Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

The Same Cake?

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

My mom and I have an ongoing discussion about what it means to follow a recipe.

She says, when you follow a recipe, you follow each step; no variation, no substitutions.  Otherwise, you’re not cooking that recipe.

I say, recipes are strong guides.  But, you might be short of something or in the mood for a little twist.  So, make educated substitutions and alterations to fit your needs.

This topic came up again last weekend when I made one of my mom’s pound cake recipes for dinner.  Or did I?

I’ll let you decide.  Either way you decide to make this cake, it is both easy to throw together and a treat to eat!

My mom’s pound cake (with my variations)

  • 2.25 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar (brown sugar)
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla (rum.  and let’s face it, I didn’t measure, I just tipped the bottle for what looked right)
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sour cream (I didn’t have any.  I had 0.75 cup plain, full fat yogurt.  I figured this would give the acidity the baking powder needs for leavening.  I added 0.25 cup heavy cream so I’d have the 1 cup and also for fat content)
  • 3 eggs
  • (cinnamon)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and use an electric mixer to blend for about 3 minutes.  Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees F for 60-65 minutes or until the top springs back when touched lightly in the center (took closer to 70).
  2. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a plate.  Pour butter glaze over it while it’s still warm.

Butter glaze

  • 0.25 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla (rum)
  • (up to) 2 Tbl water to adjust consistency
  • (nutmeg)

So, this is where following the recipe exactly steered me wrong… I added the 2 Tbl water all at once and it got way too thin.  Add the water slowly, a bit at a time.  It should be thick enough to drizzle over the cake and run down the sides, but not gloopy.

Some of it will run into the center and pool around the outside of the cake.  My siblings and I would run our fingers through this before dinner to taste the frosting; and at dessert, my grandfather would fish it out to spread on top of his piece (and share with us as well).

This really was a nice cake.  Even my mom had to admit it.  “But if you put my cake and this one side by side,” she said, “someone would have a hard time telling they came from the same recipe.”

What I’ve Been Cooking Lately

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Professionally, I’ve been navigating USDA requirements for meat analogues for school lunch programs and trying to work out a recipe that would be accepted by a state monitor as having sufficient protein quantity at an acceptable pdcaas digestibility score.  Fascinating stuff.  Mainly for how difficult it becomes to serve neither meat nor processed foods to vegetarian school children.  But also mentally exhausting, which is one big reason that I don’t write much here anymore…

The personal stuff is quite a bit more fun, particularly when the kids decide that they want to cook with me.

Faraday is about to turn 4, and tends to cook with me quite a bit.  He can clean mushrooms with a brush and pick leaves off of fresh herbs, but he’s mainly there for the tasting privileges that come with helping me in the kitchen.  I’ll take what I can get.

When we’re in the kitchen, he tells me, “You’re the chef and I’m the cook.”

“What’s the cook’s job?” I ask him.

“To do whatever the chef says.”

I’ve got him trained well.  At least in the kitchen.  Outside of the kitchen, I cease being the chef and he ceases to see his job as being to do whatever I say.

Angstrom is 7.6667, and starting to come into his own when he wants to help.  He’s usually more interested in reading, which is also a fine activity.  But, as he’s getting older, he is becoming an actual help.  I can give him a block of cheese and a grater and he’ll turn it into shredded cheese for us.  He’s also starting to get the hang of using the knife that I got him (perhaps a bit prematurely) for his 6th birthday.  I still keep an eye on him to make sure he’s got his thumb and fingers out of the way, but he does a fine job slicing mushrooms on his own.

He also has been interested in making sure I write down my recipes.  That can be tough because so often I am just reaching into the fridge to take what we happen to have and turn it into dinner.  We won’t necessarily have the same leftovers the next time, so the recipes may not be re-creatable.  Not to mention the fact that I so rarely measure.

