Thanksgiving Files: Blueberry Pie

This was my very first (!) pie attempt years ago

I have to work today, but I thought I’d put together a couple of Thanksgiving recipe posts to give you guys a chance to share your favorite recipes.  I cancelled my big Thanksgiving plans and told the relatives I’d go out early December to see everyone, instead. But I’ll still be cooking for friends, here. The weather will be in the 70s tomorrow, so I suspect there will be some hiking involved.

To get the ball rolling – dessert. From my blog:

Blueberry pie is a must at my house for Thanksgiving. This recipe is my go-to. The key is to add fresh blueberries to the cooked blueberries for the most blueberry flavor.  Originally posted in 2012

Blueberry Pie

Filling:

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on your sweetness preference, I used 1/2 cup)
  • 2-1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen (and thawed) blueberries
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest

In a saucepan, add sugar, cornstarch, water and 1 cup blueberries. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, add 3 cups of blueberries, lemon juice and lemon zest, fold in completely. Cool in refrigerator until time to put the pie together. I also chilled the bowl I mixed everything in, as well.

Crust:

  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, very cold
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Cut butter into small pieces (I actually cut frozen butter, it was easier) and place in the freezer to chill it completely. Whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter until it is crumbly. Drizzle in the water and mix together until it forms a loose ball (do not over mix, you want visible butter pieces). Turn out onto a floured surface, knead gently, divide into two equal pieces (I weighed them), form each into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour. While I was at it, I refrigerated my marble rolling pin and marble pastry board.

To assemble pie: roll out one of the balls until it’s about 12-13 inches (depending on your pie plate size) and about 3/16” thick. To move to your pie plate, flour your rolling pin again and fold the dough over it, transfer to the plate and it should fall into place. Gently form it to the plate and let excess dough overhang the edge – you can brush the edge with water before adding the top pastry. With all the butter, this step really isn’t necessary, it quickly seals itself. Add blueberry filling. Roll out second ball to the same size and thickness. Move to the plate and adjust over the pie plate. Now you can trim the excess dough, or you can tuck it under and then pinch to flute it. Next time I’m sure I’ll experience one of those, but this time, it was pretty skimpy for me to flute.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 375 and continue until golden brown (I had to bake another 40 minutes). You’ll probably have to tent the edges with foil to keep them from burning. I did that at the 25 minute mark. Let cool until just warm to touch for the blueberries to set if you want to serve warm.

Later today, we’ll talk turkey.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite/successful recipe for pie crust? And what desserts will grace your table this Thanksgiving (if you celebrate)? What dessert do you absolutely loathe?  Mine is minced meat pie – which my dad adores, so I try to make sure it’s available for him. Open thread.








As You Like It Bread

 

There was a complaint that there haven’t been enough recipes lately, so here is one of my faves. I developed it from a much older recipe that made four loaves, two white, one carrot-raisin, and one molasses spice. Four is far too many for me, so I cut it in half and then experimented with various whole-grain additions. I make this all the time. It’s easy and almost foolproof. The loaves in the pic are made with cornmeal.

You need a bit of experience with yeast breads to be able to work out my sketchy instructions. If you want to use whole wheat flour, I recommend no more than two cups in place of white flour.

 

Combine in a mixing bowl 2 cups of flour and 1 tbsp. of dry yeast. If you use whole wheat flour, it should be now.

Combine in a saucepan:

  • 1 cup whole grain (cornmeal, oatmeal, bulgur wheat, whatever)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. sweetener (sugar, honey, molasses, whatever)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. salt

and heat, with stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Add 1-1/2 cup cool water and add to the flour – yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Add flour until the dough is ready to knead, about 2-4 cups.

Knead until the dough is springy. Allow to rise until doubled, punch down and allow to rise until doubled again. Split into two and form into loaves in loaf pans. Allow to rise and bake 40 minutes in a 400 F oven. Turn out on a cooling rack.

 








Fall Menus: Another Week in October

Another week has flown by. This week’s menus include some of my favorites.

Monday, Cream of Potato Cheese Soup, always perfect on a chilly fall day.

Potato Soup Photo by JeffreyW

Wednesday features Pan-Fried Catfish and Buttered Potatoes. You can find all the menus here: October Menus 2

Thursday is a German Pocket Burgers and Apple Strudel.  And Friday will have the kids licking their fingers with Buffalo Chicken Legs, a healthy alternative to deep fried buffalo chicken.

Complete shopping lists are here: October Weekly Shopping List 2   A reminder that the menus and shopping lists are color coordinated. You can easily disregard any item you won’t need.

JeffW’s awesome biscuit photo.

Tonight’s bonus recipe is Garlic Biscuits, below.

That’s if for this week. What’s cookin’ for you this weekend?

Tonight’s bonus recipe:

Garlic Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tbsp buttermilk powder*
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or shortening
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 cup milk*

bowl and baking sheet or cast iron skillet, greased

I prefer using butter over shortening because it gives the biscuits a buttery, garlic flavor that is irresistible.

Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter, stir in garlic, add milk. Stir quickly with a fork until completely moistened, don’t over mix. Knead gently on floured surface for 10-12 strokes. Roll out to ½ inch thick, cut into biscuits. Place on baking sheet or cast iron skillet, and bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

*or substitute 1 cup buttermilk,  then omitting buttermilk powder and milk.

