Saturday, September 22, 2012

Traditional Apple Pie

Homemade apple pie #2! All along, I had wanted to make a pie entirely from scratch, and here is the end result! I'm finding that making pie is easier than I thought, haha.



2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water


1 1/4 pounds Gala apples (about 3 apples), cored and cut into 1/2-inch wedges (I substituted winesap apples.)
1 1/4 pounds Golden Delicious apples (about 3 apples), cored and cut into 1/2-inch wedges (I substituted Jonagold apples.)
1/2 cup sugar (I used brown sugar here.)
2 Tblspn all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and fork
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 Tblspn unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1. Make the crust: Toss flour, salt, and butter in a large bowl to combine, using your hands. [I wore a pair of latex gloves for this step.] With palms facing up, scoop mixture into hands, and press the butter between fingers and thumbs to create petal shapes coated in flour (this will take a few minutes). When there are no more clumps of butter, gradually stir in 1/4 cup ice water with a fork. Squeeze a handful of the mixture between your fingers; if it crumbles, stir in more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it holds together. [I ended up using 1/2 cup ice water total.] Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface. Gather mixture with both hands, and press to form a dough, folding in half and pressing a few times just until it holds together without crackling or crumbling (do not overwork). Shape dough into two disks, wrap each in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit with rack in lower third. Roll out 1 dough disk into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate.

3. Make the filling: Toss apples, sugar, flour, and spices in a bowl. Spread apple mixture in pie shell, and dot top with butter.

4. Roll out second disk into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface, and place over apples. Fold overhang under edge of bottom crust. Crimp edge with the floured tines of a fork. Prick top of crust with fork in several places.

5. Bake until crust is golden, 55 minutes to 1 hour and 5 minutes. [I put the timer on an hour.] Let apple pie cool completely on a wire rack before serving.


Huy's Sandwiches

#1 - Combination Banh Mi Sandwich

I thought I knew all of the banh mi places in the Atlanta area until a friend of mine told me about Huy's. The restaurant itself does not have a website but you can check out reviews on Urbanspoon or Yelp.

I ordered my usual combination banh mi; they have 15 other varieties for you to choose from, which is amazing because the most options I've seen total fewer than 10. I don't know whether they have a 'buy 5, get the 6th one free' deal but I can always call and ask. The price is definitely right here as the majority of sandwiches cost around $2.50. SCORE! They serve other food items as well as bubble tea for $3.75 (one size only).

I tried a few sips of my friend's durian-flavored tea, and I was glad I didn't order my own cup! I had always known about durian and its pungent aroma, but I had never tried it in any form. I fall in with the majority of people who don't like it, haha.

The sandwich was really good. I noticed that the bread has either been plucked of its fluffy insides or baked that way. Either way, less bread means more filling! ;oD This differentiates Huy's from other banh mi places. Other places simply cut open the bread and add filling, so there's always more bread in the bread-to-filling ratio. Huy's sandwich has more meat to it, literally. I can definitely see myself coming back! 

Apple Muffins

I've had this recipe for a while. I elected not to make the topping this time around due to time constraints. However, in my opinion the muffins DO taste better with the topping than without. That being said, the quantity of the topping is a LOT for the two dozen muffins you'll yield from this recipe. I recommend cutting the topping ingredients in half when you make your own version. :o)


Apple Mixture:

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups peeled, chopped apples (I used two winesap apples.)
1 1/2 Tbspn vegetable oil (I used olive oil.)
3 Tbspn sugar

Muffin Mixture:

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (Again, I used olive oil.)
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Optional: Top with nut crunch topping


2/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup chopped nuts
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Sprinkle on top of muffins before baking.

1. Beat eggs with fork. Stir in milk and oil. Blend dry ingredients and stir into wet mixture until flour is moistened.
2. Add apple mixture and pour into greased muffin pans.
3. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes.


