Grandpa Dick’s Strawberry-Pineapple Pie

April 6, 2010

My great granddad Richard (Grandpa Dick) is one of my all time favorite people. I loved that man more than words can say. He was bald, died with only one lung and a cigarette in his hand, was missing fingers for god only knows what reason (he told me a different story every time about how it happened), and used to tell me stories of how the Chinook Indians ambushed him and his buddies in the middle of the night and scalped them all and that’s why he was bald. He had a picture of me, 5 years old, stitches in my forehead from a jumping-on-the-furniture type accident, on his kitchen wall next to the cabinet where he kept the rat poison. He made the best white bread in the UNIVERSE, and the best fruit pies of any person alive. The myth and the legend that was Grandpa Dick shared his secrets only with me (from what I kn0w). Tonight I made his Strawberry Pineapple Pie and it really turned out great. I miss fishing with him, I miss laughing when he took out his false teeth, I miss sitting on his rusty step stool watching him bake sailor style… but death is a part of life and in my family, we pass on to our youth the things in our life that will make the biggest difference. My Grandpa Dick gave me the love of baking delicious things that make the house smell wonderful and brings the family together to eat and enjoy eachother’s company. This is one of those recipes.

For Grandpa Dick’s Strawberry Pineapple Pie, get this stuff ready:

1 cup of Margarine
1/2 cup of Iced Water
3 cups of Flour
1/2 tsp of Salt
1 tablespoon of Sugar

1 can of Pineapple Nibblets
2 small cartons or 1 big carton (like mine) or fresh, rinsed Strawberries
2 heaping tablespoons of Cornstarch
1/2 cup of Sugar
One big squeeze of Lemon Juice

For the filling, dump your Nibblets and only half of the juice from the can into a big bowl. Clean and slice your Strawberries and dump those into the bowl, too.

Add your Cornstarch, Sugar, and Lemon. Mix them together until the juices get all cloudy.

Pop the bowlful into the microwave for 10 minutes, and remember to give them a stir every 2 minutes or so. After the 10 minutes in the microwave, the juices should start to thicken and get all gooey. If they aren’t, try another 5 minutes in the microwave. NOTE: I forgot to start out the recipe in a microwave-safe bowl, so I had to transfer the filling into a glass bowl for the microwave part. Please start out this recipe in a microwave-safe bowl!

Now for the crust. I like to use my food processor for this just because its less messy, but you can also use the old fashioned two forks and a bowl method. Throw your Margarine, Flour, Salt, and Sugar into the food processor.

Pulse the mixture until there are no more pieces of Margarine and the mixture is very moist. Dump in your water and turn the food processor on low until the mixture looks like a big ball.

Divide the dough into two equal portions. Flour your rolling surface and press one dough portion into a little cow patty.

Roll it out evenly until its about a half a centimeter thick.

Fill your pie pan or glass baking dish with it and make sure there is dough hanging over the sides for later.

Remember to flour your rolling pin and rolling surface again before starting in on the top crust! Roll it out. Pour in your pie filling, then top with the crust you just rolled out. Cut off the excess and roll the edges together like you would a cigarette (gross, but I couldn’t think of another non-illegal example). Crimp the edges with a fork and score the top of the pie so the innards can release some heat.

Bake at 375°F (180°C) for 30 minutes, or until the top and edges start to brown.

Dead people don’t read blogs, but I hope I did my great granddad justice. It would break my heart if I ever let such a great man down. I love you Grandpa Dick! Catch ya on the flip side! Love, Peace, and Scalpin’ Indians!
Visualize Whirled Peas!


Easy Ricotta and Honey Tart with Baked Apples

April 2, 2010

So tonight my husband went on a ‘no-wives-allowed’ type business meeting, so I had to stay home and find something to do. He was thoughtful enough to buy me a pizza and make sure the table was set for me before he left, so I thought I would be thoughtful and fix him dessert for when he got home. This is a recipe I’ve adapted from a cooking show I saw from back in 1998 (when I was 12) called Two Fat Ladies. I saw the episode today while I was half asleep. They filled this tart with tea-infused PRUNES and RAISINS. GNARLY. The British are usually really good at sweets, but this was a recipe I knew needed revamping. So I thought maybe instead of (GAG) Prunes and (HOARK) Raisins I’d substitute them for some baked apples. Its been a pretty good choice, I’d say!

