Monday, January 24, 2011

Pizza Tips

1. barbecue sauce: never a bad idea
2. the thinner the crust, the better the crust
3. pre-cook the potatoes for your pizza
4. put potatoes on your pizza, i dare you
5. best when eaten on the roof
6. i miss summer
7. pesto: also never a bad idea

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pi R Scared! (of lions)

My (Jared’s friend Laurel’s) mother, Kate, is a self-taught baking wonderwoman. This here is the recipe for a Winter-Fruit Pie that has won pie-baking contests and satisfied bellies for years. It is a thick, rich, christmasy pie that is great fresh, as leftovers, with ice-cream and/or milk. There are lots of ingredients, but they’re all locally available in the fall and winter. You could even use your own dried fruit if you are ambitious and dehydrator-savvy.

You will need these things:


1 cup chopped, dried apricots

¾ cup chopped, pittedprunes

1 ½ cup water

½ cup orange juice, preferably fresh

1 cup dark raisins (or a combination of dark and golden raisins)

1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen

1 large cooking apple, peeled cored and diced

¼ cup chopped walnuts

¼ cup sliced or slivered almonds

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground gloves

Grated rind of 1 orange


2 ¼ cups flour (all purpose, pastry, whole-wheat pastry)

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ sticks cold butter (or substitute ½ cup vegetable shortening)

4-6 TBs ice water


First make a pie crust, and let it chill in the freezer while you make the filling, or make it the day before, or have it all ready before you start. Whatever works for your timing.

My mom uses lard; this is a simpler and lard-free version. Feel free to use your preferred recipe, but make enough for a double-crust pie.

Mix flour and salt. Cut in butter using pastry cutter (or two knives or forks) until mixture is even and resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle in water a tablespoon at a time and mix until dough is just moist enough to hold together.

Shape dough into two flattish disks, one slightly larger than the other. Chill about 30 min.

Roll out half of the dough and fit it into a 10” pie pan.

Now make the filling! You can do this while the crust is chilling!

Chop the apricots and prunes. Putting some flour on the knife and cutting-board helps prevent stickiness. Cook the apricots and prunes in 1-½ cups of water at a medium high heat in a large saucepan for 5 minutes until the fruit is soft.

Remove the pan from heat and add the remaining ingredients to the cooked fruit in the pan. Mix well and bring it to a simmer on medium-high heat.

Spoon the hot filling into the rolled-out crust.

The smaller dough-ball is the top crust. You can cut it into strips and form a lattice crust, or cut it in to decorative shapes with cookie cutters. We chose lion shaped.

We only like two kinds of pie. Hot and cold... and lion.

Place them over the filling. Sprinkle the crust lightly with sugar.

Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for about 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling is starting to bubble, covering the crust with foil at the end if necessary (to prevent the crust from getting too dark).

Kate’s Patented Pie Tips:

1) Leftover crust can be baked for a few minutes with cinnamon and sugar on top. They are crispy amazing unhealthy cookies.

2) You can tell a pie is done when it is “talking”, or you can actually hear the bubbles in the filling.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


The summer is dwindling to a tragic close, yet again.

But when Indian Summer (Native American Summer?) hits, you'd better be ready to make some red, white, and blue potato salad to celebrate the resurgence of warmth & joy.

Here is a sloppy recipe for you:


step one: chop up a bunch of stuff. potatoes. a few of each color. I would try out 3 yukons, 3 red-skinned or cranberry fingerlings, and 3 big old purple/all-blue potatoes. also chop up some red onion and fresh thyme if you've got it!

step two:
throw the potatoes into a pot of boiling water. cook 'em until they're soft. drain!

step three: put those taters in a bowl and add the wet stuff. about 3/4 a cup of veganaise (the purple jar is best) or mayo and a spoonful of stone ground mustard and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar. stir in the red onion (use about 3/4 of chopped onion) and a whole bunch of thyme. I've been pretty enamored of thyme, lately. The more the merrier! Put in whatever else you fancy. I tend to be partial to some smoked paprika in my potato salad.

step four: eat. share with friends. this stuff only gets better as it sits in the fridge, so don't hesitate to make enough for leftovers.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Chocolate Beet Cake

Alright. It's time to unveil the long awaited recipe for Chocolate Beet Cake.

