Happy Pi Day!!

Hi Folks:

It’s that time of the year (3-14) where we get to celebrate all things irrational, and so as we’ve done for several years now we thought we’d add a recipe or two. Mike’s Auntie Dona – at various stages in her life – ran a bakery, a restaurant, a catering service for several small airlines, and a cooking school. She was also quite a character. Wherever she is now, she likely has flour in her hair. These recipes are hers.

In case pastry has become your bête noire, here’s the one I used in the bakery and still do.

5 cups flour, 1 lb. lard, 1 tsp. salt… blend with pastry blender. Break 1 egg into a cup, beat and fill with water. Add to flour and stir and knead until it’s ready to handle. Seeing as how you’ve got that great lump of pastry there, make a pie or two, some butter tarts, turnovers (apple pie filling, zipped up with cinnamon and a few raisins) or raisin squares or just bake the shells and store them on a shelf. They’ll stay good for ages.

Now about those butter tarts. This recipe I gleaned from an old Mennonite cookbook and have used constantly over the years. Surprise, no butter in butter tarts.

Dona’s stolen recipe for butter tart filling

2 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 cup brown sugar, handful of raisins. Beat the hell out of the eggs with your balloon whisk. If you don’t have one, stop right now and go and get one. I mean, really. Then put in the sugar and beat until you have big glutinous bubbles on top. Add your vanilla and raisins, put in tart shells and bake. Do use a 2-lb jam can to cut out your tart shells, 4-lb size for turnovers. Don’t bake butter tarts or anything with an egg base in a high oven. 325° at the most. I find 325 is best for these as a nice crust will form and they look beauteous. Gravy ladle fills the easiest. The amount makes 1 dozen.

So there you go. Have some fun with it! And since you have pastry dough left over, maybe put together a pumpkin or lemon pie or something. Check our Food section for more recipes.

Hugs,
M&M

Happy Pi Day!

Hi Folks:

That most special day of the year is upon us once again! While it will be another 97 years before we’ll have a really special Pi Day (3-14-15, 9:26:53), any excuse to eat baked treats is a good one!

Since the idea of combining irrational numbers and desserts is a bit nutty, we thought we’d offer up two slightly nutty recipes for you today. The first comes from the oldest cookbook we have on the shelf (so far): The Good Housekeeping Cookbook (© 1942, edited by Dorothy B. Marsh). Continue Reading →

Happy Pi Day!!

Hi Folks:

It seems Pi Day (3-14) is upon us once again, and there’s no better way to celebrate all things irrational than with pie! In the past we’ve profiled recipes for pastry and for various dessert pies; this year we thought we’d take a different tack and mention a crustless, savoury pie instead: a potato bacon cheddar tart. The recipe comes from our favourite Canadian chef, Michael Smith, and may be found here: Potato Bacon Cheddar Tart.

As Michael himself would say, the best recipe for cooking is to cook without a recipe! To that end, and since Marcia can’t eat nightshades (including potatoes), we use yams instead. And if you want to switch up the cheddar for some other firm cheese like Havarti, that would probably work too. Have fun with it!! The recipe is pretty simple and straightforward to make, although, as mentioned, it’s important to stagger the placement of the bacon around the centre of the pie plate to avoid having a big mound in the middle. And remember to put a baking sheet underneath to catch the drips.

Bon appetit! Now, the 100,000th decimal place for pi is… ? Oh ya… 6.

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. Happy Birthday, Uncle Albert!! E=MC2, huh. We’ll believe you. You could always see the beauty in the sinuous undulations of the rim of the crust, and you recognized that baking is all chemistry and physics… 😉

Happy Pi Day!

Hi Folks:

For those in the know, today is Pi ( π) Day (3-14). Today however marks a Pi Day that comes by only once a century because we have 3-14-15 9:26:53! Twice in one day! How cool is that?

As with our previous Pi Day post, in a moment of non-rational thought we thought we’d post a recipe! A pie recipe, of course. This one marks a favourite of Mike’s dad – a French Canadian tradition called Sugar Pie (or Tarte au Sucre in French).

To make this pie you’ll need a pre-baked pie shell. If you need a good pastry recipe, see our previous post!

Without further ado:

Sugar Pie

Ingredients
1 baked pie shell
3 cups (750 ml) pure maple syrup
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (125 ml) demererra brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. (30 ml)  unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla extract

Reduce/thicken the maple syrup by ¼ to ⅓ by placing it in a pot on the stove and boiling it for about 10-15 minutes or so. Set it aside to let it cool before continuing. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).  Mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl then add the maple syrup and combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell and bake for about 35 minutes until it has risen slightly and is somewhat firm to touch. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving.

NB: As the name implies, this pie is very sweet. You may wish to balance it with a nice dark roast coffee and/or some vanilla bean ice cream.

Enjoy!

Hugs,
M&M

A Plethora of Pumpkins…

Hi Folks:

Since Canadian Thanksgiving and Hallowe’en have come and gone and American Thanksgiving is just around the corner, this time of year there are a plethora of pumpkins about.  Most often used to make Jack-O’-Lanterns and then either left to rot or offered up in tribute in some form or another to the musical group ‘Smashing Pumpkins‘, pumpkins can be cooked and made into many wonderful treats.  It is a bit time-consuming, but much better (in our opinion) than purchasing canned pumpkin from the store when there are so many real ones laying about. Continue Reading →

Happy Pi Day!!

Hi Folks:

It’s Pi Day! (3.14), so in honour of that most famous of all mathematical constants we thought we’d do something completely irrational and post a couple of recipes.  Pi(e) recipes, of course.  And a story or two.

There weren’t a lot of male cooks around in the circles where I grew up (BBQ aside), but from the time I started Boy Scouts when I was 10 I’ve learned how to cook.  Okay, not always well, and a fire doesn’t have a dial for temperature control, but like everything else, it takes some time to learn.  By the time I started college I could cook and bake fairly well, despite the fact that my mother lovingly weighed me down with packages of freezerable food every time I went for a visit.  When Marcia and I first moved in together I told her the kitchen was mine and she told me I was welcome to it (Marcia’s actually a very good cook herself, and one of our many shared activities is cooking together).  Anyway, I digress. Continue Reading →

Eating Our Way Through Victoria… Pumpkin Time!

Hello Dear Reader!

Well, we’ve had a few culinary adventures to share with you this month.

Before we get to that, however, earlier this month Marcia went out to dinner with the folks she works with at a restaurant downtown.  She ordered the equivalent salad to the one we’d shared at Café Brio last month; in her estimation there was no comparison.  Café Brio was far superior.  She found the service at this restaurant was good but the restaurant was somewhat dark and the food overly salty, so in keeping with our only ‘rule’ about our food posts we’re not going to mention them – at least until we have a second opportunity to try dinner there.  Café Brio we recommend without hesitation!  Actually, we planned to go back there this month, but plans changed. Continue Reading →