Tag Archives: recipes

Apple Pie for Amateurs

Gold panning with Grandma and Grandpa, Klamath River, 70s.

At the time I’m writing this I’ve made at least three apple pies in the last 3-4 weeks. No special occasions. All for us.

Bob still saves me the NYT food section even though I haven’t loved an issue in ages. I used to cut out recipe(s) or talk about an article every week. Now I can barely get through it without rolling my eyes back into my head in a way that is dangerous to health.

This week there was an article about apple pie that I should have written had I know that I had knowledge that needed to be in the NYT.

In the author’s experience, the pie is gone too quickly.

Hm… how to remedy? Oh, how about make a bigger pie? Those nine inch pies are for people with tiny bellies. You should be making 10 inch pies. And you can cram more filling in. And thin crust is for timid home bakers, it’s okay to make a thicker crust. She also recommends mixing sweet and tart apples.

None of this is new information. Last time I made a 9 inch pie I did it on purpose because it was for one person who wanted less pie. But I do all these things and our normal pie distribution is after sharing, we usually end up with three pieces each. It is my favorite food.

NYT Recipe.

I use this crust recipe and more or less the Betty Crocker classic pie recipe. I use a mix of Granny Smith and other sweeter apples. I like to slice as thin as I can and add 3/4 c sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 cup flour and I let it sit on the counter a couple of hours. I like a lot of apples and will flatten them with my hands to get them in there. I also sometimes nuke them a minute or two but if you like firmer apples don’t worry about it.

If I remember I’ll make a pie in my extra big giant pie plate and take photos.

Posted in doing it wrong | Tagged | Comments Off on Apple Pie for Amateurs

Potato Time

We have some sort of Amityville Horror going on out in the shop. A couple of days ago I saw a few big hairy flies in there. The next day there were a ton of big hairy flies. I swatted and swatted.

The next day there were a ton of big hairy flies. More swatting.

A few hours later there were a ton of big hairy flies. At least they aren’t attacking big hairy flies.

I did some research and I’m going to guess it’s the result of having a warmer than normal summer and not a haunting. The pest control website noted that it is *extremely difficult* to deal with this on your own.

I think I can handle it.

I mentioned that early in the year I took all my wilted potato bits and buried them around the yard and I now have my very own potato farm.

One of my most successful recipes is this potato salad recipe although now that I look at it I realize I don’t follow it other than to add vinegar to the potato cooking water. I’m not sure what potato salad recipe I use. Maybe I look at this and then just do what I want. People at potlucks love it.

Serious Eats Classic Potato Salad Recipe

I still had a ton of potatoes so I searched for more recipes and this was a big hit plus it got rid of the rest of a giant head of cabbage we had. Bob said it was the best potato cabbage casserole he ever had.

Serious Eats Polish Cabbage Potato Bacon Casserole

I still had tons of potatoes so I thought I’d try another recipe. But then when I went to make it I realized I didn’t have as many potatoes as I thought so I ran outside to dig up another plant. I thought I was being punked. Every time I touched the dirt another potato would pop out. I think I harvested another 3 pounds.

So potato cooking continues. This recipe was a tad fussy for me. Next time I would come up with some short cuts. But we liked the result and it made a ton.

Mexican Potato, Kale and Chicken Casserole

Posted in cooking, garden, the shop | Tagged | Comments Off on Potato Time

Too Many Squashy Things Coming From The Garden?

[Endless long rant about how technology has failed me and everyone is doing everything wrong, omitted.]

I am going to give you a terrific recipe for an overabundance of summer vegetables.

Yes, in late October when no one needs it. Save for later!

This is in a recipe book that my Mom has but I’m going to give you my variation because the recipe was a tad precious and even told you what shape dish to put it in.

Main ingredients are:

1-2 onions, thinly sliced
Tons of zucchini and/or squash that you’re trying to get rid of, thinly sliced. Toss with olive oil and thyme.
Tons of tomatoes that you’re trying to get rid, thinly sliced of OR 14 oz. can of fire-roasted tomatoes
7 oz. can of fire roasted green chiles
Half a loaf of cotija cheese or any cheese that turns your crank, grated or cubed or crumbled.

Cook in large lasagna type pan unless you’re making a small version. Then use small lasagna type pan.

First, saute onions in oil until limp and a little bit brown. Spread in the bottom of your dish.

Next, spread your squash product over the onions.

Next, layer your fresh tomatoes over the top. If you’re using the canned: combine with the green chiles, drain a little bit, and spread over the squash.

Finally, spread the cheese over the top. Bake at 375 for an hour to 75 minutes and let cool for a bit before you serve. I was worried because the cheese got pretty brown but it tasted amazing. Great as leftovers, too. Once you look at the recipe you can think of other variations – the original doesn’t use the green chiles and uses Parmesan. Probably a tough sell on hardcore vegetable haters, but everyone else will at least give it a try.

Posted in garden | Tagged | 1 Comment

Storms Are Coming

We’ve had a record breaking dry streak. It’s hard to complain about no rain when 3 months ago I was weeping and beating my head against the concrete because it wouldn’t stop. Now that everything is all dried out I’m not heartbroken to hear the rains are coming back.

The weatherman says we’re in for a series of storms starting on Friday. I’m getting home late tomorrow and Thursday so tonight the minute I got home I dropped everything and put on my work clothes and ran outside. It’s amazing what you can get done quickly when you’re motivated.

