Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Deluxe Butter Flaky Pastry Dough (Pate Brisee)

My friend Suriya has asked me to post the pastry crust recipe I always use-

Deluxe Butter Flaky Pastry Dough (Pate Brisee)

From: Joy of Cooking: All About Pies and Tarts by Irma S. Rombauer, et. al

This dough is richer in fat than ordinary flaky pastry and is thus softer and more difficult to handle, but it yields a marvelously tender; flaky crust with a superb butter flavor. While it is possible to make this dough with butter only a small amount of shortening makes it flakier without interfering with the buttery taste. Since this dough tends to puff out of shape during baking, you should not use it to make a crust with a tightly fluted or braided edge. If you want to make this in a food processor; see link below. If you need only a single pie or tart crust decrease all ingredients by half or freeze half the dough for future use.

Makes two 9-inch pie crusts, or two 9 1/2- or 10 inch tart crusts, or one covered pie crust

Using a rubber spatula, thoroughly mix in a large bowl:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon white sugar or 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Working quickly to prevent softening, cut into 1/4-inch pieces:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter

Add the butter to the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, chop the butter into pea-sized pieces. Add:

1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening

With a few quick swipes of the pastry blender [or two butter knives], cut the shortening into large chunks and distribute throughout the bowl. Continue to chop until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces. Do not let the mixture soften and begin to clump; it must remain dry and powdery. Drizzle over the flour and fat mixture:

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water

Cut with the blade side of the rubber spatula until the mixture looks evenly moistened and begins to form small balls. Press down on the dough with the flat side of the spatula. If the balls of dough stick together, you have added enough water; if they do not, drizzle over the top:

1 to 2 tablespoons ice water

Cut in the water, then press with your hands until the dough coheres. The dough should look rough, not smooth. Divide the dough in half, press each half into a thick, flat disk, and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, preferably for several hours, or for up to 2 days before rolling. [Don't skip this step] The dough can also be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 6 months; thaw completely before rolling.

Link for recipe and for directions to use your food processor: http://www.recipelink.com/ch/2002/october/jocpiesandtarts1.html

Perfect Thanksgiving Hostess Gift

In our family- if you aren't hosting Thanksgiving, you are helping with dishes. Wouldn't this be a great hostess gift to bring on Thanksgiving? There is nothing better than fresh, new flour sack towels for drying dishes- and I'm in love with Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Lemon Verbena dish soap. I picked it up at Home Goods- but her products are wonderful and you can find them online.

{Note- this is not a hint for my family members- I picked up some new dish towels since mine were looking rather sad- so I'm all set. Just passing along the info for others. really.}

Friday, November 16, 2007

Finally: Quiche Recipe

The long awaited quiche recipe is here! The problem is I didn’t really follow a recipe…I usually take recipes and then just tweak them a little bit so here is an example. I followed this basic Quiche Lorraine recipe (a very traditional quiche) and added some vegetables to make it a bit more full of flavor. I sautéed some red pepper, mushrooms and green onions in olive oil and added some frozen chopped spinach. I didn’t add any cayenne pepper and I’m not sure I used a whole cup of cheese, probably more like ½ – ¾ of a cup of gruyere (I love this cheese). I just added the bacon and veggies to the bottom of the tart crust before pouring the egg mixture over the top, I also just sprinkled the cheese on top. It probably doesn’t matter too much about the cheese. So I hope you all enjoy this quiche. Another thing I like to do is make this same recipe without the crust, that way you don’t feel quite as guilty when you eat the croissant (which were amazing) or scone with your crustless-quiche.

Bon Appetite!

Quiche Lorraine

The northeastern French province of Lorraine gave us this traditional savory tart of eggs, bacon and cheese that seemed to be on every weekend brunch table and ladies' luncheon menu by the mid-1960s. The classic filling ingredients are included here. Some versions add chopped onion or leek that has been sautéed in butter, a nod to the cooking traditions of neighboring Alsace. (Did I mention that I've been to the Alsace region of France...just thought you should know)

Pumpkin Scones

I have been in the mood to make scones for a couple of weeks now. I was going to make some for Monica's shower, but ran out of time because I was feeling a little under the weather. What better type of scone to make than Pumpkin this time of year. We are almost to Thanksgiving and it will be time to think about peppermint and pumpkins will be just a memory for about 9 months. So I searched online to find a pumpkin scone recipe. Here is the one I made, I like it although it is not very 'pumpkinie' I added mini-chocolate chips instead of raisins because I really like a touch of chocolate with my pumpkin.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


So one of my big things is "Have Good Knives" and I do have some great knives, but they were DULL! So I took my own advice "Take Care of your Good Knives" and got mine sharpened a couple of weeks ago. There is a guy that is at the 'Vineyard' Farmers Market at Blackstone/Shaw every Saturday morning between 8am-12pm. His name is Budd (Julio) Solaegui. Yes I'm serious that's his name. He did a fantastic job! It's like my knives are brand new! I should have gone to see him sooner! Here is his info if anyone else is in need of some good sharpening of their good knives.

