Thursday, February 24, 2011

raspberry rose crumble pie

one pie just wasn't enough...

fresh from the oven and bubbling!

crust ingredients:

1 stick very cold unsalted butter, diced
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tablespoon sugar
apx 1/3 cup ice water

in the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour with the sugar and salt. add the butter and pulse until the butter resembles pea-sized crumbles. add the ice water slowly while the machine is running (adjust the amount of water if necessary, you want to incorporate enough so that the mixture just begins to come together and form a dough). dump the contents of the processor onto a floured surface and form a ball. wrap the ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour. roll the rested dough and fit into a pie dish (i used a 10 inch dish). poke holes liberally into the bottom of the crust using a fork and allow to chill for an additional half an hour.

while the crust chills, prepare the filling and preheat oven to 425 F.

filling ingredients:

12 oz frozen raspberries (fresh raspberries can be used instead, but i opted for frozen because they aren't in season)
juice of 2 lemons
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons rose water
2 tablespoons cornstarch

in a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and rose water. set aside.

in a small sauce pan over medium heat, gently combine the raspberries, lemon juice, and sugar. once the sugar has dissolved, remove the pot from the heat and add the rose water and cornstarch mixture (the cornstarch may have separated from the rose water, so give the mixture a stir before adding it to the berries). mix to combine and add the mixture to the prepared crust. set aside and prepare the crumble.

crumble ingredients*:

1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup very cold unsalted butter, diced
1/3 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt

combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl with a pastry cutter until the butter resembles coarse crumbles. a food processor can also be used for this step, but to keep the oats whole, leave them out when processing, and incorporate them after the butter has been crumbled. sprinkle the mixture evenly over the raspberry filling. cover the edges of the pie with foil to prevent the crust from burning and bake for 20 minutes in the bottom half of the oven and an additional 25 in the top half. allow to cool completely before slicing, and enjoy!

*this is a very basic crumble recipe. i usually add almond meal or spices to my crumbles, but for this specific dish, i didn't want to incorporate too many strong flavors that could compete with the delicateness of the rose.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

rustic pear anise pie (vegan and soy free)

this pie was inspired by a pie recipe found in the december/january issue of ready made magazine. it's not overly sweet, has a wonderful tartness, and the anise pairs perfectly with the pears (no pun intended).

crust ingredients:

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus extra for flouring surfaces
2/3 cup very cold soy free earth balance (regular earth balance or butter could also be used)
2 tsps sugar
1/4-1/3 cup ice water

in the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour and sugar. add the earth balance and pulse until the mixture begins to form pea-sized crumbles. with the processor running, slowly pour the ice water down the feed tube until the dough just begins to stick together. dump the dough onto a floured surface and form into a disk. wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour. take the chilled dough and roll it large enough to fit into a 10 inch pie dish. place the dough in the pie dish, being careful not to stretch it. poke several holes along the base using a fork. place the dish in the refrigerator and allow to chill for an additional half hour.

preheat oven to 425 F and bake the chilled crust in the center of the oven, for about 20 minutes, or until it is a light golden brown. while the crust cools, you can prepare the filling.

filling ingredients:

7 barely ripe bosc pears, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
juice of 3 lemons
3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour.
1 tablespoon arak or another anise flavored liqueur
1 tsp anise seeds, divided
1 dash cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3 dashes bitters (i used an orange variety, but old fashioned or lemon bitters would also work well)

combine the sliced pears, lemon juice, and arak in a large bowl (the pears and lemon should be combined as soon as possible after slicing to prevent the pears from browning). in another bowl, combine the sugar, flour, anise seeds, cinnamon, salt, and bitters. gently combine the sugar mixture with the pears and transfer the filling to your cooled crust. cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil to prevent them from burning and bake the pie in the center of the oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until the pears are tender when poked. enjoy hot or cold!

