Categories
Soup

Colombian Chicken Soup

Colombian chicken soup made with chicken thighs and legs, onion, corn, potatoes, cilantro, capers and a special Columbian Ajiaco sauce.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 10 to 12

This is our adaptation of a classic Colombian chicken recipe called Ajiaco. The soup hinges on using several different kinds of potatoes, which are native to South America.

The soup is served with a variety of garnishes, including a special salsa, “Aji”, that truly defines the dish.

Ajiaco soup has all sorts of variations, but they all seem to rely on potatoes — some of which are cooked so long they dissolve, thickening the soup — corn (usually on the cob), and chicken.

We decided to finely dice russet potatoes so they would dissolve quickly, and we pureed the soup base with an immersion blender, which saved hours of cooking time.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can either puree the soup base in a blender, or just cook it until the diced potatoes dissolve.

It’s important to use bone-on pieces of chicken here, as they are both cheaper and will make your soup broth more flavorful.

Garnishes are up to you. They almost always include capers, avocados and cilantro, and will often include a salsa or a crema, which, depending on your perspective is either thin sour cream or a thick regular cream.

We used tiny, multi-colored potatoes to finish the dish, but you can use any mix of potatoes — just make sure to not use all russets. Red skinned potatoes, purple potatoes, fingerlings and small Yukon Golds are all good choices.

The real version of this dish requires a special herb called guasca, which is a unique flavor. We added bay leaves to get somewhere close.

Ingredients

Soup Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds chicken thighs and legs, skin removed, rinsed well
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 quarts water
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 pounds small potatoes, of various colors
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, cut crosswise into 1-2 inch rounds

Aji Ingredients:

  • 4 scallions (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 Roma or other plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 fresh Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles or 2 fresh hot red chiles, stems and seeds removed (wear gloves, do NOT touch your eyes!)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • Garnish: capers, sour cream, avocados, cilantro

Method

1 Cook the chicken, russets, onion, and garlic in stock and water: Put the chicken, diced russet potatoes, chopped onion and garlic in a large (at least 8 quart) stock pot and add 1 1/2 quarts of water and the quart of chicken stock.

Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to a vigorous simmer.

Add the cumin, bay leaves and salt to taste. Simmer this until the meat wants to fall of the bones of the chicken — anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour, 15 minutes.

2 Remove the chicken and bay leaves and purée some of the soup base: When the chicken is ready, remove it and the bay leaves from the soup and set in a large bowl. If you are going to puree the soup base with an immersion blender or by putting the soup into a regular blender in batches, do so now.

3 Simmer soup base with additional potatoes: Pour the pureed soup base back into the pot and bring to a very gentle simmer. Add the second batch of potatoes and cook until tender, about 20-40 minutes, depending on size.

4 Shred the chicken meat off the bones: While the potatoes are cooking, shred the meat off the chicken bones and set aside.

5 Make the salsa: Pulse all the ingredients in a food processor until they’re finely minced. Transfer to a serving bowl.

6 Cook the corn in the stock: Drop the pieces of corn on the cob into the simmering soup and cook for 5 minutes.

7 Serve: Serve the soup with the salsa, capers, sliced avocados, sour cream, and cilantro in separate bowls. Let people add garnishes to their own servings.

Categories
Breakfast and Brunch

Blueberry Maple Breakfast Bake

Brunch party bread pudding casserole! With cream cheese, maple syrup, and loaded with juicy blueberries.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes 9 servings

The secret to successful brunch hosting is to get as much prepared the night before as possible, right?

This Blueberry Maple Breakfast Bake is perfect for brunch parties for that very reason. It’s basically a breakfast bread pudding that is easy to assemble the night before.

Just pop it in the oven an hour before you need it the morning of your brunch!

While you can use regular sliced bread for this recipe, I find the texture and presentation improves immeasurably if you use a small rustic Italian or French loaf for the bread.

