Thursday, August 25, 2011

End of the season blogging break!

My kitchen seems to be open 24 hours a day right now.  It's the end of the garden season and I'm busy putting it all into jars for the winter....or drying it in the dehydrator...or freezing it.

The tomatoes are filling my sinks along with onions, cantaloupe and watermelon. There is still one last bed of beans to pick as soon as they are ready...then we will need to dig the potatoes and the sweet potatoes.  I'll be working on corn tomorrow - hoping to get it all into the freezer.

Then there is school.  When I'm not in the kitchen, I'm working on school plans.  This is Josiah's last year of high school.  We're finishing up his 4 year plan.  Although he doesn't plan on college at this time, I kept Josiah on a college track.  That way if he changes his mind, he will have all the subjects he needs for college acceptance.  Personally, I think Josiah will become a famous woodworker - forget the Chippendale day it will be a piece of furniture by Josiah!

Elijah is only one year away from high school - oh my, they are growing up so quickly!

I need to do some work on my website - several pictures have vanished into cyberspace so I'm working on getting those my spare time ;)

All of this to say that I'll be taking a break from blogging for the next week or so. I am finding myself way to tired by the time I get to bed to take the time to blog right now.

I thank you for your understanding and will be back before you know it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do you think they've gone wild?

Remember in November 2012!

Remember in November 2012!

Monday, August 22, 2011

His Endless Gifts

This week I am thankful for my Father, the giver of all good things!

#982 - #994

that He brings peace, no matter our circumstances

that He loves unconditionally

that He is just

that He fights the battles for us...if we let Him

that He protects and loves His children

that His ways are higher than our own

that He is always good

that He is always the victor

that He never fails

that He always forgives

that His eye is always on us as He watches over us

that He never sleeps

that He loved us enough to provide a way to spend eternity with Him!

that He never lets go

As I watch my Father's provision for my family in all things, He leaves me breathless...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Garden News

So happy to say that the jalapenos are done! I had to grab my camera quickly before the boys got them all put away!

They believe there will be enough to do another round of canning...I may try a batch of jalapenos in a sweet syrup instead of the vinegar base....thinking things through.

Still working on the last bed of green beans, corn, tomatoes, dry beans, drying herbs, freezing melon balls, putting up potatoes, sweet potatoes and more. The pecan tree is loaded, the winter squash is doing well. It won't be long before we'll be planting garlic and cover cropping the areas that are finished.

The days are changing - seems a bit early to me for these cool nights and early mornings.  The sky looks different, the air is different...fall is quickly's my favorite time of year!

Are y'all wrapping up your gardens?  Anyone planning a fall garden?


Friday, August 19, 2011

French Silk Supreme Pie - Part 2 - The Filling

Today we finish making this wonderful pie.  Your crust should be baked and cooled.  Your chocolate curls should be in the frig waiting for you. (see previous post!)

 Let's make the filling and you could be serving pie for supper tonight...I know I will be!
The very first thing we need to do is melt 3 one-ounce squares of unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler. We do this first because the chocolate must cool before it can be added to the filling mixture. 

While your chocolate is cooling, you can assemble the rest of your ingredients.  You will need 3/4 cup softened butter, 1 cup sugar, 3 eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla, cream for whipping and a bit of sugar to whip with your cream.

Next, place 3/4 cup softened butter and 1 cup of sugar into a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. I use my Magic Mill mixer - my favorite kitchen tool! Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.  You can see I used the same spatula that I stirred the chocolate with.

Now add your cooled chocolate.  If the chocolate is warm, you will cause the butter to melt and the structure of your pie will be completely different - more like a chocolate cream pie (ask me how I know!)  We are striving for a very high, light filling. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl often!

Now add 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. I'm using my homemade vanilla - yummy!

Next you are going to add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. 
Scrape the sides of the bowl after adding each egg.

You should see the structure of your filling increase in size.
Your filling should not be soupy or "pourable".  It should be thick and rich. You will have to scoop it out of the bowl and lay it in your pie crust.
Make sure you gently push it up against the sides of your pie shell.  It will be higher in the middle than on the edges.

Fill the entire shell and then lick the spatula!
Now place this in the frig for at least 5 hours before serving.
I've served it in as little as 3 hours but it was better after 5.

Now for the "supreme" part - the toppings!
Place heavy whipping cream in your mixer and add sugar to taste - I usually use a bit less than a tablespoon.  The goal is a hint of sweet but nothing that would overpower your pie.  Beat on high until it forms stiff peaks - be careful! - if you over beat it you will have butter!

