Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stained Glass Cake

And now, the post some of you have been waiting for...

Wednesday was my husband’s birthday. Happy birthday, buddy! When he first laid eyes upon this recipe, he immediately declared, “That’s what I want for my birthday cake.”

“Are you sure?” I asked. “It doesn’t even have chocolate in it.” He replied, “It looks fruity and light. That’s what I want.”

Okay. No chocolate for me.

News about this cake spread before the birthday celebration, creating an air of anticipation prior to the unveiling. I was worried about the cake sticking to the springform pan, so I let the birthday man have the honor (and the risk) of unmolding and slicing. The springform ring came off just fine, but it was a little tricky transferring the slices to plates. And the taste? Well, I'm not a big fan of Jell-O, and it certainly wasn't chocolate, but it was tasty. I think it was well received by all in attendance.

A few notes:

-Rather than purchase a can of pineapple juice, I opted to buy pineapple chunks in natural juice. It was about the same price, contained the exact amount of juice necessary, and I got to enjoy some delicious pineapple chunks, too. Mmmm… nature’s candy.

-I was somewhat distracted when preparing the crust and accidentally put ¾ cup sugar in the crust, rather than ¼ cup. It still worked out just fine and I don't think anybody noticed. Until right about now. Whoops, the secret is out.

-9 crackers, crushed, equaled 1 ½ cups of crumbs for me.

Stained Glass Cake

From Cook's Country, June/July 2009

12 graham crackers, crushed to fine crumbs (about 1 ½ cups)

¾ cup sugar, divided

5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

3 (3 ounce) boxes Jell-O

4 ½ cups boiling water

¾ cup pineapple juice

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Stir cracker crumbs, ¼ sugar, and butter in bowl until crumbs resemble wet sand. Press into bottom of 9-inch springform pan and bake until edges are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

For the filling: In 3 separate large bowls, whisk each box Jell-O with 1 ½ cups boiling water until dissolved. Pour into 3 loaf pans or pie plates (I used cake pans) and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Once set, cut into ½-inch cubes and keep chilled. Combine ¼ cup pineapple juice and unflavored gelatin in bowl. Microwave, stirring occasionally, until dissolved, 1 to 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in remaining pineapple juice. With electric stand mixer set on medium-high, whip cream, vanilla, salt, and remaining sugar until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly add juice mixture until combined. Gently fold Jell-O cubes into cream mixture. Scrape into prepared pan and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Whoa, sunshine!

I recently learned that my blog has somewhat of a following among my husband’s family. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fruit Tartlets

I bet you’re wondering what I was going to do with all that lemon cream… weren’t you?

Well, wonder no longer.

I really like Michel Roux’s book, Pastry: Savory and Sweet, because the dough recipes are intended to be mixed by hand. I used to think that a food processor was required for making pastry dough, but now I know my hands are perfectly suitable.

Pâte Sucrée

From Pastry by Michel Roux

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

Scant ½ cup butter, cubed and slightly softened

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Pinch of salt

2 medium eggs, at room temperature

Mound the flour on a counter and make a well. Put in the butter, powdered sugar, and salt, and mix together with your fingertips.

Gradually draw the flour in the center and mix with your fingertips until the dough becomes slightly grainy.

Again, make a well and add the eggs. Work them into the flour mixture, using your fingertips, until the dough begins to hold together.

When the dough is well amalgamated, knead it a few times with the palm of your hand until smooth. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap in plaster wrap, and rest in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours before using (I let rest overnight).

When the dough is rested and you are ready to use it, unwrap and roll out on a lightly floured counter to a 1/16-1/8 inch thickness.

For the rolling out, I used my set of 1/8 inch dough planers on a Silpat Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat to reduce the need for flour. Prick with a fork and place in freezer for 10-15 minutes, then bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes.

Once the tartlet shells were cool, I filled them with lemon cream and topped with blueberries, cherries, and strawberries.

Goal for future posts: in-progress, action photographs.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lemon Cream

I recently purchased a set of tartlet tinsand have been waiting for an occasion to use them. With berries in season and friends coming over for dessert on Thursday, I decided now is the time. I was debating what kind of filling to make for the tartlets, when I came across this recipe. It was straight-forward and relatively simple. It is very tasty by itself and I'm looking forward to tasting it in the tartlets!

