Monthly Archives: November 2008

Ünd vat’s een your hübschen pantry?


I’m always fascinated by what other cooks keep in their pantries. Why? Maybe it’s just culinary curiosity. Or maybe it’s survival instinct – that primitive part of my Northeastern Pennsylvania cerebral cortex that tells me to get thee to the market and stock up the day before a big snow. Today, I’m off to Wegman’s to find the perfect pantry products with which to keep my bounty full. My staples are of course extra virgin olive oil (find great deals at MaineSource in Scranton’s Keyser Oak Shopping Center), sea salt (Everything Natural in Clarks Summit has the best stock) and whole black peppercorns (Weg’s). But what are other great finds to keep on hand? Here’s a list of goodies that can keep you feeling warm and fuzzy for a few days from Better Homes and Gardens:

What is a pantry?
Forget all about grandma’s closet full of dusty, moldering jars and canned goods. The pantry isn’t really a place as much as a state of mind. It’s a way of thinking and planning ahead when you shop so you always have basic food items on hand. After you’ve stocked your pantry, supermarket trips may be less frequent. You’ll only need to shop for perishable foods and depleted pantry items. The physical pantry in your home is any cool, dry place you can store food items for a length of time, including kitchen cupboards, shelves — even a little floor space in a closet will work. Your refrigerator and freezer are part of the pantry, too!

How does it work?

Pantry items are considered dry goods or staples, things you always have on hand. Ideally, they will keep for a long time in storage, or are fresh, perishable foods regularly used up before they spoil. The idea is to subvert the need to go grocery shopping every time you cook — a major hurdle when getting food on the table. You don’t have to buy everything at once; just buy what you think you’ll eat fairly often, and in small quantities so foods stay fresh. Build up your pantry gradually. Of course, not all ingredients work as pantry staples — fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and other foods are perishable.

Refrigerated and Frozen Items These foods generally have a short shelf life. Buy only those that you consume frequently, such as milk or eggs. If celery gets all noodly before you finish the bag, buy only as you need. On the other hand, some refrigerated foods that you use fairly often, such as cheeses, are considered staples. Cheese that keeps well in the refrigerator includes parmesan and romano. Some frequently used soft cheeses such as mozzarella and cheddar, may also be considered staples if you use them so frequently they don’t spoil. The freezer is an excellent place for pantry items. Often-used meats, such as chicken breasts and bacon, can be stored for short periods of time in the freezer.
Herbs and Spices Store dried herbs and spices in a cool, dry place (not above the stove) to keep them at their peak of flavor. They will lose much of their flavor after a year, so buy small containers.


My cüte kitchen…

Fancy pants pie crüst

Off from work today ) and after an invigorating trip to the gym I am back home to clean this apartment, decorate, and bake my fancy pants off! Fün!! Now I’ve gotten to thinking lately (dangerous thing, that) and figured out that since my last (maiden) name actually has the word PIE in it… I should probably git to bakin’ me some pies, eh? Well, guess what? I just finished baking an awesome pumpkin pie. So easy! Holy smokes… pies are great. Easy to make- they look great. Taste even better and they are practically fool proof. I switched up my daddo’s pumpkin pie recipe a bit…

Peter Paul’s Pumpkin Pie
1 can of pumpkin or pumpkin pie mix (15 oz) if you are in a hurry OR 1 whole organic pumpkin peeled, seeded, and pureed in the food processor
1/2 can of evaporated milk or 1 whole can if using a whole organic pumpkin
2 omega rich organic eggs (beaten)
splash of dark organic vanilla extract
sprinkles of “all spice” and “pumpkin pie” spice (McCormick) to taste
a grind of salt (to bring out the umami)
pie crusts (make your own below or buy ready made)
Combine all ingredient in a bowl. The eggs must be beaten before you add to the mix so beat the eggs in the can (or the rind) the pumpkin came in. Add mixture to a pie crust. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes then lower the temp to 350 for 50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Finito! Yum yum give me some!
Grandma Millie’s Nudist Camp Apple Pie
6-7 apples of your choice (peeled and cored and cut into pieces)
1.5 cups of sugar
1 splash of organic vanilla extract (brown)
a couple slabs of country fresh cream butter
a dash of all spice
a couple good dashes of cinnamon
a pinch of salt (that’s me)
a pinch of chili powder (me again)
Peel, cut, and core apples. Heat a large pan and drop a few slabs of country fresh butter into the pan. Once it starts sizzling add the apples and sauté for a good while… until they are soft and saucy (about 10 minutes). When you sauté the apples you are reducing the amount of water in the fruit and this eliminates the need to add flour and cornstarch which can hamper the integrity of the pie. Keep it au natural baby! I’m talking “nudist camp” apple pie here. No need to hide behind all that starch and glycemic madness! Keep it free, organic, natural, gooey, and delicious. Keep it real.
Meanwhile, add your cinnamon, sugar, all spice, salt, chili powder, and vanilla extract to the apples as they sauté in your country fresh butter. Careful not to burn da buttah! Mix with wooden spoon. Place your soft pie crust into the pie dish. Lightly flour the inside and outside of the pie crust.
Spoon apples into the pie crust. Add a couple pieces of country fresh butter to the inside for a nice rich flavour. Top with your other soft pie crust. Fold the upper crust under the lower crust and make a nice pinched/fluted design. Read here on how to do it. Brush the top of pie crust with an egg wash (1 beaten egg and some milk) and top with a good sprinkle of sugar for a pie that really glistens and glitters- add some granulated sprinkly sugar. Fun!
Cut some slits in the top of your pie so the steam is let out. Put tin foil around the edges of your pie so you don’t burn the edges. Place pie in preheated 400 degree oven. Bake for 40 minutes.
Let cool on wire rack but serve warm. Yummmmmmm! That’s a picture of Millie P’s pie up there that I baked today to bring to my Üdo family. God bless you and keep you laughing with the saints Gramma P. 🙂 xoxoxoxoxox!

