Florida Backyard header image

All images © Daniel & Stacy Tabb and Boondock Studios

That’s My Pie!

Because I can't *%^%$#% go, I am sending my sister, cub reporter for WFBY news, to the 16th  Annual APC/Crisco® National Pie Championships here in a few days. Four words:  Never Ending Pie Buffet Please anticipate pictures that will make your saliva glands burst with happiness. (If you want to attend on your own, it is being held at the Omni Championsgate in Kissimmee, FL.)

Weekend of Fruit: The Finale

So, to recap, this weekend I have already made 8 half pints of blackberry jam and 4 half pints of strawberry jam.  Figuring that wasn't quite enough abuse on my poor knee joints, today I made 6 half pints of peach jam...

peachjam

DSC_0005

Then used even more peaches for fried peach pies...

DSC_0015

These were simply amazing, most amazing pastry dough EVER.  The recipe came from a cookbook I knew I had to have once I saw the title:  Screen Doors and Sweet Tea I'll probably get all lawyered if I repost the recipe here, so just buy the book, mmkay? And finally, today (appropriately enough, Pi day) saw my very first attempt - EVER - at pie.  Why?  Well, not a huge fan of fruit in semi-sweet bread, on the whole I'd just rather have a piece of chocolate, but it's kind of one of those things you need to know how to cook, like turkey and french bread.  Oh, that's just me?  Anyway, here's the pie:

DSC_0022

The crust recipe came from the above Screen Doors cookbook, and uses the French method frissage (demonstrated somewhere in that damn video, I lost patience about 30 seconds in...looks like she starts on it about 4:18 in the timeline there), which is feathering the dough on your countertop...taking an egg-sized piece, smooshing it with the heel of your hand away from you, then repeating with the remaining dough.  You'll see some say, "Gasp!  Mon dieu!  Frissaging will destroy the gluten!"  Pfft.  Don't overwork it and you're fine. See?

pie2

pie

The crust was crazy-good, flaky and tender.  I am not a Granny Smith fan, so I used Pink Lady apples exclusively.  This made for a non-goopy filling, with nice tender-sweet apples.  Not the prettiest pie in the world, but tasted damn good for a first ever effort.

Weekend of Fruit!

I think it was the unmistakable scent of spring in the air, but sometime Friday I suddenly needed JAM.  Strawberry, of course, being the kids' favorite, and definitely blackberry, being MY favorite.  Fruit was purchased, jars were sterilized, and the jamming began. The strawberry jam recipe I started with was this one by Ina Garten...I changed a few things though.   The end result was perfect, I think.   Sweet, berry-y (that's a word!) and makes nice small batches.

Strawberry Jam

  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 small lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
Combine sugar, lemon juice and water in saucepan over low heat, stir until sugar is as dissolved as it is going to get.  Add the strawberries and bring to a slow boil, let it do this for about 20 minutes.  Scoop off the foam as it develops and discard.  Jar as you normally would, yields about 4 half pints.

DSC_0008

DSC_0011

And then came time for my beloved blackberry jam.  Hate raspberries, hate blueberries, LOOOVE blackberries.  I'm like the only one in the house who does, though, so MINE ALL MINE!!!

Blackberry Jam

  • 2 quarts blackberries, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 box (1-3/4 or 2 ounces) powdered pectin
  • 6 cups sugar
Combine fruit, pectin and lemon juice in saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  Add the sugar and keep stirring, bring it back to a full boil.  Keep stirring and let boil for one minute.  Remove from the heat and skim off foam.  Jar as normal, yields about 8 half pints.

blackberry

Up next...apple pie and fried peach pies!

January 2010 Playlist

My favorite one yet, I think, particularly "Lions."  Enjoy!
  1. Spoon - I Summon You
  2. The Matches - Wake the Sun
  3. Foreign Born - Winter Games
  4. We Are Scientists - Can't Lose
  5. The Features - Lions
  6. Editors - Smokers Outside
  7. Hollerado - Do the Doot Da Doot Doo
  8. Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition
  9. Postal Service - Such Great Heights
  10. Phoenix - 1901
  11. Weezer - (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
  12. White Rabbits - Percussion Gun

Recipe: Sopa del Stacy

Yes, we still live, hallooo! Had dinner with some old friends last night at the tapas place Cafe Tu Tu Tango in Orlando, wherein Husband was entranced by the Sopa de Leon (a chorizo, chicken and chickpea soup), so today's side project was cobbling together a reasonable facsimilie.   And here it is:
  • 8 oz chorizo sausage
  • chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 32 oz can chicken stock
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • yellow corn tortilla chips
Put oil in saucepan on medium high heat and cook chorizo 2 minutes. Add onion, garlic and celery, sautee until onion is soft. Add stock, tomatoes, chickpeas and chicken.  Add salt, pepper to taste and a pinch of sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Thoroughly crush about three handfuls of tortilla chips and stir into the soup.  Let simmer for another 10 minutes then serve.

