Apple Pie – My Oh My!

I love pie and this is a wonderful time of year for apple pie, as the fruit is abundant and in season.

This recipe includes just a few ingredients and doesn’t take too long to put together. Prep time is about 20 minutes or less. The pie will bake for 50 – 60 minutes depending on your oven (convection ovens will bake more quickly).

I confess upfront, however, that I am not much of a pie pastry maker. I can make my own pie shells and tops, but I often cheat and use store-bought. I have tried many brands and types and I really like the combination I describe below. Since I lack the skills of a proper French pastry chef, I think this combination tastes about the same as my homemade version.

(A note on brands, I am not paid or given perks to use, feature or write about any products shown.)

I encourage you to find what works for you!  Use what you like or have on hand or find at your local market!! If your grandma or aunt has an awesome pastry recipe, try it – use it and pass it along!   Continue reading

Thanksgiving Tips and To Dos

Six observations about My Thanksgiving 2011:

1.  Turkey  – you have to know your audience and cook accordingly.  Since none of the guests this year were particularly keen on dark meat, wings, or “drumsticks” –  I just made a turkey breast in a bag and it came out great – juicy and savory.  (For more on cooking bags, click here.)

2.  Don’t mess with Grandma’s recipe.  My grandmother’s recipe for stuffing calls for margarine so I only buy margarine when making her stuffing.  I’ve tried it with butter, but it came out “wrong”.  [There is nothing wrong with margarine per se, but I never keep it on hand.  I was born a butter girl.]    ONE time I tried to fancy up the whole dish and completely RUINED it-it tasted weird and no one recognized it!  So, take it from me, if your grandmother bothered to write the recipe down, don’t mess with it- just follow it to the letter.

3.  Never underestimate the power of the signature cocktail.  The cranberry infused vodka was a huge hit so we stuck with this drink all day and through the course of the meal.  I had a white wine at the ready to serve but we all voted to stick with the cocktails instead. Continue reading

CRAN-tastic 2: The Taste Test

(From L to R: Cranberry Cosmopolitan, Chilled Shot, Cranberry Champagne Spritzer) Photo by: foodbyjenn

It’s been one week…

…and after straining off the spent fruit…

…the Cranberry Vodka was properly infused and ready to use this weekend!

At an impromptu tasting party I used a batch of Cranberry Vodka from Michael Chiarello’s recipe for “Cranberry Vodka Tonics” the November 2011 Issue of The Food Network Magazine Recipe to make his cocktail and two other cocktails of my creation- a Cranberry Vodka Cosmopolitan and a Cranberry Champagne Spritzer.

The results:  Continue reading


I love all things CRANBERRY.

There are so many ready to serve / ready to eat cranberry treats at all the markets at this time of year- it is November after all. There are even MORE great things to do with cranberries in my own kitchen.

A few nights ago I was curled up with my newest issue of The Food Network Magazine (November 2011 Issue) and flipped through to Michael Chiarello’s recipe for “Cranberry Vodka Tonics”.  I have wanted to try making my own spirit infusions all summer so I jumped at the chance to get the one week infusion process started on Saturday. Continue reading