Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How 'Bout Them Pies? (Part II)

Remember how yesterday, I showed you my beef and mushroom pot pies and promised you MORE? Whelpers... Here it is.  Beginning with a pie crust tutorial (and ending with the pie crust tutorial... read until the end, please...):
Yes... I used the food processor (the 2nd time around...). Put your ingredients in the food processor, beginning with the dry. Process the dry ingredients and SAVE YOURSELF the sifting time! (Tip of the day... hey!)
 Add COLD butter (everything tastes better with butter, ya know...) and a tiny bit of margarine (TY, Martha Stewart!) and process until it resembles peas. Not MUSHED peas, but firm looking little peas, popped right out of the pods...
See? I can see the peas in there... just pretend peas are white for minute, would you?
You should be able to press it together (between your fingers) and have it stick fairly well together.
Then... drop by drop, put in the water, processing BRIEFLY. It should roughly form a ball. A ball of dough. (Duh...)
[Sorry don't know what happened to the rest of the pictures of the dough-making, but I can't find them anywhere anymore.]
Now... take it out and wrap it super duper tight in plastic wrap and refrigerate it. For about an hour. If it's longer, that's fine, too.  As long as it's tightly wrapped, it should be fine.
Remove from the fridge and let stand for about 10 minutes or so before rolling. Woohoo! You did it! (I did, too!) Roll out just like I did in the first post about all of this... (CLICK HERE TO SEE!)
I'll give you part 3 tomorrow... with the actual pics of the turkey pot pie. Please be patient. I'm barely making it post today as it is. The losing-the-picture-thingy totally set me off and on a frenzied rampage. I finally had to realize you all weren't gonna die without them...

But here's a couple of notes...
  • If at all possible, do it with a food processor. Not a mixer. Not by hand. It makes something extremely temperamental to create so super duper easy, that anyone can do it!
  • Take it from the experts. If Martha wrote a great recipe. She's pretty dang sure it'll work, and that goes for Julia, too! (They're my friends... I know them well, or at least the books they've written.)
  • Be sure to use ICE COLD WATER. I cannot tell you how important this is. Unless... you like a chewy glue-type crust. And glue is hard to roll.
  • and that goes for the butter and margarine, too. COLD, COLD, COLD.
  • When it says BRIEFLY. That's exactly what that means. Be brief. (I pulsed it, just so I wouldn't overdo it.
  • If you're using purchased dough... that's fine, too. Ease is bliss. However, I just want to alert you... the purchased doughs are usually not vegetarian friendly (and in my case, intestine-friendly). I did not know until AFTER I'd eaten the beef pot pies that the pre-packaged dough contained lard. Don't get me wrong. LOVE the flavor. My body, however, hates it and tells me. Ick. Enough said.
  • Either type of dough you use, flour your board fairly well, and keep flouring it. The books that say "lightly" are NOT very expertly. Martha and Julia tell us to turn the pastry continually to prevent sticking. I'm gonna go with that after scraping and wasting pie dough off my board.
  • If you have access to a marble board, by all means... USE IT!!! I would if I could, but I can't, so I won't.
  • If the box of a pan says "recipes included", don't waste your time looking for a pamphlet of recipes and then calling the company. If it says it's in there it probably is... Tear apart the box to find the recipes written in light gray on the inside of the box. This way, you don't sound silly to the person on the other line.
Crap-ola! Did I forget to give you the actual ingredients? No way...

Alrighty then. Straight from Martha's The Martha Stewart Cookbook: Collected Recipes for Everyday.

2 cups all-purpose (this is what I used, as Martha told me to...)
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons butter [1 1/2 sticks] (Martha says unsalted, but... uh... I didn't have any and they came out just fine and dandy.)
3 Tablespoons margarine (Martha says "or chilled vegetable shortening". I used Imperial Margarine.)
1/4 cup ice water

Simply follow the directions listed above, including the notes.

And... I'll see you tomorrow! Ready for some turkey...?

Monday, January 28, 2013

How 'Bout Them Pies? (Part I)

A while ago, I wrote about what the past months have been like. I believe I said I was going to attempt some pot pies. Well... I DID!!! The only problem was... it took me a looonnnggg time to download the pics. But I've got it all for you today.  Hooray! So here's the how and why...

