Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Tapas Game Night

My cousins in the Boston area and I enjoy gathering to eat a lot, drink a bit, and play some games (boys vs. girls, of course).  At any of these gatherings, there’s easily at least 12 of us and though we gather less often than we’d like, it’s still a great time.

A couple of weeks ago, we gathered, this time for a potluck tapas night. We had a ridiculous display of food – brussel sprouts & caramelized onions in a delicious sauce, friend plantains, fried peppers, patatas bravas with garlic aioli, vegetable spring rolls, stuffed tomatoes, bread and cheese, crème brûlée, and arroz con leche (rice pudding), which we DESTROYED and in the process of music-wars, completely forgot about the games.

I made Fried Plantains for this party of 12- which honestly, is the easiest dish EVER to make. I pan-fried them, you can also straight-up fry them with a quart of olive oil in a saucepan.

Fried Plantains

  • 5 Yellow Plantains – that are almost fully brown/soft
  • Olive Oil
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  1. Peel and slice plantains. I sliced them in slanted circles.
  2. Heat olive oil in the skillet on medium heat – about a 1/2 inch deep.
  3. Put plantain slices on the skillet, in a single layer.
  4. Flip the slices when they start getting slightly darker than golden brown.
  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (1 part ground cinnamon, 3 parts white sugar) while still on the pan.
  6. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper-towel lined serving plate.
  7. Refill oil in skillet if needed and repeat steps 2-6 until all plantain circles are fried.


plantains

And then some hilarity:

Sumana, making a Spanish Omelette:
potAYtoes

Vinay, about to devour the food:

fooooooood

A great time had – I can’t wait until we gather again. This time, we’ll actually play the games, and the girls will win! *fight face*

Spectacular Dinner Parties

They don’t happen too often, but when they do, SHABAM! Things are magical. A few good friends of mine from a past internship with the Office of the Governor Deval Patrick decided we needed to have a reunion party.  At first we attempted to picnic on the Common, and Beuks got stuck on the train.  There were parties, but we all couldn’t attend the same ones, so we kept trying. Finally, Ethan was able to host a dinner party at his lovely apartment (which for various reasons, he doesn’t live in anymore. Okay that makes him sound shady – he’s starting a farm! No, really…) and we all decided to help cook!

On the menu:

Homemade Garlic Bread

  • 2 ft. long French Baguette or Italian loaf, first sliced lengthwise and then in sectioned
  • Butter – Ethan had Smart Balance on hand, which is actually what I use regularly.
  • 1 head of garlic at least, mince enough to sprinkle properly over all the bread
  • Dried or fresh basil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Slice the bread, mince the garlic, chop the basil (if it’s fresh)
  3. Spread butter over the bread and sprinkle the garlic over it OR melt butter and mix in the garlic, then pour over the bread
  4. Top with dried basil
  5. Place on a cookie sheet in the oven until the edges are golden brown.

Homemade Salad

  • Spinach leaves
  • Pears
  • Avocado
  • Gorgonzola
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette
  1. Toss together desired proportions of each.

Vegetarian Pesto Cream Lasagna

  • 1 pound fresh spinach
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 2 pounds ricotta cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 9 Lasagna noodles (you should have an extra couple on hand, too)
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese
  • Extra olive oil for the top
  1. Clean and stem the spinach, chop it very fine (use a food processor if possible)
  2. Sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil, over low/medium heat, until soft.
  3. Stir the raw spinach into the hot onions and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add half the parmesan cheese, the pesto and the ricotta and grind in some pepper, salt.
  5. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Boil noodles briefly (three to four minutes), drain, drizzle with remaining olive oil.
  7. Place a layer of noodles in bottom of oiled 9X13” pan. Spread one-third of the filling over noodles. Place one-third of the mozzarella over that. More noodles.
  8. Repeat until you have six layers: three of noodles, three of pesto mix, with the pesto mix on top.
  9. Top the final layer of pesto mix with remaining parmesan and drizzle with olive oil.
  10. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serves 6-8.

Vegetarian Marinara Lasagna

Thanks, Ethan!!

