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Fighting the Good Fight

Everyone has an irrational culinary fear, right? I mean, it's not just me. Lots of people who are otherwise creative, intelligent beings suffer from pulse pounding, all out terror when faced with some specific culinary task.

I have 2 left. It used to be 3. But I showed those cat head biscuits who was boss. So now I'm down to 2: pie crust and rice.

I think my culinary fears arise from my southern upbringing. I remember the wonderful smells and sights that came out of my parents' kitchen, then I feel inadequate because for the life of me I can't replicate them. My momma would probably say it's because I left my southern home and dared to venture out in the wild west. I suppose she has a point. The altitude (7500 feet above sea level) certainly isn't making anything easier. But with the help of a little Alton Brownian culinary science, I should be able to compensate for that, right??

So I decided today was the day to confront my fear of making pie crust from scratch. The last time I attempted this feat, it resulted in a sore hand from becoming so enraged with the limp, fragile piece of dough that I slammed my fist down in sheer unadulterated rage. I'm sure the primal scream was heard for miles around our crappy little apartment.

But today, I had karma on my side. I had just delivered a container of home made soup to a friend who recently had a baby, so I figured I had a little banked up good vibe.

The pie dough recipe couldn't be simpler: 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 sticks of butter. I even cheated and used the food processor.

I put the flour and salt in the processor and whizzed it around a few pulses. Then I cut the cold butter into slices and threw it in the processor bowl. I whizzed that around until the butter was incorporated into the flour and it looked crumbly. Then I got a glass of ice cold water, and added it in tablespoon fulls until the dough started to stick together and I could pinch it together. Here's what it looked like....

Dev gets the photo creds today, by the way.

I dumped the mass of dough onto a floured counter and used my hands to mush it into somewhat of a disk shape. After that I sprinkled more flour on the top and used my rolling pin to roll it out...

Dev and I both like crust, so I didn't roll it out paper thin. And I didn't bother to get it in a circle, either...

Here's a nice blurry action shot of me folding the dough into quarters and moving it to the pie dish...

Then I layed it in the dish and trimmed the excess from around the edges. No fancy fluting around here, just rustic quiche baking...

Here I am, smiling smuggly, thinking of the yummie quiche we'd be having for dinner tonight...

So, what did I put in my lovely home made pie crust??

I made a ham quiche. I put chopped ham, sliced mushrooms and cheddar cheese in the bottom of the unbaked crust, then poured my standard quiche base over it (heavy cream, nutmeg, hot sauce, 4 eggs, pinch of salt and sugar). An hour or so later, we had this...

We are going to an Earth Day potluck tomorrow night, so while I was at it, I made another crust, but this time I filled it with drained and rinsed canned salmon, 4 sliced scallions, dill, cheddar and some cubed cream cheese. I haven't tasted it, but it smelled really good baking in the oven...

All in all, I'd say it was a pretty good day. I'm not afraid of pie crust anymore. Hah.


Diane said…
What you need is a rice steamer - no problem with the rice - works well for quinoa too
kimberly said…
Those look yummy! Brian is the pie maker around here, and his secret is to add an egg yolk, and a dash of apple cider vinegar to his pie crust and they always turn out great. Bet that quiche will disappear fast at the potluck!

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