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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Double Crust Apple Pie

Hi everyone!
Today I'm doing a post about what I made for Thanksgiving dessert. I know, Thanksgiving was like a month ago- this exposes my secret of doing posts ahead of time! Anyway, this pie is super easy to throw together and absolutely delicious. You can make your own pie crust (see this post), or buy crust at the store in the refrigerator section and it's almost just as good. Just don't use frozen pie crust- it just isn't the same at all, I've found.

Anyway! Hop to it and make this pie. It's so simple but always a hit- great flavor and fantastic served warm with ice cream. Special enough to make for an occasion, but easy enough that you can make it for dessert tonight! Let's go!

Put your bottom crust in the pan, and trim off the excess (I hadn't trimmed yet in this picture).
Toss your sliced apples with the dry ingredients.
Then toss in the milk or 1/2 and 1/2.
Then put those apples in the crust, and put on a top crust. You can do a design, slits, lattice or whatever you like!

Double Crust Apple Pie
-4-5 medium large green apples, peeled and sliced
-splash or two of lemon juice
-2/3 cup of sugar
-1 tablespoon flour
-1 teaspoon (more more depending on your taste) cinnamon
-2 tablespoons milk or 1/2 and 1/2
-2 tablespoons butter
-2 pie crusts, homemade (link) or store-bought
Put one pie crust in the bottom of an ungreased pie pan.
Toss apples with lemon juice.
Add sugar, flour, and cinnamon; toss well.
Toss in the milk or 1/2 and 1/2.
Pour all the apples, sugar, etc. into the pie crust.
Top with the other pie crust- cut slits at least to allow steam to escape.
You can also cut a pattern out of the top crust or do it lattice style.
If doing a non-lattice style crust, make sure to seal the two crusts together at the edge for minimal overflow.
Bake at 400 F for about 50 minutes, or until a fork stuck in the apples goes in easily.
I always bake the pie with the pie pan on top of a cookie sheet with sides, just in case there is the (inevitable) bit of overflow- much easier than cleaning your oven!
Serve warm or cool, with milk or vanilla ice cream.

And here's your finished pie- don't worry if it doesn't look like a million bucks- it will taste like it!

Savor it!
love, rue

Monday, December 10, 2012

Vovo's Red Beans and Rice

Hi everyone!!

Let me just start this out by saying- I've been eating this red beans and rice my whole life. Ever since I started eating solid food, this has been on the menu. The recipe comes from my grandmother, who we called Vovo, though I'm sure the recipe has origins much earlier in time.

The recipe might at first seem like it has a lot of ingredients and steps- it really doesn't. If you just cut the stuff up, cook it, and add it to the pot, you're pretty good to go- please give this a try even if you think it's too much for you or it might not be great. I haven't personally made this recipe before (my mom has made it my whole life, and I never got around to doing it myself until now!), and I didn't have all of the ingredients perfect, and it turned out amazing. Simply amazing- such a delicious and filling meal, and it makes great leftovers.

Let's get started!!

Here are all the ingredients- minus the rice- I wish I had a better way to display this many ingredients, I might have to get some little shelves or something!

Here's the ham, water, and seasonings tossed in for the broth.

And the broth post-straining/post-ham removal, and ready for action!

Here are your onions and celery- beautiful! Don't fret about getting the amounts just right- just use an onion and some stalks of celery- it'll come together.
Here's the broth once you've added the sauteed onions, celery, and garlic, and the beans have just been tossed in.

Here's our Italian sausage cooking away- feel free to use whatever kinds of meat you like- make it your own!

And the sliced and cut up kielbasa, just so you have a reference as to size.

And here the red beans and meat mixture is ready to simmer- stir in the meat and herbs, then let it simmer, stirring about ever 1/2 hour.

