Minestra

Minestra
Minestra

Friday, October 13, 2017

Impossibly easy Zucchini pie

Throw back, savory Zucchini pie. Back in the 80's The Bisquick box featured "Impossibly easy pies". Well this one became a staple at our house; everyone loved it! I found this recipe on line, I think this is close to what mom made. I added some more veggies and bulked it up some. The cooking time was way off from the 30 Min. recommended. Looks pretty good to me! I am going to up the cooking time. This is my revision with add ins. I also used about 1/2 cup more zucchini and double the parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Vegetable Stew. A.K.A. Maltese Minestra.

Hello, friends,
Today I am making, famers market fresh, vegie stew. A.K.A. Maltese, minestra. Brought to you, from the island of Malta, by way of Brooklyn N.Y. Someday I would feel blessed to have a small farm. I get over whelmed, reading about Tractors, seeders and on and on, you get the picture,
I know nothing! Anyway, my mom had so much knowledge, I wish she was still around. She knew how to deal with most any vegetable, or meat for that matter. This recipe is a little of what I was able to learn from her. God bless friends. Stay with me, I know, you all will appreciate this simple, nutritious, economical recipe.  
The raw ingredients. Way to the back right, you will see some very nice Northern spy apples. That's for desert. I am going to try and get fancy with the pastry; after all I am the pie king! what's a trip to market if no pie ingredients? Stay tuned, pie lovers!
First as per the formula, we finely dice the aromatics. They are sweated in the stock pot with plenty of salt to help them break down, along with some pepper. I like to season this at every stage. there are lots of veggies to season here.

After a good fifteen to twenty minutes of vigilantly stirring the aromatics over medium low heat, the veggies release all there liquid. The flavors are concentrated. To this we add the yellow split peas, tomato paste and bay leaf. Sweat for an additional two minutes, this is what your stew base should look like. 


Add to the base in the stock pot the remainder of the veggies. They should be chopped to a rough, rustic cut. Stir well, add some more salt ./ pepper. Add water to just cover the vegies. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for two plus hours, till the liquid thickens. Add the cannelloni beans, elbow macaroni and zucchini. Simmer for 30 more minutes.  Serve warm with parmigiana cheese on top. 
Enjoy! Minestra was a staple in our Maltese American household. Mom raise 7 kids, on a shoestring budget, thanks to recipes like this one. 



Thursday, September 28, 2017

Nanny's Cauliflower Pie

welcome back, food fans.

 Today, we are taking a stroll down memory lane. Cauliflower pie was one of my moms go to side dish recipes. Cauliflower pie is quick and easy to make, with just a few ingredients.
I love the fall harvest. Out and about, making our weekly rounds though the Union Square farmer's market. We came away with some really nice delicata squash, a bag of organic farmer ground half and half flour, and last but certainly not least, orange cauliflower.  This colorful variety of cauliflower has been around for a good few years now. Each of the colors are chock full of antioxidants. The orange, that we will be using today for example, has a genetic mutation that allows the plant to hold more beta carotene. It also contains about 25% more vitamin A than white cauliflower. First discovered in Canada in 1970,  it took years of crossbreeding before it was widely available.
Frist thing is first, I started some water to boil in a large pot. While I was waiting for the water to boil, I cored the cauliflower and cut it into florets. Next, I prepared the rest of the ingredients. Once the water was at a rolling boil, I dropped the florets in with a palm full of salt for 5 minutes. 

After the 5 minutes, I drained the florets in a colander. The florets went back into the now dry pot. With an old school potato masher, I smashed the cauliflower good. The prepared additional ingredients were added in with the mashed cauliflower and mixed together thoroughly.
The cauliflower mixture was put into a 10 inch Pyrex pie pan and spread out evenly. The top was covered with Kraft American cheese.

After 20 minutes in the oven, out comes a savory side dish pie, one that you will be proud to serve for any type of gathering.
  
If you would like Nanny Falzon's recipe, just sign up to follow the pie king by email. You will receive this great recipe in return. Additionally, you will be sure not to miss any of the Roadside Pie King's original recipes. The first 500 people to sign up by email, will receive two Nanny Falzon bonus recipes! All free of charge or obligation!

 Peace,
 The Roadside Pie King

  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Roasted Delicata Squash Pie

Fall is in the air, the thought of pumpkin spice dancing in your head. What better time to make a pumpkin pie 100% from scratch? Well, truth be told, I've been there and done that. Fresh pumpkin is a bear to work with and contains a lot of liquid. Unless you like your pie runny, you're going to have to reduce the fresh pumpkin flesh before you even think about making a filling. That being said, if it is pumpkin pie you crave, opt for 100% pure canned pumpkin. Fast forward to 2017. I was recently introduced to Delicata, a wonderful, creamy, sweet fleshed winter squash. These thin skinned, nutty/sweet flavored squash require no peeling! The skin is tender enough to eat once cooked. The texture is creamy and lends itself perfectly to pie filling. 
Delicata squash, as beautiful as it is tasty. The yellow skin with bright green stripe is quite striking.

