Archive for November, 2011

Pasties the meal that forgives

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Pasty (rhymes with nasty) is a British pastry filled with an uncooked center, folded, sealed, & baked. Pasties is plural for pasty, not to be mistaken for it’s seductive friend Pasties. Pasties & Pasties aren’t easy to confuse if spoken aloud. But onwards!

Apricot-Sweet Potato Pasty
1 recipe Hand Pie dough (last tuesday’s post)
1 c diced, dried apricots
¼ c bourbon (I used Jim Beam Black Double Aged)
2 med sweet potatoes (1lb)
½ c +2tsp sugar
2 TBSP unsalted butter
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground fresh nutmeg
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp kosher salt
2 TBSP heavy cream (egg wash)
1 large egg, lightly beaten (egg wash)

1. Prep hand dough
2. In a small bowl (or 1 c measuring cup) combine apricots & bourbon; soak 1 hr, until softened & most liquid absorbed. I fill the measuring cup with bourbon, slightly below the rim. Preheat oven to 400°.
3. Wrap sweet potatoes in foil. Bake 45-55 minutes; until soft. Remove, discard foil, cool potatoes slightly. Remove & discard peels.
4. Reduce oven temp to 375°. Filling: combine sweet potatoes, apricots, bourbon, butter, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, salt in a large bowl. Mash like homestyle potatoes.
5. Lightly grease (or use parchment paper) 2 rimmed baking sheets. On a lightly floured surface roll out pie dough to ≤¼” thick. With a 4-5″ circular cookie cutter, cut 16-20 rounds, rerolling dough as necessary. 1 heaping TBSP filling in the center of each round. Leave a ½” border of dough.
6. Mix cream & egg to form a dough wash; using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the rounds; fold in half and crimp the edges of the pasty together. Use a fork or your fingers, sealing it well. It may get messy! Vent the top of the pies with two slits.
7. Arrange pies on prepped sheets. Brush tops with remaining wash; sprinkle with the extra 2 tsp sugar. Bake 18-20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through cook time. Should be golden brown. Wisest move is to bake one sheet at a time & prep the second sheet.
8. Remove from oven & cool. Serve warm or at room temp.

**Wrap the cooled pies in saran wrap (individually) & place them in a freezable container for up to 1 month. To thaw, sit out at room temp & serve. Will stay in fridge for 3 days.

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Taking a Sabbath

Sorry, taking a Sabbath today.    See you on Tuesday!

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Giving Thanks

Short & will return another day!

2 Corinthians 9:11 NIV84

You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

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Pie makes the World a Crusty Place

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Today’s recipe is a portion of my newly tested Apricot-Sweet Potato Hand Pies. We start with the dough, then we’ll roll into the filling next week.
I made a test batch last week to get times, ingredient list, & skill levels.

This dough isn’t hard, but something that would help is a steel blade pastry blender. Most people have a little one with wires that cut the fats into the flour mixture until coarse crumbs form. This recipe however uses cold butter. Something I learned the hard way is that a little wire pastry blender won’t cut it, no pun intended. Invest in a heartier pastry blender if you’re going to be cutting the cold hard butter.

Hand Pie dough is high in fats because fats make things flakier, golden, and moist. Please remember to check how much of each ingredient you need before attempting, it’ll be a cold day in hell’s kitchen otherwise!

Hand Pie Dough
• 4 c all purpose flour
• 6 TBSP sugar
• 1/2 tsp kosher salt
• 1 lb cold unsalted butter, cubed
• 2 large egg yolks
• 6 ± TBSP ice water, more as needed

The skill on this dough is keeping it chilled while working it.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Skill level: Easy Intermediate

1) In a very large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt. With your pastry blender, quickly cut butter in the flour mixture. It should resemble coarse meal.
2) Combine egg yolks & ice water; stir to mix. Add to flour meal & stir with a fork until just clumping & all the dry ingredients are moistened enough to pat together. Do not overmix. Dough should not be wet or sticky.
3) Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface and with lightly floured hands, form in a ball. Divide dough evenly into 4 portions; forming each into a flat disk. Plastic wrap each disk; refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens Nov 2011

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SSS: When scared, where do you look?

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Just a few verses for when you’re afraid or fearful.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; 
   he delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

 

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TT: Beautiful Places, Beautiful Faces, Not So Beautiful Endings

Beautiful Places filled with Beautiful Faces but not so Beautiful Movie Endings…

Movies that end without a happy ending, but I don’t want to spoil it for you, so if you ever want to watch these few movies, don’t go in expecting a happy ending. I won’t tell you what happens, but overall it’s not a joyful ending, there’s a little sadness to make the film so great. Yet, they’re filmed in absolutely beautiful scenery.

