Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saturday Breakfast

Saturday is my lazy day, well at least for the time being. It's the only day of the week I make coffee. All other days are tea via the microwave. With the coffee indulgence comes Food Network shows and the time to eat leisurely. It is such a treat.

Today I decided on pancakes and turkey sausage. My pancakes came from a box mix -- it's left over from when my family visited during the summer. The mix is Trader Joe's and it's good, but the sausage ... homemade with rosemary, sage, thyme, mustard and brown sugar. It's so much better when you make it yourself! I have ground my own meat before and I know it's a lot of work. I made this batch with ground turkey I bought from the store. -- super easy. Spend a few minutes on the weekend to make up a couple of pounds, freeze the patties and you can make your own convenience food! Besides, you know exactly what's in it.

I am surprised that the food I love now is the food a generation ran from in the '50s and the opposite of the Happy Meals I loved when I was a kid. Now those enjoy quality, homemade food are labeled foodies. Why isn't there a name for the generation who know little outside the processed world of Pop Tarts, Lunchables and Pizza Rolls?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Braces & A Birthday

I welcomed 34 with a determination to conquer my nemesis, pie dough! How fortuitous Cook's Illustrated came out with a new Foolproof Pie Dough recipe -- the stars were starting to align. This pie dough has vodka in it to help reduce the amount of gluten formed during preparation.

It has been a hit! I can now make, roll and place pie dough properly in the pie plate. The keys to success are my dough mat (it helps me roll a large enough circle) and parchment. I'll probably buy a French rolling pin next week because it's supposed to be easier to use than the ball bearing kind.

I got to use my birthday treat, decorative pie crust cutters from Williams-Sonoma. They are so cute. I wanted a custard pie with complex flavoring. If you can make lavender crème brulée, why does egg custard pie have to be boring? My favorite teas are Earl Grey and Honeybush Caramel. I toyed with making a tea flavored custard. I love coconut and caramel. I had decided on that until I found I was out of coconut milk and coconut extract. I did find some pecan flavoring. Pecan and caramel ... things were getting interesting. Could I make pecan flavored custard and use caramel sauce to make pretty designs in the custard before it baked? My challenge was set! I wimped out on the caramel sauce. I chose caramel syrup instead.

The pie crust rolled out perfectly! My fluting was beautiful! It all went away during the blind baking, but hey! This is the furthest I've ever gotten. Could it be my pie weights? I used the whole jar when I guess it was supposed to be half. Oh well. At least I got the first part right. The shrinkage was disappointing, but I guess it's to be expected. My filling is beautiful, the crust is a little dark for my tastes, but I'm closer to my goal. If I make one pie a week, I ought to be perfect by Thanksgiving.

I got braces for my birthday. I'm happy because my teeth have stopped aching. My mouth is still to sore to chew properly, but I've discovered the joy of homemade soup and sauteed crab. I've made tomato basil, butternut squash and carrot soup in the last six days. I purchased the can crab a week before my braces. It's a good thing I did. I heat a mix of olive oil and butter with fresh garlic and Old Bay. I throw in the crab and heat until warmed through. Delicious!

Tools of the trade: