Makes: 1 double crust for a 9-inch pie (or 2 single-crust 9-inch pies or 8 pastie circles)
2½ cups flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. salt
7 Tbsp. very cold butter, cut into small pieces
7 Tbsp. very cold shortening, cut into pieces*
Mix flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Drop in butter and shortening. Using your hands, a fork, a pastry cutter, or two knives, work butter and shortening into the flour mixture, until it resembles cornmeal with some small pea-size pieces.
Using a fork, quickly stir in ½ cup ice water (mixture will not hold together). Turn dough and crumbs onto a clean surface. Knead just until dough starts to hold together, but some bits still fall away - 5 to 10 times. Divide dough in half and pat each half into a 6-inch disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 20 minutes and up toovernight.
*If you would like to use lard - which also contributes flavor and flakiness to pie crust - substitute 2 Tbsp. lard for 2 Tbsp. of the shortening. Try to get good quality lard from a butcher shop if you can; it's generally much better than ordinary grocery store lard.
Mix equal parts of softened butter and ground almonds. Mix thoroughly with brandy and place in butter dish and refrigerate for 4 days.
Toni's English Kitchen - 1990
Caramelization is cooking thattrns onions golden, sweet and soft -with a few cruncy bits - by breaking down the natural sugars.
You've seen it: On a hamburger at a chain restaurant.
Our Take: Rich flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture make them a perfect topper for a baked potato, sautéed spinach or a frittata.
Try This: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a 10-inch skilet over medium heat. Add 2 thinly sliced onions, ½ teaspoon light-brown sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, for about 20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Uncover, cook and stir over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until onions are golden.
Printed from Family Circle magazine, April 2009.
Clarified Butter or Drawn Butter
When you remove milk solids from butter you increase its heat tolerance and you have Clarified Butter, also called Drawn Butter. It does not burn as easily as regular butter because the milk solids (whey) have been removed.
Once accomplished, you can use drawn butter for making dishes that benefit from buttery flavor but must be cooked over moderately high heat, such as sautéed potatoes, eggs, fish, and many other items. It is also used to make hollandaise sauce and several other similar sauces.
To make drawn butter (clarified) you slowly heat butter (unsalted or salted) over low heat until the butter separates into three layers. The top layer is a foam (the whey) and should be skimmed off with a spoon. A milky layer on the bottom of the pan is the milk solids. In between is a pure golden-yellow liquid called drawn butter.
Once separated you skim the foam off the top, remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for a few minute. You then strain the remaining mixture into another container through a very fine sieve or you can pour it through cheese cloth.
The resulting liquid is the drawn butter (butterfat) that can be covered and stored several weeks in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen. If you freeze it, do so in small batches.
You will find many recipes on my website that call for using clarified butter so if you cook fairly often you might as well make a good size batch of this ingredient. This is used a lot in Indian Cooking...and referred to as "Ghee".
Frances Mormul's Pie Crust
1-½ C flour
¾ tsp. salt
½ C shortening
Mix at Speed 1 for 1 minute. Stop.
Add ¼ C boiling water and Mix again at Speed 1 for 1 minute.Roll thin.
Recipe Courtesy of Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, Food Network
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra-large eggs
½ cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.
Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.
Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.
Potpourri (Slow Cooker)
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen's Aunt Peggy
In a slow-cooker, combine fruit to preferences of smell. Cover in water. Top with bay leaves, whole cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Leave slow-cooker on low.
Rehydrating Dried Chiles - To Make Red Chile Sauce
Pick dried chiles that have no tears or broken pieces. Use whole chiles that look fresh. Rinse off any excess dust or grime under cool water. Pat dry then cut the top off of each chile and then slit it down the middle. Shake out the seeds, using your fingers or a spoon to dislodge any seeds that want to stick. Peel off any excess dried veins that are lighter in color and run in a line down the inside.
