Pie Crust. It’s your kryptonite. It’s your Achilles’ heel. It’s the painful thorn in your side.
You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all been there. After failed attempts at home, we shamefully head to the grocery store, pause to make sure no one’s looking, and hide a box of store bought pie crust in the cart. Hours later only to find out the filling we paid careful attention to isn’t quite as good when surrounded by this boxed stuff. Looking around the room, dessert plates are sprinkled with leftover crust, and it’s not because people were too full. Read more
Apple Hand Pies. You hold ’em in your hand. No plate or utensil required. They’re stuffed with a cinnamon-y sweet apple compote. The dough is so flaky you’ll be sure to shed some crumbs (flaky is good). If you look at them close enough you’ll see a smile matching the reflection in the mirror. There’s adequate crust for every last bite. And a tinge of crunch from the coarse sugar on top. Oh, how I love apple hand pies. Read more
Step away from the phone. Put down those coupons. Let’s talk through this.
What if I told you that you could make homemade pizza in less time than it takes the pizza man to deliver? Including the crust. Most definitely including the crust. And what if I told you it would taste a trillion times better? And amount to zero calories? Ok, the last part is not true. Read more
Do you ever have those light bulb moments—the ones that seem too idiotic to share out loud. Yeah, I had one of those this weekend. While making pop tarts. Remember the a-ha moment when you realized that U-Haul just wasn’t a company name? It literally means “you haul it”. And remember the a-ha moment when you realized that Pop Tarts are really just tarts. Tarts?! Yeah, that happened this weekend. And I don’t even care where the word “pop” came from. Popular? That’s not even cool. Read more
I’ve departed from my normal flour, butter, and sugar gig this week. I hope you don’t mind.
Confession: I’m a mexican food junkie, and I eat way too much guacamole. But I wasn’t always this way. Sadly, my unrefined childhood taste buds didn’t crave guac until I was in college. I lost a good 20 years of consumption. However, I think I’ve made up for it in the last six years. Thank goodness for its health benefits.
Every time I make guac, I think of my mom. She first introduced me to it with a recipe called—Game Day Guacamole. I can still see it peeking out of her overly stuffed light blue checked recipe box. Excuse me while I reminisce. The fact that food has the ability to conjure up vivid memories makes me love it even more.
I wish I could say that I still use the Game Day recipe, but I don’t. Being the hard-headed person that I am, I had to come up with my own recipe. I blame it on the artist in me. I’m like a dog marking its territory. I have to put my stamp on everything. Knowing how I am now, I can only imagine what I was like as a child. My apologies Mom and Dad. But lucky for you, I have perfected my recipe. At least to my liking. So go ahead, and give it a try.
The best thing about this recipe—it’s not a science. Precision isn’t a must. Taste as you go. Follow your gut. And put your own stamp on it, or not.
Guacamole recipe from yours truly
5 ripe avocados, peeled
1/4 c. chopped grape tomatoes
2 tbsp. chopped red onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
3-6 jarred jalapeños, chopped 1 1/2 tsp. cumin half of a lime, squeezed sea salt
1. Add avocados to a large bowl and mash. Click here for a peeling how-to.
2. Mix in tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapeños, cumin, and lime juice.
3. Add Sriracha and sea salt to taste.
4. Taste. Add more where you see fit. It’s usually salt or cumin for me.
5. Press plastic wrap on surface of guacamole. This will keep oxygen from creeping in and turning things brown before you serve it.
The other day, I made this. And topped it off with this. The other night, graduate school husband had the guys over, and they ate every last drop of this. However, they didn’t believe this was homemade, so he had to pull out the ice cream maker to prove that this was the real deal.
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan (I use my Le Creuset), combine half and half, whole milk, heavy cream, 1 cup of sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine. Give it a little taste to make sure you have enough salt. Yes, salt.
In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Over medium-high heat, heat milk mixture until sugar dissolves and begins to simmer. Slowly pour about one cup of the simmering milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to temper the eggs (a.k.a. cook the eggs without scrambling them). Add egg mixture to sauce pan, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Turn heat off. Add vanilla extract.
Pour mixture in a large bowl over a fine mesh sieve to catch any egg clumps. Cover and place in fridge to cool, about 3 hours. To speed up the cooling process, place bowl in an ice bath in the fridge, or place in the freezer sans ice bath.
Once mixture is cold, make ice cream according to your machine’s instructions…
Finally, it’s that season again. I think. We had a horribly long winter in Chicago. And spring has been anything but spring. Depending on the day, it’s felt more like winter, summer, and fall. We were supposed to go camping this weekend, but the cold rainy weather kept us away. Saturday night, when I should have been roasting marshmallows, I tried to will the weather warmer by making burgers on the indoor grill. According to the 5-day forecast, it’s working! Read more
If you know anything about me, you know that I like to do everything myself. If I can make it, then there’s no need to buy the pre-made stuff. And the taste. Do I even need to go there? It’s always better homemade especially when you are whipping up salad dressing.
Salad dressing is very easy to make. And I have something that makes it even easier—a dressing emulsifier! For Christmas, my mother in law bought me one, and it works like a charm. She bought it at William Sonoma, but I have seen them at Crate and Barrel and Sur la Table.
Before I tell you all the perks of this product, lets talk emulsion. The definition of emulsion is “a fine dispersion of minute droplets of one liquid in another in which it is not soluble or miscible.” What in the heck does all that jibber jabber mean? Let’s break it down in layman’s terms. Picture this: oil and water. If you pour them into a glass bowl, they separate. However, if you whisk them vigorously for a length of time, they come together. This my friends is the process of emulsion, and this is how you make dressing.
Now for the perks. This dressing emulsifier emulsifies! Imagine that. According to the product description it has a corkscrew like stir stick which is in charge of emulsifying. This takes out the vigorous whisking you would normally have to do. Even better, this allows you to re-emulsify the dressing after it has been sitting in your fridge for a couple days. It’s also got a great little pouring spout with a cute lid. It’s made of a clear plastic allowing you to see inside the container. And, best of all, it has recipes right on the container with markers showing you how much of each ingredient you need. Are you still reading this, or are you at the store waiting in line to pay? In this case, I hope it’s the later. This is a kitchen must have.
In case you want to make this and you don’t yet have this gadget, here’s the recipe with a couple additions I make to the recipe on the bottle.
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. balsalmic vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
squirt of honey, if desired.
dash of oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a bowl, add balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, honey, salt, and pepper.
2. Pour olive oil into the mixture slowly while whisking continuously. Whisk until the oil and mixture are combined.
3. Serve immediately. If making ahead, whisk again before serving.