Saturday, November 29, 2008

SLOPPY SECONDS

After just 2 days of having turkey... I was ready to take it to another level. Today I made a turkey pot pie based on this recipe from the
LA TIMES. Notice I said BASED. That's right, I did not stay true to the recipe. I use recipes as spring boards. In this case, the most important part of any pot pie is the crust and the sauce. I was a bit skeptical of the herb crust but thought why not. This recipe did not fail on either and I am not quite sure I will ever be able to make a pot pie any other way. I highly suggest this to any pot pie lover out there.

The only thing I did not groove on, was that this recipe only calls for a top crust. WHAT!? Oh no... I need full crust coverage, so you guessed it... I made a double batch of crust... well I actually made 2 batches. The herb version for the top and a plain for the bottom. I did not want the herbs to be too overpowering. Depending on the size pan you use, you may have a bit of filling left over. Not to worry. Simply place it in an airtight container and freeze. In a few weeks simply heat it up and serve on biscuits or toast with a salad. TA-DONE!

Try the original or here is my version:

HERB CRUST
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (1 large basil leaf, thyme, sage, chives, parsley, rosemary... use whatever you like and adjust amounts to your taste)
Scant 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons chilled butter

PLAIN CRUST
1 1/2 cups flour
Scant 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons chilled butter

FILLING
4 cups chicken broth (or homemade turkey stock), and more as needed
1 medium onion diced into 1/2 -inch pieces
2 large carrots diced into 1/2 -inch pieces
1 cup broccoli chopped
1/2 cupped green beans cut into 1" pieces
2 stalks celery diced into 1/2 -inch pieces
4 small potatoes diced into 1/2 -inch pieces (peeled or not)
2-3 cups chopped leftover turkey
1 cup half and half or heavy cream (i used half and half)
1/2 cup flour
6 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon pepper
salt to taste
1/2 cup ice water

1. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, the herbs, a scant half-teaspoon salt and the sugar. Cut 8 tablespoons (one stick) butter into one-half-inch pieces and, with a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingers, quickly work the butter into the flour until it is reduced to pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time and no more than 6, into the mixture and fluff with a fork until the dough is just moist enough to gather into a ball. Do not overwork the dough. Flatten the ball into a disk and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to chill thoroughly.
(make the plain crust exactly as above omitting the herbs)

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add all the veggies to broth and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a bare simmer about 10 minutes.

3. Drain the vegetables, reserving the broth. Hold veggies to side until needed.

4. Measure the broth you have left. You should have about 2 1/2 cups left. If more then simmer until reduced. If less then add more stock.

5. Make the sauce:In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup flour over the melted butter and cook, stirring constantly, to make a white roux, about 3 minutes. Do not let the roux color. Off heat, whisk the reduced broth into the roux, then stir in the half and half or cream and bring to a gentle boil stirring constantly. Cook just until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and season with salt to taste and one-eighth teaspoon pepper, or to taste.

6. Pour the veggies and cubed turkey into the sauce. Check the seasoning, and set aside. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

7. On a lightly floured board or surface, roll the plain dough so it is large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 9x9 dish. Bake for 10 minutes until set. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile, roll the herb dough so it is large enough to cover the top of a 9x9 dish with a 1" overhang. Fill the cooled crust with the filling to top of pan. Drape the dough over the filled dish. Roll up the edges and crimp over the edge to seal the pie.

8. If you'd like, mix the egg yolk with a teaspoon of water and brush over the crust to give it a rich sheen as it bakes. (I omitted this step)

9. Slit the top of the crust in a few places to allow steam to escape as the pie bakes.

10. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue to bake until the crust is golden and the sauce is bubbling, an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

11. Let the pie rest for at about 10 minutes before serving. It will stay warm for quite a long time.

Friday, November 28, 2008

GIMME SHELTER

We had a pre-thanksgiving treat this week in the form of a visit from my good friend Jenny! She called out of the blue a few weeks ago to ask if she could come and the timing was perfect, we needed a few days off from working through two weekends in a row! She spent the previous week on Oahu and then stretched out her trip three days with a hop over to the Valley Isle where she ooh'd and ahhh'd at all the sights we managed to squeeze in.

