August 27, 2012

Pear Gruyere Pie

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Remember the TV show called Pushing Daisies? One of TV's biggest regrets is losing that show. The vivid color and vibrant fantasies that passed by on the screen was a highlight in entertainment.


In remembrance, or just because I've always wanted to make one of the delicious pies they're constantly baking and eating (they do work at The Pie Hole after all), the Pear Gruyere Pie was born - completely and utterly inspired by Chuck, who bakes the Gruyere into the crust. Enjoy!


Pear Gruyere Pie

Yield: 1 pie
Ingredients
  • Gruyere Crust
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • Pear Filling
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 5 cups pear, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Dice the butter into 1/4 inch pieces. Place butter and the flour in a large zip lock bag, seal and roll over with a rolling pin until the butter is combined. Place the bag in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Pour the ingredients from the bag into a chilled mixing bowl and work together with a fork until the mixture becomes pebbly. Gradually drizzle the ice water over the mixture, blending with the fork. Add more water if necessary add a tablespoon at a time, until you achieve the right consistency.
  3. Form two discs out of the dough, working each in your palm. Wrap them each tightly with saran wrap and refrigerate.
  4. Combine sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in mixing bowl.
  5. Arrange pears in layers in a 9 inch pan on top of one of the crusts, sprinkling sugar mixture over each layer. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Roll out remaining dough; cut slits for escape of steam. Moisten rim of bottom crust. Place top crust over filling. Fold edge under bottom crust, crimping to seal.
  6. Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 10 minutes. Sprinkle Gruyere over the top. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes.

August 06, 2012

Chicken Mofongo

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Mofongo, a favorite of Dominican and Puerto Rican cuisine, is just about the best thing to happen to a plantain since, well, ever. I mean there's the ever-popular fried sweet plantains, the tostones, and just a plantain sans anything. But the richness of mofongo really outshines all of its brother and sister dishes.


A little mofongo goes a long way, and you won't catch me telling you it's healthy, so maybe don't eat just mofonog. But if this doesn't make you run out and leave your grocery store bare of plantins, then I don't know what will. Enjoy!

Chicken Mofongo

Yield: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 green plantains, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1/2 to 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken, cooked and shredded
  • salt, to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Mash the garlic with the olive oil in a mortar and pestle or whatever you have on hand. Combine garlic mixture with the chicken in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat canola oil in a large pan. Fry the plantain chunks until golden and crispy, but not brown, about 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer the fried plantains into the bowl with the garlic mixture. Toss to coat. Mash the coated plantains until smooth. Season with salt.
  4. Roll the plantain mixture into two large balls or several small balls before serving.
  5. It can also be served with chicken broth over it.