Anya said I have too much “computer stuff” on my website again — not enough kittens and pie and fun stuff. So I am not allowed to post anything about computers for ALL OF FEBRUARY! And, if I do post about it, I get March added on. And another month for the next infraction, and so on. So … umm … pie!
Anya made a peach pie — I had extra pie crust dough from making a quiche a few nights ago, and we had frozen sliced peaches over the summer when we picked up a big pile of fresh peaches. I made a maple sugar crumble (maple sugar instead of brown sugar in a crumble recipe) for the topping. Anya used cookie cutters to decorate the pie with maple leaves and a snowflake. It was very tasty!
Place water in a heat-proof container and sprinkle gelatin on top. Allow to sit for at least five minutes to hydrate. Place container into a pot of water (water should not come too close to the top of the container — we just need a little bit in the pot to make a water bath). Simmer until gelatin is clear and liquid. Remove from heat and allow to slightly cool.
Add maple syrup to whipped cream and beat until soft peaks form.
Slowly drizzle gelatin into whipped cream (beating as you pour).
Slowly add in strawberry reduction and continue to beat until firm peaks form.
This year, Anya chose a strawberry cake. We looked through a lot of recipes online and merged a couple into what we hoped would be a very strawberry flavored cake. It was — the strawberry whipped cream was specially tasty. I think it could have used more strawberry reduction between the layers, though the cake was already very moist.
I wanted to use the left-over turkey from Thanksgiving to make some quick(ish) pre-cooked freezer meals. Turkey pot pies sounded like a neat idea — make a couple batches of pie dough, saute a bunch of veggies, add diced turkey, and turn stock make with the bones into fresh gravy.
The first step was to dice up all of the left-over turkey — then put the bones along with some salt, onion, and garlic cloves in a pressure cooker to make a stock. I used a combination of roux and corn starch to thicken the stock into a gravy.
I diced carrots, broccoli, onion, garlic, and green beans and sauteed it all. Then mixed in corn kernels and the diced turkey.
After stirring in the gravy, I’ve got turkey pot pie filling.
I assembled a large pie for dinner.
Since the filling is wet, I blind baked the bottom crust for twenty minutes then filled the pie and added a top crust. The large one for dinner went into the oven. The six small pies were topped and put into the freezer to firm up.
Once everything was frozen, I used the vacuum sealer to package up my pies. Since I have ceramic mini pie plates, I need to take these out of the freezer and sit the package in a water bath to warm up the ceramic. Then bake at 350 F for about an hour for a simple (but not really quick) meal.
They turned out well — the extra baking of the mini pies made a nicely caramelized and crunch bottom crust. For next time, gravy absorbs into everything, so I need more gravy. And I think it would be a lot easier to have one larger pie instead of the three individual ones. Just need to pick up a few stainless steel deep-dish pie plates so I have something that can actually go from the freezer to oven directly.
I made chicken and dumplings (well, spaetzle) this evening. Pressure cooked chicken bones with some garlic, onion, and salt for an hour to make broth. Added sauteed onions, carrots, corn, green beans, and diced chicken. I thickened the broth with a little corn starch. And we each mixed in some hot pepper sauce to make it spicy 🙂
I used to call decaf “what’s the point” coffee … because the whole point of my coffee consumption was staying awake on as little sleep as possible. Since I’ve cut back on work hours (a.k.a. set some boundaries), I had stopped drinking coffee. But I really like good coffee. So I got a bag of decaffeinated coffee from the grocery store. Strange experience from the last time I got a bag of coffee — now, half of the coffee section is Starbucks which I don’t much care for, at least 3/4 of the remaining bags were ground … which struck me as strange because the whole bean coffee is going to keep much better. And there was only one whole bean decaf option — a $22 bag that seemed like a lot of money for a pound of coffee. If we use this whole bag, I’ll probably buy a bag of whole bean decaf online.
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