ETS’s Vegetarian Rouge Lasagna (He invented this one)

  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and
  • squeezed of excess liquid
  • 1 container (15 – 16 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 12-16 Trader Joe’ s Meatless Meatballs
  1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, but do not salt the water.
  2. While noodles are cooking, preheat oven to 350 and start cooking the ‘ meatballs’. To cook the ‘ meatballs’ ,combine ‘ meatballs’ with 10-12 ounces of tomato sauce in a saucepan. Put the heat on low and stir occasionally until ‘ meatballs’ are softened all of the way through and have become saturated with sauce. Take a large fork or spatula and mash the ‘ meatballs.’
  3. Grease a 13X9 inch baking dish with olive oil, set aside. In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce, garlic, and oregano. Mix well.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine broccoli, TJ’ s Meatless Meatballs, ricotta, and Parmesan. Mix well. Drain noodles.
  5. Spread half a cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.
  6. Place 3 noodles on top of the sauce. Spread half of broccoli mixture over noodles. Spoon 1/2 cup of tomato sauce over broccoli; place 3 noodles on top.
  7. Spread with remaining broccoli mixture; top with 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. Top with remaining noodles and tomato sauce; sprinkle mozzarella over top.
  8. Bake until bubbling, about 45 minutes.
  9. Cool about 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Red and White Wine

  • Cabernet Sauvignon (I think that’s what we had.)
  • Pinot Grigio

Me, mincing an insane amount of garlic for our insane amount of garlic bread:

gaaaaaaaaarlicbread

Beuks, buttering up the garlic bread and Meg, making an awesome salad with pears and such:

megsandbeuks

Ethan was taking the pictures – for some reason, we didn’t think to do a group shot, or take pictures of the lasagna 😦

All in all, it was a great experience, especially with the awesome company.

Pasta with Zucchini, Potato Wedges, and Sautéed Garlic-Spinach

Here’s yet another dinner that’s finally getting documented.  This dinner was a slight challenge to put together because the stipulation was no onions, as my friend is allergic to them.  If you check out my other posts, you’ll notice I rarely have recipes that lack onions.  So I pondered this and came up with, Pasta with sautéed zucchini in a garlic marinara sauce, crispy garlic potato wedges and sautéed garlic-spinach.

Sautéed Garlic-Spinach

  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Garlic, 3-4 cloves minced
  • Spinach – I used the cup of spinach leaves I had left, but if you’re making more than that, just increase the amount of garlic you’re using.
  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan.
  2. Toss in the minced garlic and fry it until the garlic starts turning golden brown.
  3. Add the spinach and sautée until the leaves go limp.
  4. Add salt to taste.

spinach

 

Pasta with Sautéed Zucchini in a Garlic Marinara Sauce

  • Half a box of medium or large shell pasta
  • Marinara Sauce (or you can make it yourself)
  • Garlic – 5-6 cloves, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced in half circles
  • Dried basil
  1. Heat water in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add pasta and cook for 10 -12 minutes or according to the package until it is al dente.
  3. When cooked, remove pasta from flame and strain in a colander. Leave the pasta there.
  4. In the saucepan, start heating the marinara sauce on low heat.
  5. Next, heat oil on a pan.  Add the garlic and cook until it is golden brown. Add this to the marinara sauce.
  6. If needed, add more oil to the pan and let it heat up.
  7. Place zucchini on the pan in a single layer.
  8. Flip the zucchini over, and sprinkle with dried basil. Don’t let it over cook, and make sure to cook each side evenly.
  9. Add this to the marinara sauce and pour in the strained pasta.
  10. Mix, let it cook for a couple more minutes and remove from the flame.

pastazucchini

 

Crispy Garlic Potato Wedges

  • 1 large potato
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Cut the potato into approximately 12 wedges and place in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, and toss to coat.
  4. Arrange the potatoes  in a single layer in a large baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray (or olive oil if you don’t have cooking spray).
  5. Bake at 425°F for 25 minutes.
  6. Flip all the wedges over, then bake 20-35 minutes longer or until crisp.