Layer the cubed bread with cream cheese and blueberries, and soak through with an egg milk butter mixture. Serve with maple syrup, like blueberry pancakes!

Can be prepared the night before, and baked before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of rustic white bread, crusts removed, bread cut into 1-inch cubes (about 10 cups)
  • 4 oz cream cheese, cut into small cubes (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, divided (if using frozen berries, defrost and drain them first)
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup plus more for serving

Method

1 Preheat oven, prep baking dish: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish.

2 Layer cubed bread, cream cheese, and blueberries in baking dish: Place half of the bread cubes in the dish. Sprinkle cream cheese cubes and half of the blueberries over the bread. Top with remaining bread cubes and blueberries.

3 Combine eggs, milk, maple syrup, and melted butter in a large bowl and pour over bread mixture.

To make ahead, cover and chill overnight, and proceed the next morning to bake.

3 Bake: Bake at 350°F until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hr 20 min. Cover with aluminum foil if you notice the edges browning too much during baking.

4 Serve: Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into squares to serve. Serve with additional maple syrup.

Categories
Stew

Braised Turkey Legs

Delicious Turkey Stew! Made with flavorful turkey legs, browned and braised, served with root vegetables.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Serves 6-8

Everybody loves turkey breast for their turkey sandwiches, right?

Actually the most flavorful part of the turkey comes from the dark meat of the turkey thighs and legs, which are much less expensive than the breast meat.

Here’s one of our favorite budget-friendly winter stews—turkey legs that have been slowly braised on a bed of celery and onions until fork tender, then shredded and served with a sauce of their braising liquid. We often include potatoes and root vegetables as well.

Perfect for a cold winter day!

Ingredients

  • 2 turkey legs and 2 thighs, about 4 lbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup of finely chopped celery
  • Salt, pepper, and cayenne
  • 2 cups water or other braising liquid (dry white wine or stock)
  • Cornstarch
  • Parsley, chopped, about 1/4 cup
  • Optional 3 cups chopped or quartered potatoes, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, and/or parsnips

Ingredients

  • 2 turkey legs and 2 thighs, about 4 lbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup of finely chopped celery
  • Salt, pepper, and cayenne
  • 2 cups water or other braising liquid (dry white wine or stock)
  • Cornstarch
  • Parsley, chopped, about 1/4 cup
  • Optional 3 cups chopped or quartered potatoes, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, and/or parsnips

Method

1 Brown turkey legs and thighs: Sprinkle turkey thighs and legs with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan with high sides on medium high heat. Add the turkey legs and thighs to the pan and sear until browned on all sides, about 5-8 minutes.

2 Add chopped onion and celery to form a nest under the turkey pieces. Sauté an additional 5 minutes.

3 Braise until tender: Add 2 cups of braising liquid – either water, stock, wine, or a combination. Bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer covered, on low heat, for an hour and a half, or until the turkey is so well cooked and tender that the meat easily falls off of the bones.

4 Remove the turkey meat from the pan and remove the bones, taking special care to remove the many small narrow bones of the legs. Remove the skin.

5 Cook the potatoes and root vegetables (optional): Add the vegetables to the pan with the turkey braising liquid. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer on medium high heat. Lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook covered, until done, about 20 minutes. When done, remove the vegetables from the pan so you can reduce the remaining liquid to make a sauce.

6 Make the sauce: Increase the heat to high and bring the remaining liquid in the pot to a boil. Reduce the liquid remaining in the pan by half to intensify some of the meat juices for added flavor.

Take a teaspoon of cornstarch and dissolve in a 1/2 cup of water. Add cornstarch mixture a little at a time to sauce, adding more liquid, until the sauce achieves the desired body.

Adjust seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed, add a little cayenne or Tabasco sauce. If the sauce is too sweet, add a little vinegar or lemon. Add parsley.

7 Add the turkey and vegetables back to the pan with the sauce. Serve immediately over rice or bread or with the vegetables if you have chosen to make them.

