Monthly Archives: July 2014

A Good Pie-dea: Paprika Peach Pie

Last Christmas, I bought a friend a gift. And then immediately bought myself one.

That’s how it goes, right? One for you and one for me. I’m pretty sure that’s how the wise men did the first Christmas. Myrrh for you, myrrh for me.

This present was the all pie cookbook from Four & Twenty Blackbirds. If you don’t know Four & Twenty Blackbirds, you wanna know it. It’s a pie shop in Brooklyn run by two sisters, Melissa and Emily Elsen. These gals learned how to make pie from their grandmother and they are killing the pie game.

I got the cookbook for Christmas (for myself) and then was immediately too intimidated to make a pie. Because let’s be real, you can’t use any Pillsbury crust for a cranberry and sage pie. The crust is crucial and needs to be made from scratch.

A few when planning for a pool day with my friends Lindsay and Tim, it was put up or shut up. This was the perfect occasion to make a pie. Tim and Lindsay are adventurous eaters and enjoy (dare I say, seek out!) unique flavor combinations. Plus, it’s summer, so you know the fruit is begging to be turned into a pie.

So, I decided to make one. With the best of summer fruits and knowing Lindsay and Tim’s appetite for adventure (PUN INTENDED), I decided to make a paprika peach pie.

Say whaaaat!

You heard me. Paprika peach pie. And might I say, it was delicious. A little ugly, but dee-licious.

That’s what she said.

(Sorry, dad.)

Paprika Peach Pie, Y'all

Paprika Peach Pie, Y’all

This pie was so fresh and so sweet, with a touch of spice from the paprika. The rich buttery crust should not be skipped. It was hard to do (particularly being my first time), but well worth the time and effort. My lattice looks like a 4th grader did it, but OH WELL. I DID IT.

Make sure if you attempt this pie, you give yourself a lot of time. I was kind of d-u-m and started this pie late in the afternoon. Pie needs time. Pie needs handholding. Frankly, pie is a delicious brat. Put the dough together, now leave it alone for an hour. Then assemble the inside of the pie. And then leave it alone again. I’m pretty sure that pie is the cat of desserts. When it wants you, it wants all of your attention. And then it is done with you

Cover this with cat up with whipped cream and eat it. You will not be disappointed.

…Um….that’s what she said…

(Again, sorry, Dad.)

Paprika Peach Pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book, via Edible Brooklyn

Paprika Peach Pie

Makes 1 pie

  • All-Butter Crust for a 9-inch double-crust pie (see below)
  • 2½ pounds peaches (enough for about 5 cups sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons potato starch
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 to 2 dashes Old Fashion bitters | I had Angostura bitters at home and used that. Worked well!
  • Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water and a pinch of salt)
  • Demerara sugar, for finishing | I left this out because I didn’t have any. It would’ve looked better if I’d included.

To assemble the pie:
Have ready and refrigerated one pastry-lined 9-inch pie pan and pastry round or lattice to top (double-crust recipe below).

Bring a large pot of water to a simmer. Have ready a large bowl of ice water.

Score an X into the bottom of each peach, and then drop it into the simmering water for 30 to 60 seconds. Remove and immediately drop into the ice water.

When the fruit has cooled slightly, the skin should slip off easily when scraped with the back of a knife. (This did not really work for me, so I used a vegetable peeler on the stubborn skin.)

Slice the peeled peaches into ½-inch slices, add to a large bowl, and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Add the granulated and brown sugars, potato starch, paprika, white pepper, allspice, ginger, salt, and bitters and toss well to combine. Spoon the filling into the refrigerated pie shell, leaving behind excess juices. Arrange the lattice or pastry round on top, and crimp as desired.

Chill the pie in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to set the pastry. Meanwhile, position the oven racks in the bottom and center positions, place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack, and preheat the oven to 425°F.

Brush the pastry with the egg wash to coat; if your pie has a lattice top, be careful not to drag the filling onto the pastry (it will burn). Sprinkle with the desired amount of demerara sugar.

Place the pie on the rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to brown.

Lower the oven temperature to 375°F, move the pie to the center oven rack, and continue to bake until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling throughout, 30 to 35 minutes longer.

