Monday, October 29, 2018

Fruit Pie Glue

347.  Fruit Pie Glue
Did you ever think you would see the words "Glue" and "Pie" in the same title?  Well, this is a great secret of professional bakers they keep under wraps.
While visiting a friend this past summer I learned of this great secret to keep your fruit pie from that runny disaster when the corn starch doesn't seem to thicken just so.  Or when you slice the pie too soon before it cools completely.  This "Glue" creates a perfect thickness so you can go ahead and slice a semi-warm pie and not worry about the filling spilling out into the pie plate.  You will be so surprised.

 Note the texture to achieve for the perfect "glue".  This may be mixed with fresh or frozen fruit.
 It will be perfect every time.
 Make sure to always vent your pies with large slits in a two crust pie or use a lattice top as pictured.
(Photo courtesy Chris R.)
"Baking may be regarded as a science, but it's the chemistry between the ingredients and the cook that gives desserts life.  Baking is done out of love, to share with family and friends, to see them smile."  -  Anna Olson

Monday, April 9, 2018

Biscuits

346.  My search continues for the absolutely perfect biscuit recipe.  I've tried quite a few and have taken every suggestion and method seriously, i.e. ice cold butter, ice cold milk, buttermilk, cold seltzer, no baking powder, vinegar, crisco, sifted flour, mixer, food processor or hand mixed, rolling pin, no rolling pin, and the list trails on .  
In my search there have been a few recipes that have been notable.  Here is a recipe that has come through every time and is 5 star in my book.
To save recipe select, drag and drop onto your desktop.  Print as a photo.



“In the Virginia of the olden time no breakfast or tea-table was thought to be properly furnished without a plate of these indispensable biscuits.....Let one spend the night at some gentleman-farmer's home, and the first sound heard in the morning, after the crowing of the cock, was the heavy, regular fall of the cook's axe, as she beat and beat her biscuit dough.....Nowadays beaten biscuits are a rarity, found here and there, but soda and modern institutions have caused them to be sadly out of vogue.”
~ Virginia Cookery Book  (1885)


Sunday, April 8, 2018

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto & Sausage

345. I've heard so many people say, "Spaghetti squash is too scary!  
I don't know what to do with it."
This recipe will show you how very "doable" spaghetti squash really is and not to mention, so delicious and satisfying!
First, prep the spaghetti squash:
Cut the squash in half and scrape out the seeds.  Prepare a baking sheet with sides by lining with parchment paper or a large baking dish greased.  Turn the cut squash halves open side down.  Place in a 300 degree oven and bake till the squash is tender when pressed, approximately 1 hour depending on the size of the squash. Leave in the oven till tender when pressed. 
 Remove from oven and turn over to cool slightly.
While the squash is baking prepare the sausage & pesto sauce. 
 Prepare pesto recipe HERE
Crumble a pound of Italian Sausage into a pan and brown.  Drain off any fat in the pan.  Add a large chopped onion and salt and pepper.  Add quartered cherry tomatoes and heat.
Then scrape the squash away from the sides of the skin with a fork.  The squash will come away and resemble spaghetti-like strings.  Place in the pan over the cooked sausage mix.  Add several scoops of pesto and mix all together gently.  
Reheat then plate and top with parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
The squash will be hearty, succulent and so satisfying.
To save recipe select, drag and drop onto your desktop.  Print as a photo.


"Let my words, like vegetables, be tender and sweet, for tomorrow I may have to eat them."
~ Author Unknown

Friday, March 9, 2018

Green Tomato Salsa

344. Garden Diaries..."The end of the growing season on Long Island has come to an end.  So, my tomato plants will not be giving me any more tomatoes or ripen the tomatoes on the vine.  My father would take his green tomatoes at the end of the season and place them in a brown shopping bag and put them under the sink in the kitchen.  This would cause them to ripen from the warmth of the house and the lack of light in the bag.  I tried this method many times but this year I wanted to use the tomatoes right away.  My solution, make salsa...green tomatoes and all."
Here is my process...Green tomatoes and all!
I chopped the whole tomatoes into cubes then placed all in a saucepan and followed my pico de gallo salsa recipe Here.
I brought the mixture to a boil then immediately placed in sterile canning jars and sealed them.
How great to pull these jars out in the middle of the winter!
If I need a quick salsa but don't have all the ingredients, I will open one of these canned jars, pour into a serving bowl, add 5 chopped tomatoes, 3 chopped green scallions and chopped cilantro adding salt and pepper to taste.  Perfection!

