe haven’t tasted one in fifty years.
If you go out to eat at any number of restaurants these days, you’ll find homemade pot pies are on lots of menus and people order them over and over. Definitely comfort food. Certainly fattening. But oh so filling and often luscious. They’re full of all kinds of things–poultry, vegetables, roast beef, sea food, etc.
Before Thanksgiving, I set out to make the best turkey pot pie (using leftovers) I could. No more expensive restaurant versions and certainly no more frozen pies. I invited a group of people for a turkey and roasted root vegetable dinner and then had my way with what was left. I discovered it was a. simple and b. better than the 10 for $1 ones from Garofalo’s on Crawford Avenue. I served it up with a side of lemoned broccolini and a scoop of my red hot cranberry sauce, as well as a handsome glass of Oregon Chardonnay or maybe a French Côtes du Rhône–a lovely, medium-bodied and inexpensive wine that flatters oven-roasted vegetables, as well as pork or poultry. (And lots else)
Dave and I both liked the pie better than the meal from which it came. Go figure.
Feel free to take this filling and top it with biscuits–even Bisquick biscuits– in a 2 qt greased rectangular glass casserole dish. (I made chicken pot pie often for my kids growing up…usually with biscuit topping.) Or buy the Pillsbury pie dough from the refrigerator section. But do make it. You’ll be glad you did. I promise. *If you’d like to make my crust, use the recipe I made for Kathy’s Apple Pie; that’s a good all-purpose crust.
Alyce’s Turkey Pot Pie
There are three parts to this recipe: 1. Crust 2. Filling 3. Sauce
2 9″ pie crusts* (Plus 1T melted butter -or 1 egg white beaten with a bit of water- brushed on top crust before baking.) Made or bought.
1 Tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery with leaves, diced
4 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon each fresh thyme and tarragon (or 1/2 t each dried)
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage (or 1/4 t dried, powdered sage)
2 cups chopped roasted root vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, potatoes, winter squash, etc)
2 c chopped cooked turkey, white or dark meat
Sauce: (Basically a velouté with added cream or milk)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon each ground sea salt and ground white pepper
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup (8 ounces) chicken stock
1 cup milk, cream or half and half
1. If you have made or bought pie crusts, put one in the pie pan (trim and pinch) and place the other between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate the pan and the wrapped dough while you make the filling and the sauce.
2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat and add onion, celery, and mushrooms. Cook until vegetables are softened, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic during last minute of cooking and stir in herbs.
3. Take out pie pan with bottom crust and spoon onion mixture evenly over the bottom of the dough. Top with chopped vegetables and turkey.
|Spoon onion mixture into pie pan.|
|Top with roasted vegetables and turkey. Pour on sauce.|
|Add the top crust and brush with butter or egg whites. Make slits for steam.|
4. Make sauce (see below) and pour over the turkey and vegetable mixture. The turkey and vegetables should be just about covered. If not, drizzle in just a little more chicken stock, milk, or cream.
5. Take the top crust out of the refrigerator and place on top of the filled pie. Trim edges and pinch together edges of the two crusts.
6. Brush entire top crust with butter or an eggwhite beaten with a bit of water. Make several slits in the top crust (for steam to escape) and bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
7. Place pie on rack and cool 15 minutes or so. Slice and serve hot with broccolini (squeeze lemon on top) and cranberry sauce.
Making the sauce: In a 2qt saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add salt, pepper, and flour. Stir for 2-3 minutes for flour to cook a little bit and slowly whisk in chicken stock and milk or cream. Simmer, stirring often, until just barely thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings. A quick sprinkle of nutmeg is a possible addition, as is a drop or two of hot sauce.
Two-Dog Kitchen or Around the ‘Hood
A few really random pics from our Thanksgiving Trip to Illinois
|Turkey Soup… of course…Yesterday!
