Sunday, September 27, 2009

Apple Pie, I Die


Okay, here's one for all you traditional pie eaters out there.  Apple Pie. I picked the main ingredient at Bowman Orchards this weekend with some friends.  We also enjoyed some other fall festivities including apple cider donut eating, apple canon shooting, and pony rides.

Overall, a very fun day to be outside and to enjoy the fall.   I met Michele at noon and picked some apples and walked around taste testing the various kinds Bowman's offered. My favorite were the Pinova apples. 


Bowmans also has apples called Razzle Dazzle (actually, they were called Radiant Runkle but I like my name for them better).

Later, Alyson showed up and joined in the apple picking and apple rocket shooting too.  Noah and Katyln stopped by, intent on gathering enough apples to make apple sauce later that day.  Noah sought after the ellusive and (apparently extremely popular) HoneyCrisp.

I originally had in mind to pick Northern Spy apples for my pie: a little birdie told me that those make for good pies. HOWEVER, they are not
ready yet. Check out the apple calendar.   

I took my mom's advice and picked some Macintosh apples for the pie. They were really tart and sweet, which is pretty ideal for a pie anyways.  I also used my mom's pie crust recipe again -- you may recall it from the blueberry pie post. 


RECIPE FOR APPLE PIE:


Step 1: make the dough (2 crusts - for the bottom and top)

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup salted butter (chilled)
1/4 cup ice water


Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. "Cut in" butter with a pastry cutter or fork. Once blended well, sprinkle with the water gradually. Kneed with fingers for about a minute. The dough should be moist and malleable not watery or flaky. Roll into a ball, put back in the bowl, and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. (I didn't use all of the water by the way).

Step 2: make the filling.


2 lbs Macintosh apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (about 9 apples)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 lemon (squeezed)


Prep the apples and put in a large bowl. Squeeze lemon over them and then add the cinnamon and sugar. Coat completely.


Step 3: roll out dough


Cover a table with a few sheets of wax paper. Flour the paper and the roller generously throughout rolling. Separate the dough in 2 equal balls. Take dough #1 and roll into a circle a little larger than 9 inches in circumference. Be liberal with the flour!


Once it's big enough, fold the dough in the wax paper 4 times so it's like this. Then place it in a 9 inch glass dish (lightly flour the dish before) and unfold gently.

Roll dough #2 out in the same way but put it aside.

Step 4: fill the pie.

Add 3 tbsp flour to the filling gently. Make sure it covers all the apples and add a bit more if necessary. The flour is suppose to thicken the pie, so if you want a thicker pie add more and if you want it more juicy add less. Scoop the filling into the pie dish. Spread around and make a little hill in the middle.


Step 5: cover the pie.

Unfold dough #2 on top of the filling. Make sure it's even and then seal the edges with your fingers - you can dampen the crust with a little bit of water to seal it up. Then I make a few slits in the top of the crust.

This time I made leave cut-outs to decorate the pie with the extra dough.




Step 6: coat the crust.

1 Egg (beaten)

Scramble one egg in a bowl. Lightly coat the crust with the egg using a pastry brush. Start with the middle and work your way to the outside. Try to avoid any pooling of egg (you probably won't use the whole egg). The purpose: to make the crust come out golden brown after it's baked.

Step 7: bake it!

Put the pie in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.


Then reduce heat to 350 degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown color and the juices are bubbling. If you think the edges are browning too quickly, you can cover them with a foil ring at that time to prevent burning.

Step 8: cool it.


Place the baked pie on a wire rack (I use the removable grills from my gas stove) to cool for several hours.

Monday, September 21, 2009

New LOOK!



Do you like it?  I have to give a BIG thank you to the Lonely Hero for his outstanding creativity and unyielding generosity of his time and effort.  I also owe you a rebel brownie or two.

Changing the face of my blog has made me start to think about other ways I can improve it.  Taking suggestions from my followers or even through word of mouth of non-followers has been something I've done since the beginning of this thing.  And even though this is my blog, I view it as more of a collaboration: I take ideas from other recipes and make it my own; I encourage suggestions and delight in requests.

As such, I would like to make this an open forum for the time being.  Please make requests, comments, or suggestions about what you'd like me to bake next.  Of course, I will retain my creative license - I am the rebel baker after all.   

Up next? Dirt. This was a request from one of my followers Leslie.  She gave me her recipe and I'm going to do my best.  




Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chiles Rellenos!


In an attempt to break away from my sugary past and to evade my everlasting homework, I present: chile rellenos! Chiles rellonos, for those who don't know, are skinless chiles dipped in batter and stuffed with cheese, covered with lightly spiced red sauce.


The occasion? My mom was coming over for dinner at my new place. First, I perused the internet for some simple but comprehensive recipes. Then I went to my local chopper for some missing ingredients (namely chiles) and in search of some negra modelo (mom's favorite). Didn't find the booze, but found the chiles; I used Anaheim chiles. Oh well. The following is the (easy?) recipe I found from this site.


