I’m Brandie Kajino and this is my kitchen

This post is part of my “I’m __ and this is my kitchen” series of posts, in which fabulous home cooks dish a little about their cooking lives and their kitchens.  The goal is to get inspiration, ideas and insights from other regular people about shopping, planning, cooking and kitchen organization.  See more here.

I shouldn’t have to introduce this person because, in my opinion, everybody should already know the name Brandie Kajino, but just in case you haven’t had the good fortune to be familiar with my fellow Evernote Ambassador’s blog Spoon and Saucer, let me fill you in!  Brandie is a food blogger, a professional organizer, a wife and mom, and the Evernote Ambassador for Organization.  She is also witty, hilarious, and waging a war in favor of eating real food, which is something we can all get behind.  You can find her at spoonandsaucer.com.

Name: Brandie
Age: 40

Location: Vancouver, WA (across the river from Portlandia… yes that one)

Occupation/Pasttimes?: 
I love to knit, read, shop for antiques, and nap on Sundays

Do you follow a specific diet or food philosophy?
I am gluten-free, and so are most in my house. I’m mostly plant-based during the day, with dinner and eating out is less strict. Basically, I try to make great choices 80% of the time, so I can eat ice cream on the weekends. :)

How do you plan for meals?
I use Evernote, and I plan them by the week. Sometimes I even pitch that out the window and make breakfast for dinner. I have a secondary freezer that I use like a pantry, with meats, frozen produce and nuts. Honestly though? I like to improvise quite a bit.

How many people do you cook for?
3 (including me)

Does your family cook with you?  If so, who does what?
Not really. My husband does sometimes, but my 12 year old son isn’t that into it (yet). I’m the main cook, which is totally fine by me. It’s my zen place (with the exception being the very occasional cooking disasters).

How often and where do you get your food?
I shop 1-2x per week. I shop at three places mainly: Costco (LOVE it), and the local places Chuck’s Produce and New Seasons Market. Once in a while I go to WinCo.

Describe your kitchen.  What’s your favorite thing about it?
My kitchen is pretty cottage-y. The cupboards are painted white, and we have mostly stainless steel appliances, outside my pathetic stove (which hopefully will be replaced this year!) Our countertops are old. Really.really.old. I have two windows, which make it quite bright in the daytime, making artificial lighting pretty unnecessary most days.

How do you organize your kitchen?
This is always a work in progress. I keep the things I use the most close, and the extra pantry supplies around the corner in my small non-perishable pantry. I clean it out about every year (and it’s really overdue right now!)
I don’t over-organize and drive myself (and others) crazy. I keep things handy as much as possible.

If you could change one thing about your kitchen, what would it be?
A new stove! My oven light doesn’t even work. *le sigh*

What ingredients do you always have on hand?
I have a fair amount of beans, oats, whole grains, pasta, garbanzo beans, and canned tuna. I’m also always ready to bake with assorted gluten-free flours, butter and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
I also keep a fair amount of eggs in the house, Japanese sauces, mayo, pickles, anchioves and nuts.
I also have a variety of nut oils, and assorted salts.

What ingredient is in your pantry that you’re not sure how long has been there?
Japanese noodles. We have some pushed to the back that seem a little suspicious.

Favorite dish to make?
Granola and spaghetti carbonara. Was I supposed to pick one?

If you could instantly master any dish on earth, what would it be?
A tart. For some reason it intimidates me!

What’s your biggest struggle in the kitchen?
Soup. Dear lord I need to be better. I’m getting there, but improvising in this way is pretty sucky.

Favorite tips?
Use the freezer as a pantry.
There can never be too much bacon.
The slow cooker is your friend, and is a real food dream tool.

Name 3 absolutely necessary pieces of kitchen equipment
My chef knife, cutting board, and the food processor.

Do you listen to music while you cook and if so, what’s usually on the playlist?
Not really. I usually listen to NPR News.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I wish more people would get in the kitchen and make something simple. I think it’s a shame that a lot of people don’t even know how to make scrambled eggs. It’s so much easier than people think, if they’d just try it. Have courage and get in there!

I just want to share these pictures of pie

wholeapplepie-2 wholeapplepie-5

I baked this pie over the weekend because…pie.  There’s no other reason that matters, really.

Anyway, it’s a riff off my apple almond tart.  I used a double batch of the same frangipane recipe.  I used Alton Brown’s butter/lard pie recipe for the crust.  And then for the apples, I used my old-school apple peeler/finger mangler thing (see below) to core, peel and spiral slice the apples.

The corer doesn’t fully slice the apples–all the pieces remain connected, so they’re “sliced” but actually still just one unit.  Then I sprinkled them with a mixture of brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon and let them sit for a few minutes.  Depending on the water content of your apple choice, you may want to let them sit for up to a half hour to get out the extra moisture.  I use honeycrisp apples, and they’ve been pretty solid.

Anyway, I sat the apples in the pie crust and spooned the frangipane around them and added a little bit inside the apple as well.  Then I baked the pie for 30 minutes, covered the edges with tinfoil to prevent burning, and continued baking for another hour.  Then let the pie cool.

Yum.

Apple Frangipane Tart

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but where I live it’s like:

Hoth from Star Wars

This, of course, has caused me to retreat even further into the warm blankets on my couch.  It also has caused serious cravings for comfort food like a good warm, flaky pastry.

This one is particularly delightful because it’s made from ingredients I regularly keep on hand, and it takes very little effort to put together but it looks fancy, and that’s what’s important.  People see it, taste it, get impressed, and think I’m a better baker than I really am.  Score!

Apple Almond Tart

The pastry part is easy–two sheets of thawed puff pastry with the edges cut into strips.  The filling is a couple of apples peeled, cored, sliced, and marinated in a little amaretto and brown sugar, plus a layer of frangipane to glue it all together.

Apple Almond Tart Apple Almond Tart

Frangipane is an almond pastry cream made of ground almonds, sugar, butter and eggs.  Don’t feel intimidated by any of the previous words: it is extremely easy to make.  I use whole almonds and grind them in my food processor; if you don’t have a processor, buy ground almonds and use those.  The end product will still be delicious.