Lemon Cream
from Tartine

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cool butter

Whisk together all ingredients except the butter and heat in a double boiler over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and hits 180 degrees (about 10-12 minutes). Remove from the double boiler and cool to 140 degrees. (At this point in time, I ran the mixture through a strainer to remove any curdled egg.) Using an immersion blender in the bowl or a regular blender, add butter 1 tablespoon at a time with blender running until incorporated. Store in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Make-It-Yourself Ice Cream Cake

I love cake. Who doesn't? Apparently, a number of people, some of whom were present at my birthday celebration. I love ice cream and thought an ice cream cake would be an agreeable solution.

This was an exercise in improvisation and quick-thinking. Some things did not go as planned, but overall, it was beyond delicious. A word of caution: dunking the frozen pan into hot water will work a little too well. Then, melted ice cream will drip all over the floor from the sink to the kitchen freezer, then you will realize there is no room in the kitchen freezer. Subsequently, you will run downstairs, getting melted ice cream on all door handles and light switches, with a trail on the floor. Thankfully, there will be room in the downstairs freezer.

Obviously, there is a lot of room of creativity and personal preference. Here's what I did:

Make-It-Yourself Ice Cream Cake
Small batch of brownies, chopped into chunks
Approximately 1/4 gallon vanilla ice cream
Approximately 1/4 gallon peppermint bonbon ice cream
Jar of hot fudge topping
Approximately 1 dozen Oreos, chopped into small pieces
Whipped cream

Work vanilla ice cream with a wooden spoon in a bowl until soft and creamy (or, if you are lazy, throw it in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment). Fold in brownies. Spread into bottom of bundt pan or mold of choice and freeze until hard. Warm hot fudge until just spreadable; spread on ice cream and sprinkle Oreo pieces over fudge. Freeze until hard. Work peppermint ice cream until soft, then spread on top of fudge layer. Again, freeze until hard. Just prior to serving, wrap a hot towel around pan to loosen the cake or dunk very (very!) briefly in warm (not too hot!) water. Slice and serve with whipped cream.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pound Cake

I love summer for many reasons. No school, no blizzards, and strawberries! (There are other reasons, too, but those are probably the top three.) I picked up a nice pound of strawberries at the store and wanted to make a dessert to highlight them, so I opted for a simple pound cake. I've made Greenspan's pound cake before, which was delicious, of course, but tried a new recipe. This recipe is a little different in that it requires cake flour, the butter is melted, and a food processor or blender is suggested to combine all the ingredients. It turned out very moist and buttery with a fine crumb and a well-browned crust. Be sure to save enough to you can toast it and eat it for breakfa... err, a snack after you've eaten a well-balanced, nutritious breakfast.

Easy Pound Cake
from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and hot

1. Adjust an over rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch load pan. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.

2. Process the sugar, eggs, and vanilla together in a food processor (or blender) until combined, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, pour the hot melted butter through the feed tube in a steady stream until combined, about 30 seconds. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.

3. Sift one-third on the flour mixture over the egg mixture and whisk to combine until just a few streaks of flour remain. Repeat twice mroe with the remaining flour mixture, then continue to whisk the batter gently until most lumps are gone (do not overmix).

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smoother the top. Wipe any drops off the side of the pan and gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter. Bake the came until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

5. Let the cake cool in the pan to 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, then flip in out onto a wire rack. Turn the cake right side up and let cool completely, about 2 horus, before serving.

Variations: Citrus zest and juice can be added, or almond extract and slivered almonds can be added at the same time as the sugar, eggs, and vanilla into the food processor.

Well, that's all for now. I'm off to a wedding, so I'm going to take tomorrow off. Enjoy the beautiful weather and eat some strawberries!
Another thing I love about summer: Going to weddings and hearing my husband singing Gilbert and Sullivan in the shower (with the female parts in glorious falsetto!).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dinner Party!

