Easy hot water pie crust

Long ago there was a time of failed pie crusts that hurt my ego and… well… my feelings. Sadly, I did not realize that the rough pastry crust that is commonly used for pies isnt the only option. Enter in the wonderfully easy hot water crust. It’s stable, EASY, and can be used immediately without chilling. This crust is so great, you can even patch it! Yeah!!! Crazy! The best thing is you end up with a tasty, flakey but sturdy pie crust. This is a common method used in Britain that for whatever reason didn’t quite catch on here. We use this method often as an emergency dinner to use up left overs and I didn’t prepare pie crust beforehand. It’s the best way to make hand pies or pasties.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

10 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 tsp salt

3/4 cup boiling water

Mix salt and flour to integrate. Blend in butter. (I don’t worry about keeping the butter chilled as it will be melted down with the water) pour all the boiling water and quickly mix with spatula or wooden spoon. Once incorporated, turn onto a clean surface and knead the dough until you get a smooth ball. May be a bit greasy. Don’t worry. You can use immediately or form into discs and chill.

Bake at 375 until crust is nicely browned. 

Creamy Gnocchi Soup

2 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 small onion, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 carrot, grated

1 celery, chopped

2 cups pork stock

4 cups water

1/2 cup cream or half and half

1 package (16 ounces) mini potato gnocchi

1 cup fresh spinach, chopped

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until tender. Add celery and stir until tender. Add in the grated carrots. Stir for about one minute then add your stock and water. Increase heat to allow the boil.

In a separate pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add your flour and stir vigorously to make your roux.

Add a few scoops of the stock to slacken your roux to add into the soup. This will thicken the soup without creating lumps. If you do have lumps, whisk vigorously.

Add roux to the soup and add gnocchi. Chop your spinach and add to soup. Once you have it at your desired consistency, add your cream. Salt and pepper to taste then serve!

Creamy Potato Soup

3 peeled and cubed Russet potatoes

1 celery stalk

4 cloves garlic

2 cups pork stock (or any kind you have)

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup cream

1 tsp salt

1 kale stalk

5 bacon slices

Cook bacon set aside bacon fat.

Finely chop celery and mince garlic. Cook in a pan with 1 Tbsp bacon grease over medium heat. When tender, add potatoes and stir to prevent sticking

Add stock and increase heat and boil potatoes until tender.

Remove kale leaves from stem and chop finely. Add to stock. Add 2 cups of water.

Use about 3 Tbsp if bacon grease to make a roux. In a pan over medium heat, add flour. Stir to cook the flour. Add a few scoops of stock to the roux to slacken (this will prevent lumps of flour in the soup). Add all roux to soup. Reduce heat to medium. Stir gently and allow to thicken.

When at desired consistency, add cream and salt. Chop bacon slices and top on soup before serving.

Best Fluffy Pancakes

There’s few things that feel more like Saturday morning than pancakes. I’ve tried many different recipes and so far, I like this one the most. And, like many of my other recipes, I kind of came about it on accident. We just moved to Albuquerque and are between homes. So we don’t have our things and a very limited pantry. I ran out of flour and used a clementine in place of an orange and found that I like this result much more. And so… here’s what I did. For the first time, my kids asked for more pancakes when I made it this way. Normally, they aren’t too fond of pancakes so this one must be a winner!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup milk

juice of 1 clementine or 1/2 orange

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 2/3 cup flour

1 egg

3 Tbsp butter melted

Pour milk into your mixing bowl for the batter. Cut and squeeze orange into the milk to allow the acid to thicken (as if you’re making buttermilk) and set aside.

Melt your butter and set aside to cool.

Combine your dry ingredients and make sure it’s evenly distributed then set aside.

Break your egg and separate your egg white into the milk and yolk into the butter. Whisk  yolk into the butter. Then whisk butter mix into the milk. (Combining yolk with butter helps butter integrate into the batter better)

Add 1/2 cup of the dry mix into the batter and whisk until incorporated. Pour in the rest of the dry mix and fold into the batter. By folding in the flour mix, it prevents over mixing and ensures a soft and tender texture as a pancake should have. The batter should be lumpy but break up large flour lumps. Large ones may create flour pockets in your pancake and that’s just not good.