Read my recipe for the above soup on examiner.com
|Visiting with sister and niece on way home.|
|Grandpa and Grandma’s Dining Room|
|Turkey ready for its sauna. 4 cups turkey stock with lots of veggies at bottom of roaster makes for great gravy.|
|Dave’s Tomatoes with Smoked Oysters, Capers, and Horseradish|
|Making Turkey stock. Yes, use the giblets and the neck., though our turkey had NO NECK!|
|Pumpkin Bread with Candied Ginger and Pecan Topping|
|Cauliflower Gratinee from SILVER PALATE|
|Making a wine cork wreath in the garage.|
|Needs a bow.|
|Grandpa–a last mow of the yard.|
|Me–making homemade rolls.|
|Leftover pumpkin pie filling–in the microwave for a quick dessert.|
Why my Pie 101 — Apple Pie is called “Kathy’s Apple Pie”
My hairdresser works about a half-a-block from my house. Her name is Kathy. I chose her because… she works about a half-a-block from my house. When we moved here, I cried at leaving Jen, my hairdresser of 13 years in Colorado. So I didn’t even look for anyone special; I just chose the closest “girl” and tried her. I mean, you’ve seen my hair. What could go wrong? And, if it did, how much time would it take to grow a bit? Luckily, everything has worked out fine. My hair’s just right.
When Kathy did it the first time, I sent Jen a pic on my cell phone. “She’s got the color spot-on, but it’s a wee bit short,” said Jen.
|My hair’s been the same for…let’s say for a while. (With Britta last March.)|
Outside Kathy’s shop is a sign that says, “Curl Up and Dye.” Underneath: “For Hair.”
Kathy and I hit it off right away. We’re both “of an age,” though she still has a couple of kids running around sometimes at home. She also has lots of dogs–more than I do. There’s tons of great stuff about her, but I like her because you can just talk about anything when you’re in her chair: houses, food, kids, husbands, church, jobs, horses, dogs, clothes, shopping, shoes, ETC. She’s given me the info on great places to find and do all kinds of things, but mostly helped solidify my forever dedication to the lovely institution of the St. Paul Farmer’s Market where her family has a bagel breakfast sandwich and coffee stall. (Dave and I frequent that hot spot.) Sometimes we talk about whether or not it’s worth it for them to start baking their own bagels. Having watched Dave make bagels (I don’t make them!), I lean toward buying them from the great bagel maker down the street–just like they have been. Why mess with a good thing if you’re still making a tidy profit?
One time, in a whimsical voice, Kathy said, “Ah, gee. In fall, I really miss apple pie. My Mom always made great apple pie.” She was sad. I don’t think Kathy bakes apple pies, but I think she was missing her mom as much as anything. So I figured next time I went to get my hair cut, I’d bring her a pie. I make a lot of pies, though I rarely eat them. In fact, pie makes people so happy that I don’t know why I don’t eat them. (Naturally, I eat the great coconut cream pie in the cafe on the square in Santa Fe… or my own cherry pie from our Colorado cherries. I’m more of a chocolate woman overall.)
Late this morning, I started Kathy’s pie. I had no idea how her mother made pie, but my pie wouldn’t be like Kathy’s mom’s no matter what, so I just baked the pie. Pretty much like I always do, but with a little bit of a twist all around. Lots of butter, great Honeycrisp apples, Penzey’s cinnamon right on top of the unbaked bottom crust. Cream brushed top crust. A recipe I’ll share. You might like it for Thanksgiving. If you make it now and don’t bake it, you can wrap it tightly in foil, freeze it, and bake it frozen (on a foiled sheet pan) early Thanksgiving morning. It’ll take longer to get done, but done ahead is done ahead.
Kathy’s Apple Pie makes 1 9″ pie; serves 6-8
2 9-10″ pie crusts (recipe below)
5-7 medium Honeycrisp apples, cored, peeled, and sliced thinly+
2t fresh lemon juice
3/4 t Chinese cinnamon, divided (some for crust and some for the apples)
1/4 t grated fresh nutmeg
1/8 t salt
2/3 – 3/4 c granulated white sugar plus 2 tsp for bottom crust and top crust (use 2/3 for sweeter
apples and 3/4 for tarter ones like Honeycrisp or Granny Smith)
2T cold butter, diced
1t heavy cream, half and half or milk
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place one pie crust in the 9″ glass pie pan, trim, and crimp (pinch) edges.
3. Use about 1 tsp of the sugar and mix with 1/8 tsp cinnamon. Dust the entire bottom crust with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
4. In a large bowl, mix apples and lemon juice. Add flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, the rest of the cinnamon, the nutmeg and the salt. Toss gently, but well. Carefully pour or spoon apple mixture into the crust.
