Some of you know that I love cooking and baking. Now I have to say that my love of baking began much earlier between the two. I’m going to guess that’s because both of my grandmothers encouraged it by including me in cookie/brownie/cake/pie making at a very early age. My Papa was the one who really taught me how to cook, and passed along his love of doing so. I still think I’m a better baker than a cook though.
“Um…Ok Tamie, what does that have to do with Gabriel Emerson?” I hear some of you asking. That’s a fair question…and here’s my answer. During both Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture, food plays an important part in both stories right?!? Right! So it’s really not much of a stretch to see how my mind might occasionally think about what I might make or bake for Gabriel…given the chance.
That of course led me to decide that I wanted to write a post and include some recipes that I would indeed try to tempt the Professor with, and as I like to to do multi-parted posts this probably won’t be the last one you’ll see. So there you have it, and it’s really not so odd to dedicate food based posts to him…at least not if you’re me. Last year I did a 3 part series called Libations and Amuse Bouche for him. In case you weren’t around back then, and I know a lot of you weren’t…I’ll leave you some links at the end of this post mkay?
Grab an apron and join me in the kitchen while I whip up some goodies for Gabriel won’t you?…
Hmmm…what shall I do first?!? Baked goods or …
I believe I’ll begin with…Soup for the appetizer.
There are two reasons why I chose this particular soup recipe.
1) In a post a while back I mentioned it and several peeps asked for the recipe.
Apple Butternut Squash Soup
3 cans (5 1/4 cups) chicken broth (If your really feeling creative make your own)
2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks
**Tip- If you boil the squash whole for just a few minutes it makes it SO much easier to peel the very tough skin off**
2 medium green apples, peeled, cored, and cut up
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. Oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. Thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. Ground black pepper (freshly ground is always better)
a small pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp lime zest (you can substitute lemon if you prefer)
In a large saucepan combine broth, squash, apples, onion, and spices
Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until squash and apples are very tender.
Pour half of the squash mixture into a blender. Cover and puree. Repeat with remaining squash mixture.
Return all to the pot. Stir in cream and zest. Heat through.
Makes 6 (1 cup) servings.
Now for an entrée..
I make this one a lot. It’s so easy and the sauce is divine.
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons good quality olive oil
2 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons good quality Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
Flatten chicken to 1/4-in. thickness; sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, brown chicken in oil and butter over medium heat for 3-5 minutes on each side.
In the same skillet, whisk the lemon juice, parsley and mustard until blended. Whisk in broth and green onions; heat through. Serve with chicken.
I like to serve this over fettuccine with a nice, crisp salad on the side. YUM!
Perfect Apple Pie…
Okay…I’ll admit this one isn’t a quickie, and if you don’t have good luck making pie crust there’s nothing wrong with using a store-bought one…it’s just not as good.
3/4 cup cake flour
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
scant tsp salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon lard
4 Tablespoons Crisco shortening
large pinch Baking Powder
1 Tablespoon buttermilk powder OR:
1 Tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar ADDED TO:
5-7 Tablespoons ice water
one stick plus 1/3 stick butter, frozen in advance
10 Apples, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
sprinkle of vanilla
Flour or cornstarch for thickening
Preheat oven to 400°F, then reduce to 375°F after pie is in the oven.
Combine dry ingredients. Mix together Crisco and lard in metal bowl. Sprinkle with flour mixture. Chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Remove butter from freezer and slice into 1/2 inch chunks. Add to bowl. Work butter and shortenings together into flour with fingers or a pastry blender, leaving large chunks, the size of walnuts. The purpose is to coat the butter particles with flour, but not to allow the butter or shortenings to melt. Do not overwork the mixture.
Add the lemon juice or vinegar to ice water and stir quickly into dry ingredients. Mix briefly, less than 45 seconds, leave large unincorporated pockets of butter and shortening. If mixture is beginning to melt, refrigerate briefly.
Gather mixture together into a flat disc, approximately 1 inch thick, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour or up to 2 days. Freeze if you want to reserve longer than 2 days. The half hour rest is necessary so that the dough will become easier to roll out. The buttermilk powder and/or lemon juice also helps relax the dough and prevent gluten, which can make for a tough crust.
Mix the nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon with the sugar. Sprinkle the sugar with a few drops of pure vanilla extract. Work the butter and 2 Tablespoons flour or other thickener into the sugar. Slice the apples into thin wedges and place apples into pre-rolled out and fitted pie crust, packing apples in tightly, since they will cook down significantly. Mound apples higher in center. Sprinkle over the apples the juice of 1/2 lemon, then sprinkle the sugar-spice mixture over the apples evenly.
Roll out and place top crust, fluting edges to seal tightly and creating several vent holes to allow steam to escape.
Brush top of crust with a mixture of one egg white and one tablespoon of water or with a little cream. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar.
Bake about 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
There you have it peeps…surely even Gabriel would love this meal…
O…and the links to the libations and amuse bouche? I had a lot of fun with those.
Hey…don’t worry chocolate lovers…there’s always next time