Apple Pie

Fall is absolutely one of my favorite seasons. I love when the leaves morph into stunning shades of orange, yellow, red and sometimes even pink. I love wearing boots and sloshing through puddles (as long as I don’t get too wet!). I love sipping on warm drinks and the crisp sharp air. And, lastly, I love the flavors of Fall – sweet potato, squash, pumpkin and of course apple!

This Sunday I decided to make an Apple Pie. In my opinion,  Apple Pie is a classic dessert and a perfect accompaniment to celebrate Fall and relish the day of Sunday before the work week starts again. I was especially excited to make this Apple Pie because I had been wanting to put shapes onto a pie for a long time and recently became inspired by the Apple Pie that was featured on the blog Cupcakes and Cashmere. Shapes on the top of the pie just make it more fun and festive. I almost spelled out “Happy Halloween” and I was also extremely tempted to put pumpkin shapes onto this pie too. But, in the end, I stuck with the leaf shape. The more adventurous shapes will have to wait for next time!

You know what is a bit humorous? I put three slits into this pie; however, during the baking process, a fourth slit ripped open in the pie. Now it almost looks like I wanted this pie to resemble a Jack-O-Lantern. Do you spot what I’m talking about? I guess this pie is just even more Fall and Halloween-themed now!

Cheers!

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Grilled Pitas with Feta, Red Onion, Olives & Tomatoes

I don’t dine at Greek restaurants or try to make Greek-inspired dishes very often, so when I do, I really savor the chance and opportunity to do so. This recipe, Grilled Pitas with Feta, Red Onion, Olives & Tomatoeslooked liked a perfect dish with Greek flavors and I especially liked the fact that I would get a chance to utilize the outside grill yet again this week.

This is very simple to make. All it requires is a few minutes for prep/cutting, patience for the grill to heat up, and a penchant for feta cheese!

Step 1: Cut Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic and Olives 

Step 2: Toss Prior Ingredients Together
with Olive Oil and Fresh Mint

Step 3: Brush Pitas with
Olive Oil and Grill

Step 4: Grill Pita and Add Tomato Mixture

Step 5: Cut and Eat!

I happen to like feta cheese, but I realize that not everyone does. I made this with my boyfriend and quickly learned he is definitely not a fan. It’s not fun when he won’t eat any, but at the same time, I get to have more. In these situations, I guess it’s a good thing because I get to have more… unless I just eat the whole thing. In that case, perhaps it’s not the best, but oh well!

Cheers!

Nectarine Raspberry Pie

Let’s face it – a pie is a pie. All right, that sounded like an incredibly silly statement, but I promise it’s true. Just hear me out. I will attest that a homemade, totally-from-scratch-pie does take a lot of time and effort and if done well is totally worth it. But, really, it’s all about what is actually in the pie a.k.a the delicious filling. I’ve made too many apple, blackberry or blueberry pies to last a lifetime (okay, not really, but you get the point). So, like I said, the key to the pie is the filling!

This past weekend I wanted to make a pie. So, when I saw a recipe for Nectarine Raspberry Pie, I got a little excited. I do realize that this isn’t the most unique pie; however, it is definitely different than the norm so I figured I needed to go for it. Plus, I’m always in the mood for experimenting with new recipes!

Step 1: Make Pie Dough


Step 2: Put Filling in and Bake


Step 3: Slice and Eat


I normally like making a pie with intricate latices, but I totally embraced the opportunity to make this pie more rustic with a full-fledged cover. The edges on this pie browned a little bit more quickly than I expected, but in the end, the pie still cooked well and the flavors from the fruit developed well.

This is definitely a great pie if you’re in the mood for something different than the standard apple or cherry pie.

Cheers!

Brown Butter Raspberry Tart

How I ended up picking this recipe was strikingly similar to how I decide to purchase something when I’m shopping for clothes. How? Well, sometimes when I have shopped, I have purchased something that “I thought I liked” on the spot. Unfortunately, some of these impulse buys have resulted in disappointment after a few weeks because what “I thought I liked” I didn’t actually like at all. So, in order to nix buyer’s remorse, I’ve eliminated impulse buys and instead try to wait a few days or weeks before purchasing something “I think I like”. My rule is that if I still like the item in a few days or weeks, I’ll consider buying based on need, budget, etc.!

