I am always on the quest for the perfect pie – the holy grail of baking. We have three blueberry bushes that were loaded with berries, perfectly ripe, so it was time to give it another try. I used 4 inch quiche pans to make tarts for the experiments – making several small pies. Cook’s Illustrated has an incredible recipe for the pie dough that they call “Foolproof Pie Dough for a Single-Crust Pie. It uses vodka, which makes the dough easier to roll out. But as good as the recipe is, I can’t resist tinkering a bit, and that’s where the problems start. I insist on making it with only butter – no lard or shortening. What can I say – butter just tastes better. In the past, I have been able to make the change with a few other adjustments and make a perfect free form tart – a tart that I would put up against any. This time, I wanted to make a perfect pie, complete with decorations. But butter spreads, making decorations …
We started several projects this week. After reading a simple method for sprouting in the “Bar Tartine, techniques and recipes” cookbook, we decided to sprout some lentils. We needed a clean, non reactive container that we could put cheese cloth over in order to quickly rinse the sprouts. The answer was a glass jar. Later, I was organizing the pantry, and decided I wanted all the containers to be uniform, not expensive, easy to move around, easy to clean, easy to find for sale in bulk, and clear, so I could tell what was in it. Again, it ended up that the answer was a common glass jar. I tried several other containers – cute ceramic jars, plastic flour containers. But, who knew, it was the common canning jar that would work best? Oh, I guess my Grandmother knew, since she always used them, but other than her, who would have guessed? The 32 oz size was really useful for all the different grains we have, and the 32 oz wide mouth for the various …
Food Gifts from Santa Cruz
One of the highlights of visiting Paris is lunch at Au Pied de Cochon – the perfect Parisian brasserie.
I really want to be able to have dessert, even when I am trying to eat healthy. It doesn’t have to be ooey gooey, but it does have to look good and taste really good. These melon balls with just a touch of mint simple syrup were elegant and delicious. A little mint from the herb garden made the syrup easy, and the cantaloupe from the farmer’s market were fantastic. Proving that a dessert doesn’t have to have a ton of calories to be a hit. Photos by Tony Fitzgerald Photography PHOTOS ARE AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE FOR IMMEDIATE DOWNLOAD COMMERCIAL USE.
Inspired by the Seinfeld episode “Top of the Muffin to You”, I decided to try baking just the muffin tops. Not so impressive looking, since they look a lot like cookies, but the almonds on top definitely put them over the “top”.
After a trip to the farmer’s market, we made old fashioned carrot salad, but gave it an update. The homemade mayonnaise with lime and ginger gave it an asian flair, so instead of raisins we topped it with poppy seeds, which looked perfect with the spaghetti cut on the carrots. Photos by Tony Fitzgerald Photography PHOTOS ARE AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE FOR IMMEDIATE DOWNLOAD COMMERCIAL USE.
Tony made Thai green curry from scratch, toasting and then grinding all the spices with a mortar and pestle. We even grew the Makrut lime ourselves for the leaves and zest. The sticky rice was steamed in an authentic Thai basket used for just this purpose. The flavors were so bright the curry was unlike anything we have had in a restaurant.