I used a piecemeal recipe for the root-y cakes for the past few years, until Eric shared his copy of The City Gardeners Cookbook with me. Their recipe for beetcake is totally fantastic. I made some changes but they still turned out super.

1 cups cooked & pureed beets
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs (substitute for 2 mashed bananas if baking for vegans)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

you know the drill:
Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Melt the chocolate in a double
boiler (or a bowl resting precariously on top of a small pot of simmering water) and let it cool to the point where it wont cook yr eggs. Beat the 3 eggs (or banana substitute) lightly. Add oil, sugar, vanilla, cooled melted chocolate, the applesauce, and the beet mush. Stir it up & set it aside.

Next, sift together yr dry stuff in a different bowl - the two kinds of flour, baking soda & salt. Combine the dry ingredients with the chocolate-beet-goo, and beat until blended. Pour into greased & floured cake pans or muffin tins or cupcake wrappers - whatever you like. Bake for about 35 minutes if making a cake - less if making cupcakes. Use a toothpick to see if the cakes are cooked in the middle.

Set those suckers out to cook on a cooling rack or an overturned milk crate or some other cooling structure. You don't want them to be too warm for frosting, or it will run all over the place.


The recipe I've used recently is fun, hectic and composed primarily of guess-work. Thanks to Mrs. Megan Davis I also have enough frosting in my fridge to last until the apocalypse (2012!?). The idea is to mix together cream cheese, sour cream, butter, powdered sugar, and a little milk until you get frosting. There are lots of other ways to make frosting, this one is pretty dang delicious. Start with a lot of butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar. Mix 'em up.

Then start to balance out the taste and texture with the sour cream and milk. This is my best advice. I'm sure you can find a recipe with measurements elsewhere, if you're into that.

BEST PART: Add some of the leftover beet juice to the frosting to turn the white frosting pink. Just do it. Even if you don't like pink. Just don't add too much or it will mess with the consistency of the frosting.

Bring your beetcakes to a potluck in
the park!
Bring your beetcakes to a wedding in the forest and stack them high on a cupcake tree!
Bring your beetcakes with you to family reunions!
Bring your beetcakes into the office for stressed co-workers!
Bring your beetcakes into a community garden!
Bring your beetcakes into the world!

These little guys will make you instant friends, I guarantee it. I'm pretty sure these cakes made most of my friends for me last year.

TIP: Don't let beet-naysayers know what they're eating until they start spouting off about how awesome your cupcakes are.

Monday, July 26, 2010

(Blueberry+Rhubarb)-Recipe=BLUEBARB JAM

This was my first solo jam making experience, and to kick off the whole ordeal I decided to immediately break a commonly heard rule of canning, which is that you should not double a recipe. Maybe it worked because I did not follow a recipe to begin with. I had extra pulp from canning blueberry juice, and some rhubarb from work, so the solution was obvious: Cook that shit up!

First off, I have been skeptical of making jams, on account of the insane amounts of sugars that are called for in most recipes. Fruit is already sweet and tasty, why would I want to make it too sweet and less tasty? Then I met low-methoxyl pectin. Basically, this type of pectin gels through a reaction with calcium, not sugar, so your jam may have as little or as much sugar as you please. This pectin comes with a calcium powder which you mix with water and add to the fruit. If you need it to gel more, you add more calcium water, if it is too gelled, add more fruit. Breakin' it down simple style.

What you need:

4 Cups chopped rubarb
4 Cups smashed blueberries (pulp from steam juicer is le bomb)
1.5 Cups Honey ( More or less depending on your taste buds)
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
4 tsp. low-methoxyl pectin
4.5 tsp. calcium water

What to do:

-Heat rhubarb in a sauce pan with one cup of smashed berries and lemon juice, to let the rhubarb cook down a little bit.

-In a separate bowl, combine honey and pectin, stir well, and set aside.

- When rhubarb is soft, add the rest of the berries and calcium water, then let mixture slowly come to a boil. Once boiling, add honey/pectin mixture and stir well. Test gelling by placing a small drop on a cold plate and putting it in the freezer for a minute. This will show the consistency of your finished product once it has cooled. If it is an acceptable gel, remove jam from heat. If unacceptable gel, add more calcium water or fruit to increase or decrease gel.

