Archives for November 2015

As Easy as Pie by Teri Hiben

We’re in that time of year we call “The Holidays.”  Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Day….  Celebrations abound!  We gather with family and friends from near and far.  We have parties and dinners, catch up on the latest news in each other’s lives and reminisce about the years past.  As our families and friend groupings multiply and change, these gatherings help to deepen the love and admiration we have for one another.  At the centerpiece of these gatherings is the food: food from our past, new dishes to share.

For me, many of my family food traditions involve baking.  My mom has already been busy baking the family pfeffernusse (peppernuts) to send to each of us in the next weeks. (I can’t wait!)  Here at home there are cinnamon roll coffeecakes to mix, rise, bake and share with neighbors, as well as gingerbread and snowball cookies (and many others) to make.  There will be sweet potato crescent rolls, stollen and biscotti to create – all filling the house with enticing aromas.  But, first on the list of holiday baking are the Thanksgiving pies.  

TeriPieBlog2My love of baking was passed down from my mom, Della, who was the baker for her family of 7 on her family’s Kansas farm starting at age eight!  She’s an expert baker of many breads and cookies, but it’s her pies that have brought her fame.  She’s affectionately known as “The Pie Lady” and her pies are fervently sought out at work and asked for by friends and family.  I’ve been the willing recipient of much of her baking wisdom so have grown up baking pies of all sorts.  This Thanksgiving I’ll be baking up a few cherry pies for the pie social at church and for our dinner, I’ll be serving both apple and pumpkin pies.   Every bite eaten while spending time with people I love.

I’d like to share with you mom’s pie crust recipe.  It’s an easy, forgiving crust that bakes up flaky and tasty and is truly NO FAIL.

Happy Baking!

Della's No Fail Pie Crust
  1. 2 ¼ c. flour (can use up to half whole wheat flour)
  2. 1 t. salt
  3. 2/3 cup oil
  4. ¼ cup water
  1. Mix together flour, salt and oil with a fork. Then add water and mix. Divide into 2 disks. Roll out between 2 pieces of wax paper that you “stick” to the counter with a slightly damp dishtowel.
  2. After adding the top crust to pie, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon sugar, if you wish.
  1. Yields a 2 crust pie.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Saucy Shrimp and Grits

Saucy Shrimp and Grits
  1. Coarse salt and ground pepper
  2. 1 cup coarse grits (not quick-cooking)
  3. 2 T. butter
  4. 2 slices bacon, cut crosswise into ½” pieces
  5. 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  6. 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  7. 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes in juice
  8. 1 pound large peeled and deveined frozen shrimp, thawed
  9. ¼ t. hot sauce
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 4½ c. water to a boil over high; season with salt and pepper. Whisk in grits; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, whisking occasionally, until grits are creamy and tender, about 30 minutes; stir in butter.
  2. After grits have cooked for 15 minutes, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned, 4-6 minutes Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Add onion and garlic to fat in skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender and browned, 8-10 minutes.
  3. To skillet, add tomatoes with their juice and ¼ c. water; bring to a boil. Add shrimp; cook, stirring, until opaque throughout, 2-4 minutes. Stir in hot sauce. Serve over grits, sprinkled with bacon.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Dessert Squares with Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter

Dessert Squares with Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter
Yields 24
  1. 1 pkg. yellow cake mix; set aside one cup
  2. 1/2 cup butter, melted
  3. 3 eggs, large
  4. 1 jar of Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter
  5. 2 T. milk
  6. 1 T. flour
  7. 2 T. sugar
  8. 1/4 cup butter, softened
  9. 1 t. cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Divide yellow cake mix, placing all but one cup in a mixing bowl. Stir the melted butter and one egg into the cake mix. Press the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9" x 13" pan.
  3. Mix the jar of the Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter with two eggs and milk. Pour this result over the cake mix.
  4. Stire the reserved cup of cake mis with the flour, sugar, softened butter, and cinnamon. Mix together until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of the pumpkin layer.
  5. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Cut into 2" squares.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Blooming Brie Bowl

