Aunt Emma's Never Fail Pie Crust

3 c sifted flour
1 1/4 c Shortening
1 tsp salt
1 egg, well beaten
5 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp vinegar

Cut shortening into flour and salt.
Combine egg, water, and vinegar in a separate bowl.
Pour liquid into flour mixture all at once. Blend with spoon until flour is all moistened.
It can be re-rolled without toughening. Will keep in refrigerator for two weeks or divide into balls enough for one pie and wrap in Saran wrap and freeze indefinitely.

Makes 2 crusts

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Honey, Spice and All That's Nice

This week's French Friday's With Dorie project is Honey-Spiced Madeleines.  I was very anxious to try these, never had before, and now I had a good excuse to go buy a new tool, the pan.  As Dorie explains, what is now called a madeleine pan, the one with the shell-shaped indentations, "was once associated with medieval religious pilgrims".  The name Madeleine came from the king of Poland who enjoyed the little cakes made by a home baker of that name when he visited France.  Interesting!  And as it turns out, they really are little cakes, rather than cookies.

I was unfamiliar with this type of batter.  Whisk the dry ingredients together: flour, baking powder, spices, salt and pepper.  Yes, pepper.  Then rub the lemon zest (I didn't have an orange on hand) and the sugar together with your fingers.  Use the mixer's whisk attachment to blend the wet ingredients into the sugar: eggs, honey, vanilla.  Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet, followed by melted butter.

Dorie gives options at this point (I love her recipes for this.). I chose to fill the buttered pan, cover it and then refrigerate for 3 hours.

I baked and banged the pan on the counter.  All 12 little cakes popped right out onto the rack.

These are definitely guest-, or even hostess gift- worthy.  Tender and spicey. Not overly sweet.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cinnamon & Chicken. Surprise!

I can't wait to see the other Doristas' blogs about this one. (see them at

Cinnamon-Crunch Chicken sounds intriguing, no?  And the list of ingredients: Cinnamon-Sugar Spice Biscuits, creme fraiche, chicken breasts, a little butter, salt and pepper.  What???

My personal shopper didn't find the biscuits first time out. Googled the product, showed him the photo. Success on the second trip. What a champ.

Cinnamon-Sugar Spice Biscuits, cut and crumbled
Luckily, I had creme fraiche left over from a recent baking experience so I only had to add a little heavy cream to bring it back to the 8 oz required.
Stir the crumbled biscuits into the creme fraiche.
Season with Salt and Pepper. Okaaay.

Saute the chicken breast strips in butter.  Pour the biscuit/creme mixture in.
Boil for one minute.  Oh My Gewurztraminer!
I have to admit, this is another recipe that surprised the heck out of us.  Who knew that cinnamon cookies and chicken could taste SO FINE?? We believe it now. This one's a do-over for sure.  We served ours with brocolli since our carb quota was over-filled that day.

Many thanks to Dorie and this fabulous book (Around My French Table) for taking us where we've never been before (cue the Star Trek theme).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chocolate Spice Quickies

Nothing tricky here, just chocolatey, spicey goodness in a little cookie. 

If not for having to refrigerate the dough, this recipe would take less than 30 minutes from food processor bowl to cooling rack.

The spice part of the cookie is the addition of allspice.  Like some of the other bloggers found, the flavor of allspice is very subtle, almost imperceptible once the cookies are baked.  Could maybe use a bit more.

Once the dough is mixed, you shape it into two logs, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours.  When you're ready, they become slice and bakes! Delish.
We tried ours, as Dorie suggested, spread with raspberry jam, black cherry jelly, and even peanut butter. They keep well for days, if you can keep your hands off 'em!

Taken from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my home to yours, page 140, Chocolate Spice Quickies. Check out the website

Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky Days of Summer

The text with this recipe starts off, "Never order a Risotto in a French restaurant." Dorie is quoting her Italian friend. Not that I would. That would be like me ordering a margarita at a wine bar.  My motto: Let's just stick to what they know best. Get your margaritas at the Mexican food restaurants!

However, Dorie has this recipe, "Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky Rice with Spinach", using arborio rice (the risotto rice), that is so much easier than standing over a hot pot of liquid and stirring while your make up steams right off your face.  Plus, it's absolutely delicious!

I made mine just as she wrote it but I can see her bonne idee of stuffing bell peppers with the mixture as being a complete success.  I chose Gruyere as my cheese because I love the stuff.

Check out the other "Dorista's" experiences at!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

More Loafing with Dorie Greenspan

This week's baking recipe, from the Tuesdays With Dorie group, was Cornmeal and Fruit Loaf.  This is essentially corn bread... or is essentially apple bread... well what it really is- Corn bread with apple chunks.  Hmmm, not something I would normally gravitate toward but hey, what's to lose? Dorie recommends either apple or pear, and you cut up some fresh and some dried of whichever you choose.  I found dried apple, but not dried pear, so there I was with the apple version.

Add the apple chunks to the cornmeal batter
 Stir it together, scoop it into a loaf pan:

55 minutes later
Very tasty!  I preferred mine cut into thick slices and lightly toasted and buttered.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pretty Corny

This week we, the French Fridays with Dorie online cooking group, made Corn Soup, from Around My French Table, page 60.  I say "Good Thing" because I never in my life made any corn recipe using corn I cut right off the cob! What was I waiting for?  No idea.  What a revelation. This dish actually tasted like FRESH CORN.  Hmmm.

Oh, these purty!
The list of ingredients, at first glance, appeared lengthy: corn, whole milk, butter, onion, celery, carrrot, garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf. Oh, and that's only for the soup itself.  But really, all this stuff is either already in my garden, my refrigerator, my pantry, or my nearby supermarket. Cinchy. Stripping the corn kernels off the cob was easier than it sounds.  Even I managed to do it with ease and no bloodshed.

The stripped corn cobs are steeped in the hot milk while the other ingredients are cooked in the butter until soft. The corn cob/ milk mixture is poured into the veggie pot and simmered.

Ultimately the herbs and corn cobs are removed.
I used an immersion blender to puree the remaining veggies in the liquid.
The garnish consists of corn kernels from another ear of corn, scallion sliced, cayenne pepper, and cooked, crumbled bacon.  A dollop of creme fraiche tops it off at serving time.  According to Dorie, this recipe is not traditionally French, but I say Magnifique!  We loved it.