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The pie will keep refrigerated for 3 days or at room temperature for 2 days.

To make dough for one double-crust 9- to 10-inch pie or tart:

  • 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cold water
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup ice

Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl.

Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula.

With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay; be careful not to overblend).

Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a large measuring cup or small bowl.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture, and mix and cut it in with a bench scraper or spatula until it is fully incorporated.

Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, using the bench scraper or your hands (or both) to mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining.

Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine.

Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow.

If making the double-crust version, divide the dough in half before shaping each portion into flat discs.

Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.

 

 

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Grocery Shopping: French Mindset in North Carolina

How do y’all shop?

Reader: At the store, dummy.

Another Reader: At the farmer’s market, dummy.

Yet another reader: Pushing a cart, dummy.

WHOA, y’all. None of you are Redd Foxx, so you cannot legally say dummy that much.

When I say “how do you shop,” imaginary readers in my head, I mean this: what’s your approach to shopping?

I’d say that I’m a French shopper living in the Piedmont Triad area.

For instance. When I made my Braised Moroccan Chicken with Olives awhile back, I made a list, went to the store to shop for the things I needed for this specific night, and then I cooked. (Consequently, I ate around 8:45.) I pretty much only bought what I needed. So when I was planning dinner two nights later, I had to go back to the store.

I sure looked weird taking this picture in Whole Foods.

I sure looked weird taking this picture in Whole Foods.

Perhaps I’m not a great planner, but I tend to waste food when I buy it ahead of time. I either don’t get to it and it spoils (wasteful) or I don’t want it when it’s time to have it so it spoils (wa$teful).

I really like the theory of French grocery shopping. It might be fake, since I’ve never been grocery shopping in Paris, but I’ve seen Ratatouille so I’m pretty sure I’m an expert.

You get off work, you head to the market, grab your rosé, baguette and cheese, and you make dinner for the night. Your ingredients are fresh and locally sourced. Your meal is a delight. And you go to sleep full and fantasizing about Jean Dujardin.

But that dream, like so many, is about to be crushed. Crushed like that bridge with all the love locks on it. The weight of all that love is about to smother you back to reality.

Because you (I) live in America. And you (I) drive a car to work. And you (I) do the majority of your shopping in a grocery store and not a French market. And you (I) work til 6:45 or 7 almost every night. And you (I) don’t always feel like cooking. Or look at the clock you (I) know that if you cook tonight, you’ll (I’ll) be eating at damn near midnight.

I suppose there’s no one perfect way to shop. Your way may not work for me. And my way certainly may not work for you. Hell, half the time it doesn’t work for me.

But in a weird way, I kind of like it. It keeps spontaneity alive. You’re never going to try something bold if you’re a slave to Taco Tuesday or if you’re eating 8-10 portions of lasagna for a week.

Eh, it might be a dream. Sometimes it’s a nightmare. But hey, a dummy can dream.

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Christmas in July: Lechon (Puerto Rican Pork)

If ever I’m in prison and getting the death penalty and I have to have my last meal, I already know what I’d choose.

(This assumes that Jon Hamm worship is now a crime punishable by death, btw.)

If I am punished for the heinous crime of Jon Hamm worship, then I know how I’d like to spend my last meal: eating my mother’s Puerto Rican roast pork, also known as lechon.

This pork, y’all. This pork is even sexier than Jon Hamm (somehow). It’s got everything you’re looking for in a roast. It’s got chicharrones (crispy pig skin). It’s got tender, flavorful meat. It’s covered in human tin foil.

What’s human tinfoil?

It’s that thing where a midget paints himself silver and does downward facing dog over the pork shoulder.

…Was that joke TOO ridiculous? I just made a Stefon-esque roast pork joke. Admittedly, it’s a long way to go for a ham sandwich.

via Giphy

Anyways, this pork is incredible. When my friend Alison planned a Christmas in July party and asked me to do the meat, I knew I had to bring my show-stopping dish.

Christmas in July is a fun occasion to eat holiday food in the middle of the summer. Christmas is so far away, but if you’re really being honest with yourself, you’re always thinking about stuffing. And mashed potatoes. And roasted meats. (At least, Alison/Anna/Jennie/Becca and I were.)

