Evolution in my Kitchen

This is the story of how I keep it real in the kitchen.  I started with a craving for a local restaurant’s classic southern barbecue and ended up with tiny apple pies.

Chuck and I love going out for southern barbecue.  Our local restaurant, JoBoy’s, serves amazing smoked meats and delicious homemade sides and desserts.  The slow cooking results in a tender pulled meat that they pair with a homemade barbecue sauce.  Basically, it is to die for.

Though I can’t reproduce the unique smoky flavor, I can make a similar meal at home fairly easily.  I threw a pack of chicken thigh/leg quarters into the crock pot and made a sauce with the contents of the door of my refrigerator.  some mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, cola, Worcestershire,  fresh minced garlic, salt, and pepper, simmered on the stove and served in a gravy boat.

Emmi came over and we made these cauliflower latke thingies, but all dairy free.  I have a ton of fake cheese right now.  It helps me a lot.  I loooove cheese.  I might add another egg next time, but they turned out delicious and would be very good with eggs.

Once dinner was over, I loaded the bones and skins right back into the slow cooker, added come carrots, celery, and onion, and coated the contents with water.  I cooked the broth overnight on low.  The whole house smelled amazing!  In the morning, I strained the bones and such out of the broth and shoved it into the fridge.  The fat rose to the top and solidified, making it easy to spoon off.

Here is my cooled broth with the fat scooped off

This morning, I made a double pie crust and popped it into the fridge.

I wasted the rest of my day doing whatever unemployed people do, and then I made a PIE pot pie.  I emphasize the pie because I don’t want you to confuse it with POT pot pie, which is a delicious Pennsylvania Dutch stew that is made with homemade noodles.  Here are the steps I took to make my PIE pot pie:

This is a lard crust. Non-dairy never means vegan in my house!

I cooked a bag of frozen peas and carrots in the fat I culled from my broth. Once the veggies were warmed, I added flour, salt and pepper, and broth to make a gravy-like sauce. I layered leftover chicken with the veggie gravy in the pie crust.

I topped the pie with a crust and put slits in the crust to help air and steam escape.

This deep dish is Polish pottery. So pretty!

I baked the pie for about 45 minutes in a 400 degree oven, or until it was bubbly.

I think it turned out perfect. Chuck thought it should have been creamier, so next time I will add some milk (soy or almond) to the gravy.

Whoops, guess what?  I had extra pie dough.

I cut the extra dough with a cookie cutter, but you could use a drinking glass, too.

I pushed each round of dough into a mini muffin tin and filled it with apples. I used Fiji apples, which are very sweet and crispy. I diced the apples so they would fit into the pie cups and then mixed them with sugar, cinnamon, and flour. I used 4 apples, 2/3 c. sugar, 2 T. flour, and 1 t. cinnamon. I added the apple mix to each pie crust and baked them in my still-warm oven.

These only baked for about 20 minutes, until they were bubbly.  They came out a bit messy, so next time I may use cake liners. A quick jab around the edges with a table knife loosened the pies

Voila!

They are super sweet!  I think they would be pretty with an icing drizzle on them.

And that is how the ADD mind works in the kitchen.

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Charmed

Here is a review/endorsement of a TV show that you can watch in its entirety on Netflix.  You’re welcome.

Charmed is an ooey-gooey bundle of campy fantasy fun in a boob shirt.  It is available on Streaming and of course is in syndication on umpteen cable networks including WeTV and TNT, so even if you don’t have Netflix, you can nurture the hunger!   When I first started watching this show on TNT, I became obsessed (shocking!) and actually taped episodes I would miss so I could watch the entire series in order.

The premise of this show is terrible, unoriginal and romantic.  Three sisters inherit amazing magical powers and must fight evil and darkness so that good and light can prevail.  The girls were mostly raised by their grandmother who hid their amazing family history of witchcraft from them.  All of the women in the Haliwell family have first names that begin with “P” and each has a special power.  Together, Prudence, Piper, and Phoebe are able to call upon the prophetic and aptly named “Power of Three” and fight more evil than any other woman in their family.  As the sisters learn about their powers and discover the dark forces at work in the world, they also try to find lovers who will accept their wacky, magic-fighting schedules.  Most dudes apparently hate when their girlfriends can predict the future, freeze time, or move objects with their minds.  The ancestral Haliwell home in San Francisco sits on a magical force called the Nexus.  Between the Nexus and the general threat to evil that the sisters present, warlocks, demons, and all other forms of nasties turn historic San Francisco into a hub of magical warfare, much like the Hellmouth in Buffy, which also features an unlucky-in-love heroine who lives/fights evil in California.

The show originally starred Shannen Doherty (from the original 90210) as the oldest sister, Prue.  Shannen took her cues from Denise Crosby (TNG) and left the show so the writers killed her.  Obviously this created a huge plot hole: how can the Charmed Ones invoke the Power of Three if there are only two of them?  The solution?  A fourth (half) sister who was given up for adoption because her father was her mother’s “whitelighter” (guardian angel for witches).  Classy family, right?  The surprise sister even has a “P” name:  Paige!  In the end it is all for the best because Rose McGowan, the actress who played Paige, is way cooler than Shannen Doherty.

There are 7 glorious seasons filled with Alyssa Milano’s boobies and terrible CGI.  If you make it to Season 7, you will be graced with the beautiful Kaley Cuoco as a new regular.  Adorable!  She got her nerd on waaay before the Big Bang Theory.  The camp level is high, but the sisters will grow on you and you have plenty of time to waste, right?  I highly recommend any of the time travel episodes.  Enjoy!