5. Drop the diced butter evenly over the apple mixture.
6. Place top crust over the pie and trim so that there’s about an inch overhanging the pie.
7. Pinch together the crust and either press edge of crust into the pie plate with the tines of a fork or crimp.
8. Using pastry brush, brush top crust with cream or milk and dust evenly with the last teaspoon of sugar.
9. Make several small slits (evenly spread) through top crust for venting the filling as it cooks. You can make a design; I made a “K” for Kathy and a few “arrows.”
10. Bake 15-20 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, and lower oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake another hour or so until pie is golden brown and juices are bubbling out of the slits. * Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
+Honeycrisp apples, developed at “The U” here in Minnesota, hold their shape well. Because of that, I slice them thinly. They won’t get terribly soft and break down. If you’re using a softer apple, cut them in larger slices. Also, some folks like the skin left on their apples for pie. Do as you like.
*If it’s getting too brown, carefully lay a piece of aluminum foil loosely on top of the pie.
Prep note: I usually prep the apple mixture and put that aside. Then I tackle making the crust. I roll out the bottom crust and place it in the pie pan. In goes the apple mixture and I set the whole thing aside while I take the second crust out of the frig and roll it. I next roll the second crust loosely around the rolling pin (or you can carefully fold it in half and then in half again) and gently lay it on top of the buttered apples. Trim, crimp, and it’s ready for the oven.
|Here’s the pie before baking.|
|I had enough for a coffee cup pie for Dave.|
Double Pie Crust Recipe — Pâte Brisée*
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup salted butter, cut into 1″ pieces
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup iced water (Use a 1 cup measuring cup and pour in 1/2 water; add ice and use quickly.)
*In food processor, place flour, butter and salt. (This may also be done with a pastry cutter or two knives.) Pulsing, cut butter into the flour until there are 1/2″ sizes pieces (and some smaller and some larger) of buttered crumbs.
*With machine running, pour in water slowly. When the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the machine, stop the machine, and turn dough out onto a well-floured board or counter.
*Gently and quickly pat dough into a ball and divide ball evenly in half.
*Wrap one half and refrigerate it. Take the other half and press it into a flat disc. Dust the dough with flour, and, with a floured rolling pin, roll from the center out to the edges moving clockwise around the dough until the dough is about 10″ in diameter. Move the dough every few rolls of the pin so it doesn’t stick. You may need to keep putting a bit of flour sprinkled underneath.
*Remove dough from frig and repeat for top crust.
|All baked up with somewhere to go.|
*The recipe for this dough is from an old CUISINART cookbook–one of those thin, small books that came with my first CUISINART in the early ’80s maybe… This was the first Pâte Brisée I ever used and I’ve been using it ever since. Thanks, Cuisinart!
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the Hood…..
Next Monday, November 21, I direct a pick-up choir at St. Frances Cabrini Church, 1500 Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN, for an Ecumenical Thanksgiving. Want to sing? Show up at 6pm for rehearsal of easy anthem,”Simple Gifts” for worship service that begins at 7pm. Hope to hear you!
|This is up on the blog next–a braised leg of lamb with vegetables. Perfect alternative Thankgiving.|
|The start of a neighborhood birthday/wine-tasting dinner….I did the lamb above. It was potluck.|
|Friend Mac at the table Friday night.|
|Long night, eh, buddy?|
|We have a monthly concert series at Prospect Park–Here’s SHOUT! from Lake Harriet U Methodist|
|Today’s cardinal + flowering geraniums still living in neighbor’s window boxes!|
|Floor’s done and I’ve been painting. The color, appropriate to the season, is “Pumpkin Pie.”|
|Gorgeous trees still golden ’til just a few days ago.|
|Last roses of summer….|
We haven’t had any really cold weather yet and that’s unusual. Several days ago, I finally cut the last of the roses and brought them in for a vase. I rarely cut my flowers, thinking they look best where God placed them. But when it’s going to be 22 degrees F, I cut them all!
|Still blooming the second week of November|
A foil packet salmon done in 20 minutes I wrote for Examiner.com.
Dave said, “This is the best salmon I’ve ever tasted.” I couldn’t believe how tender it was.