Vovo's Red Beans and Rice
-1 ham bone (or ham for making your broth- i had to use some cubed ham)
-1 1/2 cups water
-1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
-1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
-1 cup diced celery
-1 cup diced onion (medium sized onion)
-2-3 cloves garlic, minced
-3 tablespoons olive oil or veggie oil
-1 lb. red beans canned or dried- if dried pre-boil and cook the whole thing longer at the end to ensure the dried beans are cooked through.
-1 lb. Italian, mayo brand, or other flavorful fresh sausage (not in links)
-1/2 lb. sliced sausage like kielbasa or something spicier if that's what you like
-2 bay leaves
-1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley
-salt and pepper to taste
-rice for serving over
-red wine vinegar to serve on top- it adds an amazing zing and level to this dish!
Put the ham bone, water, garlic salt, Tabasco, and Worcestershire in a large pot over medium heat. Let simmer while you do the next step.
Saute the celery and onion until cooked through and lightly browning. Add the garlic and saute for just a minute or two longer.
Remove the ham from the broth you made in the large pot, and toss it (this is just to make yourself a flavorful base!)
Add in all of the onion, celery, and garlic straight from the pan to your broth in the large pot. Then toss in your beans as well. Keep the broth simmering.
Use the pan you just sauteed the onions and celery in- toss in your fresh sausage, and cook until browned through. Pour it in the pot.
Because kielbasa is already cooked, you can either brown it lightly and then add it to the pot, or just go ahead and add it to the pot straightaway.
Once you have added the meats, add your bay leaves, parsley, and some salt and pepper.
Simmer on low heat for 2 1/2 hours at least, with the lid off at least half of the time to let it reduce. You can help the texture get nice and creamy if you take a potato masher and mash some of the beans in the pot. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
Serve over rice. With plenty of red wine vinegar on the side- trust me, it's delicious.

This is the look you're going for after reducing and simmering for a few hours- a little creamy, a little gravy-y maybe- perfect!

Serve over some freshly cooked rice (we're partial to jasmine and other long-grain rices)

And here's the finished product, which does it no justice at all- this isn't a pretty dish, but it's a stick to your ribs dish that is easy, delicious, healthy, and makes great leftovers- what more can you ask?

Savor it!
love, rue

Monday, December 3, 2012

Zucchini Salami Pasta

Hey there!

My mom has been making this recipe for my sister and I since we were little kids, and it is so good. So I had the idea the other day and made sure my sister and I got the ingredients at the store. Dare whipped this up last night and it was as delicious as ever. The ingredients are simple and so is the preparation- this is a 30 minute dinner- but the results are flavorful and make a good hearty dinner.

Because I didn't make this myself this time, I've only got pictures of the results, but you should be able to whip this up no problem- very few steps, one pan, and one pot- let's go!

Here's the pasta tossed with the zucchini and salami- ready for serving and topping with cheese!

Zucchini Salami Pasta
-2 small zucchini, cut into matchsticks
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 lb. salami or pepperoni, cut into matchsticks
-1/2 cup whipping cream or half and half
-salt and pepper
-1/2 lb. fettucine/linguine, cooked normally and drained
-parmesan or romano cheese, to top.
Sauté the zucchini in the olive oil until just browned. Add the garlic and salami and simmer for a few minutes on low. Add the cream or half and half, and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss with the cooked and drained pasta, and serve, topping each portion with grated parmesan or romano cheese.

The finished product- delish!!

Savor it!
love, rue

Monday, November 26, 2012

Two Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

Hi everyone!

This recipe is right up my alley. I came across the original recipe here, and had to try it, because a recipe for just two cupcakes is perfect when you live alone- none of the danger of a big batch of something sitting around! This post might be a bit picture-heavy, but I wanted to show just how easy this is to whip up.

The original recipe uses veggie oil, but mine was all bad, so I adjusted for butter. I also increased the baking time, and ultimately reduced the liquid just slightly. For the icing, I added a pinch of salt and tried to reduce the overall amount made, which could ice 2-3 cupcakes- I had leftovers from the original recipe and I like a lot of icing, so I cut it down. Let's get started- these are sumer yummy and totally customizable with sprinkles, chocolate chips, caramel, whatever!!

Your arsenal for your cupcakes- and don't get out your measuring cups, you just need your little measuring spoons for this! (on the right there are mini chocolate chips and caramel bits which I added)

The original recipe called for mixing the dry and wet ingredients separately, the mixing, but I played it fast and loose and just dumped it all in one and it worked great- and faster and fewer dishes- win win win!

Here's your batter ready to go into the cupcakes- nice and chocolatey!

Here are your two- just two- cupcakes, topped with chocolate chips and caramel bits. Have fun with this part!

Here are the cupcakes out of the oven. The caramel bits sinking caused the holes you can see in the tops.
Your arsenal for the icing- pretty standard ingredients here.

Again, just dump all of your ingredients in over the melted butter, and mix with your fork...

Here's the icing just made- nice and glossy, now it goes in the fridge.

Here's the icing after 15 minutes in the fridge- stiff and hard a little, but give it a stir, then let it sit and soon enough...

It will be the perfect consistency for icing those cupcakes.