Deep Dish Apple Pie with Crumble Topping

If you haven't been keeping up, I went apple-picking last weekend with friends. Naturally, it was time for me to start the baking extravaganza! I've been waiting all week to try out different recipes. :oD

I had one leftover, store-bought deep dish pie crust from when I made a pumpkin pie, so I decided to "cheat" and use it for the first homemade apple pie. [Sadly, I did not blog about the pumpkin pie! Mental note to make one during the holidays. ^_^]



5 1/2 cups peeled and sliced winesap apples
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

1. Combine filling ingredients and pout into prepared deep dish pastry crust.
2. Mix topping ingredients with a fork until crumbly. Place over filling ingredients.
3. Bake for 50 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool thoroughly on wire rack. Serve at room temperature.

Note: This pie turned out to be super sweet, which is significant coming from me since I have a HUGE sweet tooth. WHOA... I had to eat a slice with a glass of milk to temper the sweetness. Coffee can be used as an alternative.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Breakfast Casserole




For some reason, we had a ginormous amount of eggs at home, so I figured an egg recipe would be appropriate. I know it's probably not a great idea to have all those yolks involved but... well... waste not, want not! Anyway, the rest of the ingredients are easy to find. I like that this recipe can be customized to your tastes.


6-10 eggs (I used 7 eggs. If I had used 10, I probably could have thrown in one more "addition" to the dish.)
2-3 cups grated cheddar cheese (The package I bought had 2 cups of cheese.)
6 slices bread, cubed (I used two bolillos from H-Mart; three for $1!)
2 cups milk (I used one can of evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup of water as a substitute because we didn't have milk in the house.)
Salt (I ended up not using salt or pepper for this dish. The cheese had salt in it.)


1/2 cup chopped broccoli (cooked or raw, raw will turn out crunchier)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

Other suggested additions:

1 cup corn (cooked or frozen)
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 cup cubed ham or cooked Italian sausage
Few slices of cooked bacon, chopped
1 tsp herbes de provence (or other dried herbs) or Tbsp of fresh chopped herbs such as basil, rosemary, or thyme

13 x 9 inch casserole dish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the milk and cheese. Add the bread and carefully stir until all pieces of bread are moistened (don't over-mix or bread may disintegrated).
2. Add additions. Add salt and pepper to taste (if using Italian sausage, you won't need either). [Note: I did not use salt or pepper. The cheese had enough salt content in it to cover those bases.]
3. Butter 13 x 9 inch casserole dish. Pour mix into casserole dish.
4. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until the top is browned and the center springs back when touched. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

B.J. Reece Apple Orchards

Tom the Turkey 

Wagon ride

BBQ sandwich

My first time apple-picking!

The halfoffdepot deal we had covered a 1/4 peck bag (5-6 apples) for you to use when you went into the apple orchard, one turn at the apple cannon (shooting 10 apples), entry into a small petting zoo (goats, turkey, chickens, pigs, cows), and a wagon ride (in an orchard across the street; we circled the orchard's perimeter). I think it's easier just to buy the pre-picked, pre-packaged apples from the store they have on sight! (Granny Smiths were available for picking but not available for sale in the store. They're not quite ready yet. I had to purchase another apple variety instead - stayman winesap - because I want to bake something, darn it!) It was nice to have the experience though. :o)

1/2 peck = $6
1 peck = $10
1 bushel = $15? I think that's right... Ridiculously affordable! :oD

We got there pretty early, around 9:15 am to 9:30 am. I had two sets of directions - one from Google Maps and the other using my GPS. I used the Google Maps from home until I hit Georgia 52 West, then I followed the GPS. Highway 52 is a circle, so I ended up taking the long way around to the orchard. -____-" You should just take 52 East, if you decide to go to that orchard. (Upon hearing about my trip, a friend made a comment about better orchards. More on those later.) The drive itself was pretty straight-forward. There were hardly any other people there at that time - score! It started getting crowded around 11 am or so though. There was a make-shift food stand just outside the store, so we opted to eat there for lunch before we left.

The other two orchards are Mercier and Jaemor. I'm curious to see what these two are like, especially compared to B.J. Reece. I can safely say both of their websites are significantly better in quality! Maybe I will round up another group of friends to try one of those places in October! :o) I don't know if I'd go apple-picking again per se but I could stockpile apples, hehe. It's a good place to go and not that bad of a drive - an hour and a half from where I live in. :o) Of course, I could always frequent any of the farmer's markets in the metro area as well... We shall see!