I first met Jenny the summer of 1988 while attending a weekend orientation at SUNY Purchase. She and I both graduated with BFA's in Graphic Design in 1992 and have remained friends ever since. We even took a cross-country road trip together in June of 1995 where we encountered all forms of weather including a tornado while camping in Kansas. We and other weary campers, spent part the night in a "shelter" otherwise known as the mens' room since that was the only stable structure in the immediate area. That infamous vacation was really the last time Jenny and I spent any good amount of time together. The three days we just had went so quickly that it all seems like a dream now. Thankfully, we got the pics to prove it really happened. Here are some highlights:


From the lowest of lows: Jenny and I weathering a tornado in a mens' room stall somewhere in Kansas, June 1995.

To the highest of highs: 10,023 feet in the air atop Haleakala, Maui, November 2008.


On a clear day...: It was so wonderfully clear the day we went up to the summit that we were treated to this view of the many peaks on the Big Island of Hawai'i

Jenny is a friend of mine: Conn and Jenny had never met but became fast friends. Here, taking in a different vista of the Haleakala crater. Very cold and windy.

Down on the farm: Further on down from the summit is the beautiful Ali'i Lavender Farm. We had never seen these succulents bloom before. The little clusters of bell-shaped flowers where an other-worldly red--even more so than this pic shows. Definitely worth the trip.

Where the tall grass grows: One of our favorite places to go for a hike in the north west Maui Mountains. A spectacular view of Kahului harbor and Haleakala.

Through the bamboo: This is a fun little hike through thick bamboo that had Jenny thinking we had shrunk and jumped into a rabbit hole.

Waterfall's end: The hike through the bamboo ended at this meandering little waterfall. Conn investigated the rest of the trail but we didn't have enough time to scale the rock wall.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

FEEDING FRENZY

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Now that it has come and gone, the food will continue for days. As well it should, since it took an entire day to cook, not to mention prep time.

We have a few things that are considered traditional but we always mange to shake things up and play with our old favorites.


This years menu was:

-BACON WRAPPED TURKEY BREAST
-BRUSSELS SPROUTS SAUTEED IN BACON AND GARLIC
-ROASTED SWEET POTATOES WITH GARLIC AND ROSEMARY
-GOOD OLD FASHIONED CORNBREAD
-DRESSING W/DRIED CRANBERRIES AND LAVENDER
-ORANGE CRANBERRY SAUCE
-CHOCOLATE CARAMEL MACADAMIA NUT PIE


Bacon wrapped turkey breast
(stuffed with orange, rosemary, garlic, celery)
Star Fruit and onions were cooked around the turkey and towards the end I glazed it with orange juice and maple syrup.
It was very good and not at all salty.
A slight smokey flavor and not at all dry.

I did my own take on this recipe from Martha Stewart for a chocolate crust pie with a layer of chocolate then macadamia nut caramel, then an orange infused chocolate ganache topped with toasted coconut and a drizzle of white chocolate. If I keep this up I will be toothless by 50.

This was the "lunch" John made for me today. 1/4 of a turkey and cheese sandwich. Yes... that was the actual presentation. But it was just what I needed.



Sunday, November 23, 2008

AUTUMN IN MAUI

After a weekend of flash flood warnings, today ended up being rather nice. A bit windy with a small shower here and there, but we finally saw blue in the sky and some sunshine after 3 days of gray.
Kekoa showed up earlier than usual this morning and decided to break from his eat and run routine. John said he must have had a rough Saturday night because he lounged on HIS chair for about 5 hours today. Here are a few pics from a busy yet relaxing Fall Sunday in Maui.

One of the banana patches
Almost ready. This bunch is about 3 feet tall and 18"across and about 50 lbs.
Looks like about 200 bananas to me.

A view into the gulch with a juicing orange tree just right of center.