What you’re gonna need for Ricotta Honey and Baked Apple Tart:

500g of Ricotta cheese
2 heaping tablespoons of Honey
1/4 cup of Brown Sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon of Lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon
1 Apple (peeled, gutted, dismembered, and baked at 400°F for 10 minutes)
Almond flakes or pieces (optional)

(crust ingredients not pictured… sorry guys… I forgot)
1 1/2 cups of annihilated graham crackers and/or cookies
6 tablespoons of butter or Vegetable based substitute
1/4 cup of brown sugar

Start by putting the Ricotta, Brown Sugar, Egg, Honey, Cinnamon, and Lemon into a bowl.

Whisk everything together until its smooth. Set the bowl aside and move on to your crust.

Annihilate your Graham Crackers and Cookies. I used half multigrain graham crackers and half Grancereale crunchy whole grain cookies. Use a food processor or a blender for this. If you don’t have one, a heavy duty ziplock baggie and a meat mallet should work perfectly.

Add the butter or butter-like stuff, and brown sugar.

Pulse the food processor until the mixture is nice and moist. If you’re using the meat mallet version, put your crushed cookies into a bowl and MELT the butter before adding it with the sugar.

Press into a medium sized glass or aluminum tart dish or pie plate. The crust should be a little less than pinky-finger-width deep. Use a spoon to press the crust up the sides and make it even. Put it in the oven on 400°F for about 10 minutes until it gets hot and starts to crisp up on the edges.

Pour your filling into the already half-baked (tee hee!) pie shell. Smooth it out with a Spatula.

Sprinkle on your Almonds and then place your baked apples on top.

Place the whole kaboodle into a 400°F (200°C) oven for about 25 minutes. Basically until the top starts to brown just a tad and the center no longer wiggles when you shake it. Allow the tart to cool to room temperature BEFORE you put it in the fridge to chill or you’ll end up with a lake on top and that’s NOT tasty OR  attractive.


Home Made Hot Pockets

March 30, 2010

As most of you know, last week I’ve been sick. You know that stomach flu that wakes you up in the middle of the night and then your husband finds you the next morning curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor in front of the toilet? THAT kind of sick. So cooking and eating wasn’t exactly on my to-do list for the week. This week, though, my appetite is back with a VENGENCE and tonight I had me a hankerin’ for a Turkey and Cheese Hot Pocket. The problem is that here in Italy Hot Pockets aren’t around. So I had to experiment and make my own. The interesting part is that in the process, I’ve inadvertently stumbled upon Pizza Crust. This had turned out to be an AWESOME pizza crust recipe for people who don’t like to use yeast. In this case, my Turkey and Cheese Hot Pocket turned out like a Calzone. You never know, maybe this week I’ll post a Pizza!

For Turkey, Egg, and Cheese Hot Pockets be ready with this stuff:

¾ Cup of warm Water
2 Cups of Flour, with some extra for your rolling pin and rolling surface
2 tsp of Baking Powder
1 tsp of Salt
A little Olive Oil
3 Hard Boiled Eggs
1 lump of Mozzarella
Deli Style or Roasted Turkey, in slices or pieces
Sliced, Preserved Asparagus (optional)

Put your flour, leavening, salt, and water into a bowl and use your hands to mix it up. Work it with your hands until its gummy and stretchy. If its too wet, add flour a tablespoon at a time until its right. Cut your ball in half and roll it out long enough to fold over toppings.

Add your toppings turkey-side down, cheese on top. I used sliced hard boiled eggs, canned asparagus, deli style sliced Turkey, and Mozzarella. But really, you can use just about anything that isn’t sure wet.

Pull the untoppinged side over the toppinged side. Cut off any excess. Fold the edges up and crimp them with a fork. Transfer the pockets onto a baking sheet and use your fingers or a brush to top them with a little Olive Oil.

Pop them into a 400°F (200°C) oven for about 20 minutes until the top and sides start turning brown.

And there you have it! This recipe is prime EXPERIMENTING material! PLEASE do so!
Love, Peace, and Mozzarella Cheese! Visualize Whirled Peas!