Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Old Fashioned Peach Pie

I love making a lattice crust for my fruit pies. I think it looks so pretty, and decidedly homemade. For the added "pie appeal", lattice is easy to make. Here are Elise's, from Simply Recipes, lovely step-by-step photographic instructions.

One thing that irks me about pie recipe instructions, is the fact that they almost always include something akin to, "if the edges of the pie start getting too dark, cover them with strips of aluminum foil. Surprise, the edges always get too dark.  And have you ever tried covering the edges of a round pie with strips of rectangular foil while the pie is steaming hot? All the while, letting the oven heat escape. 

Go ahead and loosely cover the edges of the pie with strips of foil before putting it into the oven. It is so much easier to remove them toward the end of baking time.

Many peach pie recipes call for "warm" spices, such as cinnamon. I love cinnamon, but it makes me think of fall.  I want my peach pie to taste like peaches and summer. And what a glorious peach season we have had this year.

Old Fashion Peach Pie
(My Mother's Recipe)
Your favorite recipe for a 9-inch double crust pie
1 egg, beaten
5 cups peeled and sliced peaches - about 7 to 8 peaches
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie dish with one of the pie crusts. Brush with some of the beaten egg.

Place the sliced peaches in a large bowl and stir in the fresh lemon juice. Add the sugar and flour. Mix together very well, yet gently.  Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. 

Place peaches into the prepared crust and dot with butter. Top with lattice crust. Brush with some of the beaten egg yolk.  Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, until browned and the juices are bubbling through the spaces of the lattice.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Special Grilled Cheese & Tomato Sandwich

Lately, I have been blessed with so much fresh, homegrown produce. Our neighbor has gifted us with the most beautiful and delicious tomatoes I have ever seen or eaten.  One of my co-workers brings in vegetables from her garden to share. And another co-worker brings baskets of fruits and vegetables from the Farmers' Market.  (Today I will be making a peach pie from some of that gifted fruit). 

The main benefit, of course, to my working fulltime is the extra income. I can now, once again, do a little splurging at the grocery store.  My first joyful splurge was in the cheese department. I love cheese! For too long, I had been mostly limiting myself to the store brand cheeses and Parmesan in the green can. How delighted I was to purchase a wedge of Parmesano Reggiano and also the Tillamook cheddar cheese, which I used to make this sandwich. That really is a delicious cheese.

I have mentioned two things that made this sandwich special--the homegrown tomato and the Tillamook cheese. The third thing was the hearty oat bread I purchased at a local bakery. Lovely.  And lastly, the fact that I smeared the outside of the bread with Ghee (another of my splurges) before grilling.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwich
2 slices of sturdy bread
A few slices of Tillamook cheddar cheese
Slices of fresh tomato
Salt and pepper
Ghee or butter

Slice the tomato and place the slices on paper towels for about 30 minutes to absorb the excess liquid. Salt and pepper the slices to taste. Place layers of cheese on a slice of the bread. Top with tomato slices, then more cheddar. Top with the other slice of bread. Spread some ghee on the outside of the bread, then place ghee side down in an iron skillet with has been preheated. Before turning the sandwich, spread the other slice of bread with ghee or butter.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Baba Ganouj

Baba Ganouj is a Middle Eastern dip or spread made from roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil.  It may not be the loveliest of dishes, but it sure is packed with flavor.  I dare you to take a bite without moaning. 

Eggplant is in season which translates into fresh, abundant, and affordable. I've already made several eggplant based meals and will be posting about them when I get the opportunity.  Eggplant is a very good source of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, copper and thiamin (vitamin B1). It is also a good source of vitamin B6, folate, magnesium and niacin. For an in-depth nutritional profile click here: Eggplant.

This is another recipe from one of my old hippie cookbooks, Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. Mollie says the recipe makes enough to fill six people who are dipping vegetables and bread into it, and calling it Dinner. I roasted the eggplant one evening and finished the recipe the next day.

Baba Ganouj
(Moosewood Cookbook)
2 medium eggplants
Juice from one good-sized lemon
1/2 cup tahini
3 medium cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup finely minced scallions
lost of fresh black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the stem end of the eggplants, and prick them all over with a fork. Place them on an oven rack directly, and let them roast slowly until completely pooped (about 45 minutes). When they are sagging, wrinkled, crumpled and totally soft, you'll know they're ready.  Remove them gingerly from the oven, and wait until cool enough to handle. Scoop the insides out and mash well.  Combine with all other ingredients, except olive oil.  Chill the Gajouj completely, and drizzle the oil over the top just before serving.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bread and Butter Pickles (with a Kick!)

My new co-worker, Joy, must have a fabulous garden. She has been bringing in freshly picked vegetables to share.  I have already enjoyed some beautiful and delicious green beans and squash.  Last week she brought a big basket of cucumbers. I took some of those and they were delicious. A couple days later, she brought in more cucumbers, and the first ones weren't even all taken.  By the end of the week, she asked if I would like to take all that was left. Of course I did. I never want to see food wasted, and especially garden fresh vegetables. 