Two Chocolate Cupcakes
(original recipe from, I made several changes in my version below)
-1 scant tablespoon butter
-1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons hot water
-splash of vanilla
-3 tablespoons flour
-2 tablespoons sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa
-1/8 teaspoon baking soda (just eyeball 1/2 of a quarter teaspoon)
-pinch of salt
-a few chocolate chips, cut up candy bar, caramel bits, etc. for topping the cupcakes before baking. (optional)
In a 1 cup glass measure, melt the butter, then add the water and vanilla, Mix real quick with a fork.
Add the dry ingredients, and mix with your fork until mostly mixed (a few small lumps may remain- that's ok).
Pour the batter evenly into two cupcake liners. Sprinkle your chocolate chips on top. Bake at 325 F for 20-28 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.

Chocolate Icing for Two Cupcakes
-1 scant tablespoon butter
-1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons coca
-3 scant tablespoons confectioner's sugar
-1 scant teaspoon milk/cream/half and half
-pinch of salt
Melt the butter, then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Refrigerate briefly to set up. Take out after 15 minutes or so to let come to room temp. Mix after refrigerating and before icing.
If you start this when the cupcakes go in the oven, it should be done about the time the cupcakes have cooled.

And the two beautiful cupcakes all iced and ready to be devoured. These things pack quite a chocolatey punch, and it would be super fun to decorate these with a few sprinkles or something like that to add a little fun!

Savor it!
love, rue

Monday, November 19, 2012

Homemade Ranch Seasoning (or dressing mix)

Hey there,

I'm quite busy in my "real" life right now so this is a quick and simple post about something I've wondered about making for a long time.

I love ranch flavored things. Veggie chips or straws, chips, crackers, pretzels, veggies with ranch dip, ranch dressing on salads. It's a good flavor profile.

So, my mom got a big bag of veggie straws at Costco which are just sea salt flavor. That's ok, but I like the ranch much more, so I thought I should go out and buy a packet or two of ranch seasoning and sprinkle it over my veggie straws. But thinking about it, ranch seasoning seems like an easy thing you should be able to whip up, so I did a quick google search and got a bunch of recipes, messed around, and came up with my own.

It's super easy, and you probably already have all of the ingredients except the dry buttermilk, which is at every grocery store. You can make easy yummy homemade ranch seasoning for flavoring or making dressing for pennies compared to the cost of packets, and you get to control what goes into it- how much salt, and no artificial flavors or preservatives.

Your very simple ingredients- spices, buttermilk powder, and a jar to put it all in!

Here it is with everything thrown in the jar, but not mixed up yet. Just screw on the lid and shake!

Homemade Ranch Seasoning
-1/3 cup dry buttermilk (in spice/baking section)
-1 tablespoon dried parsley
-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
-1 teaspoon dried dill
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients and mix well. If you want it ground more finely you can pulse it in the food processor or blender for a few seconds.
Use it to season chips, crackers, and other snacks, or add a little mayo and milk to make homemade ranch dressing or dip.
Feel free to vary the ratios of the seasoning, depending on your tastes- more or less salt, etc. You could also try more or different herbs, some red pepper for spiciness, or whatever you like- go wild!

Your finished ranch seasoning- use it for anything you can think of!

Savor it!
love, rue

Monday, November 12, 2012

Gingerbread Cake

Hi everyone!

Fall is here, or almost, all over the country, so I'm getting into those spicy flavors (like cloves, ginger, not red pepper spicy!), root vegetables, etc. that are all over this season.

This gingerbread cake has a nice delicate tender crumb, and is not too sweet, so is great to snack on and goes perfectly with it's cream cheese icing. The flavor is similar to a molasses cookie, and you're using a lot of the same ingredients, just a little differently. Let's get to it, this loaf cake I made was delish- my mom and sister and I gobbled it up within hours of baking!

Your arsenal- basic baking ingredients- you should have all of this in your cupboard already probably! (fresh ginger not in this picture)

Butter-sugar-molasses mixture and water-baking soda mixture.

Here's what is looks like when you mix the above two together- beautiful color!

And now we've added the eggs and vanilla to make it take on this richer color. Now would be a good time to add in your fresh ginger (none in this pic, I apologize).

Dump all your dry ingredients on top, and whisk them in!

The finished batter and prepared loaf pan.

And the loaf about to go into the oven at 350 F for about 25 minutes.