Sing a new song,
|Clay Dunn and Zach Patton of The Bitten Word blog (photo-Chris Leaman/CC)|
Here goes… I forgot to photograph making the pate brisee (pie crust made with butter) in the food processor.
|I made my own version of pate brisee in the food processor. Carefully possible. You might want to wait to put the rosemary and cheese on until after you put the first crust in the pan. See pic below as I roll the crust onto the pin.|
|Do buy Gruyere.|
|Grate the cheese in the food processor if you have one. Save your hands.|
|This is one way to move a crust from the counter to the pan–wrapped very loosely around the rolling pin.|
|The edge of this crust is purposely quite thick and will be very crunchy. There’s no way to get it looking perfect. (Though is will taste that way!)|
|Get a kitchen scale. Don’t guess at weights. Scales at groceries are inconsistent. 3 potatoes can weigh 3/4# or 1.5#, depending on their size.|
|I slice most potatoes in the food processor. The mandoline, while perfect for some, is dangerous for me!|
|Warm the cream and garlic in the microwave. Buen idea!!!|
|After removing foil and before second baking. Looking yum already.|
|Ready for its closeup.|
|Once more for grins and giggles.|
And now that you’ve gained a pound just looking, you’re done. Hey, let me know if you make this. It’s not any harder than scalloped potatoes really…and the presentation is just WOW. Here’s the recipe:
Total: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Yield: Makes 10 servings
- 1 (14.1-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts* (I make my own–recipe at end.)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Gruyère cheese, divided (Grate in food processor)
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs
1. Preheat oven to 450°. Unroll piecrusts on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle rosemary, pepper, and 1/2 cup cheese over 1 piecrust; top with remaining piecrust. Roll into a 13-inch circle. Press on bottom and up sides of a 9-inch springform pan; fold edges under. Chill.
2. Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice Yukon gold and sweet potatoes. (Slice in food processor.)
3. Layer one-third each of Yukon gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, and salt in prepared crust. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layers twice, pressing layers down slightly to fit.
4. Microwave cream and garlic in a 1-cup microwave-safe measuring cup at HIGH 45 seconds; pour over potato layers in pan. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Cover pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet.
5. Bake at 450° for 1 hour. (I added 10 minutes here.) Uncover and bake 25 minutes (I added 5 minutes here) or until potatoes are done and crust is richly browned. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully transfer to a serving plate, and remove sides of pan. If desired, carefully slide gratin off bottom of pan using a long knife or narrow spatula. Garnish, if desired. Note: At altitude, I still though this could have used an extra 10-15 minutes.
Alyce’s Double Pate Brisee Crust Made in the Food Processor
2 2/3 c unbleached white flour
1/4 t kosher salt
12 T salted butter, quite cold, cut into chunks
1/2 c ice water (you might need a tad more if flour very dry)
In the bowl of your food processor, blend flour and salt. Add butter and pulse until some pieces are pea-sized, some are smaller and some are bigger. With machine running, pour water through food tube and process until dough comes together. Stop machine and remove dough. Carefully pat together into a ball and divide in half. Sprinkle counter with some flour* and place one half of the dough on it. Sprinkle dough and rolling pin liberally with flour. Quickly (trying to keep it cold here), roll out into 12-13″ circle. Roll the dough loosely around the pin and place crust in pan. Sprinkle crust with the cheese and rosemary. Refrigerate pan. Roll out other crust, roll it around the pin, and place on top of refrigerated crust. Press top crust into bottom briefly and turn edges under, trimming crusts if needed. Pinch edges of crust together quickly; don’t spend long on this. Continue as above.
* You can also roll dough between two pieces of waxed paper (some of the crust will escape!) and leave out the floured counter entirely:
First–dampen the counter by wiping it well with a very damp cloth. This insures the waxed paper will stay put and not slip around.
-Place half of the dough between two sheets of waxed paper, place “package” on damp counter and, with rolling pin, roll out (start at center, roll to edge, and repeat- Go around the crust clock-wise) until crust is 12-13″…
– Flip the crust over, quickly give one roll with the pin on that other side, take off that paper, flip again and, as you gently ease the crust into the pan, peel off the second piece of paper.