Apple Almond Tart

Apple Frangipane Tart

Ingredients

  • 2 sheets puff pastry

  • 2 apples, peeled/cored/sliced
  • 1/4 cup amaretto
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup whole almonds
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsps soft butter
  • 1 tbsp flour

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • extra sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

  1. Take the puff pastry out of the package, cover it with a kitchen towel, and let it thaw and come up to room temperature.
  2. Put the apples in a large ziplock bag with the amaretto and sugar, tossing to coat. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes, turning the bag over occasionally.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  4. Put the almonds and sugar into a food processor and pulse until relatively finely ground. Add in the butter, egg, and flour. Mix until you get a grainy creamy consistency.
  5. Drain the apple slices.
  6. Sprinkle a little flour down on the counter and lay down the first sheet of puff pastry. Roll it out a little bit to smooth over any creases. Carefully move the dough to a baking sheet that has been prepared with some parchment paper.
  7. Spread about half of the frangipane down the middle third of the pastry. Top it with about two layers of sliced apples.
  8. Take a knife or a pizza cutter and cut both sides of the pastry perpendicular to the frangipane into strips, stopping about a half inch away from the frangipane. Fold the strips over the top of the apples.
  9. Beat the egg with the water to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash over the pastry. Sprinkle it with a bit of sugar (optional).
  10. Repeat the process with the other puff pastry sheet.
  11. Bake the tarts in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the pasty is browned and set. Let cool, slice, and serve.
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I’m Heather and This is My Kitchen

This post is part of my “I’m __ and this is my kitchen” series of posts, in which fabulous home cooks dish a little about their cooking lives and their kitchens.  The goal is to get inspiration, ideas and insights from other regular people about shopping, planning, cooking and kitchen organization.  See more here.

Name Heather Sidwell

Age 29

Location Farmington, MO

Occupation/Pasttimes? I am a stay at home mom and wife. I like to read, go geocaching with my family, and search for new music/bands to listen to.

Do you follow a specific diet or food philosophy? No specific diet. Even though I am not a great cook, I still make sure that my family has home cooked meals, made from healthy ingredients.

How do you plan for meals? I’m not a very creative cook, so I have to follow a recipe exactly to a T. I look on Pinterest for new recipes, and I use Cozi as a meal planner.

How many people do you cook for? Six

Does your family cook with you?  If so, who does what? I have four boys! The three that are old enough to help, love to! They all gather the ingredients for me. My eight year old measures out the ingredients, my five year and three year old takes turns putting the ingredients into the bowl and then they mix it. If no mixing is required, there is an assembly line in my kitchen. Like if we make tacos, my three year old will put the tortillas on a plate, then my five year old adds the meat, my eight year old adds the cheese, then I add the sour cream and wrap it!

How often and where do you get your food? I go grocery shopping every other Friday with my mom when she comes to visit! I live in a small town, so I try to shop locally. There is a small store that sells fresh fruits and vegetables at amazing prices!

Describe your kitchen.  What’s your favorite thing about it? Right now, we are temporarily renting a small house. We just sold our house in August and we are at our current home until spring. My kitchen is very small. I only have my essentials here, most is in my storage unit! My favorite thing about it, is my decor! It is decorated with cupcakes! I’m obsessed with all things cupcakes. I love that my husband is fine with my pink, girly kitchen!

How do you organize your kitchen? Organize? What is that? Seriously, with the lack of space, it’s hard to stay organized. I only have two cabinets designated for spices and dry goods. That’s ok with me, since we buy mostly fresh foods.

If you could change one thing about your kitchen, what would it be? I want more space! I  can deal with it for now, because when we move, I am making sure I have all the space I need!

What ingredients do you always have on hand? Chicken broth, dry kidney and black beans, pasta, white oats, tortillas, canned chickpeas, and hot sauce!

What ingredient is in your pantry that you’re not sure how long has been there? Everything is actually pretty new. When we moved in August, I gave my old neighbor pretty much everything that I had in my freezer and pantry.

Favorite dish to make? Pizza! I love the endless possibilities! Cheese, macaroni and cheese, bbq chicken, and you can even make desert pizzas!

If you could instantly master any dish on earth, what would it be? Authentic Pad Thai with tofu!

What’s your biggest struggle in the kitchen? My biggest struggle is that I’m not that creative. It’s hard for me to tweak a recipe to fit my own taste.

Favorite tips? I’m a total klutz, and I have broken so much glass! I found that you can use a piece of bread to clean up broken glass! Peroxide and baking soda is a great kitchen cleaner (make a paste out of the two.) You can clean pretty much anything and make it look new again.

Name 3 absolutely necessary pieces of kitchen equipment - Magic Bullet,  Kitchenaid mixer, and my griddle!

Do you listen to music while you cook and if so, what’s usually on the playlist? Yes! If my boys are in the kitchen with me, we usually listen to a pop station. If it’s just me, I prefer listen to metal and hardcore music. Arsonists Get All the Girls, Slayer, Otep, Horse the Band, and Terror are usually on my playlist.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Chocolate Orange Pecan Shortbread

I mentioned in the last post that I was excited about three things this week.  One of those is tonight’s Live Organize Your Kitchen with Evernote hangout with fellow Ambassador and food blogger, Brandie Kajino.  The other was cookie swaps.

DSC_0017

Specifically, the annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  I do enjoy participating in it every year.  If you haven’t heard about it, it’s organized by Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen.  Food bloggers all over the country sign up and donate their sign-up fee to Cookies for Kids Cancer.  We get matched with three other food bloggers and we have to make a new-to-us cookie recipe and send a dozen of them to our matches.  In return, we receive three different batches of cookies to enjoy.  It’s a lot of fun, because who doesn’t like to get cookies in the mail?  If you want to join the cookie swap next year, go here to sign up on the mailing list.

This year, I got a delightful selection of truly diverse and delicious cookies.

 

Check out Lynn and Katie at:
Turnips2Tangerines
Blonde Ambition

The cookies I decided to make were chocolate shortbread, based off a recipe I got from The View from the Great Island.  I decided to go double chocolate, though not dark, and add in a bright citrusy flavor with a bit of Grand Marnier and orange zest.  And then, while I was at it, why not a bit of crunch with some chopped pecans?  I love orange and pecan together.

