Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Priscilla's Pie

I can't go into this recipe without shelling out this story . . .

It was a rainy, cold, Sunday morning in Madison, Wisconsin.  I had skipped church because of the nasty weather and wasn't planning on going outside at all on this miserable day.

That was about to change.
The phone rang.  It was my sister, Priscilla.
"Hey," she said, "There's this apple pie contest being held on the Capital Square today.  I made two pies.  Would you put your name on one of them and enter it in the contest?  All my friends tell me I make THE BEST apple pie.  I have got to enter this contest!"

"Oh, man!  Have you checked the weather?  It's raining out!  I'm sure it's been cancelled!  And wouldn't I have to make the pie myself in order to qualify?"

My whining went on and on.  You get the picture.

As it turns out, the rules were rather vague.
We braved the weather.  My name went on one of the apple pies, and we headed down to the "Square."  We placed the pies on the judging table and raced back to the car.  Chilled to the bone, we sat there and listened to the radio station that was sponsoring the event.  When the judging was about to begin, we ventured back outside.

It wasn't long before the results were in:

4th Place . . . somebody
3rd Place . . . Priscilla
2nd Place . . . somebody
1st Place . . . me!

And THEN!  Then I was interviewed for a live broadcast by the radio station.  Talk about not being prepared!!!  The only thing I knew about the recipe was that there were apples in it.  APPLES!

Oh, well.

In the end, Priscilla got a microwave oven out of the deal, and I learned how to make a magnificent apple pie!

And I am riding on her coattails as I write this recipe:

Priscilla's Prize-Winning Apple Pie

Pre-heat oven to 360 degrees.
Remove a stick of butter from refrigerator for use later.  (Please use real butter here.)

Prepare pastry pie crust for 9"pie.  (Use what you like for this.)

Apples:  Use a combination of apples (approx. 14 apples per pie)
     Baking Apples:  Cortland (8), McIntosh (4), Granny Smith (2)
     Some "eating apples" will work, but use them sparingly along with the baking apples.
Peel, core and slice apples into a large bowl.

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Sprinkle over apples, coating evenly.

Turn apples into pastry-lined pie plate.  Mound them high, as they will bake down.

Now for the Dutch topping:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
5 Tbls. butter (semi-hard)

Using a table knife, cut in the butter until mixture is "crumbly."  Spread this mixture over the mounded apples.  Pat mixture down gently.

Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Lightly sprinkle sugar on pie crust edges and cover the edge with foil or pie-crust shield.

Place pie on the middle rack in 360 degree oven for 55-60 minutes.  Remove the pie crust shield after 45 minutes.

Check to see that the apples are done.

Remove from oven.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Let's Talk Apples-to-Applesauce!

First, a confession:  I rarely eat raw apples.
But, I like to bake with them.

On Friday, I made an apple pie.
On Sunday, apple crisp.

Apples.  What is it with apples?
It's the cooler weather, I tell you. It's time to celebrate the change in seasons! Light that oven!
And so I bake.

I find a pleasing combination of apples (about five different kinds) to peel, core and slice.
I always--and I do mean always--slice more than I will need for my desserts.

For the applesauce.  Homemade applesauce.

It will be the perfect accompaniment for one of my favorite meals:

Pork Roast with Sauerkraut

"Yikes!" you say. "Really?  One of your favorites?"

Trust me.

Here's what you need to do:

Step 1:
Place a pork roast in a roasting pan or crock pot.
Cover it with sauerkraut.
Sprinkle about 2 tsp. of raw sugar over the sauerkraut.
Bake it.

Step 2:
Make mashed potatoes.  Use the lovely Golden potatoes.  (It's much easer to mash them if you uniformly dice them before boiling them.)  Instead of using an electric mixer, try mashing them the old-fashioned way--by hand.  Add some milk, some butter, and mash until creamy. 

Step 3:
Eating instructions:  Place some pork roast, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and the homemade applesauce on your plate.  Now--and this is important--take your fork, pick up some of the sauerkraut, some of the mashed potatoes, and some of the applesauce, all on the same fork, and give it a go.  It is a taste combination that is surprisingly delicious.  Oh, and don't forget to eat the pork!

Step 4:
Repeat Step 3.

And for dessert?  Apple pie, of course!

Coming up on my next blog:  My Dutch Apple pie recipe

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Oklahoma Derby Hat-Trick

More often than not, I will sign myself up for something before giving it the "once-over."  Such is the story of the Oklahoma Derby.

Three days prior to the actual event, I was asked to fill in for someone who was unable to attend.  The "hat" would be supplied by her friend.  All I had to do was rustle up the chutzpa to actually wear it in public.  With hat in hand, so to speak, and wearing clothing I borrowed from my friend, I was off to the races!

Since I arrived solo, I was feeling a bit out of place.  But any hesitation about my decision to attend was whisked away after I heard the first, "I like your hat," from an unknown admirer.  Now I was good to go!

It was truly a parade of hats--creative, inspiring, colorful--ranging in size from petite to outlandishly large, and worn by women of all ages.  Some were whimsical, others glamorous.

As I looked around, I thought to myself, "I could so do this!"  I can come up with an idea, find a few unsuspecting friends, fashion-up a hat for each of them, and take the Spring Derby by storm!

Anyway . . . back to this Derby:

Pictures were taken.  Categories were selected.  The judging was about to begin.

To cut to the chase, I did not win, place or show. 

BUT . . . the woman who had made my hat?  Well . . . she pretty much cleaned house when it came to the awards.  Her daughter-in-law won "best ensemble,"  Her close friend won another award for creativity.  And she (who had made both of their hats as well as her own), she won best overall! 

Now that's a hat-trick!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Blog

Good grief!  What should the title of my blog be?  Something concise, for sure.  But what?

So I sought advice from friends.
I was told, "Make it relevant to the content of the blog."

What the hell does that mean?
I have no idea what I'll be saying in the next hour, never mind next week.

Something banal?  I don't think so!  Not me!
How about cerebral?  Yeah, right.

Think, Rhonda, think.
So I thought to myself, "Things are running amuck!"

And there you have it!