Heat a comal (or griddle) over medium/high heat and roast the dried chiles for 2-3 minutes. Turn them often to avoid burning them. Then you're going to cover the chiles in hot water and let them soak for about 30 minutes. Remove the chiles from the water and place the chiles in a blender with about ¼ cup of water or the soaking liquid (if it is not too bitter) and puree until smooth. You can also add the garlic and oregano (or other spices you are using in your recipe) to the chiles while blending them. The finished puree is what you will use as a red chile sauce for dishes such as Chile Colorado
4 large garlic heads
extra virgin-olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350° F
Trim any roots from the bottom of the bulb so that the garlic will sit flat. Now trim a thin slice from the top of the bulbs to expose a little of each of the cloves.
Drizzle olive oil over the tops of the exposed garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
Place cut-side up in a small baking dish.
Add hot water to the baking dish to a level up to 1/3 of the garlic bulbs.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until garlic is a golden brown and the cloves are very tender. Baking time will vary depending on the size of the bulbs.
Remove the garlic from the dish and cool.
At this point you can add the cloves to any dish you like or spread it on your french bread.
You can cook extra bulbs of garlic and store them in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week. This way you will have roasted garlic on hand wnenever you need it. Simply squeeze a clove out of it's skins when needed.
Store your fresh garlic in a basket or garlic keeper and never in the refrigerator (it will lose flavor) or in direct sunlight. You can even store garlic in a brown paper bag at room temperature.
2 medium Spanish onions (about 12 ounces), cut into large chunks
3 to 4 Italian frying peppers or Cubanelle peppers, cored, seeded and cut into large chunks
16 to 20 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large bunch cilantro, washed
7 to 10 ajices dulces (see Cook's Note**), optional
4 leaves culantro (see Cook's Note**), optional
3 to 4 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored and cut into chunks
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into large chunks
Chop the onion and Cubanelle or Italian peppers in the work bowl of a food processor until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, add the remaining ingredients 1 at a time and process until smooth. The sofrito will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It also freezes beautifully.
**Cook's Note: Ajices dulces are little sweet peppers that look similar to the fiery hot Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, only smaller. They have a wonderful fresh herbal flavor, almost like cilantro, but only a tiny bit of heat. Culantro is an herb with broad, round-tipped leaves. Its flavor is similar to cilantro, but much more intense. Both ajices dulces and culantro are available in Latin markets. If you cannot find them, simply increase the amount of cilantro to 1 ½ bunches. Yield: about 4 cups
Tips for Toasting Nuts
Toasting nuts makes them crunchier and intensifies their flavor. In the case of thin-skinned nuts like hazelnuts or peanuts, it also makes removing their skins easier.
To toast a small amount:
Place nuts in a small frying pan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently; until they smell fragrant and turn a light shade of golden-brown (they will continue to toast a bit more when removed from heat).
To toast larger batches:
Spread the nuts in a single layer in a shallow baking pan and toast in a 375° oven for 19 to 15 minutes until thenuts arelightly browned and smell rich and toasty.
To skin nuts after toasting: Place them in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously. Most of the skins will fall right off. Don't worry if a few bits still cling here and there; they won't harm the flavor or texture.
If you want a healthy heart, eat nuts. If you want to avoid heart disease, eat nuts. A major study has shown the benefits of nuts in keeping adult hearts healthy. Hot on the heels of news from the American Heart Association in Dallas, that nuts were good for keeping the heart pumping regularly, a report in the British Medical Journal by Dr. Frank Hu said his research of more than 86,000 women showed women who ate nuts more than five times a week for 10 years were a third less likely to have heart problems than other women. "This study suggests that frequent consumption of nuts, including peanuts, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease," Hu and his colleagues said. Nuts are high in fat, but most of the fatty acids are unsaturated and researchers believe unsaturated fats act on serum lipids which help to reduce cholesterol. Nuts are also rich in vegetable protein, magnesium, vitamin E, fibre and potassium.
These tips printed from Sunset Magazine's April 2006 issue.
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