Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Martha's Cooking School- As Easy As Pie

OK, so making pie isn't that easy and it's a little intimidating.

I was inspired to make a pie by last week's episode of Top Chef.

Last week's "Quick Fire" was a pie challenge. A lot of the chefs complained about how they never make pies and how deserts often stump savory chefs.

In my cooking adventures, I don't want to forget deserts. I will admit I stay away from them for two reasons: (1) they kind of scare me and (2) I am forced to eat them-not to say I don't love desert, but that is the problem; I love desert!

Of course when I am ready to tackle a huge task, like making a pie, who do I turn to...Martha. Her Cooking School book has helped me in the past, so I trust her (and the team behind her).

First step: Make the Pate Brisee (which is a real French way of saying pie dough). I can't say it but I can make it. This step was pretty simple. I did my best to keep the butter cold. I did fudge up a little, the water I added to the mixture wasn't cold, it was more like "cool." Despite this oversight everything seemed to come together. I ran out of plastic wrap so I had to use a freezer bag for the 2nd disk of dough.

Second Step: Roll it out. I avoided this step. I cleaned the bathroom, did some yoga, watched t.v., started the first draft of this blog. Thanks to my good friend's words of confidence, I took the dough out of the fridge and started rolling. This part was a small obstacle for me. I have no practice in using a rolling pin so it took me a while to get the hang of it (actually, I don't think I ever really got the hang of it), but the dough was rolled out.

I did use my cooking sheets as a cool surface to work the dough. I placed them in the freezer, then took them out when I was ready. It worked out well.

Third Step: Assemble and bake. The easy part.

Final Step: WAIT!!! According to Martha, you let the pie cool for 4 HOURS!! Buster and I will be eating this tomorrow. Possible for breakfast. So I made some Strawberry Lemonade to hold us over.

This will not be the last pie I make. Soon making pie will be as easy as pie.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'm Back and Making Mexican!

Ok so the detox didn't work, but I am not discouraged. I think the stress of work has leaked into my everyday life and has messed up my eating (and exercising) habits. But I am ready to get back and on track. I am back in the kitchen working on yummy food that will heal me and not kill me. Today it started with migas...I know migas doesn't sound healthy but I altered the dish a little:
  1. I sprayed a little olive oil on the corn tortillas and toasted them in oven
  2. I used two whole eggs and two egg whites
  3. I served it with thinly sliced sweet potatoes and black beans
  4. Instead of sour cream I used low fat Greek yogurt

For lunch, I made Green Chile and Chicken Enchiladas. I got the recipe from Cook Yourself Thin on Lifetime. If you can get past the "Totally"and "Oh My God" girly talk, it's actually a really good show. It offers lots of tips and great recipes. This dish was delicious. The sauce was light and fresh; the prefect summer enchilada sauce. It offered the right amount of spice, especially for my Buster who doesn't really enjoy spicy food. He loved this dish so much he had a second serving.

I higly recommend this dish. It was easy to make. The hardest part was roasting and peeling the poblanos, which you don't have to do. I saw the canned roasted peppers but I chose to roast my own. It took me back to summers at my tia's house, who always seemed to be roasting some sort of pepper.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Last Supper: Jenni's Noodle House In My "Noodlehood"

For my last supper before the detox, B and I went to Jenni's Noodle House new location off of Post Oak. Instead of having to drive ALL THE WAY down to Shepard and Alabama from the Galleria for delicious coconut curry and fired dumplings, we now just travel a few blocks. Today instead of getting my usual, Infernal Chicken Curry, I decided for my last meal to try something new. I got an item off the picture menu (Jenni's has a little book full of pictures of menu and off-menu items), Pineapple Chicken Ramen Soup. Buster ordered the Buddha Soba, but during our conversation with the cute counter girl his order was mixed up and he was served the Stir Me Crazy.

I added chili oil to the ramen and it was the perfect balance of savory, sweet, and spicy. The dish inspired a conversation about the various ways you can cook ramen.

