Pie Crust Perfection

The love of my baking life
The love of my baking life

Pie crust: something I’ve tackled quite a few times, but never been happy with. As someone who has never been a huge fan of crust anyway, I’ve gone back on forth on whether it was even worth making from scratch, since my homemade versions were rarely more appealing than something I could snag from the freezer section. Making them was time consuming, messy, and it always seemed like I was crossing my fingers in hopes that the final results were even edible. I read countless articles and referenced cookbooks, watched videos on shingling the butter into the flour, kept everything as ice cold as possible, and stressed about overworking the gluten.

Then I read The Science of Pie Dough from the Food Lab, and my mind was blown. It seemed too good to be true, that I could do most of the work in my food processor, and mix it more than I ever thought could be okay, and it would be easy to roll out and work with, AND still magically be tender and flaky?! No way.

Well, after making it yesterday, yes way. YES WAY. This will be my go to pie crust forever, and has turned me into a pie crust consumer because it was SO DELICIOUS. I want to make pie again and again and again. I’ll become the pie lady, and I’m more than okay with that.

Here is the recipe and all of the how-to’s. I used Kerrygold butter and my digital scale to measure everything (which is a baker’s best friend), but it was seriously so easy. Josh turned to me after his first bite with big eyes and just said “you did it.”

Exactly the reaction I was waiting for.

Advertisements

Meal Plan: March 13-March 19

Every week we make a meal plan for the week ahead. The plan accounts for 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches (plus fruit or vegetables), 4 snacks, and 5 dinners each for the two of us. Lunches are typically a double batch of whatever the recipe calls for. We make the lunches and do other prep work on Sunday. Nearly all items are purchased from either our local farmers market or Whole Foods. We live in Cincinnati, OH.

Jok Moo from Cravings cookbook is one of our new favorites
Jok Moo from Cravings cookbook is one of our new favorites

March 13-March 19

Cincinnati springtime (though snow is in the forecast) means that even though we don’t need coats anymore, it’s still dark and rainy enough that we want comfort food. The trick is finding things that are cozy but still a little light, because we’re no longer feeling the urge to build up our fat for winter hibernation. That’s totally a thing that humans do, right?

I’m craving summer produce, but knowing that it’s still a long way off, I’ll just hope that Whole Foods gets some rhubarb for pie soon.

Breakfast

Lunch

Snack

  • Banana bread– with a handful of chocolate chips thrown in for good measure

Dinner

Mulligatawny

We'll pretend that this was the photo I always planned to use, not was forced to use because we ate the whole pot of mulligatawny last night. Oops.
We’ll pretend that this was the photo I always planned to use, not was forced to use because we ate the whole pot of mulligatawny last night. Oops.

When Josh and I were dating, he took me to Shanghai so I could meet his dad and his dad’s wife before we got engaged. Besides being an incredible trip full of amazing food (and Josh secretly telling them the first day that he had bought a ring and was going to propose soon. NO PRESSURE), one of the best thing’s to come out of the trip was his Malaysian stepmother sending us home with two bags of her favorite curry powder, Baba’s Meat Curry.

One of the first things I used it for for was a heavily altered version of the Pioneer Woman’s Easy Mulligatawny, which is I’m sure itself a very bastardized version of the original. I am in no way claiming that this is an authentic recipe, but only stating that for 6 years now, this has been one of Josh’s favorite meals on earth.

My main advice would be to make sure you love the curry powder you use, because it really is the star player.

Mulligatawny

  • 2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 heaping Tbsp curry powder
  • 32 ounces chicken broth
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
  • 3/4 cup uncooked rice (basmati or jasmine both work great)

Season diced chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden (don’t worry about it cooking through, since it will go back in later in the cooking process). Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.

In the same pot, add the remaining butter and reduce heat to medium. Add diced onion and garlic and stir to cook until the onions soften and start to brown.

Sprinkle flour over onions and stir to coat. Add the curry powder and cook the mixture over medium heat for one minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in the chicken broth and cook for five minutes. Add the coconut milk, some salt and pepper, and cook for another five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the rice and stir well. Cook for about five minutes, stirring often to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom.

Add the chicken and diced apple and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until rice is done. Turn off the heat and allow to stand 5 or 10 minutes before serving.

Meal Plan: March 6-March 12

Every week we make a meal plan for the week ahead. The plan accounts for 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches (plus fruit or vegetables), 4 snacks, and 5 dinners each for the two of us. Lunches are typically a double batch of whatever the recipe calls for. We make the lunches and do other prep work on Sunday. Nearly all items are purchased from either our local farmers market or Whole Foods. We live in Cincinnati, OH.

