Sweet Apple Pie

apple+pie+Sur+la+TableI’ve made a number of apple pies in my day. Some have turned out well, others, well, best left unsaid. Mostly I have trouble with the juices thickening up. The pie tastes fine, but it’s shall we say a bit runny. If you like your apple pie with ice cream, that works pretty well, since the juices bathe the ice cream and it’s all a wonderful marriage.

But sometimes, you like a nice firm pie, but still one where the apples are nicely done, yet not mushy.

It’s hard to get all that together.

This recipe worked pretty well, and was unique. I like unique.

So give it a go and see what you think. Whether it meets your needs or not, it will still taste fabulously. This is one from Moshasmama at All Recipes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 recipe for a double crust pie pastry. ( You can use your own, or buy it ready-made if you must!)
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 8 medium-sized apples (granny smith work best for pies I find, but a good hard apple will suffice and here in the Southwest, we seem to have a half-dozen or so which are very firm and sweet.) Peel, core and slice.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add flour, and stir into a roux, cooking for a couple of minutes while stirring.
  3. Add the water and sugars, bring to boil and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Meanwhile, get your apples ready.
  5. Place the bottom crust in the pan.
  6. Fill with apples, there should be enough to mound nicely.
  7. Roll out the top crust and cut into strips to make the lattice.
  8. Pour the syrup over the apples evenly.
  9. Cover with the lattice strips.
  10. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
  11. Reduce temperature to 350° and bake an additional 35-45 minutes or until apples are pierced easily with a sharp knife blade.
Advertisements

Why They Call Them That Fresno Potatoes?

Fresno PotatoesOkay, this dish is called Fresno Potatoes. I got it from a site called, Alaska From Scratch.

She doesn’t seem to know why the name, and I checked a few other sites, who did not credit her with the dish, but just posted it, without any explanation either.

So I’m callin’ it “Potato Casserole I Discovered”. No reason t credit Fresno is there?

Anyway, it’s a great little potato casserole that’s easy and full of flavors and I think works with so many meats that it’s what I can call versatile.

Boiling the potatoes ahead of time until 3/4 done, really helps make sure they are done when you pull them out of the oven. Other “scalloped” type dishes often run the risk of not getting done on time. This one is pretty much fool-proof.

Apparently a lot like it for Easter. So do try.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (or a red would be fine I think too)
  • 6 slices of bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces and fried crisp.
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 c milk
  • 1  1/2 c sour cream
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  •  1/4 c Panko crumbs or homemade bread crumbs, toasted
  • 5 tbsp butter, melted

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Boil sliced potatoes in salted water until just tender, but still not quite done.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.
  3. In a greased 9 x 13 baking dish, layer half the potatoes slices, top with half the bacon and onions.
  4. Whisk together the milk and sour cream and flour. Season the first layer with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour half the liquid mixture over the layer, and sprinkle with half the cheese.
  6. Repeat the layer.
  7. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top and drizzle the butter over all.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top.

SERVES: 6-8

NOTES: Vary the cheese as you wish. If you want a bit of heat, mince up a jalapeño and sprinkle that on each layer.

 

Lemony Poppy Seed Muffins

lemonI do love my sweet things in the morning.

These muffins are delightful, good for breakfast or with tea in the mid-afternoon.

They are wonderfully lemony, and the poppy seeds add a delightful little crunch.

They are quick to whip up, and they freeze perfectly so you can always have some on hand when the lemon demon hits and you just have to have something sweet and tart.

Recipe borrowed from Rumbly in My Tumbly.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 c sugar
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • juice of 2 lemons (around a 1/3 of a cup)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave
  3. Add the sugar to a large bowl. Add the melted butter and stir.
  4. Add the eggs, and stir until well incorporated.
  5. Add the lemon juice, sour cream, vanilla and zest. Mix well.
  6. Put the dry ingredients into a second bowl, and whisk to blend.
  7. Add the dry to the wet, and mix only as needed to mix. Overmixing will make the muffins tough.
  8. Scoop with a ice cream scoop into muffin papers inserted in a muffin tin. Fill around 3/4 full.
  9. Bake for 12-18 minutes or until lightly done.

Serves: 12

NOTES: you can make a glaze for these using a cup of powdered sugar and about 2 tbsp of lemon juice. You can also substitute the poppy seeds for just about any seed such as sunflower or roasted pumpkin seeds. Of course you could also use nuts. If you choose to use the glaze, let the muffins cool before applying.

 

Baudy Banana Pudding

banana_puddingThis is pure comfort food. My husband adores this stuff.

Bananas have this habit of not being ripe, and then the hold hand is ripe at once, leading to the inevitable too many too ripe bananas.

Well, this is what banana bread and banana pudding were developed for. To take up the slack.

Add a few slices of banana on top and a couple of vanilla wafers, and it’s really a daydream back to being a kid again.

I grew up with Jello pudding, but I don’t think they made banana back then, so banana pudding was definitely a home-made thing.

And today? Well, this is ever so much richer and banana tasting that that stuff in the box. And it takes very little time.

So give yourself and your family a treat and make some this week. The kids will adore you, your husband will smile, and things always go well from there on out.