Aaaahhhh....look at those peaks!
Please! Don't ruin this amazing pie with the chemical concoctions in your freezer section! You can whip your own cream in just a couple of minutes and the taste and texture is far above anything that comes in a plastic tub!

Cover the top of your pie with your whipped cream

Be sure to press your whipped cream to the edges of your pie crust.  This will hide any imperfections and prevent it from "shrinking" in the frig before serving!

Now...find those chocolate curls that you made! Using a spoon, sprinkle them all over your pie!
I think this one needs just a bit more...

That looks wonderful!  Wouldn't this "wow" your family and friends?

Wait till you taste this amazing creation!

This recipe was sent to me by a dear young friend (thanks Lauren!) but you can also find it in the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook!

Next year, my boys want me to enter this pie in the county fair. After looking at the pie entries this year (only 2 pitiful specimens)  I just might do that!
Now, I'm off to make one myself for Shabbat tonight!

Let me know what you think after you taste this divine concoction!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

French Silk Supreme Pie - Part 1 - Making Chocolate Curls

Today, we are making a French Silk Supreme Pie - at least we're getting started.  The "supreme" part alludes to the toppings on the pie. I'm going to show you how to easily make chocolate curls for decorating - it's so simple.  I always start with this part because the chocolate curls need to sit in the frig for awhile before using.  You will NEVER touch the chocolate curls with your bare hands - you'll just end up licking all the chocolate off of your fingers...wait! that a bad thing.....?

You are going to need a large chocolate candy bar, aluminum foil and a potato peeler. I like to use a combination of dark and milk or semi-sweet chocolate.

Pull out a long strip of aluminum foil and lay it on your counter with 2/3 of the foil hanging off.

Now, you are going to pull up the corners that are hanging down and "pinch" them with the sides at the edge of the counter.  You are making a "pouch".

Here's a side view - hopefully this helps you get the idea!
Lay your candy bar in the middle of the foil strip with at least 1/3 hanging over the pouch. Your candy bar should NOT be cold - room temperature is fine.

Place your hand on the candy bar to hold it in place and slowly pull your potato peeler across the edge of the bar.  As the curls are formed, they will drop into the pouch below.

Repeat - as you vary the pressure on the potato peeler, you'll get looser or tighter curls.  Try to do some of each.

Use long and short strokes.

Your "pouch" will quickly fill with chocolate curls, strips and even a bit of powder...don't worry - it's all good!  

When the pouch begins to get full, place a bowl underneath, pull the foil down and allow the curls to fall in the bowl.  It takes a lot of curls to decorate the top of the pie.  Make what you think you will need...and then double that!

Place the bowl of curls in the frig until the filling is done.

Easy as pie!

Tomorrow the filling!


Monday, August 15, 2011

His Endless Gifts

I'm off for a few days!  Rest in who He is!

I'll be back on Wednesday and I'll be sharing the recipe for the French Silk Supreme Pie!

#975 - #981

that He is El Roi - the God who Sees

that He is El - the Strong One

that He is El Shadday - the Almighty, All-Sufficient God

that He is Yah Veh-Nissi - the Lord Our Banner

that He is Yah Veh-Shalom - the Lord Our Peace

that He is Yah Veh-Raah - the Lord My Shepherd

that He is Yah Veh-Sham - the Lord is There


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gramma's "Never Fails" Pie Crust - Pt. 2

Some of you may be asking..."Why are we making homemade pie crusts when it is so easy to use those store bought things?"

Have you checked the ingredients in those store bought things? Here's what you'll find in the name brand, "unroll and fill" pie crusts...

"Bleached flour, partially hydrogenated lard with BHT and BHA (to protect flavor), wheat starch, water, salt, rice flour, xanthum gum, potassium sorbate and sodium propionate (peservatives), citric acid, yellow 5 and red 40."

And they actually call it homemade???!!! Do I hear a collective YUCK?!

Let's see if we can't do better...even though it might take 5 minutes more to create a pie.

Now that you know what ingredients you need, it is time for the recipe and a picture tutorial! We'll be making a single crust pie today.

Gramma's "Never Fails Four Crust Receipt"

Before beginning get a 2 cup measuring cup and fill it with ice - then with water.  Set aside.

You'll need a good size mixing bowl and a pastry blender. I have used several kinds of pastry blenders over the years and I think my favorite is from Pampered Chef. You can use whatever works best for you.

You are going to place 4 cups of unbleached, all-purpose flour into a mixing bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon of pure cane sugar.
Add 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt.
Now, whisk all of your dry ingredients together until well blended. And set the bowl aside.