New (to us) dresser! Only took 3 years to find the right one
New (to us) dresser! Only took 3 years to find the right one

March 6-March 12

Cincinnati has a surprisingly great selection of affordable midcentury furniture, and we’ve been slowly collecting pieces since we arrived. Also, this dresser, which we share (as well as a small closet) is why I roll my eyes when people on House Hunters freak out that a walk in closet is too small to possibly share. Or the episode I saw where the woman needed 4 closets JUST FOR HERSELF. That’s insane. Less is more. All that to say… hooray for pretty furniture, especially pieces that don’t take up too much space in our tiny bedroom!

We’re continuing on the no-dairy train this week, and with spring allergies coming up, I might try to keep it this way for a while. Sniffles and snoring are bad for all parties.

Breakfast

Lunch

Snack

  • Bananas

Dinner

Meal Plan: Feb 28-March 5

Every week we make a meal plan for the week ahead. The plan accounts for 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches (plus fruit or vegetables), 4 snacks, and 5 dinners each for the two of us. Lunches are typically a double batch of whatever the recipe calls for. We make the lunches and do other prep work on Sunday. Nearly all items are purchased from either our local farmers market or Whole Foods. We live in Cincinnati, OH.

IMG_1882
I don’t know how I ate as much as I did last week, but that is my hand grabbing more candied bacon

February 28-March 5

Josh had to travel for work all last week, so we made the last minute decision that I should go spend the week in Nashville and soak in some long overdue time with friends and family.  Also, copious amounts of biscuits. Sometimes that’s just what you need.

All of Josh’s travel and less than stellar eating has manifested itself in a nasty cold, which isn’t altogether surprising. I made a big pot of chicken noodle soup  last night for dinner (in the  pressure cooker!), and it will be on repeat again tonight. All other recipes for the week either don’t contain dairy or the dairy will be omitted. You have to take care of yourself. Phlegm is a jerk.

Breakfast

Lunch

Snack

  • Bananas

Dinner

Chocolate Beer Cupcakes With Beer Buttercream Frosting

IMG_1819
Not the prettiest, but possibly the tastiest

A couple of weeks ago, a friend decided that someone in our circle needed to make cupcakes featuring the fantastic (and seasonal) Rubus Cacao beer from MadTree, our favorite local brewery. Considering how much this friend loves my cooking, it came as no surprise that he nominated me. Rubus Cacao is brewed with raspberry and cocoa nibs, so it was pretty much made for dessert. Honestly, this was the perfect scenario. I love to bake, but I don’t have a huge sweet tooth and never need a whole batch of some baked good just hanging out in my kitchen. A commissioned dessert to share with friends? Bingo.

I spent a few days reading up on recipes for beer cupcakes, of which there are a lot, but the recipe I kept coming back to was from Smitten Kitchen. For starters, I always know I can count on Deb’s recipes to be accurate and delicious. For another thing, she has so many followers that the comment section can be a goldmine for recipe tips, just to confirm that the recipe does work and to see how people have successfully modified it. I love to experiment with baking, but baking is also chemistry, and you need to know that you aren’t messing around with something that could greatly change the outcome (and create a kitchen disaster). Luckily, switching out a dark beer for another dark beer was about as easy at it gets.

For our Super Bowl party, I pretty much followed Deb’s recipe exactly, just subbing in the Rubus Cacao whenever she called for any booze in the recipe for the cupcakes and the buttercream frosting. I did skip the ganache recipe entirely though. I wanted to keep these a little more simple and let the flavor of the beer really shine, which it did. The raspberry flavor in particular came through beautifully. Also, this was just a really stellar cupcake recipe in general, and I can definitely see myself using it again in the future, with or without the booze.

In terms of what kinds of beer you can use, since I used a local brew, pretty much any beer that you’d enjoy drinking with a slice of chocolate cake would be fantastic.

For the complete recipe and a great comment section, head over to the Smitten Kitchen website. Let me know if you try it and what kind of beer you used!

 

Meal Plan: February 7-February 13

Every week we make a meal plan for the week ahead. The plan accounts for 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches (plus fruit or vegetables), 4 snacks, and 5 dinners each for the two of us. Lunches are typically a double batch of whatever the recipe calls for. We make the lunches and do other prep work on Sunday. Nearly all items are purchased from either our local farmers market or Whole Foods. We live in Cincinnati, OH.

Nashville now has an L&L! We obviously need to go back soon for a visit
Nashville now has an L&L! We obviously need to go back soon for a visit

February 7-February 13

Happy post Super Bowl day! I wasn’t rooting for any team, so I feel very comfortable stating that Bruno Mars won the whole game. Also a winner? The beer cupcakes I worked on for a friend. I’ll have to post the recipe soon because they were incredibly delicious.

Josh made a huge jar of kimchi using the Momofuku cookbook, and it’s been fermenting for two weeks, so a lot of our meals this week are based around that beautiful jar.

Breakfast

  • Scrambled eggs and avocado
  • Steel cut oats and bananas

Lunch

Snack

  • Bananas

Dinner