Month: December 2008

Pumpkin Pie

Posted on Updated on

pie monster from here.

Pumpkin Pie From Scratch

I’ve been trying to suss a good recipe for pumpkin pie for a few years now, and it never seems to come out right. Making a decent pumpkin pie from scratch has proved to be pretty difficult, at least for me. Well, I think I got it this year. So I am going to document it here so I don’t ever forget it now that it’s come to me. I know that this is a big endeavor, and pumpkins have a relatively short season, so if anyone does take this recipe and make it, I would love to hear about it. Cheers!


Roasted Pumpkin

· 1 sugar pie pumpkin   · olive oil   · kosher salt

Pie Guts

· 1 pie crust (see below)   · 1/2 cup brown sugar   · 1 tbs cassia cinnamon   · 1/2 ts allspice   · 1/4 ts cloves   · 1ts ground ginger   · 1 ts salt   · 1tbs cornstarch   · 1 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin puree (see above)   · 1 1/2 ts vanilla extract   · 3 large eggs   · 1 cup coconut milk

Pie Dough

· 2 cups all purpose flour   · 1/2 cup almond meal · 1 1/2 sticks of butter   · 1 ts salt · 1/3 cup cold water, a bit more if needed once mixing

Roasted Pumpkin

First, make sure you have the right pumpkin. This won’t work with a larger on that you might carve. You want the smaller pumpkins, usually indicated as ‘pie’ pumpkins. The larger ones just don’t taste the same, and you won’t want to eat it.

I usually roast the pumpkin the day before I am going to make the pie, for no reason other than this takes awhile to make.

Preheat oven to 400º. *Carefully* cut the pumpkin into a few large wedges. Clean it out, and cut a few more times. Drizzle with olive oil and rub it all over the pumpkin. Sprinkle salt all over. The salt really brings out the taste, so feel free to go a bit nuts. Bake for a little over an hour. You should easily be able to poke the meat with a fork. When it’s done, let it cool a bit. Scoop out the meat and discard the skin. Now, I like to use a blender or food processor to turn the pumpkin into a smooth puree. Many recipes say to hand mash or use a hand blender. Both of these methods can leave stringy bits of pumpkin in the final pie. But mash it how you will. The extras can be made into soup, cupcakes, pancakes – there’s a lot you can do with pumpkin. Anyways, back to the pie…


This is my favorite pie crust recipe to date. The almond meal can be made with a food processor – go at it until the pieces are very fine, or I found them conveniently in Trader Joe’s baking section. If you must forgo this bit, add another 1/2 cup of flour to the mix.

Dissolve the salt in the cold water. In a large bowl, cut in the shortening with the flour. Add the salted water and roll up your sleeves. I use my hands to mash this dough into a consistent blob. When it’s all mixed together, cover the top of the bowl and throw this in the fridge for 3-4 hours. Leave overnight if you wish, but take out a half hour before using so that the dough is more pliable.


Preheat the oven to 350º. Roll out the dough for your 9-10 inch pie. Press it into the pie plate. trim the edges, and pierce throughout with a fork. Set aside.

Blend everything for the pie guts together with a hand whisk or mixer, dry ingredients first, then wet. When smooth and well combined, pour into the pie plate. Cook for about 50 minutes. The measure of doneliness is that if you move the pie, the middle barely jiggles. Cool it for a couple of hours before you try to cut into it. And quit.


The pie dough was altered for this recipe. The actual amounts that I have written down are as follows: 5 cups pastry flour (or 4.5 all purpose) sifted, 3/4 lbs butter (3 sticks), 2 tsp salt, and 3/4 cup cold water. This makes *a lot* of dough though, so use this if you’re making more than one pie.


Honey Beet Burger

Posted on Updated on

My friends and I recently had a burger competition. There were spinach artichoke burgers, chocolate prune burgers, curried mushroom burgers, juicy lucys, and green chili and white cheddar burgers. No burger lacked deliciousness. It was great to see what people came up with and spend all day cooking and eating with friends. I decided to post my entry here. Perhaps more of the participants will post their burger recipes later. Let me know what you think!

The Honey Beet Burger

There are no quantitative measurements here. When it comes to burger making, I really believe that one should just eye the ingredients and add to taste. I like to smell the spice, then imagine the taste with what I am putting together in my head. I’ve never made the same burger twice, but that’s what makes them good.

The beets —

·Fresh beets skinned and cut into slices   · Honey

Put a bit of water (about an inch deep) into a pan. Insert the above ingredients and simmer for about 20 minutes, preferably with a lid on top.