The first step in making fresh, locally sourced, Delicata squash pie, is preparing the squash. This step is a recipe in it's own right. The slightly caramelized squash makes a great side dish. 
Roasted Delicata squash

Ingredients
  • 3 medium Delicata squash (3Lbs. whole)
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil (Divided)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Directions
Preheat the oven to 450F and arrange the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
  • Wash the squash thoroughly in cold water, with a soft vegetable brush or your fingers.
  • Remove the stem, slice lengthwise with a seriated edge knife.
  • Remove the seeds with a spoon or melon baller.
  • Slice into 1/2" half moon shaped pieces.
  • In a medium sized bowl, toss the squash with 3 Tbs. of the olive oil and the salt.
  • Grease a rimmed cookie sheet with the remaining 1 Tbs. of olive oil
  • Arrange the squash on the greased cookie sheet, in a single layer. They can be crowded, but not overlapping.
  • Roast the squash in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes on each side, until slightly caramelized.
  • Sprinkle with a little more salt and serve warm as a side dish or set aside to cool, for use in another application. 
The pie pastry

For this step, feel free to use your favorite pie pastry recipe, or *shudder* use store brought.

My pie pastry recipe, will give you enough to make four single pastry 9" pies. Which means you will always have a pie pastry at the ready!
 I just happened to have some pie dough, that had been defrosting overnight in the fridge
The chilled dough was easy enough to pat out into a 12 inch round.
The pastry was then transferred to the pie plate and the edges trimmed. I saved the excess (maybe I will try something creative). The pie plate was covered with plastic and placed in the fridge. Now for the filling.
 Delicata pie filling

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk or cream
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 medium (3 pounds whole with the seeds, before cooking) Delicata squash
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 425F. 

  • Puree the roasted squash in a food processor.
  • Combine the evaporated milk, sugars, spices, salt, and eggs. Add to the squash and pulse until smooth.
  • Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • To bake: Place the pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake it for 15 minutes at 425°F. Reduce the oven's temperature to 350°F and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes, until the pie is mostly set and a 1" to 2" circle in the center still wobbles a bit when you nudge the pan. Remove the pie from the oven and cool it completely before slicing.
Pureed Delicata squash.

The rest of the filling ingredients whisked together. 

The combined filling in the shell. I have to take more care with my end-game. Fluting the crust is my albatross. Now into the preheated oven.

The pie is out of the oven and looking good. My only negative observation- it looks like a little too much filling. See you later with the taste test!

The verdict is in, first as to my concerns, 1. The crust: It looks just fine. It is not fancy or a show stopper, but it looks, pretty okay. 2. The filling: Once the pie cooled, the filling settled into the pie. Not too much filling, instead over stuffed, just like the Pie king likes it!

From a taste stand point, the pie was as close to perfect as anyone could hope. The total of 1/2 cup of sugar, made for a not overly sweet pie. The natural sweetness and nutty flavor of the delicata rings out. the filling was creamy and delicious. The crust was crispy and tender.  
 Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed hearing about delicata pie, as much as I enjoyed making it. Please leave a comment, let me know what you think. I value your feed back. Try the recipe for yourself, you and your guests will love it. Please share your photos and story.

 Peace,
 The Roadside Pie King


















Saturday, September 23, 2017

Cranberry season!



Hello Friends,

 Today's blog post has two parts, both using cranberry as the main ingredient. Part one, cranberry raisin pumpkin bread, is a recipe from the book,  Baking with Julia, by Dorie Greenspan (Pg.108.) This recipe, a two day bake, makes a wonderfully tender, rich, brioche like bread. Well worth the time. Part two, is a rustic cranberry coffee cake/pie. By contrast, I threw this one together in 20 minutes. The recipe is from my new friend Diane. Diane, is the owner of Diane's Dynamics, a blog page dedicated to the homesteading lifestyle. I will drop links to both Dorie's page and Diane's page at the end of the post. Go there and you will find the exact recipes. Lets get started!

Cranberry raisin pumpkin brioche bread
This recipe make three small loafs, I made two big ones. I used, 91/2x6x3 loaf pans. You will definitely need a mixer for this dough. The dough is sticky, heavy and takes a while to come together. Additionally, you will need some experience. There are a few variables you will have to work with, such as the amount of liquid in your pumpkin. I had to use my experience in bread making to add enough extra flour to form a nice dough. The dough took a good 20 min. to come together, at medium speed, in my kitchen aid mixer. Here's what it looked like
The dough takes some time, but once it comes together it makes a nice, albeit sticky, dough. 
I left the dough to rise at room temperature for two hours. By then it had doubled. I gently deflated the dough and put it in the refrigerator for a slow, cold, overnight ferment. By the next morning it had doubled again. At this point the dough would sit till it reached room temp. I set an instant read thermometer for 68F. 
After about five hours we were up to temp. I rolled the dough onto a lightly floured counter, split it into two equal halves. One at a time, I carefully stretched the dough into 15x 8 inch rectangles. Then I rolled the dough up jellyroll style from the short end, carefully sealing as I rolled. Alas, I should have did a letter fold and a bench rest before rolling, I missed a step. No worries, it came out okay. Now the shaped breads are in the pans for the final proofing. 
 After a two hour proof they were doubled, puffy and ready for the oven; so I popped them in.
They cooked in a well preheated oven at 350F. for 35 minutes. They came out perfectly done. 
I really like this holiday treat bread. It's so good plain, or toasted with butter! It takes some time and a little work, but well worth the effort!




