27 August 2013

Fresh Peach Pie

I spent a little time earlier in August worrying about whether I would be able to get peaches this year, so when I had a chance to get some (without waking at an ungodly hour, driving 30 minutes to get in line at the orchard and wait half the day--with two little kids, yeah right!) I bought a LOT!  We ended up canning and freezing about 52 quarts of peaches after we'd eaten some fresh and made a cobbler and a few pies.

Aren't they pretty . . . ?

My sister-in-law introduced me to this pie recipe the week before I got my peaches, and I loved it!  It uses fresh peach slices held together with a gelatin/cornstarch/water mixture and chilled rather than cooked.  I used a mix-in-the-pan pie crust (like this one) to keep things simple.  The crust is a bit crumblier than rolled pastry, but it is rich and delicious and goes nice with the fresh fruit.

The recipe I used for the filling (and the crust too) was from my trusty Esther Shank "Mennonite Country-Style Recipes" cookbook (simply referred to as "Esther Shank" by myself and others) and was quite similar to the one you'll find here.  I used only a 1/2 cup of sugar and omitted the corn syrup since I don't tend to keep that on hand.  I loved this pie and only wish I still had fresh peaches on hand to make some more.  My post-partum waistline can probably do without, though.  =) 

08 August 2013

Thai Squash

I came across this recipe for Thai squash some time ago and have enjoyed making it a lot recently.  It's fast, flavorful, and simple to put together once your squash or pumpkin is prepared.  I've been using butternut squash (clearing out the last of last year's crop!).

Here's the how-to:

Peel, seed, and slice two cups-worth of squash (we will understand from here on out that "squash" means "squash or pumpkin") into roughly domino-sized pieces.  See, I always want to make a bit more . . .

locate 30 peppercorns (trust me!) and 2 cloves of garlic

crush them!

Heat up one tablespoon of oil in a wok or skillet and add the garlic/peppercorn mixture.  Cook until the garlic begins to brown.  Add squash and one cup of water.  Stir and cook until squash is just soft (5-10 minutes).  When there is still a little water left add 2 tablespoons of fish sauce (trust me!) and one teaspoon of sugar.  Let sit a few minutes until ready to eat.  Serve with rice or on its own as a side dish.  We've eaten it a few times alongside sticky rice and laab.

If you don't have fish sauce in your pantry, you could try substituting soy sauce (I have not tried this) or just go buy the bottle of fish sauce and make more Asian food!  Besides using fish sauce in Thai and Vietnamese recipes I also add it to soups for a bit of saltiness and depth of flavor (like bouillon).

Pie Again

I posted what has become my favorite rhubarb pie recipe last summer when I first made it with rhubarb and blueberries.  This year I tried it with frozen--thawed--sliced strawberries, and it turned out fantastic again!  And pretty.

If you've got rhubarb, you really should try this simply delicious recipe!  And don't be afraid to use frozen rhubarb either--I dumped mine straight out of the freezer bag into the pie crust before it went in the oven and the texture was perfect.