So here’s my revised recipe.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Orange Pecan Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • the zest of one orange

Instructions

  1. Pulse the flour, sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor until well-mixed. Add in the butter, Grand Marnier and orange zest until the dough just comes together. Add in the chocolate chips and pecans and pulse a few more times until they are incorporated.
  2. Dump the dough out onto a piece of cling wrap. Shape it into a log, wrap it securely and refrigerate it for at least an hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325F. Take the dough out of the fridge, unwrap it, and slice it into half inch slices with a sharp knife.
  4. Put the slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. They'll still be a bit soft at the end.
  5. Let them cool and then enjoy!
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Organize Your Kitchen With Evernote [LIVE Event]

You know what I’m excited about this week?  Goat cheese, for one, because I am always excited about goat cheese.  Also, cookie swaps, the Psych musical episode, and particularly, this coming Wednesday, on which I will be having an awesome live Hangout event with the utterly delightful Brandie Kajino, a fellow Evernote Ambassador (for Organization!) and food blogger.

We’re going to be talking about tips for using Evernote to organize your kitchen, a particularly useful topic during the hectic mess that is the holiday season.  You’ll get tips, you’ll get questions answered, you’ll get as witty banter as we can muster mid-week, and world peace will abound.  Maybe not that last part, but we’ll do our best.

timthumb

You can participate by going to Brandie’s blog, Spoon and Saucer (and if you haven’t been there before, immediately bookmark and/or subscribe, you won’t regret it) and hanging out with us there Wednesday night.  Those of you that can’t make it, don’t despair–it’ll be recorded and available after.

If you have a question (and I hope you do!), you can post them in advance on Brandie’s blog post about the event, or on this one.

The details are:

What: “Organize Your Kitchen With Evernote”
Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Time: 5:30pm Pacific / 8:30pm Eastern
Where: Spoon and Saucer blog
Who: Me + Brandie Kajino

Oh, and since it’ll be a Wednesday, I think we should make it extra special and celebrate Champagne Wednesday at the same time with one of my favorite champagne cocktails: the Horn of Plenty.

I said, brrr..it’s cold in here…

I’m resisting the urge to embed videos of Bring It On into this post.  It’s difficult for me, because you know how I feel about pop culture references.  I love them so much.

And also, it really is cold here.  Those of you in warm climates just don’t know my pain.  For the rest of you, I’m just gonna put this here…

And for bonus dipping action!

And the winner of the Mushroom Madness gift card give away is…

roastedmushrooms

Heather Dawn!!

Heather is the randomly selected winner of our gift-card giveaway.  She’s the lucky recipient of a $75 Whole Foods Gift Card.  Heather loves to eat mushrooms on pizza and she’ll be able to buy a lot of mushrooms with her prize.  Congratulations, Heather!

Thank you to everyone that participated in the giveaway.  Hopefully there will be more coming in the near future.  It was great for me personally to see how many people love mushrooms and what they like to do with them.  Some of my favorite ideas from readers are below:

Stirfried

Stuffed!

Pizza, mmm

Savory soups

And more

I’m Dawn Casey-Rowe and this is my kitchen

This post is part of my “I’m __ and this is my kitchen” series of posts, in which fabulous home cooks dish a little about their cooking lives and their kitchens.  The goal is to get inspiration, ideas and insights from other regular people about shopping, planning, cooking and kitchen organization.  See more here.

I don’t even know how to properly introduce this week’s featured home cook.  Teacher? Ed tech guru? Sustainable, natural living aficionado?  Awesome as all hell?  That starts to scratch the surface.  Dawn Casey-Rowe is one of those people you find yourself asking, “How does she do it?”  Well, below are a few answers to some of those questions…in regards to cooking at home, that is.

Name
Dawn Casey-Rowe

Age
42

Location
Scituate, Rhode Island

Occupation/Pasttimes?
I teach high school social studies and have fun working for Learnist. I also co-own two locations of iLoveKickboxing.com with my husband, Rusty. My hobbies include running, yoga, photography, blogging, sustainability, DIY, and gardening for food production.

Do you follow a specific diet or food philosophy?
I’ve been a vegetarian since middle school. I will cook meat for others, however. I do the best I can to source food locally, or grow it myself. I often go to the local farms, where I get produce, eggs, honey, and maple when possible. I also get as much meat as possible for my family at the farm down the street. We moved from an urban area into the woods, so this makes a lot more of this possible. Before, I’d go to farmer’s markets or local ethnic stores, and take trips out to the farm.

How do you plan for meals?
I see what fresh foods are on hand, and make things out of that. I also do a great deal of recycling of food–leftover generation so I can make them into new dishes for the next night. 

How many people do you cook for?
On a regular basis, I cook for myself, my husband, and the six-year old who eats very little. 

Does your family cook with you?  If so, who does what?
For the most part, I do the cooking. Once in a while we cook together. I’d like to start doing this more. Declan, who’s 6, likes to cut mushrooms and stir things. He makes his “masterpiece lumpy pancakes.” 

 How often and where do you get your food?
I try to stock up so that shopping is an option–at any given time, I can cook several meals out of my pantry. I go once a month or so, but I’ll stop locally for produce when necessary. I shop at a great many ethnic stores for things like spices and specific ethnic ingredients. By knowing where to source ingredients, I save a lot of money. Spices are a big one–in the grocery store, they’re very expensive. I can buy the same spices at the Indian, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, or Japanese store for very little. Knowing which cultures use which ingredients is key to diversifying cooking techniques and sourcing ingredients better.  

Describe your kitchen.  What’s your favorite thing about it?
My kitchen is nearly a chef’s kitchen, and I’m grateful. We moved from a raised ranch with no kitchen storage a little over a year ago to this house in rural Rhode Island. The former owner had just redesigned the kitchen, and I couldn’t love her more. There’s a double-propane oven, a stainless steel French-door refrigerator, and pull out cabinets which are critical for me in organizing my ingredients. In my old house, I had to go up and downstairs for most ingredients, because only the very basics fit upstairs. This meant I even had to go downstairs for things like Crock Pots, and small appliances. Now, the things I use most can be upstairs.  Since the center island is in the middle and the stovetop behind, it reminds me of the line in a restaurant kitchen. It’s very efficient, and makes cooking a pleasure. 

