Potato, Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Quiche.

Friends, this was my half-way pie.

IMG_1920

Now, I made this more than 2 months ago, which means I’m well past the halfway point of this project, but I’m way behind in my blogging. Because I’m such a terrible, no-good, very bad blogger, I’m going to speed through some of these pie posts so that you get the general idea of the pies without mad detail about every little ingredient.

IMG_1917

This is a quiche. It was a great quiche, maybe the best quiche ever. Pink potatoes and a red pepper from my CSA, both roasted until all perfect and delicious, chopped up and mixed with a perfect egg filling and a ton of goat cheese. Have it for brunch, have it for lunch, have it for dinner or anything in between.

IMG_1923

It definitely takes a bit of time because of all the roasting, but the payoff is great.

IMG_1926

Advertisements

Apple Galette.

Let’s skip past the part where you tell me I’m 9 weeks behind in my blogging. I stopped blogging right at the same time as I started working 6 days a week, so let’s just let that all slide, mmkay? I’ve still been baking though, always. Comfort yourself with the fact that there are tons of pies for you to catch up on very soon. There is one glitch though – I made this pie before Thanksgiving, and then I made a full-on apple pie for Thanksgiving festivities.  The problem with that is that now I don’t know how to write about this pie without mentioning apple pie in general, but I’ve since made a regular apple pie as well and so feel I should save some of these apple pie thoughts for that pie post, you know?
IMG_1883
This is all rather confusing, so I will just say this for now: I don’t *get* apple pie.
As in, I don’t understand what all the fuss is about, I don’t know why people like it so much, don’t know how it somehow got to be like, the quintessential pie. I am not an apple pie person.
I made this galette because it was the end of the week and I hadn’t made a pie, and I’d gotten several apples in my CSA and figured I could make a small apple galette without having to pick up any groceries. I knew that I’d be making a full apple pie at Thanksgiving (for my family members who like it) and so I figured this was like a mini practice round. I’d never made an apple pie before, because it’s not my bag. I was sort of hoping that maybe I just didn’t like other people’s apple pies, or store-bought apple pies, and that when I made one I would find it delicious.
IMG_1884
This was not the case. I made a small apple galette, I ate a tiny piece, and then I accidentally left it out on the counter for several days and it got moldy. This is not the first time during this project that some pie has gone bad, but usually its like, one rogue piece leftover in the back of the fridge that I’ve forgotten about, not A WHOLE PIE. I hate wasting food, and I also know many people who would probably have enjoyed eating that pie, but I can’t change the past!
Apple Galette – recipe by me
  • one single crust pastry
  • 4-6 apples, depending on size
  • 5-6 tablespoons of sugar
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger – warm spices of your choice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • egg for egg wash (optional)
  • coarse sugar to sprinkle on crust (optional)

IMG_1885

Peel and slice your apples. Toss with spices and sugar and lemon juice. Roll out your pastry and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Pile your apple mixture into the middle of the dough and then fold up sides to close up edges. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 for approximately 45 minutes.  Enjoy with coffee, if you’re into this whole apple pie thing.

IMG_1886

Asparagus, mushroom and goat cheese galette.

I’m skipping the apologies! I’ve already made excuses about why I’m behind in my blogging. I’m making an attempt to catch up now, and I just want to reiterate that I am not at all behind in my baking! So I’ve been making a pie a week just like I promised, I swear.

photo(32)

This pie is one I made up. Well, sort of. My partner’s mom sent me a link for an asparagus-goat cheese tart, and it reminded me of a side dish.  Not just any side dish – an incredible side dish, a truly amazing accompaniment. The first time I ate this side dish, I sat with my parents as we ate together and whenever we were between bites we would say things like “OH MY GOD” and “MMMmmmmmMMMMmmmmmMMMm” and “I’ve never had food this good before” and various other hyperbolic mumblings. Essentially, this side dish is seasonal asparagus roasted whole, topped with sauteed mushrooms and red peppers and tarragon-crusted rounds of goat cheese, and then roasted a bit more, until the goat cheese softens in this amazing way. I distinctly remember saying during that first time I ate this side “I don’t believe that anybody who doesn’t like goat cheese could possibly like food as much as we do”. I now realize that is probably a very unfair and untrue statement, but in that moment it was like “how could anyone choose not to eat this?!”.  The recipe seems almost exactly this one, except that we always put the mushroom mixture and the goat cheese on the asparagus in the pan and roasted for a few more minutes. That step is very, very worth it. This is all to say that I took the concept behind that salad and pie-ified it.

photo(33)

These days, with this pie project, everywhere I look I see pie. I have to think about pie all the time (life is sooo hard, amiright?) and need to take pie into account when I’m grocery shopping. At the start of this project, this was a bit hard. But now…Ontario produce is turning up at markets seemingly faster than I can keep up, and my canning stress is already starting to set in (how have I not made rhubarb-rosemary jam yet? I have to hurry or it will be too late!). When I saw the first asparagus of the season at the market I swooned, and knew that I had to find a way to let it shine in a pie.

