November, 2008 Archive

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

pie crust 103: rolling and crimping

pie crust 103: rolling and crimping your dough

[Previous episodes: Pie Crust 101 & Pie Crust 102]

As you wish, my friends.

So, when we left off, you had all realized how much fun and easy it was to make pie dough at home, in no time flat while dirtying less than ten dishes. I suspect that each and every one of you ran to your fridge to pull out the ingredients and ten minutes later had your doughs neatly chilling back inside them. And now, all that it is left is getting those babies rolled out and filled with pumpkin or apple or cherries or lemon or … gah, I just hope you share with me.

There are only three things to remember when rolling out dough, and one you already know: cold. Work quickly so the dough stays cold (and also firm and easier to work with) and if it takes a few extra minutes and starts to soften, slide it onto the back of a tray and chill it in the freezer for two or three minutes. Second is flour; a whole lot of you said that your doughs stick to the counter and the rolling pin and your fingers and it’s really simple: be generous with flour. You can always brush extra off. It’s hard to add more to glued-on dough (but I’ll show you how to do that too). The third is to not freak out–even if it gets warm, even if it sticks, it’s gonna be a’ight. So here we go!

pie crust 103: 1pie crust 103: 3pie crust 103: 4pie crust 103: 5

Continued after the jump »

Monday, November 24, 2008

pie crust 102: all butter, really flaky pie dough

pie pie pie

I don’t believe in perfection, in life or in the kitchen. At best, everything we do is a work in progress that gets a tad closer each time we nudge and tweak it. Case in point, last year’s Pie Crust 101 tutorial: My goal was to convince dough-phobes that they needn’t fear the crust by showing how I made mine in five minutes flat, or seriously, way less time than one would spend buying one. My goodness, especially with the lines in the grocery stores this week, right?

Of course in the 12 months since, I’ve probably made about 12 additional doughs and I swear, every single time I think of something that wasn’t in that post and am certain you’ve been robbed. So, without further ado, here is Pie Crust 102: A few extra tips and adjustments. If you’re a pie dough noob, Pie Crust 101 is still all you will need to get the job done, but if you’re looking to take it a step or two further, here you go:

2006's apple pie

1. I’m over shortening. There, I said it. For most of my life, I didn’t believe in shortening in crusts. It had no flavor, it is rather icky and mysterious if you give it too much thought, and who cares about flakiness in a one-crust pie anyway? But then I weakened my resolve. All the Cook’s Illustrateds and Ina Gartens claimed that the only! best! way to make the flakiest! pie dough was to use shortening in part, and I do value their opinions so. I did this for about two years, and now I’m back to all butter, baby. Do you know why? Well, for all of the original reasons–flavor rules and ickiness is not worth it–but because I have also realized that when you really know how to make pie dough, it won’t matter which fat you use. So butter it is baby! I’ll never doubt it again.

2007's apple pie

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, November 23, 2008

cauliflower gratin

cauliflower gratin

You know, I’ve got to be the only person who misses a day of posting in November because they were too busy actually cooking to sit down and tell you about it. There were cupcakes (coming soon) and a birthday cake that makes the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake look like it is trying hard enough to be gluttonous and there was this technicolor dreamcoat of cauliflower gratin.

like i could resist

Surely I’m not the only one who cannot resist those freakishly-hued cauliflowers, right? But although these were labeled “organic” and “all natural” I had my doubts when I par-boiled the purple and it turned the water a deep blue and I boiled the orange and it managed to get even brighter. Like Cheez-Whiz from a can. Not that we here at the Smitten Kitchen would ever know about such unnatural things.

sourdough breadcrumbsyeah sogloppy cheesy saucein the oven

Continued after the jump »

Friday, November 21, 2008

walnut tartlets

walnut tartlets

So, yesterday was a fun and totally out of the ordinary day in the Smitten Kitchen. First, I cooked while wearing lip gloss, which — and I don’t mean to destroy your vision of your blog hostess looking as cute as Giada each day as she creams the sugar with the butter — um, never happens. Oh and second, some really nice young ladies filmed me while I worked.

my favorite

As part of their grant from PBS’s Road Trip Nation, these recent college grads are going around the country talking to people who have travelled down entirely different career paths in hopes to get a clearer picture of what they’d like to do with their lives. How fun is that, right? And they wanted to come visit the Smitten Kitchen and talk to me, which is really funny considering that the answer to “what kind of career path led you here” is, in short: “What’s a career path?” chased with a guffaw, because I haven’t a clue.

wee tartlets

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, November 20, 2008

mustard-roasted potatoes

mustard roasted potatoes

This is one of those recipes that I’ve had bookmarked for more than a year (a! year!) and never made, despite knowing it would be nothing short of awesome and that my husband, who is a Dijon and also a roasted potato fanatic, would adore it. Obviously, I do not love him at all, right?

red and yellow potatoes

And when I finally did make them two nights ago, oh, how I kicked myself. They never deserved to be detained my recipe holding pen for a year. Even a week would have been too long to wait. They’re crispy (from the roasting) and crackly (from the whole mustard seeds that darken when roasted and snap in your mouth) and tart and tangy (from the lemon) and make fantastic leftovers (with a fried egg on top) and seriously, I have learned my lesson.

coarse dijon

Continued after the jump »