One of my favorite things to do is have friends over for dinner, drinks, and a board game or two. Our guests brought a delicious salad with tomatoes and cucumbers, and I prepared chicken piccata, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted beets and carrots, and baked a baguette. Also, I learned that I have a talent for Scategories.

And for dessert? I’ll keep that a secret until tomorrow.

This recipe comes from my favorite food magazine, Cook's Country. Simple, straight-forward recipes plus hints, tips, taste-testings, and equipment ratings... with lots of pictures!

Chicken Piccata

Adapted from Cook’s Country, December/January 2009

Notes: I skipped brining the chicken and omitted the capers. Some boneless, skinless chicken breasts are injected (“enhanced”) with a saline solution, so be sure to skip the brining if that’s the case. The sauce will smell really strong while reducing, and while it will have a lot of flavor, it will not be overpowering in the finished dish.

For the chicken cutlets, I sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast in two horizontally, starting at the thick edge of the breast. Pound to about ½-inch thick. No mallet? Use a skillet; that’s what I do. Two chicken breasts (cut into 4 cutlets) were enough for four, although the recipe suggests 8 cutlets for 4 people.

½ cup salt

½ cup sugar

8 thin-cut boneless, skinless chicken cutlets (about 1 ½ pounds)


¼ cup flour

4 tablespoons butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons drained capers (unless you don’t care for them!)

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

½ cup white wine

4 strips zest (each about 2 inches long)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Whisk 4 cups cold water, salt, and sugar in large bowl until salt and sugar dissolve. Add chicken and refrigerate, covered, for at least 15 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.
  2. Pat cutlets dry with paper towels and season with pepper. Spread flour in shallow dish. Dredge one side of each cutlet lightly in flour; transfer to large plate. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until foaming subsides (I used a regular stainless steel skillet). Cook 4 cutlets, floured-side down, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until just cooked through, about 1 minute on second side. Transfer to clean platter and tent with foil. Repeat with additional tablespoon butter and remaining cutlets.
  3. Add garlic and capers to empty pan and cook over high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, wine, and lemon zest and simmer until reduced to ½ cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan to heat through, about 30 seconds. Off heat, stir in remaining butter and lemon juice.

Meet Bear the Horse

You may have read that I have a quirky horse named Bear. Bear is great, and if you met him, you'd love him. What makes him quirky, you ask? Here are two examples:

Example #1. He loves dogs. And cats. He likes to smell them and bury his nostrils in their fur. Dogs and cats don't always like him, though, because he's big.

"Puppies!," thinks Bear; "Ahhhh!," think puppies

Close-up on Bear's intense look of adoration.

Example #2. Here is his recently invented move for scratching those hard to reach places:

Apparently, he's taught at least one other horse how to do this.

So, now you know a little bit more about Bear. Food blogging resumes tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Currant "Thunder Bombs"

Having never seen nor tasted a currant before, I had no idea what to do with the currants that came in a recent CSA box. Then, I saw Pioneer Woman's recipe for Individual Raspberry Cobblers. Aha! These were super easy and even more delicious. Although, I have to say, I do prefer her suggestion of the name "thunder bombs," so I decided to stick with it.

Note: When I turned out the thunder bombs from the muffin tin, a significant amount of currant topping (or bottoming, depending on your perspective) stuck to the muffin cup. As a result, these are less than beautiful. Serve with vanilla ice cream to compensate for any aesthetic deficiencies.

Currant Thunder Bombs
Makes 24 thunder bombs
Adapted from the Pioneer Woman

2 cups self-rising flour
  • Note: I read you can substitute 2 cups flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder and 1/8 easpoon salt for self-rising, but didn't try it.
2 cups sugar
2 cups milk
2 stick butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Approximately 2 cups currants
Sugar to sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour with sugar, then whisk in milk. Whisk in melted butter and vanilla. Pour 1/4 cup batter into greased muffin tins. Divide the currants evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown and crisp around the edges. Let cool slightly in pan, run knife around edges, and invert. Retrieve the rest of the currants from the cups return to rightful place on top of thunder bomb.

(I told you these weren't beautiful.)

