Sunday, January 08, 2006

Apple Pie

Start with these
Do This--Peel, Core, Slice
Eat This!
This is my favorite apple pie recipe. I found the book that I took it from--it is the Crisco American Pie Celebration (1989). It contains many wonderful recipes from different regions of the U.S. I don't use solid shortening for my crust. Some of you may have read my November 28 post about pie crust and know that I am a fan of oil crust, so that is what I used for this pie. If you would like the crust recipe I use just go to the archive & check it out.

Ingredients--

Sugar (1 cup)
AP Flour (1/3 cup)
Cinnamon (1 tsp)
Nutmeg (1/8 tsp)
Salt (1/8 tsp)
Apples (I used 9 cups today because we like lots of apples) peeled & thinly sliced
Butter (2 tbsp)

Procedure--

Heat oven to 425 degrees F

For filling--combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, & salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle over apple slices. Toss lightly until apple slices are completely coated. Spoon filling into unbaked pie shell. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust. Flute edges. Cut slits in top crust to vent the steam. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until top crust begins to brown. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes. All ovens are different, so watch your pie. Cooking times can vary. Cool until barely warm or room temperature before cutting & serving.

It is great served with vanilla ice cream or a slice of cheddar cheese or even just some cream or milk over the top.

My DH always says "this is the best one ever". As my Grandma would say --he knows which side his bread is buttered on. (To keep the pies coming!)

Happy Baking,
Fran

Saturday, January 07, 2006

WCB 31


Don't let the cat out of the bag! This is my sweet Tilly. Why do cats love to get into things? Bags, boxes, cabinets, etc? She gets inside of everything she can squeeze into--and loves it. She then gazes with those big round golden eyes as if to say "Do you see me? You see me don't you? Come play!" I'm sure there are lots of cute kitties out there this weekend for WCB 31. Enjoy them all.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year's Dinner Recipe & Photo Swap

Happy New Year to all! This was our New Year's meal which I decided to submit to Melissa Cooking Diva's Dinner Recipe & Photo Swap. The menu was--

Black Eyed Peas (with a splash of hot sauce)
Fried Okra
Baked Uncured Ham
Cornbread (with Honey Butter)

These are all foods we love at anytime of the year but we always have the Black Eyed Peas on January 1st. We must! It is tradition! It was a great meal. The cornbread doubled as dessert for me since I topped it with honey butter. (Must admit I used a mix for the cornbread this time). I think DH did sneak back in for some cool creamy rice pudding made earlier.
This is the center of our traditional New Year's meal. I have prepared it many different ways over the years, including a version call "Hoppin John". These were prepared quite simply just using a package of dried Black Eyed Peas according to package directions using the quick soak method. Basically, you can soak the peas overnight and drain or boil them for a couple of minutes & let them set for an hour drain and cook with your seasonings. After draining & rinsing the "quick soaked" peas I browned about a cup of purple onion, one shallot, one diced carrot, and about a cup of diced sweet red, yellow and orange peppers in a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. After these were brown, I added the peas back to the pot along with about 6 to 7 cups of water. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for a couple of hours. I like to use chicken stock for the liquid sometimes but it tends to be salty so I opted for water. To give it the nice thick consistency you can take out about a cup of the peas, mash them and add them back to the pot. After they are plated we add a splash of hot sauce.
We love okra any time of the year but I decided on having it with this meal to satisfy the "green" requirement of a traditional New Year's meal. We have okra in our summer garden so it was fun to use something that was homegrown. You don't need to slice the okra but I did. I used about 3/4 pound of okra (you can find it frozen--use sliced or not). Since the okra was frozen I simply rinsed it in a colander placed it in a plastic container and added about 3/4 cup of cornmeal I had seasoned with 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt and black pepper to taste. Use more or less of those seasonings to suit you. Shook all of the mixture up in the container and add carefully to a pan of hot oil. Fry it until it is as brown as you like. Drain on paper towels. I will post one of our favorites in the future--Okra Salad--yum!
The ham on the menu was delicious. It was an uncured ham (no nitrates, etc.) that I found at Costco. There will be no waste to it . It is all "ham". The only preparation I did was wrapping it in foil and baking it at 375 degrees for about an hour. It was great for dinner and will make good sandwiches and breakfasts too! Ham is traditional at the holidays for us. Sometimes cooked in the Black Eyed Peas. Very traditional would be to use a ham hock in the cooking of the peas.
Thanks to all who have visited my blog. I hope to have some flavorful posts in 2006. Thanks to all who gave their vote to "Granita". A great looking cupcake won. Happy New Year to all and please visit again.

Fran