A CookBook Recipes & Other Stuff or How to Keep the Kids from Developing Beriberi After They've Moved Away From Home

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Apple Pie

As easy as apple pie? Not really.

I made one last night - and it is really quite good - however, apple pies have this weird tendency to separate from the top crust - as the apples cook, they shrink - so if you pile the apples up way high before it's baked, you end up with an inch of apples and a large attic above between the apples and the crust. Elise at Simply Recipes has an answer for this - she has a lot of good ideas - this one was obvious, but most good ideas are simple!

The answer is to cook the apples in advance - since they will already be shrunken, they won't shrink further and the pie will come out as expected! It should work for any recipe - I will try it next time I make apple pie!

1 pie crust for double pie

5 pounds of apples (mostly cooking apples - Granny Smith, Golden Delicious), peeled, cored and sliced

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 Tablespoons flour - maybe

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp lemon juice (instead of lemon juice you could use a tablespoon of brandy or a tsp of vanilla)

a bit of lemon zest from above lemon

2 tablespoons butter

Mix the sugars and spices together with the lemon zest

Add apples.

Transfer apples to a large, thick-bottomed covered pan or Dutch oven and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, until apples are just tender when poked with a fork, but still hold their shape - about 15 to 20 minutes -

But not so long for the apples to turn into applesauce!

Put the apples in a colander over a bowl to drain excess liquid.

Drain off as much juice as possible.

Let the apples cool, then place in the bottom crust.

Sprinkle with lemon juice and dot with the butter.

Put on the top crust, cut venting slits - so crust won't be soggy and bake at 450F about 15 minutes - on a baking sheet.

Reduce heat to 375F for another 30 minutes or until the crust is brown and the filling bubbling through the vents.

As you can see, apple pies are variable - not to be repetitive - but all cooking is creative. Try a very little bit of cloves, allspice, ginger. The main difference in this pie is the precooking of the apples - the rest is open to negotiation!

Irish Oatmeal

I never liked oatmeal - it was too gluey - kinda like wallpaper paste! But Irish oatmeal is quite another story - it is more like eating rice pudding for breakfast! and the leftovers (this amount of oats makes about 3-4 cups) can be nuked the next day with a little milk and it's even better.

You'll notice I use much less water than is usually called for with Irish oatmeal - I like it a little chewy and not so gloppy - but if it gets dry - you can add a bit of milk before eating - or cream - even better!

2 1/2 cups water

A pinch of salt

1 cup Irish/Steel cut oats

a bit of sugar or honey

fruit - whatever - about 1/2 cup

maybe some walnuts? cinnamon? apples?

In a medium saucepan, add water and salt.

Bring to a boil then stir in oats.

You could add raisins now - or other dried fruit - it makes them softer,
Reduce heat to low.

Cover and allow to cook, simmering gently, for 15-20 minutes until grain is tender and water is absorbed.

It is not necessary to stir the oatmeal as it is cooking.

Dish into serving bowl and top with raisins, dates, peaches - whatever.

Serve with half & half or milk in a small pitcher  - or straight from the carton.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

New England Clam and Corn Chowder

I stole this recipe from - I had this craving for a creamy soup after Christmas - and the photo looked so good - and I got to use my brand new pot!

I didn't change very much, left out the rosemary and added the clams and corn at the very end, because they get tough if cooked. I have rosemary now (2016) but of course I also add thyme ... I couldn't find any good parsley, so I did without that as well. I wouldn't add salt til the end, as I do with all soups - it's really hard to fish out extra salt, and very easy to add more. It tastes exactly as I had planned ...

  • 6 thick bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 8-ounce unpeeled white-skinned potato (I used little red ones - they looked nicer), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 6 1/2-ounce cans chopped clams in juice
  • 1 cup canned corn kernels, drained
  • Chopped fresh parsley

  • Cook bacon in large saucepan over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.
  • Pour out all but 3 tablespoons drippings from pan.
  • Add next 3 ingredients to pan; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Sauté until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle flour over; stir 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Gradually add milk to pan, stirring constantly.
  • Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and cook until slightly thickened, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
  • Add potatoes and clam juice. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
  • Add clams and corn. Sprinkle with parsley.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • You can sprinkle the bacon bits over the top if you like.