But… I did make a very nice cheddar, broccoli, and potato soup the other day that he asked me to document.  So, because Janice asked what I’ve been cooking and Angstrom wants me to preserve my recipes, here is the best I can do on that front:

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

  • Bacon Grease leftover from cooking a metric s*it ton of bacon for brunch.  Not all of it.  Probably about 1/3 cup.  Maybe a half of a cup.  A good knob’s worth scooped out of the custard dish of bacon grease with my favorite wooden spoon.
  • Garlic, sliced thinly.  A bulb’s worth.  (bulbs seem to be about the right unit to measure in.  Never trust a recipe that calls for 1-2 cloves of garlic)
  • Flour, sufficient to make a roux the consistency of wet sand.  Add slowly as described below.
  • Stock.  I’m not sure if it was chicken or vegetable.  Either would work.  Probably about 2 cups; I had about half of one of the boxes from the supermarket leftover.  Lately, I’ve been partial to whatever brand is low in sodium and labeled “cooking stock”, though I really should make my own.
  • Milk, about 3-4 cups, I think?  1%.
  • Leftover roasted potatoes and broccoli, from the same brunch that you cooked the bacon for.  Probably about 4 cups combined of those?  All of the broccoli that was left and most of the potatoes.
  • Cheese.  A mix of 3-year-old Vermont white cheddar and supermarket meunster.  There might have been some parmesan in the mix, too.  2.5 cups, shredded?
  • Spices.  Definitely black pepper.  I probably used Aleppo pepper, too.  If you don’t have any, I highly recommend getting some right away.  Penzey’s sells it.  So does the random multi-ethnic grocery store I shopped in Temeculah, CA once.  So there are probably some other sources, too.  And I bet I used some nutmeg, but only a touch.
  • Herbs.  Thyme, oregano.  Basil?  Whatever you like.  Sage.
  1. Saute the garlic in the bacon fat.  When it just starts to turn golden brown,
  2. Stir the flour in slowly until the roux gets to the consistency of wet sand.  When in doubt, stop adding flour but keep stirring.  If it looks too loose, add some more.  Go ahead and crack your pepper into here, too.  Keep on stirring the roux until the garlic encased therein has mellowed to a gorgeous golden color.
  3. Whisk in the stock, followed by the milk.  Break up the lumps, scrape the corners with your wooden spoon.  Whisk some more.  That’s it, looking good there now.
  4. Let it simmer for a bit.  15-20 minutes out to do to let the flour cook out.  Add the potatoes.  Some of their starch will cook out and add to the consistency of the soup.  Let it simmer another 15-20.
  5. How’s the consistency?  If it’s too thick, go ahead and add some milk.  If not, add the broccoli.  And if you add milk, go ahead and add the broccoli, too.
  6. When it all comes up to temp, drop that heat back way down to low.  Stir the cheese in, slowly now.  Let it melt before you add more, just a handful at a time.
  7. Taste it.  Adjust seasonings.  It very well could benefit from some salt.  I swear by Diamond Crystal kosher salt for most purposes, but it irks me that they eliminated the metal pour spout from their 3-pound box.  Now, every time I fill up my little salt dish, I have to tape the cardboard flap back closed with masking tape.  But it’s still fine salt nonetheless.
  8. Tell everyone it’s time to come to the table.  Get ignored.  Walk into the dining room and discover that the table isn’t even set yet.  Make a Pinky & the Brain reference about how it’s the same thing every night, you’ve got to set the table for dinner.  Listen to some griping as the kids get the bowls put around the table.
  9. Wait for one of the kids to go to the bathroom.  Once he comes down, wait some more because the other one will realize that he also urgently needs to go.  Maybe turn the heat back on under the soup while you’re waiting so it doesn’t get too cold.
  10. Wait, what, is everyone here?  Did you wash your hands when you finished in the bathroom?  Did you do an adequate job?  Okay, dinner is served.

Hot Water Crust Meat Pie

Friday, April 28th, 2017

So, apparently it’s a British thing… I had never heard of a hot water crust until I started watching the Great British Baking Show.  But, in the first season, the contestants were challenged to do a 3-tiered pie and I was amazed to see them unmold pies from springform pans and stack them on top of each other for service, so I figured I’d give it a try.

I’ve got to say, I was somewhat uncertain about trying the hot water crust based on what Cook’s Illustrated has to say on the topic of this kind of crust: “When we compared a hot-water crust in several recipes…with our Foolproof Pie Dough… we understood why it might not have been eaten in the past. …[S]ome tasters called it “mealy”…. While a hot-water crust is simple to prepare and easy to work with, stick with our Foolproof Pie Dough if you want pastry worth eating.”