This dish should be started first as it takes the longest time to prepare.

potahtoes

 

And when it’s all done, you’ve got a delicious meal:

dish

If you’ve got potatoes, green beans, and eggplant…

Apologies once again for the ridiculous lapse in posting.  It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, I’ve just been busy putting together term paper research, outlines, etc.  I have, however, totally remembered to take pictures of this food I haven’t blogged about all this time. So get ready for this:

These two dishes were actually made on two consecutive nights, but since I cook for an army and always have leftovers, the second night meant MORE variety on my dinner plate. Hooray!

Dish #1: A rather simple dish of spiced up, roasted potatoes and green beans

  • 1-2 tbsp (or as much as you’d like) Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Chili powder – My mom blends her own, but you can also buy it in the spice section of any major grocery store.
  • Turmeric
  • Mustard seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Urad Dahl
  • 1 large potato, chopped in cubes
  • Equivalent volume of green beans. I used the frozen cut green beans in this one, because I always have a variety of frozen vegetables on hand. If the supermarket allows, you can use fresh green beans and  cut them into thirds or quarters.
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  1. Heat olive oil on a pan and add the mustard seeds, urad dahl and cumin. When the mustard seeds start popping add the potatoes and make sure to coat them evenly in the oil.
  2. When the potatoes are 1/3 of the way cooked (you can tell by the color of the potatoes),  add the green beans.
  3. potatoes

  4. Add turmeric and salt (approx. 1/4 tsp of each)
  5. Cook on medium heat until the potatoes are fully cooked. By this time, the green beans will be cooked too.
  6. Add chili powder, salt to taste and mix thoroughly.

cooked

Dish #2: Eggplant Curry, more commonly known in India as Baingan Bharta, altered from this recipe.

  • 1 large eggplant, chopped in cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced in semicircles
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (Or 1.5 tsp of ginger paste and 1.5 tsp of garlic paste)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Mix in cumin seeds and onion. Cook and stir until onion is tender.
  3. Mix ginger garlic paste, curry powder, and tomato into the saucepan, and cook about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in yogurt. Mix in eggplant and jalapeno pepper, and season with salt.
  5. Cover, and cook 10 minutes over high heat.
  6. Remove cover, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking about 5 minutes, or until eggplant is fully cooked.
  7. Garnish with cilantro to serve

dinnnerhs

As always, dinner was served with two chapathis, instead of rice for two reasons. First, my mom made me a bunch of delicious chapathis and I’ll take every opportunity to eat them, and second, I like chapathis better than rice. Of course, these two dishes can be eaten with rice. I recommend Basmati rice or a long-grain rice.

Enjoy!

Stuffed Mushrooms

I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms – sometimes I’ll eat them (occasionally on pizza, occasionally in a pasta dish).  Mostly I avoid them like the plague.  However, a friend of mine was feeling sick and needed some comfort food and was looking for a good recipe for stuffed mushrooms, so I checked in with my friends who love to cook, and Christina sent me this recipe.  The recipe originally comes from a cookbook produced by women of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Parish in Seattle.

I figured that some of you probably DO like mushrooms so it wouldn’t hurt to post this one.  It’s simple, the ingredients are easily found in a grocery store, and it doesn’t take too long to make.  And it has feta cheese.  Which is delicious.

Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 15 large, fresh, white mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsps. butter
  • 3 tbsps. chopped green onions
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tbsps. finely chopped parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 tbsps crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated kasseri cheese
  • 2 tbsps. butter
  1. Brush the mushrooms clean.  Remove the stems and reserve them.
  2. Brush caps with melted butter, and arrange hollow side up in a baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Mince reserved mushroom stems.
  5. Heat small frying pan and add the butter.  Add stems and onions and sauté until the liquid has been absorbed.
  6. To the frying pan, add flour and mix well.  Add the milk, stirring until thickened a bit.  Add the parsley, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.
  7. Add feta cheese to mixture in the frying pan and fill the mushroom caps.
  8. Top with kasseri and a few dots of butter.
  9. Bake at 375° for 15 – 20 minutes, or until stuffing has browned lightly and cheese has melted.