 








A Late Evening Snack: Challah French Toast

I decided to perdu some pain for dinner using most of one of the challahs I made on Friday for Yom Kippur. Or more accurately after Yom Kippur was over. So without further ado…

I make a very basic custard for the bread to soak in. Usually four eggs, about a 1/2 cup of milk, a pinch or two of kosher salt, and then brown sugar, honey, and cinnamon to taste.

Here’s a nice slice of challah having a nice soak in the custard.

And here’s several pieces cooking away in the pan.

Here’s the finished, sliced, and diced challah french toast luxuriating on a plate in maple syrup.

And just to balance things out because I hadn’t prepared enough calories, I made a salami omelette.

Open thread!

 








A Late Evening Snack: Happy Jew Year

On Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur (the head of the year and the day of atonement respectively) challah is round, not the standard braided loaf. For those who aren’t carb adventurous, challah is the traditional Jewish egg bread served on the Sabbath. For the religious new year and day of atonement round challah is served to symbolize the circle of life from one year to the next.

This year I decided that I’d do something nice for my Mom for the holiday. So I made her a Rosh HaShana challah from scratch. I used LGF’s Vicious Babushka’s recipe for honey saffron challah, which you can find here. Braiding instructions for a round challah can be viewed here.

It was very easy to follow, everything went smoothly in the prep, and it baked up beautifully. It tasted as good as it looked. One note: I made what are called 3 lbs loaves. So basically my yield from the recipe were two very large loaves of round challah. I’ll be making two more at the end of this week ahead of Yom Kippur a week from tonight. Pics below in order of preparation.

Everything coming together in the mixer:

After rising and waiting for braiding.

Braided and waiting to be made into a round. Or, if you’re prepping for a highland games or Celtic festival, just bake it like this for a Judeo-Celtic Cross. Very ecumenical…

Final proofing:

Proofed and egg washed:

Fresh out of the oven and cooling:

Open thread!








Fall Menus: September Week 2

Tuesday is Oven Fried Chicken

This is a little late, but I suppose better late than never. I’ve been crazy with work and glued to hurricane coverage, as I have Florida family (and friends).

Since we are moving into cooler weather, I’m bringing the meals in from the grill and into the kitchen. Although we do have a Grilled Steak on Monday – it’s in a soy/wine marinade that I love because you can use an inexpensive cut of beef and still get a great steak out of it.

One of my favorite meals, Red Beans and Rice, heads up Wednesday’s menu. And Friday is a slow-cooker BBQ Beef on Kaiser Rolls. 

All the PDF menus can be found here: September Week 2 Menus

The color-coded weekly shopping list is here: September Week 2 Shopping List The color coding allows you to eliminate any ingredients you won’t need if you skip a recipe.

Tonight’s bonus recipe is Creole Vegetables and Black Beans, (pictured above, recipe at the bottom of post)

What’s on your plate as you end your weekend and begin your week. If you have any questions, hit the comments and I’ll try and get you an answer. Have a great week!

Bonus Recipe:

We’re trying to do a vegetarian night a few times a week. This was one of my favorite creations.

Creole Vegetables with Black Beans and Rice

  • 1 cup Jasmine Rice
  • 1 -15 oz can no salt black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • limejuice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 green onions, chopped (including greens)
  • 1/2 each: green, red and orange pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1-14 oz can no salt diced tomatoes
  • salt to taste

Cook rice according to package directions, keep warm.

Add beans and a dash of limejuice and salt to saucepan and heat through.

In a skillet, heat olive oil, add onions and saute until softened, add peppers and celery, saute for 2-3 minutes. Add carrots, cook additional 2-3 minutes and add tomatoes. Add a tablespoon of Creole seasoning (recipe below) and mix in. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer until carrots are tender.  Salt to taste and add more seasoning as needed.

Place rice, beans and tomato mixture in separate bowls and let everyone mix to their own taste. Put remaining Creole Seasoning on the table for garnish.

Serves 4.

Creole Seasoning

  • 2 tsp paprika (go for the good stuff)
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on the heat you like)

Mix all together and grind with a mortar and pestle or run through a spice grinder.  Add to tomato mixture.

*you can use dried beans, cooked and drained








Fall Menus: September Week One

If it’s a pizza photo, it has to be JeffreyW’s.

Fall is not quite here, so the menus still include grilling favorites.  Monday is Fruit Juice Marinated Chicken on the grill.  Tuesday is Pasta Rustica and Garlic Cheesy Bread.

For all of the PDF menus, click here: September Week One Menus

Thursday is Spicy Beef and Broccoli (photo above from JeffreyW) and Friday is a fun Kid’s Menu of fun and easy pizzas.

Complete shopping lists are here: September Week One Shopping List

Tonight’s bonus recipe is Blueberry Coffeecake

What’s on your plate for the holiday? Anyone else in denial it’s September already? If you have any questions about any of the recipes, let me know in the comments.

Bonus recipe:

Blueberry CoffeeCake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp cultured buttermilk powder (or 1 cup butter milk  & omit water)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 8 oz frozen blueberries

Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup flour

8×8 baking dish, greased

2 bowls

In bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, buttermilk and mix well. Make a well in the center add egg, water & oil. Stir quickly until all everything is mixed well, but don’t over mix. Fold in blueberries. Spread batter evenly in baking dish. In bowl, mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the top of batter. Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.