Note: I'm more of a baker than a cook... As such, I didn't really deviate from the recipe I got from the above site. The only thing I changed was the amounts because I made 4 (not 6) rellenos. I have to say, they tasted pretty good but they are by no means good for you. I mean really, deep fried cheese covered in batter? Think about it...


Step 1: Rinse 4 chiles and dry




Step 2: Preheat oven to broil


Step 3: Place the chiles in a 9 x 14 glass baking dish and place on the top shelf of your oven.


Step 4: Watch and listen closely. When the skins start to make popping sounds and to char and turn black in places, take the chiles out and flip them over.



Step 5: When both sides are fairly evenly charred, remove them from the oven. (I encountered a problem during this step: smoke alarms went off and the neighbors started bitching).


Step 6: Wrap each chile in a moist paper towel to steam.



Step 7: After a few minutes, check them. Once the skin comes off easily, peel each chile (Easier said then done!)


Step 8: Cut a slit almost the full length of each chile. Make a small "t" across the top, by the stem. Pull out fibers and seeds (this is where the heat is) and replace with a thin slice of monterey jack cheese. I must have left some of that "heat" because my mouth was on fire later.


Step 9: Whip the egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer (or if you don't have one, like me, use a fork and work it!) until stiff peaks have formed (hehe).


Step 10: Heat 3/4 cup of (vegetable, olive, or corn) oil in a skillet until a drop of water sizzles when dropped into the pan. Pero, ten cuidado!


Step 11: Beat 3 egg yolks with one tablespoon flour and 1 tsp salt. Mix the 3 yolks into egg whites and stir until you have a thick paste.


Step 12: Roll the chiles in 1/8 (or more if needed) cup flour and dip each one in the egg batter. Coat evenly. Fry, seam side down on both sides until golden brown - I flipped them once also. Place on paper towels to drain.




Step 13: Meanwhile, heat the salsa (1 cup salsa verde, 1 cup homestyle salsa) in a medium saucepan (either one or some of each). Place one or two Rellenos on each plate and pour salsa over them. Note: I didn't make salsa, rather I heated up some polenta, cut cherry tomatoes, and diced onions to compliment the rellenos. I drizzled lime over the chiles before serving (a yummy trick I picked up from Jose).



Step 14: Serve and enjoy :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies

The long anticipated new addition to the blog: peanut butter cookies. Admittedly, I've been neglecting this blog and also baking in general. My excuse? Moving (twice), law school, and a severe lack of kitchen utensils. Luckily, for me and my followers (love you by the way), I have conquered all three (perhaps not law school yet). I did run into one little problem while baking these cookies though: the standard baking sheet I bought was too big for my new (and tiny) oven. In true revolutionary form, I baked my cookies despite this hardship... resulting in sufficiently tasty treats and a very warm kitchen. Note to self: buy a smaller cookie sheet. Also note, this is no philanthropist baker's blog. Strictly rebellion here. Although, thanks to the Lonely Hero for bringing my attention to a great idea and cause that strives to make a little sugar go a long way.

The occasion? Cookies for the Woman's Law Caucus general interest meeting. Yes, this is a club dedicated to the progression of women in the law. The WLC decided, in light of this crappy economy and the prospect of a smaller budget from the Student Bar Association, that instead of spending $50 on store bought cupcakes (like last year) we would bake for the new members. Thereby being thrifty and showing our appreciation for new membership with bake love. I also brought some to Bombers Trivia Night for Anya Lee and her friends. The cookies received a warm welcome and I later received a Newcastle t-shirt for just sitting at the trivia-masters' table.

So here's the recipe!

Step 1: preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then grease cookie sheet (I used PAM).

Step 2: gather your ingredients.

Step 3: mix the sweet & sticky stuff.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Place the butter (softened -- w/ no microwave, I heated it up for a minute in a saucepan on the stove) and peanut butter in a bowl and beat together. Beat in a the sugar and brown sugar, then gradually beat in the egg and vanilla extract. <-- make sure it's all mixed together and smooth like. Also, I'd like to thank my Aunt Shane for the new mixing bowls she gave me. They are wonderful! :)

Step 4: mix in the dry stuff.

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 and 1/2 cup rolled oats


sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into the bowl and stir in the oats.

Step 5: spoon it out.

Place spoonfuls of cookie dough onto the greased cookie sheet. Try to space them out: they flatten out in the oven and might merge together. On my standard cookie sheet, I was able to put 12 cookies on one sheet with no major merger problems.

Step 6: fork patterns.

Use a fork to make a tic-tac-toe like pattern on the cookie.

Step 7: bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Step 8: let cool for a few minutes and then transfer to somewhere they can cool completely.

Step 9: clean up.

This is something I never mentioned before that is
an essential part in the baking "process." It really goes without saying except for I took a picture of my clean-up job and wanted to post it. Note the Van Gogh I got from a garage sale last weekend.


Step 10: Enjoy!!











Note: This recipe makes about 26 cookies (less if you eat some of the cookie dough, obviously).