Friday, September 28, 2012

Quick Mini Apple Pies

I'm becoming a big believer in Sunday Dinners.  Last week was a delicious Pot Roast (more on that later) and I decided to make apple pie too.  I didn't want to make a whole pie as that would be too much tempting goodies around for the rest of the week, so I made two small apple pies...using a quick method I just kind of figured out as I went along.

I started with the two Corning-ware 16 oz bowls in their oven safe bakeware.  To make things even easier, I used at Pillsbury pre-made pie crust.  I rolled out it to make it a bit larger (by the way...always do this before using, it fixes the rolled up crusts odd shape where the one end is all curly).  I then cut it in half both ways to make four quarter circles. I placed two quarters in each dish with the pointed ends overlapping and letting the extra hang over the side.

Now it's apple time.  For the sizes dishes I used, I peeled cut and cored 5 apples.  I sliced these into a pot and added 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.  I stirred this up and cooked it on the stove top (medium heat) until the apples were saucy and tender (about 20 minutes).

To thicken the sauce, I put 1 tsp of corn starch into a bowl and added a few spoonfuls of the juice from the pan.  I stirred that up and added it back into the pan stirring until well distributed.  The sauce thickened very quickly.  I removed it from the heat and added 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, stirring throughly.

I poured half of the apple mixture into each prepared bowl, put a few small dabs of butter over the top of the apples and then folded the overhanging pie crust over the top of the apples.  Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes.

I must warn oven is acting up (service coming today), so your pies my brown up faster than mine.  Start at 30 minutes or so and then keep an eye on it.

Here is the finished product.  It was perfect and tasted exactly like apple pie. Which honestly surprised me.  Serve ala mode and enjoy.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Farmhouse Update #1

I haven't mentioned this before, but at some point BW and I will be moving out to his house at the farm.  This move has been pending for at least...two years.  BW's work-life just keep getting in the way when he spent a year and half working in Georgia.

In addition, we were also doing some repairs and remodeling that got halted mid-way through.

Now, that he is back home and working for himself, we are finally making some progress on the kitchen. This week, the countertops are finally being installed and we have picked out our backsplash.

You are going to have to use your imagination a bit as these are all just samples, but here is the idea behind the backsplash:

The bottom square tile is the countertop. (It is actually a grey/taupe color of Silestone called Amazon Leather.)    The middle section of the backsplash will be an 11 inch wide section of the blue, green and taupe glass tiles.  There will be a border of white subway tiles below and above the glass tile, with the subway tiles going up behind the cooktop.

Can you squint your mind's eye and see it?  I really like it, although this is the first backsplash I've ever picked out.  There is only one wall needing a backsplash as the rest of the kitchen is very open.

What do you think?


Monday, September 17, 2012

Peach Hand Pies

I am still trying recipes out of the July/August edition of Food Network Magazine.  This will be the 5th recipe I've made from this edition, which is pretty amazing.  My usual goal is to make one thing so as to make my investment worthwhile.

Last night I made Peach Hand Pies.  The original recipe calls for Cherries, but since they weren't available, I switched to peaches.  (The peaches lately have been wonderful.)

Here's my version:

They were very yummy and perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Considering these little pies are fried, they were surprisingly light.

You can find the recipe here: Cherry Hand Pies

Have a great Monday.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

BLT Pasta

I got a free edition of a cooking magazine called Cuisine at Home.  I've never heard of it before, but I took a good look at it yesterday.  It doesn't have any advertising in it, kind of like Cook's Illustrated.  So it's just page after page of what seem to be very doable home-cooking style recipes.  I'm going to test out a few, before I decide to subscribe.  I will let you know how this turns out.

The first one I decided to try was a BLT Pasta. I chose this one because I happened to have most of the ingredients.  Here is the finished product:

It was really delicious and very quick and easy.  Great week-night dinner.

I did make some changes as it called for leeks and I didn't have any, so I used onion.  It also called for one tsp of red wine vinegar.  For those of you who know me well, you know I don't do vinegar.  I know it's may sound crazy...but we all have things we don't like.  My two biggies are vinegar and rice.

Here is the recipe WITH my changes.  Feel free to add 1 tsp of red wine vinegar when you add the broth.  But, please don't tell me about it.

BLT Pasta
4 strips of bacon, diced
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/2 tsp sugar
1 med. onion, diced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
6 oz. pasta of choice
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/4 tsp minced fresh thyme
1/4 cup grated parmesan plus extra for topping

Garlic Bread Crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to boil for pasta. Cook pasta per package directions and drain.

Mince garlic and process in food processor with bread cubes or bread crumbs to mix well.  Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add crumbs and toast until nicely browned.  About 5 minutes.  Salt to taste.

Cook bacon until crisp.  Remove with slotted spoon onto paper towel to drain.  Pour off all but 1 Tbsp drippings.  Caramelize tomatoes and sugar in drippings over medium heat.  Cook until tomatoes begin to brown.  About 5 minutes.  Add onions until soft.

Deglaze skillet with wine.  Simmer until liquid is almost evaporated.  Add broth and red pepper flakes. Reduce by one third.

Add the spinach, thyme and cooked bacon to tomato mixture.  Stir well.  Add the cooked pasta and grated parmesan, toss to coat.  Divide pasta among plates and sprinkle with bread crumbs and grated parmesan to taste.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Seriously now...just try and not smile when you look at this guy.

Can't do it can you?  He just brightens everyone's day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

End of Summer

With my container garden quickly fading, I was surprised to see this when I looked out this morning.  One little strawberry.
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I haven't had any strawberries for at least a month or so.  Hi little guy.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Blog Issues

Have any other fellow Blogger bloggers been having problems opening up their blogs over the week-end?

Well I could not open my blog all week-end.  I could get to my dashboard to access posts, comments and settings.  But every time I tried to open my blog, it told me the server was not available.

From what I can tell from the Blogger Forum, where I've been hanging out a lot, one of Blogger's servers was down and that server was the one my blog was pointed to.  Duh.

Why their down server became my problem I don't know, but after a shifting through a lot of unnecessary links and more tech speak than I ever care to read again, I finally figured out how to add all four Blogger servers IP addresses to my DNS.  (Just typing this made want to buy a pocket protector.)

Small pain in the arse, but things are all better now.