Choosing this recipe was no different. I had been eyeing this Brown Butter Raspberry Tart for quite some time. So, yesterday, after thinking about it some more, I realized that I’ve thought about it enough – I had read all of the positive reviews and it looked amazing so I just needed to do it!

And, I’m glad I did.

Step 1: Make Crust and Bake (Let Cool);
Mix Together Eggs, Sugar and Salt 


Step 2: Brown Butter in Pan

Step 3: Mix Egg Mixture and
Browned Butter Together 


Step 4: Arrange Raspberries “Pointy”
Side Up on Bottom of Cooled Crust;
Carefully Pour Liquid Mixture Over; Bake 


Step 5: Cut a Slice and Enjoy!

I absolutely love the rustic feel of this tart. In my opinion, I think the tartness of the raspberry offsets the sweet filling nicely. I’m glad I chose wisely with the recipe, but perhaps I shouldn’t have taken so long. Oh well, at least I picked a good recipe that I’ll have plenty of opportunities to replicate in the future.

Perhaps I’ll start using my “shopping” techniques more often with my selection of recipes from now on!

Cheers!

Banana Stuffed French Toast With Streusel Topping

Sometimes a decadent breakfast is required in order to start the  day out right. Although I would not recommend doing this everyday, I completely think that indulging for breakfast every now and then is totally acceptable.

This is exactly how I felt this past weekend – I just wanted French Toast  and did not want to care about the dreaded caloric content. My solution? Decadent breakfast + smaller-than-normal portion size = one satisfied lady with a stomach that was not too full!

Step 1: Cut Challah Bread into Slices and
Cut “Pouch”; Cut Banana Slices

Step 2: Carmelize Bananas and Stuff into Bread

Step 3: Whisk the Egg Mixture Together

Step 4: Place Stuffed Bread in Egg Mixture with Almonds

Step 5: Combine Streusel Topping; Place on Top and Bake

Although decadent, I am happy to have made this. One recommendation is to be careful with the soak time of the challah bread and how much liquid it absorbs. Other than that, a perfect start to a Saturday or Sunday!

Cheers!

Olive & Garlic Foccacia Bread

I have never been one to crave bread, choose to consume it on a whim or eat multiple slices while waiting for dinner at a restaurant. However, for me, focaccia bread is in its own category. I absolutely adore the buttery taste of this bread that is often complimented by simple ingredients like sea salt, pepper and garlic. For this time, I added kalamata olives and roasted garlic to spice it up.

Step 1: Stir Yeast, Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil and Water Together

Step 2: Chop Kalamata Olives

 Step 3: Stir in Flour and Let Rise

 Step 4: Season, Bake and Eat!

For me, this results in a simple equation: balsamic + olive oil + focaccia bread = buttery goodness. Perhaps it’s a good thing I don’t have bread too often!

Cheers!

Favorite Recipes of 2011

Bye bye 2011 – the year filled with various fruit-filled desserts, homemade pizzas and plenty of roasted chicken recipes. Throughout this past year, I definitely learned many new tricks including how to make pie pastry dough from scratch (and cut and assemble lattices for pies), how to properly clean and prepare a whole chicken for roasting and how to properly make quinoa, just to name a few!

In order to celebrate 2011, I just wanted to list a few of my favorites:

Strawberry Shortcakes

Cheddar Jalapeno Bread


Homemade Oreos


Roast Chicken With Chickpeas,
Tomatoes, Olives and Thyme


Sour Cherry Pie With Lattice Crust


Spaghetti & Sicilian Meatballs


Lemon Ricotta Pancakes With
Lemon Curd and Raspberries


Chicken Piccata


Blackberry Peach Crumble


Baked Macaroni & Cheese
With Garlic Bread Crumbs

Pumpkin Cake With
Cream Cheese Frosting

I am already excited for 2012: hoping to experiment more with pomegranates, mustard (yes, Epicurious predicted it to be a Top Food Trend for 2012), avocados and I would like to make homemade Pho. Join me in my adventure!

Cheers!