Sunday, October 29, 2017

Corn Grits Corn Bread

There is winter in the air here this weekend.   It's been chilly...the last of the leaves are coming down, as is their custom, right before Halloween.   I enjoy my "empty test", but I really miss my cherubs this time of year.   When they were little, it was all costumes and candy.  When they were older, it was marching band and football and drama club.   Now, it's just my husband and I....but I still like to carve a pumpkin....

 My hubby went out to do some hunting, so I stayed in to make some chili and some cornbread.  I have some fantastic grits from Kentucky I got on a business trip and I wondered if they could be used in cornbread....the answer is they can!   This is how I did it...

Corn Grits Corn Bread

1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
2 T butter
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup stone ground grits
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Optional: 3 T chopped peppers, hot or sweet

Mix milk and vinegar, set aside until thickened.  Place butter in  8 inch cast iron skillet in an oven set to 425F to preheat.  Mix all dry ingredients in a bow with a whisk, in another bowl, mix  egg, veg oil and milk mixture.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until combined.   Add peppers and stir.  Pour into hot skillet and bake for 15 minutes.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Apple Slab Pie

I asked my husband to bring home a small bag of apples from his friend at work who owns a small orchard near us called Frosty Apple Orchard.   He brought home a half bushel of Liberty apples!  I ended up making a traditional pie, and I canned some apple sauce, and I made a slab pie for him to take to work.  I hadn't cooked with Liberty apples before, but I liked the pink sauce it made.   The apple was tart, too, which I like for pie.

Slab pie was a thing a few years ago, with everyone from Martha Stewart to Cooks Illustrated to Food 52 writing about them, but since they are so big and there's just the 2 of us at home now, I didn't think I'd ever need to make one.   However, they are perfect for potlucks and feeding a crowd, so I thought I'd try my hand at one.    I had recently heard a podcast featuring Dorie Greenspan and she said that she always uses a food processor to make pie crust and rolls it between 2 sheets of parchment paper and chills it, so I wanted to give this method a try. Making a slab pie requires 1 1/2 the amount of crust than a round pie.....the crust to filling ratio is much higher than a typical pie.   If you are a "crust person", this is the pie for you!

Slab Pie Crust (food processor)

2 1/4 c. butter (very cold)
1/2 c shortening (very cold)
4.5 c.  flour
1.5 t. kosher salt
1.5 T sugar
3/4 c. cold water

Cut up butter and shortening into 1/2 inch cubes, and return to the fridge.  Put the flour. salt and sugar in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse a couple times to mix it together.   Add the fat and pulse about 10 times, until the mixture is about pea sized.   Don't go too far!  With the machine running, pour the cold water in slowly until the dough starts to form a ball.

Cut out 4 pieces of parchment paper an inch bigger around the size of a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.  Divide the dough into 16 balls and press it out with your fingers on to a piece of the the dough across the rectangle with 2 rows of 4 blobs.   Over with the other sheet and roll out dough to the edges of the paper.   Do the same with the remaining dough.  Put both sheets on the jelly roll pan and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

While the  dough is chilling, make the filling.

Slab Pie Filling

10 c. peeled and sliced apples
Juice of one lemon
3/4 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
2 t. apple pie spice
1/4 t. kosher salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until apple slices are coated evenly.

To assemble pie.....

Remove dough from fridge and fit one crust in the jelly roll pan.  Fill with apple mixture, and then top with other crust and crimp.  Slice some vent holes in the top.  Brush with an egg wash made with one egg beaten with a tablespoon or so of water.

Bake in a 375 F oven for 40-45 minutes, or until crust is brown.

Many recipes for slab pie also include a glaze, which is optional. I'd like to try this one next time

Maple Glaze
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
enough milk or heavy cream to thin (a couple teaspoons)