Friday, August 22, 2014

Lattice Top Peach Pie – How to Weave Dough Like a Dream

We are right in the middle of peach season, and what better way to show them off, than in this classic, lattice-top pie? And by classic, I mean the peek-a-boo crust design, not the filling, which has a few ingredients that are definitely not classic.

By the way, if you’re peaches are too ripe to peel, then you can remove the skin by cutting an “X” on the bottom and dipping in boiling water. Of course, if they’re really ripe and juicy, you probably shouldn’t be making pie with them anyway. Those are the kind of peaches where you take off your shirt and just eat them over the sink.

Above and beyond beautiful, this lattice design is also very practical. When you’re making pie with something like peaches, the relatively open top allows for lots of moisture to evaporate, which helps prevent the dreaded “watery pie syndrome.” That’s also the reason we boil the excess juices down to a syrup. 

So, whether you use this lattice-top technique for a peach pie, or other juicy fruits, I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for One 10-inch Pie:
about 3 pounds fresh peaches, peeled and sliced (about 2 lbs 12 oz once trimmed)
1 cup white sugar, divided
tiny pinch of salt
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of cayenne
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch of cinnamon
enough pie dough for a double crust pie (get recipe here)
- Bake at 350 F. until browned and bubbling. Mine took about 1 hour 15 minutes, but I peek a lot)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Easy “Squeezy” Corn on the Cobb

I saw this technique on the Huffington Post a while back, and while it wasn’t the first time I’d seen, or used the micro-method, it was the first time I’d seen it in video form, thanks to the lovely and talented, Carl Blemming. By the way, I’m assuming Huff Po didn’t pay him anything for it, so to make up for that, neither will we.

This proves something that I’ve known for years…no matter how great a kitchen technique is, unless you use it regularly, you’ll forget about it. Usually, as soon as I get home from the store, I shuck the corn, and go from there, but as soon as I saw that ear go into Carl’s microwave, it all came back. Now I can forget about it all over again.

I’ve heard through the grapevine that some other food channels have also published this “hack” recently, but since I don’t watch anyone else, I can’t confirm those reports, but I couldn't have been the only one. The point is, it works. It works perfectly, and I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Under My Panzanella, ella, ella, ella…

I’ve never been a big fan of panzanella salad. I love the flavors in the dish, but stale, soggy bread just isn’t something I crave. The sogginess is understandable, as this dish was invented as a way to ingest rock-hard bread, but now that we’re just making it for fun, and not to avoid starvation, we can tweak a few things for texture’s sake.

The key is frying the bread cubes in loads of olive oil, in a skillet, which obviously makes them crispy, but the healthful fat also soaks in and renders them semi-waterproof, or should I say dressing-proof. The same goes for the dusting of Parmesan we apply halfway through.

You may be tempted to save some work and bake them in the oven, but don’t. By using the pan, you get nice, crispy surfaces, but the very center of the crouton stays just a touch chewy. The oven tends to dry the bread out, and you don’t get the same texture.

The gorgeous pool of tomato juices, oil, and wine vinegar will still soak in, and soften the bread, but you’ll still get a little crunch in each bite. For me this makes all the difference in the world. I know adding things like peppers, onions, and cucumbers is quite common, but I think they simply get in the way.

Having said that, it’s your “little swamp,” which is what “Panzanella” translates to, so throw in what you like. Speaking of which, I’m not giving ingredient amounts. I’ll give a ratio, and maybe a recommendation or two, but this isn’t the kind of recipe where you should be washing measuring cups and spoons. Taste and adust, and as always, enjoy!


Ingredients:
(I like equal parts bread cubes to tomato salad)

For the bread:
stale bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, soaked well with olive oil
enough finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano to cover bread
-- fry until crispy and browned

For the tomato salad:
cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of sugar
a little minced garlic
equal parts red wine vinegar and olive oil, to dress generously (add enough to create a very “swampy” mixture)
freshly sliced basil