It’s way past Thanksgiving, but I did save the pics from baking the apple pie—Whew!
I decided that I was kind of tired of the traditional pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. We weren’t having turkey, either, so tradition was kind of out the window.
As I know from many years of making apple pie, there are pitfalls:
- Sometimes the apples aren’t done by the time the crust is done.
- The filling can shrink away from the top crust as the apples cook within it. When you cut into such a pie, you think you’ve been cheated out of some filling.
- Sometimes the apples are too sweet or too tart because you don’t get to test the filling before it goes into the pie and make adjustments.
So this year, I cooked the filling first. In hindsight, it seems like a no-brainer. The best part of cooking the filling in advance is that you can do it the day before making the pie. You can also make the crust a day ahead so that the day of baking is just assembly and baking. I ended up making the whole pie the day before Thanksgiving so I could just eat on the big day. 👍
I found this terrific recipe for a Classic Apple Pie with Precooked Apple Filling. It also has what looks like a good crust that you might want to try, even though I opted for a different one. I used a combination of Granny Smith and Macintosh apples to cover both the tart and sweet flavors. I can’t imagine ever making another apple pie without a precooked filling.
For the crust I used the Foolproof All-Butter Dough from Cook’s Illustrated—it’s not the one with vodka. (There may be a paywall that prevents you from reading the recipe if you are not a member.) It’s a nice dough that almost resembles a puff pastry, with many flaky, tender layers, as you may be able to see in the photos. If you look closely at the slits in the baked pie, you can see the layers in the crust. We thought it was the most tender crust we ever had:
I can’t believe I didn’t take any photos of the pie after it was sliced!
I may never eat scrambled eggs again without cream cheese!
Even though the fillets were small at less than 3 oz, each, two were too many for me, and three eggs was too much. Still, I persevered 😉
Creamy Walleye Scramble
- Walleye fillets—my fish, including both fillets, was 5.5 oz. 3-4 oz might be a more typical single serving.
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
- butter and olive oil for sauteing
- salt & pepper
- optional: fresh or dried herbs, like dill or chives
- I’m using two of my favorite pans for this dish—stainless steel for cooking and browning the fish and nonstick for making the omelet. That poor nonstick pan has suffered abuse and will need to be replaced soon ☹️
- Begin by cooking the fish.
- Heat a stainless steel or cast iron pan, because you want some nice browning, over medium-high heat.
- Add 2 tablespoons butter or a combination of butter and oil, and as soon as the butter has melted, place the seasoned fillets in and saute for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn the fillets and cook the other side.
- Set aside while making the eggs. You could loosely cover the fish in the pan with foil, but do not put a lid on and let it steam and get all watery.
- To make the eggs:
- Whisk 3 eggs in a medium bowl. Don’t be like me and try to pick the smallest bowl possible, so that your egg splashes over the sides.
- Whisk in the cream cheese until mostly incorporated. It really doesn’t matter if there are little bits left in it, because they will melt in the cooking.
- Heat a nonstick pan over medium to medium-high heat. When hot add 2 tablespoons butter (and a few drops of oil to prevent burning). Add the eggs and let them set for a few seconds. Season with salt and pepper and herbs, if using. Begin to lightly stir and fold with silicone spatula, just to move them around and prevent browning.
- Crumble in half your fish, continuing to stir and fold. Remove from heat while the eggs are still moist.
- Plate the eggs and crumble the rest of the fish over the top.
Yesterday was just another hamburger day, but the sides made it more than ordinary—roasted spaghetti squash and onion straws. Usually I roast this kind of squash in halves, cut side down in an inch of water for a half hour, then flipped and brushed with melted butter to roast and brown for another half hour. I scoop out the strands of flesh and add a little more butter. Yum. I didn’t see why I couldn’t roast the squash more like other veggies, though, peeled and cut in chunks, tossed with olive oil. And then I had half the sheet pan empty, so I cut three onions into straws and tossed them with olive oil, too. Kind of a lazy person’s version of caramelized onions, without all the stirring—they topped my smashed burgers. I roughly mashed the squash into what I think I’ll call a rustic mash and drizzled over it a little melted butter. 👍 It was definitely a more-than-ordinary burger day.
👉 I used an odd photo filter here—Sparta—and it lives up to its name, making the food look a little spartan. 🤔 In reality, the squash was a little more orange-yellow and the onions white. Use your imagination.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Onion Straws
Preheat oven to 350-375º; line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. I often roast vegetables, like potatoes, at a higher temperature, so it’s your call, but I didn’t want the onions to incinerate before the squash was done.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2-3 cups finely sliced yellow onions
- olive oil, for roasting
- Optional: melted butter, for serving with squash
- Peel the squash, making sure to cut down to the yellow flesh. The outer skin has some long tough fibers that you can see as you peel, but you don’t need to cut off much of the skin.
- Cut the ends off and then cut the squash in half. Scoop out and discard the seeds, or save to roast. Cut the remaining flesh into 1″ cubes.
- Toss in a bowl with olive oil to coat. Spread out on sheet pan. Mine only took up half the pan.
- Peel onions and cut in half lengthwise (basically, you’re cutting the rings in half). Slice the halves thinly and separate with your fingers.
- Toss the onions in a bowl with olive oil to coat. Spread out on the remaining half of the sheet pan.
- Sprinkle all with coarse salt and pepper.
- Roast for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is tender. You can periodically toss the onions to distribute the ones on the edges that are likely to burn, although I expect a little char on roasted vegetables.
- Serve the onions on your burgers.
- Coarsely mash the squash, leaving some chunks. Drizzle some melted butter over the squash for decadence. 😉
I know it seems too soon to post another muffin recipe, but the Tropical Muffins are gone, because my husband was eating them two and three at a time. Well, these are not so sweet, with only half the sugar, and they contain the one secret ingredient that will curb his appetite—cinnamon. I can’t understand who wouldn’t like cinnamon, but there it is, and I use it to my own benefit sometimes.
In addition to sour cream and carrots, there are chopped walnuts and flaked unsweetened coconut, so there are plenty of flavors and textures in these muffins—they’re just not sweet ones. None of the additions—carrots, coconut, nuts, sour cream—are sweet, except for the brown sugar. I think the muffins would be great with some cream cheese and a nice big cup of coffee in the morning. You could certainly sweeten them up with different additions or with a sweet spread. I just wanted something hearty for breakfast.
Sour Cream Carrot Breakfast Muffins
Preheat oven to 375°; prepare a muffin pan with paper liners or butter.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- Beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and egg and continue beating until well combined.
- Stir in dry ingredients—flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon—just until lightly combined.
- Add carrots, nuts, and coconut and mix until well combined. The batter will be thick.
- Scoop the better into the muffin cups—it should mound high in the cups, but it will not spread out or run over.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 25 minutes worked for me.