Sunday, September 11, 2011

An Apple Galette to Remember.

This goes out to each and every hero everywhere.

This song is a personal favourite of mine.  It always makes me pause to remember those we have lost and those who still fight. (The Highway of Heroes is a stretch of highway 401 in Ontario and happens to be the route our fallen soldiers are taken when they arrive home.  People gather on the bridges along the Highway waving flags and signs to honour the fallne.) It never fails to make my eyes well up.
September 11, 2001 will forever be etched in our minds.  It is the focus of the "Where were you when" questions of this generation.  I remember where I was, and I know you do as well.  I was working in a grade 7 classroom in which the teacher had stepped out for a minute.  When he came back, he poked his head in the door and asked "May I speak to you for a minute?". I stepped to the door and he said to me "A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center!" I stood there perplexed, taking in the statement.  I think everyone that day instantly craved more information.  What happened? Why did it happen? Are people okay? What we going to do?

The next few days were spent glued to the TV news, reading the papers....The reality of it all was so overwhelming. How could something like this happen?

Today's memorials on TV have been just as emotional to watch. The memories, the thoughts, the hopes that people have been able to move on, recover, and live.

I know how emotional I became just when we visited New York in 2008.  Just being at the site brought on so many emotions.  As I read through some blogs today, all of them had lovely words of remembrance as well as stories.

Each of us does something different to remember and honour those affected by the tragic events of 9-11.  Marla over at Family Fresh Cooking has great idea for those of us who bake.  We bake to remember is a great way for bakers to read and share their thoughts and stories about 9-11.  We also get to link up our post and see other posts of what everyone has put together.

9-11 Remembrance –

Today was a busy day but lucky for me I had some pie dough in the freezer.  I also had a couple of granny smith apples hanging about an good old apple pie?

1 pie crust of your choice.
2 granny smith apples
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup flour (or 2 tbsp corn starch)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1 tbsp water

Peel and slice the apples.  Mix in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour and set aside.

Sprinkle some flour on the counter and roll out the pie crust.  Transfer the crust to a baking sheet.

Tip the apples onto the centre of the crust and fold up the edges so they come over the top edges of the apples.

Beat the egg with the water and brush this egg wash on the crust.

Bake in a 400 F oven until the crust is golden and the apples are cooked.

(I think next time I will remember to add some dabs of butter to the top of the apples).

I had some left over pie crust....hmmm......I rolled it out, cut it into strips, gave them a few twists, brushed them with egg wash....then sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar......bake at 400 for 15 minutes....oh my!!

I bake to remember.  Enjoy your baking with your loved ones.

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Back to Work Cheesey Stuffed Burgers: The Last Meal

 Please don't make me go back...the summer flew by so quickly....I am no where near done with my summer.  SIGH...

 Now that we have the new BBQ we have used it twice in as many days! After all, we must squeeze in as much summer as possible!  The evenings have a chill settling in over them and mornings are quite cool.  This is a sure sign autumn is creeping in.  SIGH. Now don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the bounty of the garden with fresh tomatoes, corn, carrots, and beets almost at the ready but the fact that dusk is settling in around 8:30 pm means we are getting closer to cooler weather.  I do look forward to the beautiful fall colours and the change....I just wish winter didn't last so darn long.

Some of our garden bounty
 I dubbed tonight's dinner "Last meal" as it is my last dinner of summer vacation.  I really can't complain, I do get 2 months off....but going back is just so darn hard.  Tomorrow morning I actually have to get out of bed when that alarm goes off instead of giving Hubby the boot....ACK!!  I will definitely need my morning tea, my mid morning tea, my lunch hour tea, and my mid afternoon tea.....or perhaps a caffeine patch of some sort.

While assembling the meat and fixings to make burgers this afternoon, I decided that I wanted to make these burgers a little more special so I tucked cheese in the middle of each burger.  But you know what? That wasn't special enough for me so I made some pretzel rolls.  Guess what? It still needed something else so I cooked up the rest of that bacon left over from making that sinful pie.

The Boy manned the BBQ again tonight...he does such a fabulous job cooking up burgers!

The boy certainly chose the most comfy chair possible for his BBQ session!

Cheese stuffed burgers. This made 9 burgers tonight.

3 lbs ground beef
2 small onions
1 egg
2/3 cup bread crumbs
9 slices cheese (I used processed cheese slices today but any think square of flavourful cheese will do)

Grate the onion, mix in a healthy pinch of salt and a healthy pinch of pepper.

Add the ground beef and bread crumbs.
Gently mix by hand.
Divide beef mixture into equal portions. For these burgers, I used a 1/3 cup measure. (Next time I will use a 1/4 cup measure for each half, just so the burgers aren't so big...they were soooooo filling!)

