29 August 2011

I'd Rather Have the Finished Product

We survived hurricane Irene.  I’d like to think this pie had something to do with our survival, but that would be an egotistical fiction since we did not lose power for more than two or three hours on Saturday night.  Nevertheless, this chocolate pie improved my aunt and uncle’s and my morale once they returned from golf on Saturday afternoon.  I baked this on Friday after work because I figured pie would be tastier than unbaked piecrust and straight up silken tofu if we lost power.

24 August 2011

Gettin' the Vitamin A

Long time, no blog.  My supper today was an updated or healthified version of a dish floating around in my family, called Hot Dogs, Peppers, Potatoes, and Onions.  The original’s basically all of those ingredients, sautéed and steamed and served with catsup.  I’m not a fan of two taste sensations—salty and oily—and my modifications do away with the oil and extra salt, instead replacing those with spice.  The curry powder I recently purchased is spicy, and of course, you are free to spice or not spice to your palate’s preference.  Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin A (tell me that’s common knowledge, eh?).

08 August 2011

Pasta and Pie, 2 of 2

Then for dessert on that epic Saturday (actually, Sunday won the title of epic day of that weekend, but that’s another story), I made a blueberry pie.  OK, my aunt asked me if I could make a vegan, gluten-free blueberry pie since blueberries were on sale, and I said, “Sure!  I can figure it out.”

Blueberry Pie

Makes 1 nine-inch diameter, two-crust pie

A mash-up of recipes from Allergy-Free Desserts, page 144, by Elizabeth Gordon and Flying Apron’s Gluten-Free & Vegan Baking Book, pages 62-63, by Jennifer Katzinger.

(Make two quantities of the crust; the measurements below produce one crust, and doubling the measurements could wreak havoc on the flour ratios.  Trust me, collapse happened when I tried to up-size a GF cake.)

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour blend
1 cup brown rice flour
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum

5 tablespoons shortening, chilled
1 ½ tablespoons vegan margarine, chilled
7-9 tablespoons ice water

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  With a pastry cutter, two butter knives held in one hand, or a large fork, cut the shortening and margarine into the flour until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.  Cut in the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough sticks together and can be formed into a ball.  Ball it up, place it on plastic wrap, flatten it to a disc, wrap it, and chill it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Repeat for another round of crust.

While those are chilling, mix the filling.

5 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and de-stemmed
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
2/3-3/4 cup organic sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¾ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until the blueberries are well-coated.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and move one of the racks to the lowest level.  Cover a baking sheet in foil and grease a 9-inch round glass pie plate.

On a clean section of counter space, put down a sheet of waxed paper and sprinkle about a tablespoon of rice flour on top.  Remove one crust from the fridge and place it on this prepared surface.  Sprinkle a little more rice flour on top of the crust.  Place another piece of waxed paper over the crust and roll it out between the sheets of waxed paper.  Roll the crust to about ¼-inch thick (or however big it needs to be in order to line the bottom and sides of the pie plate).  Transfer to the plate and fit it into the curves of the plate.  Patch up any cracks with overhanging pieces of crust.  Roll out the other crust in the same manner.
Pour the blueberries into the crust and top with the second crust.  Crimp together the edges of the crusts by pinching them between thumb and first two fingers.  Slash some vents in the top crust to let the steam escape (simple lines or complicated designs are fine).

Place the pie on the baking sheet and place the whole assembly into the lower rack of the oven.  Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for thirty minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake for 35 minutes or until the top crust is browned.  The juices will run over.  This is OK.  All will still be wonderful.  If the crust browns too quickly (id est, before you have to turn the oven down), tent the pie with foil (take a big piece of foil, pinch it into a peak, and pitch it over the pie).  I did not have to tent, but the oven I was using is nice and accurate.

Aw yeah.

Bonus piecrust cookies from extra crust: roll out any extra huge bits of crust, cover with cinnamon sugar, roll up, and bake on a piece of foil along with the pie.  They will be done in about 20 minutes, but keep an eye on ‘em.

Pasta and Pie, 1 of 2

My mom used to make these pasta nests for Christmas Eve dinner.  I made a tahini soup without garlic and onion earlier this summer, and its lemony flavour reminded me of pasta nests.  Seeing as how the original pasta nest recipe was glutinous, cheesy, and eggy, I took a stab at making it fit my nutritional and ethical specifications.  Since the lemon juice curdles the tofu, the cheezy sauce has an eggy texture.  I think my updated version tastes similar, if not better, than the original.


Doing the teaser is tough.  The teaser, in case you’ve never tried Pilates, is a move where a person balances on hir sacrum, legs and arms up at a forty-five-degree angle, and spine-rolls up and down to complete that pose using the powerhouse/core/abdominal muscles only.  I was better at it when I was recovering from surgery almost a year ago (T-minus four days, in fact, from today) since all I was allowed to do was Pilates and other stationary exercises.


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