Posts Tagged ‘Pie’

Hello readers! Our Fourth of July week was a whirlwind of fun, resulting in 4 parties, 2-3 house guests, and minimal blogging. We kicked off the week with a dinner party for some new friends, capped it off with a celebration at Caseus, and filled the rest of the week with baking and cooking galore!

Our Fourth of July menu included the following:

  • Lechon roasted on the grill
  • Thai-inspired summer slaw
  • Grilled bread
  • Corn on the cob
  • Strawberry-blueberry pie
Lechon is a traditional pork dish in Spain and in former Spanish colonial possessions (including Venezuela). It’s typically a whole suckling pig roasted over charcoal for several hours, until it’s deliciously tender and smoky. Somehow, we couldn’t find a whole pig to buy (darn you, New Haven!) so we settled for a shoulder instead.
10-lb. pork shoulder, lean (for 15 people, with leftovers)
1 jalapeno, sliced thinly
2 onions, sliced thinly
dry rub, enough to cover surface of pork
Advance preparation: 24 hours before cooking, rub the pork liberally with your favorite dry rub. Ours was a homemade concoction of paprika, crushed red pepper, oregano, garlic powder, cracked black pepper, salt, and coffee. Wrap tightly and refrigerate. (If you fail to wrap tightly, your refrigerator may smell like pork for days!)
Day of: Light up the grill by placing hot coals on one side only of the grill. Place pork, onions, jalapeno in a grill-safe container. We used a disposable aluminum foil tray. Cover pork with two sheets of foil, leaving a bit of a crack at the top. The foil ensures that the pork will not dry out in its 8-hour sauna session, and the crack at the top ensures a wonderfully smoky flavor to circulate.  Place the pork on the other side of the grill where there are no coals. This ensures that the pork will cook with indirect heat. Do something else for the next eight hours and you might need to add more coals after 4 hours. Return, and remove pork from grill. Let it sit for one hour before serving. Pull apart gently with two forks.

Thai-Inspired Summer Slaw

Half head of red cabbage, shredded finely (on mandoline preferred)
Half head of green cabbage, shredded finely
6 scallions, diced
Fish sauce, to taste
Sesame oil, to taste
Habanero pepper, chopped

Advance preparation: Once the cabbage has been shredded, place in a large bowl and salt heavily. Refrigerate for 24 hours at least. This steps breaks down the toughness and bitterness of the cabbage.

Day of: Squeeze the excess water out of the shredded cabbage. There should be a pool of salted water sitting at the bottom of the bowl. Discard water. The cabbage should be nicely tender and slightly salty. Add scallions and habenero pepper, and mix well. Add fish sauce and sesame oil to taste, and mix well. Let sit for at least 1 hour before serving.

Strawberry-Blueberry Pie with Mark Bittman’s Crust

1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c all purpose flour
1 t sugar
1/2 c butter, cold
3 T ice water, plus more as needed
3 c berries
1 T cornstarch
2 T sugar

Advance preparation: The pie crust can be prepared up to two days before baking. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the container of a food processor; pulse once or twice. Add the butter and turn on the machine; process until the butter and flour are blended and the mixture looks like cornmeal, about 10 seconds.

Place the mixture in a bowl and sprinkle 3 tablespoons of water over it. Use a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula to gradually gather the mixture into a ball; if the mixture seems dry, add another ½ tablespoon ice water. When you can make the mixture into a ball with your hands, do so. Wrap in plastic wrap, flatten into a small disk, and freeze the dough for 10 minutes (or refrigerate for 30 minutes); this will ease rolling. (You can also refrigerate the dough for a day or two, or freeze it almost indefinitely.)

Day of:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Ensconce the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. Roll with light pressure, from the center out. (If the dough seems very sticky at first, add flour liberally; but if it becomes sticky only after you roll it for a few minutes, return it to the refrigerator for 10 minutes before proceeding.) Continue to roll, adding small amounts of flour as necessary, rotating the dough occasionally, and turning it over once or twice during the process. (Use ragged edges of dough to repair any tears, adding a drop of water while you press the patch into place.) When the dough is about 10 inches in diameter (it will be less than ¼-inch thick), place your pie plate upside down over it to check the size.

Move the dough into the pie pan by removing the first sheet of plastic wrap. Place the pie pan upside down on the uncovered side of the dough. Slide your hand underneath the pie crust, then flip both the pan and the dough right side up. Remove the second sheet of plastic wrap. When the dough is in the plate, press it firmly into the bottom and sides.. Trim the excess dough to about ½ inch all around, then tuck it under itself around the edge of the plate. Freeze the dough for 10 minutes.

Toss berries in cornstarch and sugar until well mixed. Fill pie with berries. Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.


Read Full Post »

As Greg alluded to, we had quite a feast Sunday evening. In lieu of candy corn and cheap chocolate this Halloween (though we had plenty of both at the Silvas’ Halloween party on Saturday!), we made oven-roasted ribs (see post below), cranberry barbecue sauce, garlicky-green mashed ptatoes, and a cranberry-apple shortbread pie for dinner Sunday night. It wasn’t quite a celebration for Halloween, but more a celebration of Thanksgiving feasts to come, the season of fall, and cancelled classes this Saturday. Maybe also a celebration of marriage and of life, as both have been wonderfully delightful lately.

This was quite an undertaking involving 4+ hours of cooking, so you should only embark on this adventure if you’re truly prepared. But if you are prepared with an uninterrupted block of time stretching ahead of you, definitely do give these recipes a try, as the results are truly phenomenal.

Cranberry Barbecue Glaze

The key to getting this right is salting heavily. Without sufficient salt, this will taste quite like a standard cranberry sauce, which is fine, but our vison (actualized) was more for a tangy, savory, spicy barbecue sauce.

1 T canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 c fresh cranberries
1/4 c orange juice
2 T lemon juice (can be substituted with distilled white vinegar)
2 1/4 c water
2 chopped dried Guajillo chiles, stems removed (can be substituted with other dried chiles)

Sautee onions and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly charred. Stir in cranberries, juices, water, and chiles. Bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat until sauce reduced by half. Stir often. The cranberries will begin to pop lightly. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Cranberry-Apple Shortbread Pie

Remember the shortbread cookies with caramelized pumpkin glaze I made the other day? Well, you may have deduced that I did in fact freeze half of the shortbread cookie dough in my freezer, without much of a vision until the Costco sized bag of fresh cranberries arrived the other day. Inspiration beckoned, and a lovely, holiday-rrific cranberry apple shortbread pie was born. (If you’re without a leftover log of dough, other pie crusts are also acceptable, and I’d also be interested in seeing this made with a two-crust pie.)

1 shortbread pie crust (or half of the shortbread cookie recipe)
2 T flour
1 c brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
1/2 T ground ginger
4 Ginger Gold apples, cored and diced
1 1/2 c fresh cranberries
2 T lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 300F. Bring the plastic-wrapped shortbread dough to room temperature or until malleable. (I defrosted it on the oven while the ribs were cooking.) Turn out into a 9″ pie pan. Press dough into pie pan until bottom and sides are covered. Bake at 300F for 30 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Combine flour, sugar, spices, apples, cranberries, and lemon juice. Pile high into cooled shortbread pie crust. Bake for 45 minutes until apples are softened but still retain their shape. The sugar will have caramelized into a light crisp on the apples.

Serve at room temperature (with spoons).

Read Full Post »