Blooming Brie Bowl with Caramelized Pears
  1. 2 T. butter
  2. 2 shallots, minced
  3. 2 pears, peeled, cored and diced
  4. 1/3 cup dry white wine
  5. 1 t. brown sugar
  6. 1/2 t. chopped fresh thyme
  7. 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  8. 1 (8 ounce) round loaf sourdough bread
  9. 1 (8 ounce) round Brie cheese, rind removed and cubed
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a skillet, melt 1 T. butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the pears and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, brown sugar, thyme, salt and pepper. Increase the heat slightly and simmer the mixture until all of the liquid has evaporated and the pears have caramelized, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Cut top third off loaf of bread; hollow out enough bread from bottom to make room for cheese.
  4. Cube removed bread; set aside.
  5. Using a knife, make 2-inch cuts into loaf around edge of bread at 1-in. intervals. Spread inside of bread with 1 Tbsp. butter. Place ½ of cheese into bottom of bread bowl, top with 1/2 of the pear mixture. Place the remaining brie half on top, spread with the remaining pear mixture and sprinkle with remaining slivered almonds. Replace bread top and place on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake in preheated 350° F. oven for about 30 minutes.
  7. Serve with reserved sourdough bread pieces and crackers.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Holiday Traditions at the Table by Paul Lindemuth

We’ve turned the calendar page to November and that means that the holidays are here!  Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away, with Hanukah, Christmas and the New Year not far behind.  These holidays involve so many traditions. For many of us the most important ones are centered at the holiday table with family and friends.

For the past 16 years I have been so fortunate to be part of both Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinners with a family that I’ve seen both grow and grow up. What a joy to bring smiles to their faces with the bounty of their holiday feasts!  Those feasts have come to include some favorite foods that I’ve prepared almost every year….the traditional roast turkey, stuffing, cranberries with apples and pears.

TurkeyWhen you’re cooking for a dinner that has now grown to 40+ guests, the usual roasted whole turkey is no longer feasible or for that matter, really desirable. Even several spatchcocked whole turkeys take too long to cook and take up too much valuable oven space. So my solution is to roast whole, bone-in turkey breasts at high temperature in under an hour. The resulting shatteringly crisp skin and tender, juicy meat is a real holiday treat. You too can create this delicious turkey that is certain to become a tradition at your holiday table as well!

Perfect 55-Minute Roast Turkey Breast
Serves 6
  1. one 5 ½ to 6 pound whole turkey breast, thawed if frozen
  2. olive oil
  3. kosher salt
  4. freshly ground black pepper
  1. Position oven rack to the second level from the bottom. Preheat oven to 500 F.
  2. Place the turkey breast skin side up on a large rimmed baking sheet. Rub lightly with olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Roast the turkey for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and brown and the juices run clear.
  4. Remove the turkey from the oven and tent with foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
  5. Using a long carving knife, remove the breast halves from the bones. Carve each breast across the grain into thick slices and serve.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Pizza Topped with Green Salad

Pizza Topped with Green Salad
Yields 1
Dough (Makes 2 12-inch pizzas)
  1. ¼ cup warm (100 – 105F) water
  2. 3 T. olive oil
  3. 1 ¾ t. instant yeast
  4. 3½ cups bread or all purpose flour
  5. 1 cup warm water
  6. 1½ t. salt
  1. ½ dough recipe from above
  2. 3 ounces fontina cheese, grated
Green Salad with Lemon Shallot Vinaigrette
  1. ½ large shallot, very finely chopped
  2. 1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  3. ¼ t. Dijon mustard
  4. 2 T. olive oil
  5. pinch salt and pepper
  6. 1½ cups seasonal greens (spinach, kale, chard, or combination)
  1. Mix ¼ cup water and yeast in large bowl. (Letting it rest at this point for 5 – 10 minutes, until creamy and bubbly, will confirm that your yeast is good, but is not necessary for instant yeast)
  2. Add 1 cup water, olive oil and whisk. Add the flour and salt until it holds together, cover and rest for 20 minutes (allows dough to hydrate before kneading) then knead until elastic and smooth, about 5 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil your bowl, put the dough back in the bowl, turn the dough in the bowl until it is coated all around with oil, cover with plastic wrap (or a Viancin lid) and let rise at room temperature until doubled, 45 to 60 minutes (longer if the room is cold).
  4. Refrigerate the dough for 3 hours or up to 2 days.
  5. When you are ready to bake, bring dough out of refrigerator to allow it to warm up. Place baking stone in oven and preheat to 500 F. Be sure to allow 30 minutes to an hour for the stone to fully heat. Divide dough in half for 12 inch pizzas, or in quarters for 7 to 8 inch pizzas.
  1. Dust the top of the dough with flour, dust your work surface with flour, then press down with your fingers, roll with rolling pin or shape and stretch with your hands (knuckles up) until you get a 12 inch circle. Place on parchment. Spread the fontina evenly over the pizza dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Bake 7 –9 minutes.
Green Salad with Vinaigrette
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, lemon juice and mustard. Whisk in the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Chop or break the greens, smaller than for a tossed salad, Coat the greens evenly with the vinaigrette. Cover the pizza with the salad, cut and serve immediately.
Adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet
Adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet
Marcel's Culinary Experience