Having taken their opinion into account, though, I checked out a few British sources for an authentic recipe and settled on one from the BBC, though, of course, I didn’t follow it precisely.

  1. I rendered beef suet to use in the crust, because I was out of fat back to render for lard and also because I was making a beef pot pie.
  2. I cut the amount of suet used in half and substituted butter for the other half because I was concerned that 100% beef fat would be too much.
  3. I added some salt, hers, and spices to the recipe to add some flavor in (and perhaps battle against the shortcomings that Cook’s Illustrated perceived).
The end result was good.  It was a bit mealy, but I think that’s okay for a savory pie.  The crust baked up crisp on all sides, and the pie unmolded from the springform pan quite easily, straight from the oven.  The pieces held their form when cut, and the overall result was quite pleasing.
In case you’d like to give it a try, here’s the general recipe I followed.  SO sorry to give the figures in grams, but that’s the Brits (and the rest of the world) for you, they follow this crazy thing called the metric system that no one outside of a lab around here seems to have any use for :)
Pie Crust
  • 100g Beef Fat (or Lard)
  • 100g Butter
  • 220mL Water (I measured in grams on my scale)
  • 575g All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • Herbs (oregano, marjoram, thyme)
  • Spices (Aleppo Pepper, Garlic Powder, Paprika)
  • 4 quarts combined leftovers from a roast beef and roasted vegetable dinner, including about a cup of croutons, and moistened with a bit of tomato juice.
  • Next time I do this, I am leaning toward using braised, shredded meat instead of roasted meat.  Either will work just fine, though.
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Combine butter, animal fat, and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, measure dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  4. Pour hot water and fat mixture into the flour mixture.  Combine with a wooden spoon and then turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead until smooth.
  5. Cut 1/4 of the dough off for the top crust, then roll the rest out into a large circle.  It will not roll like a normal pie crust, but rather has an almost bready consistency.  I had a bit of an issue getting it to pick up and transfer without tearing; I might try putting down a bit more flour before rolling next time.
  6. Transfer the bottom crust to a 24″ springform pan.  Lift the edges and fit it into the bottom of the dish all the way around.  Cur some scraps from the edges and press in to patch any holes that develop.
  7. Press your 4 quarts of filling into the pan.  Roll out the top crust, place on top, and fold the bottom crust up over the top and crimp closed to guard against leaks (Paul and Mary don’t want the pie to have any leaks).  Cut some vent holes in the top.  From what I can tell, one centrally placed hole is typical for the Brits; sometimes they will use a cinnamon stick as the vent (and, one would assume, to impart flavor into the pie as it bakes)
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes at 375, then drop the temperature to 350 and bake for another 60.
  9. When the crust has developed an attractive golden brown and the pie is baked all the way through, set it on a raised surface (such as a jar) and release it from the springform pan.  Slide onto a plate or cutting board for service.

Bloody Mary Beef Barbecue

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

This is a super-easy recipe and it works with any cut of braising beef.  I usually use chuck roast, but have done it with brisket, rump roast, and shanks as well.

  • 1 (3-ish pound) chuck roast
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans tomato product: I like 6-in-1 Ground Tomato Product, but crushed, diced, or sauce will all work fine
  • 1/2 small jar prepared horseradish.  Not the creamed stuff.
  • Herbs and Spices to taste: salt, pepper, aleppo pepper, oregano or marjoram, basil, thyme, +/- other spices depending on your mood and tastes; plus one dash of cloves
  • Seasoned salt for seasoning the meat
  1. Rub the meat on both sides with your favorite seasoned salt mix (I make my own each time and finagle it to taste).
  2. Choose a pan that you can cover.  I usually use a cast iron pot, but lately have been using a 6-inch deep 1/2 hotel pan because I’ve been making double or triple batches.
  3. Pour a little of the tomato mix into the bottom of the pan, put the meat in that, and then cover with the rest of the tomato mix.
  4. Put in a 250-degree oven for about 6 hours or until it shreds easily.
  5. Pull the meat from the sauce and put the sauce on the stove to reduce and thicken while you shred the meat.
  6. Shred the meat (removing any bones, fat, and/or connective tissue).
  7. Toss meat with sauce.  Use any leftover sauce as a delicious soup base.
This meal is the start of Radiatore Angstromi Pasta!  It takes very little time, and because the meat can so easily be cooked from frozen, you only have to plan 6-7 hours in advance of when you want to eat (assuming you’ve got some sort of a pot roast in your freezer to cook).
Caveats: Thicker cuts of beef may take longer to cook.  It’s ok to bump the heat up to 275 or 300 if you want to decrease the cooking time.  You can use this same concept with any sort of liquid sauce; the important part to understand here is using long, low, moist heat on cuts of meat that have more connective tissue (here is a card I did for Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank that shows which cuts of beef these are).  As the Beastie Boys once said, “Let it flow, let yourself go, slow and low: that is the tempo!”