December 2009 Playlist

Busy, busy, busy.  Have a great holiday all!
  1. Jackpot - Dizzy
  2. Queen - C-Lebrity
  3. The Appleseed Cast - Mile Marker
  4. The Black Keys - Strange Times
  5. Hockey - Too Fake
  6. Heatmiser - Trapdoor
  7. Band of Skulls - Patterns
  8. Ladyfinger - Little Things
  9. Glen Phillips - I Want a New Drug
  10. Helicopter Helicopter - By Starlight
  11. Three Legged Fox - Maybe I'm Sorry
  12. Crash Kings - Mountain Man

Recipe: Hamburger Buns

Oh how I hate grocery store hamburger buns.  They're either tough and chewy (from the bakery), or they're wispy and insubstantial (commercially produced brands).  I make serious hamburgers, people, stuffed with cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon, they need serious buns!

Hamburger Buns

Ingredients:
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 pkgs dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
Stir together 2 cups flour and the yeast. In a separate bowl, heat milk, water, oil, sugar and salt to lukewarm in microwave.   Add all at once to the flour mixture, and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Mix in enough flour to make a soft dough, 2 to 3 cups.  Mix well.  Dust a flat surface with flour, turn dough out onto floured surface, and let rest under bowl for about 10 minutes. Shape dough into 12 slightly flat balls, and place on greased baking sheet to rise until doubled in size. Bake in a preheated 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

s6tyke

They were fantastic.  Firm textured outside, good crumb inside.  And they stood up to a cheese-leaking 1/2lb patty with no trouble at all.

November 2009 Playlist

I'd like you to know it is with heroic, er, heroism that I refrained from putting more than one Band of Skulls song on this month's playlist.  Just buy the album, seriously. Oh, and don't watch that Morningwood video at work.  Trust me.
  1. Band of Skulls - I Know What I Am
  2. The Loved - House Painter
  3. The Golden Dogs - Don't Make a Sound
  4. Florence and the Machine - Kiss With a Fist
  5. Airborne Toxic Event - Wishing Well
  6. A Modern Machine - You So Brightly Burn
  7. Radio Radio - Ghost
  8. Fielding - Ok Alright
  9. The Von Bondies - C'mon C'mon
  10. The Humbugs - As Long As I Matter
  11. Morningwood - Take Off Your Clothes
  12. Ben Kenney - Wrong

October 2009 Playlist

This was to have been July's playlist, then it got hot, and we got laaaazy.  So here it is for October instead.  Even though it's still freaking hot.
  1. Owl City - Fireflies
  2. Head Automatica - Brooklyn is Burning
  3. Modest Mouse - Missed the Boat
  4. Spoon - Don't You Evah
  5. Simply Red - Sunrise
  6. Vampire Weekend - The Kids Don't Stand a Chance
  7. Matt & Kim - Daylight
  8. Steve Earle - Conspiracy Theory
  9. The Ting Tings - We Walk
  10. The Limousines - Very Busy People
  11. Puscifer - The Mission
  12. Paramore - Ignorance
I promise there will be actual gardening content here at some point, but it's October 11 and still 93 degrees.  We've got most of the garden beds solarizing under black plastic, will worry about planting when it's less than murderous out there.

Recipe: Seriously Better Tomato Bisque

The original recipe is here.  Below you will find our new favorite version, borne out of my inability to accurately detail the ingredients Husband needed to pick up on his way home from work... Ingredients:
  • 2 14oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb whatever tomatoes you have lying about on counter or in your freezer
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (or if your husband is allergic to them, as mine is (*sob), 4 tbsp dehydrated onions)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pint light cream
Method: In a heavy, deep saucepan (I love my Calphalon for this), saute the onion in the butter until golden and fragrant. Add the tomatoes and all the dry stuff.   Realize you've told Husband to pick up TWO cans of tomatoes instead of THREE.  Raid the freezer for the array of cherry and plum tomatoes you put away back when the tomato plants were actually producing, and not blighted sticks. (If your non-can tomatoes are rock-hard frozen like mine, don't even bother cutting or peeling - because you can't - just fish the skins out of the soup after the simmering is all done and before blending.) Simmer for about 25-30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Be doing something else, and pretty much forget about the tomato mixture for a bit, until it simmers down and loses most of the liquid.  Say "shit" and fish about in the pantry for chicken stock.  Add 2 cups. Remove the pot from the heat, fish out the bay leaf, and attack the soup with your stick blender (carefully, dammit, it’s hot). You’re aiming for a pretty fine texture, bisque should have a smooth mouthfeel.  Then add the milk and cream.  Taste.  Realize it's now too thin and go back to the pantry for more tomatoey flavor.  Add 1 8oz can of tomato sauce. Return the pot to the heat and bring the soup back to “hot,” stirring constantly so Nothing Bad Happens. Taste and smack yourself for not using chicken stock before now.