Enjoy!

Let me know – Have any of you ever stuffed mushrooms? What about other vegetables? I’m thinking of stuffing jalapeño peppers soon.

Channa Masala (Chole) Variation

My mom is the greatest chef in the world. It is official. Because she is the greatest chef in the world, she has these magical amazing recipes. So I took her recipe for channa masala and made it for dinner tonight. It involves a blender. Need I say more?

I forgot to take a picture – but the masala, when you’re done blending it, should be an orangey-reddish color. Less red, more orange, slightly pink. Coral?

Channa Masala

In blender, grind together:

  • 1/2 cup channa (a.k.a. chickpeas, garbanzo beans)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • Fresh & dried chili
  • Some jeera (cumin seeds)
  • Some somp (looks like cumin seeds, but they’re green)
  • Piece of coconut
  • Poppy seeds
  • 1/2 small Onion
  • Brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1-2 cups water

Other ingredients:

  • 1 large potato, diced to size of chickpease
  • 1-2 cans garbanzo beans
  • Onion, diced
  • Several cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 inch ginger root, sliced
  • Tomato, diced
  • Salt
  • Garam masala
  • Coriander (cilantro)
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon stick
  1. In a large saucepan, fry minced garlic, sliced ginger, onion, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. As onions are finished cooking, add the potato & turmeric.
  3. Add the tomato when potatoes are halfway cooked.
  4. When the potatoes are fully cooked, add channa, salt, and garam masala.
  5. Add masala from blender into saucepan, a little at a time. Don’t add too much.
  6. Freeze extra masala.
  7. Serve with chapathis, naan, or rice.

ENJOY!

I know this is the second channa masala recipe I’ve posted (here’s the first), but that just shows that there are many variations to the same dish. Have you ever made chole/channa masala? How do you make it?

Baking a Pizza from Scratch!

It’s dinnertime in the Viesh Household and homemade pizza’s on the menu.  Originally, when I came up with this idea, I decided to get pre-made crusts, and Jack & Karen agreed:

premade

but then, Alex jumped up and down about making the crust from scratch, so we used this recipe:

Pizza Crust

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour (about 2-2 1/2 cups of flour per pizza)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (add one tbsp. at a time. You don’t want the dough to be sticky or too dry)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat/kneed well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°F (175°C).
  3. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape. Drizzle olive oil on the dough and bake for 5-8 minutes until the dough is slightly golden brown.
  4. Cover with your favorite sauce and toppings and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

alexdough

Pizza Toppings

  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Pizza Blend: Mozzarella & cheddar blend
  • Spinach leaves
  • Minced Garlic/Garlic Salt
  • Green peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Oregano
  • Basil leaves
  • Crushed Red Pepper

toppings

I topped the pizza half & half, because Jack couldn’t eat the real garlic and he didn’t want spinach or too many peppers, and I left out peppers on part of the pizza because Jason can’t stomach them.

topped

We baked the pizza for somewhere between 10-15 minutes with the oven preheated (for 12 minutes at least) to 425°F, until we got… DELICIOUS:

BAKED

It looked so good and smelled so delicious it got sliced before I could take a picture. Here’s Jason & Jack with their slices:

jason

jack

And I have leftovers for tomorrow! YAY!

  • Have you ever made pizza from scratch?
  • How did you make it?
  • What kinds of toppings did you put on it? What blend of cheese did you use?
  • Most importantly, have any of you made pizza sauce from scratch?

Classic Stir-Fry & Green Tea Brown Rice

Summer before last, while I was interning in Boston, and my friend Karen was living in Boston (because that’s where she’s from), we fell into a routine, which somewhere along the way got named Kitchen Cooking Chem Lab. Said name came about due to our tendency to run around Shaws, buy an assortment of things, bring them back to either of our kitchens and proceed to make magic food out of it.

And sometimes there were explosions.

Last night we made dinner, and we did something magical yet again, but so simple that anyone (like you!) can take these same ingredients and turn them into delicious, healthy, nutrient-rich vegetarian food.

