Monthly Archives: September 2010

Justin, unsung pie hero.

Early last week Justin requested we make an apple pie.  I didn’t immediately jump for joy over this request (see this post), but had wanted to go to a local orchard anyway and figured this was the right reason.  We stopped by one afternoon and choose some Wolf River apples.  Neither of us had ever heard of them, but the owner said they were good for baking, and as that was our purpose, we picked out a large basket.

After further research, it turns out we happened upon a winner!  Wolf River apples originated in Wisconsin in the 1800’s and have been acknowledged as a great sweet apple for baking, making into sauce, and eating out of hand.

Justin set to work making the pie last Saturday evening, sticking with the Pat-a-Pan pie crust and Mom’s Plain Apple Pie recipes from The Amish Cook’s Baking Book.  As I’ve never really been a fan of apple pie, I can’t say I was overly excited for what the result might be.  I offered advice where needed, helped slice apples, and helped clean up.

Well, mostly helped clean up. 🙂

Things started looking up when he added extra brown sugar to the apples, and patted the crumb topping into place.  And it did smell pretty incredible baking.  And to top it off (literally), Justin mixed together some Honey Cinnamon Gelato.

I shouldn’t have doubted.  Justin has a special pie gift.  The crust was just as good when I had made the Peanut Butter Pie, better even, not dried out at all, and a wonderful flaky texture.  The Wolf River apples baked to the perfect, tender consistency – not quite mush, but not crunchy in the least.  The pie was sweet and the crumbly topping was delicious.  The Honey Cinnamon Gelato was the perfect compliment.

The pie was such a success, that Justin made another one yesterday, this one with the Basic roll-out crust from the same book.  Goodness Gracious.  It is amazing.  Impossibly flaky!  The crumb topping baked to a perfectly perfect dark golden brown.  It’s officially official.  I love pie.  Most especially the ones my husband makes.


Posted by on September 28, 2010 in Baking, Julie


Weather delays…

The crazy amounts of rain we received last week did little to help get the exterior work finished.  Instead, Mat is working into this week, and hopes it will all be ready for painting on Monday!  He installed the new dental moulding today, and that made a huge difference!  It is really coming together, one step at a time.

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Posted by on September 27, 2010 in Building, Julie


Dancing in the Kitchen with Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

I’m very excited to help announce a new cookbook available!

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes is a brand spanking new book out the chronicles, not only some pretty amazing gluten free recipes, but also the beautiful relationship Shauna (the Gluten-Free Girl) shares with her husband, Danny (the Chef).  I’ve really enjoyed reading Shauna’s first book, as well as their blog for several years.  I jumped at the opportunity to preview a couple of the recipes from the book and tell you about them!

Yesterday for lunch I made Seared Shrimp with Garlic-Almond Sauce.  This was a delicious blend of roasted almonds, fresh garlic, and olive oil, and I happily dipped my shrimp into the sauce again and again while watching the Packers trounce those Buffalo Bills! 🙂

For dessert we sampled Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies.  These are a flavorful, rich, cake-like brownie, with peanut butter marbled into the batter.  I also served these for dessert for some friends, and they didn’t suspect they were gluten-free in the least.  That is really how I like to test gluten free recipes and dessert.  I don’t want my gluten-intolerant friends and relatives to have to “settle” for a sub-par sweet.  If people with and without celiac disease can enjoy a treat, then it gets two thumbs up in my book!

Thank you, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef for sharing these recipes!


Posted by on September 20, 2010 in Food, Julie


Ugly Duckling

We’re facing down the final weeks of renovations right now, and a flurry of work is taking place.

Away with you, Nasty Aluminum!

New facade and window framing.

In addition to the exterior, Justin and I are putting the finishing touches on the interior, from new shelves for the closet, to assembling the front counter and double oven cabinet (which will be arriving any day now).  I am working at organizing ingredients and pans and utensils to make it a kitchen that is easy to work in.  More pictures coming shortly as we get things in order!

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Posted by on September 15, 2010 in Building, Julie


Farm Fresh

Awhile ago we watched Food, Inc. on Netflix.  Without getting preachy about it, it really has caused us to take a second look at where we are getting the food we eat.  While we haven’t switched to the 100-Mile Diet (because that would have pretty much left us with grubs over the winter) we have searched out local sources for the majority of our eggs, meat and vegetables.  One of our favorite connections we’ve made is with Sara and Larry Raikowski at Raikowski Farm in Junction City.

In addition to getting our weekly supply of fresh eggs from their free range hens, we have enjoyed numerous cuts of pork and beef from their pigs and cows, as well as whole chickens (not the egg-layers, mind you!).  This summer we have also received a bounty of fresh vegetables from their land.  The early summer weeks of oodles of fresh lettuces was probably my favorite, so amazingly crispy and flavorful!  But now comes around some of my other favorites – potatoes and squash.  I didn’t grow up with squash, but it has quickly become a fall staple in our house. This past week Sara found a perfectly lovely delicata squash for us to enjoy.  I hadn’t ever tried it before, but had read about them on other blogs, and was excited to give it a go.

A few days ago, I pan fried two pork chops and roasted some red potatoes and the delicata squash, all from Raikowski Farm, less than 15 minutes away.  The meal was filling and oh-so-flavorful.

Made all the more fantastic knowing the hands that helped bring it to our table are those of a friend.

–You can find Sara at Emy J’s Farm Market on Saturday mornings with a selection of their offerings – and look for them on Facebook too!–

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Posted by on September 12, 2010 in Food, Friends, Julie



Ok, so I’ve had strange things happen to me, like the time I got a brown pair of pants in the mail with no explanation and no return address, and our building has had it’s fair sure of visitors and “issues“, but this morning takes the cake so far.  For some reason, someone decided to deposit 9 dead fish on our stoop last night.  These were fairly fresh fish, as they didn’t stink at all, and they appear to have just been tossed on our apartment stoop (ignore the nasty outdoor “carpet” in the picture – it’s going away in a week or two).  Anyone have any idea what this means?


Posted by on September 7, 2010 in Justin


Sicilian Style Pizza

Several weeks ago I saw an episode of Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel where Adam was in Brooklyn, visiting some of his hometown’s favorite eats.  The sicilian style pizza he had at one restaurant really jumped out at me as something that seemed like we could try to make at home.  So yesterday Justin mixed together the dough (half of this recipe) and we let it rise for several hours.  When the dough had doubled in size, I greased an 8″ square pan and preheated the oven to 450 degrees.  I simply patted the dough into the pan, covered it with sliced provolone cheese (next time we’ll use mozzarella), dumped on The Only Marinara Sauce I will ever buy again, and then sprinkled grated Pecorino and Romano cheese over the top.  Next time (after re-watching the episode) I’ll also drizzle the top with a bit of olive oil.  I wasn’t keeping exact track of time, but I think it baked for 25-30 minutes.  I checked it after twenty minutes, and the dough needed a bit more time.  After another 5-10 minutes in the oven it had a nice toasty edge and crust.  The result was terrific, and looked pretty darn similar to the pizza in the episode!  The layer of cheese between the dough and sauce keeps the crust from getting soggy, and develops a great chewy texture.  This really is a keeper of a pizza recipe.  Very different from a typical New York Style pizza than we would normally get from Polito’s, but just as tasty.

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Posted by on September 6, 2010 in Food, Julie