Little Pies, Pecan and Cherry

I could not sleep Saturday/Sunday night so at 3:30 AM I just got up and got busy making what my husband had requested for Sunday Dinner, individual desert pies.  Little ones 3-4" across the top. 

The recipes are all here just use the finder box should you want them.  I was just having fun messing around!  The tin foil pie pans were handy so I just got after it and in no times I was taking out 6 little pies.  Three each pecan and cherry! Yum!

We have been so very busy lately it was really just plain fun to make these and they were delicious! They just hit the spot with our son Mike and granddaughters Emily and Kate!  Felt good doing for fun rather than because I could or should!

Actually one top crust will make two small pie shells and a recipe for filling for an 8" pie will fill three little pans!  So go have some fun should you be so inclined!


Thanksgiving Countdown 10 Days and it's GO Time for Prep. Starting with Spice Inventory & Making Sachets.

Many times in the past I have gone to prepare things and not had the spices I need.  That has changed over the years.  I keep a good supply of most everything.  I find the best and most economical places to purchase are Asian markets, which I love!  When it comes time to "inventory" I use the older spices for making sachets.  So this morning first thing I pulled open the doors and drawers and my Mother's old blue spatter dishpan and mixed up a batch for closets and drawers.

I found whole Anise, Whole Clove, whole Bay leaves,  green Cardamon seed, and Cinnamon sticks. After dumping a portion of each into my dishpan and stirring to combine I was almost ready!  The room filled with the lovely scents and my spirits were lifted.

Next I cut double layers of cheese cloth into about 7-8" squares and 14" sections of butcher twine.  You can use ribbon and trim back the cheese cloth if you like but these are just going in the back of my closets so no need in this case.  The clove and bay leaves are said to repel moths and the like so that is also a big plus.

Next I placed a big spoonful of the herbs and spices in the center of the cheesecloth and gathered up the corners then tied with the twine.

And I have 10 lovely sachets for my closets and a good idea of any seasonings I need to replace as this Holiday season fast approaches!


Make Ahead Pizza Dough also known a Slow Ferment Pizza Dough

Loved the crisp bottom crust uncommon in a home oven!
Every once in a blue moon I will click around to several blogs, one being Orangette.  I saw this Pizza dough, had everything on hand, so gave it a try.  Easy to stir up, very little mess, and easy to handle dough.  So far a winner.  It is great to keep in the refrigerator 5 days or so (actually 6 days) before using and I like that too.  I love to mix up things in advance!

So when Friday rolled around I called my husband and told him not to stop for Pizza as he often does on Friday nights as I had it covered!  Plus my Pizza's are always DELUXE!

This pizza was topped with sauce, pepperoni, fresh ground chuck, mushrooms, black olives, Parmesan cheese, and Mozzarella. YUM.
Ingredients for Slow Ferment Pizza Dough:

2 C. bread flour
2 C. whole wheat flour
2 t. kosher salt
2/3 t. instant yeast
1/2 t. sugar
1 3/4 C. water

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir together until there are NO dry bits.  Tightly cover and store in the refrigerator.  The next day pull it out and knead for about a minute until it is smooth and elastic.  Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days untill you want to make PIZZA!

About 2 hours before you will be ready to make the pizzas pull the dough out of the refrigerator.  Use a spatula and remove the dough to a lightly floured board and divide it in half making 2 smooth balls of dough.  Cover and leave 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the dough is easily stretched.

45 minutes before baking the pizzas select either option one:  for metal baking sheets place them about 6" from the broiler.  Or option two place pizza stones or baking stones on the lowest oven racks.  Heat the oven to it's hottest setting.  NOTE:  I used pizza stones on the lowest 2 racks and set my gas range to 500 degrees F.

Next tear 2 nice sized sheets of parchment paper.  Place on a cutting board or cabinet or the back of a baking sheet or if you are lucky a pizza peel!  Stretch one portion of dough to 12" or so.  I just pressed it out with my fingers and the heels of my palms.  The dough worked very easily.  Then repeat on the second parchment with the second dough. 

Add the topping you have selected and you are ready to bake.  Open the oven, slide out the lowest rack and slide the pizza ON THE PARCHMENT onto the hot stone from off the peel or baking sheet or whatever you have used.  Pull out the next lowest rack and repeat sliding your pizza onto the second hot stone.  Close the oven and bake 8-10 minutes.  Reverse the pizza stones from their pack positions and bake 5 or more minutes until the desired bubbly cheesy pizza happens you like.

When you remove the pizzas let the sit a few minutes before serving.  Yield 2, 12" pizzas.  These were do again pizzas and we will do them again!!

NOTES;  These bake beautifully on the parchment and slide right off.  The pizza roller cutter did not even tear.  I did not get a speck of anything on the 2 pizza stones and did not even have to wash them.  WIN WIN!  The second pizza we just cooled and slid on the parchment onto a plastic bag to freeze for another day.  Another Win!


Pork Fried Rice with Toasted Walnuts

Fast Fry and Delicious.
Last week I cooked a double batch of rice intending to make fried rice this week with the excess.  While looking at fried rice recipes I thought the one from Epicourious looked the most tasty so I adapted!  I love toasting walnuts in a 200 degree oven for 10 minutes and adding to stir fry dishes and they were delicious with this!

Ingredients for Pork Fried Rice with Toasted Walnuts:

12-16 ounces lean pork (Place chops or steaks in the freezer 40-60 minutes ahead to firm up for easy slicing and for removal of bone or fat, I have also used cutlets or loin roast.)
4-6 T. peanut or grape seed oil
2 lg. beaten eggs
1 red onion diced
1 bunch green onions with tops sliced on the diagonal about 1/4"
1 T. fresh ginger grated (I keep fresh ginger wrapped in the freezer, then peel and shred what I need and return the unused portion to the freezer, works great!)
2 t. sugar
2 T. hoisin sauce
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1/4-1/2  t. toasted sesame oil
4 C. cold cooked rice
1/3 C toasted whole walnuts, toased as above outlined

Slice the pork thinly with a sharp knife and set aside.

Heat half of the oil in the wok.  When oil is shimmering and hot add the eggs and leave for 10 seconds then turn.   Lightly scramble for 1 minute and remove to paper towels to drain and set aside.

Everything goes back into one pan!
Add the rest of the oil to the wok and when hot add the pork and fry until browned.  Add the onions and cook another minute.  Mix the sugar, sauces, oil, vinegar, and ginger in a small bowl then stir in well.  Add the eggs back in breaking them up as you stir.  Toss in the cold rice and stir well until everything is well coated.  Serve in flat bowls dividing the toasted walnuts atop each serving.  Yield 4 servings.

This was served with a seafood salad and sliced apple for dessert.  My husband was a happy hubby.  He remarked he has lived long and is in reasonably good health because he eats well?  Well that, the grace of God, and good genes I say