Ignorance is bliss…

Knowing nothing about blogging or photography has made my first week of food blogging fun, exciting, and filled with trial-and-error. I’m not entirely sure have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m having fun doing it. I am thrilled, yet baffled, that each day’s picture has been published on either foodgawker, TasteSpotting, or both. Thank you, both websites, for directing so many people here since I started last week. I'm having trouble believing that this page has been loaded about 4,500 times thus far (although I'm sure a fair amount of those can by attributed to my lovely mother. Hi mom!). I’d like to welcome and thank everyone who has stopped by this past week and encourage you to visit often! I look forward to learning more about everything and sharing that everything with you. So once again, thank you!

On my weekly Target run, I decided to invest in some "high-tech" photography equipment: a piece of blue tag board, a white plate, and a tripod (on sale!). Oh, and I bought a lemon at the grocery store to make chicken piccata tomorrow night (more on that, later...).

I think it looks rather striking, don't you?

So, what do you think? Comments, suggestions, questions?

PS- If you haven't figured it out by now, I like the color blue.

PPS- I bet you're wondering, if she likes blue so much, why isn't the background blue? I figured if I have kitchen towels to match my pistachio KitchenAid, my blog probably should, too.

Simple Summertime Strawberry Daiquiris

To mix things up a bit, today's post has nothing to do with carbs. All this week, I've had the pleasure of hosting a good friend who just returned from studying in Vienna. She had a long first day back at work and it was a very warm day, so I thought strawberry daiquiris would be just the thing. I typically tend to not measure things, so here's my best approximation:

Simple Frozen Strawberry Daiquiris
for Miranda

For 1 serving:
1 cup ice
1/4 cup strawberries, hulled
1-2 ounces white rum, depending how strong you like it
Splash of lime juice
Sugar to taste

Here's the easy part: blend all ingredients until smooth. That's it! If you want to get fancy, garnish with sugar on the rim and a lime slice or strawberry. If the mixture is too thick, you might need to add a little extra liquid (soda water, simple syrup (if so, reduce or eliminate the initial sugar), lemon-lime soda, etc.).

Variation: Peach daiquiri (my favorite!): Use canned peaches instead of the strawberries and lime juice. Use the juice in the can, and if it's sweetened, eliminate the sugar. Of course, you could use fresh peaches, but that's a few extra steps and you will need to add extra liquid of some sort. Or, do mix peach and strawberry. Or, any other fruit. Get creative!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Breakfast potatoes!

One of my favorite things to make on weekends is a batch of breakfast potatoes (or home fries, or cottage fries, or b-pots, or whatever you'd like to call them). They're perfectly crisp on the outside, light on the inside, and go well with just about anything for breakfast. My husband also likes to slice some brats and cooks them up with these potatoes for a quick, masculine dinner.

Home Fries
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (russet potatoes work just fine, too!)
1/4 vegetable oil (I use a little less)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (I replace some with bacon grease. Yum!)
1 onion, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
Minced fresh herbs, if desired (such as thyme and/or flat-leaf parsley)

1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, toss the potatoes with the oil Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave until potatoes are tender, but not falling apart, 5-10 minutes, shaking the bowl to redistribute every 3 minutes (careful- it will be hot!). Remove the plastic wrap (watch out for steam) and drain thoroughly in a colander.

2. Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat (I find that a nonstick works best for developing a crust on the potatoes, but a regular skillet works just fine, too). Add the potatoes to the skillet and distribute evenly over the pan. Cook undisturbed until golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Carefully turn to ensure even browning and add onion to skillet. Continue cooking, turn every few minutes until well browned and the onion is softened, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Add herbs, season to taste, and serve immediately.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Easy Peanut Butter Brownies

Sometimes, you just have to have chocolate. I had one of those days last week. I made a dish with some spice in it for dinner, and I wasn't in the mood to exert a lot of effort in order to get chocolate. I just wanted to eat it. And soon. Fortunately, I had one box of brownie mix tucked away in the cupboard and I did not have to wait long for gratification. Does this even count as a recipe? I doubt it, but it was just what I was craving.