Perfect Edge Sharpening Systems of Fresno

Phone/Fax: 658-7381

Cell: 908-2191


Monday, November 12, 2007

Pig Sandwich

I really hate calling it that... but let me tell you this recipe from my friend Rachel is amazing. If you have ever been to Dog House Grill and ordered their pig sandwich- you will swear she used to work there. She didn't- she just experimented until she got this recipe just right. And let me tell you...it is so, so right.

Rachel's Pulled Pork

1 Pork Roast (use an inexpensive cut)
1 bottle of Hickory & Brown Sugar flavored BBQ sauce, divided
1 & 1/2 cups of brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup of honey, divided
1 bottle or can of beer

sandwich rolls & butter

Place the pork roast in a crock pot. Pour a bottle/can of beer over it. Then, mix together 1/2 of a bottle of BBQ sauce, 1/4 cup of honey, and 3/4 cup of brown sugar and pour over the roast.

(Cook on high or low depending on when you're wanting it finished). It is done when you can stick a fork into it and it starts to easily shred. Then, when it's cooked, drain the "beer juice".
Mix the BBQ sauce, honey, and brown sugar together again and add it to the pork.

Butter sandwich rolls and broil til lightly toasted. (Don't even think about skipping this step)Enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mom's Pecan Pie

This is really our family's favorite Thanksgiving dessert. I made it for a dinner with friends from church tonight. {This is our friend "girl Sam" helping me make some fresh whipped cream to go on top}.

The filling turned out great- the crust however needed some help. I'm not sure what I did wrong- but I was running short on time and didn't let it chill as long as it should have. If you need a short cut Trader Joe's makes a great pastry dough. It is made with butter and tastes like home made.

Pecan Pie

3 eggs, beaten
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. light Karo Syrup
1 t. vanilla
2 T. butter, melted
1 c. pecans

Beat eggs and salt. Add next four ingredients. Fold in Pecans. Pour into and unbaked pie shell.
Bake for 15 minutes at 375, then lower oven to 325 and bake 35 minutes more.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Polka Dots

Polka dots make me happy. I'm pretty much in love with this holiday runner. I love table runners- not much to iron or get dirty for that matter. I saw this one shopping with my friend Debbie on Friday. We loved it- but not the price. It is nice and wide and made of a gorgeous fabric with individually embroidered polka dots. But it's not going to happen. Too bad my husband doesn't read this blog and get the crazy idea to surprise me with this. Too bad my sister doesn't get her employee discount anymore. Too bad...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Say Yes to Tacos

Mondays are not my favorite day- and this last Monday was pretty crazy. So I said yes to tacos. Everybody makes their tacos differently. In our family growing up-- they were ground beef, taco seasoning and re-fried beans mixed together and served with all the toppings in a flour tortilla.

But Monday I really switched things up a bit. I used ground turkey, an onion, a red bell pepper, a large green pasilla chili, taco seasoning and some corn and black beans. I wanted these to be full of flavor and veggies as well.

Here was the amazing trick- I lightly fried the corn tortillas and sprinked the shells with kosher salt (I think this is the ticket friends!)

Then while the tortillas were hot, I put a little cheese in the center and then folded them in half.

Next spoon in some meat and add sour cream and lettuce- and sheer brilance has been acheived.

Say no to drugs and say yes to theses tacos.

Monday, November 5, 2007

WANTED: Quiche recipe

You're slacking sissy. Please post. asap. really. I mean it. (I'm not always this bossy- right?) LSS [little sister syndrom] is a big fat lie. It doesn't exsist.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

white stuff

Okay- between the croissants, sugar cookies and the creme brulee- it's getting out of control! I'm going to try to go off the white stuff (sugar and flour) for a while before the holidays arrive. I made our family menu plan for November today and I left off pasta and bread- and I'm going to stay away from baking this month as much as I can. (Of course there is a certain birthday this week that is a pretty big deal...so we might have to break that rule for a day).

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Monica's Brown and Lavendar Baby Shower...

Sissy flew out her good friend Jill (from Maine okay Maryland) for a brunch baby shower for Monica. It was so fun- and the food was amazing. I love quiche and I thought I made a pretty good one- but April's blew me out of the water. Please post the recipe sissy!
The darling sugar cookies are from my friend Nina that has started her own business "Baked with Love by Nina". These lavendar baby carriages were perfect!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Croissants? Check!

I picked up the croissants at Le Parisien today. The boys and I split a turkey and swiss on a warm croissant! Yum! It was the last croissant of the day- the Dr. ordering his behind me was told I got the last one-my lucky day!

So at Williams Sonoma frozen croissants are about 2.60 each (plus shipping!) And today I paid about 1.25 each (and they are twice as big). I cannot wait til Saturday for Monica's shower!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Birthday Cake

How cute is this train cake? The pan is a silicone mold and they "pull apart" to about the size of a cupcake. I think this is a little too much for my skill level (and the time I have) but it sure is cute!