Another view into the gulch and another orange tree. This one is a navel orange.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

TAKING OUT THE TRASH



John and I saw this on Nightline last night.
These are 2 women after my own heart. If we could only be as awesome as the lady that has one can per year I would be thrilled. I honestly don't know how she does it.
John and I have at most a 1/2 bag of garbage (one of those big black 28 gallon bags) every 2 weeks.

We always refuse the bags at the grocery stores which is great because we get 3-6 cents credit per canvas bag we bring in depending on the store. We are also lucky enough that we can compost all of our food scraps and most paper products. Lining flower beds with newspaper is a great way to keep weeds out. We recycle all cans, bottles and cardboard which is great because we get 5 cents for every plastic bottle or can marked HI5 on it. You pay the 5 cents at the store as a deposit so why not drop it off at recycling to get it back? Otherwise you are literally throwing money away. That is our mad money that we plan on putting towards something fun like a zip-line adventure.

here is the link to enviromom blog

Friday, November 14, 2008

TOTALLY WAVEY!

The waves yesterday at Ho'okipa were amazing.
The sun may not have been shining but who needs sun with sets like these?
What's that?
NO, I don't surf.

Friday, November 07, 2008

SUGAR COATED

This has become one of my favorite fall traditions... Candied Citrus Rinds. Just make sure you allow enough time for making these. The total time to make this size batch was about 5 hours. (depends on how many lemons you want to use.)

The brown nuts in the back jar are the Macadamia Nuts from our tree. I plan on roasting those in the next week.

By the way... the brown nuts in the back jar are the Macadamia Nuts from our tree. I plan on roasting those in the next week.
I started with about 30 large lemons. I juiced them all and will freeze some of the juice. I will make lemonade with the rest. Use the leftover syrup from the candy to sweeten the lemonade.

Making the candy is fairly easy to do, except for the removing of the pith. That is not all that hard, but it is very time consuming.

First, place the entire rind after you have juiced them into water and boil with 1 tablespoon salt for 15 minutes until the pith is just softened. The salt helps to soften as well as remove the bitterness. Do not over cook or you will end up with mush.

Run under cold water and allow to cool. Cut rind into 1" rings then cut those in half so you have half circles. Lay skin side down and run a very sharp paring knife between the pith and the skin. The pith is the dry white part lining the citrus. Work carefully. Cut those strips into 1/4" strips and place in a pot of water. Boil for 30 minutes, drain and boil once more for 30 minutes. This removes the salt.

Next, take 3 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar and bring to a boil to make a syrup. Adjust to the size batch you are making.
Add cooked peels which look pale yellow and are very soft. Simmer about 45 minutes stirring occasionally... you do not want this to scorch. The peels should now be somewhat transparent and firm... from all the sugar. Remove from heat and cover. Allow to stand at least 2-3 hours, but I allow mine to stand overnight.

Remove peels from syrup with a slotted spoon and place in a mesh strainer over a bowl to allow syrup to drain. Then spread on a cookie sheet. Place in 175 degree oven and dry for about 10 minutes.

Divide into small groups and place in a covered bowl or bag and toss with 2 tablespoons superfine bakers sugar until evenly coated. If not enough sugar add a little more until desired coating is achieved.


If too wet or too much sugar, the sugar will clump instead of dust the surface.Below are 2 images that show just the right amount and too much sugar.

TOO MUCH.

JUST RIGHT.

Place back on cookie sheet and dry in 175 degree oven for another 20 minutes. Remove, allow to cool and store in airtight container. These can be stored in the fridge for several weeks. Bring to room temp before serving. I have never frozen a batch of the full rinds until now. I'll keep you posted as to how they come out.

I like these dipped in dark chocolate but with did not have any chocolate on hand. This was last falls batch. You could lay them all out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with the chocolate as well which would take a lot less time. I will be adding some chocolate as soon as I make it to town.


**** Save the syrup that boils down (now lemon flavored) and store it in the fridge where it will last quite a long time. You can use it to make your lemonade or add it to tea. You will also end up with some very tiny pieces that were broken off during all the cooking. You can freeze these and use them later in cookies, cakes, breads or granola.