I yanked a bunch of dead stuff out front to make room for the 150 bulbs project. Then I brought in all the tomatoes and ripped the plants out and yanked most of the sunflowers. The cucumbers are still out there, although they look dead. The garden is finished. I think there are carrots but that’s about it. Well, apples. When I tore out one of the sunflowers I thought I found another suntater and I was pretty excited but it turned out to be a rock.

The real purpose of this post is to tell you about Roasted Pepper Vinaigrette. That’s it in the squeeze bottle posing with the tomatoes I just brought in. I’ve had this recipe forever. I don’t recall the origins. I made a note that “goes good with lots of things” so must have been part of an article. I finally made it on Sunday and it is amazing. We’ve had it on corn and salad. I think it would taste great on just about any vegetable and also, a swirl on a piece of cheese would be good. Probably good on pasta. It’s way more delicious that this recipe would suggest.

1 roasted red pepper or drain it from a jar (that’s what I did, thank you Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T chopped shallot (I never measure stuff like that. I used half a big one.)
1/2 t. salt
fresh ground black pepper

Whirl it all in the blender until smooth. Add more vinegar, salt and/or pepper if you think it needs it. Put in a squeeze bottle because you feel all fancy squeezing it on stuff.

Posted in garden | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Sugar Loaf

For a long time I clipped almost every brownie recipe I found. I was always on the lookout for a best recipe. I had the idea in my head that there was a giant range in brownie quality and if I was diligent enough, I would find the magical life-transforming recipe of brownie goodness.

Meanwhile I had a gooiest recipe, a most chocolately recipe, Katherine Heburn’s recipe, Test Kitchen Best Recipe, giant brownie bake-off winning recipes.

At one point I probably had at least a dozen recipes in my clippings, most of which I had never tried.
I finally went through and threw a bunch away because, I don’t make brownies that often (So why was I on the lookout for a life-transforming recipe? It’s a mystery.) and when I do I usually use this recipe (Thank you Keetha) which is always a big hit or else Mark Bittman’s.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that we had somehow accumulated 3 jars of Nutella and much as we love Nutella, it would take us awhile to work through 3 jars. So I got this brilliant idea to look for a Nutella brownie recipe.
I found this one which looks very simple and I was concerned it might turn out mediocre brownies but what the hell, just some butter and sugar and no shortage of Nutella.

They were amazing. They were so amazing I ate THREE! the night I made them and didn’t feel well when I went to bed.

My conclusion is that it’s pretty tough to bake a crappy brownie unless you make a mistake.

Posted in doing it wrong | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

White Chocolate – Raspberry Pie

I had two really busy weeks and didn’t have 5 minutes to go out and check up on the yard. When I finally went out there Friday morning it was madness. All kinds of weeds and tall grass. There were flowers tangled everywhere. Some of my garden stuff had bolted. The peas were finished.

I picked about 2 pounds of raspberries and there was at least another pound that was overripe and no good. Raspberries are a part-time job.

But I finally had the time and the berries to do my first invented pie.


Your favorite 2 crust pie dough.

5 cups raspberries
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1 T orange zest
1 T lemon zest
2 tsp. lemon juice
8 oz. white chocolate chips (I suspect a dark chocolate would work great, too. I’m going to try that next.)

Combine everything except the white chocolate chips together. Don’t skip the citrus zest, that’s what makes the flavor extraordinary. I was worried that the raspberries would be tart and I used the full cup of sugar. The white chocolate provides plenty of sweetness. Next time I would use less sugar.

I baked the bottom crust for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees and then spread the white chocolate chips in an even layer. Initially I thought I was going to let them melt a bit and try to spread the melted chocolate but I ditched that step.

I kept forgetting that I was documenting my baking process so there aren’t many photos.

Gently scrape your raspberry mix into your pie plate and cover with top crust. This makes a very juicy pie so you’d be wise to set the pie plate on a cookie sheet before putting into oven.

Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and bake another 30-40. If you’re not lazy you might brush a little milk on the top crust before baking to help it brown. I sometimes use foil on the edges of my pie but I didn’t this time and had no problems. Use your judgment.

Those white-bits don’t look especially pretty but the pie is delicious.

Posted in cooking, garden | Tagged | Comments Off on White Chocolate – Raspberry Pie

Black Magic Cake

Priscilla gave me her Bundt pan and a couple months ago she gave me this recipe:

1 cup butter
3/4 cup chocolate syrup
8 Milky Way bars (2.05 oz), cut up
2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 t vanilla
4 lg eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 t salt
1/2 t baking soda.

1 Preheat over to 325. Grease 12 cup Bundt pan. In Cooks Illustrated they had a tip where you melt 1 T butter and mix in 1 T cocoa powder and then brush the paste into your Bundt pan. Try it — totally worked. In a microwave safe bowl heat butter, syrup and Milky Ways. Whisk until smooth.
2 Whisk in sugar, then buttermilk, vanilla, and eggs. Stir in flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda.
I should mention that I didn’t read the instructions very well and I had 10 Milky Way bars but at the last minute I noticed the total on the whole package said 6.02 oz. OOPS. I used all 10 plus I threw in all the unsweetened baking cocoa I had in the house which was another 2 oz. It came out completely delicious.
3 Pour batter into pan. Bake 1 hour 30 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Loose cake from pan; invert onto rack to cool. I checked at 1 hr 20 and it was ready to come out. I believe the source is Good Housekeeping.

We gave Priscilla hunk and I served it at writers group today. It went over VERY big. I encouraged everyone to eat at least 3 pieces. I learned that from my Tante Hilla. Guests appreciate it.

Posted in cooking, doing it wrong | Tagged | Comments Off on Black Magic Cake