Hawaii  One Way Passage

William Powell, Kay Francis

“Always the most precious, the last few drops. That’s luck.”

Tahiti The Devil at 4 O’Clock

Frank Sinatra,

 “It is hard for a man to be brave when he knows he is going to meet the DEVIL at 4 o’clock”

Hollywood Sunset Boulevard

Gloria Swanson, William Holden

“And I promise you I’ll never desert you again because after ‘Salome’ we’ll make another picture and another picture. You see, this is my life! It always will be! Nothing else! Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark!… All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up. “

Los Angeles The China Syndrome

Jack Lemmon, Jane Fonda, Michael Douglass

“He was not a loony. He was the sanest man I ever knew in my life.”

Carson City The Shootist

John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, James Stewart, Ron Howard, Scatman Crothers

” Mister, this is my birthday. Gimme the best in the house. “

Rome Roman Holiday

Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn

“Joe, we can’t go running around town with a hot princess! “

London The Prince and The Showgirl

Laurence Olivier, Marilyn Monroe

“Sweetly pretty. She should use more mascara. When one is young, one should use a lot of mascara. When one is older, one should use much more. “

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Tipsy Tidbit Tuesday: Candy is Dandy

…But Liquor is Quicker!

This week’s TTT is focused on liqours, basic know-how, and types so that when you consume it (in your food of course) you know what you like & possible what to sub, but hopefully enough to purchase the correct kind!
I’ll go ahead & mention the three main base ingredients: corn, grain, sugars (including fruits). These items are then distilled, mixed with others, aged & bottled according to proofs.
The alcohol count is doubled, thus the proof is 2*Alcohol%.
Here are your major 6 groupings for liquor:
1. Brandy – made prominently from grape mash & other fruits aged in oak.
Types: cognac, armagnac, american, applejack & fruit flavored
2. Gin – very dry made of grain with juniper berry flavoring. Clear, & aging is unimportant. 
Types: dry, golden, old tom (sweetened), flavored & vacuum-sealed
3. Rum – prominently made in the Caribbean, distilled from sugar, molasses & syrup, then aged in oak. Two main colorings.
Types: light bodied (pale, dry) & heavy bodied (dark, sweeter)
4. Tequila – agave plant & depending on use can be aged or not. Usually colorless, unless special aging.
Types: regular (mix drinks), Anejo (shots)
5. Vodka – clear, odorless, tasteless, & distilled from grain, potato, molasses & unaged.
Types: flavored (american), straight, Zubrovka (buffalo grass herb)
6. Whiskey – biggest variance other than brandy. Distilled from a grain mix (important!) & aged in oak. The grains make the variance; corn, rye, barley or wheat.
Types: American – Bourbon (51% corn mash) in charred oak; Rye (51% rye mash) aged in oak; Corn (80% corn mash) aged in recycled charred oak; Blended straight & neutral grain spirits
Irish – blended barley & grain whiskeys with malt dried in kilns. Full bodied & not smoky in taste
Scottish – Scotch is barley & malt dried over peat for smokiness
Canadian – blended grains, not sold in US

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SSS: Pray It Up!

There was a prayer convention this weekend in Detriot. There was an article on Yahoo News about how destruction & worriesome prayer was from the Christians. It was dangerous & could increase conflict & attacks on the heavily Muslim city.
Did you read that?! They think Christians praying for healing, peace, & conversion of the country is dangerous & worriesome.
Well, they’re right.
As Tom Nelson preached last week, Christians don’t pray, but if we did, the world would be changed. I think Yahoo had it right sortof, we are dangerous when we gather to pray.

Nehemiah 1 & 2:
Nehemiah opens with the city of Jerusalem was unprotected, the was destroyed, the gates burned & Nehemiah was living in service under the king of Susa.
Nehemiah had some family visit who told him the news of Jerusalem & he wept. He grieved & prayed & fasted for days as he asked God for the ability to fix his city.
He approached his king to serve him his wine & the king noticed his grieving. The king asked why so sad & Nehemiah prayed. He prayed his king would let him go to his home & fix his city. Crazy thing is, the king granted him all his requests for safe travels, lumber & release from his servitude.
Our God is so good.

When we pray we can receive innumerous blessings, but God commands us in 1 Thessalonians 5, “pray without ceasing” & as we watch Nehemiah in the Old Testament, he knew the power of prayer.

