Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Sunday, November 27, 2005
For a lot of people, Thanksgiving is Turkey Day. For me, it's pie. It's not that pies are my favorite (I do like them though), but I'm the one who ended up making them every year. I don't mind, since it's a relatively easy dessert to make and does *not* require too much precision (as you wil see with my notes in the end). One pie that I made a lot is the *Sour Cream* Apple Pie. There's actually no sour cream in the filling but a mixture of whipping cream and lemon juice left to thicken. The recipe from Chris' family and unfortunately, nobody could remember where it came from. The original recipe is as follows.
Sour Cream Apple Pie
1 cup whipping cream
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tbs all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups diced apple
Mix the lemon juice and whippng cream together and let it stand 15 minutes until thicken.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix well all wet ingredients, except the apples. Slowly pour wet into the dry and mix until smooth. Add apples and pour into a 10"unbaked pie crust.
1/2 cup butter, cold
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Crumble all ingredients together until consistency of graham cracker crumbs. Sprinkle on top of filling. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Cool before serving.
There are some changes I've made as the years goes by that I find worked better for my taste. I don't like desserts that are too sweet, so I always cut the sugar in the filling to a tad more than 1/2 cup instead of the 3/4 cup. I only use Granny Smiths and I slice them instead of dices. There are probably about 3 medium apples in each pie, I don't know how to measure slices, but I think that's more apples than the original recipe calls for. The topping, even though that's the best part, I cut in half. I've also added a little cinnamon and walnuts to the topping mixture to mix it up before.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Dinner for One
Cooking for myself is so difficult sometimes. When Chris is not having dinner with me, I'm just too lazy to make a whole lot of efforts. A couple of weeks ago, I ended up just steaming a bit of tofu (topped it with sweet soy sauce, green onion, cilantro, and xo sauce), frozen seaweed salad (defrosted of course), and miso soup (miso paste w/ dashi extract mixed with hot water and green onion). I quite enjoyed this meal, but it's not something I would make if someone else is eating with me. Perhaps because I have to admit myself it was a bit a of strange dinner. I made more of an effort tonight though. I decided to list all the dinner for the week Monday, not knowing that Chris will have to go to work tonight. Since I already have all the ingredients ready, I stuck to the plan. I'm glad I did though.
The pork chop was marinated with grated ginger, mirin, soy sauce and rice wine. I think it would benefit with some brown sugar next time. Rice was leftover from Monday, made into fried rice with pineapple. The strange purple things in the background is a purple cauliflower I picked up at the store because it was 2 for $1. It tastes the same as the regular white cauliflower, just have the color of a red cabbage!
Thursday, November 10, 2005
So a friend of ours started college this fall and was visiting one Saturday morning so I decided to make a nice breakfast (or really, in my house, there is only brunch) for her. Nothing better to battle bad college student eating than some good hearty breakfast. I went with a combination of stuffed french toast and country skillet.
The strawberry and cream cheese french toast is simple enough and can be made ahead. Spread cream cheese and strawberry jam between two slices of thick bread. Place in a pan and pour your favorite french toast mixture over top. Leave overnight in fridge so the bread can soak up the mixture and bake until golden brown in the morning. (I don't have the recipe readily available right now. It was courtesy of the Big Book ok Breakfast that I borrowed from my sister.
The country skillet came courtesy of Alton Brown's first book, I'm Just Here for the Food. (I am really selling books today) Basically frozen hash brown mixed with frozen spinach and eggs, placed in a skillet and under the broiler under hash brown begins to brown. Add cheese and crack and egg or two on top and place back under boiler until the egg on top just sets.
Pretty simple and pretty good...I don't know if I helped to combat the ol' Freshmen 15, but I think I brought a little bit of home to our poor college friend.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Alan had his annual Halloween party last weekend. As usual, Chris and I contributed to the food. I made pumpkin sausage pasta and cheddar corn chowder. Chris made gingerbread and pumpkin ice cream. It was his first time making a custard based ice cream and I have to admit it was darn good. I found the recipe online. It's defintely one that I'll have to ask him to make again.
Pumpkin Ice Cream Recipe
1 (8 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup brown sugar
5 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch nutmeg
1 tablespoon bourbon
In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 1/2 cups of the cream and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar. Cook until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the egg yolks, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, the remaining 1/2 cup cream and the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar. Whisk until smooth and the sugar begins to dissolve.
Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and keeping the custard at a low simmer, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, 4 to 6 minutes. Do not allow the custard to boil. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
Place the bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice water, stirring occasionally until cool. Whisk the pumpkin mixture into the custard. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the bourbon during the last minute of churning.
Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days, before serving. Makes about 1 quart.