photo(34)

Asparagus, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Galette (adapted, sort of, from here)

  • one galette dough
  • a small bunch of asparagus
  • 5-6 good sized cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 to 2/3 small log of goat cheese
  • 1/4-1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • sour cream or yogurt
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper and any other spices you want
  • 1-2 good size garlic cloves

Chop the asparagus into spears about 1.5-2 inches long. Slice and sauté the mushrooms and set aside. Combine goat cheese, a few dollops of sour cream/yogurt, a splash of lemon juice, minced garlic, and salt, pepper, and spices in a bowl. You want it to be essentially the texture of ricotta cheese.

photo(35)

Roll out your galette dough and place on the parchment-lined pan you’re going to bake it on (reminder: PIZZA PAN MAKES SENSE). Spread the goat cheese-yogurt mixture all over the bottom, leaving room for the edges to fold up. Arrange the asparagus on top of the goat cheese mixture. Spread the mushrooms on top of that. Crumble some extra goat cheese on top, and sprinkle with grated parmesan. Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes or until crust is golden. Eat and swoon. Repeat.

photo(36)

Caustic Cocoa Cranberry Galette.

This was a big fat fail, people.

photo(20)

It was bound to happen. You can’t make 52 amazing pies in a row. Well, maybe Martha Stewart or a Stepford Wife can (aren’t those the same? jk Martha I kind of love you), but I can’t. What made this failure such a bummer though was that it was SO CLOSE to being awesome, and because I sort of foresaw the failure but didn’t fix it. Let me explain.

photo(24)

I’ve been heading out of town for work a bunch lately, to attend conferences, and it’s been really throwing off my pie schedule. I didn’t want to get behind so on Saturday night I realized I had to make a pie or I’d miss a week of this project. By the time I realized this on Saturday, it was getting mighty close to dinner and I wanted to make something that wouldn’t require any grocery shopping. I needed a pie that I could make with what I already had in my house.

photo(21)

I remembered that I had a bag of cranberries in the freezer from December when I canned cranberry sauce. I googled the words “cranberry galette” and lo and behold, many recipes popped up. Most of them were Cranberry and Apple galettes though, with the emphasis on the Apple. But two in particular sparked my interest: this one, and this one. How could I resist the addition of dark cocoa to the pie? I thought it would be just the ticket – something we could have for dessert Saturday night and not too sweet that I couldn’t eat a piece (or two) with coffee on Sunday morning. But you might notice something – one of those recipes calls for 1 cup of sugar, and one calls for 1/2 cup of sugar – and the one with less sugar also has unsweetened cocoa in it! I did not know how to proceed. I usually opt for the lesser amount of sugar because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but then again, cranberries are really tart on their own. I thought that the best thing would be a compromise – 3/4 cup of sugar and the cocoa. But then I poured 1/2 cup of sugar into my bowl and it looked like A LOT. So I didn’t add any more.

photo(22)

That galette was so tart and acidic that it burned, people. It stung the back of my throat in this way that I thought only vomit could. I wasn’t actually going to write that because it is a disgusting thought, but I couldn’t find other words that could accurately conjure up the experience of eating this pie. It was so sad because it smelled incredible when I took it out of the oven. I wished so hard that I had put that extra sugar in. But, you can’t win em all people. That said, the crust was mighty fine, and that’s the point of this anyways isn’t it? 

Pecan Pie.

This has been playing on repeat in my head for the last few days.

Pecan pieeeeeeeeeeee.

Pecan pie is awesome. It is basically a giant butter tart with nuts. That said, I usually find butter tarts are too sweet, and I am averse to corn syrup, so I wanted to tone it down a bit. Pecan pie seems fancy, but is insanely easy. It is probably one of the fastest pies to make – no peeling or chopping of fruit, only one crust to roll out. You basically just melt your butter and whisk everything together and you’re good to go.

photo(16)

Pecan Pie (adapted from this recipe)

A single crust pastry shell – I used my own standard recipe but opted to do use entirely all-purpose flour rather than whole wheat.

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (i rarely measure vanilla, and just splashed a good glug in this recipe, but for the first time ever found that it was TOO MUCH and cut the punchiness of the pie. so measure it!)
  • a glug of black rum or bourbon (optional)
  • 2 cups of chopped pecans

Roll out your pastry shell, crimp your edges, put it in your pie plate, and chill for a half hour or so.

Preheat your oven to 400.

Melt your butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in both sugars and the salt. Add the boiling water.  Add maple syrup, beaten eggs, vanilla, and rum or bourbon, if using. Stir in pecans. Pour into pie shell. Protect pastry edges with tin foil to make space pie.

eggs, beaten and a jug of real maple syrup from the farm of an extended family member.

eggs, beaten and a jug of real maple syrup from the farm of an extended family member.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 and bake for 30-40 minutes or until done. A fork/knife/toothpick should come out of the filling clean. The filling should be soft but seem set. It can be a tiny bit wobbly, but you just want to make sure that your eggs are cooked. So not too wobbly.

photo(17)

ready for the oven.

