Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cherry Pie!

One of my favorite recipe blogs, Simply Recipes, posted a recipe for Sweet Cherry Pie a few weeks ago and I could resist the temptation to try it.  I have never made a real cherry pie and, no offense mom to your can cherry pies, but no one in my family has to my knowledge.  After pitting three pounds of cherries, I can see why.  I think I spent most of Center Stage pitting cherries and my fingers were stained for days.  

I couldn't wait for it to cool, so it was a bit liquidy in the pictures but was still amazing!
Despite all of that, it was totally worth it. Delicious!  I didn't use the Simple Recipes crust, I used my own quick pat in the pan recipe from good old Betty Crocker.  I think I am going to have to make this again soon...  

  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoon milk
  •  5 cups sweet cherries, pitted (I used Bing and it was about 3lbs unpitted)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp of butter, cut into small pieces
Egg wash:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 table spoon milk
  • Coarse sugar for sprinkling


  1. For the crust, combine the flour, sugar and salt together.  Mix in Oil and water. Set the rest aside. 
  2. Place the pitted cherries, sugar, almond extract, lemon juice and corn starch in a large bowl. Toss until the cherries are well coated with the sugar and other ingredients.
  3. Press 2/3 of crust into a 9 -inch pie pan to make the bottom. The edges should extend beyond the edge of the pie pan a bit. Place in the refrigerator while you roll out the top crust.
  4. Roll out the top crust to be a few inches bigger than your pan on a lightly flour surface.  I like to roll it between wax or parchment paper since this crust is flaky, it like to break. 
  5. Place the filling in the pie plate. Dot with small dabs of butter. 
  6. Cover with the top crust, use the wax paper to keep it together while you move it over the filling and flip it over.  Trim the edges. Crimp to seal the edges of the top and bottom together. Score the top crust with cuts so that the steam can escape while the pie is cooking.
  7. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before cooking.
  8. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  9. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a tablespoon of milk. Use a pastry brush to brush over the top crust (I do not have a brush so I just use a paper towel and it seems to work fine). Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar.
  10.  Place the pie in the middle rack, with a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any pie drippings. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temp to 350°F and cook for 35 to 45 minutes longer, or until the crust is nicely browned and the filling is thick and bubbly.
  11. Allow to cool completely before serving. ( failed at this step, but it was so worth it!) 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Eggplant Experiments

It's getting really hot here. And really humid.  And I hate it.  The only plus side is using the grill. Then again, I can do that when it's not 90 degrees at 80 percent humidity.  Regardless of all that, lets get to the cooking.  My grill go to is burgers and some grilled veggies or potato packet.  So I decided to change it up a bit.  A while ago I tore out a recipe from Martha Stewart Living for Charred-Eggplant and Beef Burgers and bought some Italian eggplants this weekend that needed to be used.  Of course I totally botched it.  I mean I completely ignored it on accident.  

The go to: yummy burger with grill zucchini and potatoes.
Let me explain, my massive screw up.  I skimmed the recipe way back when and I knew I had to dice up the eggplant.  What I didn't know was that I was suppose to grill it for 30 minutes, let it set, peal it, and then dice it up and mix it with the hamburger meat.  I just started dicing up the eggplant raw.  Opps. The lesson here is always read your recipes through completely first!

Normally I am very good about this rule.  However, had I read this I would not made it because it takes 3 hours and I do not have 3 hours on Wednesday night to make dinner and in the end my mess up really wasn't bad at all.  I actually really enjoyed it and would recommend it.  I sort of mixed up the sauce that is in the original recipe and I  may have to mix it up for other burgers, it was pretty good.  I only used half of the eggplant and I sliced the other half, coated them in olive oil and grilled them with a bit of salt and pepper.  Also very good, but I have decided that while I like eggplant the flavor, I am not a a fan of its texture.  In the burger it was fine, grilled, I couldn't eat too many pieces, but I would still recommend trying it out.

Eggplant Burger  (one serving)
Please note that I kind of threw this together, so the measurements are approximate. 
  • 1/4 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup diced eggplant
  • 1 slice of Munster cheese
  • 1 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tbps chopped dill pickle
  • 1 tsp plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1 burger bun
  1. Heat grill to high. Mix the ground beef and eggplant together and make into a patty and grill for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through. If you want to grill some eggplant, I put them on the grill about half way through cooking, when I flipped the burger.
  2. Mix the ketchup, yogurt, dill pickle, and mustard together.    
  3. Place the cheese on the burger and the bun, cut side down on the grill.  Cook for one minute.  Spread the sauce on your bun, place your burger on the bun and 
Eggplant burger and grilled eggplant slices

Saturday, July 16, 2011

MIA appoligies.

So for the few of you that read this I fully apologize for my lack of posting.  It's summer and the Fourth of July,  my birthday, and a trip to Boston have consumed much of my time.  I have been baking and cooking, but mostly quick summer things that everyone knows or I've already posted like avocado dip or  spinach salad paired with yummy burgers and hot dogs on the grill.  

4th of July Big Boy Skakes
Birthday and Stamping Party in the Park
Sam Adams Brewery Tour in Boston
Typical summer dinner. mmmmmmm

Subject: hot gooey sticky sweet caramelly meringuy stuff

I've also made some delicious family recipes that, as much as I would love to, I simply cannot share.  I might not be allowed back in to South Dakota if I did.  Since I cannot share the recipes, I thought I would share my coworkers hilarious emails about the rhubarb torte and promise to post new recipes soon. I have a a lot of delicious grill recipes that I want to try and some great summer desserts to try out.
Without further ado, Pascale's reaction to torte:

this is the best thing you've done yet. it's gorgeously yummy. i wish i hadnt heated it up cos the crust on the bottom (whatever that's called) is the best thing (yes the meringue is a lovely touch) but the crust is terrific, and when you don't heat it up it comes through more, a bit more crunchy, and it doesn't get lost in the rhubarbness. and when you find rhubarb, it's like finding money or a jewel or something.  

if i didn't have an intern sitting under my nose, i'd lick my plate clean....maybe in the "kitchen"

i heated it up too much! give me one more chance, oh pleeeeze! (just kidding)
thanks, thanks and thannks!@(#$@)*#

Subject: update

it really is like kinda a drug. you get all excited and wide eyed and alert, and everything in your head seems alright again.
what the hell
dangerous slippery road your kitchen-creation.
tis better cold.
you get to taste everything distinctly
thanks for my second chance !
my plate is already half-empty
no! i mean half full.
i am so lucky sometimes.
thank you