Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Author’s Note: This post is not sponsored or paid. I just really like this book and think you will too.
I’ve been interested in Laurie David ever since I read an article about her in Outside Magazine eight years ago. Okay, so a confession is at that point I thought/hoped she was a real live version of the fictional character portrayed on Curb Your Enthusiasm (read: she’s not).
Anyhow, I eventually learned to love her for her great environmentalist work, and when I heard she wrote a book about family dinner, I was intrigued to find out more. The book is called The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Today Oxfam celebrates World Food Day, the anniversary of when in 1945 the Food and Agricultural Organization was formed as part of the UN to eradicate world hunger. In honor of the cause, I am sharing a simple and easy vegetarian recipe for quinoa chili that utilizes local, seasonal ingredients (minus the spices and quinoa from overseas, which we are grateful to be able to get from so far away).
Here’s a snippet from the Oxfam America website, discussing what you can do today to help address this issue:
This World Food Day, use your power as a consumer to change the way some of the world’s biggest food companies do business. As demand for sugar increases, so does the rush for land to grow it. Oxfam has found that companies that supply sugar to Coke, Pepsi, Associated British Foods and other food and beverage giants are kicking poor farmers off their land and robbing them of their rights – leaving many homeless and hungry.
Land grabs are the sugar industry’s bitter secret. But we can change this. You’re a consumer – big food and beverage companies care what you think. Get the facts and take action at BehindTheBrands.org. – See more here
Thursday, February 14, 2013
I LOVE PIE. The lack of discussion about pie on my blog–one lonely post–does not adequately reflect my adoration of the dish. Pie is just about my favorite comfort food. Apple pie reminds me of being a kid and baking with my grandmother. Chocolate cream pie reminds me of 2 a.m. post-concert ventures to Waffle House. Blackberry pie reminds me of the best pie I’ve ever tasted at a restaurant back home
Just as there is no one season for pie, there’s no one filling either. You can fill a pie with anything–from “chocolate to blackbirds,” so says Urban Dictionary. I especially love pie with a surprise filling inside like rhubarb–sweet, tangy, and unexpectedly pleasant. Pies can be great conversation starters that way.
I love the history involved when baking pies. It’s not a fad or fashion to make pie; simply making a pie is in itself an homage to generations past, even if the recipe didn’t come over on a boat to the New World. The pie tradition has been around since the need for easy-to-carry, easy-to-store foods arose. I reckon that in the modern-day fast-paced world we live in has more of a need for pie than ever before.
In my opinion, there aren’t enough savory pies in my world (p.s. I really, really want to go to this restaurant when I visit Seattle. Okay, Al?). Whenever I ponder this dilemma, I am confronted with the fact that there are savory pies–think empanadas, samosas, panzarotti, down under meat pies, and Cornish pasties–there just aren’t many American savory pies (one exception I know of being the Nack-a-tish pie in Louisiana and the other obvious one being chicken pot pie). I don’t count quiche, both because it’s French and because I’ve never had one I truly enjoyed. This dearth is a tragedy because there is nothing more American than pie.
As we learned while living in Britain, the Brits love their meat pies–steak and kidney pie, Guinness pie, fish pie, pork pie, Scotch pie, shepherd’s pie, and I could go on from there. Sweet pies are popular there too: banoffee pie, mince pie, lemon pie, treacle tart, and so the list continues (don’t get me started on the horrid Bedfordshire clanger). I grew to expect a pie on a menu at every British pub and restaurant, to the point where I daresay pie could be deemed more British than American. A tragedy indeed!
The best part about savory pies is that they are typically pocket pies, the perfect shape for eating out of hand wherever you you happen to be. Well, except maybe if you happen to be at Bloomingdale’s.
Call it what you want: hand pie, pocket pie, empanada, pasty. Whatever you call them, they are quite simply the most versatile hot food around. You can put whatever flavors you want into the pocket (including pie flavor?). You can make however many you want, freeze them for later, then heat them and wrap them, and they’ll stay warm for hours. Thus, I believe we need to step up to the plate and start cranking out more savory pie. I intend to start you on your that journey today, so prepare to pack your foodie hobo sacks bags.
First we need to start by building your trust in me. I am not out to frustrate you with a complicated recipe, I swear. While the crust might seem intimidating, is both the most delicious and easiest part of the pocket-pie-making process. Plus, the recipe lets you be creative in using up what you have on hand; you can put 2 Tbs. of literally any filling you’d like. Although I use lard to make my crust, you can of course substitute butter if you’re vegetarian. If you’re vegan, use sunflower oil.
Speaking of using lard, I told you all about my experience yesterday. Well, almost all about it. I forgot to mention that our lard-rendering was actually a highly comical event that involved us not realizing that it was going to take all day and stink up the house. Oh, and did I mention our in-laws were in town? Luckily they are used to us pulling shenanigans like this one–we are the Lucy and Ricky of real food calamities–so they laugh off such adventurous food errors.
hand pies (adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. lard (or butter or oil)
1/2 c. cold water
2 1/2 c. filling of your choice*
1/2 c. milk, or 1 egg & 1 Tbs. water, for brushing
Mix the dry ingredients in a stand mixer or food processor. Add lard in small pieces and pulse after each addition. Drizzle in water slowly, while the machine is running, until the dough comes together (Note: you might not need all of the water. You want the dough to be dry). Turn the dough onto a floured surface and kneed for a minute unti it is smooth.
Divide the dough in half, then divide each in half again; those four sections should then each be divided into thirds so there are a total of 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and set aside under a tea towel for 20 minutes to rest. (Note: You can also refrigerate the dough for a day at this point, but let it sit out until it comes up to room temperature before using it).
|Starting to fill some with chorizo; cheese will follow|
Preheat the oven to 375 degF. On a floured surface, roll each ball into a 5-inch circle. Top with 2 Tbs. filling, then dip your finger in water and lightly wet the edges. Fold the pocket in half and seal the seam by pressing it together with the tines of a fork. Place each pocket on an ungreased baking sheet (if you plan to freeze them, do so now; freeze a few hours until solid, remove from tray to an air-tight bag, and leave in freezer for up to 6 months). Brush pockets with either an egg wash or milk. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
*Traditionally, empanadas are filled with shredded chicken or pork, chorizo & cheese, or corn; if you want to stick to the authentic method, you can also add a pinch of smoked Spanish paprika and substitute 1/2 c. of the flour with masa harina, but I don’t and it tastes fine). I personally adore Martha Stewart’s chicken pocket pie filling. The Kitchn compiled a bunch of other filling ideas too (spinach and cheese! sweet potatoes and black beans!). I love the idea of vegetarian pies so am planning to make this one with chard and French lentil filling next week.
Author’s Note: This post is part of Real Food Wednesday, Tasty Traditions and Fight Back Friday
Update (8-26-13): Last night we made our first sweet hand pies using fresh local nectarines and following Martha’s guidance (except substituting lime juice for orange). They were so delicious!at3:54 PM2 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Heirloom,Locavore,Real Food,Recipe,Vegetarian
Thursday, May 03, 2012
This post was inspired by a Facebook chat I had this morning with a vegetarian cousin, who says she’s hungry all the time. A common issue among veggie-lovers, I imagine. Enter beans, rice, and avocado.
In my nutrition class taken almost 10 years ago, I learned a valuable lesson about beans and rice that I have committed to memory ever since. Individually, grains and beans are lacking essential amino acids (i.e. protein building blocks), but when combined, beans and rice complement each other and become a complete protein. An affordable, complete protein.