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

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Total Cooking Day

I realize most people, especially foodies, don't share my negativity toward the Thanksgiving meal.  I actually feel kind of guilty about it.  I have come to realize feeling guilty about not enjoying it doesn't help the situation.  Every year I think, "next year I'm doing this differently"- and sometimes I do it differently with the same outcome. Here's the thing. About 15 years or so ago the meal was prepared; hubby and I did almost all of it ourselves. We did all the clean up and divvying up of food to be taken home by family. It took hours and my feet were killing me. I vowed Never Again. 

Subsequent years were followed with all manner of getting out from under cleaning up that mess.  One year we had, and this is no joke: Rolled turkey, stove-top stuffing, instant mashed potatoes, brown and serve rolls, and gravy out of a jar.  I might have made the ubiquitous Green Bean Casserole, you know the one I mean with the canned soup and the crispy onions. And I made the pies but only because I actually enjoy it. The next year we bought the whole darned meal already cooked from a supermarket and took it home. I believe I made pie that year too. I can't bring myself to buy pie no matter how poor my attitude.  But enough of my whining.

Following that I tried to work on my attitude by introducing new recipes.  One year it was all Martha Stewart; another it was all Rachael Ray; and yet another was all from the recipes that we learned when we bought our pricey cookware. These have been met with varied success.  Success meaning that my meal participants (these would be the Non-Pie Eaters, "NPE's", from my previous blog entry) are now whittled down to folks who really don't like a wide variety of foods.  This is putting it mildly.  If I served a turkey meal out of a paper bag from the grocery store, they would be fine with it.  But I, now being the Food Blogger, thought I'd better put more effort into this year's meal.

So now I come to realize that Dorie Greenspan did not include roasted turkey in her book,  Around My French Table. Hmm, well I guess the French don't roast turkey. NPE's expect turkey, even if that's all I serve. In order to satisfy my French Friday's assignemnt for that week I made the Baked Apples for mine and hubby's dessert.  The others got Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies from Martha's book.

I ended up returning to our friend Julia's book for this year's Turkey Experiment.  The Way to Cook includes numerous ways to present turkey on your table. I chose Boned Stuffed and Roasted Turkey Breast from page 172, and Savory Sausage and Crouton Stuffing from page 184.  I prepared in my usual manner, by skimming over the recipe instructions, creating an extensive grocery list and heading out to ONLY 2 stores to find everything. The Main Ingredient: a ten-pound bone-in turkey breast. This was found at my local Sprouts store.  Yay.

The stuffing was prepared first with white country bread cut up and toasted in the oven to make the croutons. 

The turkey breast had to be boned and I had never done this before.  Before tackling the task, you carefully separate the skin, in one piece, from the meat.  I have to admit to having a brief Silence of the Lambs moment.  I recovered quickly.  I think I did a pretty fair job of extracting the breast meat from the bones. 

You lay them, side by side, on the skin; spoon the stuffing on; and wrap everything up in cheesecloth.

 And you know, mine looked very much like Julia's photo. That's one great thing about Julia's book- tons of photos to guide you along.

Ready for the oven
All done and delicious

Finally, a meal that got rave reviews from the NPE's.  We also had the obligatory bowl of corn, along with roasted asparagus, potatoes and gravy.

But no pie.  Next year I'm doing this differently.

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