-Fill jars (mine filled approximately 4 pints) to 1/4 inch from top, and make sure lip of jar is clean. Place sterilized lids on jars, and process in a boiling water bath for about 10 minutes.

-Remove from water bath and place somewhere to cool. Listen for the tings of success to ensure you have a nice vacuum seal! If it fails to seal, just eat it right then and there, with a spoon on your porch.

This jam is perfect for curing peanut butter's loneliness, just introduce the two on some sliced bread and let them mix it up. Also, it is good pals with chocolate ice cream and is probably still on speaking terms with vanilla ice cream. I hear it kinda has a thing for biscuits, but you didn't hear that from me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Show us yer Bluebs!

I've got the berry blues for blueberries. These days, I am knee deep in gleaned blueberries, and there are so many ways to use them, how do I decide? If I bake a pie tonight, that is one less batch of turnovers I can make. If I make scones, then what would it have been like if I had made a pie? When I am president, I promise to add one day to the week, devoted solely to turning raw berries into tasty baked goods. One of the best methods I have experimented with this year is simply juicing the berries, and canning the juice. This makes a thick, rich, not overly-sweet, deep purple juice.

This process is a heck of a lot easier if your housemate happens to come across a steam juicer at goodwill. If you have no such luck, you could always order one online, or pick one up at your local supplier of canning goods. The steam juicer is very efficient at removing juice from fruits and vegetables,and it works like a double boiler, or like a giant coffee percolator for berries. There is a water basin in the bottom, the steam from which passes through a hole in the second layer and up to the basket of fruit. The fruit swells, bursts, and the juice falls down to the second layer, not mixing with the boiling water below. A rubber hose with a clamp make it easy to fill mason jars.

Wash your blueberries, and load em' up in the basket. Fill the water basin 3/4 full, and set that business to a-boiling. It should take about one or two hours to steam all of the juice out, and you are left with a great bit of pulp which you can use to bake all sorts of blueberry treats, or you may can it. You will want to pour one of the first glasses of juice back over the fruit, this helps the berries break down and release more juice. Make sure your water basin does not run dry during the juicing process, or else maybe you will burn a bit of escaped juice and your fire alarm will go off at 11:00 PM.

Steamed juice does not need to go in a water bath to be canned, but you still want to sterilize the jars. I needed four quart jars and one pint jar. After washing jars, place in the oven at about 240 F, and boil your lids. When juice is ready, fill jars up to about 1/2 inch from the top. A pair of channel locks helps if you find the hose clamp is a bit too much for your fingers to handle. Make sure the rim of the jar is free of juice and debris, place the lid on, and gently secure with a screw top. The heat from the hot juice will seal the jars if you set them aside overnight.

Done! If you wish to use the pulp, which you should, you can freeze it in smaller packages, or make blueberry applesauce, or scones, or muffins, or cake, or pie, etc., etc. Your canned blueberry goods will be in some fat stacks in no time!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

S'ghetti Fritters > Cold, Leftover Spaghetti

You know how ever time you make spaghetti you make too much? It's okay, just admit it. Everyone does it. There's nothing wrong with you and there's certainly nothing wrong with having too much spaghetti. Cold, leftover spaghetti can, however, get monotonous. We gots the soluntion: S'ghetti Fritters yo!

You will need:
leftover spaghetti
veggies (we used carrot, mushroom, hot peppers, eggplant, and onion)
an egg or so
frying oil
spices (try paprika and various Italian spices)

Chop it! All of it! Mix it together. Then, in a separate bowl, beat your egg and add flour until you have a nice batter. Blend this into the other ingredients. Add flower until the mix becomes cohesive. Your goal should be to make these into patties. After you've formed patties, coat them in flower or breading. At this point, I recommend putting them into the refrigerator to give the patties more integrity. Then, fry that shit! We deep fried them, but just a regular pan fry would be fine. Deep frying is your best bet though. Nothing ever tastes bad deep fried.

This whole process worked out much better than I had thought it would. The hot peppers we added to the mix really made the dish. They spiced it up and made it seem like an entirely new dish made from scratch.

When you're done they should look something like this -------->