Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pie Crust

 This recipe is a great crust recipe, it is very flaky and easy to make. You can use all butter, shortening, lard or a combination of butter and shortening, depending on your needs and wants. Sugar can also be added depending on you wants. There are lots of *tricks for making pie crust and I will list some at the end. The best advice is to practice. This recipe is for a double-crust pie but, hey if you are not making a double-crust pie, use it for two single-crust pies. You can never have enough pie, at least not at our house!

2 ⅔ cups all- purpose flour plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, shortening, lard or a combination of butter and shortening as long as it equals 1 cup ( I like ¾ shortening with ¼ butter. I have also had desperate times when I used margarine and it worked fine)
½ cup cold water

Makes one 9-inch pie

Sift together flour and salt, cut in butter (or whatever fat you are using) with pastry blender or 2 forks until mixture resembles small peas.

Drizzle water over flour mixture a tablespoon at a time. Using a table fork, blend the water with the flour mixture and continue adding water just until it holds together when you press together to make a ball. The dough should be evenly moist, Not Wet.

Turn dough out on a lightly flour surface. Make the dough into a ball, then divide the dough in to 2 equal pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the frig for 20 minutes.

Leaving one ball of dough in the frig, take the other ball of dough out of the frig, unwrap and place on a lightly floured surface. If dough is too cold let it rest for 5 minutes. Lightly scatter top of dough with flour. Press dough with rolling pin to form an X and continue rolling out, making sure to roll from all directions, to about a 13 inch circle, about ⅛ inch thick for a 9 inch pie pan.

To move the dough to the pan, place rolling pin in center of the dough and fold dough over the rolling pin, gently lift and center dough over the pie pan, unfold the dough evenly in pan without stretching the dough. Press the dough to the bottom and sides of pan. Trim over hang to about 1to 2 inch overhang.

If making a single crusted pie trim dough to 1 inch overhang, tuck under overhang and then flute the edges, fill and bake as called for in recipe.

For double crusted pie, roll out the second ball of dough the same as the first except only rolling to a 11 to 12-inch circle, then cut vents in it using a knife or small cookie cutter. Fill bottom crust, gentle place top crust to pie using the same method as used for the bottom crust, making sure to center the crust over the pie. Trim edge to make it even with the bottom crust, tuck both top and bottom under and flute, then finish and bake according to recipe.

*Just a few Hints -
Cold is important when making a god crust. Any fat you are working with should be cold, even shortening or lard.
For good cold water, fill a cup with ice then add water, use the water for the crust, adding it to the crust 1 tablespoon at a time.
Use your hands to touch the dough as little as possible. Warm hands brake-down the fat in the crust.
To repair tear in the crust - A tear in the dough is pretty normal and rich dough is more likely to get a tear. Just use a little cold water, either using a pastry rush or your finger dab or brush cold water and moisten the area and gentle reconnect the break or add a small piece of dough and press it gently into place stretching as little as possible.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mexican Pork Roast for Tacos

This is an all-purpose pulled-pork meat for tacos, burritos, tostadas, nachos, and enchiladas. It is prepared in a slow cooker to give it time to absorb the flavors of the herbs, spices, garlic, and chili powder.


1 Pork butt roast or pork shoulder roast
(regional names for same cut) 3-4 lbs.

7-10 Cloves of garlic based on size of roast

1 Heaping tablespoon mild chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

2 Bay leaves

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (if you want some heat)


Place pork roast in slow cooker. Carefully cut slits over top and sides of roast that correspond with the number of garlic cloves used. Stuff slits with garlic cloves. Pour enough water into slow cooker to cover roast half-way up sides.
Sprinkle remaining herbs and spices over roast and in water. Place bay leaves in water. Cook on high for 5 hours or on medium for 7-8 hours. Turn over roast half-way through cooking time. Remove roast from slow cooker to rest for 10 minutes before pulling. Bones should slide out of roast. Pull with fork to desired size.

If using for tacos, select sturdy tortillas that won't tear. Warm tortillas in tortilla warmer. Use any combination of the following ingredients to complete tacos: diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, lettuce, green onion, cilantro, guacamole, sour cream, and salsa.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Over the last few months, blogging has not been high on my list. Between our move to the Great Northwest and getting distracted with FB, (a sin I know and I beg for forgiveness) I have completely let the blog go, well I am back and I am re-inviting you posters to get back here too. It is the season for food and time to get recommitted.

With our move, cooking was put on the back burner, (another sin I know) but as I unpacked I realized all the great cookbooks I have and all the recipes in those books that I have never gotten around to trying. Like many other people, I love to read cookbooks like some read a good novel. My first love in the kitchen is baking so I decided to start there with a book my husband gave me for Christmas a few years ago, Baking At Home with The Culinary Institute of America. My goal is to try and follow the recipes without changing them, and learn new techniques. I am learning new technique, but I am having trouble with the "changing recipe" part. A friend told me not to worry about that because I was just making each recipe my own and she is right I am, so I am just going to keep trying. It seems I always have to put my two cents in which can be good and bad. So far I am happy with my two cents, but try the recipes and see what you think and maybe add your two cents. I added to my weight with the move so my next goal I think will be to try and not gain too much weight as I crack open these books, Ha, we'll see how long that lasts.

It's time to get cooking!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mudslide Cookies

Mudslide cookies get their name because the dough is very soft, almost like cake dough, very gooey and messy. They are yum-yum-yum!
Makes 24 large cookies
Flourless cooking spray for greasing
3/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp powder instant Postum (or coffee)*
1 Tbsp boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract
7 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
7 large eggs
2 3/4 cup sugar
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.

Combine the Postum and boiling water to make a paste. Blend in the vanilla extract, set aside.

Melt the chopped unsweetened chocolate, chopped bittersweet chocolate, and the butter in a double boiler over low heat or in a bowl in the microwave in 15-to 20- second intervals. Gently stir to blend.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the eggs, sugar, and Postum* paste mixture on high speed until light in texture and thick, 6-8 minutes. Add the chocolate mixture with the machine running on medium speed. On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients until just blended. Mix in the walnuts and chocolate chips until blended. Scrape down the bowl as needed during mixing to blend evenly.

Using a 1/4-cup measure as a scoop, fill it with dough, level it, and drop the dough onto a prepared cookie sheet, leaving 3-4 inches between the cookies.

Bake the cookies until they are cracked on top but still slightly moist, rotating the pans as necessary to bake the cookies evenly, 14 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire racks to cool completely.

*In the original recipe instant coffee was used, but I don't drink coffee, so I don't have it around the house. I have used instant Postum instead of coffee in the past and it worked perfect for this recipe, the hard part is that it is no longer available; I think I bought the last jar available. I found a sight that also recommended Teeccino Caffeine-free herbal coffee, which is basically the same as Postum and it is still in stores! I am going to try cocoa power and see how that works.