Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Bento

I used one of my bento containers again today to turn my simple lunch into a bento.

This bento contains:

  • a ham sandwich
  • BBQ chips
  • a miniature brownie
Happy bento!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Apple Pie Filling

Once you've got your pie crust prepared, you are ready to move on to the filling. Preheat the oven to 425* to start with.

For the filling you will want:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a dash of salt
  • 5 cups thinly sliced pared tart apples (about 5 medium green apples will do)
  • a few dabs of butter or margarine
Mix the first five ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

This was the first time I had used the apple peeler, slicer, corer. I was a bit intimidated, so I had my husband help. It turned out to be not only easy, but fun too! You put the apple on the prongs:

Then you turn the handle and it peels and slices the apple.

It goes very quickly and works great!

Now you can pull it off of the core.

And you have an apple spiral, like so:

If you cut the apple through from top to bottom, you end up with lovely thin apple slices. When you have five cups worth, stir them into the sugar and spice mix.

Pour them out of the bowl into the prepared crust:

Put a few dabs of butter, or dairy free margarine if you have a milk allergy. (I use Imperial, but if you are allergic to whey, you will have to use something else.)

Next, put the second pie crust on top and cut slits in it for the steam to escape during baking. Squeeze the edges together so the filling stays in. If you are feeling fancy, you can "flute" it.

Cover the edges of the pie with foil so that they don't burn.

Cook until golden brown, and juice begins to bubble through slits in the crust. For me this was about 35 minutes, I think. Take the foil off during the last 15 minutes of baking so the edges can brown up as well.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Easy As Pie Crust

For Thanksgiving this year I was asked to bring a milk free dessert that I could eat. I chose good old apple pie. (Now, keep in mind, this is only my second time doing a baked pie myself, so if it looks a little rustic... well, give me some slack, k?)

I used my aunt Jackie's "EZ Pie Crust" recipe. Not sure where she got it from, but it was very simple.


  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
Boil the water and mix with oil. Add flour and salt. Mix all ingredients together with a fork.

Here's what mine looked like at this point:

Then you divide the dough in half. Each half makes one pie crust (one for the top, and one for the bottom). I was supposed to roll it out between two sheets of waxed paper so there is no mess, but I didn't have wax paper, so I used foil. It rolls out very easily, but is very greasy to the touch - so if you have wax paper, use it. I am sure it would "let go" of the dough a bit easier.

Either way, transfer the first pie crust to the pan you are using.

Now you are ready for filling. I will post the pie recipe tomorrow.

Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Late Start Bento

This morning, due to ice and snow, the school I work at had a two hour late start. So, I thought, while the ice outside melts away, why not pack a simple bento? This is what I came up with:

This bento contains

  • ham sandwich
  • red roasted potatoes
  • wheat thins
Happy bento!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

No Knead Rolls

It has been coming on for a while now. The cloudy days and cooler nights have me thinking of baking. Today, I couldn't help myself. We just had to have homemade rolls with dinner.

So I looked up a no knead recipe. One of the top no knead roll recipes was from Oprah. Since it didn't have any milk in it, I gave it a try.

These first couple pictures are of my dough as it is rising. I used a plastic ice cream container left-over from our last milkshake party, and poked a couple holes in the top to allow it to breath while the yeasties were doing their rising thing.

Here are the rolls after I punched them down and formed them:

I had warmed the oven slightly (by baking brownies and then opening the door up to let it cool some) so that they would rise well.

Here they are after they have been buttered and are browning.

They turned out nice and brown on top.

My husband asked if this was a new recipe, because they were not as dense as the dinner rolls I typically make. Then he got himself a second light and fluffy roll to slather good jam on. I call that success.

What are you baking?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bacon Explosion!

For the 4th of July each year, my husband and I like to serve our guests something tasty and unique off the grill. One year it was mead-marinated tri-tip steaks. Another year we did candied chicken teriyaki skewers. This year, we decided to go for the gusto and cook up a variation on a famous internet recipe: The Bacon Explosion.