"Canned tomatoes are like summer saved....all that deep sun kissed flavor ready to be enjoyed."
~Better Homes and Garden

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Cherry Cheese Danish

343.  Sunday afternoon calls for fresh ground coffee and cheesy, fruity sweet danish.  
All you need is Puff Pastry sheets, cream cheese and some type of fruit jam, any fruit flavor.
Place one sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut into 9 equal squares.  Cut each square as pictured above.  Brush with egg white/water wash.  Mix 4 oz. cream cheese with 1/4 cup powder sugar and 2 tsp of agave.  Dollop cream cheese into the center of each square.  If using fruit jam, dollop on top of cream cheese.
To create the crossover effect watch this video:
The cross over happens by lifting the clean cut corner up and over the filling to the opposite side. Gently press to seal the dough.  Repeat with the other side.
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle sugar crystals over the dough.
Bake at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes.
 Cool the danish.  Make a drizzle of 1 cup powdered sugar and a drop of vanilla extract and a few tablespoons of milk, a bit at a time, till a thick drippy consistency results.  Drizzle over the danish.  Let drizzle set then move to a serving platter.  The danish will be crispy on the bottom and sides and soft and cheesy/fruity in the center with an additional crunch from the sugar crystals.

This is perfect for a Sunday afternoon treat.  You know you need this!!

"It often runs in families, " she remarked: "just as a love for pastry does."
~ Lewis Carroll

Monday, January 8, 2018

Chocolate Cake


342.  Chocolate Cake!!!  Just the sound of those two words together can make your taste buds smile.  But I'm not talking just any cake...I'm talking moist, soft, chocolatey, rich.  So good that you take your fork and gather up every little crumb left on the plate.  Chocolatey Ganache settles on top like a crown.  And the secret is, "It's Vegan".  I didn't believe it either...till I made it.  Richa Hingle from Veganricha.com shares this jewel and her description sold me on the recipe.  Once I made it, I will always come back time and again to this easy but delectable cake.
The first time I made the cake I used almond butter in the ganache.  The second time, peanut butter and raspberry jam in the center.  Both cakes were lip smacking but I preferred the peanut butter in the ganache.
Here is the recipe for Vegan Chocolate Cake with chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache.  And what is great about this blog is that the recipes are in a great print format with nutrition facts.

I think you should bake a Chocolate Cake tonight!  You need it!


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Apple Raspberry Mini Pies

341.  Fall has arrived and the harvest of summer fruits is winding down.  And, a pie is always a good idea!   So tonight, it is Mini Apple Raspberry Pies...a little taste of summer and a little taste of fall.  

Apple Raspberry Mini Pies

3 Apples peeled, cored and cut in chunks
1 cup of fresh red raspberries (never rinse)
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon corn starch
1 tsp of apple pie spices or cinnamon
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 Tblsp butter
1 recipe of pie dough

Prepare the apples and mix with the sugar, corn starch, spices and lemon juice.  Mix together and set aside.  Roll out the pie dough till 1/4" thick and cut out circles or squares large enough to fit into  each space in a muffin pan and trim to fit.  Fill each dough cup with the apples and juices from the bottom of the mixture.  Top each apple pile with 5 or so raspberries. 
Roll remaining dough out 1/4" thick and cut round, square or cookie cutter shapes for each mini pie top.  Dot the apples with butter and place the cut shape on top of the apples.  No need to seal.  Brush with milk or heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees till the liquid is bubbling, about 20 -25 minutes.  Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

I topped off the pie with an autumn leaf cut out from my pie dough.
 Go out and enjoy the fall by picking apples or pumpkins.  Try baking something for your family and enjoy the simple pleasures of homemade goodies.

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope."
~ Winston Churchill


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