I like to cook and I love to experiment and try new things but on Thanksgiving my sister-in-law and I are under strict orders from my husband and his brother to not "ruin Thanksgiving". There's a lot of teasing about this and we threaten to pull out a hamburger bean pie recipe that traumatized them both during their childhood or to have a Russian food themed dinner or something like that but for the most part we stick with tried and true. I've been pulling my recipes together to make sure I have all the needed ingredients. We end up doing dinner with them on Friday so worst case if something gets forgotten stores are open but nothing causes frazzle worse than forgetting something mandatory and not realizing it until right when you need whatever ingredient.
So I thought I'd share my favorite Apple Pie recipe and a few of my go tos. This apple pie actually came from some diabetic cookbook 20+ years ago when my grandfather was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Although his parents had both dealt with the condition we had all kind of assumed that fact that he was fit and healthy would make it skip him. It didn't but it did help him deal with the condition. He eats great and is still active at almost 91. Recipes that are naturally low sugar like this apple pie really help!
4 cups apples, sliced and peeled
1/2 cup apple juice, frozen concentrate
1 1/2 tps corn starch
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinammon or apple pie spice
1. Mix apples, apple juice concentrate, corn starch and spice and stir until apples are well coated. Add lemon juice, if desired, to keep apples lighter. (I skip the lemon juice step)
2. Pour into a pastry lined pie pan and top with second crust or pastry strips. Seal the edges and cut slits in the top crust to allow steam toescape
3. Bake at 425 for 40 to 45 minutes (watch it like a hawk after 35 though)
Now for a crust I use this All Butter Crust from Four and Twenty Blackbirds and it's amazing. This was the first pie crust I ever made for an actual pie and it always comes out exactly how a pie crust should be. I cut about 1/3 off the ball of dough after it finishes cooling, roll the 1/3 out, cut it into strips and than use that to make the lattice on top of the pie. Top with some lightly sweetened whipped cream and it's seriously good!
Also on the set in stone menu is mashed potatoes. For most of my life I've been pretty take it or leave it with mashed potatoes. They're okay but not amazing. When I started hosting Thanksgiving I began to hate mashed potatoes. It takes time to mash up the stupid potatoes and if you don't get them smooth they're awful. I spent many a Thanksgiving cussing at a pot of potatoes. And then The Pioneer Woman came to the rescue with her Delicious Creamy Mashed Potatoes. You can make them ahead of time and pop them in the oven about 20 minutes before time to eat. What's even better is if you don't get all the lumps out the baking does it for you! These things are magic. Even the Tornado eats them! I did discover (kind of by accident) that you really only need 1 stick of butter for 5lbs of potatoes and the cream is also unnecessary though you can thin it with a little skim milk if you must and you can use 1/3 less fat cream cheese so they're practically healthy!
All this thinking abut food got me in the mood to do some reading about food. I enjoyed the Laurie Colwin book of foodie essays I read last week and Kathleen Flinn, Molly Wizenberg and Ruth Reichl are some of my favorite authors. Looking through my NetGalley list I stumbled upon a book entitled Writing in the Kitchen edited by David A. Davis and Tara Powell and thought what could bet better than a book full of bookish and foodie essays? This book is fascinating. Everything about food and the South are explored - from farming and soil experiments in the 1700s to Scarlett O'Hara's famous radish. There are essays about slavery and the difference with how the different classes ate. There is discussion about where the recipes came from. Seriously, if it involves food it's mentioned here.
That being said, when I reach for a food related book I'm basically reaching for the book version of comfort food. I want homey and warm and maybe even a little quirky. I want to smell the herbs and feel the textures of the bread and hear the crisp sound of the knife hitting the cutting board. I found this book to be a bit dryer. While the information was fascinating it read a bit more like a textbook than I was expecting. This isn't a book I want to curl up with on a rainy day but if the college near me starts teaching a class with this as part of the curriculum I'll be first in line to sign up!
So what do you expect out of your foodie books? And for the American readers what foods do you expect to see on the table for Thanksgiving?