Weekend Recap

Happy belated Thanksgiving! Hope you all gorged on as much food as I did!

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Our Queens household were gluttonously overloaded with traditional dishes gone awry. No turkey, but yes to three whole chickens and a dozen fried wings and legs, soggy but scrumptious stuffing stuffed with bacon, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes with crispy irresistible marshmallows, buttered creamed corn, Brussels sprouts with shallots and shrooms, baked ziti, mac n cheese, banana bread, apple pie, cheesecake, and pumpkin pecan pie. There was enough fat filled food to insatiate any overweight food monger.

I spent the entire day helping cook the meals, and I woke up extra early to bake my pies. No one ended up eating the pumpkin pecan pie, and let me tell you, they TOTALLY missed out. Since then I’ve eaten more than half the pie, so delicious and sweet and satisfying it was.

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The recipe for both is of course from Dorie Greenspan, it’s really the only source for my baked goods so far and I was not disappointed. This recipe also follow’s the week’s TWD post. I’ve never baked pie before and I went into my new favorite store Brooklyn Kitchen and received a pie baking 101 course from one of the super helpful employees. I bought some essential tools such as the dough bench and butter dough cutter/mixer thing and pie knife. With newly acquired information entow I baked the Thanksgiving Twofer Pie, a concoction of pumpkin and pecan, and All-American, All-Delicious Apple Pie. I will admit the apple pie wasn’t as sweet and soft and juicy as I had hoped and I was suspicious of the recipe’s not having enough sugar or anything liquidy. As I am inexperienced with pie-eating in general, I can’t judge the crust in any form of universal criteria, but I think the crust was a bit too hard and not enough flaky and the top and bottom crust too doughy/bready. I was very anal about how quick I was in working the dough as little as possible and keeping the butter and water super cold and making sure to keep pea-sized chunks of butter in the dough, but I think I will need to practice some more to get it right. The hardest part was the crimping. I tried to pinch the edges so it gave a pretty ripple effect but it just didn’t stick. Plus the most annoying was the Pyrex pie pan I bought had handles which I thought would be convenient but it just got in the way of decorating the edge, giving doofy ears to what should have been a pretty crust. I did have alot of fun cutting the dough into pretty flower shapes, that I will admit came out beautifully.

Also I found Smitten Kitchen‘s instructions on crust making super helpful. 101, 102, 103.

The rest of my weekend has consisted of cleaning and preparing for my new ex-roommate and her boyfriend to move in. I made a trip to Ikea on Black Friday expecting the worst only to find it quite empty at 10:30 am. I got free diluted hot chocolate. Definitely wasn’t swiss chocolate, more instant nesquick powder mix concoction. I bought a new wardrobe, dining table, 2 stools, various kitchen tools and fabric. It was conveniently delivered to my house for a small fortune and I spent the day installing the wardrobe. Upon assemblage completion I was very very frustrated and super pissed the doors didn’t close all the way and didn’t line up to the frame, a frame that shook with a push of the finger. The screw insertion holes either didn’t line up or weren’t where they were supposed to be. So fucking typical. I’ve banned Ikea in the past and broke my own rule, because that’s what I do, and I deeply regret this purchase. Ikea will get a phone call from me tomorrow.

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All the other items though weren’t so disappointing. I redecorated my kitchen with shelves, table and tablecloth and I can’t tell you how much more welcoming and inspiring my kitchen is now. I am very very happy and plan to spend even more time in there. In fact, I’m sitting at the table now gleaming and glowing.

Ikea Hacker is a resourceful site.

In the news, there is some freaky shit going on in India, how does one government let a band of crazy gunmen infiltrate Taj Mahal palace and occupy it for days on end going off on a shooting rampage. Scary. I don’t know how I feel about Clinton and Gates to be in Obama’s staff, I’m in denial of my own hesitance with these decisions. A walmart employee in Long Island was trampled to death by the human stampede on Friday, it’s such a maddening story to read and confirms my belief that half the human population on this earth are unworthy to be deemed savages to say the least. More on news later, lets get cooking.

Recipes:

All American, All-Delicious Apple Pie

9 inch Double Crust, chilled (I used a recipe that was also in the book, but it’s too long to type, so you pick your own, there are many out there)

4 pounds (about 6 very large) apples

3/4 cup sugar

grated zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8-1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs (or dry bread crumbs)

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

For the Glaze (optional):

Milk or heavy cream

Decorating (coarse) granulated sugar

Getting Ready: Butter a 9 inch deep dish pie plate.

Working on a well-floured surface, roll out one piece of the dough to about 1/8″ thick. Fit dough into buttered pie plate and trim edges to 1/2″ overhang. Roll the other piece of dough and slip it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat. Cover both and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Getting Ready to bake: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

Peel, core and slice the apples into 1/4″ thick of 1/2″ chunks. Put apples into large bowl and add the sugar, lemon zest, tapioca, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Toss everything together, let sit for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle crumbs into pie plate evenly, turn the apples and their juices into the crust, dot with bits of cold butter.

Moisten the rim of the bottom crust with water, then center the top crust over the apples. Either fold the overhang from teh top crust under the bottom and crimp or press the top crust again the bottom and trim the overhang. if you’ve pressed and trimmed, use the tines of a fork to press the two crusts together securely.

Cut 6 slits in the top crust, if you’d like brush the top with little milk or crean and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes. Lower oven to 375 degree and bake for another 50 to 60 minutes, or until crust is gorgeously browned and the juices bubble up through the top crust. After about 40 minutes in the oven, if the top crust looks as if it’s browning too quickly, cover pie loosely with foil.

Transfer the pie to a rack and let it rest until warm.

Thanksgiving Twofer Pie

9 inch single crust

For pumpkin filling:

1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree

2/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2 teaspoons dark rum (I used Jamaican rum, it’s all I had)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

For pecan filling:

1/2 cup light or dark corn syrup

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (about 7 ounces) pecan halves or pieces

Getting ready: preheat oven to 450 degrees F, put pie plate on baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat

For pumpkin filling: Put all ingredients into a food processor and pulse and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, for 2 minutes. Leave the filling in the processor for the moment.

For pecan filling: In a medium bowl, with a whisk, beat all of the ingredient except the pecans together until smooth

To Assemble: Give the pumpkin filling one quick pulse and pour into piecrust. Top evenly with nuts, then pour pecan filling mixture. Poke down any pecans that float to the top and aren’t covered with filling.

Bake the pie for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 300 degrees and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until it is evenly puffed and a think knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pie to cooling rack and let stand until warm.

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