All Purpose Pie Crust

pw french silk pie

Hey U.S. readers! Thanksgiving is coming up next week guys! What are you taking? This year I get to make the pies. Yes!
Why am I so excited? Because they are mostly done, that’s why.
Question: What’s the hardest part about making a pie from scratch?
That’s right! The crust.
If you follow this simple recipe you to can sit smugly knowing the hardest part is done and waiting for you in the freezer.

All Purpose Pie Crust
(Makes two 10inch crusts)
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons Sugar (if making a savory crust omit)
1 pinch Salt
1 cup Butter (2 sticks)
1/4 cup Ice Water

Dice the butter and set aside.
Put the flour, sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a few time to combine.
Add the butter and pulse again until the butter is incorporated (5-10 pulses)
With the processor running, drizzle the ice water through the feed tube until the dough rolls itself into a loose ball.

pie crust 2014

You might need more or less water than 1/4 cup so pour slowly.
Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead briefly. Cut it into two halves.
Pat each half into a disk shape and place in a zip top bag.

two crust 2014

Store in the freezer or if you need it right away chill in the fridge for just 20 minutes before rolling it out.

Tip: If you are finding it hard to roll out at first let it set on a floured surface for 5-10 minutes before trying again.

Photo credit Pioneer Women

Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

tomato soup 1
It’s a step up from the classic tomato soup, but just as comforting!

Tomato Soup

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 whole Roasted Red Peppers (instructions follow)
1 small Onion
2 Carrots
Salt & Pepper
2 28oz. cans Tomato Puree or Whole Peeled Tomatoes
2 cups Water
1 Bay Leaf
1 tablespoon Fresh or Dried Parsley
1 cup Heavy Cream (optional)

Place the onion, carrots and roasted red peppers into a food processor and chop until finely minced. About 5-8 pulses.
Heat a large, heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and the vegetable mixture.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute for about 5-7 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, parsley and water. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to a low simmer and cover.
Simmer for 30 minutes.
With a hand or counter top blender puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream.
Tip: if using a traditional blender fill it only halfway per batch. Hot liquid can expand and splatter.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or a grilled cheese sandwich.

To Roast Red Peppers:
Buying jarred is totally acceptable, and probably preferable. However, if you’ve never tried it yourself you’re missing out on a money saving way to pump up the flavor of pretty much anything.

Heat your oven broiler to high.
Place two red peppers onto a baking sheet.
Position the peppers until they are just two inches away from the heating element.
Broil the for two minutes or until they are burnt (that’s right burnt, as in black!)
Turn over the pepper and char the other side.
Place the peppers into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. What you’re doing is keeping the heat in to steam the peppers through and allow the skin to peel off easily. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
When cool enough to handle peel off the charred skin, remove the stem, open it up and remove the seeds.
You can use immediately or store in the fridge covered in olive oil for a week or more.

Crispy Baked Fish

crispy fish

Fish fingers is the usual moniker I assign to this dish. They started out as fingers but shrank in the oven. Someone suggested I re-name them fish nuggets but, it really doesn’t have that same panache.
Fish. Nuggets. Nope!
So, whether you leave the fish fillet whole, or slice them into bite sized bits Crispy Baked Fish seems the polite name to call it.

Crispy Baked Fish

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

1-2 lbs. Cod or Tilapia (or other firm while fish)
1 cup Flour
2 beaten Eggs
4 cups Panko Bread Crumbs mixed with: 2 tablespoons dried Dill (optional)
Salt & Pepper
4 tablespoons Olive Oil

Cut your fish into bite sized pieces.
Brush the olive oil onto a baking sheet and set aside.
Place the flour, eggs, and panko into 3 separate shallow containers.
First, coat the fish in the flour. Shake off the majority of the flour before dipping it into the eggs.
Lastly, coat the fish with the panko pressing it on before laying it on the baking sheet.
Repeat until all the fish is coated.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the fish is firm and the breading is golden brown.

Tartar Sauce:

1/2 cup Light Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Dill Pickle Relish or Chopped Dill Pickle
1 tablespoon Capers
Salt and Pepper
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
A few dashes Hot Sauce (optional)

Mix all the ingredients. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste.
Refrigerate until ready to use.

Apple Pie Bread Pudding

Apple Pie Bread Pudding

This can be a cozy dessert or a lovely addition to your brunch table.

Apple Pie Bread Pudding

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

8 cups Baguette torn into rough 2 inch chunks
Butter a 9 x 13 pan. Place the torn bread into the pan and set aside.

For the Custard:
6 large Eggs
6 cups Half & Half
2 tablespoons Sugar
A pinch of Salt

Combine the eggs, half & half, and sugar. Mix well, then slowly pour the mixture over the torn bread in the waiting pan. Set aside while you make the apple pie flavoring.

For the Apple Pie Flavoring:
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Sugar
A pinch of Salt
3 tablespoons Dark Rum
1/2 cup Golden Raisins
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Apples (peeled, cored and cut into large chunks)

Add all the above ingredients to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil then, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover with a lid.
Simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples are somewhat softened.
Pour the syrup and apples mixture over the bread and cream mixture in the baking pan. Stir gently to combine.

Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven to bake for 40 minutes.
Uncover, and allow to brown on top, about 10 minutes.

Allow to cool for a bit before serving.

Creamy Peas with Lettuce

creamy peas & lettuce

As side dishes go, this one is lesser known. Peas and lettuce is more commonly served in England, usually just a simple sauté in butter. I added the creamy part because, well, because I could.

Creamy Peas with Lettuce
2 tablespoons Butter
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 16oz. bag Frozen Petite Peas {thawed}
1 head Romaine Lettuce
Salt & Pepper

Cut the romaine lettuce crosswise into thin shreds. Set aside.
In a large sauté pan bring the cream and butter to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes or until reduced by half.
Reduce the heat and add the peas. Heat until warm.
Fold in the lettuce and heat until just wilted. You want to retain some of the crunch.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.