Have you prayed without ceasing? Have you ever imagined what could happen if our country prayed for revival?

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Where to go 2011…

Where to go with what time is left here in 2011.

Or, you could be like all fashionable people and be a smidge late and breeze through with charm and grace well into 2012.

In States:

  • Park City, Utah – For all those film buffs you get Sundance, or if you love the powder, visit the fabulous new ski slopes!
  • Washington D.C. – A) A historical hotspot B) A artistic hotspot & C) There’s nothing like fresh snow gracing the Tomb of the Unknown, Vietnam Wall, and the Korea Memorial.
  • Atlanta, Georgia – Zoo, botanticals, Coca-Cola, Southern cooking and MLK Jr history; excellent choice for the early January festivities.
  • Houston, Tx – 10 out of 17 FREE museums, affordable hotels, massive airport & balmy weather all year long helps attract people.

International:

  • Iceland – It’s not snowy, it’s greener than Greenland! Also, as poor as their krona is, you can scoop some great nature for a lot less than normal going krona.
  • Greece – Another country lacking great funding, and after avoiding the few areas of upheaval, you find a lot of wine, fish and oil available for inbibing, and if you’re Lucy, you get to make it yourself!
  • Melbourne, Austraila – A capital place that keeps reappearing on lists as the go to place. Arts, culture, sexy accents, and food lovers paradise (so cited by the man with the sexy accent and roughest 5 o’clock shadow you’ll ever see).
  • Stockholm, Sweden – Old school history, shiny palaces, non-nighttime tiptoes across the rooftops, and if you like women with mythical serpent ink, you might just need to step out into Sweden’s cobblestones.

But if you’re so fashionable you’re years ahead of us, then this list will be back in style for you in about 5 years, when it’s retro vintage again.

Thanks to a collection: http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/travel/09where-to-go.html?pagewanted=all http://travel.yahoo.com/p-interests-36899212 http://travel.usatoday.com/deals/inside/story/2011/06/Top-five-bargain-destinations-for-summer-2011/48456820/1 http://www.hostels.com/features/travel-hotspots-2011

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TTT: Food Stars who make me want to cook

Julia Child and said Sea bass

 

Okay, Julia Child is NOT making me list. I’m sorry, livers and Frenched sea bass au grais? Hm… doesn’t sound all that appealing, and all that work! Pah! I think I’ll stick with good food guys, the ones who actually make something I’d like to eat and probably could make without boiling a cat and skinning my own fish. Who made my list? Who made yours?

Compare against the following Top 10 People who’s food I’d actually eat… and cook:

  1. Alton Brown – There’s nothing more awesome than learning why my cheese is so cheesy, and how to make it into the perfect grilled cheese, fats and all. He puts the chef in geek!
  2. Bobby Flay – Yeah, he’s a bit spicy for me, but he cooks homestyle and his show was called Boy Meets Grill, I give him 90s credit!
  3. Duff Goldman – His cakes are really cool… could I make a carousel cake that spins and has more mechanical parts than edible? Probably not, but is watching him set himself and his team on fire really cool? Yeah, yeah I think so.
  4. Lisa Lillien – She makes healthy seem fatty. It’s great. Hungry Girl is every girl’s secret weapon against the evils of grease. And carbs.
  5. Pat & Gina Neely – The most adorable, lovey dovey couple they could find cooking southern fried foods of deliciousness. Nothing else needs to be said.
  6. Paula Deen – I think this lady is super great. If I make any of her recipes, I must buy 2 lbs of butter. Minimum.
  7. Rachel Ray – She’s a bit too perky. She’s also a bit too cutesy (Unlike the Neely’s) with sammich and other adorable names for food that I’d rather just call by their real names. But her food normally sounds easy and delicious, so I have enough grace to allow her short comings.
  8. Ree Drummond – She’s the lady in charge of the wildly successful blog Pioneer Woman. I stole her lemon crumble bar and call it my own. I hope she never finds out, she can out shoot me! She also lives just north of the Red River and might hunt me down.
  9. Sunny Anderson – I’d eat her stuff, but I’d be more likely to make her stuff to spice up my regular food and impress my friends.
  10. Justin Wilson – Pronounced Just-ton Wheel-sun, the great half Cajun comedian, grandpa (he looks like a great grandpa), crazy cook, and best of all, he never seemed to measure anything, it just magically was the right amount and he garonteed that every episode had just as  much humor as roasted and flambeed gator.

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