How to blind-bake a pie crust

Danny and I were trading off household jobs one recent Saturday morning and I pointed out that he should do the dishes. I was planning to blind bake a pie crust and needed to get the dough in the fridge to chill.

“You’re going to WHAT now?” He asked, clearly dubious of the credibility of my task.

“Yeah. You know, prebake a single pie crust, to hold a cream filling.” I explained. And because there was pie in his future, he conceded to doing the breakfast washing up.

It’s no wonder he had no idea what I was talking about. I seldom make cream pies, so strong is my fondness for the fruit-based variety. But I had an idea for a pie that I wanted to make for Sunday dinner and so a-blind-baking I went, while Danny kept an interested eye on my work.

Strawberry season is nearly upon us and that means fresh strawberry pie needs to be on your weekend brunch menu, as well as mine. To do so, we need to know how to blind bake a pie crust. Read on for the tutorial! Don’t worry, it’s a cinch.

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How to roast a turkey {simply}


(Excerpts from this post were published in November, 2010. This is an updated, printable tutorial for the best way to roast a turkey – the simple way.)

Whether you’re planning on roasting a turkey for American Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner or New Year’s Day, you can always use a few helpful tips to make it the best it can be. Since roasting a gargantuan bird is not on the usual M-F menu plan, it can cause even the most experienced cook to hesitate before proceeding. Fortunately, I know my tips and tutorial can boost your confidence for preparing your event’s main attraction.

My Crash-Course on Turkey

You may be wondering what a relatively young lady such as myself could have to add to everything that has already been said about turkey, and you would be right to wonder. After all, how many Thanksgivings have I been cooking? Not nearly as many as some experts out there…right? But here’s the thing, I’ve been to Turkey Boot Camp.

When I was nineteen, I had the privilege(?) misfortune(?) – honestly, it was a mix of both – of working a summer at a remote fly-in fishing resort on the Pacific Ocean. Another fellow and I were the chefs for the camp, cranking out three square meals for over forty people. Every three days, a couple of float planes would fly in carrying a new group of clients – and a frozen turkey. Along with the requisite pancake breakfast, shrimp bisque lunch, and other culinary highlights, we were obliged to prepare a well-rounded turkey dinner for each group of guests.

Two groups per week, eleven weeks of work. Yes, that’s right, in the span of one summer, we cooked twenty-two turkeys! If that doesn’t make me qualified to talk turkey, then I don’t know what does.

Read on for the full tutorial and printable recipe.

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The Best Party Trick Ever: How to Make Thirty Minute Mozzarella

The following is a guest post from Andrew Wilder of Eating Rules. Welcome, Andrew!

A couple of years ago at a Fourth of July party, I pulled off one of my best party tricks ever.

Showing up with a gallon of milk in hand, I asked my friends if I could borrow their kitchen. Spying the other items in my bag — a bunch of fresh basil and cherry tomatoes — they knew I had something good in store. They eagerly let me take over.

Half an hour later, I emerged victorious from the kitchen with a platter of fresh caprese, made with still-warm mozzarella.

I’ve been using this “30-minute Mozzarella” recipe, from Ricki Carroll’s book, Home Cheese Making, for a few years now.  I’ll admit, it comes out slightly different each time (the type of milk, how quickly you heat it, and how much you stretch it will affect both the flavor and texture), but it’s always been a big hit. [Read more…]

How to build raised garden beds

Urban farming seems to be everywhere. I’m sure I see at least two articles a week this past year on the urban farming trend. There are more and more “concept” cities of the future that are not all glass and steel.  Instead, they’re “vertical farms” with each storey having their own plant life.  Of course, if we carry on with “business as usual”, then we’ll end up with a city that looks a lot like the bleak glass and dirty metal of Blade Runner, Star Wars, Dune, The Matrix or other futuristic sci-fi films.

We sometimes jokingly refer to our property as the “Homestead”, as we have tried urban chickens (and will try again this summer with reinforced coop to keep the predators out), and this year we will finally have our garden.

If you eat food, you need a garden – no excuses.  Do you live in an apartment?  You can get a small flower box of herbs or a few cherry tomatoes. Do you have a small city lot?  Carrots and lettuce.

So do you want to be part of this movement?  Here is a look into what we’ve done. [Read more…]

How to Make Pumpkin Challah

Written by Megan of Stetted.

I am nowhere near a bread expert. I have trouble achieving the proper rise and crumb, especially when it comes to sandwich bread. Yet that doesn’t stop me from practicing my kneading or remove the thrill that comes from seeing a bowl full of puffy dough.

Of all the breads I’ve tried making, the one I always come back to is challah. I not only love the flavor, but the methodical technique of braiding the loaves. I know many people hate the work that is involved with making bread, but the process relaxes me and is a great way to center my concentration. And let’s face it – we all need a little bit of relaxation when the holidays are fast approaching.

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