Cheater Peanut Butter Brownies

Brownie mix, prepared as directed
Peanut butter

Prepare brownie mix and spread into pan. Glop peanut butter all over the brownie mix. Take a knife to swirl throughout. You'll end up with lovely pockets of thick peanut butter throughout. Bake as directed on the package and devour half the pan.


If you are slightly more patient, you could warm the peanut butter slightly, spoon or pipe it into neat rows, and make a more uniform/beautiful marble pattern. I've heard you "eat with your eyes first," but my tummy wanted chocolate immediately.

PB & J Brownies: Same as above, but glob and swirl your jam/jelly of choice as well.

What's your favorite go-to in a chocolate crisis?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

No-Knead Herb Baguette

Here is something else made from the same no-knead dough as the focaccia I wrote about in the last post. Easy and delicious!

No-Knead Herb Baguette

Note: If you're making the bread dough from scratch, you can mixed the herbs right into the dough.

Approximately 1 lb. no-knead boule dough
1-2 tablespoons herbs of choice, minced (I used thyme and oregano)
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pat/roll the dough into a rectangle about a 1/2-inch thick. Drizzle olive oil over the dough and sprinkle on the herbs. Starting at the long end of the rectangle, roll up and pinch the edge shut. Tuck under the ends of the loaf. Let rise about 20-30 minutes, sprinkle with flour, score the loaf, and bake for 15-20 minutes with your preferred method of steam, if desired.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Birthday of Baking: Rosemary Focaccia

Today was my birthday. I celebrated by visiting my parents and doing some baking. About an hour or so into my baking, my mom asked, "Is this really what you want to be doing on your birthday?" I replied, "Yes, as long as I don't have to clean up." She replied, "Sounds good," and went back to washing dishes. She told me I could count the dish washing as a gift. Thanks, mom! :) Later on, my husband's family came over for dinner and we had a delicious meal and a wonderful time.

I almost always have a batch of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day's master recipe on hand. When I go to my parents' house, I usually make it for them. Today, I made some focaccia with the dough and some freshly-picked rosemary from my mom's herb pot I planted for her. Focaccia is one of my favorites and tastes even better with fresh rosemary. Here's my version:

Rosemary Focaccia

Approximately 1 lb. of no-knead boule or olive oil dough
Several sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked and roughly chopped (dried can be substituted in a pinch)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt (like kosher or sea) and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roll or pat the dough into a circle about a 1/2-inch thick on a cookie sheet greased with olive oil. Let rise approximately 20 minutes (the dough should no longer feel cool to the touch and be slightly puffy). Drizzle the olive oil on top of the bread and use a pastry/silicon brush to evenly spread it. Sprinkle with the rosemary, coarse salt, and freshly-ground black pepper. Dimple all over with your fingers (this is the fun part!). Bake 15-20 minutes, depending on how large the focaccia is and how brown you like it. Just keep an eye on it and take it out when it looks perfect. Enjoy!

I will post more things that I baked today in the next few days.

Friday, July 17, 2009

No-Knead Challah

One of my first memories of cooking that ended in utter failure was making french toast. I was in elementary school and had scaled down a recipe to make a smaller batch. Under the salt quantity, I had merely written "1/8." Now, at this stage in my life and culinary experience, it did not occur to me that 1/8 of a teaspoon was a likely amount of salt for french toast batter. Instead, I put in 1/8 cup. Whoops. I didn't realize the mistake until serving time. I was so excited because, visually, everything looked delicious. I was so proud of my creation! Then, we all took a bite. And that was all we took. My brother tried giving his piece to our beloved dog who ate everything. Well, almost everything. The dog tried one bite then proceeded to drink his entire water supply.

Anyway, we still like french toast. My dad recently told me he read the challah makes the best french toast, but he had never heard of it. I used to work at a bakery that made challah on rotation, but had never tried it for french toast. So, I decided to bake a loaf to bring with for my visit this weekend to make french toast for brunch!

I am a big fan of the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I'm guessing that most everybody is familiar with the method, and if you're not, I highly recommend popping over to their website to check it out. I made a half batch of their challah dough and make half into their strawberry danish recently feature on the website and the other half into a braided loaf. Compared to the other wet, no-knead doughs, this one was so easy with which to work! I was very pleased with how the loaf turned out. It smelled wonderful, but I didn't even taste it! I wanted to save it for french toast... more to come...