Each measure will be joined with another to make sandwich cheese in the middle.
Flatten out half of your meat lumps and pair them with another portion of meat.
Fold a slice of process cheese into quarters.

Place a quarter in the middle of each patty.

Take the partner meat lump, flatten it out and place on top of the other.  Make sure to gently pat and form the patty to seal the edges.
Let the patties rest in the fridge

We had a couple of cheese blowouts!!!

How could you not enjoy these??

Have a great week everyone.  Wish me luck on surviving my first week back!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

If Sin Was a Pie, Then this Pie is The Biggest Sin EVER

Happy Bacon Day!!
Yup! That's right...this pie has bacon on the top of it....yes, it is an apple pie.  Yes, it tasted so good, it was sinful!!  I needed something a little sinful so close to the end of summer...

Tuesday will be my first day back at summer is over and a new school year begins.  No more sleeping in, no more staying up late, no more wait, that's not right.  Fun is always to be had, sleeping in and staying up late will happen on the weekends! All is good.  This week was much better than the week before.

It was a busy week!!
  • The show "Wicked" was in town, and it was just that, Wicked!! Amazing!!!
  • Trips to the gym, Cost co, and just plain getting ready for the back to school season....felt busy, but good.
  • The Boy and I made perogies (with a cheddar bacon potato filling). He did a fabulous job pinching perogies.  Although I don't think we got as many in the freezer for fall as I wanted.  Many perogies fell into his mouth as soon as they were boiled! I am surprised he didn't burn his mouth! We had fun and they tasted great.

  • BBQs went on sale at Home Depot so we upgraded.  You know, from no BBQ to one so big it is like challenge to see just how much food I can fit on the grill.  We are working on some ribs for the inaugural BBQing.  The Boy helped with the ribs as well.  I think my kitchen job is in danger!

Now on with the sin....It felt so sinful just thinking of making this pie, never mind actually baking it.  I originally got this idea from Karen at Tasty Trials.  I had bookmarked this recipe when she first posted it and National Bacon Day seemed like the perfect time to try it out.  Now I didn't follow her recipe exactly, I mean how many of us actually do follow the recipe?  Karen is much like me and usually forgoes recipes.  Recipes are really just guidelines.  Once you know the methods, you can change it up.

Sin is In Apple Bacon Maple Pie

Printable recipe here

Pie crust of your choice (homemade or store bought)
14 slices Bacon (10 slices for the top weave and 4 to cook and crumble)
reserved bacon grease
8 granny smith apples
Squeeze lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup maple syrup (give or take)
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup flour
¼ cup white sugar

springform pan (or a deep dish pie plate)

Roll out a thicker bottom pie crust than you normally would. (you want a substantial base for all the apples and bacon.)  Chill the pie crust until ready to use.

On a piece of parchment, construct a weave of bacon.  Place in a cold oven and turn oven on to 300F. Let the bacon weave bake away until slightly crisp but not overly crispy as it will continue to cook on the top of the pie.
In a large fry pan, fry the last 4 slices of bacon until crisp. Be careful not to burn the bacon or the pan. Drain the bacon on paper towels and cool.  Save the bacon fat in a bowl for later.

Peel, core and slice your apples.  Toss with some lemon juice.  Mix with the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour.

Add the white sugar to the hot pan with the bacon grease and tasty bits to start the caramelizing process.  Add in about ¼ cup of maple syrup.

Tip the apples into the pan and cook until caramelly and thickened but you don’t want the apples cooked through.  Let the mixture cool.

Crumble the four slices of bacon and mix in with the apples.

When the bacon weave is cooked, but not crisp, remove it from the oven and place it on paper towels to drain.

Remove the pie crust from the fridge and brush the entire surface with bacon fat.

Pour the apples and syrup mixture into the crust and bake at 400F for 20minutes.  Check the pie, if the edges are over browning, cover with foil and bake another 10 minutes.

Top the pie with the bacon weave.  Brush the bacon with 2 tbsp maple syrup.  Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove pie, brush bacon with more maple syrup, reduce oven temp to 300.  Bake for another 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove the pie, brush again with maple syrup and bake for another 12 minutes.

Resist eating the pie until it has cooled somewhat... you don't want to burn your mouth!!

Serve while in the company of good friends!
I am not going to lie to you....this was absolutely divine!!! Discussion actually touched on the topic of 'too much bacon' (if you can believe it).  Suggestions were made of perhaps a litte extra bacon in the pie and no weave on the nice as the weave of bacon looked, it was a LOT of bacon!  The caramelly/maple goodness went sooooo well with the bacon. This pie is a must to try at least once!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!!