Categories
Soup and Stew

Bouillabaisse

A classic French shellfish and fish stew recipe, prepared with the freshest possible seafood, caught and served the same day. Served with a spicy sauce rouille.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 6

Bouillabaisse is a classic French dish from southern France, in particular, of the port town Marseille. It requires many different varieties of fish, and traditionally was made with whatever the fishermen hadn’t sold that morning.

There are plenty of variations of bouillabaisse, and even in Marseille you’ll find strong debates over the proper way to make it.

The most important thing is that you should use several varieties of fish, and the fish should be very fresh. In Provence you would use a variety of Mediterranean fish, but here in the states where we can’t get those fish fresh, we have to make substitutions.

The distinctive flavors of a bouillabaisse broth include saffron, which also gives it its orange color, orange zest, and fennel.

Use firm fish for fillets such as sea bass, red mullet, haddock, halibut, cod, conger, or red porgy. Small whole fish can be added as well. Also traditional are mussels, squid, and crab.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of at least 3 different kinds of fish fillets
  • 1 pound mussels or clams
  • 1 pound squid or crab
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 fennel bulb, thinly sliced, or 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • One long, wide strip of orange zest
  • 8 ounces clam juice or fish stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Sliced rustic French bread, plain or toasted

Directions for Sauce Rouille:

  • 1 Tbsp hot fish stock or clam broth
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1 small red hot pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup soft white bread, pulled into bits
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Put hot fish stock or clam broth into the bottom of a blender. Add garlic and red hot pepper, salt and bread. Blend until very smooth. With the blender still running, add olive oil slowly and stop the blending as soon as the oil disappears.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of at least 3 different kinds of fish fillets
  • 1 pound mussels or clams
  • 1 pound squid or crab
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 fennel bulb, thinly sliced, or 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • One long, wide strip of orange zest
  • 8 ounces clam juice or fish stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Sliced rustic French bread, plain or toasted

Directions for Sauce Rouille:

  • 1 Tbsp hot fish stock or clam broth
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1 small red hot pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup soft white bread, pulled into bits
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Put hot fish stock or clam broth into the bottom of a blender. Add garlic and red hot pepper, salt and bread. Blend until very smooth. With the blender still running, add olive oil slowly and stop the blending as soon as the oil disappears.

Method

1 Cook the onions, leeks, fennel: Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large (6-8 quart) pot on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions, leeks, and fennel. Stir to coat the vegetables with the olive oil. Cook on medium heat until softened but not browned, about 10-15 minutes.

2 Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme saffron, salt, orange zest: Add the crushed garlic, chopped tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, saffron, salt, and orange zest.

Cook until the tomatoes are soft and broken down, about 10 more minutes.

3 Add fish fillets, cover with water and stock, boil: Cut fish fillets into 2-inch pieces. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Lay the fish pieces over the vegetable mixture and pour over with 2 cups of boiling water. Add clam juice or fish stock. Bring everything to a boil, and cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.

4 Add shellfish: Add the mussels, squid, and/or crab, pushing aside the fish so that the shellfish is now covered in liquid, and boil for 10 minutes more, uncovered.

Add freshly ground black pepper, and more salt to taste. Remove the bay leaves, sprigs of thyme, and orange zest from the broth.

5 Place slice of bread in bowl, top with rouille, then broth, then fish and shellfish: To serve, remove the fish and shellfish to a platter to keep warm. Place a thick slice of crusty French bread (plain or lightly toasted) in each bowl and put a dollop of the rouille sauce on top of the bread.

Ladle the soup broth over the bread, and then portion out fish and shellfish onto the bowls.

Categories
Soup and Stew

Vegetable Soup with Sweet Basil

Soup au Pistou— a wonderful vegetable soup recipe with fresh tomatoes, leeks, potato, onion, celery, zucchini, green beans, carrots, and basil.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

This is a lovely summer vegetable soup that my father discovered years ago from Wolfgang Puck (who was recounting a favorite recipe from his mother).

