Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cran-Apple Pie

As most of you know by now I am "crust-challenged, but I have found a solution to my dilemma. Cookie Cutters ! Cranberries are in season, now is the time to buy for "now and later". I have a few bags tucked into the freezer, who says we can't eat cranberries year round ? Since I already had sliced apples in the freezer, this was a quick dessert.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cran-Apple Pie Recipe

4 cups fresh apples
2 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. flour

Combine apples and cranberries in a large bowl, toss with sugar and flour and set aside.

Pie Crust Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening
6 Tbsp. cold water

Combine flour and salt, cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Add water and mix well. Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured board roll out dough about 12 inches round. Roll up pastry on rolling pin and roll out into pie plate. Roll out second piece of dough and cut out shapes.

Pour fruit into pie shell and place cut-outs on top, sealing at edges. Brush with milk, sprinkle with sugar. Bake about 45-50 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned and fruit is tender.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mushroom Soup

“Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish.” Louis P. De Gouy, The Soup Book (1949)

If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you know by now that if you are looking for gourmet, you won't find it here, just simple home cooking. Well, throw away the cans ladies and gents, this mushroom soup has short prep time and is ready in 30 minutes. OMG, it is soooooo good !

Mushroom Soup Recipe

4 Tbsp. butter
2 onions, chopped
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup half-n-half
3 Tbsp. flour
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 cup sour cream, room temperature

In a soup pot melt butter and sautee onions till translucent, add mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in broth and paprika. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Whisk flour and milk together and add to pot, simmer covered for an additional 15 minutes.

Stir in salt & pepper and parsley. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.

Serve immediately with crusty bread.


Another way to use Thanksgiving leftovers that doesn't involve turkey which, if like me, you are probably pretty burnt out on. I made a basic pasta dough using whole wheat flour and filled it with sweet potato, cranberry sauce and a bit of goat cheese from the Lake Erie Creamery. After boiling I gently placed them in some browned butter in skillet till just coated. First time making pasta and I have to admit it is better than the processed stuff you buy at the grocer.

Following are the steps taken. Divide dough up and roll out, I used a biscuit cutter because I wanted uniform shapes. Each round received 1 tsp. of mashed sweet potato, 1/2 tsp. cranberry sauce and a smidgen of goat cheese. Lightly brush edges with water and seal with a fork.

Drop in boiling water, they are done when they float to the surface, remove with slotted spoon and transfer to skillet with browned butter.

Pasta Dough Recipe

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup cold water
1 tsp. olive oil

Combine dry ingredients, make a well in center. Mix eggs, water and oil and add to dry ingredients. Turn out on well floured board and knead for 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Divide dough in fourths, roll each fourth into a 12 inch square. Cut as desired.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Slow-Food Thanksgiving

The year has turned its circle, The seasons come and go. The harvest all is gathered in And chilly north winds blow. Orchards have shared their treasures, The fields, their yellow grain, So open wide the doorway~ Thanksgiving comes again! ~Old Rhyme

Happy Thanksgiving !

Roasted root vegetables, corn and green beans from summer harvest, Amish-raised turkey and cornbread dressing.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Squash and Sweet Potato Lasagna

This dish is my adaption of the butternut squash lasagna by Giada De Laurentis. I cut up a small butternut squash, a chunk of hubbard squash and a sweet potato. I also eliminated the cookies. This is the first time I have used the no boil lasagna and I have to say that I will probably never boil another lasagna noodle again :)

Squash and Sweet Potato Lasagna Recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
Hubbard squash, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup water

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup dried basil leaves
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Heat oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add the squash, sweet potato and hubbard squash and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, add water and cook until tender. Remove from heat and puree in blender and/or mixer.

Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a heavy pan over medium heat, add flour and blend well. Gradually add milk. Bring to a low boil, turn down heat and simmer until sauce thickens. Add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, blend well. Add basil, salt and pepper (to taste) and remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread a thin layer (about 3/4 cup) of the sauce on bottom of baking dish. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles on top of sauce. Spread 1/3 of the squash over the noodles. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers, ending with lasagna noodles on top. Pour remainder of sauce over the noodles.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese on top and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Served with Sour Cream Bread.