So, everyone showed up to Alison’s house, where she’d hung the stockings by the chimney with care.

Merry Christmas!

We drank whisky/gingers, listened to the Vince Guaraldi Trio and made sure our meal was properly documented.

The Meal

 

Anna Documenting The Meal

Anna Documenting The Meal

We also referenced the holidays/Christmas as often as we could. For example:

Becca: Today was a crazy day.

Me: Things can be tough around the holidays.

If you’re in the market for a dish to wow a crowd, this is one you need to make. This pork has such an insane amount of flavor that permeates the whole dish. It’s salty and herbaceous, with a hint of tang from the vinegar. The chicharrones are not to be discarded, but fought over. Crunchy and fatty. It’s better than the best bacon. And when you pair that with the juicy meat?

Well, you realize that it really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Oh...dang.

Oh…dang.

Roasted Pork Shoulder, adapted from Tyler Florence from FoodNetwork.com

  • 1 boneless pork shoulder (about 9 pounds), skin on
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 large handful fresh oregano
  • 4 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Place the pork, fat-side up, in a roasting pan, and using a sharp knife, stab small slits (seriously) the surface of the meat and the skin. Mash the garlic, oregano, salt, and peppercorns into a paste using the back of a knife or a mortar and pestle. Place the adobo (the paste) in a bowl and stir in the oil and vinegar. Rub the garlic paste all over the pork, being sure to get into the incisions so the salt can penetrate the meat and pull out the moisture. Cover the pork with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

Note: Save yourself some trouble and put the whole roasting pan in an unscented garbage trash bag and put it in the fridge. That’s how my mom has always done it.

It's just easier.

It’s just easier.

Allow the meat to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Roast the pork for 1 hour, uncovered, until the skin is crispy-brown. Be sure to roast it skin side up.

Turn the oven down to 325 and roast for 2 more hours. Internal temperature should be between 150 and 160 degrees F.

Let the meat rest on a cutting board for 15 minutes before slicing. Break the skin into chicarron pieces and serve with the meat.

 

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My Writing Process: A Thesis on Blogs & Pantlessness

So, quick update on me and my fanciness: I was invited to be a part of a Blog Tour.

YEAH. I KNOW. I AM A BIG DEAL.

My amazing friend Anna of Curiouser & Curiouser invited me. Those of you who don’t read Anna’s blog should leave this blog and start reading hers.

WAIT!!!!

AFTER you’ve read this post, go read her blog. She is incredibly smart and fun and talks about just about everything. She is a one of my best friends and reading her blog feels like talking to a bestie, doing something we call lilypadding: jumping from topic to topic. (Posts on Advertising! Food! Cocktails! Nail polish! Clothes!) She’s the deal.

Now, onto the Blog Tour. A fellow blogger invites you to answer 4 questions about your blogular process and then you pass the baton on to another blogger.

Without further ado, I’m ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille.

1. What are you working on?

Currently watching the first season of The Rockford Files because I’m sad about James Garner’s death. Also, doing the laundry and wearing no pants. Oh, and waiting on the Chinese food to come because I didn’t feel like cooking.

In reality, I’m a producer at an advertising agency and I write my blog as a creative outlet. In college, I was a theatre major and loved working on/being in plays. I did one show after I graduated, but found it was too tough to commit to the production schedule with the reality of #agencylife. But I still needed creativity in my life. I began to cook more and thought, hey, maybe I could turn this into a blog. So about a year ago, I did. And it’s been WILDLY successful* ever since.

*Wildly=mildly

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Well, for better or worse, I’m not an avid blog reader. There are a few I follow on the reg, but otherwise it’s more like appointment reading. So I can’t say for certain that it’s different than others in the genre. I know there are sassy, f-word laden cooking blogs out there. (I’m looking at you, Thug Kitchen.)

But, what I can say for certain is this blog is written the way that I talk. The goofy asides, the lilypadding, the good and bad jokes, the healthy dose of self-deprecation: 100% Bethany. I’ve been told by more than one reader (and by reader, I mean real life existing friend) that they can hear me when they read the posts.

This blog is me, through and through.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I love food. I love to make people happy with food. And I love to make people laugh. This is all my favorite things in one.