Some Stuff I’ve Done Lately

Monday, October 17th, 2016

So, I recently paid the annual bill that keeps this page on the ‘net, and I noticed that it’s been a while since I actually did anything in this space except check my own recipes.  I do, after all, have my favorites that I go back to on an occasional basis to get some advice from myself.

But, just because I haven’t been putting stuff up here, doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on some cool stuff.  I’m linking below to some of the cool materials that I’ve been putting together for Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank over the past couple of years.  These are resources that we publish mainly for our clients, but they are available online for anyone to use at

Rolling Oats

This was a really fun project to work on, and really useful, too.  Most people know that it is important to eat more whole grains, but the advice we see can sometimes be confusing.  Case in point, Reese’s Puffs cereal, which proclaims across the front of its box that whole grain is the first ingredient (yes, but how many of the next several are some form of sugar?)

Oats are about the most economical source of whole grain nutrition around, and are always on Food Bank inventory.  This 16-page magazine gives several ways to make oats a more frequent part of your diet, whether by turning them into a savory pilaf, a fruit crisp, a granola bar, bread dough, or a no-roll pie crust.  Click on the picture above to download the whole magazine.

Special thanks to Kevin Watson of Savoy Restaurant for providing a great interview to make this volume complete!

Spuds Illustrated

Potatoes are one of my favorite flavor vehicles.  They’re such a versatile canvas to paint upon!  This 12-page magazine gives tips to make them more interesting at the table by combining them with other vegetables, and using each type of potato according to its own strengths.  Get tips including how to store, how to cut, best ever home fries, and the best vegan mashed potatoes you’ll ever taste.  Click on the photo above to download the whole issue.

CAN Newsletter

Every month, the CAN Newsletter goes out to everyone who gets food from one of the food pantries in the Food Bank’s network.  Each issue focuses on ideas and recipes related to an ingredient or theme.  Click the photo above to get this month’s issue, with 2 great winter squash recipes and some jack o’ lantern carving tips, or visit to see back issues and the Food Bank’s full lineup of photo-illustrated recipe resources.

If you need help with food, visit to get connected with a food pantry, soup kitchen, SNAP benefits, and more.

If you’re in a position to help the food bank, visit to volunteer, donate, or advocate for public policy that helps everyone have enough to eat.

Almond Butter & Coconut Stuffed Cinnamon Swirl French Toast with Caramel Banana Sauce

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Tasty almond butter and coconut sandwiches dipped in batter and seared on a hot griddle! The banana sauce finishes them perfectly.

  • 1 loaf cinnamon swirl bread
  • almond butter
  • coconut
  • 3 eggs
  • maple syrup
  • plain yogurt (whole milk preferred)
  • spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, etc.)
  • 2 Tbl butter
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • brown sugar
  • water
  1. Slice bread and keep ordered as if for sandwiches.
  2. Make almond butter and coconut sandwiches, spreading each piece of bread with a thin layer of the almond butter and sprinkling with coconut.
  3. Make the batter for the french toast with eggs, yogurt, maple syrup and spices.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce: heat a small saute pan over medium-high heat.  Melt the butter, add some spices.  Sear the bananas on both sides.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and beat with a wooden spoon to pulverize the bananas and combine with the sugar.  Let the sugar caramelize until the bubbles are thick, then stir in water with wooden spoon as necessary to regulate the consistency.
  5. Batter the almond butter & coconut sandwiches in the egg-yogurt mixture and cook on a hot griddle in butter or oil.
  6. Finish the french toast in a 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes to make sure that they are hot all the way through.