Around the holidays, I found a beautiful white Crate & Barrel box on my front porch. It was addressed to me. My reaction? "Um... I didn't order anything, did I?" "Crap! What have I done?!!!" and so... I brought the box in. I did not open it for a couple of days for fear I would find some horrible mistake I'd made. I couldn't afford to purchase anything for myself during this time of year... what the heck was I thinking? and I'd have to scrounge together money to ship it back, and.. and... and the list went on.

And so... one day, I finally OPENED the box. To find a sweet little note atop a cute gift. A fellow official I'd met in December thought of me when she saw THIS:
and thought I might be able to use it. Wow! I was shocked and flattered and... crying! I blubbered like a baby, I was so overcome with emotion. Needless to say, this was completely unexpected. [We'd been catered-to at a swim meet with some of the best food imaginable on a pool deck, including... (you guessed it!) pot pies. They were chicken at the time, but we talked about recipes, fillings, cheater crusts (puff pastry being one...) and the like. It was fun!]

I just needed a little time to do something with them, and a free sane moment or two.

That came at the beginning of this year, and here we are nearly a month later... with the post that should have been.

So... let's begin. The first set (of pot pies)... I cheated. I admit it. My friend was the Pillsbury Doughboy. That ready-made crust that just needs to sit for a bit and then be cut and filled and popped into the office is just the thing when you need it.

I cut out 4 bottoms and 4 tops with the cutter that was provided (see how cute it all is?).

Placing the pie cavities with the cut pastry, and pressing them in... *IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOU HAVE LONG FINGERNAILS, CUT THEM. Try to use your fingertip pads as much as possible, so as not to puncture the pastry dough. (Prevents filling leakage and the like.) I had nails puncturing, and I had to do some quick finger-pressing surgery to mend the holes and tears. Enough said...
 Then... filled 'em up!
 Placed the top crust on... and sealed the deal! (use a little water and rub it [with your fingertip] around the perimeter... helps to seal as you press it down onto the bottom crust.)
 And BAKE! (okay, so maybe a little less filling next time, but I really like the rustic look of the pies, and fullness, as well...)
 Just a little more up close...
 Look at those beautiful bottoms! Perfect!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year!!! Welcome 2013

Whew! It's been a crazy fast-paced year, 2012 was... and I let all of that and more overwhelm me.

But let's be honest here. We all make resolutions at some point during the year, whether it's at the fresh start of the New Year, or further on down the line.  So, I'm not making a resolution, so much as promising myself (and you) to get back on track... or at least a little more so.

My last post was in October. Ugh. That was a long time ago.  At least in followering and writing terms. A lot has happened, and a lot more will happen.  Such is life. I may or may not post somethings I worked on or did during that time, but, I was busy, just like all of you.

Right now... I just dropped off the middle child at school (yes, my 19-year-old started the Culinary Academy today!), and am sitting quiety here (at home) typing in this post. I'm waiting for my lazy-purchased pie crust to come to room temperature so I can roll out the dough and make some mini beef and mushroom potpies.  Recipes? you ask... um... let's see how they turn out first.

My goals today are to:

1.  Make tamales (with stuff I've been hoarding).
2.  Complete these potpies. (I've got turkey to do, as well...)
3.  Clean a bit of the craftwomb. (Wholly guacamole! If you could see inside there right now, you'd wonder how I possibly got ANYTHING done during the holiday season. Maybe I'll post before and after pics later.)
4. Walk a little.
5.  Do a weigh-in with My Pink Loser... (we'll see about that one...)
6.  Pick up above-mentioned child.
7.  Keep my mind and sanity intact.

Do we think I can do it? We'll see... while the youngest is still sleeping (she doesn't go back to school/I don't go back to work [if I still have a job...] until January 14th), I'll see how much I can actually get accomplished.

But just know that I'm welcoming 2013 with a fresh breath and fresh mind. I'll be updating more and being a little more open-minded about getting rid of things... You never know what will happen.  Have a wonderful day, and please... let me know what your goals for the day are. And what you actually able to do.

Gotta run... pie crust should be ready... Toodles!