Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pie crust

Pie Crust:The best (and easiest) homemade recipe I've tried to date

*This recipie makes enough crust for 3 pies. I freeze the leftover flattened into a disk, wrapped in wax paper and use it later.*

5 cups flour

2 cups shortening

1 TBSP white vinegar

1 cup water

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 tsp. salt (kosher if possible)

Combine flour and shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until it resembles coarse crumbs. Mix together, vinegar, water, and egg then add to flour mixture. Mix until just blended. Roll out between two sheets of waxed paper then place in pie pan. Be sure to poke holes in bottom of crust.

*Note: twice I made this I didn't quite use all of my liquid. Once I used it all. I think it depends on how big the egg is that you use...*

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Alton Brown's Biscuits

I have tried lots biscuit recipes with lots of failures. This is my favorite at the moment. The original recipe is here. The best, though is the kneading tip from his show that's not on his recipe. You always hear "don't over mix the dough!" but I never really knew how much was too much. I often didn't mix mine enough so they turned out crumbly. His suggestion helped out. It has amazing texture and my only minor complaint is that it has a very slight baking powder taste. They're still the best yet though.

Alton Brown's Southern Biscuits: makes about 12
2 C. flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp shortening
1 C. chilled buttermilk (or 1 C regular milk mixed with 2 tsp. white vinegar works fine too)

1. Preheat the oven to 450*
2. Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Add butter and shortening and cut in with knives, forks, or a pastry cutter. You can use your fingers too if you want.
3. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk.
4. Stir the wet and dry ingredients until they just come together. It will be sticky.
5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 10 times by folding it on itself. (His tip from the show.)
6. Press into a 1 in. thick round and cut out with a 2 in. cup or cutter. (just reform the scraps and cut until you've used everything)
7. Place biscuits on a sheet so they just touch and cook at 450* for 15-20 min. or the tops are lightly golden brown. (I've had best results with the air cushioned pans used for cookies.)

My mom's peanut butter granola

This was my favorite granola growing up, but I still need to make it as an adult. I got my mom's recipe awhile back, so I'm posting it now for myself and siblings.

Peanut butter granola: makes 14 (1/2 C.) servings
4 Tbsp oil
2/3 C. peanut butter
1 C. brown sugar
5 C. old fashioned oats
1 C. raisens

Stir oil into peanut butter. Stir in brown sugar. Add oats and stir until coated. Bake at 300* for 15 min. stirring occasionally. Add raisins when cool.

This is not a crunchy or low fat granola. It is very delicious though.

Puffy Oven Pancakes

A.k.a Hootinanny, German Pancakes, Dutch baby

This was a favorite growing up and I still love them. It's a tradition (since college) to make them for one of the mornings of LDS general conference in both April and October. We generally cut the 9X13 pan into 4ths for adults, but kids won't need a piece that big.

Puffy Oven Pancakes:
6 eggs
1 C. flour
1 C. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cube butter cut into pieces

1. Put the butter in a 9X13 (I use glass) pan and put into a cold oven. Let the pan heat up as the oven is preheating to 400*. Make sure the butter doesn't burn, but it is imperative that the pan is hot when you put the batter in.
2. Mix the eggs, flour, milk and salt together.
3. Pour the batter into the hot pan and cook for about 18-20 min. It will be big and puffy right out of the oven but will deflate as it cools off. Eat with syrup, jam, fruit, applesauce, powdered sugar, or any other favorite topping.

Basic Granola

I got this here but modified it..

Basic Granola (about 5-6 cups)
3 C. oats
1/2 C. chopped nuts (I use a mix of pecans and almonds)
1/2 C. coconut
1/2 C. wheat germ or oat bran or flax seed
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. oil
1/2 C. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 C. dried fruit like raisins or craisins
pinch of kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 325* and line a heavy cookie sheet. I use my silpat.
2. I mix the sugar, oil, honey and vanilla together in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients (minus the dried fruit). Spread it evenly on the cooking sheet.
3. Bake at 325* for 12 min. Stir and bake for 12 min. more. It won't be crunchy straight out of the oven. It has to sit and cool to get crunchy! Don't over bake it or it will burn.
4. Add dried fruit and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Buttermilk Pancakes

I don't know where I got this recipe. I've had it for years and love it, so sorry I can't give them proper kudos.