Serve one stuffed french toast sandwich with banana caramel sauce per person.  Delicious!

Derby Day Tip

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

Try making your julep with pure maple syrup instead of simple syrup for a real treat!

Maple Mint Julep

  • A few mint leaves
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp water
  • crushed ice (see below for crushing tip)
  • 1 jigger bourbon
  1. Muddle mint leaves in bottom of glass.
  2. Add maple syrup and water.
  3. Top with crushed ice.  To crush, put cubes in clean kitchen towel and crush by leaning on them with a heavy iron skillet.
  4. Top with bourbon, stir, garnish with a mint sprig, and serve.

Turkey Stew Polenta

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Believe it or not, I’m still reheating Thanksgiving…

Leftover leftovers:
Turkey Polenta Cakes, served with salsa and guacamole

Turkey Polenta Cakes

A decidedly American take on the classic Italian dish

  • 1 cup onion, cut in 1/4-inch dice
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms, mixed varieties
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • a couple cups of leftover turkey, picked from the bones and/or cut into small pieces
  • 4 cups turkey stock, made from the carcass of your Thanksgiving bird
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, divided
  • salt, pepper, ginger, and crushed red pepperto taste
  1. Heat a large (#10) cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once it is hot, add about 2 Tbl butter along with some black pepper and ginger. Let the butter melt, then add your diced onion and about 1/4 tsp kosher salt.
  2. Cook the onion for about 7-8 minutes or until the onion has started to brown at the edges, stirring about once per minute.
  3. Add the garlic and cook about 2 minutes, stirring 2-3 times.
  4. Add 2 Tbl butter, let melt.
  5. Add the sliced mushrooms, along with some ginger and a touch of crushed red pepper. Cook 10-15 minutes, stirring 1-2 times per minute. Pay more attention to the mushrooms the longer they cook. We’re looking for them to caramelize nicely but not to scorch or burn.
  6. When the mushrooms look gorgeous, add the turkey stock and bring it to a boil.
  7. Once he stock is at a rolling boil, whisk the cornmeal in at a steady drizzle. Add it slowly and keep that whisk moving in order to avoid lumps!
  8. Once the cornmeal has been incorporated evenly into the stock, turn the heat down to a simmer and add the shredded carrots into the pan. Cook at low heat, stirrign occasionally, for 30-40 minutes.
  9. At this point, you’ve got a really tasty cornmeal mush. I highly recommend taking a couple bowlfuls out for a meal or a side dish for today’s meal, because the polenta has to cool overnight before it’s ready to be made into the cakes (now you get what I meant above by leftover leftovers.). Plus this mush is delicious—it’s like turkey stew and biscuits all in one steaming bowl of goodness!
  10. Let the rest of the polenta cool or 20-30 minutes, then use a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover the entire pan to press it down to uniform depth.
  11. Let it cool a while longer to room temperature, then run a rubber spatula around the edge of the pan and invert the pan onto a clean countertop (with the parchment still in place). The polenta should drop out of the pan onto the parchment. Wrap it up and refrigerate it overnight.
  12. Day two, cut the polenta into cakes. Heat your skillet (which you should have cleaned in the meantime) over medium heat. Add 2 Tbl butter to the pan, let it melt. Cook half of the cakes in this butter, flipping after 5-6 minutes or when golden brown and cooking the other side for another 5-6 minutes. Remove to a sheet tray in a warm (200°) oven while you cook the other half of the cakes in the other 2 Tbl of butter.
  13. Serve with salsa and guacamole or your favorite condiments.

Quick N Easy Chunky Cranberry Sauce

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Cranberry Sauce is another element of Thanksgiving Dinner that deserves the personal touch of being homemade.  For years I have followed my mother’s recipe for a cranberry jelly, which is good, but is difficult to get just right and if undercooked, never really gels and goes to the table as a cranberry syrup that tends to be ignored.

This year, I decided to go off-recipe and create my own.  A couple of elements that I decided were crucial: it should be easy to execute, capture the tartness of the cranberries, and have some body to it.  If I hit those points, I reasoned, it would be a garnish that would make its way onto everyone’s plate.

The bowl was empty at the end of the first meal of leftovers.

