Recipes

Peach Pie for Pi Day

Mmmness.

Mmmness.

Cleaning out the freezer and math happened to collide in our kitchen, so we thought we would share the results.

This peach pie recipe is a take-off on one that was quite popular at our restaurant, and that was a take off on one from The Frog Commissary Cookbook, one of our favorites.

Not that their recipe needed to be changed, it was more a matter of what was on hand in the house.

If you are using frozen peaches, be sure they are thawed and well drained.

Peach Streusel Pie

Line a pie tin with one crust, flute.
We prefer to leave the skins on our peaches, so we cut them into chunks. We put 5 cups into the pie tin, set aside.

Mix together:
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 Tbl. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. dried lemon zest

Set aside.

In separate bowl, combine:
1/2 cup warm water
3 Tbl. milled flax seed
Let soak for a minute, then add:
1 cup kefir or plain yogurt
1 1/2 Tbl. whiskey
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Combine the wet with the dry, and pour over the fruit.
Bake in a moderate oven, 350F, for 15-20 minutes to get the filling to set up a bit.

In the meantime, we make a streusel topping by combining pie dough equivalent to about 1/2 crust with 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar. Work it together with your hand or a fork until crumbly. you can speed things up by chopping with a knife after you have them mixed together.

Add 1 cup chopped walnuts.

When the pie is par-baked, carefully remove it from the oven and add the topping. Turn the heat down a bit, and continue baking until done, about 15-20 minutes.

Let it cool before slicing.

Couldn't wait.

Couldn’t wait.

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Wonderful Homemade Knish

Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Served with a dollop of sour cream.

Most every culture has some kind of filled dumpling recipe.
The Polish serve Pierogies, while the Italian Ravioli. Chinese have numerous and varied recipes from potstickers to things we cannot begin to pronounce correctly.
Do a search on the internet and you will find an abundance of recipes to choose from.

Although we had heard of them for many years, it was only recently that we found knishes for sale at the local market.

Cool, a new food- We’re game.

It was somewhat disappointing though.
The dough was heavy; the knish fried, then cooled, then reheated; the filling bland.
But then, isn’t pretty much any manufactured version of a good recipe usually not as flavorful as it is supposed to be?

So I set about reading up on recipes, and feeling somewhat overwhelmed, decided to just try my own.
Most dough-filled dumplings can be fried, baked or boiled.
The kitchen is cool this time of year, so baked it will be.

The fillings usually center around precooked meat, potatoes or cabbage, and possibly veggies. Pretty broad.

We had some leftover mashed potatoes with turnips and rutabagas in the fridge, along with leftover imitation spicy sausage and homemade fermented sauerkraut.
Perfect.
We mixed it all together, adding a raw egg to help bind them.

Baking is something I have been doing since childhood, and professionally at our restaurant.
For us, the filling was a given- it was the dough that mattered.

We wanted a dough that would compliment the filling rather than overwhelm it.

Corn meal appearance, but able to form a ball.

Corn meal appearance, but able to form a ball.

So here’s what happened:

In a food processor, we added
2 oz. butter
3 oz. hard cheese, we used swiss
3 Tablespoons ricotta cheese
3 Tablespoons Kefir (or yogurt or sour cream)

Pulse this until it looks like cornmeal. You can also do it by hand with a pastry knife or two butter knives.
Slowly add enough flour to form a dough, in this case it was 2 cups. Like many recipes, how much flour to liquid ratio depends on your elevation and on the humidity.

Also keep in mind the less you work the dough, the better the texture will be.

Roll the dough as thin as you can on a floured board.
Fill with your choice of filling, pinch closed using an egg wash, or leave open at the top.
I was concerned the dough might melt some, having never made one with so much cheese in it, so used muffin tins. Turns out the dough held up just fine, so this really wasn’t necessary.
Bake at 350 until brown, about 15 minutes.

Ready for the oven.

Ready for the oven.

We did ours as an open dumpling, but you can also fold the dough over to cover the filling completely.

Forget what everyone told you growing up-
playing with your food is a very Good thing.

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Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut and a wee volunteer acorn.

Butternut and a wee volunteer acorn.

Finally the truth about squash is coming out, and that is that much of the ‘Canned Pumpkin’ on the market is actually Butternut Squash.
We first heard this a few years ago from a local farmer that has provided butternut squash to companies just for that purpose.
Why label something as ‘Pumpkin’ or ‘Pumpkin Soup’ when it isn’t, is beyond me.

It must have something to do with sales, the same way sweet potatoes are often mislabeled as yams.
Kudos to our local Wegeman’s on this score. Over Thanksgiving they had a sign posted explaining the difference, and why they label their sweet potatoes both ways.

Good for them, its a start.
As people become more aware of what they are eating, we are likely to see more things like that. That would be great.

Off the soapbox now and back to the kitchen.

Wash, cut in half or quarters, and remove the membrane from one good sized butternut squash. We threw the little acorn one in for good measure.

Cook however you desire. Some just microwave it. We steam it in the oven, which usually takes about 45 minutes.
When cool enough to handle, remove the flesh from the skin.

We got about 6-7 cups and put it in the Ninja; you can use any food processor. This was really more to pulverize the tablespoon each of fresh ginger and dried lemon zest, plus the handful of dried lemon balm. If you use powdered ginger and lemon juice, skip this step.

We put ours in the crock pot to heat back up, adding another tablespoon each of sesame oil and soy sauce. We also added 4 cups of vegetable broth to thin it out a bit.

That was it, it doesn’t get much easier.
You can save time by cooking off multiple squashes.
Use some for soup and freeze the rest for another meal.