And then it comes out looking like this- beautiful! It helps a lot to use parchment paper to avoid any sticking

Gingerbread Cake
(notes: the more and fresher your spices, the spicier your gingerbread, you could intensify the flavors with a darker molasses, and also feel free to substitute light brown sugar for the dark. Adding grated carrot or zucchini would also be great in this cake- give it your own twist!)
-1/2 cup butter
-1 cup dark brown sugar
-1 cup boiling water
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-2 eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-2 1/2 cups flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-2 teaspoons ginger
-1/2 teaspoon allspice
-1/4 teaspoon cloves
-1 teaspoon grated and chopped fresh ginger
Cream the butter and the sugar together. Stir in the molasses. Boil the water and add the baking soda to it, stir. Add this mixture to the butter/sugar/molasses mix.
Temper the eggs in if your mixture is still hot (gradually adding a little more of the molasses mix to the eggs to raise the temperature so you're eggs don't cook upon adding to the batter), add the vanilla, and stir well.
Stir in the dry ingredients and grated ginger.
Bake in a greased or parchment-lined loaf pan (what I did), 13x9'' pan, layer cake pans, cupcakes, etc. at 350 F until a tester comes out clean (my loaf took 25-30 minutes).
Cool completely before icing.

Your (much smaller) arsenal for the icing (which you could use on anything you like)- butter, cream cheese, vanilla, sugar, salt, milk (not pictured). Easy!

The finished icing- just whip all that together and here you are!

Gingerbread Cake Cream Cheese Icing
(note: this is probably enough icing for a 9x13'' or layer cake- I only used about a 1/3 of this in icing my loaf cake, so use your discretion)
-1 (8 oz) package cream cheese (or neufchâtel), softened
-1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
-2 teaspoons vanilla
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-4 cups confectioner's sugar
-a few teaspoons milk to adjust the spreadability of the icing
Cream butter and cream cheese. Beat in salt, vanilla, then add the sugar and beat in. Add milk to adjust until it is the thickness you desire.

And here's my finished loaf cake- a little rustic, but it served our purposes just fine- it was delicous! I can't wait to try it again with some of the suggestions I included above- can't wait to add carrot to this or zucchini!

Savor it!
love, rue

Monday, October 29, 2012

Creamed Corn

Hi again.

Here's a post that I maybe should have done at the height of summer when corn was at its best here in The States. But, I wasn't in country anyway, so I missed out on the sweet corn anyhow.

What I'm talking about today is creamed corn- the stuff you (or your mother) have a can of in the cupboard to make cornbread, use in a soup, casserole, etc. This, however, is a little bit of a different animal. It still has all the corn goodness and creaminess, but it's so much better, with still a little bite of the freshness of the corn- delicious.

This would make a fantastic side dish, serving probably 8-10 people, beside anything from hamburgers to more traditional southern fare (not my fave, but that is where it comes from!), to just about anything. Perfect for a potluck too- yumm!

Your arsenal: fresh corn, butter, milk/1/2 and 1/2/cream, salt, pepper, and sugar.

Here's all the fresh corn cut off the cob, with the milky stuff that you get from scraping the cob after cutting the kernels off.

Melt your butter, then add the corn.

The corn sautees for just a minute or two before...

You add the milk and cream, salt, pepper, and sugar, and give it a stir.

This is after about 25 minutes of simmering and reduction- there is still some creaminess in there at the bottom, but it isn't wet with it or too much.

Creamed Corn
    -feel free to substitute any dairy and ratios for the cream/milk- just don't use all skim or it
     won't thicken very well- I thought this was good balance
    -I didn't chop the corn this time, but I think it'd be a bit more creamy if you did
    -I made only a 1/2 recipe and I think you could scale this any way you like.)
-8 ears fresh corn
-4 tablespoons butter
-3/4 cup milk
-6 tablespoons cream
-2 teaspoons salt
-1 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
-1 teaspoon sugar (when corn isn't at it's height)
Cut the kernels off of the ears of corn, then scrape the ears with the back of the knife. Give the corn a rough chop.
On medium/high heat, melt your butter in a skillet. Add the corn, stir, and wait a few minutes.
Add the milk, cream, salt, pepper, and sugar. Turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes or until thickened.
Turn the heat off, leave the pan on the burner, put a lid on, and let steam for 2 minutes or so.
Season with salt and pepper if necessary, and enjoy!

The finished creamed corn- so delish!

Savor it!
love, rue

p.s. I just came up with the most sinful idea whilst getting a snack to watch during the (football, like, with your feet) game. I looked in the fridge to get some creamed corn, and saw the half-package of bacon I have in there, and it came to me- the (a) way to make this better, to elevate it to the next level, would be to cut up some bacon, fry it up, and sprinkle it on top. If you want to get really decadent, I bet you could even use some or all of the bacon fat in place of the butter!! Whew- vegetarians/vegans beware of that idea!