How do you organize your kitchen?
Because I have so many specific ingredients for different styles of cuisine, I have a lot of stuff going on.  I’m a big fan of the Mason jar, and a series of inexpensive rectangle snap-shut containers that my local overstock store carries. I fill them with ingredients and label and stack them. I often shop in bulk so I put the leftovers downstairs in dry storage. The previous owner worked in retail, and had a bunch of store-quality shelves he left me, which gave me more room than I could ever imagine for stocking up dry goods and canning. 

If you could change one thing about your kitchen, what would it be?
My kitchen has sit-at island, but is not a full eat-in kitchen. I like eat-in kitchens. My house is a ranch with an expansion, so what was the original parlor now serves as a dining room, and since it abuts the kitchen, it serves the purpose that an eat-in kitchen would. 

What ingredients do you always have on hand?
I worked my way through college in restaurants. This means I have a stock-up and rotate mindset. I don’t often run out of things. I keep so many types of things on hand that I can make most recipes that come up at any time without having to go to the store for ingredients, including ones with less frequently found ingredients. I have ingredients I can’t even translate and have labeled in their original language, like kalonji, amchur, hind, nori fumi furikake, and garam masala. 

What ingredient is in your pantry that you’re not sure how long has been there?
I just tossed a couple types of coffee I didn’t like but felt wasteful tossing before. Somehow, if something sits in the fridge or cabinet for a long time it seems less evil to waste. I know I’m joking, but I do try hard to limit waste–the average American household wastes 25% of our food, which I think is a truly awful thing. 

Favorite dish to make?
I don’t have a favorite dish to make. I cook many different cuisines, many ethnic. I’m a vegetarian, so I’m always looking for ways to convert important national dishes into a legitimate vegetarian version that doesn’t taste like someone forgot the main ingredient. 

If you could instantly master any dish on earth, what would it be?
I’m working on improving my Indian and Korean cuisine. I go back and forth into different areas of culinary interest. 

What’s your biggest struggle in the kitchen?
I am not very neat. I try to be neat when I cook and it doesn’t always work. Then, after working all day, I’m not usually in the mood to make it sparkle after enjoying my dinner. I drive my husband crazy. He’s really neat and efficient. I’m the opposite. 

Favorite tips?
Buy spices at the store representing the ethnicity that uses them most. Buy teas at the MIddle Eastern or Asian stores. Learn to read the names of the ingredients in their languages, so that you can shop with confidence at many stores. Make whatever you can from scratch–it’s usually simple once you practice. Never buy spice blends. You can make them with the big jars of spices you get at the various ethnic stores you’re visiting.  Get foods in season and learn to preserve them. It takes discipline, but the quality of the food is much better. I have a laundry list of things that I think people should never buy in the store–things that are simple. Why waste the packaging in the environment and load yourself up with preservatives? 

Name 3 absolutely necessary pieces of kitchen equipment
I could not live without my KitchenAid mixer–a couple years ago, I upgraded to the Professional model and gave my smaller one to my sister. I love my Cuisinart food processor, and my knives. Finally, I have Braun emersion blender that I nearly gave away years ago, but turned out to be the mainstay of my existence. It does so many things with its little gadgets. I almost always use my food dehydrator, as well. I need to process and preserve food when it’s in season, but it also does things like make fruit rollups, fruit and nut bars, and dried fruit snacks and my favorite kale chips. And I can’t forget about my yogurt maker, either. I know you said three. That’s five. 

Do you listen to music while you cook and if so, what’s usually on the playlist?
I do listen to music while I cook, and do many other things. Lately, it’s a range of female vocalists, but it changes from time to time. Sometimes I try to catch up on my TEDx talks and podcasts, too. Usually, just my favorite overused R’dio playlist that I throw songs on from time to time. 

Anything else you’d like to share?
There are so many foods you can make yourself better that stores would love to charge you a million dollars for–I make jams, my daily loaf of bread, yogurts, soft cheeses, hummus, taboleh, cheesecake, all kinds of soups, salsas. I also like to think of the best places to source food. I used to coupon shop for ingredients, but since I started farm shopping, getting things locally, and going to ethnic stores exclusively, I rarely have to go into the big store, except for  things like the bread flour and things. It’s a nice feeling. My family eats better, I rarely go to restaurants because I feel like my food is better–and if I do, I save up for one where a chef makes me think about the food.

I think getting back to our food roots is important. My students rarely know the genesis of most foods. One time, in response to their questions about my freakish looking lunch, I brought them apple butter, home-baked bread, and some cheese I made, and they thought they had witnessed a miracle. Another time, I planted seeds with them in Dixie cups and offered them 10 points on their final if they kept them alive–keep in mind these aren’t kindergartners planting beans in milk cartons, these are high school kids. The buzz about this activity was humbling. It made me realize how important the food movement is to all our families, schools, and the world, really. I’m a big fan of organizations like Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Danielle Nierenberg and Ellen Gustafson’s Food Tank. Food justice is important. I try by limiting waste and processed foods, and educating my students about these things, too.

Mushroom Mac & Cheese with Portobello “Bacon” and French Bread Crumbles

Mac & cheese is one of the happiest dishes there is.  I know what you’re thinking: “That’s just like…your opinion, man.”  Well, it is.  And I love it when I’m right.

Chanterelle Mac and Cheese with Portobello Bacon and French Brea

This one is particularly good because it’s full of mushroomy deliciousness.  I found chanterelles on sale and used those, but you could use any mushroom.  You’re probably better off with cremini or button mushrooms.  To heighten the flavor a bit, you might consider roasting the mushrooms first, or swapping the cheddar to something lighter like Doux de Montagne.

But especially great with this is the topping: a crumble of french bread, parsley, parmesan and chopped portobello “bacon.”  Which isn’t real bacon, obviously, and for meat-eaters, it won’t be the same.  It will, however, be delicious and an acceptable breakfast side for anyone, vegan or otherwise, as well as a great way to add some meaty, smoky elements into this dish while still keeping it vegetarian-friendly.  I got the idea for the portobello bacon from a friend, who introduced me to Libby Pratt’s blog.

Enjoy!