The last photo is a sneak peak at part two!

You can get the recipe over at Dorie Greenspan's page:  This Bountiful Backyard


Don't forget to come back and tell me how it worked for you.

Part two:
Cranberry, orange coffee cake / pie

I had about three cups of nice plump juicy cranberries left after using one cup in the brioche bread. 
My friend Diane shared her recipe for this "peach" of a cranberry pie with me. While the bread was in the oven I quickly assembled the needed components.
  • Unsalted butter
  • Cranberries
  • Sugar (I used Brown)
  • Orange juice and zest
  • Salt
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla
  • A.P. flour

That was the hardest part of this recipe. Now all that was left was to mix it all together in the pie pan.

I was not sure if the pie was going to be too tart. To my delight, it was not! It was so tasty and just tart enough! This will definitely grace the Falzon holiday table this year! Thanks Diane, this is a winner! I owe you a chicken dinner! Stop back soon, The Delicata squash in the photo will be pumpkin/ squash pie soon!

Diane has the full recipe at her homestead: 




  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

100% whole wheat Irish soda bread


Hello, friends,
Todays bake is a Jane Mason, inspired, 100% whole wheat Irish soda bread. Boy they don't call it quick bread for nothing! If you are interested in Ms. Masons, original formula, you can find it on her web site. Virtuous Bread http://www.virtuousbread.com/about/
My interpretation, is a hybrid of the white flour soda bread I make and Ms. Masons formula. The following are some of the extras I added.

1. Baking powder
2. Caraway seed...
3. Orange zest
4. Butter
5. Raisins and dry cranberry
6. Egg
7. Greek Yogurt
8. Black strap molasses
The bread is out of the oven cooling, the house smells divine!
The photos:
1. All the ingredients and implements, assembled in my tiny kitchen.
2. The fat (butter) cut in and the liquid added; ready to mix.
3. all the ingredients incorporated and the dough shaped.
4. Out of the oven, smelling great. After dinner my official taster, (wife) will get the first slice!

5. Update: The crumb shot!
This is a keeper! I am Very happy with this healthier, whole wheat soda bread. In fact it is so good, It can totally replace my white flour version.


Thanks for stopping by Diane. I am glad you tried and liked the recipe! Yours looks great too! 

  100% Whole wheat Irish soda bread

 By, The Roadside Pie King

Ingredients Dry

  • 650 Grams White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 TBS. Caraway seed
  • 2 TBS. Orange zest
  • 4 TBS. butter
  • 1 cups raisins & 1 cup dry cranberry



Ingredients Wet
  • Egg beaten
  • 450 grams reduced fat butter milk
  • 150 grams plain whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 TBS. Black strap molasses

  • Directions
  • In a big mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt, caraway seeds and orange zest
  • Cut in butter until it reaches a coarse meal consistency. I used a pastry knife.
  • Add raisins and cranberry
  • Combine liquids separately. Add liquids to dry ingredients.
  • Mix until a soft dough forms. At some point it will become hard to stir it, and it will be better to use your hands. Kneading the dough is the best way to combine all the ingredients completely. The dough will be sticky, use wet hands to keep it from sticking. Do not add more flour. Knead right in the bowl, as little as possible to incorporate all the ingredients.
  • Shape the dough into A ball, place it on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten the ball slightly and cut an X about 1/4" deep in the top of the loaf.
  • Bake at 375 for 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.





Friday, September 15, 2017

Lemon Cake: Challenge accepted and met


I have been sending my wife to work with some breads I bake, the last few weeks. The girls at her office liked them so much, I was drafted to bake the cake for a birthday party tomorrow. When my wife came home and told me, I was like cake? I have not baked any kind of cake in five years. Her response was OK then, I'll tell them you can't do it. Wait a minute not so fast, I did bake a mean Brooklyn black out cake back then. Challenge excepted! Now these ladies had a very specific cake in mind, they wanted yellow cake, lemon filling and vanilla frosting with shredded coconut. Here is my answer to there request. every part of the cake was made from scratch. the lemon filling tastes so good I could eat the whole bowl plain. the frosting was a little to sweet for my taste. The little piece of cake I tasted was fine. I hope they save me a slice. Here is the link to the formula I used.