Upcoming posts: shredded chicken tacos, easy peanut butter brownies, and pesto!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Introduction... with Pasties!

I did it. I started a blog. Now, I don’t have to spend all my time reading others’ blogs, but I can write my own! Anyway, a brief introduction, then a recipe (two, actually!):

My name is Karin, but you can call me Kar.

I am a grad student and live here:

And am married with one "child":

Now, living in the city and being a full-time student is not conducive to horse-ownership, so he (Bear, actually, is his name) is at “boarding” school- earning his keep by teaching horse-crazy little girls how to ride. I have many pictures of him and will share some as time goes by.

If you’d like to say “hi!,” I’d love your comments—please leave a link to your blog so I can visit and do the same! Tips and advice are very much welcome!

Now, on to the food. For an early birthday present, I received this book from my husband. The pictures are beautiful and I couldn’t wait to try something out. I decided on Cornish Pasties for three reasons:

  1. My mom is from England, so I feel a special connection with British food.
  2. A number of years ago, my now-husband had a pasty for lunch at our favorite pub in Minneapolis and he still talks about it.
  3. I had all the ingredients! Well, almost. No rutabaga for me.

This seems like a slightly-involved recipe, but it wasn’t too bad. I made the filling and the dough in the morning, rolled and assembled about an hour before dinner, then put in the fridge until baking time.

Cornish Pasties

From Pastry, by Michel Roux

My notes and additions are in italics throughout. I ended up with 7 pasties, but only baked two. I wrapped the others in plastic and put them in the freezer to enjoy at a later date without all the effort!

1 lb pâte brisée

1 lb chuck steak, cut into 5/8 inch cubes (I used slightly less)

3 tbsp peanut oil (I used vegetable)

1 ¼ cups beef stock

1 potato, cut into ¼ inch dice

1 rutabaga, cut into ¼ inch dice (I substituted a carrot sliced into half-moons)

1 onion, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper


Filling: Heat oil in a deep skillet and lightly sear beef. Pour off the fat, then add the stock and cook gently for about an hour until the meat is meltingly tender. (At this point, I seasoned the beef with salt, pepper, and a little Worcestershire sauce for good measure.) By now, the stock should have evaporated almost completely. If not, reduce over medium heat. Tip the beef into a bowl and let cool.

Cook the potato, rutabaga (or carrot), and onion in salted water until just tender. Let cool in the cooking water, then drain and mix with the beef (NOTE: reserve some cooking water). The mixture shouldn’t be too dry; if it is, add 2-3 tbsp of the cooking water. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours. (The filling can be made a day ahead.)

To assemble, roll out the dough to a 1/16-1/8 inch thickness (I used my 1/8 inch set of dough planers). Using a 5 ½ inch cutter or plate as a guide, cut out 6 disks (NOTE: I thought 5 ½ inches would be too small to hold enough filling for a dinner serving, so I used a slightly larger template, about 6 ½ inches. I cut and assembled the pasties one at a time, so the pastry wouldn’t warm up too much to make it difficult with which to work. I also managed to get 7 pasties out of this recipe.) Spoon the filling into an oval in the middle of each disk, and brush the borders of the dough with eggwash. Fold up the sides of the dough to make a raised pasty and bring them together, pinching hard with your fingertips in about a dozen places all along the crest to seal the pasty completely. Place on a baking sheet (I lined mine with a Silpat) and brush with eggwash. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the pasties for about 25 minutes until deep golden; if necessary, in crease the oven setting to 400°F for the last 5 minutes. To enjoy the pasties at their best, serve at once.

Since I had the oven on, I decided to roast some vegetables, as well. Here’s a simple recipe:

Roast Vegetables

Vegetables, cut up. I used CSA beets and a turnip, along with a couple carrots.

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Rosemary, if desired

Grana Padana cheese, if desired.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place vegetables in a baking dish large enough to fit in a single-layer. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly. If you’d like, throw in some rosemary. Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every so often. They are done when they are browned and tender. Grate a little hard cheese on top for extra flavor. Enjoy!