We started on Saturday night, cooking up a pound and a half of bacon. We were up until almost midnight getting it crispy, and didn't take any photos. Our bad.

On Sunday afternoon we got out the pile of cooked bacon and got to work.

Bryan cut up all the cooked bacon into small pieces.

We read a lot of blogs and watched various You Tube accounts of people's experience with this recipe before giving it a try. The following picture (with the big point and grin) is in honor of this guy.

I opened up our three pound package of thick cut bacon, and set about weaving a 5x5 strip lattice with all the enthusiasm of a Girl Scout fashioning her first sit-upon (probably more, because, let's ace it -- sit-upons aren't made of BACON).

As I weaved the bacon together I reminisced about how I had a loom when I was a kid. Good times. Not sure hubby was all that impressed by my prowess, however.

Below is my dainty (did someone say sissy?) attempt to "rub" a Tablespoon of BBQ rub into the bacon.

Here is a close up of all that glorious bacon just covered in tasty seasonings:

Next we open up the beef. Here is where we've altered the recipe from its original form. We are using beef instead of ground sausage, because what we want to serve up is the ultimate bacon burger patty. You can see we got very lean beef. With all that bacon, who needs the extra fat?

I traded off with Bryan, who formed the beef into a large square patty with the quickness of a ninja.

There is almost two pounds of meat in this patty:

Next he lays it on top of the bacon mat.

Then we used a third of our pre-cooked bacon, which we measured out as about 2/3 cup

and dumped it on to the beef:

We spread it out and now we were ready for the BBQ sauce.

I used Bull's-Eye brown sugar and hickory. It was very tasty and contains no high fructose corn syrup. Which is good, because if our heart doesn't stop from all the grease, the last thing we want to be worrying about is some off-beat sugar.

We poured it on there thick, using a third of the bottle.

Look at this...

Then it was time to roll it up

And roll the bacon back over it:

Tucking in the sides so none of that good stuff falls out.

Ah... a log of meat.

Then we did it again. And again.

But this time...

we added grated Tillamook Cheddar Cheese on top.

Bryan was having fun rolling these up while myself and two of our guests snapped pictures.

It is a little messy, but SO WORTH IT!

We seasoned the outside with the same rub, and topped the cheese one with a few shreds so we would know which was which.

And then promptly went outside to pose with our three logs of raw meat:

We were pretty dang excited about it, too. Try making one of these yourself. The effect of that much bacon is great anticipation and enthusiasm. See if I'm wrong.

We put them in the fridge until it was time to cook them.

When it was time, Bryan put one into the smoker. We staggered the start times to allow time to cut and serve each one when they were done.
There is the first one ready to cook.

This is the smoker we borrowed to slow cook them in.

We set the temperature to 220* and went about the rest of our party while we waited the 2 1/2 hours while each one cooked.

In went the cheesy one next.

Now there is a little lapse in photography. The reason being that there was so much excitement about it coming out of the smoker, that we didn't take many pictures at this point. Just pretend that we took a picture of our thermometer in the center of the thing reading an internal temperature of 165 degrees, ok? Because that is how we knew it was done. That, and the saliva running down everyone's chins.

Here it is cooked and sliced open:

Here is my VERY happy husband with his bacon burger success:

From this time forward people got in line and were served up a slice of beefy, bacon-y, barbaque-y goodness.

Some people made them into burgers. Others ate it ala carte and mocked those who would mess with perfection.

I made myself a bun with all the fixings in preparation for the final log.

It was by far one of the best burgers I've ever had. Not greasy, like I would have expected. But moist, flavorful, and delicious.

We will definitely want to make these again in the future. Three Explosions fed about 30 people. Each log cost us about $10 to make. And the time involved in the prep wasn't considerable for such a conversation piece. Now that we've done them (and won't have to take a ton of pictures next time) we could easily form a log (if the bacon was pre-cooked) in under 15 minutes.

Everyone at the party seemed to think that these were delicious and pretty epic.

So, who is going to try one? Who has already made one? I look forward to hearing from you!

Carnivores, enjoy!