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June 14, 2017

Summer is the perfect time to get together with friends and family.  Food plays a major part in this ritual.  I love to cook for people; it is my way of showing that I care.  I enjoy making them an assortment of yummy dishes.  Not too long ago, I decided to have an early summer gathering.  Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate, so we could not host it outdoors.  My plans, however, were flexible.  I decided to bring summer inside and share the warmth of good food despite the rainy day.

One of the food concepts that I love comes from the Spanish - tapas, or small plates.  It's basically appetizers or very small dishes that you can put together to make a complete meal.  It provides a lot of food variety as well as allows you to control your portion size.  It's a gathering of different kinds of food.  I've included pictures to show examples of this concept, and how I decided to arrange things.  I hope to inspire you to create your own gathering of food, f...

June 1, 2017

This is the recipe I use when I make a double crust pie.  I found this gem in a magazine in the late 80's and have been using it ever since.  I am the first to admit pie crusts can be a challenge, and my advice to you is to make a lot of pie.  Practice makes perfect.  Please refer to my earlier blog post on pastry dough tips as most of the tips apply with this recipe too.  I have a few additional tips below specifically for the double crust pastry in order to help ensure success in your pie making endeavor.  

Bon Appetit!

Tips:

Before placing the second pie dough over the filling, moisten the edge of the pastry in the pie plate.  Do this by dipping your finger in water and running your moistened finger on the pastry edge.  I usually have to dip my finger in the water several times throughout the process.  

Make sure to gently pinch the two crusts together.  You may want to trim any excess pastry edge.

I like to fold the rim of the pastry dough away from me - to...

April 4, 2017

I think of March as "Irish Month" because of Saint Paddy's Day.  I had a blast cooking up everything Irish last month.  Clodagh's cookbook was one of the one's that helped me most during my endeavor.  The book is beautiful with lots of lovely pictures of Ireland.  There are also amazing food pictures that show you what you are making.  It is an absolute joy to leisurely page through her book and dream of Ireland.  I also dream of eating the delicious food pictured.

Most of the time I found the ingredients to be easily accessible.  Last month one of her recipe's that I featured on the blog was Crispy Chicken with a Creamy Irish Whiskey and Mushroom Sauce.  The recipe ingredients listed a cut of chicken that is not readily available here in the states.  So I substituted the cut with skin on, bone in chicken breasts, and they worked well in the recipe.  I also substituted the wild mushrooms with cremini mushrooms, because I love cremini mushrooms and prefer th...

February 2, 2017

Is it your first time making a pie crust?  Or perhaps you have tried making pastry shells in the past, and it just did not turn out how you thought it would?  Check out these tips!  The tips here are specific to my water whipped baked pastry shell, but some of them are generic.  If you haven't seen my pastry shell post check it out here!

Twenty useful Tips:

1.  For many years, I used Crisco shortening when making pastry dough.  Crisco uses hydrogenated fats in their shortening, so I stopped using this product.  Hydrogenated fats have proven to be detrimental to your health, so I try to avoid these fats as much as possible.  That's not to say that you shouldn't use it if that's the only product you can find.  It is just my preference.  I use Spectrum, a non-hydrogenated all vegetable shortening that I found at the health food store.  The texture is a little softer than Crisco, but it works just as well.  You can also buy it at Amazon....

January 20, 2017

It is getting towards the end of January, and I am guessing all those New Year resolutions on dieting and losing weight are not as appealing as they once were.  I am one of those people that shy away from dieting resolutions.  You might wonder why that is.  You see...I feel it sets me up for failure.  About 4 years ago, I weighed an extra 40 plus pounds.  I would go on diets and lose the weight.  I would then lose my resolve (especially when the food tasted so good) and gain the weight back quickly.  Honestly, my weight has fluctuated a lot in my adult life.  It is a struggle, even today! 

A few years ago, I decided no more diets.  So what did I decide to do instead?  I focused on good clean eating, portion control, and most important, persistence.  By persistence, I mean that even when you indulge once in a while (and believe me, I do indulge occasionally), you still work towards your goal.  For instance, I might decide to have a junk f...

August 2, 2016

I've always wanted to try my hand in making sourdough bread.  I have made many yeast breads through out the years but until now, never sourdough.  Now, I absolutely love creating a loaf of good sourdough bread!  When I began to research the process, I decided to buy my 'starter' through King Arthur Flour (click to go to site).

King Arthur Flour is a wonderful resource for all your bread baking needs (no, I am not receiving ANY benefits from them - this is my opinion of a product I bought).  When I received my starter in the mail, I had to take a picture of the label.

On the bottom of the container in small print it tells me that this starter is part of a starter that was started in the late 1700's!  So when I make my bread with this starter, I am basically eating a part of something from the 1700's!  How awesome is that?  King Arthur Flour also sent a tips and recipes booklet (free) with the starter.  The first page tells you what you need to do to get started with your st...

July 29, 2016

Here are some useful tips for peeling peaches!  This goes along with our featured July pie, but if you make any sort of peach dessert, this tip will come in handy.

Directions:

Place peaches in boiling water for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Remove carefully, and place in a large bowl of ice and water.

The skins should easily peal off with the help of a paring knife! 

Hope this pealing tip was helpful!  Bon Appetit.

(edited by Anna Weicht)

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