Telling My Secrets

Tonight, I made a couple of big turkey pot pies out of our Thanksgiving leftovers. I already had some pie dough, so it only took a few extra minutes to chop some carrots and an onion and simmer things before pouring them into the casserole dishes and pop them into the oven.

The thing that really made them taste great, in my opinion, was the crust. You can't beat a homemade crust, yet so many people get scared off by the idea.

I talked in a prior post about the importance of ice-cold ingredients when making pie dough. Super important. Keep everything chilled and chill the dough overnight, at least, until you're ready to roll it out.

Don't be afraid to flour your surface for rolling out the dough. And flour that rolling pin, too. The less you handle the dough, the better. If you can remember, flatten it into a pancake shape before chilling it. I do this in a gallon-sized Ziploc freezer bag.

Now, my recipe. This is a variation of my family's "Never Fail Pie Crust" recipe:

3 c flour (I prefer King Arthur's)
1 1/4 c butter (cold, cut into 1/2" cubes)
1 t salt
1 egg well-beaten
4 T ice-cold water
1 T white vinegar

Cut butter into flour and salt until butter is size of peas. Combine egg, water, and vinegar in separate bowl. Pour liquid into flour at once. [I make a volcano shape in the flour mixture and pour the liquid into the center.] Blend with a spoon and then work with your hands until all of the flour is moistened and dough can be formed into a ball. DO NOT OVER-HANDLE. Keeps in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. Can also be frozen. Handles best when refrigerated overnight.

I use an inexpensive pastry cutter to mix my dough, but you can do it with a fork by pressing the tines through the butter and flour. If you have a food processor, that's another option, but again, be careful not to overmix it and break down your nice, cold butter.

Now, go get baked! Wait, that's not what I meant.

How We Labored

We picked pears from our tree in the back yard. Pretty sure I heard it say thank you. It took two of us to carry the basket.

Peanut made chocolate chocolate-chip ice cream with the wee ones, mastering the double-boiler on her first attempt.

A castle was decorated in grand style using recycled packing materials, found objects, and some card making supplies.

The kids' handiwork was hung on the living room wall. Can't believe how big their hands are now. Seems like just last year they were piecing the quilt together.

Tasty Eats: Figs

Tonight, we grilled figs (from our yard) stuffed with bleu cheese and wrapped in prosciutto. I drizzled some local honey on top. They were soooo good.

These are green figs. And HUGE. Some of them are the size of small pears. It was super easy. I just sliced the stems off, cut the figs in half lengthwise, stuffed a bit of crumbled bleu cheese inside before wrapping them each with a slice of prosciutto. Then, my boyfriend popped them on the grill until each side was just beginning to get crisp. It took only a few minutes per side. Once we pulled them off, I drizzled the honey over them and NOM NOM NOM. Figliciousness.