Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Pie Day!

Today is national pie day, so of course I have to wish everyone a Happy Pie Day! It's really fitting to take place this week, since our new president is such a huge fan of pie.

I also want to share an article on pie (and my pie book), that appeared in yesterday's food section of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (you can check it out here). Of course I also have a favorite pie recipe to share with you too. And, just in case you want a visual for this recipe, you can check out the video here (which I filmed for the morning show "Better").

Julie’s Easy Blueberry Pie
Preheat oven to 400°F
10-inch glass or ceramic pie plate, 10-inch cast iron or ovenproof skillet
Serves 6

4 cups frozen blueberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 5 tbsp water
1/4 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine (such as Earth Balance), melted

1. Filling: In a saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar and 1/4 cup water. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together corn and 5 tablespoons water until smooth. Stir cornstarch mixture into hot berries and simmer until thick and mixture is clear, carefully stirring.
3. Remove saucepan from heat and scoop mixture into prepared dish.
4. Topping: In a small bowl, mix together flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Add melted margarine, stirring until incorporated. Using your fingertips, work margarine into flour mixture, squeezing until nice and crumbly.
5. Sprinkle topping over blueberry filling and bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until topping is nicely browned.

Copyright © 2008 Julie Hasson

Happy Pie Day!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Storing Grains

After the last post on grains, I received some great questions about how I store my grains and flours. Since I buy large amounts of wheat and a few other grains, there's no way that I would be able to refrigerate them. At least not without a walk in cooler. What I do is buy big Cambro buckets at the restaurant supply store (they're open to the public), which will usually hold 25 pounds. They are super handy, and the same buckets/storage containers that restaurants use. I started using them back when we opened our first bakery. They work really well, and are airtight with snug lids. They stack too! I also add a couple of bay leaves to each bucket, to keep bugs at bay.

Of course large glass jars are fantastic too. Depending on the size of the jar/crock, you can often fit a 5 pound bag of grains or flour in them. This is my fave for smaller amounts of grain and flour, and what I keep out on my counter. Large canning jars work well too (like the pic above).

I should add that I do refrigerate brown rice, because this does have the tendency to go rancid pretty quickly. But other than rice, the rest is stored safely in buckets. That reminds me, a cold garage this time of year is a great place to store your grains (which are sealed in buckets or jars, of course). Oh, and in the heat of the summer, I make sure to move the grains to a cool spot inside the house (pantry or closet), because the garage can become very hot that time of year.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Amazing Grains

I know that I've talked about it before, but I just have to share the love again. I am in complete and utter love with grinding my own flour. Not only is it economical and nutricious, but it's the freshest, best tasting flour I've ever used! I literally use all whole grain flours in my baking now, and the baked goods come out really light and delicious. The white wheat flour has a sweet and slightly nutty flavor.

One of my favorite flours to grind is white wheat pastry flour. It's truly unbelievable, and a flour that's not sold commercially. I start with soft white wheat berries (from Bob's Red Mill), which I buy in a 25 pound bag. Then about once a week, I grind the berries into a beautiful, silky white wheat pastry flour. I do the same with hard white wheat, which I grind into a really nice bread flour. It makes a fantastic whole grain sandwich loaf, which is my new, go-to bread of choice. Next up is home-ground spelt flour.

Of course there are many other flours that I grind regularly. Garbanzo beans, black beans, pinto beans, red lentils and yellow split peas all make great flours. With the bean flours, you can make instant refried beans and silky soups (including split pea). They're also great for thickening sauces, soups and gravies too. Oh and let's not forget rice. Rice flour makes a nice crisp coating for tofu, but it's also wonderful in gluten-free baking too.

The grain mill that I use for grinding flour is The Wonder Mill. It's easy to use, super easy to clean, can grind 100 pounds of grain in an hour and has a strong, powerful motor. I keep it in my cupboard and pull it out as needed. It's not heavy, so it only takes a couple of minutes to set out on my counter.

I can't help myself. I'm becoming a whole grain junkie!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Sorry for the little blogging holiday. It started with getting sick, but then after a series of snowstorms I just really enjoyed hanging out and playing with my family. It was fun not being able to drive, hunkering down in front of a fire, pulling out dusty board games and just really enjoying the relaxed pace.

You can rest assured though that I'm back. Fortunately during the snow storms I also had lots of quality time in the kitchen, which means fun new recipes coming up on Everyday Dish, not to mention a new addition to our site. I also spent some time working on upcoming magazine articles, and another top secret project (which I will spill the beans about soon). So, it seems that maybe I didn't relax quite as much as I thought I did. Funny how that happens.

Oh, and before I forget, there's a new recipe up on Everyday Dish for Rustic White Beans. It's one of my favorite recipes, and a deliciously healthy start to the new year. Try it, and let me know what you think. Don't worry if you don't have a pressure cooker, you can cook the beans in a pot on the stove, it will just take a bit longer to cook.

I hope everyone had an awesome holiday season!

Happy cooking!