musings, mutterings, and creative muddle. . .

Monday, February 1, 2010

Marvelous Menu Monday

Soooo. . . how was the weekend?  What exciting and not-so-exciting things did you do?  C'mon now - really.  What'd you do?  What did I do?  Well. . . let's see here.

Watched it snow.  Yes, that's right folks.  Snow.  I know - it's not that unusual of a phenomenom, but. . . we've had more than our fair share in Southeast Kansas and it truly needs to cut out it.  Seriously.  I mean, look at it. 
And this is NOT the first time this year - it's the third time. . . Enough already.  Just look at my poor patio set. . . That's just NOT right

So that left three things to do. . . empty the basement of 'extra' stuff ("Off to the thrift store, my men. . . take the boxes to the thrift store.  Good boys!"), cook, and quilt.  And howdy, that's just exactly what we did!

The quilt is coming along nicely - just putting those blocks together. . . . I did take a wee-break and make up a necklace that's just been 'niggling' away at my imagination.  Check out that beautiful Nacozari Mine, Mexico turquoise and sweet sterling silver bird bead.  Oh!  It's absolutely lovely and and it's just the way I imagined it.  Nope, sorry.  This one's just not for sale. . . there will be some other new things in the ksyardbird shop this week - so keep a watch.

Basement is purged - everything boxed up neatly, 'roughly' photographed and catalogued (gotta have that documentation to write off  item-donations on your taxes) hauled upstairs, into the back of the truck (took a few times to get it backed into the snow-packed driveway) and off to the local Thrift Store operated by St. Patrick's Catholic Church.  Hooray!  Should have been done sooner, but I'm sure someone could still use those warm sweaters and coats.  Now time to tackle those third story closets.  Ugh.

And cook. . . oh yeah!  Son-o made some cinnamon-banana muffins (his fave, I'm told.  And they truly are awesome - only two left out of the dozen as of this morning.  Took that pic last night. . . .) and I had cut out a buttermilk custard pie that was just begging to be tried. . . . This included making pie crust.  No problem!  I've got Hubster's Grandma's recipe (the secrets?  vinegar, chilling the dough, wooden rolling pin, and relaxing. . . )  This awesome recipe actually makes a total of five crusts. 

What I like to do is make up the recipe, roll out the one crust that I want for that day then get it filled and in the oven.  While the pie is baking, I roll out the others for later.  I have a collection of glass pie plates that are each a little different in size and loosely stack into each other.  I press the crust into the largest of the pie plates (fixing up the edge the way I want it - usually using a thumbprint technique), and lay a piece of wax paper over it.  I then do the next crust, press it into the pan, and again with the wax paper and gently set it inside the larger one.  I repeat this until I'm either out of crust dough or pie plates. . . I then take the stack and put it into a largeTupperware bowl and put it into the freezer.  That's right, the freezer.  Just thaw that baby out to room temperature when you need one, and you're good to go- yippee!
I had intended to take photos of the whole pie crust making process, but. . . was ill-prepared.  My hands get covered in flour (I don't use the handles of the rolling pin) and I didn't want, of course, to touch the camera.  I could have been better organized and put the camera in a plastic bag (just like Dirty Jobs) - For that, I apologize. But at least you can see the thumb print design on the left and the pie crusts all snuggled in their amongst the wax paper just cooly waiting for their next incarnation on the right. I'll do better next time.

Of course, there are always some dough scraps left.  What to do?  What to do?  Well. . . no need to reroll these scraps (definitely don't want to do that for a pie crust, it will come out tough) - we just plop them on a cookie sheet, sprinkle some spiced-cinnamon sugar on top and bake them at 350 until crisp.  How about some Pie Crust Cookies?

As far as that buttermilk custard pie?  Well. . . not such a success.  The ingredients weren't the problem:  buttermilk, egg, flour, sugar, vanilla.  It was the method, I do believe.  The recipe advised that the pie was done with the top was golden and a toothpick inserted in the center came out clean. . . ummmm. . . no.  Not quite.  I took mine out when the top was a bit more than golden and multiple toothpicks came out clean - but it did NOT set up properly as it cooled. Around the edges, the custard was done and tasty - so that's what we enjoyed.  I'll try it one more time.  I think the oven temperature needs to be turned down a bit and the top covered during the first half of the cooking time.  And no problem - I've got more pie crusts just waiting to be part of a pie, of any flavor!

Hubster made the most delicious chicken-vegetable soup using the left over Mexican broth from earlier in the week.  We decided to take it more of an Italian direction. . . He started out by browning perfectly-Italian-seasoned cubes of chicken, and sauteing some chopped onion, celery, green pepper, garlic and various spices in our good ol' magnalite dutch oven.  Oh my!  It also had corn and tomatoes and garbanozo beans and carrots and . . .and. . . and. . . WOW! 

So this next week -what's the menu looking like?  Left over soup and lasagna (that was last night's supper, a bit of a modified version).  One night we're going to bake a whole chicken, make up some buttery-lemon brussel sprouts, and I have a cranberry-stuffing ball recipe that's just been waiting to be made.  Another night will be red beans and rice with sausage and sided with some steamed green beans seasoned with a bit of rosemary needles, cracked pepper and butter. . . I just can't wait!

What's on your menu for the week?

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