4. How does your writing process work?

Well, the reality of the situation is I don’t write as much as I’d like. I’d like to post one to three times a week. But because of #agencylife, I find it’s very easy to get pulled away from your extracurriculars.

Mostly, I write when I’m inspired. (I’m like Oscar Bloody Wilde over here.) When I’ve eaten somewhere fantastic or made something terrific/terrible, the inspiration will strike me and I find that the words come out just the right way.

But when I’m not inspired, I feel like the words are like lumpy gravy: heavy and wrong. (Just stir it, Una!)

The exciting part is that there’s tons of inspiration out there.

So, that’s My Fake Food Blog. Thank you for coming and be sure to come again.

And in the meantime, visit my other friend Anna’s blog, Seasoned to Taste. Anna is a real life Barefoot Contessa. Everything she does is gorgeous and beautiful and seems effortless. From the food to the presentation to the way she writes about it all. Basically, I want to be her when I grow up.

She’ll impress and inspire you. Particularly if you are like me and haven’t showered today and only put pants on when the delivery guy arrived.

Happy Blog Tour, y’all.

 

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It’s a Good Thing: Martha’s Cherry Clafouti

Martha Stewart has changed my life twice. The first time was in 2005 when I watched a made for TV movie about her life called “Martha Behind Bars.” The film opens on her shooting a segment for her show. The director calls cut, and as it turns out, someone brought her a cabernet sauvignon instead of merlot. (GASP!) Cybill Shepherd, who plays Martha, loses her shit and yells, “Did I not ASK. FOR. MERLOT?” This moment changed my life because every time I hear the word “merlot,” I re-enact this scene. Either in my mind or out loud.

The second time was in 2009 when I found a recipe for Cherry Clafouti in a Martha Stewart Living magazine. It looked so delicious and so simple So I tore the recipe out of the magazine.

Yes, I STOLE it. WWMD, amiright?

A clafouti (or clafoutis) is a baked French dessert of fruit, usually of black cherries, and arranged in a butter dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter. I got that definition from Wikipedia. You can ALWAYS trust Wikipedia.

This recipe is simple and elegant. The hardest thing about this recipe is pitting the cherries. I do not own a cherry pitter. And cherry pits are like that guy that you dumped in 8th grade: clingy.

I searched for ways to pit cherries without a cherry pitter (use a straw! Use a chopstick!) but I did not have those things. So I used a meat thermometer, with the pointy side pointing up. Did it work? Yeah. Did I almost pierce my hand through more than once? Absolutely. Life is more fun when you’re in constant danger of disfigurement. Once that was done, my kitchen looked like an episode of CSI.

I didn't do it, officer. I swear.

I didn’t do it, officer. I swear.

But then the rest? Smooth, custardy sailing. Whisk, arrange, pour and bake.

This is a sophisticated dessert, especially when you consider how easy it is. The custard is smooth and creamy. The cherries are sweet and tart and break up the creaminess of the custard.

So, Martha Stewart, I salute you. This recipe really is a good thing.

Oh dang.

Oh dang.

— Cherry Clafouti, from Martha Stewart Living

  • Unsalted butter, for dish
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup creme fraiche, plus more for serving
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, plus more for dish
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces cherries, halved and pitted
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch baking dish, 1 ¼ inches deep. Coat with granulated sugar; tap out excess. Whisk eggs, yolk, and flour in a medium bowl; whisk in creme fraiche, milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt. Arrange cherries in prepared dish. Strain batter over cherries. Bake until browned around edges and set in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve warm with creme fraiche. Note! Clafouti is best warm, so bake it just before you serve dinner. Scoop it into bowls, with a spoonful of creme fraiche.

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God Bless America: Pimento Cheese

There’s nothing more American than apple pie, baseball, and bald eagles.

Unless it’s pimento cheese.

Pimento cheese is a thoroughly southern staple, one whose history goes back to the early 20th century. According to Indy Week’s Brief History of Pimento Cheese, it started as a status symbol for the fancies, gracing the tables during tea parties.

Eventually, as pimentos and processed cheese became more readily available, pimento cheese found its way into the lunch bags of textile workers, eaten on white bread or with crackers.

