Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The deep south

Pecan pie and it's pronounced PeeCan just so ya know. I'm from Texas, I don't have much of an accent to speak of so I'm told. But there are a few area's in which it comes out and that's the fact that I say Ya'll, the fact that it's PeeCan not Pehcon, and the fact that tea only comes in sweet.

Now some people say that making pecan pies are one of the hardest pies to make. I've never had any trouble with them. Last night I tried a new recipe cause my recipe book with my mom's recipe in it is packed away out of sight somewhere and The Sister wanted to have a pecan pie and I didn't mind making one. So I found a recipe on All Recipes again and followed it to the letter. It was a simple one to make. The first one I've seen that doesn't involve light corn syrup which intrigued me and is why I went with that recipe.

1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy, and stir in melted butter. Stir in the brown sugar, white sugar and the flour; mix well. Last add the milk, vanilla and nuts.

Pour into an unbaked 9-in pie shell. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until done.

The pecans in this one didn't rise to the top the way the normally do and I think I'd actually try it with more next time than the cup that it called for. As I said in my previous post The Brother really enjoyed it and wants to use the recipe but I'm not sure I'd use it again. I might tweak it abit and see what comes of it we shall see. I did let The Sister know that if she bought another bag of pecans I'd make another pie so we'll see if that happens. If it does of course I'll post here and let ya know how it works. It did taste good The Sister went back for a second slice the same night so that's a good vote of confidence.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chicken Bastilla & Apple Chutney

I've been scouring food blogs for weeks now drooling over all kinds of things I want to make. My shopping lists get created while I sit in front of the computer and read off ingredients I need for the next thing I want to make. It's been satisfying and fun to go and find new things to cook and different flavors to try. I still have my limits because I am what some would call a picky eater but I'm expanding my horizons slowly and some things are just really yummy.

So tonight was a few new things for me. First I'd never worked with phyllo dough before. And I'd never made a chutney before. Let me say right off the bat one should never decide to work with phyllo dough when your pastry brush is packed away. A finger does indeed work but it's much more tedious. With the Bastilla there are a couple of ways to cook it; some say a flat pan (or in my case a baking stone) is best because it's easy to cut and serve, others say a pie pan or cake dish is best because you have something to hold the sides up. Today I used a baking stone and it cooked it wonderfully but it did cause a bit of smoke when the juice seeped out and started to burn on the bottom of the oven. So next time around I'll try the pie/cake pan method.

So the Chicken Bastilla I tried was a combination of two different recipes really. My original inspiration was from Savour Fare the second was from An Edible Symphony. Mine ended up leaning more towards the Savour Fare one than the second.

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs 1 large onion sliced 3 T olive oil ½ tsp ground ginger 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp hot curry powder
salt and pepper
7-9 large artichoke hearts
large bunch cilantro, chopped
7 large sheets phy
llo about 3oz melted butter Peal and slice the onion and add to a sauce pan over medium heat with the olive oil saute till the onions start to wilt.
Once the onions are cooked add to the pan chicken and spices then mix in the artichoke hearts separating them up a bit unless you want large chunks of artichoke in your bastilla. Cook on the stove over medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally for aprox 20-30 min or until the onions start to brown (On my end I found the chicken started to brown before the onions did and after 25 min I went ahead and moved it even though my onions weren't brown at all.)

While the chicken is in the works take your phyllo sheets and layer 5 of them over each other rotating the pan as you put each one on. Brush each layer with the melted butter before adding the next sheet. After you have 5 sheets layered put your chicken mixture in the middle and fold the edges up and lay on top of the mixture in the middle.

Add 2 more sheets to the top again adding butter between each layer then sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and sugar. Put into a pre-heated 400 degree oven for aprox 30 minutes.

I really ended up enjoying this dish. Wasn't a huge fan of the onion chunks myself but I have a real thing with textures. The actual flavor was great so I just ate around the onions a bit myself. However I did get good reviews from both The Sister and The Brother-In-Law. We all liked it so much in fact that there wasn't any left by the end of the night. Of the Bastilla or the Chutney. Which I always consider a success...unless of course the reason there's none left is because it got tossed in the garbage which luckily for me was not the case tonight. The only thing The Brother recommended was to add something red, unfortunately for him I'd already gone shopping for the day and didn't have anything red nor did he or The Sister. So no red was in this one.
The Apple Chutney I actually got off of All Recipes and I followed that one almost exactly. The only change I made was that I had no cardamom so I left that out I also added in a bit of the hot curry powder that I had used in the Bastilla.

2-1/4 tart apples - peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1/8 yellow onion, quartered
1/2 (1 inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled
2 tablespoons and 1-1/4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a saucepan, mix the apples, onion, ginger, vinegar, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, white pepper, cardamom, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the apples are tender. Mix in some water if necessary to keep the ingredients moist. Remove the onion and ginger, and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

I found that when I added the lid I didn't have to add any water the moister from the apples collected on the lid and when I lifted it to stir I just let it fall back into the pan to keep it from drying out. This was really good. I was extreamly happy with the outcome. And The Sister who doesn't normally mix sweet & savory enjoyed this chutney with the Bastilla quite well.

Overall tonight I was quite pleased with the results. I think I could have added 3 full apples instead of the 2 and a half I used. Would have given everyone a bit more to enjoy but no one went hungry tonight and that's a good thing. I also made a pecan pie tonight because The Sister had been wanting one. I'll post that tomorrow cause it's late and I'm getting tired but The Brother said he's stealing the recipe on that one so apparently it was good as well.


Well this is a new blog for me. One where I'll post my different culinary escapades. I'll post the recipes I use and of course credit them if it wasn't something I whipped up myself. Sometimes I follow the original recipe exactly sometimes I play around with it. I'll post pictures as well when I remember to take them. Sometimes that happens sometimes not. Right now as far as food goes my critics are The Boyfriend, The Sister, and The Brother-in-law.