Apple Pie

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
5 to 7 tablespoons ice water

2 cups thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith or other tart apple such as Newtown, Pippin, or Crispin (about 1 pound)
2 cups thinly sliced peeled Braeburn or other all-purpose apple such as Empire (about 1 pound)
1 cup thinly sliced peeled Rome or other firm baking apple such as Baldwin or Winesap (about 1/2 pound)
1 cup thinly sliced peeled McIntosh or other tender apple such as Gravenstein or Jonathan (about 1/2 pound)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons fat-free milk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

To prepare crust, lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl; cut in butter and shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add vinegar and enough ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until dough is moist. Divide dough in half. Gently press each dough half into a 4-inch circle on heavy-duty plastic wrap, and cover with additional plastic wrap. Roll one half of dough, still covered, into a 12-inch circle; chill. Roll other half of dough, still covered, into an 11-inch circle; chill.

Preheat oven to 450?.

To prepare filling, combine apples and lemon juice in a large bowl. Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle over apple mixture, tossing well to combine.

Remove 1 sheet of plastic wrap from the 12-inch circle; fit dough, plastic-wrap side up, into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray, allowing dough to extend over edge of plate. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Spoon apple mixture into crust. Remove 1 sheet of plastic wrap from the 11-inch circle, and place dough, plastic-wrap side up, on top of apple mixture. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Press edges of dough together; fold edges under, and flute. Cut 6 (1-inch) slits into top of pastry using a sharp knife. Brush top and edges of pie with milk; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Place pie on a baking sheet; bake at 450? for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375? (do not remove pie from oven). Bake an additional 45 minutes or until golden (shield crust with aluminum foil if it gets too brown). Cool on a wire rack.
from Cooking Light (“Blue Ribbon Apple Pie”)

Oeuf Cocotte

1 egg
1 tablespoon of cr?me fra?che (alternatively sour cream, Boursin or any other fresh soft cheese)
– salt, pepper, paprika

Optionally :
– a handful of sauteed diced vegetables (could be tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, onions…)
– a handful of grated cheese
– a sprinkle of fresh or dried herbs (parsley, chives, cilantro…)

Preheat the oven to 430?F. Grease a small ramequin, lay the ham, vegetables and cr?me fra?che at the bottom, and break the egg on top. Sprinkle salt and pepper. If you’re using dried herbs, sprinkle them on now. Top with cheese if you wish.

Put the ramequin in a gratin dish, and pour hot water in the dish to about half the height of the ramequin. Put in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how runny you like your eggs.

Once the eggs are done, sprinkle paprika and fresh herbs (if you’re using them). Serve with warm crusty bread or toasts.

As you can see, this is a pretty versatile recipe. The only things that need to be there are the egg and the cr?me fra?che or some sort of fresh creamy ingredient. The rest can be added or omitted depending on what you have on hand. And if you have large ramequins and a large appetite, two eggs can be nice too.

From Zucchini and Chocolate.

Chips de Pita au Zaatar

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons zaatar
2 large pita rounds or 4 small ones

Preheat the oven to 200?C.

Combine the olive oil and zaatar in a small bowl, stirring with a teaspoon to emulsify. Cut the pitas open all around the rims with kitchen scissors and slip your hand inside gently to separate the two layers without tearing.

Spread the zaatar mixture on the coarse sides of the pitas with the back of the spoon, cut the pita disks into wedges, and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 4 or 5 minutes, until the wedges start to turn golden, keeping a close eye on them. Let cool for a minute and serve, warm or at room temperature.
from Zucchini and Chocolate.


5 medium-large roasted peppers
1 1/3 cups walnut halves
1 cup shelled cashews (unsalted)
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon smoked salt (or regular salt + smoked paprika)
1/4 teaspoon ground chile powder or more, to taste
2 cloves garlic, peeled, germ removed if any
2 teaspoons walnut or olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (substitute balsamic vinegar)

Toast the walnuts, cashews, and cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant. Let cool.

