Tuesday, March 10, 2009

apple pie

Late last week ...

Husband: "Do you know what I would like? I would like an apple pie."

Wife (me): "Okay."

Two days later ...

Wife: "Do you like your apples sliced or chunky?"

Husband: "Sliced thin." Pause. Looks up from doing our taxes. "Are you making me a pie?!?!"

Wife: "Yes."

Husband: "Wow. I am the luckiest man alive." (or something to that effect - lol)

Yes, I do love my husband very much. And I do love to bake. So if you ask me for an apple pie, you'll get a homemade apple pie.

And since it's been a while since I've made one, I consulted what I consider the bible of cooking and baking: "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman.

Ohhh, I love this book. Love love love it! Seriously, if I need a recipe for something - anything - I turn to this first, then Google second.

Let's see, what do I love about this book (and Mark himself)? I love that he is not a trained chef. I love that nearly everything is covered in this one ginormous sized cookbook (808 pages of recipes - that total doesn't include the glossary or index!). I love that the recipes are (as he says) easy, virtually fool-proof, and delicious. Oh and I love that his name is in green letters on his website.

Tony could not get enough of this pie. I think the ultimate compliment when you make something for someone is when they go for a second serving and cut it larger than the first piece. I tried a bite (despite my allergy issues!) and I must say it was pretty darn good pie. I admit though, I didn't make the crust from scratch this time, but Pillsbury sure did pull through for me and it was an awesome crust. Here is the recipe I used with some of my own changes:

Traditional Apple Pie (page 687 in the cookbook)


1/4 cup brown sugar (generous measurement)
1/8 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
4 Gala apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4" slices
lemon juice
2 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 tablespoon of milk
1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust (2 pieces)


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Peel and slice the apples into 1/4" slices and put them in a large bowl. (Note: I only bought 4 apples and the pie was not as tall as most pies, but lucky for me that Tony likes flatter pies.) As you peel each one, sprinkle a little bit of lemon juice on top so that they don't turn brown. Add the flour (which will make the pie less runny) and stir to coat the slices. Add the spices, sugars, and salt making sure to coat the slices well. Place one piece of the crust in the bottom of your pie dish, then pour the filling in. Dot with pieces of butter, then place the second crust on top. Crimp the edges together to seal, then slice three 2" cuts in the middle of the pie to allow steam to come out. Brush milk on the top of the crust. Place the dish on a baking pan (just in case the juices run over while it bakes) and put in the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and then bake for 40-50 minutes depending on your oven. Remove from the oven and let it cool down for at least an hour before you dig into it.

Bon appetit!

Monday, March 2, 2009

food = love?

It does when it's a plate of medium rare lamb and cheesy mashed potatoes. :) Gotta love affordable rack of lamb from Costco.

We stopped at Savenor's on our way home from work today and they happened to have a caviar tasting event going on. (Reminder to self: must sign up for their newsletter online!) Since it's a small store, it was really crowded around the tasting table so we didn't get a chance to try any caviar. But we did get to sample some smoked salmon, smoked trout, and a couple of different champagnes which was a really nice treat. We really enjoyed the smoked trout so I grabbed a pack of them plus some creme fraiche to eat as an appetizer before dinner (I was starving!). It was my first time ever buying either item and I have to say, I think I have a new favorite snack!

garlic prawns

I went to Costco on Friday with the intention of getting a couple of relatively small things and of course, walked out with about a dozen items and a pricier receipt than expected. On my way to the meat section, I noticed a new seafood setup and so I bought a pack of tiger prawns - I think it was like 1.5 lbs. for $15. Plus I got a really nice big piece of salmon and a large tuna steak. So many reasons why I like Costco ... too bad my freezer isn't bigger!

I've never cooked with prawns before, so I Google'd for a recipe. I found a bunch but decided to just roll with it in the end. I put them in a single layer into two casserole dishes - one with just garlic, olive oil, and black pepper for me; one with garlic, olive oil, and cracked red pepper for Tony. Baked them for 10 minutes in a 425 degree oven, and they turned out pretty good. Oh and I added a little dab of butter when I took them out (read that in a couple of the recipes).

And as if that didn't help our garlic intake for the night, I made us some garlic pasta (fettucine noodles) to go with them. Sorry for the blurry photo.


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