Friday, June 27, 2008

Flaky Pie crust

This pie crust is simple to make, but tastes much much better than store bought. Also, it is very versatile, it can be used for pies, quiches... I recommend you use room temperature butter, either microwaving it at very low power for 30 second bursts, or, if your microwave is dead (me), you can take it out an hour beforehand. This recipe uses one stick of butter and is enough for a 12" quiche or French-style pie (no upper crust). The formula is simple: X weight of butter + 2X weight of flour + salt + least amount of water possible for it to easily form a ball = pie dough!

Ingredients (for one 12 inch crust with sides):
  • 1 stick butter (113g) (room temperature)
  • 226 grams flour (about 8 oz)
  • about 1/4 cup water
  • salt (1/2 teaspoon if salted butter, 1 - 1 1/2 tsp if unsalted)
  1. Cut butter in small cubes (dice sized).
  2. Put flour and salt in a large bowl and mix together.
  3. Add butter, and, using a pinching motion, flatten the butter into the flour (this will create flakiness).
  4. If you have a pastry cutter, use that at the beginning. Once the butter is incorporated, use the pinching motion.
  5. After you have pinched the butter into the flour, add 1/4 cup of water.
  6. Moisten all the flour and form a ball. If the ball does not form easily, you can add more water, a tablespoon at a time.
  7. Remember, the more you handle the dough, the more gluten will form, causing chewiness instead of crispness.
  8. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least an hour (you can do this a day in advance and refrigerate the dough until you use it)
  9. Flour a hard, cold surface (the counter) and roll out the dough to 13-14". If you have one of those silicone baking sheets, or something similar, use it.
  10. Slide a thin, solid under the dough. I use a plate or the bottom of removable bottom pan.
  11. Oil the pan you will cook the pie in.
  12. Pick up the dough with the plate underneath and flip it onto the pan.
  13. Even out the edge, cut off the excess on the sides and use it to reinforce thin parts.
Now either fill it, or pre-bake it (blind baking). Blind baking is useful for things like custard pies that need to be cooked at a very low temperature, or pies that are not cooked at all. First cut a peice of parchment paper the size of the pie and place it inside. Add weights or beans/rice inside and bake for 20 minutes at 425. Here is more information.

Broccoli Quiche

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Savory Chocolate: Cocoa Rubbed Chicken Skewers with Mole-Chocolate Sauce

So, this month I am participating for the first time in Dispensing Hapiness's BLOGPARTY!
This month is themed as Chocolate, so I just had to join. Blogparties are a virtual party, and to participate, you have to make an appetizer and a drink. For the appetizer I made chicken kabobs rubber with cocoa and salt and chocolate-mole sauce to accompany it. I would have made a chocolate soda (chocolate syrup with sparkling water), but I never got around to it! Oh well, I made it in spirit.

This time my method for giving you the recipe is a bit different from usual. Instead of writing out the recipe here and having a couple of pictures on Flikr, I have a picture of every step and the instruction written in the title/description of the picture. Tell me how it works!

For the rub, I followed the instructions in the Sharffen-Berger "The Essence of Chocolate" for the cocoa rub (2 parts cocoa for 1 part salt), but my family and I found it too salty. Also I made way more than I needed, so I scaled down the recipe and decreased the salt a bit for you. Otherwise, the chicken was very flavorful. It is necessary to start out with a very hot barbecue and then lower the temperature to have a crunchy exterior.

For the sauce (which I recommend you make 2 hours advance so that you don't have to bother with it while you are cooking the chicken) I just put together a few ingredients that I felt would go well with chocolate, inspired by mole. Again, I made more than I needed, but I have not scaled down the recipe here.
After cooking the sauce and tasting it regularly, my stomach starting feeling sick with the combination. I was unable to eat it with or without the chicken. On the other hand, my family loved it, especially my dad who declared that it complemented the skewers perfectly!

Anyways, here are the ingredients

  • 5 oz good quality dark chocolate
  • 1 anaheim pepper
  • 1/2 jalapeƱo pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 (14-14.5 oz) can of diced/crushed tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Instructions/pics
Chicken skewers:
  • 1/4 c cocoa powder (unsweetened, not Dutch-processed)
  • 3 tbsp salt
  • 1.1-1.2 lbs of boneless skinless thighs (you can use breasts if you really want)
  • Instructions/pics

And for the non-existent chocolate soda
  • Put 1-2 tbsp chocolate syrup in a tall glass and fill it with sparkling water
  • An ice cream scoop is optional
Have fun with savory chocolate!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Watermelon Juice

More pics!

It's refreshing and it tastes like watermelon. What is it? Watermelon!!! umm, or watermelon juice...
Warning: it tastes even more like watermelon than a slice of watermelon.
So, here are the instructions:
  • Buy some watermelon, seedless is best. If it is already chopped up, lucky you! If it is not, cut it following the instruction here.
  • Place about 2 cups of cubed watermelon in a blender and blend until it is smooth.
  • I recommend straining the juice to remove pieces of seeds (Even seedless melons have those small yellow seeds!), and pulp.
  • Drink with ice cubes!
DO NOT ADD SUGAR UNTIL YOU HAVE TASTED THE JUICE!!! Watermelons are very sugary and you will not need to add sugar unless your teeth are very very sweet.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Poll Results! What is your favorite pizza?

Pizza Chicago's (Deep Dish)
5 (33%)
Amici's (Thin Crust)
6 (40%)
Round Table (in between)
2 (13%)
School Pizza! (Oily pizza, average crust)
0 (0%)
1 (6%)
Ewww, pizzaaaa!!!!
1 (6%)

Votes so far: 15 !!!

Sooo, Amici's (or at least thin crust) won! Good job! When I voted, I chose Pizza Chicago's, but ever since I started making my own pizza it's a tie.
Someone actually does not like Pizza! But no one prefers school pizza above the rest (I wonder why?). Anyways, good job everyone, this is a record number of votes!