It’s a French classic “Soup au Pistou” for which you gently cook very fresh summer vegetables in either water or stock, and stir in a paste (“pistou”) of basil, garlic, and tomatoes.

This soup is similar to a light Italian minestrone, but without the white beans, and with a pistou “pesto” for flavor.

It’s simple, light, healthy, and delicious. Clean eats that taste amazing!

Dad makes the soup several times each summer, especially when the garden is producing a lot of summer squash and tomatoes. It’s a great way to use up garden produce.

Note from Wolfgang Puck: His mother only uses water, because her vegetables are peak-of-the-season, just-picked, and therefore full of flavor, but you can use stock if you like. Pistou, the puree of tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil in this recipe, is a traditional French condiment that adds a burst of flavor just before serving.

Ingredients

  • 2 small leeks, white part only
  • 1 large potato, peeled
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 12 green beans
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 quarts chicken stock (or 2 qts water, 4 bouillion cubes, a pinch of thyme, and 1/2 bay leaf OR you can use vegetable broth for a vegetarian option)*
  • 4 to 6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 4 medium garlic cloves
  • 30 fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
  • Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • A few drops of Tabasco sauce

*Use gluten-free stock or bouillon for gluten-free version.

Method

1 Prep vegetables: Cut the leeks, potato, onion, celery, zucchini, green beans, and carrots into 1/4 inch diced cubes.

2 Cook the vegetables: In a 6-quart stockpot, combine 3 tablespoons of the olive oil with the 3 tablespoons of water. Add the vegetables and cook over medium-low heat until all the water evaporates. Do not brown the vegetables.

3 Add stock and simmer: Add the stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

4 Make the basil pistou: Put the tomatoes, basil, garlic, and remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a food processor. Pulse until puréed.

5 Stir the purée into the cooked soup. Do not let the soup return to a boil. Season, to taste, with salt, pepper, and a few dashes of Tabasco. Serve the soup hot or cold.

Categories
Side Dish

Bavarian Sauerkraut

Classic sauerkraut recipe with chopped apple and juniper berries.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes

One of our favorite side dishes is hot sauerkraut, delicious served with pork or bockwurst – a mild German sausage.

You can also make a sandwich with toasted or grilled dark rye bread, melted Jack, havarti, or Muenster cheese, the sauerkraut, and avocado.

Ingredients

  • 1 16-oz can or jar of sauerkraut (best is fresh sauerkraut in jars, found in refrigerated section of grocery store)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup peeled and chopped apple
  • 10 juniper berries, cracked
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients

  • 1 16-oz can or jar of sauerkraut (best is fresh sauerkraut in jars, found in refrigerated section of grocery store)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup peeled and chopped apple
  • 10 juniper berries, cracked
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

Place sauerkraut in a pot. Add wine, onion, apple, juniper berries, salt, pepper and oil. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, until the onions are soft.

Categories
Side Dish

Creamed Turnips

Mashed, creamed turnips recipe with turnips, milk, butter, cream, cloves, and nutmeg.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serve 6-8 as a side dish

People either love turnips or they hate them. And if they love them, it was probably an acquired taste.

I can still remember making a face when thinking I was biting into a yummy potato in one of my mother’s stews I had speared a turnip instead.

Yet this dish is another proof point that almost all things taste better with butter and cream!

We have used older, larger turnips for this recipe. Older turnips are stronger in flavor, more bitter, and drier than young turnips. If you use younger, smaller turnips, they may be sweeter and a bit more watery, so you might want to use less cream. If the turnips are too bitter for your taste, try adding a little sugar at the end to balance the bitter.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds turnips
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg to taste

Method

1 Boil the turnips, then drain: Peel and cut the turnips into large chunks. In a large saucepan of boiling water, add the tablespoon of salt, the peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves.

You may want to tie the spices into a sachet or cheesecloth bag — this makes it easier to remove them later.

Boil turnips until tender, 15 to 20 minutes, then drain and remove the spices.