Nowadays, pimento cheese is practically available on every corner. Creamy and fatty and so good you don’t want to stop. Pimento cheese, you are saucy minx.

There are a lot of good options down here in the south, like Stan’s Original Pimento Cheese or the Winston-Salem jam Red Clay Gourmet Pimento Cheese.  (Try their Hickory Smoked Cheddar. I can’t even.)

But, you can make pimento cheese just as easily as you can buy it. Every self respecting southern Grandma/Maw-Maw/Me-Maw or Granny has some in her fridge.

I made this recipe for pimento cheese from Food 52. I didn’t have celery salt, so I used celery seed and it worked just as well.

Whip up a batch today. Keep it in the fridge. Slather it on a cracker or scoop it up with some celery. Put it on a grilled cheese with some bacon and tomato.

And God bless the USA.

My Endless Love

My Endless Love

Parker + Otis’ Pimento Cheese, from Food52

  • cups sharp yellow cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 8 ounces)
  • cups extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 8 ounces)
  • cup drained pimentos or roasted red peppers, finely chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • To serve: crackers, baguette slices, assorted raw vegetables

Mix ingredients in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill. Transfer dip to serving bowl. Surround with crackers, baguette slices, and vegetables. Alternately, make sandwiches (below).
BONUS RECIPE!!!!

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon & Tomato

  • Pimento Cheese Dip (above)
  • 12 slices sourdough bread
  • 12 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
  • large, ripe tomato, sliced

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread pimento cheese on 6 of the slices of sourdough. Top the cheese for each sandwich with 2 slices of bacon, 1 slice of tomato, then a second slice of bread. Toast each sandwich in a large skillet over low heat till golden brown on both sides, flipping as needed.

Transfer sandwiches to a baking sheet in the oven to finish warming through and melt the cheese. Serve hot.
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Answering Fan Mail: Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew

One of my loyal readers sent some fan mail with a question to the My Fake Food Blog Fan Club.

(Note: One of my existing, real life friends posted a comment on Facebook asking for me to share a recipe.)

Since I am so benevolent, I won’t disappoint the public. I HAVE to post for Micheal.

(Note: I already emailed her the recipe. But I thought if she wanted the recipe, maybe somebody else might.)

All y’all know I love soup. #SOUPCLUB

I like soup forever and always. I like soup in the fall, winter, spring and yes, even the summer.

I’ve had the Real Simple No Time to Cook app for a long time, but hardly use it. But I was bored with my usual sites for cooking inspiration and I remembered why I downloaded it in the first place. The app looks like this.

via Real Simple No Time to Cook app (Duh)

via Real Simple “No Time to Cook” app (Duh)

Just plug in what main ingredient you have and how much time you have and at your fingertips is a list of quick meal ideas.

With no ingredients in the house, I plugged in poultry and 20 minutes and came across this recipe for Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew. And then I went shopping for stew ingredients on an 80+ degree day.

But, it’s the kind of thing that you can eat all year long. The broth is light, but this stew is full of delicious, and frankly, healthy stuff. It has tons of kale, which is full of vitamins or whatever. (Actually, kale has calcium and vitamins A, C and K, according to WebMD.) White beans have a ton of protein and fiber. And bread has delicious, delicious carbs.

#SOUPCLUB

#SOUPCLUB

One thing to note about this recipe is it requires extra salt. Hardly any is called for and as we all know, food needs salt. Like Matt Saracen needs Julie, like Coach needs Mrs. Coach, like Jason Street needs his wheelchair (#spoileralert), this stew needs salt.

So, loyal readers, please. Go forth and make this stew. And download the Real Simple app. And be sure to write in your questions, comments, compliments whenever you have them.

My assistant will be happy to answer each and every one of them, just as soon as he’s done drawing my bath.

Bean and Chicken Stew, adapted from Real Simple

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 12-ounce package fully cooked chicken sausage links, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 19-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 14.5-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch kale leaves, torn into 2-inch pieces
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 loaf country bread (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring once, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the beans, broth, and tomatoes and their liquid and bring to a boil. Add the kale and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Serve with the bread, if using.

 

 

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