– Throw that paper away, get new paper and repeat procedure.
Reading, Listening, Viewing, Whatever else and Cooking Currently:
I’m so late. I just finished THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein for book club. I love the idea of a dog talking, but wish he’d re-write this in 20 years. The club, over all, liked the book and, I think, all of them read it!
I am reading -all at once!- DEVIL’S TRILL by Gerald Elias (2009), THE APPRENTICE by Jacques Pepin (biography) and MATHILDA SAVITCH by Victor Lodato. I continue to read Dorie Greenspan‘s newest book, AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE, as well as Melissa Clark’s In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite. Want cookbooks? Buy these gems.
I am listening to Hildegard von Bingen…a Christmas gift.
We saw “The King’s Speech” last weekend and were bowled over. Stunning film. Go.
This week, I made a point to find out when “Glee” was on and watched an episode. Interesting, but I couldn’t figure out what all the hoopla was about. Maybe because I’m a choir director.
I am playing things I haven’t played in months. Did Advent intervene here? Maybe. But I spent an hour playing and singing last night before I read DEVIL’S TRILL. Singing your heart out is good for you. Remember singing around a camp fire? Or on a road trip?
I am not dreaming this week (I’m not a big dreamer), but I did wake up over and over one night thinking about a new job I’ve applied for. As I glanced out the windows in the dark, I saw (and I’m near-sighted) a white bird–a big one–fly into a tree in the wildwood between our house and Mike and Sara’s. I laid there a minute or two, wondering if I’d imagined it and finally got up to put my glasses on and peer out into the gloom of early morning. No bird then, but there was a falling star!! I haven’t seen one since Emily and I beat it up the road of the campground in Brown County, Indiana to hit the outhouse in the middle of one long night.
I talked to Tina from Prive (lovely, lovely Oregon winery) today about our upcoming shipment. While they did make wine, they made a lot less. Oregon weather just didn’t cooperate for a large yield. A cool fall meant delaying and delaying picking, though they had pruned hugely in September and knew they might not get much, but they’d get tasty. And so it happened. She’s concerned that the wine being shipped now (last year’s) will travel through places with temperatures under freezing, thus not just compromising, but ruining the wine–blowing the corks for the cardboard to drink the fine Pinot. Tina and her husband Mark have a capital T Teensy vineyard in Oregon Pinot country, where they make boutique Pinot Noir (there’s another name, I’m thinking) from their own on-site grapes and also a couple of other wines from grapes they borrow and whip into shape from Washington (a Syrah and a red blend). Between the pristine, reminiscent of France winery and their house is a comfortable patio replete with tables, chairs, plants, flowers and, the piece de resistance, an outdoor pizza oven. Now I envy Mark his vineyard and Tina her winery, but what I really covet is the pizza oven. Wineries like Prive sell pretty much on futures only; you must buy ahead (barrel tasting that vintage sometimes) or you get no wine. These wines don’t appear in stores or restaurants often, though you might have a better chance in Oregon itself. So our wine, waiting for shipment in her cellar, is well worth the wait for good shipping weather. It’ll keep just fine right there. Our Sunday weather promises a snow storm and -12.
Our friends (and students) Jacque, Tom, Joel and Miss Ellie moved this last week. Current cooking includes a big pot of bean soup (I do this a couple of times a winter and make 20 qts or so), a slab of corn bread and hazelnut brownies (with Valhrona chocolate frosting) I’ll take to them tonight for dinner. A big, fat bottle of Cotes du Rhone goes with it, along with some sparkling apple cider for the kiddoes.
For dinner, I’m trying a halibut with pico de gallo in the oven in foil. Yes, I actually do have to stop eating things like Potato Gratin with Rosemary Crust. Let you know how it comes out.
Was this a self-indulgent blog? Surely was, but it’s been a while since I did one. Thanks for putting up with and reading as you
Sing a new song,
Option a (below) for moving pastry from board/counter to the baking sheet.
Option b (below) for moving pastry from board/counter to baking sheet:
|Here is the apple at left and the pear at right.|
|My own winner was the pear with lemon and almond.|
Here are a few updates. Skippy Jon Jones, share cat, has been here about two months and just returned “home.” Seems a bit quiet without him around.