Peach Pie, Getting It Just Right

Peach Pie

Peach pie is one of those things that, done right, is quite likely the best pie you can make. Done badly, it can be pretty awful. How do you make it the right way? Surprisingly, it’s actually pretty easy, but does require a little care in getting everything ready.

So to start out, you need a couple of pie crusts. I use the special Perfect Pie Crust I’ve used for many years. If you have another recipe or even want to use a prepared crust, go for it. You can also make a lattice crust if you like. The secret is how to deal with peaches, which can be way too juicy or, on occasion, too  dry. To handle that, after the peaches are peeled, put them in a pan with brown and white sugars and let them sit for at least an hour. If you then lift out the peaches and take that wonderful peachy juice that’s left behind, add it to some starch (I use tapioca, you can use cornstarch or what ever else works), cinnamon, nutmeg and some salt. Heat it until everything is dissolved and it starts getting nice and thick, and add it back to the peaches. Add a little butter and you’re done.

You can then bake the pie and that’s all there is too it. And with a bit of luck, you’ve got a pie that’s moist and flavorful.

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Avocado Pickles, Nice and Easy to Make

Avocado Pickles

Avocado Pickles isn’t something I’d have thought of by myself, but listen up guys, these are interesting and a great treat. And they’re great for a little summer appetizer.

First, though, the only reason I came across the idea at all came from my daughter, who among other things likes to keep me posted on the food stuff she comes across as she finds them. This one came from a website, and that in turn came from another cookbook, which I adapted a bit. I haven’t looked at the original, so I can’t say how much this is different from the original, but it’s actually very simple to make and there are plenty of things you can do with this recipe, if you have a mind to try it.

The recipe starts with a brine made up of vinegar, sugar, salt, some mustard seeds and some pepper. I had some Anaheim chili’s in the fridge, so I used them to give the pickles just a little spice. You can probably use whatever you happen to have, and you’ll find it makes a slight difference in the finished product. The avocado’s are sliced and then the brine is added to the top in a quart jar. Use some not quite ripe avocados, the brine will soften them a fair amount.

The avocado pickles are something that’s a little spicy and delicious. It will keep in the fridge for about a month or so.

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Belgium Toast Cannibal

Belgium Toast Cannibal

Yup. Seriously. Belgium Toast Cannibal is what this is really called. I learned this from a new friend, when we got to talking (somehow) about steak tartare and how those in Belgium do it —  mainly for those tend to turn up their noses at raw beef. I love the idea of Toast Cannibal. It really kind of puts this where it should be, but with a bit of humor and without the “tartare” hanging around to scare people off.

The meat filling has a basic combination of beef (use a really good lean steak tenderloin) with some shallot, mayonnaise, egg and capers. Add a little Worcestershire and a bit of red pepper sauce for just a small amount of bite and serve it on a good sourdough bread. Add a few cornichons and you’ve got a great appetizer.

This is really good if you’ve got very few other items in the appetizer department. It’s kind of filling and very delicious.

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Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche

Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche

Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche. It sounds elegant and with just a little bit of work on the sauce-making front, it turns into something that’s actually tastes even better than it looks. The lovely white asparagus is nice to have and looks great on a plate, but this would work well with green asparagus and plenty of other veggies and quite possibly even a good fish dish, under the right circumstances.

There are a couple of things that have to do with the french way of making asparagus — mainly using a vegetable peeler to skim off the skin from the bottom of the sprout to the end of the stalk. That’s true whether green or white asparagus. But the real trick here is a great sauce gribiche, which it turns out is only a little work and takes the regular dish and improves it a lot. The main thing is that it requires a hard boiled egg, and it will be a lot better if you make it the night before and have it ready and nearly room temperature when you use it. I don’t know if that’s how the French do it, but I love it much more after it’s had a chance to sit around a bit.

Like a lot of recipes, this started as a blog I saw somewhere and after getting the recipe tested and adjusted a bit, this is what I came up with. I like it a lot.

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Garlic Honey Sockeye Salmon

garlic honey sockeye salmon

Sockeye Salmon is one of those wonderful things that — especially if you can get it fresh — makes all the difference between “ordinary” salmon (farmed with color added) and the real salmon, deep dark red and tender beyond delicious. But like most things with a really good fish, getting the sockeye salmon right means figuring out how to get the best of the salmon and add just a little added flavor, to set it off.

This garlic and honey salmon does just that. the flavors are perfect and there is no doubt that under the glazed coating on the outside, the salmon is perfect on the inside. The trick is to marinate the salmon for about an hour, then simply heat it gently in a pan until it’s done. The only thing to really worry about is how to avoid overcooking the fish, which means you can’t just let it cook and forget about it. You do have to watch it. Serve with a simple salad and you’re done.

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Root Beer Chicken Wings? It Works. Honestly!

Root Beer Chicken Wings

Root Beer is generally NOT something I’d typically apply to chicken wings, chicken or most anything else I can think of. But the truth is, these root beer chicken wings actually work — much better than I would have thought.

First of all, I started out with some chicken wings with some oil and a little salt, made sous vide, and ready to go. With nothing else in the chicken, I breaded them with some flour, egg and panko bread crumbs and cooked them in a deep fryer. From there, you can use any number of sauces, but this time I wanted to do the root beer sauce which began from a blogger friend, who offered up the idea. I was skeptical, of course, but with a great chicken base, what could go wrong, right?

For the sauce, I used root beer, ketchup, a little brown sugar, some honey, Worcestershire sauce a little lime and a bit of garlic and onion. You can taste the root beer in the sauce, but fortunately, it’s not the only or even the strongest flavor in the sauce. And on the chicken, it blends nicely and works very well. I wouldn’t have tried it without a friend’s suggestion, but yeah, it really does work.

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Miso Salmon

miso salmon

Salmon is both a quick and easy meal, whether for lunch or a full meal. And this miso salmon is definitely at the top of that list. The only tough part is getting a good salmon, and while that’s generally easier than it once was, getting a really good salmon from Alaska or the northwest coast still can be a problem sometimes. Generally, I try to stay away from farmed salmon, in part because they often use color enhancements to make the fish look better in the case. I get why they do it, but well, it doesn’t sit right with me. 

So when I can get good salmon, the miso salmon is one of those “go to” recipes I often use, because it requires only a little marinade and a bit of time in the oven. At that point, your pretty much done. It’s really fast and gives you plenty of time to focus on a great side dish if you’ve got something special or just want to get a quick meal on the table and be done with it. The marinade does have only one ingredient — the miso — that can be difficult to find, but honestly, with online shopping, it’s really not hard. And the miso can last a long time if kept pretty well in the fridge or the freezer.

Give this a try the next time you need something in a hurry.

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