Recipe from My Recipes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt.
  • 2 1/4 c milk
  • 4 lg eggs, separated
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/3 c vanilla wafers
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 3 tbsp sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt together, in a medium saucepan.
  3. Add the milk and the egg yolks. Whisk together.
  4. Cook over medium heat, whisking often for 6-8 minutes, or until it thickens up.
  5. Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla.
  6. Place a layer of vanilla wafers in the bottom of a 8 x 8 baking dish. Top with half the banana slices.
  7. Layer half the pudding on top.
  8. Repeat another layer.
  9. Beat egg whites until foamy, then add the 3 tbsp of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  10. Spread the meringue over the pan, sealing at the edges.
  11. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until top starts to turn a golden light brown.
  12. Serve warm or chilled.

Serves: 4-6

NOTES: You can of course omit the meringue and serve as is. You can skip the layering and just scoop a few tablespoons of the vanilla pudding into a globular glass and then strewn the surface with sliced bananas and stick a couple of the wafers into it as well. This is certainly more decorative.

Pizza Calzones Pies

pizzacalzoneWant some pizza? Want it in an easy pocket of pie crust heaven?

On the go?

On game day?

Works hot or at room temperature?

Then let meet my Pizza Calzone Pies.

It’s a delight to the taste buds, at least ours, and fun once in a while to not spend quite the effort to make the more difficult yeast dough that pizza uses.

And as I said, they are good to go. Great or a picnic or to set out on the buffet table. You can make them in whatever size you wish. But the smaller ones, smaller than the one pictured are the most fun. They become finger food eaten with a couple of other grazing favorites, making sporting events even more fun.

So give them a whirl. Kids of course adore them.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 recipe of pizza dough.
  • A few tablespoons of pesto.
  • 1 c or so of a basic pizza sauce.
  • 12 pepperoni slices
  • Four thinly cut slices of onion
  • 1/2 c of minced green pepper
  • 1/2 c thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 4 oz of shredded mozzarella

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Make the pizza dough according to the directions (you can buy it of course, but I don’t advise it). Instead of forming two balls, form 4. Roll out in rounds. NOTE: this is a sticky dough, so lots of flour to the board and pin when you roll these. They may have to rest a bit and then rolled again to get them to let go.
  2. On the top half of the round, paint with pesto.
  3. On the bottom half, paint with pizza sauce.
  4. Arrange 1/4 of the pepperoni, onion, pepper, and mushrooms on each.
  5. Sprinkle with an ounce of the cheese.
  6. Wet the lower half edge with water, and then fold over and seal. You can use a fork to press down along the edges to seal it well.
  7. Bake in a 350°  pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

SERVES: 4

NOTES: Of course you can alter the ingredients in your pie. Whatever you like on your pizza!

Perfect Pesto

PestoThis is one of the most elegant and useful tools of the Italian kitchen.

Yet, I know Italians who are one generation from the old country that have never heard of the stuff. Apparently it’s a northern innovation from the area of Genoa, and southern Italians are unfamiliar with it.

It’s wonderfully easy to make, with a food processor. And it makes growing basil a pure delight, for this stuff freezes perfectly. Some put it in ice-cube trays, others, like myself, just scoop a tablespoon onto a piece of Saran wrap, and place a bunch of these in a plastic bag and toss in the freezer for when I want to some.

So make this a definite part of your repertoire and a great dinner is just the boiling of some pasta away. You will find lots of uses for it. I promise.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bunch of basil (about 2 cups of leaves)
  • 2 lg cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts. You can substitute lots of seeds like sunflower and pumpkin which are cheaper if you wish.
  • olive oil ( 1/4 c or more, until you get the right consistency–not a full puree, but nicely minced, fairly tight.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place the basil leaves in a food processor.
  2. Add the garlic and pine nuts.
  3. Turn on the machine and whirr while drizzling the olive oil down the feed tube until as I said, it’s wet but not runny.

Serves: makes about 1 cup

NOTES: This is great as a spread on an antipasta sandwich for instance. Or just take a couple of tablespoons and mix with freshly cooked hot pasta. Great as a substitute for sauce on pizza for a change of pace.

Country Potato Soup

double-baked-potato-soupI guess the winter is winding down, but there is still time for great soup. What am I saying? There is always time for great soup!

This is a filling and very satisfying one, filled with good stuff, and flavorful.

It’s inspired by Pioneer Woman’s Potato Soup. I have adapted it to my own tastes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 slices thick bacon, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 6 cups of diced potatoes, diced. Avoid baking potatoes. I don’t peel, but you certainly can.
  • 1 qt of chicken stock (unsalted preferred)
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp creole seasoning (commercial or homemade)
  • 1 tbsp freshly minced parsley
  • 1 c grated cheese (Edam was my choice)
  • 3 scallions, finely minced

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook up the bacon until crisp in a large heavy-duty soup pot. Remove when done, and pour off all but a couple of tablespoons of bacon fat.
  2. Saute the onions, carrots and celery until softened in the fat.
  3. Add the flour, and stir for a couple of minutes until the flour has cooked.
  4. Add the potatoes and chicken stock.
  5. Stir, and add the creole spices, salt and pepper.
  6. Bring to boil and simmer until potatoes are fork tender.
  7. Remove one-third  of contents to a food processor or blender and puree.
  8. Add back to the soup pot.
  9. Add the cheese and parsley, stir until melted.
  10. Garnish with scallions.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: You can puree all of the soup if you wish. You can lighten it up by replacing half of the cream with milk. Garnish with more parsley and more grated cheese. Your cheese choice is whatever you like. Try it different ways and make it versatile!