Classic Stir-Fry

  • Yellow Squash

squashhhh

  • Red & Orange Peppers
  • Sugar Snap Peas

peppers and snap peas

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Long Grain Brown Rice
  • 2 Green Tea Tea-Bags (not pictured)
  • Almond Slivers
  • Chili Powder (not pictured)

riceoilalmonds

  1. Heat 2 cups water in medium-sized saucepan & put tea bags in the water. After 5 minutes, remove tea bags from water and add rice. Stir frequently to keep rice from sticking. Allow rice to cook normally. Once cooked, add almond slivers (1/2 cup, or however much you like).
  2. rice

  3. While rice is cooking, heat olive oil on a pan on medium heat.
  4. When oil is hot, add the yellow squash.
  5. When squash starts to brown slightly, add the peppers and snap peas, stirring to keep squash slices on top of the peppers.
  6. Be liberal with the oil, make sure there is oil on the pan as well as on the vegetables, but don’t drown them.
  7. veggiesonpan

  8. When the peppers are cooked (they’ve started to go limp), add chili powder.  I just shook chili powder lightly over the veggies, mixed them and covered them lightly again. The point of the chili powder isn’t to make the dish spicy, but to bring out the flavors of the vegetables.
  9. Serve veggies either over or on the side of the rice.

foodddd
Enjoy with your drinks of choice! Ours just happened to be Harpoon Celtic. 🙂

Green Plantain Curry

I’ve made dinner several times and forgotten to take pictures… again. However, I made lunch yesterday AND remembered to take pictures!

plantains

Now, this plate looks nice, with 2 vegetable dishes and chapathis (an Indian bread). The chapathi recipe is my mother’s secret, and thus I cannot divulge it, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find many good recipes online if you Google it. No, I’m serious. To eat with the chapathi, I made Green Pepper curry, the recipe for which will come another day, and Green Plantain Curry.

Star Market is full of green plantains, which means, everyone upon reading this recipe, should go buy some plantains and make this dish.

Green Plantain Curry (Approx. 5 servings)

  • 2 large Green Plantains, diced into cubes
  • Dry Coconut
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 inch Ginger root
  • 1 tsp. Chilli powder
  • Salt, lemon/lime
  • Brown Sugar
  • Curry leaves & coriander

Frying Ingredients*

  • Olive Oil (Coconut Oil if you want to be more authentic)
  • 1 tsp. Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. Urad Daal (available at Shaws sometimes, definitely available at Allston Market or Shalimar in Central Sq.)
  • Pinch of Asafoetida Powder
  1. Make masala (powder) from dry coconut, brown sugar, garlic, ginger & chilli powder in a blender.
  2. Cut plantains into cubes after pressure cooking with skin on in, cut in halves, in a bowl of water.
  3. Put a generous amount of oil in a pan on low flame, and wait for the oil to heat up.
  4. Add frying ingredients and curry leaves, and wait for the mustard seeds to start sputtering/popping.
  5. Then, add plantains, coating all of it with oil
  6. Once the plantains have been cooked, turn off the stove if it is electric. (If it is gas, leave it on).
  7. Add the masala and mix thoroughly so all the plantains are coated.
  8. Remove from flame, add salt, lemon, & coriander.

Serve with chapathis or jasmine rice. Enjoy!

*I specified frying ingredients so in the future, when I reference it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

A little somethin’ sweet…Sweet Cherry Pie!

Hello all!  Let me first apologize to you for not being the wonderful and talented Vieshnavi, and then I will introduce myself: I am sorry for the lack of Vieshnavi around these parts of late, and I am her friend, Karen.  As a fellow vegetarian and former roommate of Vieshnavi, we’ve been on many veggie adventures together (what?! Panera?! You betrayed us! Why is your broccoli cheddar soup *not* vegetarian?!), have had many fine cooking experiments together (“Do you like this?” “Yeah.” “Let’s stir fry it.” “Wait…can you do that?!” “Why not….?”), and have oft lamented the lack of real vegetarian food out there.  To the world out there: we don’t just eat lettuce!

Sometimes, we eat pie.

