Archive for October, 2008


All Hallows Even

Find the story of the Jack O Lantern HERE.

To roast pumpkin seeds, separate the seeds from the pulp. I like to rinse mine off and pat them dry. Spread them out on a cookie sheet, salt lightly, and broil in oven until toasted. Watch them closely!! I burnt my second batch.

I also found a fantastic pie crust recipe in my Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving cookbook.

For one 9 or 10 inch pie shell you need:

  • 2  1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 7 tbsp. cold, unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening (except I just used more butter because I didn’t have any shortening)
  • About 8 tbsp. ice water (I just eyeballed it)

In a food processor (I used my kitchen-aid), combine the flour and salt and pulse to blend. Add the butter and shortening and pulse 5 or 6 times, until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal with some pea-sized bits. Add the water a little at a time through the feed tube, pulsing once after each addition, adding just enough to make a moist but crumbly dough, it will not hold together on its own but only when gathered into a ball with your hands.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. For one pie shell only, gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

If the dough is very cold and hard, let it stand, still wrapped, at room temperature for 15 minutes. To make a pie shell, unwrap the disk of dough and place it on a floured surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough. With a rolling pin, gently flatten the dough into a rough round. Begin rolling out the dough, always rolling straight away from you and giving the round a quarter turn every 2 or 3 rolls. If the dough sticks to the work surface, release it with a spatula and lightly flour beneath it. Lightly flour the top of the dough if it begins sticking to your rolling pin.

When the dough round is about 1/4 inch thick and about 2 inches wider then your pie plate, roll it up around the rolling pin, then unroll it into the pie dish, centering it. Ease the dough into the dish without stretching it. Trim the edges, leaving about 1 inch overhang.

To make a single crust pie, fold the overhang underneath itself and flute it decoratively. Refrigerate the pie shell for at least 30 minutes, or wrap it carefully in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Fill and bake the chilled shell as directed in individual recipes.

I made an apple pie, which turned out a bit runny so I’m still working that out. I did double the crust recipe to make a solid top. I like a lotta crust! We did take a cue from Pushing Daisies and baked some cheese into our crust, though. We used an aged Irish Cheddar. It turned out great!! So yummy and it took the sweetness down a notch and made the pie a bit more savory.


Happy Reformation Day!

Here’s wishing everyone a fantastic Reformation Day full of great food, great fellowship, cute costumes, lots of candy, and good dark beer.


fresh nutmeg

With the cooler weather rolling in and all the baking that is waiting to be done at this wonderful time of the year, I thought I’d let you all in on one of my favorite spices: fresh nutmeg. Now you really have to note the word “fresh” there, because it makes all the difference. This is one of those times where fresh ingredients really take it up a notch.

For grating the nutmeg, I just use my citrus zester, but you could use any micro type grater. Some places will even sell the whole nutmeg in a little jar with a mini grater which can be handy as well. For locals, you can buy whole nutmeg in bulk at the Co-op, which is where I got mine last year. I use it on drinks (think egg nog), in cookies, and in yummy yummy gratins that seem so prevalent this time of year.


baking bread

The cool weather has arrived and that means it’s time to bake bread! I think I vowed last year to begin making all of our bread, but that didn’t last more than a month. But the fall weather makes me want to renew that vow, if only for the house warming benefits and great smell. Last night when it was just us girls here at home, I went ahead and put together a loaf of manchet bread. This time I used about 1/2 whole wheat bread flour (from the bulk bins at Winco for you locals), and 1/2 regular unbleached white. I also gave it an egg wash and sprinkled it with some oat bran right before baking. It came out of the oven around 9:45 last night and was already half gone by the time Andrew and I went to bed. “Whoops”.


Soap Therapy

My husband is amazing. In anticipation of the just-had-a-baby-feel-like-poo mood I get into after childbirth, he picked up yummy smelling soaps to help lift my spirits and make me feel less like a science project. The first is from Trader Joe’s (Jacques). It is the French Liquid Soap in Orange Blossom Honey. He said it was very affordable, but I don’t know the exact cost. This soap looks like honey and smells like honey and every time I use it, I fight the urge to eat it. It’s fantastic! Very smooth and silky. It does what soap is intended to do. The second item he picked up for me is Dr. Bronner’s  18 in 1 Hemp Lavender liquid soap. Judging from the packaging, this doctor is a quack, but his soap is to die for! Very aromatic, and made with organic oils. This stuff can be used as regular hand and body soap or as shampoo (and yes, I do!). It’s even gentle enough that I used it on Mira for her first sponge bath. If lavender isn’t your thing, it is also available in Peppermint, Almond, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Unscented Baby-Mild, Rose and Citrus Orange. It is a bit pricey (Ben paid $5 for 4oz at our local market), but I think it’s worth it.


Happy Birthday, Abra!

Here’s wishing a very very Happy Birthday to Abra! We hope you have a great day relaxing with your darling family. 🙂


Mira Lorne

From Mira

Thought you’d like to know, I had my baby. Miss Mira Lorne was born October 13th. She was 7lbs 8oz, and 20 1/4″ long. Thank you for all your prayers throughout the pregnancy. We feel very blessed to have another happy and healthy daughter.