Buttermilk Pancakes
3 C flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
3 C FRESH buttermilk (not powdered)
½ C milk
3 eggs
1/3 C butter, melted

Combine all dry & wet separately. Mix wet into dry. Don't over mix. After all the dry is incorporated and looks like lumpy mashed potatoes, stop there and cook up on a griddle.

Chicken Taco Soup

Chicken Taco soup- Serves 4-6
1-2 breast chicken—boil to shred (I use 1)
1-2 cans pinto and/or black beans, drained and rinsed
Corn or diced green peppers or other veggies that would work well…
½ can Mexican style diced tomatoes *optional*
4-6 cups water + 4 tsp better than bullion (or 4 cups broth)
little lime juice
2 cloves garlic
½ Onion diced

to taste:
Chili powder
Jalapeno salt (jalapeno salt is just if you want some heat. I've only seen it sold here in TX though)

Saute the onion and any other hard veggies in a little oil in the bottom of the soup pan. When mostly tender, add everything else and heat. Season as you like with the chili powder, cumin, jalapeno salt, and/or cayenne. You can also use ranch style beans in place of the black or pinto to cut down on the seasoning you need. If that's the case, don't rinse and drain them.

Easy Beans and Rice

This is one of my all time favorite way to make beans into a main dish. I originally got this recipe from Foxyj, but I modified it slightly to make it more of a main dish rather than a side dish. The only real difference is that I halve everything except the beans. Even halving her recipe, this still makes enough for 4 adult sized servings.

Easy Beans and Rice (Serves 4 adults)

1/4 onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup long grain rice
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (approximate, or add some hot sauce if you have it)
1 cup chicken broth (If you need it vegetarian, just use vegetable broth)
1 can black beans, drained (I've also used Pinto, and I bet Goya pink beans would be good too)

Saute the onion and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes in the oil until soft. Add the rice and stir around for a minute or two so it gets nice and toasted (it will turn white). Add the broth, cayenne, and black beans to the pan. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat, cover, and simmer for about 20-30 minutes until the rice is cooked and fluffy. (I think mine usually takes about 30 min., but check it at 20 and see how it's going...)

To turn it into burritos:
4 Large Burrito sized flour tortillas
any accompaniment you like with Mexican food

Sometimes I add seasoned shredded pork or chicken. I've also cubed up and sauteed some zucchini and seasoned it with chili powder, garlic salt and cumin and added it for vegetarian burritos. It works nicely and gives it a little more body than just the beans and rice. Grilled or caramelized onions are good in it too. As a standard, I'll usually have guacamole, sour cream, and cheese inside the burrito with the bean and rice mixture. It's so delicious.

Easy Black Bean Salsa

Black Bean Salsa
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (get a good brand so they're soft right out of the can)
2-3 roma tomatoes (or 1 larger tomato), seeded and diced
1/4 small red onion, finely diced
1-2 avocados, diced
handful cilantro, washed and coarsely chopped
1 lime's worth of juice
a splash of white vinegar (trust me, it works nicely with the lime)
1-2 cloves garlic
celery salt (use it if you have it! It REALLY helps bring all the flavors together), cumin, and garlic salt to taste

Mix all together and eat with chips or on top of tilapia or any other way you like your black bean salsa! Yuuummm...

Now, just so you know, we've made a lot of pico de gallo and fresh salsa and we've found that the addition of vinegar and celery salt take it to a whole new level of deliciousness. I don't know why, but they just make it better. I think it really helped for this one too, since Matt usually doesn't love black bean salsa and he said after tasting this, "This is some GREAT salsa." His only comment was that it could have used more avocado. I only had one in there, so we'll try 2 next time.