Sour Cream Bread Recipe

1 pkg. yeast
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups sour cream, room temperature
1 Tbsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
4 cups bread flour
4 tsp. vital wheat gluten

Combine yeast, sugar and water and proof for 5 minutes. Blend sour cream with salt and baking soda and add to yeast mixture. Combine flour and wheat gluten and add, one cup at a time, to mixture. Turn out on floured board and knead for 10 minutes.

Place in a buttered bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place till double in bulk, 1-1 1/2 hours.

Punch dough down, turn onto a lightly floured board and knead for about 2 minutes.

Free form the loaf, place on sheet dusted with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in warm place for an additional hour or until double in bulk.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mist dough lightly with water, cut 1/2 inch deep slashes on top and bake for 30-35 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on top and bottom.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gastronomic Adventure

Cathy, Not Eating Out In New York, has the final entries posted for "The Ugliest Gourmet", each contestant has posted a dish that may not look appetizing, but for this contest "the proof of the pudding is in the eating" !

My humble offering to the contest was my Carrot Pie and, as you will see, the food bloggers have entered the ring of culinary challenge with dishes that will be hard to beat.

The Contest ends at midnight, Tuesday, November 20th, so please stop by Cathy's blog and cast your vote for the Ugliest Gourmet !

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Cranberry-Pear Pie

I love this pie because you don't have to worry about making that perfect pie crust. Which works out well for me since although I make a tasty crust, I am inept in making those pretty scalloped edges :)

Cranberry-Pear Pie Recipe

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease a deep dish pie pan.


Pie Crust

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup salted butter
1 large egg
5 Tbsp. cold water

Mix flour and sugar in large bowl. Cut in butter, until mixture is crumbly. Separate egg, setting egg white to one side. Mix egg yolk and water together, add to dough and stir with a fork.

Transfer dough to a well floured board and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 20-30 minutes.

Pie Filling:

6 Pears
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

While dough is chilling, peel, core and cut up pears. Mix pears, cranberries, lemon juice, sugar, ginger and cornstarch in large bowl.
Set aside.

Remove dough from refrigerator, roll out on well-floured board in a large uneven circle, making sure it is at least 4 inches larger than pie dish.

Transfer dough to pie pan, with crust overlapping dish. Pour fruit mixture into crust and dot with 2 Tbsp. of butter, cut into small pieces

Bring the edges of the dough over the fruit leaving an opening in center. Remember that egg white ? Mix the egg white with a couple of Tbsp. of water and brush onto the crust.

Bake for 10 minutes, lower heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 40-45 minutes until filling is tender and crust is a golden brown.

Options: Sprinkle finished pie with powdered sugar, or serve with whip cream or ice cream.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Farms and Foods of Ohio

Boulder Belt blog is one of my favorite reads, written by Lucy of Eaton, Ohio. She chronicles her life as a sustainable farmer and the local food movement.

Lucy's farm is featured in a new book written by Marilou Suszko, a culinary instructor at Laurel Run in Amherst and a free-lance food writer. ''Farms and Foods of Ohio: From Garden Gate to Dinner Plate", ''the book focuses on food grown close to home.

'It gets you thinking about locally grown food, who your farmer is and what they're doing for you,'' said Suszko.

When I visit my local farmers market, I have the opportunity to talk with the local farmers who provide the fresh-picked produce for my table.

Do you know your local farmer ? Do you buy locally grown ?

Willoughby Hills Apple Farm

Nick, Maple Valley Sugarbush & Farm

Farmer Jack

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Sour Cream Bread

Bread baking 101 continues, my first free form loaf is a success ! This bread is good for sandwiches or as toast.


1 package yeast
1 1/3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 Tbsp. salt
1/4 tsp. soda
2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour

Combine yeast, sugar and water and allow to proof for 5 minutes.

Combine dry ingredients. Add sour cream to the yeast mixture, then add flour one scoop at a time beating well after each addition. Turn out onto a floured board, kneed for about 10 minutes.

Shape the dough into a ball and place in a buttered bowl, turn to coat with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm spot till double in size. About 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Punch dough down and let rest for a few minutes. Turn out onto a floured board and kneed a minute or two.

Place in a buttered loaf pan, cover with towel and let rise again till double in size.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven 30-35 minutes, or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped on top and bottom.

Note: I shaped the dough and placed on a sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Covered with a towel and let double in size. Before I placed it in the oven I used a sharp knife and made three slashes across the top. Place a hot pan of water on bottom shelf of oven, and spray bread lightly with water before placing in oven.