Canned Apple Pie

Never use flour to can apple pie.

Uh, what if I used flour to can apple pie in 1993.

20 years ago?

Well, the apples were technically from 1992.

I don't think you should use them.

What if I top the whole pie with icing?

They should be ok then.  
Apple Slices

My husband grew up enjoying what they called apple slices.  I see lots of recipes for it now called apple slab.  Basically what it is is a thin apple pie topped with glaze.  I think the point is to get the least amount of fruit and most amount of pastry and icing.  If you have a favorite apple pie, use that recipe only instead of a pie plate bake it in a 9x13 pan.  While it is still warm top with a powdered sugar glaze.  For a 10x15 inch pan keep the filling the same but 1 1/2 times the pie crust and icing recipe.  For a large 12x17 inch pan, double the pie filling recipe, the crust recipe and the icing recipe.  For the larger pan sizes the baking time is the same as the smaller pans.  Here is the recipe using Mrs. Field's apple pie recipe.  
Yield: 12 bars 

Preheat oven to 400°F.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp grated lemon zest (1 medium lemon)
1 cup salted butter, chilled
6-8 Tbs ice water, more if needed

I add 1 t. salt and leave out the lemon zest. I don't know if the salt would be needed if you added the zest.

6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced (about 4 cups) I like to use Golden Delicious
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup salted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces 

2 cups powdered sugar 

4 T. hot water
1 t. vanilla extract

To prepare crust:
Mix flour and lemon zest together with wire whisk in a medium bowl. With pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut in butter with flour until dough resembles coarse meal.
Add ice water and blend until dough can be gathered into a ball. Divide dough in half, flatten into disks, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

To prepare filling:
Combine sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch with a wire whisk in a large bowl. Add apples to sugar mixture and toss with a wooden spoon until dry ingredients coat the apples completely.

On a floured surface use a floured rolling pin to roll out dough.  Place dough into a 9x13 inch pan.  Leave only a small edge up the sides.  It doesn't matter if you have to place the dough in the pan in pieces.  No one will see it.  Spoon in apple filling evenly over the dough.  It should be a single layer.  Sprinkle butter pieces on top.

To prepare top crust:
Roll out second piece of dough.  Place the dough on top of the filling.  Again,  the dough can be placed on top in pieces.  It will be covered with icing.   

Place pie on center rack of oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce oven to 350°F. Bake an additional 30 minutes, or until crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbling through the cracks. 

Meanwhile make the icing by combining all ingredients in order.

Remove from apple slices from oven and while it is still warm spread the icing over the entire top.  Serve warm or room temperature. 

Thanksgiving Bark or Old Dried Fruit

You know that dried fruit you bought because you were going to snack more healthy.  Yeah, that never happened.  Now you will eat it.
French Chocolate Bark
From Ina Garten
Made by my daughter, T
18-20 pieces
In France, the raisins and nuts are embedded on the top not mixed in as done in the U.S.  For the holidays, this makes very elegant s'mores around the fire.

6-7 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (T used 10 oz of semi-sweet chips)
6-7 ounces very good bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (T used 4 oz of Ghirardelli Dark Melting Wafers)
1/4 cup dried crystallized ginger, 1/2-inch diced
1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews
1/2 cup dried apricots, 1/2-inch diced
1/2 cup dried cherries (could substitute dried cranberries)
1/4 cup golden raisins 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Using a ruler and a pencil, draw a 9 by 10-inch rectangle on the paper. Turn the paper facedown on the baking sheet.

Spread the cashews in one layer on another sheet pan and bake for 8 minutes.  Set aside to cool. 

Melt the 2 chocolates in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Or alternatively: Place the semisweet chocolate and half the bittersweet in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 20-30 seconds.  Stir with a rubber spatula.  Continue to hear and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted.  Immediately add the remaining bittersweet chocolate and all it to sit room  temperature, stirring ofter, until it's completely smooth.  Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier. 

Pour the melted chocolate over the paper and spread lightly to form a rectangle, using the outline. Sprinkle the cashews, apricots, cherries and raisins evenly over the chocolate. Set aside for 2 hours until firm. Cut the bark in 1 by 3-inch pieces (about18-20 pieces) and serve at room temperature.

Friday Night Fish Fry

Save money by making your own.  
Crunchy Batter Fried Fish 
(No Beer)
Serves 4-6

2 lbs cod (fresh or frozen and thawed)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup cornstarch, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
16 ounces club soda
1 teaspoon salt (plus seasoning of your choice..Old Bay, Lemon Pepper etc)
oil (for frying)

Mix together 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Stir in enough club soda to make a batter about the consistency of thin pancake batter. You don't want it too thick, just thick enough to nicely coat a spoon.  Season the batter to taste if desired with seasoning of your choice.  Suggestions: Old Bay, Lemon Pepper seasoning, or seasoned salt. set aside. In another bowl, mix together remaining 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch.

Heat oil in a deep pan to 375°F Use a candy thermometer if you need to. Oil in pan should be about 3" to 4" deep.

Cut fish into portion sizes and remove any pin bones, and pat dry.  Dredge the fish in the dry flour/cornstarch mixture. Shake off any excess.This allows the batter to stick to the fish.  Dip dredged fish into batter allowing any excess to drip off before carefully adding the fish to the hot oil.

Cook the fish one or two pieces at a time until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels or better yet, on a cake cooling rack set up over paper towels.  Serve while hot.

Indoor Herbs

If you are planning on growing herbs indoors this winter you should know that they are higher maintenance than everyday houseplants.  Herbs require much more watering.  Whereas houseplants can be watered once a week, herbs require watering every other day.  Right now I'm on a twice a week schedule for my rosemary.  It's hanging on but would look better if I watered it more. 

Old Bean Art

I used my old hard beans to make this turkey bean mosaic a long time ago.  The mice didn't mind how old the beans were and ate half my creation.  I patched it up relying on my memory to get it right.  I don't think I got that black belly right.  

Turkey Bean Mosaic

Cut out a turkey shape out of 1/4 inch plywood and spray paint black.  Use various beans such as black, corn, lentils, kidney, red, navy, white, and pinto to make the mosaic.  Glue beans with Tacky glue.  Spray with varnish if desired.  Keep out of reach of mice.  

Flowering Broccoli

If you wait too long to pick broccoli it will flower because, well, it's a flower.  But don't worry, it's still edible.  Good thing because I was going to eat it anyway.  
Broccoli Flower Soup

3 c. chopped broccoli tops
3 qts. water
1 med. onion, chopped
4 tbsp. chicken base (dry)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. season salt
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. apple cider or 2 t. vanilla extract (substitute for 1 T. cooking sherry)
1 c. milk
1 c. Ranch dressing
1/4 c. sour cream
6 strips of uncooked bacon
1 to 1 1/2 c. flour

Bring 3 quarts of water to boil and add broccoli, chicken base, garlic, pepper, season salt, Worcestershire, nutmeg. Boil 20 minutes uncovered. While water is boiling chop onion and mince up bacon strips and fry on medium high until bacon is crisp (without burning the onions). Then add flour to bacon, onion and bacon grease until it is a thick paste. Remove from heat and set aside.

Lower heat on boiling broccoli to medium (nice low rolling boil). Add Ranch dressing, milk, and sour cream while constantly stirring with wire whip. Then slowly add bacon, onion, flour mixture until soup thickens, simmer on low for 10 minutes and add apple cider (or other choice) . Serve hot with bread sticks or crackers.