2 Add cream, simmer, then mash: Return the turnips to the pot they boiled in and add the cream. Turn the burner to medium-low. Bring this to a gentle simmer and mash the turnips with a potato masher.

3 Add seasonings: Add the white pepper, the teaspoon of salt and freshly grated nutmeg to taste and serve at once.

Categories
Appetizer

Pâté (Pate) Maison

Easy to make liver pate, made with chicken livers and pork sausage, wrapped in bacon.

Ready in:

  • Yield: Makes one large loaf.

Easy to make liver pate recipe, made with chicken livers and pork sausage, wrapped in bacon, well seasoned with herbs and spices. Also known as “pâté (pate) campagne”.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken livers
  • 1 lb lean pork
  • 1 lb mild Italian sausage meat
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives or scallions
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp fresh coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp brandy
  • 2 Tbsp dry sherry
  • 10 slices bacon (uncooked)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken livers
  • 1 lb lean pork
  • 1 lb mild Italian sausage meat
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives or scallions
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp fresh coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp brandy
  • 2 Tbsp dry sherry
  • 10 slices bacon (uncooked)

Method

1 Grind the meat: Grind the chicken livers, pork, and Italian sausage through a meat grinder twice. Add remaining ingredients (except the bacon) and mix well.

2 Line a loaf pan with bacon, fill with meat mixture: Line an 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with bacon strips and pack in the mixture. Cover with bacon strips.

3 Bake: Place pan in a water bath, a larger pan that is filled halfway up the sides of the inner pan with water. Bake at 350°F for 2 1/2 hours.

4 Cool with weight on top: Remove from the oven. Cover with aluminum foil. Place a weight such as a heavy brick on top while cooling. Best to cool overnight in the refrigerator.

5 Serve: Slice and serve with bread or toast, lettuce and or tomatoes.

Categories
Dessert

Perfect Pie Crust

Several pie crust recipes—an all butter pie crust, or pate brisee, an all butter crust with almonds, combining butter and shortening crust, and how to pre-bake or blind-bake a pie crust.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yes, you can make your own homemade pie crust! It’s not hard, once you get the hang of it, and the result is so much better than your typical frozen pie crust that you get at the store.

There are many different ways to make a pie crust. Every baker I know seems to have their favorite recipe or trick.

The most classic pie or pastry crust is made with butter. That one can take some practice to master, because if you handle it too much it will end up tough.

A more forgiving pie crust is one that is made with a mixture of butter and shortening. That way you get the flavor of the butter, with the easy flakiness that comes from using shortening.

Some people use all vegetable oil, and some swear by lard. One of my favorite ways to make a pie crust these days is to use sour cream as the fat, along with butter. No need for a food processor; the dough is easy to roll-out, and the crust is wonderfully flaky.

The following are instructions for making 1) a basic butter crust (pâte brisée) for sweet and savory pies and tarts, 2) a pre-baked pie crust needed for dishes such as quiche, 3) a combination butter and shortening crust, and 4) an egg wash finish for the pie.

The instructions will yield enough dough for 1 10-inch pie with a crust top, or 2 10-inch topless pies or tarts. If you are making a tart or just a pie bottom, cut all ingredients in half.

Pies to Make Using This Crust!

  • Classic Apple Pie
  • Lemon Meringue Pie
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
  • Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie
  • Easy Chocolate Cream Pie

These recipes call for unsalted butter. If you are using salted butter instead, omit the added salt.

Ingredients

All-Butter Pastry Crust for Sweet and Savory Pies (Pâte Brisée) (enough for bottom and top crust)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

Variation: Swap out 1/2 a cup of the flour with ground blanched almonds or almond flour

Method

1 Mix flour, sugar, and salt: Put flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple times to mix.

2 Add butter, half at a time, pulsing several times after each addition: Add about half of the butter to the food processor and pulse several times. Then add the rest of the butter and pulse 6 to 8 times until the largest pieces of butter are about the size of large peas.