Chanterelle Mac & Cheese with Portobello “Bacon” and French Bread Topping

Ingredients

    For the mac:
  • 1 pound large shells, cooked to al dente
  • 1/2lb mushrooms of your choice, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter plus 2 extra tbsps
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups milk
  • 5 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • For the topping
  • 1 large portobello mushroom cap, sliced and marinated in this marinade
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 3-4 pieces of french bread, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan

Instructions

    Make the mac
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Melt the 2 tbsps butter in a large pot w/ the olive oil. Add in the mushrooms and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked down and soft. Add in the salt and pepper, the rest of the butter and the flour. Stir to get everything well incorporated and cook for a couple more minutes. Add in the parsley and dijon. Add in the first two cups of milk, stirring well, and then the next two, slowly. Let the milk warm up and then add in the cheeses, 1-2 cups at a time, stirring constantly to give it time to melt and smooth out.
  2. Add in the cooked pasta and then pour the entire mixture into a large oven-safe pan. Cook at 400F for 30 minutes.
  3. Make the topping
  4. Drain the portobello slices. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add in the canola oil. Fry the portobello slices until browned and slightly crispy on the edges, 3-5 minutes per side.
  5. Remove them from the pan and drain them on paper towels. Add the tablespoon of butter to the pan and melt it. Toss in the breadcrumbs and toast them until crispy. Chop the portobello slices and add them to the pan, along with the parsley. Fold everything together.
  6. Pull the baked macaroni out of the oven and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top, and then the quarter cup of parmesan.
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Mushroom parmesan pinwheels and other ways in which mushrooms are awesome

Did you have a good Thanksgiving?  I had a good Thanksgiving.  It involved family, friends, good food, a warm house surrounded by blankets of fluffy white snow…and five or six glasses of champagne.  Cheers!

On the 3.5 hour return trip home, I alternated between listening to the History of Rome podcast Josh likes to put on for long car rides and fantasizing about all the mushroom dishes I want to make this weekend.  Specifically this first one–mushroom parmesan pinwheels: a roulade of puff pastry, goat cheese, a couple kinds of mushrooms cooked in butter with fresh herbs, and a healthy sprinkling of salty parmesan cheese.

mushroom pinwheels

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In fact, the moment we got back into town, we went to Whole Foods to pick up some chanterelle and cremini mushrooms.

This dish is a great appetizer, and that can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature.  It’s also vegetarian, easily customizable (swap out different kinds of mushrooms, herbs, cheeses, etc), easy to make and of course, delicious.

But before I get to the recipe, I want to share these fun mushroom facts.  Learning earlier this week that mushrooms can create their own breezes, I started wondering what other secret talents the little fungi possessed.  Apparently:

  • Mushrooms have no chlorophyll, so they don’t need sunlight to survive.
  • Mushrooms are one of the few natural producers of vitamin D.
  • They are found on every continent in the world and used in almost every cuisine.
  • They can be used to make natural dyes.
  • Some mushroom spores can lay dormant for decades and still grow.
  • Each mushroom contains around 16 million spores.
  • They pretty much fruit when they want to; we’re not really sure what the exact conditions need to be.

Photo Nov 29, 11 29 32 PM

Mushroom parmesan pinwheels

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb fresh cremini mushrooms
  • 1oz dried chanterelle mushrooms
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2lb fresh goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 sheet puff pastry

Instructions

  1. Unwrap the puff pastry, leave it loosely covered and let it come up to room temperature at least a half hour before starting.
  2. Dice the cremini mushrooms and garlic as finely as you can, and roughly chop the dried chanterelles as well as you can.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil together. Add in the mushrooms, garlic and parsley and cook together on low for 12-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the salt and pepper.
  4. Let the mushroom mixture cool and then stir in the goat cheese until well-incorporated.
  5. Sprinkle the puff pastry with flour and roll it out just a bit to smooth out the creases. Spread the mushroom-cheese mixture over the puff pastry. Sprinkle half of the grated parmesan over the filling. Gently and tightly roll the puff pastry up on the long side, until you form a long roll.
  6. Carefully wrap the roll in plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  8. Remove the puff pastry roll from the fridge and, using a serrated knife, gently cut half inch rounds from the roll. Place them cut-side up on a cookie sheet that's been laid with parchment paper, and sort of squish them back into a circular shape if you need to. Sprinkle them with the rest of the parmesan cheese.
  9. Bake the rounds at 375 for about 30 minutes or until browned.
  10. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
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Mushroom Mania & a $75 Whole Foods Gift Card Give-Away

It was fortuitous luck, really.  I was wandering through the cornucopia of brightly colored produce at Whole Foods this past weekend, and a large display of little orange beauties caught my eye: satsumas.  It reminded me of the citrus challenge we did this time last year, where we sat down with a crate of satsumas and clementines and figured out what to do with them.  My first recollection of that experiment was the incredible Satsuma Delight (because OMG!) but then I remembered the fresh satsuma cheese plate and the delicious clementine-scented, parchment-baked mushrooms.  I started craving mushrooms.

It was fortuitous, because Whole Foods was kind enough to offer me another challenge this winter: mushrooms.  (Badgers everywhere, rejoice!) Super Mario himself could not be so lucky.  I’ve put my head to it and I’ve got a list of mushroom dishes that I can’t wait to share with you.  They’ll be popping up all over the blog over the next week (mushroom joke!).

To celebrate the fabulous fungi, I’m also doing a gift-card giveaway!  ONE lucky random winner will receive a $75 Whole Foods gift card, courtesy of Whole Foods Market.  The contest will be open until 12am ET on Monday, Dec 2nd.  The winner will be announced shortly after.

