Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pies for a Merry Christmastide

Brie, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, tore apart the new toy Dad and Jenica gave her for Christmas, mere seconds after Jenica pulled it out of the bag. Now the stuffingless faux-lambswool "doll" is her favorite rag to toss around. Merry Christmas, Brie!

This Christmas I'm having fun baking a pie a day- or so the plan goes. Day 2 is a success. Here's what I've made so far.

Day 1- Natchitoches Meat Pies.

I narrowed the recipes down to two. Recipe one was by Emeril. Turning away from his due to his more Cajun influence, I chose to use the recipe from the Natchitoches, LA town website. After all, I reasoned, a town would put the best recipe they knew online to represent their town.

I made a dough and rolled it "thin" as the recipe directed. Apparently it wasn't thin enough. But I didn't know this until much later!

Using a saucer I made circles which were cut out to form individual meat pies.

These pies were filled with a little over a tablespoonful of meat mixture. It had ground beef, ground sausage, a large onion, full head of garlic, and bell peppers. MMMMM!

Folded over.

Frying the pies. I also tried to bake them. Healthier. You know. Quickly I discovered that baking just didn't cut it. There's a reason the meat pies are supposed to be fried. My compromise was to use vegetable oil instead of shortening.

Leftover meat pies. They were *very* tasty. What would I do differently next time? Well, I think I would use 1/2 or 2/3 of the required meat. I think there was a little too much meat compared to the vegetables. I *tasted meat*. Yes, they are meat pies. I know that! But I believe a little more balance is required to the flavors. Perhaps that's why Emeril added so many extra seasonings to his recipe. Overall they were quite flavorful and yes, I believe I would make them again in the future.

Day 2. Pizza Pie!

Tonight, Sunday, Day 2 of Christmas. (You DO realize that whatever the retail industry says the 12 days of Christmas are Christmas Day and the 11 following days that lead up to Epiphany on January 6, which is the celebration of the Magi arriving to worship the Christ Child, right?)

We made pizza! Oh, was it ever tasty. Made the pizza crust, my mom's traditional recipe which comes from Julia Child's The Way to Cook. Basically, take 1 package yeast (room temp), proof with 1/2 c lukewarm water and a splash of sugar, then add some milk (about 1/2 c or a little more if necessary). Meanwhile mix the dry ingredients: 3 c flour, 1 tsp salt. Mix together, add a couple tbls olive oil, let rise for an hour or so.

As Mom was out of sauce I had to make some. Mixed a tiny can of tomato paste, 15 oz can of tomato sauce, some oregano, pepper, garlic powder, paprika. Rolled out the dough, spread the sauce across through to the edge, then a layer of cheeses in the center. A thin layer of colby/jack followed by a thick layer of mozzarella, pepperoni, olives, green onions, some pepper.Roll the crust with a little mozzarella inside and  brush the edge of the crust with melted butter. Sprinkle a little Parmesan on the top, all over the pizza allowing a little to land on the buttered crust. Here's the result!

Merry Second Day of Christmas!

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