3 Slowly add ice water: Sprinkle the mixture with about 1/4 cup of ice water (make sure there are no ice cubes in the water!) and pulse again. Then add more ice water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing once or twice after each addition until the dough just barely begins to hold together.

You know that the mixture is ready if when you pinch some of the crumbly dough together with your fingers, it holds together. Be cautious with the amount of water you add, too much and the crust will be tough.

3 Make two dough disks: Carefully empty the crumbly dough mixture from the food processor on to a clean, dry, flat surface. Gather the mixture in a mound.

Divide the dough mixture into two even-sized mounds. Use your hands and knead each mound just enough to form each one into a disk. Do not over-knead! Kneading develops gluten which will toughen the dough, not something you want in a pastry crust. You should just knead enough so that the dough holds together without cracks.

If you started with cold butter you should be able to see small chunks of butter speckling the dough. This is a good thing. These small bits of butter will spread out into layers as the crust cooks so you have a flaky crust!

Sprinkle each disk with a little flour, wrap each one in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour or up to 2 days.

4 Remove dough from refrigerator and let sit for a few minutes: Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier.

5 Roll out dough, place in pie dish: Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep the dough from sticking.

Carefully place onto a 9-inch pie plate. Gently press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

Use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pie dish.

6 Add filling to the pie.

7 Roll out second disk, place on top of filling: Roll out second disk of dough, as before. Gently place onto the top of the filling in the pie.

Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang. Fold the edge of the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom piece of dough, pressing together.

Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork.

Score the top of the pie with four 2-inch long cuts, so that steam from the cooking pie can escape.

How to Pre-Bake a Pie Crust

If your recipe calls for a pre-baked crust, as many custard pie recipes do, follow all the steps above for a single, bottom crust only, without filling.

1 Freeze the crust it for at least a half hour, until chilled. This is an important step in pre-baking. Otherwise the crust will slip down the sides.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

2 Line pie crust with aluminum foil: When the pie crust is sufficiently chilled, line the pie crust with aluminum foil. Let the foil extend over by a few inches on two sides to make it easier to lift to remove the pie weights when the baking is done.

3 Fill with pie weights: Fill the crust to the top with pie weights – dry beans, rice, or sugar. (Sugar works best.)

4 Bake: Bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes if making a crust for a pie that will require further cooking, for example a quiche. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes if making a crust for a pie that you don’t need to bake further.

5 Cool completely before filling. You may need to tent the edges of the pie with aluminum foil when you bake your pie, to keep the edges from getting too dried out and burnt.

See more detailed instructions and photos for how to blind bake a crust here.

Combination Butter and Shortening Crust

Ingredients for one double-crust 9 inch or 10 inch pie:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup (a stick and a half) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup of all-vegetable shortening (8 Tbsp)
  • 6-8 Tablespoons ice water

1 Make the dough: Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse 4 times.

Add shortening in tablespoon sized chunks, and pulse 4 more times. The mixture should resemble coarse cornmeal, with butter bits no bigger than peas.

Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water over flour mixture. Pulse a couple times. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready.

If the dough doesn’t hold together, keep adding water, a teaspoon at a time, pulsing once after each addition, until the mixture just begins to clump together.

2 Form disks: Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface.

Divide the dough into 2 balls and flatten each into 4 inch wide disks.

Do not over-knead the dough!

Dust the disks lightly with flour, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to 2 days before rolling out.

3 Roll out the dough: After the dough has chilled in the refrigerator for an hour, you can take it out to roll. If it is too stiff, you may need to let it sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature before rolling.

Sprinkle a little flour on a flat, clean work surface and on top of the disk of dough you intend to roll out. (We use a Tupperware pastry sheet that has the pie circles already marked.)

Using a rolling pin, apply light pressure while rolling outwards from the center of the dough.

Every once in a while you may need to gently lift under the dough (a pastry scraper works great for this) to make sure it is not sticking.

