“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind,” Henri Frederic Amiel
Homemade Apple Pie with Homemade Pie Crust
Ingredients for Pie Crust:
4 cups flour
1 egg beaten
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup water (ice cold) I add ice cubes to be sure
3/4 cup of butter
3/4 cup of Crisco
In a large bowl sift together flour, sugar and salt. With a pastry blender, Kitchen Aid or two knives cut in the butter and Crisco. Make sure that the butter and Crisco is very cold. I add them to the ice cold water to get them chilled first. Cut the butter and Crisco into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix together eggs, vinegar and water. Add this to the flour mixture. Mix until the dough is moistened enough so it holds together and can form a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin that is also lightly floured, roll the dough into a 12 inch circle. Place the dough into a pie pan and and crimp the dough along the edges of the pan to form a decorate border between your thumb and forefinger. Fill the dough with apple pie filling and top with another dough layer pricking the top for venting, you can also get creative and make stars and other decorative shapes. Makes 2 double crusts pies.
Ingredients for Apple Pie:
3-4 cups pared, cored and sliced Granny Smith Apples
2 Tablespoons of butter
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
3 Tablespoons of flour
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoon of milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the apples, flour and sugar, and cinnamon together and stir gently. Place the mixture in the pie pan. Dot with butter and pour the milk over the top. Place the pie crust over the top of the pie and bake for 40-45 minutes. Filling for 1 pie.
Breakfast at Nonna’s
The egg spit and crackled in the melted butter covering the bottom of the little copper bottom frying pan. It was the smallest from the collection of her copper bottom pans hanging on the big wall in her cavernous country kitchen. Nonna unceremoniously tossed the brown Rhode Island Red egg shells to the side onto the tan and gold flecked counter top. I danced on tip toes, trying to watch the sides of the egg brown and curl as the whites bubbled.
“Aah almost done Kathy,” Nonna commented as she smoothly swept the spatula underneath the egg and swiftly slapped it back down into the pan, “I know you like your egg sunny side down” She winked at me. I smiled back at, her smiling green eyes twinkling from her wrinkled morning face that I knew would be smoothed away soon enough with Pond’s cold cream and plenty of make-up. My Nonna worked her magic in the kitchen and at her vanity.
I smiled inwardly at the thought of an egg yolk being compared to the sun, it’s half dome face shining up or down to greet its taster.
With a flourish, Nonna grabbed a slice of Pepperidge Farm bread out of its trademark white waxed paper wrapping. It orangey brown crust had a hint of tangy sweetness. It was moist and dense. After she had slid the butter sodden egg onto a small breakfast plate, she tossed the piece of bread into the pan, letting it fry in the remaining buttery puddle. After a minute, she deftly spun the crispy piece around the pan to soak up all the remaining butter. The result was absolutely delicious and joined my fried egg on the breakfast plate.
Nonna sat down next to me with her meal of a simple poached egg, black coffee and boiled prunes, “good for regularity” she explained. I had no idea what “regularity” meant, but from the looks of those soggy, weeping purplish things sitting on her plate I knew it probably wasn’t good and I didn’t want any part of it. I smiled politely, and dug my forkful of buttery fried egg hungrily into my mouth.
Each morning for the week I visited Nonna in the summer, this was my breakfast but every night she would announce our dinner and sometimes I got to choose the menu. We’d stop at the farmers market during the day to pick out the produce for our evening meal. Nonna loved fresh fruits and vegetables. If I finished all my vegetables, I got dessert which was a big bowl of vanilla ice cream with Hershey’s chocolate syrup. Nonna filled up a cereal bowl full of ice cream. I was allowed to pour as much chocolate syrup as I wished atop my ice cream. Sometimes, I pretended I was making a castle with a chocolate moat running around the bottom, at other times it was a gigantic volcano that had exploded an enormous lava field spilling into the valleys below. It was up to me to save the villagers below by eating all the lava just in the nick of time or swallowing up the moat so the damsel in distress could be rescued. Nonna would listen to my tales as she shook her head. “Mamma Mia” she would say, as she crocheted, mended torn trousers or holes in socks and tried to watch the Lawrence Welk Show, 60 Minutes, or the evening news.
My Nonna knew how to cook special meals and bake amazing desserts, but it was the everyday and ordinary meals that I fondly remember. She seemed at peace and happy while in her kitchen. Those are the times I treasure the most, of times spent together over preparing food in the kitchen, a simple meal that left us time to talk, smile and play.
I make “egg in a hole,” a hybrid version of Nonna’s fried egg and toast breakfast for my kids. They love the crispy buttery egg goodness combined in one toasty square and I smile fondly as I remember back to my summer breakfasts at Nonna’s.
I remember my Nonna making her strawberry shortcake with fresh whipping cream and Bisquick biscuits. A friend of mine told me about adding vanilla extract and sugar to the strawberries to give them some extra flavor. I also add vanilla extract and sugar to the whipping cream and of course to sugar to the Bisquick biscuits, about 1-2 teaspoons. The result was a delicious dessert, and with the bounty of fresh strawberries this summer you can’t help but want to try this great strawberry shortcake recipe.
1 pint of fresh ripe strawberries sliced and let them sit for about 15- 2o minutes in;
1-2 teaspoons of water
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1-2 Tablespoons of sugar
bake 4-5 Bisquik biscuits following the recipe on the box adding 1-2 teaspoons of sugar to the batter or use any buttermilk recipe you may have, homemade is best (Prepare this ahead)
8 oz whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1-2 Tablespoons of sugar
Add the vanilla extract and sugar to the whipping cream. Beat until stiff peaks form. Slice the biscuits in half. Top with sliced strawberries and add a dollop of whipping cream. Top with the other half of the biscuit add another dollop of whipping cream and some more sliced strawberries and serve. Enjoy!
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