Cook on a warm skillet over medium to medium low heat. Flip once the edges are firm and there are bubbles in the top of the pancake. I’ve found that if you pour directly on a warm skillet, you don’t need the use of oil or butter for the pan. Enjoy!

 

Cream Cheese Cinnamon Roll Icing

2 Tbsp cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

4 Tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla

Soften the cream cheese. Whisk in 2 Tbsp milk. Whisk in powdered sugar 1/4 cup at the time (just easier to mix together). Whisk in remaining milk and vanilla. Add milk and sugar until desired taste and consistency. Enjoy!

Green Bean Casserole, gluten free and fast!

1 lb green beans

8 cloves garlic

1 container chicken stock

1/3 cup water

4-5 button mushrooms

2 Tbsp corn starch

3 Tbsp cream

salt and pepper to taste

French fried onion – optional

 

Clean and cut green beans in to 2 inch pieces. Pour stock and water into pot with 5 cloves of garlic and green beans. Simmer until tender. Turn oven on to 350

Roughly chop 3 garlic cloves and mushrooms. Place in a pan with medium heat. Remove some liquid from green bean pot into pan, about 2 ladles worth. The liquid will reduce to about half and the garlic and mushrooms will become tender.

Remove extra liquid from the pot to prevent a soupy casserole… to where about half or a little more green beans are submerged. Return liquid with mushrooms and garlic back into the pot.

Ladle out 1/4 cup of liquid into a small bowl or measuring up to make the corn starch slurry. Add the corn starch and whisk vigorously so no lumps remain. Add slurry and cream to the green bean mushrooms. Coat beans and mushrooms until evenly distributed. Add salt and pepper to taste. The mix will be watery but it’s easier to season before it thickens

Place in a dish put in the oven until it just simmers… about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and if needed, turn green beans and mushrooms. Add fried onions and place in oven to toast onions. Be sure not to let it stay in the oven too long. Excessive heat will break down the starches and the nice thick coating will turn watery.

NOTE: if pressed for time and you don’t want to use the oven. You could heat everything in the pot rather than a dish in the oven. Bring the pot to a simmer and turn beans to prevent it from sticking to the pot. Once it’s thickened, serve and enjoy!

 

 

Whipped Cream

For me, whip cream is synonymous with summer. The ultimate summer time treat. I frequently use it to mask not quite ripe fruit. Especially strawberries! This is a simple 3 ingredient whipped cream which tastes better than anything I’ve ever bought. I like to have my whipped cream taste nothing like cream. I don’t enjoy the taste of dairy so I mask it with vanilla. I also don’t care much for sugary sweets so this is a fluffy, mild whipped cream that hasn’t got a bunch of “bad” things in it. The best part is that the vanilla makes the whipped cream taste like it’s sweeter without needing more sugar.

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract (give or take to your taste)

It’s best to have your bowl refrigerated first. Having really cold cream helps aerate the cream and you have fluffier whipped cream. A cold bowl keeps the cream cold. I frequently freeze my bowl… when I have room in my freezer.

sift the powdered sugar into the bowl. Pour in cream and vanilla. Use the whisk attachment with your stand mixer. start at a low speed and slowly move up. If you do it too quickly it’ll spray cream and possibly powdered sugar everywhere. You’ll see the cream begin to look thicker and rise. It is important to watch it to make sure it’s not overbeaten. If it is, the mild solids and water will separate and you will end up with butter… very yummy butter.  You want to beat until you get soft peaks. I frequently stop the mixer when I see streaks in the cream from the whisk.

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I check until I get soft peaks. Remember to scrape the bowl when you check so the cream is evenly whipped. Scoop out your desired amount, and the rest can be stored in the fridge for a few days. Enjoy!

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