You have a big enough piece of dough when you place the pie tin or pie dish upside down on the dough and the dough extends by at least 2 inches all around.

4 Place into pie dish: When the dough has reached the right size, gently fold it in half. Lift up the dough and place it so that the folded edge is along the center line of the pie dish. Gently unfold. Do not stretch the dough.

5a Trim edges: If you are only making a single crust pie, use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the lip of the dish. Tuck the overhang underneath itself along the edge of the pie dish. Use your fingers in a pinching motion, or the tines of a fork to crimple the edge of the pie crust.

5b If you are making a double crust pie, roll out the second disk of dough. Gently place onto the top of the filling in the pie. Use a kitchen scissors to trim the overhang to an inch over. Fold the edge of the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom piece of dough, pressing together. Finish the double crust by pressing against the edges of the pie with your finger tips or with a fork.

6 Make vents in top: Use a sharp knife to cut vents into the top of the pie crust, so the steam has a place to escape while the pie is cooking.

Optional Before scoring, you may want to paint the top of your crust with an egg wash (this will make a nice finish).

Egg Wash

A lovely coating for a pie can be achieved with a simple egg wash.

  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream, half and half, or milk
  • 1 large egg yolk

Beat egg yolk with cream and brush on the surface of the pie with a pastry brush.

Categories
Grill

Jim’s Famous Hamburger

Juicy, grilled hamburger recipe seasoned with fresh rosemary and A1 sauce and topped with lettuce, tomato, onions, and avocado.

Ready in:

  • Yield: Serves 3 to 4

Most summer grilling is done for large groups and as such is not too fancy – burgers, hot dogs, steaks, and the occasional kabob. For this recipe I’ve borrowed a tip from my good friend Jim Honniball – a way to dress up a simple hamburger.

Everybody should have a friend like Jim. He can swim a mile, bike thirty, and still have the energy to cook up a batch of his legendary hamburgers for his friends.

Jim learned to cook from his mom and loves nothing more than to see everyone’s delighted faces as they bite into something delicious he’s prepared.

Especially satisfying after a hard day of body-boarding and surfing are his hamburgers which are seasoned with fresh rosemary from the garden and A1 sauce.


At the time of this writing I did not have a grill, so to simulate the high heat grilling environment I went to Williams-Sonoma and bought a heavy-duty cast iron grill pan for the task.

They also sell calphalon pans (for about 5 times the price) but the calphalon simply cannot hold the high heat that cast iron can to match the heat of a real grill.

Eventually the heat will warp the calphalon. The brand I picked up was “Lodge” for about $22. They also carry Le Creuset for somewhat more.

Safety tip: Try to get your hamburger meat from a butcher who grinds their own. That way you know where the meat came from. Bacteria love raw hamburger, so once you have some in your fridge, eat it up quickly—no more than a day or two at the most after you’ve bought it or defrosted it.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb hamburger meat
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary leaves (not the stem)
  • 2 Tbsp A1 sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste (perhaps half a teaspoon of each)
  • Buns
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Onions, sliced
  • Avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • Mayonaise, ketchup, mustard

Method

1 Make the burger mixture: Mix the rosemary and A1 sauce into the hamburger meat, distributing evenly. Add salt and fresh ground pepper.

2 Form the hamburger patties. If the meat is low-fat, you may want to add some olive oil to the mixture, or after the patties are made (but before cooked), rub some oil over them.

3 Grill the hamburger patties: Place on a hot grill or grill pan. If you are indoors with a grill pan, be sure to use your stove fan. If on grill pan, lower the heat to medium high.

Grill on one side until you can see the juice begin to run at the surface. Flip over and grill on the other side, again until you can see some juice coming through.

4 Grill the buns: If you wish, grill the buns on remaining grill surface. Onions can be either served fresh with the hamburger or sautéed a little in olive oil.

5 Serve burgers with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, avocado, mayo, ketchup, and or mustard. (For the low-carb version skip the bun.)