Giftcard

$75 Whole Foods Gift Card Giveaway

What do you have to do to enter?  It’s easy.  You can do one or more of the following (and each one gives you more chances to win):

  • Leave a comment on this blog post telling me about your favorite way to eat mushrooms
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Tweet about your favorite way to make mushrooms (don’t forget to tag @chickenmeatball!)
  • Tweet about the giveaway
  • Become a fan of Have Fork, Will Eat on Facebook
  • Leave a Facebook post or comment about your favorite mushroom dishes
  • Share your favorite mushroom meals on Google+ and tag me in it

Important! Use the widget below to enter the give-away and keep track of your chances.  Good luck—and good eating!
Enter the Mushroom Mania $75 Whole Foods Gift Card Giveaway

Food for the Soul: A post for my grandmother

I asked her to write down her cordial recipe and she looked at me, slightly panicked, and said she can’t–her hands are too arthritic; she can’t grasp a pen very well.  ”That’s ok,” I said.  ”I’ll write it down and you tell it to me.”  I sat down on the floor at her feet, in front of the wood stove.  My friend Lisa, who was visiting with me, sat on a chair on the opposite side of the stove.  I opened the notebook, balanced it on my thigh, turned on the pen and pressed its tip to the record button at the bottom of the page.

My grandmother died this weekend.  It wasn’t unexpected, but it hurts.  I can still see her, sitting in her favorite chair, being hilarious.  She was hilarious, generous, stubborn and I can definitely see her in her children and grandchildren, myself included.  She was my last remaining grandparent, and the only one I’ve had the privilege of getting to know as an adult; I loved her dearly.  She was a great influence on me.

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My grandmother, Frances Harris

She also made a mean cordial.  It’s a simple thing–you take fresh berries, some sugar and a lot of booze and throw them together in a jar–but delicious and I’ve associated it with my grandmother for as long as I can remember, along with a honey-whiskey toddy, freshly made lemonade, poundcake, and bread and butter pickles.

I decided one day earlier this year that I wanted to record her giving her recipe for the cordial.  I wanted more than just the memory of her saying it, I wanted to hear her long after she was gone.  Now that she’s passed, I’m so glad I did.  I only wish I had recorded more.

With the Livescribe pen, you can write and record both your writing and any audio at the same time.  Wirelessly, that gets transmitted and saved to my Evernote account, where I can share it with the rest of my family.  I can listen to the recording from my Evernote notebook, or I can tap the pen on the notebook itself and hear it.

It would have been better if she’d been able to write it herself–I always liked her handwriting.  Mine, with the notebook balanced slightly on my thigh, was not so great.  The entry certainly isn’t perfect.  Halfway through the ingredient list, she realized she was remembering it wrong– so things are crossed out and written over and messy.  But even moments later, when I climbed into Lisa’s car and opened the notebook and listened to the recording, it made me smile.  It was so very authentic and wonderful.  It made me want to do this with everybody I love.

I created a blueprint for a project I call an audio-annotated cookbook.  So far, I’ve given my Livescribe pen and notebook to a few friends and family and had them record their favorite recipes.  It captures their handwriting, their voice, and their personality in a way that I never could before, and helps me create a truly unique cookbook that is more than just the text of the recipe.  It’s not perfect–it’s messy and sometimes we stumble in the writing or over words, but that just makes it all the more dear to me.

Don’t get me wrong–you could do this in a number of ways.  You could write the recipes and scan them in and attach an audio file.  You could write on a tablet and use an app that will record audio and match it to the notes.  I liked the pen for this because it’s simple,  it can be used anywhere, and it saves the recording to a place I trust.  But I don’t think it really matters how you do it.  I just think you should do it.  I kept thinking I would have more time to record more of her recipes, but I didn’t.  You can’t really do anything about that.  But you can take steps to preserve the people and culture that you love, even in little ways.

I wish I’d thought of this project years ago.  It’d have captured so many stories, from so many people.  But I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to do this with my grandmother, to capture a moment we shared together.  To capture a piece of her.

My grandfather and grandmother

My grandfather and grandmother, Albert and Frances Harris

I’ve pasted a link below to my grandmother’s recording.  It makes me smile just to listen to it; it’s only fair that I share that smile with as many people as possible.  Just a note–I accidentally pressed ‘stop’ in the middle, so the recording is in two parts.  When the first part finishes, the second part will automatically load.  Click the play button again to get it going.

Grandma’s Cordial

Creating an Audio Annotated Cookbook Pencast

 

Learnist Love: All About Thanksgiving

Starting to fret about the upcoming holiday?  Don’t.  This is the internet.  Help is everywhere you look.  I’m particularly fond of all the resources curated over at Learnist.  A search for Thanksgiving brings up everything from the history of the holiday to healthy eating tips to how to keep from pulling your hair out.

Check out all the Learnist Thanksgiving resources here.

Here are a few of my personal boards for getting through Thanksgiving:

Do-It-Yourself Instant Cocoa Mix

I am about to take you on a fun-filled, wondrous adventure to a magical land called filled with flavor and delicious delights and that ever-so-sumptuous food of the gods.

That’s right, we’re going to make hot cocoa.

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Don’t say it.  Don’t tell me that you make hot chocolate all the time–”All you have to do is open the packet of Swiss Miss and add hot water.”  That’s not making hot cocoa.  That’s just barely making it through the day and being willing to settle for something, anything with a mere wisp of chocolate in it before you go insane and take somebody with you.

Now, while I am a fan of melting down shaved chocolate into a pool of lightly simmering, frothy milk in the celebrated winter ritual that is settling down with a piping hot cup of hot chocolate whilst mentally praising those brilliant Mayans, sometimes you don’t want to spend the time, effort or money to do that and sometimes you’re at work, mentally (or physically—although in that case, you have more serious problems than chocolate-deficiency) to a desk, or snowed in at home behind 2 feet of frozen little water pellets.  In those cases, you want–nay, you need–instant cocoa.

Photo Nov 24, 11 23 37 PM

But that doesn’t mean you should rush headlong into the arms of the Swiss Miss.  Not to impugn her honor or anything, but I hear she really gets around.  You deserve someone more special than that.  Someone unique and hand-crafted.  And I am love to play matchmaker.  Well, me and Alton Brown.

Alton Brown’s Hot Cocoa

* 2 cups powdered sugar
* 1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
* 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons cornstarch
* Hot water

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly.  Seal in an airtight container, keeps indefinitely in the pantry.

To make hot cocoa, fill half a mug with the cocoa mixture and then pour in hot water or milk.  Stir, sip, smile.

If you want to make it even more betterer (yes, that’s right, even more betterer), you can make some snickerdoodles to dip into your cocoa.

