Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Flaky Pie Crust

There’s not much more humbling (read humiliating) than picking up something you’ve written for everyone on the planet to read – in a book, say – only to find out that you were advising precisely the thing that you said you opposed! Bummer.

In the first printing of The Fat Fallacy, I was still using the freezer brand of pie crust and included that in my recipe for apple pie. It was my wife Dottie who, wincing visibly in the checkout line as she squinted along the string of chemical syllables of the ingredients list said, “You’re not going to like this.” Before even looking at it, I recognized the Christmas-Red packaging, the dough boy, and knew it was time to make my own crust.

Tricks of the Trade

What makes a flaky crust? It’s the bits of butter smeared throughout the dough. When the oven heats up, it expands the butter, creating little pockets between layers of the crust.
By spreading the dough with the heal of your hand – what the French call “fraisage”—you get nice layers of butter spread thinly through the dough that expand into a delicate flaky pie crust.
Don’t blow off the refrigeration. The dough needs to relax (don’t we all), and if it doesn’t get this time period it will shrink up when stretched or heated.

This pie crust is excellent, and simple to make. Don’t be intimidated by the length of the directions, as this is mostly just descriptions of what you’ll be doing. Once you get it, it only takes a few minutes to throw together something that blows away anything in your freezer section!

You’ll Need:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 sticks cold butter
  • ~½ cup ice water

Cube the butter by cutting it in half longways, then turn it a quarter turn and cut them longways again.
Now cut it “shortways” into cubes.
Put everything except the butter and water into a mixing bowl.
Mix around the dry ingredients well, and then add the butter.
Using your fingertips, quickly squeeze the butter cubes into the flour mixture to make it mealy.
Make sure the finer bits of flour that aren’t incorporated get pulled up from the bottom of the bowl.
Slowly work your ice water into the dough, forming a ball.
Now put it on a floured board.
Spread the butter evenly through the dough by smearing it, little by little, from the middle outward with the heel of your hand.
Wad it back into a ball, cover with wax paper, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
You can do this ahead of time because it keeps quite well — two to three days in the refrigerator or a week in the freezer.

Making the pie crust:
When you’re ready to make the pie, put the dough on a flour-dusted board.
Sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the dough, too.
With a rolling pin, roll outward from the center.
Be careful not to press too hard.
Direct your movements outward from the center at even angles so your pie crust stays mostly round.
If you find that it cracks at the edges, just pinch it back together.
You may also find that it begins to stick to your rolling pin, and so just dust with a bit more flour.
Keep at this until your crust is about 1/8 inch thin.
Make it round by pinching cracked edges and corralling the more adventurous portions.
On your last roll out from the center, take the pin to the edge of the crust.
As you roll it back toward the center, let the dough curl up with the rolling pin until it is just about on top of the dough still on the board.
Put one hand between these two layers, and the other hand beneath the main part of the crust.
Gently lift and set into your pie pan.
Mold into the edges with your fingers.

Play With Your Food! Make additions to your pie crust!
Depending on the filling, they can be flavored with a sprinkle of cocoa, some citrus zest, cinnamon, or even some very finely crushed nuts like almonds. For a meat pie, try celery seed!

If you are making a pastry like turnovers or fruit tart shell, reduce the flour to 1 cup, add in 1 tablespoon of sugar, eliminate the water altogether, and cut in 4 ½ oz cream cheese (softened of course).

Once they are all blended, gather this dough as before, and refrigerate before rolling out.

FYI!!!Pillsbury Pie Crusts Ingredients: Wheat starch, partially hydrogenated lard with BHA and BHT, bleached flour, water, sugar, rice flour, salt, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate and sodium propionate, citric acid, colored with Yellow #5 and Red #40.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Penne in Tomato Sauce with Crabmeat

You’ll Need
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion minced
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped with juices reserved
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ½ pound lump crabmeat, picked over and flaked
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Pepper
  • 12 ounces Penne pasta, prepared
  • Heat olive oil in a medium skillet.
  • Add the onions and parsley; saute until onions soften, about 3 minutes.
  • Add reserved juices from the canned tomatoes; simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and wine; simmer to blend flavors, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the crabmeat; simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes.
  • Combine with prepared penne
  • Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper or to taste.
  • Serve immediately.

