I've decided to start blogging about my adventures in food. Yes, I am a total chef wanna-be. I grew up with a mom who cooked nearly every meal for our family. My mom is my inspiration as a cook, mainly because of her own try-it-once attitude toward recipes. I have always enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen, not just for the express purpose of cooking, but for time to chat and catch-up with my family. I thought I would share some of my successes and horrible failures. I'm not one for recipes (except in baking), so a lot of the creations I post here may not be measured in exact terms, but rather in proportions.
I blame my mom for my fear of pies. Let me explain . . . I love eating pies. I LOVE PIE, my favorite being a three way tie between cherry with crumb topping, black raspberry, and chocolate-brownie pie. Alas, my mom is a pie queen, a master, if you will. She has been making pies en mass for as long as I can remember. For her, it never seems to be a chore. Perfectly rolled out crusts evenly pinched along the rim, just waiting to be filled a variety of homemade fruits or custards. Then when filled, a perfectly crunchy crumb topping or a beautifully cut out crust adorning the top. Now, for the irrational fear. From top to bottom, pie making seems to me a daunting task. You know why . . . you've eaten the hard-as-a-rock crusts and flavorless, dry fillings of some homemade pies. Its sad . . . you eat the pie begrudgingly and tell the baker how much you enjoyed it. You didn't. I don't want to be that cook. I want to live-up to my mom's pie legacy. To add to this pie fear, I have had more than a few pie failures, most of which my husband ate, but never seemed to comment on. Plus, you know its bad if there is still pie in our house after a couple of days.
To conquer this irrational fear, I started with the crust. I have to admit I've had mild success with the store-bought crust, but I feel that to live up to this legacy, that would be cheating. If you choose that crust, no hard feelings, but I can't bring myself to do it, I have a guilty conscience. I have discovered that the Alton Brown crust recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/) is the easiest and best-tasting crust.
Since I have an abundance of apples on my apple tree, I peeled, cored, and sliced about 6 cups of apples, added 1 1/4 c. sugar, 1/2 c. flour, a little cinnamon and allspice, and filled the crust. Finally I topped it with crumble topping made with 1/2 c. butter, a little cinnamon, 1/4 c. walnuts, and 3/4 c. of each of the following: brown sugar, flour, and oats. For once, this pie lived up to my high pie standards (of course after it dripping in the over causing really smoky kitchen). MMMM!