Because…Pie, Part II: Winter is Coming

It snowed last night.  I don’t know if it had even frosted yet but last night, it snowed.

It’s made my husband terribly happy.  He’s a weird, cold-loving polar bear who has somehow managed to squeeze himself into a very convincing Josh-suit.  He loves the fact that it rained and then snowed last night, even though it froze the car doors shut.

Me?  I like the snow just fine, I suppose…as long as I’m laying in my warm bed (flannel sheets for the win!).  Or snuggled on the couch with a mug of cocoa watching How I Met Your Mother or American Horror Story.  Or basically not anywhere near the outside.  If it were possible to safely and inexpensively induce hibernation in people…I would do it.  In a heartbeat.

But alas.  I live in Michigan and snow is a thing.  Winter is real.  It’s not just a Game of Thrones meme anymore.

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My only weapon against it is flannel sheets, fuzzy socks, and an arsenal of warm, heavy comfort foods.  I have decided this is going to be the Winter of the Comfort Food, officially.  Last week was lasagna.  I’m still working on perfecting it.  Then pumpkin pie.

This week, I turned my attention to pot pie.  I love a good chicken pot pie.  It combines my top comfort food (chicken stew) with pie crust.  There is literally nothing to not like about that.  And when made in ramekins or small baking dishes, you get single-sized portions.  Easy for distributing, and repackaging, and taking for lunch the next day.

 

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I spent less than half a day making these, all told.  It seems like a lot, but most of it is “put it in the oven and let it do it’s thing” time.  I roasted the chicken, made the pie crust, cooked the stew…did everything except make stock.  I used store-bought because I didn’t have any on hand, but homemade would make it even more awesome.  It was a great way to spend a cool fall day.  It’ll be a great way to pass the winter ones too.

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Roasted Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients

    For the crust
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsps cold butter, diced
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • 2 tsps dried herbes de provence
  • For the chicken
  • 3-4 pound whole chicken, cleaned and with the organs removed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried herbes de provence
  • 1/2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 cup frozen pearl onions
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 whole cloves of garlic
  • A little bit of chicken stock as needed for basting
  • For the filling
  • The white and dark meat from a 3-4 pound roasted chicken
  • The pearl onions roasted with the chicken
  • 1 leek, sliced and washed
  • 3 carrots, sliced into half inch rounds
  • 1 cup of frozen baby peas
  • 32oz of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 tbsp dried herbes de provence
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan, divided
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

    Make the pie crust
  1. Do the step either before or while the chicken is roasting. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, herbs and butter in a food processor and pulse a few times until the butter is thoroughly chopped. Slowly drizzle in the cold water while you pulse the processor until the dough forms on its own into a rough ball.
  2. Remove the dough and place it on a floured surface. Pat it into a ball shape, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least an hour.
  3. Roast the chicken
  4. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  5. Mix the olive oil, herbs and sea salt together and rub them all over the chicken, especially under the skin over the breast meat. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the garlic and rosemary sprigs.
  6. Place the chicken in a small roasting pan with the pearl onions. Roast for approximately 1-1.5 hours (about 20 minutes per pound, or until the juices run clear), basting as needed with a little stock.
  7. Let the chicken cool before pulling the meat off.
  8. Bring the filling together
  9. In a heavy-bottomed pan, melt the stick of butter. Add in the flour and stir together, creating a roux. Cook over medium heat, stirring as needed. You want to cook the flour taste out, but not burn the roux or let it get too dark--let it go for 10 minutes or so. Add the dried herbs and rosemary to the pot, and then slowly stir in the chicken stock. Let the stock simmer for about 15 minutes.
  10. Pull the meat from the chicken, give it a rough dice with a knife, and add it to the soup, along with the leeks and carrots. Let the soup simmer down until the stock has reduced by at least a third. Add in the cream, half of the parmesan, the pearl onions and peas. Taste it and add any salt and pepper as needed.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  12. Assemble the pies
  13. Divide the stew amongst your ramekins. I used four wide, shallow ones. The amount of pies you get will vary on your ramekin size.
  14. Roll out the pie crust and, using a pizza cutter or a knife, cut out circles slightly larger in diameter than your ramekins. Carefully drape the crust over the top of the ramekins, pressing the edges over the sides, sealing in the stew.
  15. Brush the crusts with a bit of egg wash or butter, and sprinkle each one with a quarter of the leftover parmesan. Place the ramekins on a large cookie sheet, and bake them in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the crusts are nicely browned.
  16. Serve and enjoy. They will be hot and delicious!
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I’m Lauren and This Is My Kitchen

I love kitchens.  I bet you never would have guessed that from someone with a food blog.  Crazy, right?  But anyway, it’s true.  I love kitchens.  The best part of Ikea is  the cinnamon rolls the kitchens.  I like to see the different styles, setups, color schemes, organizational trends.  I love appliances and pantries.

I also like seeing how people set up and get around their own kitchens.  When we moved into our house, I took the longest to unpack the kitchen.  There are so many choices that impact my everyday life there–what goes into which cabinet and how to arrange things so that they make sense to me and I can find them.  I also redo my pantry on a fairly regular basis, always trying to achieve some optimal level of organization.  Seeing what other home cooks do and how they work gives me ideas and inspiration.

So to help spread that around, I’ve started asking people to answer a few questions and share some pictures of their home kitchens.  I figured I’d be a good sport, and go first.

I’m Lauren and this is my kitchen.

I’m 30 years old and I live in Michigan.

Occupation and hobbies?
I have a few occupations–I’m an instructional technology consultant at the University of Michigan.  I produce content for Learnist, and I do freelance WordPress development.

Do you follow a specific diet or food philosophy?
Not all the time, but my general feeling is to “eat real food.”  We tend to cook from scratch using ingredients with names we can pronounce.  I’m prone to hypoglycemia (I have almost passed out in so many embarrassing situations–church, the grocery store, on the job) and tend to feel better when I eat a lower carb diet.

How do you plan for meals?
I drift back and forth between organized and random.  When I do plan for meals, I usually first think of things I’d like to make (a combination of new things to try and old things we like to eat) and then I write up a menu for the week in Evernote.  In the midst of my “organizational” swings, I buy based off what’s in sale and use Supercook and the contents of my Evernote recipe book to figure out meals based off those sale items.  Often I just buy ingredients I like to have on hand and then I make up the rest as I go along.