Grandma P.’s Pie Crüst

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Crisco vegetable shortening
  • A grind of sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

Mix flour and salt in mixing bowl. Cut shortening into the flour with a pastry cutter, until mixture resembles the texture of tiny split peas. Do not use your hands to try and mix it, the heat from you hands will melt the shortening, causing the pastry to be “heavy”, not light and flaky. Once mixture is the right texture, add the ice water and combine with a fork. It may appear as if it needs more water it does not. Quickly gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a 4-inch-wide disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Remove dough disk from refrigerator. If stiff and very cold, let stand until dough is cool but malleable. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough disk on a lightly floured surface from the center out in each direction, forming a 12-inch circle. To transfer dough, carefully roll it around the rolling pin, lift and unroll dough, centering it in an ungreased 9-inch regular or deep-dish pie plate. (Or you can fold dough in quarters, then place dough point in center of pie pan and unfold dough, whatever is easiest for you.) Makes 1 (9-inch) pie crust. Recipe can be doubled for a two-crust pie. Or watch this video for help!

Üdo Ümami Saüsage Dressing

2 lbs. of hot spicy turkey sausage
2 large white spanish onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh tarragon leaves (this is the key ingredient)
1 slathering of olive oil
2 packages of coarsely chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 big pats of country cream fresh butter

Sauté the onions in olive oil until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the mushrooms. Add a slice of butter. Saute the mushrooms until crisp on the edges, about 10-15 minutes. Grind your sea salt and black pepper a few turns. Turn the heat to high and add the wine. Let the wine cook off for a couple of minutes, then lower the heat and simmer with the mushrooms for another 10 minutes. Stir in the rest of the country fresh cream butter until combined. Remove from heat and set aside.

In large skillet – squeeze the sausage out of it’s casings and brown it. When cooked all the way through add to the mushroom mixture along with the tarragon and combine. Your family will LOVE this! ::salivating::

Leftover TÜrkey? Üdo Ümami it!

1 lb ground turkey
1 C shredded apples (peel, core, and shred)
1 tbsp maple syrup 
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp Allspice 
2 tablespoons dried sage

Combine ingredients in a medium size bowl. Preheat a large pan.  Slather olive oil across the bottom. Groom your mixture into a patty cake formation (about 1/4 cup). Place in the pan. Sauté your cakes in the olive oil until bottom crisps and looks like it is cooked half way up the sausage. Turn over and cook until the other side is crisped up. You can substitute coconut oil for olive oil depending on your taste. I’m going to give it a whirl on black Friday so stay tuned!

What You Can Learn from Buddhism

When some people think about meditation, the first word that comes to mind is Buddhism. But most people know as much about Buddhism as they know about supernova nucleosynthesis. The goal of Buddhist meditation isn’t to suppress emotions that are harmful, but rather to identify how they arise, how they are experienced, and how they influence us over the long run. For Buddhists, the good life isn’t achieved by transcending an emotion — not even hatred — but by effectively managing it. Here are the three mental processes that are most toxic to the mind (and that lead to all kinds of mental suffering):

  • Craving: Me, mine, mmmm. Craving happens when a person exaggerates the good qualities of something (icing!) while ignoring the bad ones (calories!). Therefore, cravings can disrupt the balance of the mind, easily leading to anxiety, misery, fear, and anger.
  • Hatred: The reverse of craving, hatred exaggerates the bad qualities and deemphasizes the good ones. It’s driven by the wish to harm or destroy anything that gets in your way. The impression is that the dissatisfaction belongs to whatever it is that causes the hatred, when the actual source of it is in the mind alone.
  • Delusion: According to Buddhism, the self is constantly in a state of dynamic flux and is profoundly interdependent with other people and the environment. However, people habitually delude themselves about the actual nature of the self by superimposing the interpretations of their own reality.

Try this to help channel negative emotions: Wear some kind of wristband or rubber band on your wrist, and every time you find yourself doing something positive (like resisting bad cravings or feeling empathy rather than hatred), switch the band to the other wrist. That ritual of positive reinforcement helps reinforce good behavior — and acts as a warning against bad behavior.

Kaiser roll with the pünches…

Right. So I’m off to the gym and then to the market to get my ingredients for kaiser roll recipe. The rolls came out DELICIOUS!!! This recipe is AMAZING. Even if you make a few mistakes… you can’t go wrong!

The trickiest part I had was shaping the dough to make it look like rolls…. my rolls look RIDICULOUS. I mean really? The first batch looked awful.
Then I re-did the roles using this fool proof technique to make my rolls look wünderbar! Here they are! Don’t the look fab? Wait till you see one all dolled up in a sandwich. And what better way to blow off some steam? Bake yourself into a tantric bliss of yeasty goodness.