Once home with all those cucumbers, I knew there was only one thing to do . . . make pickles.  I made quick pickles, Bread and Butter pickles, the recipe from Mother Earth News.  I adapted it slightly, cutting back on the sugar and adding some red pepper flakes. 

The recipe calls for covering the cucumbers in ice and refrigerating for 4 hours.  Because I was juggling all sorts of things needing attention over the weekend, mine stayed in the fridge overnight. No problem, they were perfectly crisp the next morning. 

There is no processing here;  no heating up the kitchen.  This is a refrigerator pickle.  The recipe given is for 6 pints of pickles. Because refrigerator space is precious real estate in my kitchen, I chose to use quart jars instead. 

I'm a little crazy about these pickles!

Bread and Butter Pickles (with a Kick)
adapted from Mother Earth News
5 pounds 5 - 6 inch pickling cucumbers
6 cups thinly sliced Vidalia onion
1/2 cup salt
4 cups white vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. celery seed
1 Tbsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. (or more) red pepper flakes, optional

Wash the cucumbers well. Cut off 1/4 inch from the blossom end and discard. Slice cucumbers into 1/4 inch slices.  In a large bowl, combine sliced cucumber, onions, and salt  Toss gently and cover with a 2 inch layer of ice. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, up to overnight, adding more ice as needed.

In a large stockpot, combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, and continue boiling for 5 minutes.  Drain the cucumber onion mixture, then add to the hot vinegar.  Bring to a boil, then turn off heat. 

Fill clean jars with the cucumbers and onions, leaving 1/2 inch space at top of jar.  Carefully, pour hot vinegar mixture over cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch space at top of jar.  Run a knife along the sides of the jars to remove any air bubbles. Wipe down the jar rim wipe a wet cloth and add lids. 

The recipe recommends letting the flavors develop for 7 days before eating. We were tearing into them right away!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday Brunch: Eggs in a Cloud

You know those cookbooks put together by churches, charitable organizations, and auxiliaries as fund-raisers? I have amassed quite a few of them over the years and I have found some delicious recipes in their pages. It seems the contributors submit their best, tried and true and most popular recipes.

Last weekend, when Baby was here, she pulled one of these cookbooks off the shelf. Later, when I picked it up, I thumbed through it before placing it back on the bookshelf. This recipe jumped out at me.

The book has to be at least 40 years old and is from a church in Alabama.  The contributor of the recipe, Mrs. Arnice Ingram, calls these eggs, Breakfast Appetizer. I don't know why, because it becomes obvious that this is a part of the regular breakfast plate. 

I am giving the recipe exactly as it appears in the book.  Of course these could be made more elegant and lovely by piping the egg whites, and I thought about it. But Mrs. Ingram said  "spoon"  them in the pan, so I went with that.

1 or 2 eggs for each plate; separate yolks without breaking. Whip whites until stiff. Use smooth pan or iron skillet. Grease well with bacon grease. Spoon egg whites in pan in pancake order, making nest in top of each. Spoon a yolk into each nest. Have oven hot; do not put in oven until plates are ready with other breakfast food. Salt and pepper to suit taste; set in oven and cook done or soft, as desired. Serve hot only.

 I am sharing this with my friend, Melynda at Mom's Sunday Cafe for Coookbook Sunday

Friday, August 5, 2011

Aubergine with Crushed Mustard Seeds and Yoghurt

Curry-Palooza #5

Margie chose the recipe for this month's Curry-Palooza project and you can see the recipe here.  The recipe is another from Madjur Jaffrey, found at  My Kitchen Table.

This was actually the second time I made the recipe. First time, I had a couple of problems. One involved removing the cover, turning up the heat, and cooking off most of the liquid. By the time that happened, the eggplant was practically mush. The next problem involved the yogurt step. When I opened the top of the Greek yogurt, I was hit by the fragrance of strawberries!  Buying strawberry yogurt rather than plain was not the only grocery shopping mistake I made that weekend.  (New job on my mind). I wound up adding some half and half for the creamy aspect. 

I think I did better the second time, although it is still not a pretty dish.  I left it saucier because I was serving it over Basmati rice, plus I didn't want the eggplant to break down so much like it did the first time. 

This recipe is very different from any curry I have ever eaten.  My understanding is that it is an East Indian recipe using a common Bengali spice mixture, panchphoran, which consists of equal parts fennel seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and nigella seeds.  I ordered the spice mixture because the only ingredient I could buy locally was the mustard seed. 

We loved the complex yet mild flavor of this dish.  I especially enjoyed the pleasant crunch on my teeth from the seeds.

Curry-Palooza is a monthly event which explores Indian curries. We are having a lot of fun with this event and take turns choosing recipes. which can be from any source--magazine, cookbook, blog, or other. We would love to have you cook along with us. Canille will be choosing the next recipe and you could be the next--just let us know and you're in!

Curry-Palooza Club
Me, Sage Trifle
Grapefruit, Needful Things
Margie, More Please
Camille, Croque-Camille