Let cool for 4 hours. This, sadly, is definitely a pie you want to let cool. You will end up with a big puddly mess if you don’t. So plan ahead! And even if it isn’t ready until late at night, pecan pie is mighty fine with a cup of good coffee.

photo(19)

See you next week friends! Next week I will probably make a galette. Change of pace! A delicious, buttery, change of pace.

Veggie Pot Pie.

Week Two People!

I’m posting this a little late, but I am at a conference for work for the next few days and figured that writing a blog post would help keep me busy while I sit at my exhibitor’s booth for hours on end. This week I made a savoury pie again: Veggie Pot Pie. Pot pie is definitely a winter food, and in Toronto we’ve still been experiencing our last blasts of cold weather so it seemed like a good chance to give some warm comfort foods their last hurrah before spring shows up (which will hopefully be soon).

photo(11)

While I dabble in meat-eating, I don’t ever cook meat at home – my partner is vegetarian so there’s rarely much point in me cooking a meat dinner for one. I’ve only made veggie pot pies once before, about a year ago, and I remember it being quite an ordeal – though that time I did make several individual-sized pies. A lot of the veggie pot pie recipes that I found online didn’t exactly meet my standards, so I opted to use Martha Stewart’s Classic Chicken Pot Pie recipe as a guideline.

I used fake chicken in this pot pie. I’m not in the habit of consuming simulated meat – I prefer my sources of protein to be a little more natural than that – chick peas, for example. The fake chicken is made of both soy protein and wheat gluten, I believe, and while it was fine in this recipe, I think in the future I’ll skip this heavily-processed ingredient and make my veggie pot pies with beans instead. Now that I’ve made veggie pot pie again, I totally understand the standard method, and I think I would feel very comfortable making changes in the future – curry pot pie! BBQ pot pie! Actually, I don’t know that BBQ pot pie sounds all that good to me, but curry pot pie does!

If that doesn't look like a pot pie, I don't know what does.

If that doesn’t look like a pot pie, I don’t know what does.

Lots of recipes for pot pie don’t ask you to make a bottom crust – instead, you just pile your filling into a casserole dish and cover it with your top crust. I wanted to make a double crust pie, so that’s what I did. I used, of course, my standard pastry dough – and doubled it, for a two-crust pie. One thing to know is that this pie would actually be best made in a larger casserole dish rather than a normal pie plate – you can’t fit all the filling in a regular pie plate (at least not as the recipe is below). If you want to make it with a regular pie plate I recommend reducing the amount of filling by about 1/4, or you can just save the leftover filling to eat on rice! Here’s the rest of the recipe:

Veggie Pot Pie (adapted from Martha Stewart)

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped into small chunks
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3.5 cups of chopped veggies of your choice – I used cauliflower, mushrooms, potatoes, and green peas.
  • 4 cups of veggie broth
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • a few tablespoons of olive oil or butter (or a combination of both)
  • 1 egg white, for glazing the top crust (optional)
  • 2 veggie chicken breasts, cut into chunks OR one small can of your bean of choice (my choice would be chick peas or white navy beans)
Ready for the oven.

Ready for the oven.

Give any veggies that require lots of cooking time a quick boil – I boiled my carrots, potatoes, and cauliflower. Drain and set aside. Roll out your bottom pie crust, put in dish, and chill. In a large pot, sauté your onions until translucent. Add mushrooms and garlic and continue cooking for 4-5 minutes. Add a bit more oil or butter, then sprinkle in your 1/2 cup flour – you are essentially making a roux here. Sauté the flour with the veggies for just a few moments and then whisk in your veggie broth.  Add in the rest of your veggies and your protein (chicken, fake chicken, or beans) and stir to combine. Let it cook for a few minutes on medium heat – it will thicken. Turn it down to low to keep warm and roll out your top crust. Take your chilled bottom crust out of the fridge, fill your pie with filling, and top with your second crust. Fold your bottom crust edge over your top crust and pinch to seal. Crimp edges. Cut slits in the top crust for steam to escape. If you want, brush your top crust with an egg white to help it brown nicely – I never want to waste a whole egg just for this, so I use just a bit of the white and put the rest of the egg in a container in the fridge for breakfast the next day. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the dough looks browned well. Your filling is already cooked so you are just baking your crust. If you want your pie to stay together on your plate, let it cool before slicing, but it will be equally as delicious if you are impatient like me and cut it open and fill your plate with a steamy, sloppy mess of pie.

photo(14)

Make Ahead: I mixed my dough and chilled it the day before, and I also chopped most of my veggies ahead of time. This made putting this together for a weeknight dinner a breeze.

Week two of pie: COMPLETE. Better start thinking about what this week’s pie will be. As always, I welcome your pie suggestions in the comments!