Mom’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

pieHappy 4th of July weekend, everyone! If you’re looking for something special to bring to a backyard celebration, look no further. Mom’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is awesome (like my Mom… she’s awesome, too!). Let’s get started…

Ingredients (Makes 1 pie)

For the filling:

2 1/2 cups Continue reading

Chiles en Nogada

WIN_20150924_182712 Chiles en Nogada is an amazing dish from Puebla, Mexico. The green poblano peppers, white creamy sauce, and red pomegranate seeds bring the colors of the Mexican flag together in one bright burst of flavor. Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we love Mexican cuisine… and of all of the Mexican dishes we’ve sampled, we love Chiles en Nogada the very most! It’s a beautiful, memorable dish to serve at a dinner party, and the completed dish freezes very well.

Many versions of Chiles en Nogada include Continue reading

Chinese New Year: Poached Tuna with Noodles

WIN_20160116_133238Chinese New Year falls on Monday, February 8th this year. 2016 is the year of the Red Fire Monkey. You fall under the sign of the monkey if you were born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, or 2016. Chinese astrology suggests that people born under the sign of the monkey should expect competition and challenge in 2016.

10 Pcs Fine Bone China Blue and White Bowl, with Free 10 Porcelain Spoons, Rice Bowl, Cereal Bowl, Soup Bowl, Fruit Bowl Set

Chinese New Year celebrations often span one week or longer, involving spectacular parties, fireworks, family reunions, and lots and lots of food! Today’s recipe for Poached Tuna with Noodles is just the dish to get you in the spirit of things, while still being kind to your body. Poached Tuna with Noodles is a heart-healthy dish complete with long vermicelli noodles for good luck! Noodles represent longevity, and according to superstition should never be cut.

WIN_20160116_131938Ingredients (Makes 4 side dish servings or 2 main dish servings)

4 inch piece of lemongrass, lightly crushed with the broad side of a knife

1 lime leaf

2 tablespoons tom yum paste

WIN_20160116_1307271/4 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated or finely minced

4 cups water

1 handful of vermicelli noodles (pinch your thumb and index finger together to make a circle, and fill the circle with noodles)

2 tablespoons dried shiitake mushrooms, broken into pieces

6 ounce tuna steak, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup snow pea pods, sliced into matchsticks

WIN_20160116_131525Directions

Step 1) Combine lemongrass, lime leaf, tom yum paste, ginger, and water in a wok or large pot. Bring to a boil.

Step 2) Add broken shiitake mushrooms and vermicelli noodles. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.

Step 3) Add tuna pieces and simmer for 5 minutes or until tuna is just barely pink in the center.

Step 4) Remove wok from heat. Stir in sliced snow pea pods. Serve immediately.

Apple Cranberry Pie

WIN_20150822_102136I originally made these Apple Cranberry Pies for my cousin’s wedding celebration. It was a magically homespun sort of wedding… think outdoors with perfect weather, wildflowers everywhere, mason jars and homemade pies. The bride looked like she stepped right out of a fairy tale. Sigh. I digress.

Back to the present… apple cranberry pie would be lovely for Thanksgiving! Pressed for time and leery of homemade crust? Feel free to pick up a box of rolled-up, ready to use pie crusts in the refrigerator case at your supermarket and skip right to Step 4. I won’t tell anyone.

Ingredients (serves 8)

Crust:

2 1/2 cups white flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

2/3 cup cold, unsalted butter (please use real butter for this!)

6 tablespoons vodka

4 tablespoons cold water

2 eggs

WIN_20150822_085150Filling:

6 cups peeled, sliced apples (I used 4 Macintosh and 4 Cortland apples)

1/2 cup cranberries (frozen are fine)

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)

pie1Directions

Step 1) Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, salt, and allspice in a small mixing bowl. Add cold butter. Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry cutter, until mixture resembles a bowl of pea-size crumbs.

Step 2) Sprinkle water and vodka over butter mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time. Don’t dump the liquid all in one place! Gently incorporate until a ball of dough forms. If you need to use your hands, that’s fine.

pie2Step 3) Divide dough in half. Roll each half on a lightly floured countertop using a lightly floured rolling pin until the dough is approximately a 12 inch circle. It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle, no matter what some cookbooks tell you (we’ll fix it later, don’t worry).

Step 4) Fold one of the dough circles over the rolling pin to transfer to a deep dish pie pan. Simply pat the dough lightly into place. If the dough tears, don’t panic, just patch it back together with your fingers. I won’t tell anyone, and seriously, nobody will notice if your crust isn’t picture perfect. Carry on…

pie3Step 5) This is why we don’t care if the crust is a perfect circle… use a small knife to slice off all of the dough that hangs past the edges of your pan! We’ll make it look all fancy in a moment, but for now, we just want the dough even with the edges.

Step 6) Using a tiny cookie cutter or other mold, cut tiny shapes (approximately 1 square inch) from the dough scraps. Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired. Set shapes aside.

Step 7) Cover your pie crust with a towel, and make your filling… Combine your apple slices, cranberries, sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and cardamom in a large bowl. Mix gently until ingredients are combined.

WIN_20150822_090102Step 8) Sprinkle the bottom of your pie crust with shredded coconut. This is entirely optional, and you really won’t taste the coconut. This steps helps to absorb excess liquid from the pie filling. If you don’t like coconut, try sprinkling the bottom of your pie crust with finely ground pecans.

Step 9) Pour your apple cranberry pie filling into your pie pan. Isn’t it pretty?

Step 10) Top your pie with the second circle of dough. Use your fingers to gently crimp the top and bottom crusts together. Don’t worry if the edge doesn’t look fancy like a cooking show pie crust… just say your pie crust is “rustic” and move on with your day.  😉

WIN_20150822_092220Step 11) Cut a few slits in your top crust for steam to escape. Brush beaten egg over the top pie crust, and stick on the little dough shapes you cut a few minutes ago. Just work with what you have, and try to space your little dough shapes evenly. There, look at that lovely pie crust! No perfect circle required. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired.

Step 12) Bake your apple cranberry pie on a low rack in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!