Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Baked Trout in Foil

I've moved this recipe over to my new blog, SomeplaceThatsGreen.com - please check it out HERE!
Trout in foil, ready to be closed up and baked

Baked Utah Red Trout with pasta

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Spinach Risotto with Pine Nuts

Spinach Risotto with pine nuts
This recipe has moved to my new blog home at Someplace That's Green, please visit me there for this and more Salt Lake City cooking adventures! 

How to Blind-Bake a Pie Crust

It's pie time again!  Thanks to some canned peaches from Costco and frozen pie crusts, I didn't even need to go out and brave the snowstorm to get ingredients.  I'll skip posting the recipe since the peaches weren't peachy enough, but the crust turned out great.  Now that I know how easy this is, I will stop skipping the blind-baking step and have better pies.  Eventually I'll practice making my own crust but for now I still use the pre-made frozen ones.  One baking step at a time.

Frozen pie crust with parchment paper and dry rice

How to Blind-Bake a pie crust:

Blind-baking involves filling an uncooked crust with dried rice, beans, or pie weights to simulate the pie filling and keep the crust from bubbling up or cracking while it bakes and sets into the right shape.  Cooking the crust before filling it ensures that it is fully cooked when your pie is done, and helps prevent sogginess. 

Line the pie crust with parchment paper (note, this is very different from wax paper, do not use wax paper!).  It will stick out all over and look ugly but that's okay, we will fix that.  Pour dried beans or rice into the paper until it fills out and takes the shape of pie filling.    Take a pair of scissors and cut off the excess paper, but leave enough so you can pick it up.  What I have in the photo or a little more is good.  Pop it into the oven at 350 for 20 minutes.  Take it out, let it cool slightly, and very carefully take out the beans/rice, making sure that they don't touch the crust because they stick and you don't want dried beans or rice in your lovely pie.  Put the now empty crust back into the oven for 10 more minutes, then take it out and let it cool completely before filling it.  When baking the pie, cover the crust with a circle of aluminum foil (or a pie crust cover) so it doesn't burn.

The beans or rice can be re-used to bake other crusts but they won't be good for cooking and eating after being baked, so keep this separate from your other stashes of beans and rice.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Apple Pie Martini

I set out New Year's Eve with grand plans to make all sorts of amazing martinis.  It didn't quite turn out that way, but it was fun and I did end up with one successful drink recipe and got some practice making the glasses pretty. 

How to decorate the rim of a martini glass:

Part of the coolness of martinis is the fancy decorated rim.  For the candy cane martini, this involved (as one would expect) crushed candy canes.  I had picked up some broken candy canes on a clearance rack for super cheap and what a great use for them!  Crush them into as fine a powder as possible - I suggest a very strong ziplock bag between a marble rolling pin and a cutting board.  Make sure no plastic bits get mixed in with the candy.  The candy itself didn't stick so I mixed in a spoonful of white sugar and that did the trick.  Prepare the candy first, you'll want it in a shallow dish.  Moisten the edges of the glass: use a fruit wedge that matches the drink or a paper towel dipped in one of the alcohols used in the drink (I used the paper towel method).  Gently but quickly dip the edge just a bit at a time in the candy/sugar until the whole edge is done.  It seems like dipping the whole glass upside-down at once would save time, but it doesn't pick up as much of the candy/sugar.  Chill the glass until it's time for serving.

Alas, the candy cane martini tasted exactly like cough syrup.  By next New Years Eve I plan to have a recipe for one that looks like this and tastes good.  Next!

Apple Pie Martini
The apple pie martini idea came from Pinterest, although it was just a photo with general ingredient ideas so I don't have a link. I mixed together the vodka and apple juice and a couple dashes of cinnamon (totally not scientific there), then chilled it in the fridge since I didn't have ice on hand.  Once cold, I poured it into the serving glass and topped with a lovely swirl of whipped cream and more cinnamon.  The sweet whipped cream was a great offset to the alcohol.  It melted almost instantly but was oh so delicious. 

Apple Pie Martini

2 oz Vanilla Vodka
4 oz Apple Juice
Cinnamon (1/4 tsp-ish)
Whipped Cream

Mix together vodka, juice, and cinnamon.  Pour over ice (or chill before serving).  Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.