“Mom, why have we never made a pie?” This had been a question that had nagged at me for a while. The kids at school always bragged about how their moms baked apple pie for Thanksgiving, which they served warm with a dollop of whipped cream. They brought in leftover slices and I drooled over the possibility of getting a bite.
My mom and I baked together frequently when I was a child. Brownies, cookies, pound cakes, peach kuchen. But pies? Never.
“The reason is that pie crust has lard in it,” she explained. “And that lard comes from pigs.”
Growing up in a kosher household, it makes sense why we wouldn’t make pie crust… not if it contained pork fat. This idea lingered with me for a while. In fact, it wasn’t until a year ago that I baked my first pie.
I had learned a long time ago that not all pie crusts contained lard, that they could be made with butter or vegetable shortening. But when you’re told as a child that you can’t make a certain dessert, well, the sentiment stays with you.
Making my first pie, which I did last Thanksgiving, was a proud moment for me. The crust, an old family recipe (on my husband’s side) that contains Crisco and white vinegar, came out perfectly brown on top and flaked beautifully every time I went in for another forkful.
This filling, too, is a revelation. Brown butter anything is a magical thing. But brown butter, apples, sugar, and sage. Tell me if you can think of anything more scrumptious than that.
But before you dig into a slab of apple pie, I have a GIVEAWAY for you!!! Many of you probably already know the wonderful company, Eat Boutique, run by Maggie Battista. Maggie and I met when we both spoke at TechMunch this summer and we made plans to get together. This woman is one of the sweetest people I have ever met and, not only that, but she creates the most beautiful gift boxes that contain incredible products produced by smaller businesses.
Seriously, I can’t think of a better gift to give a friend or relative than one of these boxes. They really are a foodie’s dream. And Maggie is giving away one of her Fall Handmade Gift Boxes to a very lucky A Thought For Food reader!
To enter, please go to this page and look at the items in the box and then come back and leave a comment telling us which product you’re most excited about. Only one entry per person! Only eligible for folks in the U.S. and Canada (sorry to our international friends).
You have until this Sunday, October 9th, to enter. The winner of the box will be announced next Wednesday, October 12th.
Coming up with the right recipe for a guest post can be a challenge. When Kulsum asked me to write a piece for her beautiful blog, Journey Kitchen, I was at a loss for what to make. She did, however, request that I provide a chocolate recipe and I wanted to indulge her as best as I could.
What I didn’t know, however, was that I was going to be making THE BEST CHOCOLATE PUDDING RECIPE!!!!!! It’s the kind of dessert that you share with your significant other in a romantic setting (or, as Eric and I did, on the couch watching episodes of Friday Night Lights) because it is so decadent and you feel just a little naughty as you shovel each spoonful into your mouth.
I expected nothing less than greatness when I saw Joanne Chang’s proclamation in her Flour Bakery Cookbook that this was the most delicious chocolate pudding recipe she’d ever had. And she’s right. This is perfection. It doesn’t get better than this. Now, go get the recipe (and read my guest post) over at Journey Kitchen.
Also, I wanted to share some exciting news with everyone! One of my photographs is going to be used on the cover of the new cookbook by James Beard winner, Clifford A. Wright, entitled Hot and Cheesy (great title, right?). You can preorder the book (and see the cover) on Amazon!
Sometimes it’s a challenge to come up with a creative dish. I’m finding that I’m hitting a routine again where I’m making the same dinners over and over again and, well, it’s getting a little boring. When this happens, drastic measures must be taken. Ignored are the boxes of pasta in our pantry. The same goes for couscous and rice. Then I look to see what’s left.
I reached my breaking point one recent night. We happened to be particularly low on ingredients. The shelves in our cabinet were stocked with just a few cans of garbanzos. The fridge was filled with greens, including two heads of cabbage. Oh, and a massive bag of carrots. A bean salad, maybe? Naaaaaaah.
When I’m in a rut, I tend to refer to my handy dandy Cuisinart food processor for some guidance. I’m telling you, friends, I don’t know what I’d do without this thing. I’ll use mine at least three times a week to make anything from pesto to cookie dough (easiest way to make shortbread).
So, I glanced over at the little guy with pleading eyes. HELP ME! And then… vwahla! Falafel. Within 30 minutes I had a satisfying, vegetarian meal. And it didn’t involve pasta. Or couscous. Or rice. Just beans, shredded carrot, and some fresh herbs and spices.