How many people do you cook for?
Most days, just 2–me and my husband.  Occasionally we have friends over, and a few times a year we do a huge to-do and cook for 40-50.

How often do you grocery shop?
Several times a week.  Usually at least once on the weekend for big things and then a couple times during the week for a few ingredients here and there.  I actually prefer multiple small shopping trips to one big one.  I actually really love shopping for food.

Describe your kitchen.  What’s your favorite thing about it?
My kitchen is in the back part of a 150 year old house.  It’s galley style, and long and we have delightfully high ceilings.  My favorite thing about it is actually a two parter: I have a walk in pantry that has a countertop (it’s where I do most of the prep for my baking) and our refrigerator is actually built into the wall, in a box that juts out into the mudroom.  It’s weird but awesome because it saves us so much space.

Do you have any particular methods for organizing your kitchen?
I keep the counters relatively clear.  There’s stuff on them in the pictures above, but generally, half that stuff is put away somewhere.  I like a lot of free space for when I need to chop veggies or roll out dough.  Beyond that, I organize the cupboards and pantry so that I don’t have to take too many steps to get to things I need.  And because I like to have a lot of platters and serving items but don’t want to have a ton of room in the kitchen, I use those as decorative items lining bookcases in the next room.

If you could change one thing about your kitchen, what would it be?
I would cut down one of the walls and make it more open.  Galley kitchens are nice, but a little odd when you have multiple cooks.  Cutting down one of the walls would open it into the next room, create more connection and expand the space!

What ingredients do you always have on hand?
Outside of the basics like salt, pepper and olive oil, I always have the ingredients to make buttermilk biscuits at any given moment because you never know when your sanity will suddenly depend on having a biscuit in your hand in 30 minutes or less.  Also always some sort of pasta and a bar of dark chocolate.

What ingredient is in your pantry that you’re not sure how long has been there?
There’s a bag of almond flour in the pantry that is definitely less than a two years old but maybe more than one year.

Favorite dish to make?
Biscuits, clearly, because they are fast, easy and comforting.  But for actual dishes, probably chili and barbecue ribs.

If you could instantly know how to make any dish on earth, what would it be?
Chicken 65.

What’s your biggest struggle in the kitchen?
Keeping it clean.  Also, apple pie.

Favorite tips?
You can scoop pieces of egg shell out of your cracked egg with another piece of egg shell.  Chill cookie dough for a half hour before baking.  Grill your meat on a salt block.

Name 3 absolutely necessary pieces of kitchen equipment.
A sharp chef’s knife, a KitchenAid stand mixer and a cast iron skillet.

Do you listen to music while you cook and if so, what’s usually on the playlist?
Absolutely, and normally it’s classic Motown and R&B from the 60s and 70s–Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Smoky Robinson, Aretha Franklin, etc.  Occasionally it’s modern pop or rock, and sometimes classical.

Because…Pie

I sometimes wonder who first looked at a pumpkin and thought, “let’s bake that down and pie it.”  It seems to me that the vast expanse of human culinary history really comes down to someone looking at some random item and thinking, “I should put that in a pie.”

Case in point:

One of the ways in which we traditionally separate ourselves from animals is that we are tool using species who cook our food.  No, I say.  The real separation between us and the animals is that they will look at their prey and think, “I want to eat that” whereas we look at our prey and think, “I could bake that into a pie and it would be delicious.”

pumpkinpie-1

 

Really, why?  Why do we fill pie shells full of ground lamb and smother it in mashed potatoes?  Why do most cultures have their own versions of hand-held goodies wrapped in pie crust so that you can eat your pie while simultaneously fighting off intruders or driving a backhoe?  Why did someone actually think to crush Cool Ranch Doritos and bake them in an onion-y filling?  Because…pie.

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Yeah, that’s pretty much all there is to it, so far as I can tell.

So to celebrate this apparently deeply ingrained appreciation for combining crust and filling, with or without another crust on top depending on said filling, I am going to share a recipe for Josh’s favorite pie: classic pumpkin.

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Classic Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 prepared and rolled out pie crust
  • 15oz of canned pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (2 parts cinnamon, 1 part ginger, 1 part nutmeg)
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1-2 tbsp amaretto
  • 5oz evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. Lay your pie crust in your pie plate so that it nestles into the sides. Trim off any excess and use it to create decorations if you like. Carefully wrap tin foil around the edges of the pie, so that they don't get too dark while it's baking.
  3. Put the pumpkin, sugar and pie spice into the bowl of a mixer and blend together. Add the eggs, amaretto, evaporated and whole milk. Blend until everything is well incorporated.
  4. Pour the batter into the pie crust. Place the pie on a cookie sheet, put it in the oven and bake it for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the foil and continue baking the pie for another 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven. When a toothpick inserted into the pie comes out clean, pull it out of the oven and let it fully cool.
  6. Slice and eat, and store it in the fridge.

Notes

I like to use this all-butter crust recipe for my pie crusts. Not that I have anything against lard or shortening crusts, but I always have butter on hand, so it's easy for me to make.

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And because they’re my favorite pies: cookie pie and cinnamon pie.  Also, for good measure, no-pie apple pie.

Homemade Hot Sauce

Relax, dear friends, and take a deep breath–maybe not too deep, you might inhale something.  But rejoice, because no, there will not be a Sriracha shortage after all.  Yay.

Now, I don’t currently make anything that rivals the marvel that is sriracha sauce, but it did get me thinking about how much I love hot sauce in general.  It’s a lot.  But the importance of a good sauce is not just the heat, it’s also about flavor.  And many hot sauces really just one or the other.

poblanohotsauce-6

Of all the things you know how to make in your home kitchen, hot sauce might not have been on the list.  It should be, though, because it’s one of the easiest things to do and then you can control both the heat and the flavor.

In my case, I like to use poblano peppers, because I love the way they taste, and serranos.  Sometimes I amp it up with habaneros or do a mix of serranos, jalapenos and other peppers.  The fun part is playing around.  Also, eating.  Definitely eating.

I’ve posted on this before, and you can find that post plus the original recipe here.