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Shrimp Scampi

You’ll Need
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon peel
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 pounds jumbo shrimp
  • ¼ cup parsley

  • Put butter, salt, garlic, lemon peel and lemon juice in sauce pan melt together-let sit.
  • Peel shrimp and add to above sauce and saute on low-medium heat until done (raw shrimp turn pink, if shrimp is already cooked heat through). Sprinkle parsley as you cook.
  • Serve with parsley and lemon wedges to garnish.
  • Spoon excess sauce from pan over shrimp.
  • Serve over linguini pasta.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Grilled Teriyaki Eggplant

Teriyaki sauce is a easy flavor to create in the home. Enjoy with anything from meats to veggies. 

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Sake
  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 Tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon rice vinegar 
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger root, freshly grated
Directions for Marinade

Combine all marinade ingredients in a small container. Mix well. Let stand while you prep the eggplants.

  • 2 eggplants, (approx 1 pound each)
  • Salt
  • 2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds

Directions for Eggplants

Peel eggplants and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Salt lightly and place in a colander for 30 minutes, then rinse and drain.

Prepare grill. Brush the eggplant slices generously on both sides with marinade. Grill slices until nicely browned and tender.

Cut into strips and place in a serving container. Stir in the scallions. Add enough additional marinade to moisten and flavor the eggplant to taste. Sprinkle with diced peppers and sesame seeds.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Baba Ganoush (Roasted Eggplant Dip)

This is a wonderful dish to make with eggplant that needs to be used up.

You'll Need
  • 1 Large eggplant
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup Tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Lemon wedges
  • Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive oil plus extra for drizzling

  • Set oven to 375F.
  • Wash eggplant and remove stem.
  • Pierce with a fork 4-6 times.
  • Place in baking dish.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until tender.
  • Remove from oven and run under cold water.
  • Peel and mash; set aside.
  • In serving bowl combine garlic, salt, and Tahini.
  • Gradually add water, 2 Tablespoons olive and lemon juice, beating well.
  • Fold in mashed eggplant.
  • Garnish with lemon wedges, finely chopped parsley and olive oil.Serve as a dip with fresh vegetables (carrots, celery, radishes, red bell pepper, tomato, etc) or pita bread.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Delicious Fish

Buttermilk is a key ingredient in this recipe. If you do not have buttermilk you can always use this handy substitution. Mix a 1 cup of regular milk with 1Tablespoon of lemon juice (this is the standard ratio). Let  stand for 10 minutes before using in any recipe.

You’ll Need· 2 pounds rockfish, halibut or cod filets (1/2 or ¾ inch thick)
· Salt
· Pepper
· ½ cup cornmeal
· ½ cup all-purpose flour
· ½ cup buttermilk
· ¼ cup butter
· ¼ cup olive oil

· Rinse fish and pat dry; cut into 6 to 8 equal pieces, if necessary
· Sprinkle with salt and pepper
· In a shallow bowl, combine cornmeal and flour.
· Pour buttermilk into another shallow bowl.
· Dip each piece of fish in buttermilk and drain briefly; then dip in cornmeal mixture to coat lightly on both sides.
· Set aside.
· Melt butter in oil in a wide frying pan over medium heat.
· Add fish, arranging it in a single layer.
· Cook, turning once, until browned on both sides and until just opaque but still moist in thickest part. Cut to test. (about 5 minutes)
· Serve immediately with tangy sauce.

Tangy Fish Sauce
You’ll Need
· 1 cup sour cream
· 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
· 3 Tablespoons chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
· 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
· ¼ teaspoon salt
· 1/8 teaspoon paprika

· In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients.
· Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to blend flavors

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Quick Beer Bread

A participant requested a good beer bread recipe. This one is from the Joy of Cooking cookbook and takes no time at all to make.  We hope you all enjoy it!

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400. Grease an 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch (6-cup) loaf pan.

Whisk together in a large bowl:
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 ½ cups light or dark beer (but not stout), cold or at room temperature but not flat.
  • Fold just until the dry ingredients are moistened. 
  • Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center all the way to the bottom of the pan come out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. 
  • Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on the rack.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce

You'll Need
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Whisk sugar, salt and cocoa powder in heavy small saucepan to blend. Whisk in 1/2 cup water. Add chopped chocolate. Stir over medium heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth and begins to simmer, about 5 minutes. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm chocolate sauce before serving.

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