Quick N Easy Chunky Cranberry Sauce

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
  • 4 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 shot whiskey
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • grated zest of 2 tangerines (or of 1 orange)
  1. In a large saucepan, fry the minced ginger in the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the ginger starts to take on a bit of a golden brown hue.
  2. Add 4 1/2 cups cranberries into the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the cranberries have popped (several minutes).
  3. Add the shot of whiskey and light it on fire with a burning wooden skewer. Let it flame off. This will caramelize the sugars in a way that simply boiling it will not accomplish.
  4. Stir in the brown sugar and the citrus zest. Once these have been stirred in, simmer without stirring for about 7 minutes or until the sauce has taken on a very thick and bubbly appearance, sort of like lava looks in a low-budget film.
  5. Remove to a heat-safe glass bowl. Let cool briefly at room temperature before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating overnight.

I’ll admit that some of Angstrom’s culinary proclivities are not ordinary for a two-and-a-half-year-old, but the little man was responsible, I think, for polishing off about a third of this sauce. He was such a fan of it that I actually didn’t get to eat quite as much of it as I would have liked to, so I am going to have to make another batch soon… maybe for Christmas; this recipe would also go quite nicely with ham.

Revolutionary Roasted Mushroom Pumpkin Pie

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

You may have noticed that another year has come and gone without me being invited to share my Thanksgiving tips on NPR.  I can’t say that I blame them.  I don’t have a book or a TV show, and it’s not like I’ve got a publicist or a manager booking high profile appearances for me.  So what makes me think I might deserve an invitation to appear on All Things Considered?  Because this pie is just the start of the meal.

Revolutionary Roasted Mushroom Pumpkin Pie capitalizes on the savory aspects of pumpkin and elevates your Thanksgiving appetizer course to a new level.

Revolutionary Roasted Mushroom Pumpkin Pie
A New Classic is Born in this Savory Appetizer Pie

  • 2 cups prepared pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed roasted mushrooms seasoned with spices and rosemary (see note at end of recipe)
  • 3 eggs
  • 12 oz evaporated goat milk
  • 4 oz cow milk
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • black pepper to taste
  • homemade crust for a one crust pie (see note at end of recipe)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Beat the eggs with the salt and spices.
  3. Add the evaporated goat milk and the cow milk, stir to combine.
  4. Stir in the prepared pumpkin and the roasted mushrooms.
  5. Roll out the pie crust, drape into a 9-inch pie pan. Pour pumpkin mixture into crust. Bake at 450 for the first 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 40-45 minutes or until the filling has mostly set (it should have puffed up slightly, have a thicker, jelled consistency, and be dull in color except for the very center of the pie).
  6. Let cool to room temperature on a rack before covering and refrigerating. Optional garnish: serve with lightly salted whipped cream
Notes on Recipe
Roasted Mushrooms

For the purpose of this recipe, I used a mix of crimini, oyster, royal trumet, and maitake mushrooms.  I sliced them to roughly 1/2-inch pieces and seasoned them before the roast with salt, pepper, ginger, and a generous pour of olive oil, tossing them until they were coated with spices and oil.  Their pre-roast volume was approximately 4-4 1/2 cups, enough to mostly fill a standard half sheet tray.  I roasted them at 375 F for approximately 45 minutes, stirring them after 15, 25, 35, and 40 minutes; moving the pieces from the edge of the tray into the center to maximize caramelization and avoid scorching.  Immediately upon removing the finished mushrooms from the oven, I tossed them with 1/4 cup minced rosemary.

Pie Crust

A homemade pie crust is always superior to a store bought crust, as it shows a level of care and pride that can not be matched with a manufactured product.  Furthermore, you can determine the ingredients in a homemade crust.  I like to season my crusts with the same spices that I use in the pies.  I also use butter as the fat in my crusts.  Should you choose to use butter, be certain to keep the crust entirely contained in the pan as butter is a soft fat and anything hanging over the edges will droop, drip, and drop to the bottom of the oven, setting off your smoke detectors and creating a mess that will need to be cleaned.

Whipped Cream

Beat 4 oz heavy whipping cream with 1/4 tsp salt and a sprinkling each of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Please share this page with everyone you know (especially if you know Steve Inskeep and Robert Siegel). Just be certain to give me credit—I don’t want to hear Nigella Lawson giving this recipe over the air!