Friday, February 18, 2011

prakhih (or stuffed grape leaves/dolma/dolmades)

stuffed grape leaves are without a doubt one of my favorite foods, but store bought varieties or the kinds you find in restaurants are nothing like the ones my mom made when i was growing up. when i've typically found them the leaves were stuffed with a mixture of rice and herbs and nothing else. boring. these leaves are chock full of lots of goodies. thanks for sharing mom : )


1 16 oz jar of grape leaves (if you have access to fresh ones, you can flash boil them with a bit of salt and freeze them for use year round), rinsed of brine and trimmed of extra long stems
2-3 potatoes, any variety, sliced into disks

2 cups white short grained rice (not arborio or sushi rice, something along the lines of riceland. basmati can also be used if you have it around), rinsed
1 15 oz can chick peas, rinsed
3 cups of diced fresh tomatoes, reserve their tops
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup diced chives (green onion can also be used)
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, reserve the stems
1 tablespoon chopped mint
juice of 2-3 lemons (depending on their size)
1/2 cup-3/4 cup olive oil (this dish really depends on oil, so i recommend using the larger of the two amounts)
salt and pepper, to taste

in a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the grape leaves and potatoes. mix well, taste, and set aside. the mixture should be a bit on the salty side.
prepare a large pot (a 5 1/2 quart pot works well) by lining the bottom with a layer of grape leaves. over that layer, arrange a layer of potato slices and the reserved tops of your diced tomatoes. sprinkle your parsley stems over that layer, and set the pot aside.
prepare a work surface where grape leaves can be spread and rolled (a large cutting board works well). place a single leaf on your work surface, with the veiny side up. place approximately 2 tablespoons of the rice mixture into the center of the leaf. fold the two sides over the mixture, followed by the bottom, and then roll towards the top. the process is very similar to that of a burrito. you want to wrap the mixture up entirely by the leaf, and the tighter the roll the better. place the completed roll in the prepared pot and repeat the process using all of the rice mixture. when placing the stuffed grape leaves into the pot, place them starting on the outside, and moving around the edge, creating a tightly packed coil. this recipe should yield approximately 40 stuffed grape leaves and 2 coiled layers. once you have rolled and packed all your stuffed leaves, take any excess liquid from the bowl that held the rice mixture, and pour it into the pot. place a plate (one with a flat base works best) over the packed leaves (this prevents them from floating and maintains that they are tightly rolled), and cover them with water. bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer, mostly covered, for at least an hour. check on them every so often, and if some of the leaves around the edges begin to float upwards, you may poke them back down or rearrange you plate as necessary. you can simmer them for as long as it takes for the water to boil away, but they will likely be ready before then. test one to make sure the rice is well cooked and the onions are quite soft. when they taste delicious, you'll know they're done. do not serve immediately, they are best when they have had a chance to rest. enjoy sprinkled with a bit of fresh lemon juice!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

coffee ice cream with shaved dark chocolate

back to back ice creams in february. what can i say? i am my mother's daughter, and when the world gives you a gallon of whole milk, you must find a use for it...


1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons coarsely ground coffee (i used sumatra, and the fresher it is the better)
3 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 oz dark chocolate, shaved (i used a vegetable peeler)

combine the coffee grounds and milk in a double boiler and allow to infuse for 5-7 minutes or until the milk  is nicely tinted. strain the grounds from the milk, using a fine mesh sieve and set aside.

in a large bowl, mix together the egg yolks and sugar (it will be quite thick). gradually add the infused milk to the egg mixture while stirring constantly. adding the hot milk too quickly, or failing to stir while adding it will result in scrambled eggs (yuck). once the egg mixture has been combined with the milk mixture, return it to the double boiler and stir continuously until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. remove the mixture from the heat and add the cream, vanilla, and salt. give it a taste. does it rock? it should. allow it to cool completely before transferring to an ice cream machine. churn for approximately 20 minutes, adding the chocolate shavings at the very end. store in an airtight container and enjoy : )

Thursday, February 3, 2011

spiced oatmeal ice cream

yesterday i happened to come across a lot of whole milk. i don't drink milk, but i do love ice cream.


2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk (i used whole)

1 cup old fashioned oats (uncooked)
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup

in a large bowl whisk together the eggs until they are light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). add the sugar in 1/4 cup increments, whisking well after each addition. once the sugar and eggs are well combined, add the milk and cream, mix well, and set aside.

combine the oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. gradually incorporate the maple syrup and olive oil into the mixture while the machine is running. continue to pulse until the mixture just begins to hold clumps.

stir the oat mix into the cream base and allow to chill for 30 minutes in a freezer (when making ice cream, it's important to keep the ingredients as cold as possible. the 30 minutes spent in the freezer will enhance the performance of your ice cream maker). after chilling, freeze the mix in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions (about 25 minutes). at this point your ice cream will be somewhat soft and should be transfered to an airtight container and frozen for an additional 2 hours before serving. enjoy!