Mrs. Carla Monti

Mrs. Carla Monti

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Fixin's!

My boyfriend and I spent a lovely long weekend exploring Key West, and after spending our days eating fresh seafood and other typical trip fare, I couldn't wait to get back in the kitchen and get to cooking. As much as I love to eat out, after so many meals you just want a home-cooked meal at the end of the day.  In honor of the first days of September and the coming days of fall (I am blatantly ignoring steady 95 degree temperatures and a raging hurricane season), I baked mini apple pie tarts today. My boyfriend had actually requested that I make him a whole apple pie a few weeks ago and I finally got around to making this fall staple this afternoon. My love for baking everything in miniature or individualized portions has not gone away, and I truly resisted getting out my mom's old Pyrex pie pan. Instead I put my individualized tart tins (with removable bottoms) to work! I found the perfect recipe from Eat Live Run and modified it accordingly. For the pie crust, I used Joy the Baker's awesome "How to" post and worked my way through it. Success! The pies were topped with, of course, a generous scoop of Häagen-Daz vanilla bean ice cream.

The best apple to use for apple pie or apple crumble are green Granny Smith apples. They are perfectly tart and firm, and are great at absorbing whatever flavor you add to them.

I flavored the apple slices with fresh-squeezed lemon juice, copious amounts of cinnamon, and a healthy dose of white sugar. Keeping it simple here is key! You don't want to crowd the flavors. Apple pie is classic and it's ingredient list classically simple!

Apple pie always wants to be dotted with little pats of butter!

For dinner, I used a recipe from Claire Robinson, who has a show on Food Network called "Five Ingredient Fix". I am intrigued by the premise of her show, not so much for it's time-saving qualities, but more so because I believe good food should contain few, but key and delicious ingredients. I caught one of her shows recently featuring a recipe called Turkey Robinson whose ingredients include ground turkey, fresh spinach, cannellini beans, and garlic-infused oil. The garlic-infused oil piqued my interest here - I could easily just add olive oil and minced garlic or even pop on over to a gourmet food store and pick up a bottle of fancypants garlic oil ... but I wanted to make it! One of my favorite magazines, Bon Appetit, recently featured an article about cooking garlic cloves in vegetable and olive oil until they turn black, thus making garlic oil. I tried my hand at it today and was impressed by the flavor of the oil when I used it to cook the turkey in later.

The meal overall pulled together well. I paired the turkey dish with yellow rice (my boyfriend always prefers rice to pasta, so I am invariably on a mission to make rice side dishes new and exciting) flavored with saffron and found the complements to be very pleasing. I was worried about seasoning the turkey, and I was continuously adding sea salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder to it, as well as tasting it throughout the cooking process - I must've seasoned it at least four times before I was satisfied! I don't particularly care for cooking with ground turkey - I would make this dish again using ground sirloin maybe. To top it off with apple pie a la mode was the perfect finish!

1 comment:

  1. Such cute apple pies! I've got to get me some of those mini tart pans :)