27 October 2009

pumpkin pie

just to set the record straight, i do not have a sweet tooth.

however, here's another piece of pie that's worth a blog entry about: this was likely the second best pumpkin pie i've had since being born... swear by the stray hairs on my chin.

decent crust, a filling not too sweet and just the right consistency (i.e. moist but not soupy, nor too eggy, nor too tough), simple on the spice, and a belle couleur. thanks to tammy's country kitchen in napanee (ontario), i am now a pumpkin pie aficionada.

(oh, and those who eat pie "à la mode" are heathens).

25 October 2009

fresh harvest: apples

apple season means picking loads of delicious apples fresh from the local orchards (which are a-plenty here, like hobos in the streets).

this year, i decided to pick my apples from the bin at the market because it was faster, closer, as cheap, and just as good quality (if not better) than the u-picks. cons: you don't get as much variety and you don't get to stuff your face with apples while buying them from the stand.

using alton brown's recipe for a pâte brisée crust, i set out to make two pies at a time (one for someone's birthday party and the other for my un-birthday).

things i discovered on this pie-making feat:
  1. having hard alcohol handy makes the medicine go down (and the keeps the flour in the crust from glutenizing quickly as opposed to water).
  2. a sharp peeler makes a huge difference.
  3. apple corers make things go way faster.
  4. a helper makes things go twice as fast!

also using alton's super apple pie recipe as a guide, i used the standard fare of cinnamon and nutmeg for spices and also added freshly ground cardamom. AB's recipe called for some stupidly named spice called grains of paradise which i have no idea what that is, but after a little research i found could be substituted with cardamom.

that said, the only remaining thing about the pie pictured above now is that photo...

04 October 2009

fresh harvest: basil

garden season was pretty crappy this year, but still managed to get a few yields of sweet basil. last harvest turned into a batch of pesto (which kind of looks like a bowl full of discombobulated peas, but tastes nothing like it).

pesto alla genovese is usually made with genovese basil, but the sweet basil variety is similar in flavour so an adequate substitute. adequate, i say, because i don't think i've had genovese basil before.

pesto alla genovese

makes about 2 cups

6 cups loosely packed basil
2/3 cup pine nuts (toast them lightly and let them cool, if you like)
8 garlic cloves
1/3 to 1/2 cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

process everything except the olive oil until the mixture is well ground together.

note: if you want to freeze this, you might want to omit the cheese until you thaw it out, but it should freeze fine with the cheese.