Measure out 1 3/4 cups unsalted butter or Crisco.
I'm using Crisco today because a bunch of young males (who will remain nameless but reside in my home!) finished off my unsalted butter...on bagels!
They said they thought it tasted funny.....Hhrrmmmpppp!
Put your unsalted butter or Crisco into your dry ingredients and begin blending using your pastry blender.

At first, the combination will be large "chunks"...keep going!
You are looking for small "pea-sized" pellets.  Be sure to scrape the bottom and throw any loose flour back on top...same with the sides!

When you think it looks ready, it is time to get your hands dirty.
You can't tell if it's ready till you blend it a bit with your hands.  Just run your hands through, squeezing a bit as you go to blend and make sure everything is well mixed - this should only take 3 or 4 seconds - don't blend it to death... you'll make it tough.

Set the flour mixture aside.  Put your egg into a separate mixing bowl.

Add one tablespoon of rice vinegar.

Whisk together. Add only 1/2 cup of your ice water and whisk again.

Add this to your flour mixture stirring just until it's moist.

Don't overwork the dough or it will be tough!
Knead lightly right in the bowl for 10 seconds or less to make sure it is thoroughly mixed.
Turn out onto very lightly floured dough board - too much flour and it will be tough!

Form a large ball - cut that ball evenly into quarters.

Pat each quarter into the shape of a ball. Try hard to make them close to the same size.

Wrap each ball with plastic wrap and place into refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.

Anything you aren't going to use right away, put into the freezer.  I put mine into a zip-lock freezer bag.
I have a note on the bag reminding the boys not to throw the bag away when it is empty - I can reuse it until the zip-lock doesn't hold anymore. (Wouldn't Gramma be pleased we are "makin' do"?!)

While you are waiting for your crust to chill, grease one of those glass pie plates we talked about in my last post.

Flour your dough board and get your dough out of the refrigerator when it is thoroughly chilled.  The secret here is to use enough flour to keep the dough from sticking but not so much that you make the crust tough. The colder the dough the less it will stick!

I flatten the ball with the heel of my hand before I start rolling.

Begin rolling from the center out to the edges in each direction - remember you are making a circle!
Once around the circle and then I flip the dough and do it again - I want this fairly thin and much bigger than my pie plate.

Have a nice big circle?  Good!
Fold that circle in half.

Now do it again.

Looks like a triangle?  Good.
Place that triangle in your pie pan with the point in the middle - it sort of looks like a huge piece of pie!

Gently unfold and fit it to your pie pan - make sure it is laying directly against the glass - not "draped" you don't want to leave space between the dough and the glass or your crust will shrink!  You should have plenty of "overhang".
You are going to use that overhang!  Scrunch a bit of it up and pinch it between your fingers to make a pretty edge to your pie....if you are making a single crust pie. I use two hands to "pinch" but no one was home to take pictures. The pinch is between the thumbs and forefingers of both hands.
Do this all round the edge.  At this time, scrunch together any tears and smooth.
Can you see my "patch job" where the crust was torn?  No one will ever know....sssshhhhh!

Even after you have pinched your crust, you will still have overhang.  Let's cut that off.  You'll need a sharp knife.

Hold your knife horizontally under the edge of your glass pan.  Move it along the edge letting the glass above guide you and cut off any crust hanging BELOW the edge of the glass pie pan.  As you do this, lightly push the edges back to the glass if they are pulled away. Just a light pat around the pie usually takes care of any problems.
Don't throw the "leavings" away as Gramma said - I'll tell you later what she did with them!

Now..what a pretty pie crust!  Take a fork and pierce all over your crust - this will help keep it from bubbling up. Be sure to do the sides!

Slide this beautiful thing into a 450 degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes or 400 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes.  Keep an eye on it till you know how your oven cooks.

  It's done when it has a light golden color!
Just wait till you fill and taste it!  YUMMY!

You can do several things with the dough you cut from the edges. You can form a ball and put it back in the plastic wrap and freeze it. Sometimes, after baking several pies,  I'll end up with enough to do another crust - or a lattice top.

Gramma used to roll it out, fill it with a thin layer of  her homemade jam, fold it over, brush the edges with egg white and pinch them closed with a fork and bake it! I think they call those pop-tarts now but I'll guarantee they don't taste as good as what Gramma made!

Sometimes she would brush it with melted butter, cut it into strips, then sprinkle the strips with cinnamon and sugar!  

Sometimes I'll add a pinch of garlic to the butter and substitute herbs from the garden for the cinnamon and sugar.  
Yummy with a salad!

Let me know if you have any questions...and after you make one I really want to hear what you think!

Now...go bake a pie!

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