photo friday

got a canon ae-1 as a belated birthday present.
see the results of my first (successful) roll here.


eat more pie

I do this thing, when I make a new dish, where I get really nervous it won't work out and then try to lower everyone's expectations regarding the dish. I start to fret, and then I voice my concerns, which are usually just "what if I messed something up."

After a trip to Pennsylvania, I came home with a bag full of apples, from the orchard next door to my grandparents' new (-ish) house. Pie was the obvious solution, but I am - confession time - not a big fan of pie. (Pumpkin pie is the exception. I love pumpkin pie so much.) I forget sometimes that other people kind of love pie. So when I asked Daniel if he wanted some of the pie I was planning on making, he answered, "Obviously," and I felt a little sheepish.

I'm not sure why I never got that into pie. I think it was something like raw fruits were fine, why would you bake them into a pastry? I know, I know. That's a weird thing to think. I recognize that.

Maybe it just took baking one myself. Because seriously, despite all that above, I kind of loved this pie. I stood in the kitchen eating pie out of the pan. Just a tiny slice, to see if it passed. Fresh from the oven. I served Daniel and Michael and hurried back to eat more pie.

The pie was gone by the end of the night.

Vegan Apple Pie
adapted from Ratio, by Michael Ruhlman

One of the best things about this pie is that it really highlights the apples. You know, like it should. The crust wasn't sweetened, in a serendipitous mistake. As Daniel said, "it's not like a sugar-punch to the face." It won over Michael, who is also not a big fan of pies. All in all, a winner.

Also, if you're not making this for a vegan audience, you can happily use butter. It should be noted, however, that I've made it both ways and I could not tell you which was more delicious.

3 medium-to-large apples
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 sticks margarine, cold or frozen
1/2 c. ice water
pinch of salt

Peel and chop your apples. I like to have small, bite-sized pieces in my pie, but feel free to chop to whatever size you desire! Place them in a medium-sized bowl and toss in the sugar and a couple shakes of cinnamon. Mix with your hands and let sit while you make the dough.

Measure out the flour into a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pats and rub into the flour until you have even smaller pea-sized pieces. Slowly add in water until the mixture starts to become dough-like. Make sure not to overwork the dough - knead it just until it comes together. Split the dough into two.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

On a floured surface, roll out one chunk of dough. This will be your bottom crust. Go ahead and place the rolled out dough into your pie pan and remove the excess dough around the edges. Put the filling inside. Now comes the fun part: you can choose what kind of top crust you want. You could simply roll out the other chunk and have a plain crust (making sure to make some slits for the steam to escape), or you can make a lattice crust, which is what I did. For that, roll out the second chunk of dough - I did this a little at a time, so I didn't overwork the excess dough. Using a knife or a pastry cutter, cut some slices of dough. Place them on top of the filling, weaving them as you go.

When you're done, place the pie in the oven and bake until the crust is golden and flaky.


reclaiming monday

We were seduced by taco night.

It's just - that taco filling is so good! And tacos are so easy! And we get two or three entire meals out of them! And did I mention how good they are? So good. But yesterday Daniel lamented, "We have been corrupted by tacos. I miss culinary adventures already."

Which is how we wound up reclaiming Monday.

It wasn't exactly something we set out to do. We were at the supermarket, hoping to find all the ingredients for our meal, since even though we discussed it we did not have a back-up plan - and the next thing you know, Monday night feels like the weekend. The bottle of wine helped with that, but it was also simply the attitude with which we approached the evening.

It wound up being a really good night: we made delicious food (which I promise I will tell you about in a second), drank some okay wine, took a short walk, and hung out until midnight! On a weeknight! I know, we are pretty crazy.

So, this food. The recipe we started from called it pasta alfredo, but let's face it. This dish is delicious, and vegan, and also not fettuccine alfredo. I think it might actually be better than most of the fettuccine alfredo I've had, because it involves way more interesting ingredients. Some of which, granted, are kind of weird and may take a little snooping around in your supermarket to find. (A hint: nutritional yeast can be found in the bulk aisle of Whole Foods.)

It was so good that I went back for seconds while Daniel was finishing up his first bowl. I kind of want some right now, just writing about it. The weird ingredients are worth it, trust me. Make this. It is super easy and so g.d. delicious.

Fettuccine in Bianca
adapted slightly from here

1 c. rice milk
1/3 c. raw unsalted cashews
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp margarine
1 tbsp tahini (heaping)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp paprika
a couple shakes of nutmeg
a couple cloves of garlic

Add all the ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth. Done.

Prepare some fettuccine. Drain. Put back in the pot you used to cook the noodles. Pour the sauce over. Use medium heat and cook until warm.

We also added some broccoli, which was the right decision.



No food today - there were tentative plans to make something delicious once I returned from my trip north, but I was exhausted after driving all day. So, instead, have some autumn!


pumpkin gnocchi

October is here, and that means sweater weather and pumpkin dishes. (You know, like, pumpkin cheesecake...mmm.)

I'm not sure where the idea for pumpkin gnocchi came from, exactly, but once it did, I sort of fixated on it. Which was a problem, seeing as I couldn't find pumpkin puree in the stores and didn't want to mash up a pumpkin on my own. So we had taco night. Problem solved!

...Except that I was still fixated. I wanted to make that pumpkin gnocchi. Pumpkin was finally found in the store, a big 29-oz. can of it, but it still took us a while to actually get around to make it. (There was a pretty awesome home-made General Tso's stir fry in there, too, but my contribution to that was really just chopping.) But make it we did, and then we gobbled it right up.

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Butter Sauce
adapted from here

15 oz. pumpkin puree
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
dash of nutmeg
dash of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1/3 c. melted (vegan, in this case) butter
about 7 minced sage leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced

Combine the pumpkin, flour, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and pepper, until everything is incorporated. Take about a handful of the dough and, on a lightly floured surface, roll it into a rope about an inch in diameter. Cut the rope into pieces about an inch wide.

Get some lightly salted water boiling in a large pot. When they are ready, pop the gnocchi into the water. As they cook, prepare the sauce by melting the butter in a small pot. Add in the sage and the garlic; let simmer for a bit.

The gnocchi will be ready when the float at the top of the boiling water. Remove promptly and mix with the butter. Serve - with parmesan if you're not vegan!