Buster's Stir Me Crazy was a pleasant mistake. The stir fry consisted crispy tofu, rice noodles, and vegetables.

Of course we started with the fired Disco Dumplings and wet the pallet with Jenni's limeade. The Galleria area has been blessed...thank you food gods.

Martha's Vineyard Detox Diet

I am getting ready to start the Martha's Vineyard Detox Diet tomorrow and here is my schedule for 21 days:
5:30 a.m.
8 ounce tea
Herbal Cleansing
7:30 a.m.
Berry Drink
8 ounces of water
9:30 a.m.
8 ounce green drink
8 ounce tea
11:30 a.m.
1 cup of soup and broth
8 ounce water
1:30 p.m.
8 ounce water
8 ounce green drink
8 ounce tea
3:30 p.m.
Berry Drink
5:30 p.m.
I cup of vegetable juice
8 ounce tea
Herbal Cleansing
8 ounce water
7:30 p.m.
Aloe Vera

I am really excited about starting this detox. I just turned 28 and I have decided that I would like to enter my 30's healthy. I have two years to change my eating habits and let go of whatever it is that keeps from reaching this goal.

To get ready for this I started juicing for breakfast and I created a really good morning juice. So good I replaced it for my morning coffee WILLINGLY!

Juice 3 carrots, 1 green apple, and half of a beet.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Detox...Are you crazy?!

So it has been about a month since I have posted anything. I am not cooking or loving food the way I used too. I think I need to reboot my system. Buster went on this 21 day detox plan, which consisted of no chewing and lots of vegetable puree. It was hard but his results speak for themselves. He has energy and has a new appreciation for food.

I have always had a deep passion for food, but my energy was directed toward food that harmed me. That is my default. We all have stress and we all deal with it in different ways. I am aware of how I handle mine and that is with food. Before I would joke about how I needed that piece of chocolate cake or that burger and fries, now it scares me. I have seen what harmful food can do and the price you pay for ignorance and I don't want to go down that road.

I have worked at redirecting my passion for food toward food that heals, but there is still the old part of me that falls back into historic patterns. I think that this detox might be a good thing for me. If you (assuming that people actually read this) don't mind the Grub Junkie is going into food rehab.

My plans are to start at the end of the month and to use the time before then to mentally prepare myself. For someone with a food addiction this wont be easy I know but it will be worth it. I will keep posts of my progress and the routine. I teach 6th graders so I hope I don't get so hungry and seeing my students as giant turkey legs.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Martha's Paul Bunyan Cookie

I don't bake, well not until a few hours ago. I was watching a Martha Stewart podcast and she made Paul Bunyan Cookies (click the link for the recipe). These cookies stuck in my mind and I decided I would make them this weekend. I was a little intimidated because I don't have a Robin's Egg Blue mixer and the only thing I have ever really baked was chicken.
I followed the recipe exactly, except instead of vegetable shortening I used butter. I read a comment on Martha's website where someone suggested this and I usually don't have any use for shortening; it just sits in my cabinet. I had never used molasses before but I remember hearing many times to spray your measuring cup with Pam so that the molasses pours smoothly and it did.

I have to admit I am happy with the outcome. I didn't burn them and they are edible. To quote my Buster "It is a nice balance of chewing and crispy." The oats, chocolate, raisins, and walnuts create a nice texture. I chopped the walnuts a little too fine so they are sublet. I think next time I am going to chop the walnuts coarsely.

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes!

My new favorite breakfast. I got the recipe off of Slash Food. I have made these almost every weekend for the past month. I am trying to perfect the recipe and make it my own. I add some fresh grated nutmeg and cinnamon to the dry mix. I also use soy milk instead of regular milk and I mush up a couple of old bananas add mix them up with the batter. All of these little additions work. The nutmeg and cinnamon makes the flavor a little more complex and interesting. The soy milk is because that is all we use and I never have regular milk. I got tired of running to the store. The old bananas give the pancakes an extra banana sweetness. When the pancakes are ready top with some peanut butter, syrup and ENJOY!

If you make these and make them your own please let me know. I would like to hear your ideas.