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the flesh of the bell peppers with the rest of the ingredients, from walnuts to pomegranate molasses, and pur?e until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl regularly. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

What you won’t use immediately you can freeze in a freezer-safe container. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface of the muhammara (to prevent the formation of water crystals), close the container tightly, and freeze. To thaw, just pop back in the fridge the night before.

Tisane: Matt’s Calming Night Tisane

2 tablespoons passion flower
2 tablespoons skullcap
1 tablespoon gotu kola
2 tablespoons valerian
1 tablepoon chamomile
1 quart near-boiling water

Steep 6 minutes in a tea press.
Promotes relaxation and knocks you out. This tisane has a stronger flavor and has the distinctive flavor of valerian, sweet sandlewood flavor.

Ligurian Polenta with Borlotti and Vegetables

1 cup borlotti, pinto, or cranberry beans
1 small bunch of kale, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely copped
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
1 cup polenta
salt and pepper
grated parmigiano for serving

Soak the beans for 8 hours. Drain and rinse. Combine beans, kale, carrot, onion, garlic, potatoes, olive oil, and 8 cups cold water in casserole over medium high heat. When the water boils, lower heat and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. The beans will not be fully cooked. Add the polenta, a little bit at a time, stirring well to incorporate each addition into the vegetables. Do not add too much at once or it will become lumpy. Continue cooking, stirring frequently , about 45 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The polenta should be thick, not stiff. If it becomes stiff, add hot water and continue to stir. Serve in deep, hot dishes with a drizzle of olive oil and parmigiano cheese.
Note: Leftover cold polenta becomes polenta croccante when you cut it into squares and pan fry it in vegetables oil.

from Fagioli.

Tisane: Matt’s Calming Day Tisane

2 tablespoons passion flower
2 tablespoons skullcap
1 tablespoon gotu kola
Optional: 1 tablespoon yerba mate
1 quart near-boiling water

Steep 6 minutes in a tea press.

Promotes relaxation without completely knocking you out. This tisane has a mild, leafy flavor.

Abruzzi-Style Minestrone

1/2 cup dried cannelini or Great Northern beans
1/2 cup chickpeas
1/2 cub French lentils
6 cups stock
2 medium red onions, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
3 stems marjoram
1/4 cup olive oil
8 stems Italian parsley, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup peeled fresh fava beans
2 large Swiss chard leaves, stemmed and chopped
1 cup dried tubetti or ditalini
salt and and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese

Soak beans and lentils together for 8 hours. Drain and rinse. Cook about 45 minutes. Beans will still be firm. Drain beans and lentils and return to pot.

Add broth, 1 onion, carrot, celery, and marjoram and place over medium high heat. When broth begins to simmer, lower heat and cook about 30 minutes more, until beans are tender.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add remaining onion, parsley, tomatoes, and garlic and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes, until vegetables have softened. Add them to soup with the fava beans, peas, chard, and pasta and continue cooking, 10-12 minutes more, until pasta is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with parmigiano chesse.

from Fagioli.

Bert’s Salad Dressing

1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar (apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar will also work)
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced shallots
pinch of minced thyme, chives, or other herbs

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in shaker and mix. Dressing should be white and look like watered-down milk. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve with any tossed salad.

Caribbean Rice and Beans

2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup long grain white rice
1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 7 1/2 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut in thin strips
1/2 green pepper cut in thin strips
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 16 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
5-10 dashes Tabasco sauce
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Combine stock and rice in medium saucepan, bring to boil
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until liquid has been absorbed, 17-20 minutes
Meanwhile, in medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until very hot (but not smoking), add red and green peppers and garlic and saute for 2 minutes
Add black beans, vinegar and Tabasco sauce, bring to boil then simmer for 5 minutes
Stir in rice, cilantro or oregano
Serve as is, in burritos or as filling for roti.