Like Squash Ravioli. Mmmm.

Summary of Ingredients:
1 butternut squash, cooked
1 Tbl. each fresh ginger, lemon balm, lemon zest, soy sauce, sesame oil
Aprox. 4 cups vegetable broth, as needed to get the right consistency.

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Asiago Pancakes with Pear Sauce

A wonderful way to start the day.

A wonderful way to start the day.

Cheese and bread are often paired together, yet when I suggested these pancakes to Mandolin he responded a little surprised with “Hmmm, that’s an interesting idea.”

I have made then twice so far, once for a little taste-test and again for SaveTheWorld and her boyfriend.
They devoured them so I am assuming they liked them as much as I did the first sample.

We make our own Pancake mix, by stirring together:
4 cups flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 ½ Tablespoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon salt

Store in an airtight jar.

For a small batch of pancakes, just mix together gently:
1 cup dry mix
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup milk
1 Tbl. oil

Grate some Asiago, or other hard cheese.
Pour some pancake batter into a hot greased pan, then quickly add the cheese.
Because I was in an Autumn mood, I also sprinkled on a little pumpkin pie spice.
Proceed to cook the pancakes as you normally would.

The Pear Sauce was made my cooking:
About 3 pounds of pears, pitted and pureed in a food processor.
To this we added 2 cups sugar, a little lemon rind and about 1/4 cup of orange juice.
Cook until it is thick. You can process it in a water bath canner as well.

When the pancakes are ready, top with some warm pear sauce and enjoy!

So far Mandolin has not had the chance to try these, and I do still have a few pears left.

Perhaps tomorrow I will surprise him with a little breakfast; with all the work he has been doing on the house and garden, I’d say he certainly deserves it!

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Spaghetti Squash with a Twist

Mandolin is great at seeing what we have on hand, and turning it into a wonderful dish. It must be his creative side.

And that’s what he did when the first of the spaghetti squash was ripe enough to harvest. This recipe leans towards Hispanic, and he claims it to be the best spaghetti squash he has tasted so far.
I would have to agree.

A wonderful start.

A wonderful start.

Take one good sized squash. slice in half lengthwise and clean out the seeds. Place face down in a dripping pan, and add a few inches of water. Cover with foil and bake in a moderate oven until tender. Ours took about an hour.
Let cool, then gently remove the spaghetti-like flesh.

In the meantime, saute:
1 1/2 Tbl. oil
1/4 clove fresh garlic
1/3 chopped onion

Add:
2 Tbl. chopped fresh green pepper
2 1/4 oz. can sliced ripe olives, drained
a med. plum tomato, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 pinch chipolte chili pepper
1/4 tsp. sweet paprika

Blending flavors.

Blending flavors.

Just before serving, add:
1 ripe avocado, chopped fine
1/2 cup shredded gruyere

Toss in the squash to get it warm.
Top with a little of the cheese and enjoy!

Mmmm...

Mmmm…

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Salsa Verde

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A New Twist on Summer Squash

The tip of the summer squash iceberg.

The tip of the summer squash iceberg.

Three hills of summer squash may seem like two hills too many, unless you have fun ways to serve what you pick fresh.

We had heard of making curly fries from potatoes and sweet potatoes, then learned you can do the same thing with eggplant, summer squash, and butternut squash.

After checking out a few YouTube videos demonstrating slicers, we chose one by Paderno. It seemed to be the easiest and most reasonably priced for what we needed.

According to the directions included, you can also use it to slice and make curly cues from turnips, radishes, cabbage, apples and carrots. Hmm… pretty neat.

Quick and easy.

Quick and easy.

Once we got the hang of it, it did the job quick and is very easy to use.
Mandolin grabbed some of the first batch of crookneck squash shown and added it to some sauteed garlic and roasted onion tops. He threw in baby spinach, fresh basil, a little salt and pepper and a dash of lemon juice.

Mmmm...

Mmmm…

Topped with some Parmesan cheese, it was lunch in a snap.

The rest of the squash curls went into the dehydrator, something we learned in the Facebook group Dehydrating Tips and Recipes.

Ready to store for up to 10 years.

Ready to store for up to 10 years.

No longer is Mandolin saying “Two zucchini plants are at least one too many.”

Instead we are anxiously awaiting that overabundance of summer squash, something we never thought we would be doing.

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Spicy Twice Baked Potatoes

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Eggrolls w/ Mint Sauce

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Stuffed Texas Onions with an Asian Influence

What do you do with a case of sweet onions from Texas?
Anything you want! :-)

Texas Sweet Onions

We received this wonderful gift from Mr. and Mrs. Jones, jr. and were quite excited to try it, especially the ‘onion cooker’ that was in the box.

Sure enough the little plastic onion shaped device cooks a whole onion in the microwave in a manner of minutes. These onions are uber-sweet, and needed a recipe worthy of their flavor. Hmmm…

Making onion bowls

So we cooked a few peeled onions; when they were cool we sliced them in half and hollowed them out into bowls by pushing from the narrower ends.

In the meantime we sauteed some veggies, adding fresh grated ginger and carrot to the pot as well.

Stuffed onions Asian style

When they were just about ready, we tossed in tofu marinated with Asian seasonings, specifically a little Teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, and some dry wasabi powder.

Seasoning Tofu

Some thin slices of eggplant were pan seared, and stuffed with Feta cheese and rolled.
Everything was placed in the onion, which was heated back up in the microwave.

To top it all off, we used a little warm bechamel sauce and added a fresh garlic scape, just for show.

Pretty enough to eat.

We could say “Voila!“, but that’s neither Asian nor Texan.

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