Which is the subject of this guest-blog, which Vieshnavi has so kindly allowed me to write.  Pie is pretty much one of the most excellent foods on the planet.  You can put almost anything into a pastry, bake it for a bit, and call it pie.  According to a history of pie website out there, this dates back to the ancient Egyptians but really only came into its own when the British got hold of the idea and, in true British fashion, decided to be the absolute very best at it.  Which they were, at least until the United States declared independence and took their pie with them.  (To paraphrase the New Hampshire state motto: “Live free for pie!”)  Apple pie is probably the most popular, as it is cheap and easy to make.  Having grown up in New England, apple pie is a delicacy most decidedly not served at 4th of July celebrations, as apples are out of season and who wants old apples in their pie, but that has not stopped the rest of the country from believing it’s summery and perfect for the most American of American holidays.  We tend to serve blueberry pie for that occasion, as that fruit is in season.  Anyway, let’s move on.  There’s a recipe here, I promise.

So now that I have made you want summer and pie (apple or blueberry or what-have-you), let me remind you that it is winter and there aren’t too many winter-specific pies out there.  Though pumpkin and sweet potato are definitely in fine form this time of year.  However, there are traditional winter pies whose ingredients have nothing to do with what’s in season and a lot to do with being delicious and sweet and warming up from the winter chill!  One of these is cherry pie, which is traditionally served in honor of George Washington’s birthday in February.  This post is a bit early for that, but it’s delicious nonetheless.  And if you start now, you can perfect your pie-making technique just in time for the first big pie-centric holiday of the year.

I bet you never had a reason to get excited about Washington’s birthday before now.  😉

Sweet Cherry Pie

Ingredients:

– pie pastry, enough for to be rolled out to line the bottom of an 8″ pie dish and to cover the top

– 4 cups fresh or canned sweet cherries (“Bing” cherries are pretty common, if you’re in the US).  If you are using fresh cherries (which I highly recommend), you’ll need to pit them.  More on that later.

– 1/4 cup of sugar

– 2 1/2 tablespoons of quick-cooking tapioca (Picture of it here.  It’s not pudding.  You will, however, find it in the baking section near the pudding.)

– 2 teaspoons of butter

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

2. Line a pie pan with 1/2 of the pastry dough.  If you’re cramming and need to make pie fast, or if you just don’t particularly feel like making pastry dough, kneading it, rolling it out, and trying not to break it, I recommend grabbing the premade frozen variety.  Pillsbury makes an especially delicious variety.

3. Drain the canned cherries, saving 1/2 the juice.  If you’re using natural cherries, don’t worry about all that.  You get to worry about pitting them, which I am pretty sure they make a tool for.  However, I do not own this tool and I don’t know anyone who does (unless they received it as a gift or really like olives), and I do not have the patience to take a paring knife to every little cherry and squeeze the pits out of the halved fruit.  I prefer the more organic method of squeezing the cherry until the pit shoots out.  My father taught me that.  It’s a lot of fun and well-worth looking Dexter on a bad day when you’re done.

4. Mix the juice (if you’re a canned cherry person), sugar, and tapioca in a bowl.  Add the cherries.  Toss well.

5. Pile the mixture into the lined pie pan and dot with it with the butter, by which I mean make very tiny slices of butter and put them on top.

6. Roll out the top crust and drape it over the pie (you can get fancy here and make a lattice if you’d like).  Crimp the edges and put several holes in the top, or use a pie bird (ceramic hollow bird that you put in the center of the pie before you put the filling in; lets out the steam).

7. Bake at 425 F for only 10 minutes!  After 10 minutes, reduce the oven heat to 350 F, and continue baking for another 30-40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

Easy as pie. 😉  I like this pie warm or cool, and my mother likes it only warm.  It’s delicious both ways, but begins to firm up after it has cooled down.  It’s quite delicious, not too sweet, and the perfect reminder of summer during the cold winter months.

Oh, and George Washington’s honesty.

Tell me what you think!  Fan of cherry pie?  Fan of pie in general?  Have a great pie story or an awesome recipe or know the best place to get the best piece of pie served up?  Let us know!

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