"Piehole" in Midwestern means "mouth," as in "Shut your piehole." Preferably we shut it on some tasty home cooking. We love to grow, market, buy, cook, bake and grill so we can feed our faces, chow down, pig out, scarf & whatnot. I'm a born Midwestern home cook posting foods and recipes that show up in front of me, because like all Midwesterners I eat what's put in front of me. Pull up a chair. What can I get you?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Berry Pie in Filo (Phyllo) Crust: Recipe

Crust-making is easy and lower-fat using fillo and cooking spray, and although unconventional, this pie tastes very good and isn't too sweet. How about a scoop of vanilla ice cream on it?

Berry Pie in Filo (Phyllo) Dough Crust

1 box filo dough, thawed
1 12-ounce bag frozen unsweetened strawberries, thawed, with their juice
1 12-ounce bag frozen unsweetened blueberries, thawed, with their juice
2 apples OR 2 pears, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cornstarch
cooking spray

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Place strawberries, blueberries and apple or pear pieces in a saucepan. Add sugar and cornstarch, mix gently and cook just until the juices thicken. Add cinnamon. Allow the saucepan and contents to cool.

Grease a 9-inch Pyrex pie plate with butter. Lay one sheet of fillo dough down over it. Let the excess fillo dough hang off the edges. Spray this with cooking spray. Continue to lay fillo sheets over the plate, fanning each piece around the pie plate so there's fillo hanging off every edge; spray each sheet. When there are about 20 sheets down, pour in the filling. Lay a few more fillo sheets over the filling and spray them and and butter the top layer. Then lift the excess hanging fillo up toward the center of the pie plate. It will be a wrinkly top crust. Spray this top crust or butter it to make it dark golden. 

Pierce the top of the pie three times with a knife. Place it on a baking sheet to contain any spills, and put the pie in the oven. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, then lower the oven heat to 350 for another 20 minutes. Allow the pie to cool. Yield: one 9-inch pie. That's 4 Midwestern servings, 8 servings elsewhere.

You will be surprised how the apple or pear pieces enliven this pie!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Black Olive Bread (Bread Machine) Recipe

I sigh at those $6 olive-studded breads I see in the bakeries, but couldn't make one by hand, so I sought a breadmaker/bread machine recipe and this one gave me good results. It's from The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger (Harvard Common Press, 2000). A little bit of rye gives it a boost. Don't be afraid to buy gluten if you make bread by machine; gluten gives homemade bread that nice chewiness. Notice that white sugar is not used.

To make a 1-1/2 pound loaf:

Black Olive Bread

1-1/8 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon of honey
2-1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon gluten (aka vital wheat gluten. Small boxes are shelved near the flour.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3/4 teaspoons of bread machine yeast
1 full cup pitted black olive pieces, well-drained (I use pitted kalamata olives)

1. Place the ingredients, except for the olives, into the pan according to your machine's manufacturer's instructions. (Mine says: Put the liquids in first, so I did this in order of the ingredient list.) Set the machine to the Basic bread cycle. When the machine beeps (about 14 minutes into the kneading cycle) add the chopped olives, half at a time. If needed, add a tablespoon of flour to help incorporate them into the dough.

2. When the cycle ends, remove the baked bread from the pan and let it cool before slicing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Triple-Hearted Onion

Making potato curry with peas, I was delighted to cut open this satin-skinned red onion and discover it was a rarity with three hearts.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mess o' Collard Greens: Recipe

Chopped onion cooked in safflower oil first until golden. Then 4 sliced chicken sausages, 1 pound washed chopped greens and 2 cups chicken broth. I add 1 dried red pepper. Cover and cook 35 minutes. I like to serve this over mashed potatoes.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Kansas State University Cornmeal Biscotti: Recipe

Biscotti exquisitely crunchy with a portion of cornmeal in the flour to make it golden, and there's no sugar (it's sweetened with maple syrup) and no grease. The finishing touch: as many roasted Sunflower Seeds as the dough will hold.

Kansas State University Biscotti

1-3/4 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup or more roasted unsalted sunflower seeds

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or coat it lightly with oil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl,  put the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt, and whisk them together. Crack the two eggs into a cup and beat them lightly before adding to the flour. Stir in the maple syrup, vanilla and nuts, mixing just until the dough is smooth. Divide dough in half and form each half into a log about a foot long. Place logs about 5 inches apart on the baking sheet, and flatten the tops of the logs a little with the heel of your hand. Bake the logs 25-30 minutes until the logs are firm.

Remove the logs from the oven, carefully lift them out of the pan with spatulas, and put them on a rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 325 degrees. When logs are cooled,  use a sharp knife to slice each log on the diagonal, each slice about 1/2 inch thick. Place slices back on the baking sheet and bake them at 325 for 15 minutes or until they are dry. When they are dry they are ready. You will have about 25-30 biscotti.

I like to just turn off the oven after the 15 minutes and let them dry in the oven for a couple of hours. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Baked Fish with Sour Cream Sauce on a Mashed Potato Bed: Recipe

Bake your fish instead of fry it and you get to put sour cream sauce on it. Enjoy this; it's easy and tasty, the mashed potatoes are familiar and comforting if you are new to cooking fish in ways besides frying it. That's my new oval baking dish; just right for this meal for two. Pick a nice solid whitefish like cod or swai. Reluctant to try the fish called "swai," it turned out I loved it.

Fish with Sour Cream-Horseradish Sauce on a Mashed Potato Bed

2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 8 to12 ounce fillet of white fish (I used swai)
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup sour cream (lowfat, or regular; your choice)
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon dried dill
1/2 to 1 cup chopped scallions

Rinse the fish and pat it dry, or else it'll steam, not bake. Boil the potatoes until tender, drain and mash with the garlic, and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray or lightly coat with oil and put the mashed potatoes in it. Put the fillet on top of the mashed potatoes. Then drizzle the fillet with lemon juice. Put the sour cream, horseradish and dill into a small bowl and combine, then spread it evenly over the fish. Sprinkle the top with the scallions. Cover and bake for about 35 minutes and then serve.