Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's Fall time for Apple Pie



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup ice water


  • 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • Equipment: 9-inch aluminum pie pan, 1 medium-sized brown paper bag


*****I substituted brown sugar for white sugar and added 2 tablespoons of Apricot Jam and 1 package of Macadamia nuts *************

Make the Crust: In a food processor combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and pulse until pea-sized pieces appear. Add the water and pulse briefly—it will still look crumbly. Transfer the crumbs to 2 pieces of parchment paper or foil and form into 2 disks. Wrap the discs with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

On a work surface lightly dusted with flour, roll out 1 disk to a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Keep rolling until the circle is at least 2 inches larger than your pan. Line the pie pan with the dough, letting the edge hang over a bit. Roll the second disk, place it on a sheet pan and chill it until you're ready to build your pie.

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Make the Filling: In a medium bowl, toss the apple slices, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg together. Transfer to the pie shell and dot with the butter. Brush the overhanging edges of the dough with water. Carefully cover with the rolled-out top crust and pinch the edges together, turning them under all around to make a thick edge. To decorate the rim, press it all around with the back of a fork, or just pinch it to seal. With a scissors, cut a few V-vents in the center.

Slide the pie into the brown paper bag and fold the top down. Staple bag shut and place it on a sheet pan. Bake for 1 hour.

Remove the pie from the oven and cut a large circle in top of the bag. Return to the oven and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes more.

Let the pie cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Loving this Tattoo

Masala Mac

After a rocky start to my Sunday (my car was towed) I decided to make some comfort food. I have been craving S'Mac's masala macaroni and cheese and just received the recipe. Seriously exciting as it is the BEST macaroni and cheese I have ever had!

Olive oil 2½ Tbsp. plus as needed
Small onions, diced 2
Plum tomatoes, diced 6
Ginger paste 1 Tbsp.
Ground coriander 3 tsp.
Cumin seeds 1 tsp.
Kosher salt 1 tsp. and to taste
Ground red chiles ½ tsp.
Turmeric ¼ tsp.
Whole milk 1¼ cups
Unsalted butter 1¼ Tbsp.
All-purpose flour 1¼ Tbsp.
American cheese, shredded 1 cup
Sharp Cheddar, shredded, divid 1¾ cup
Black pepper, freshly ground to taste
Cilantro, chopped ½ cup
Elbow macaroni, cooked 4 cups
Breadcrumbs ¼ cup


1. Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté onions until almost browned. Add tomatoes, ginger paste, coriander, cumin seeds, salt, ground chiles and turmeric. Reduce heat to medium-low; sauté 10 minutes. Remove from heat; reserve.
2. In saucepan over medium heat, heat milk to boil; remove from heat. 3. In another heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; whisk in flour and cook 3 to 4 minutes (be careful not to brown mixture). Slowly add hot milk, whisking constantly to ensure there are no lumps. 4. Add 1 cup each Cheddar and American cheeses; stir frequently until cheese is melted and sauce slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 5. Remove sauce from heat; stir in sautéed onion-and-tomato mixture and cilantro. Place pasta in large mixing bowl; toss lightly with a touch of olive oil. Pour cheese sauce over pasta; mix thoroughly. Transfer to baking dish. 6. Combine remaining Cheddar cheese with breadcrumbs; sprinkle atop macaroni. 7. Bake macaroni and cheese at 400F until golden and bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Delicious Pasta Recipe

Whenever I don't have very much time to cook dinner (but I don't want to eat a frozen meal) I make this recipe. It is incredibly satisfying, the only problem? I have trouble not finishing the whole pot. 


  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe, stems trimmed
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy italian sausage (casings removed)
  • 1 handful of sundried tomatoes 
  • 1/4 cup grated  fresh Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons artichoke pesto


Cook the broccoli rabe in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 1 minute. Transfer the broccoli rabe to a large bowl of ice water to cool, saving the cooking water. Bring the reserved cooking water back to a boil.

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into pieces with a spoon, until browned and juices form, about 12 minutes. 

Meanwhile, when the reserved cooking water is boiling, add the orecchiette and cook until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Strain the broccoli rabe and add it to the pan with the sausage mixture and toss to coat with the juices. Add the pasta to the skillet. Add in the remaining ingredients. Stir in the Parmesan and serve immediately.

Monday, September 14, 2009

On a happy note, COOKIES!

  • 1 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter flavored shortening, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla .Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until light brown. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely

Guardian Ad Litem

Tonight was my first night of Guardian Ad Litem training and what a night it was. For those of you who don't know the mission of Guardian Ad Litem is to provide a volunteer advocate for every child who is the subject of an abuse and neglect proceeding in South Carolina. All of the statistics were astounding, I had no idea that there are 860,000 children that enter into the foster system each year in this country and 5 children that die everyday from abuse and neglect. It seems impossible, and it is heartbreaking. 

The story that most moved me though was about a nine year old young boy who was living in the woods with his mother and her boyfriend of the week. When DSS finally located the family and removed the young man from his home he was placed in temporary housing. His guardian came to visit him after 2 days and 1 night.  She noticed that his tennis shoes had holes and that his toes were peaking through the end of his sneakers. She told the young boy that she would like to take him to get a new pair of shoes. The young man politely replied that it wouldn't be necessary. She said, "but son it is part of my job I can get you a new pair of shoes since yours have holes." He replied sweetly "No Ma'am that is OK, last night I got to take a real shower, and then when I got out I had clean pajamas and a real bed to sleep in, I've got everything I need." 

Pretty incredible huh? It made me think about all the things I take for granted. Needless to say I'm feeling particularly blessed tonight.

Great quote.

" I would like to beg well as I can to have patience with everything unresolved in your hear and try to to the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which would not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future you will gradually without even noticing it live your way into an answer. "

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Fountainhead

As a person that has always enjoyed reading immensely it is very difficult to pick a favorite author or for that matter a favorite book. That being said The Fountainhead is always at the top of my long list. Ayn Rand may be a little nutty and I found Atlas Shrugged (her more critically acclaimed book) to be long winded but her depiction of Howard Roark as the ideal man has always resonated with my idealistic spirit. Having found out some time ago that she was involved romantically with Frank Lloyd Wright I've often wondered if he served as character inspiration. My friend Lucy who is in the auction business actually owns Wright's rendering of a home he designed for Ayn Rand. Quite the romantic gesture, it's a shame it was never built. 

The Extraordinary Lea Redmond

I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel completely uninspired in the kitchen. Normally a new cookbook or a tour of my favorite cooking blog cures the lack of excitement, but what about this clever set of dice? Another brilliant idea from the lovely Lea Redmond. Available for purchase at leafcutterdesigns