The Bacon —

· Bacon

Thick is best, but whatever you got. Preheat oven to 400º. Put bacon on pans. If you have the pastry drying sheets, put the bacon on that with the pan under it. Though not necessary, this will make your bacon less greasy and more crisp/delicious. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until done to your liking. Philistines, feel free to cook your bacon in the microwave.

The Burger Bit

· Ground Sirloin   · Molasses   · Cardamom   · Thai Chili Garlic Sauce   · Teriyaki   · Worcestershire Sauce   · Paprika   · Chili Powder   · Mustard Powder   · Finely Chopped Onions

Mix all this stuff in a big bowl with your hands. Keep on until you’re sure everything is spread uniformly.

The rub —

· Cardamom   · Cracked Pepper  · Cracked Rosemary   · Celery Salt
Get a large plate, and put these down on it. Your burger will be making out with this savory concoction shortly.

The Patty Part —

· Chévre

Separate the meat into balls for each patty. Don’t be perfect about, this is just to lay out the correct amounts. Grab one patty ball and split it in half.grab a wad of the chévre and stuff it in the middle of one half. Take the other half and form it on top. pat this into your patty. Roll it on top of the rub, and pat the rub into the burger. Slap it on the grill. Do this for each patty.

Putting It Together —

· Endive   · Dijon Mustard   · Brioche Rolls (or something similar) · Lemon

Cut the rolls/buns open. Put dijon mustard on top. Lay the endive on top of that. Cross the bacon on the bottom bun. Put the burger on top of the bacon, and lay some of the beets on top of that. Squeeze a bit of lemon on top of the endive. drizzle honey over the beets and serve.

Stir-Fried Rice

Posted on

I’ve been told by a few that mine is the best, so I’ll share the recipe here. Total cooking and prep time, about an hour.


You’ll need a large wok for this, and a separate pan for the tofu.
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 small red bell pepper
1 small yellow onion
6-8 button mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 brick extra firm tofu
3 eggs (leave out to keep it vegan)
4 cups of cooked long grain white rice (Follow the package directions. I’ll skip this part.)

Prep Talk

Drain the tofu well a couple of heavy plates and clean white clothes.

Combine the oils, sugar, and soy sauce in a small dish or cup and set to the side for later while the tofu is draining. It will settle, don’t worry about it.

Cut the pepper, onion, and mushrooms into very small pieces, no bigger than a quarter inch or so. Slice the tofu into small quarter inch cubes. Peel the garlic, but keep it whole.

Cooking it all up

In the wok, add half of the oil/soy/sugar mixture to a heated pan while whisking it. Once the oil is moderately hot, add the garlic cloves for about 30-60 seconds. Mash the garlic with a fork once soft, and immediately add the vegeatables and mushrooms. Cook these up just a bit (a few minutes) and keep stirring them in the process. Now is a good time to make sure your other pan is nice and hot.

Add the tofu to the hot skillet, dusting it with the cumin, and cook just until it begins to brown. About 7 minutes should do it. Once its a nice brown, you can remove from the heat and set to the side. Note: You can cook this in the same pan as the vegetables, but I like to keep my tofu solid, and this tends to help.

In the wok, add about a cup of the cooked rice, and the rest of the oil mixture, mixing everything together well with the veggies. Add the rest of the rice, and stir it all together, just until well mixed. Keep the heat on very high, and press the rice down into the pan. After 3 minutes or so, Scrape it all up from the bottom of the pan, and mix it all up again. Repeat about 5 times.

Once the rice gets a bit of a golden color, its time to add the eggs. Make a well in the center of your wok with a spatula, and break your three eggs right in the middle of your pan. Be prepared to scramble the eggs quickly, as your wok should still be very hot! It should take no more than 60 seconds to cook the eggs up, and you can then stir everything back together.

Add the tofu to the rice, and stir it in together gently, just long enough to warm the tofu. Voila. More of my non-traditional asian-inspired cooking for you to enjoy.


I have used all kinds of other veggies with this, so feel free to use whatever you want. Just make sure don’t use too few or too many vegtables, or the texture will be off. Personal favorites to use are carrots (cook these a bit longer), bamboo shoots, and julienned portabella mushrooms.

I usually serve make this with a vegetable stir fry with the same veggies as above and Quorn Naked Chik’n, which you can start cooking right about when you add the rice, and have it all ready together.  Some cumin, cayenne, and just a touch of teriaki sauce makes it interesting.

Instant Potato Pancakes

Posted on Updated on

I failed at these. Horribly. I tried this recipe:,1825,145160-252203,00.html to no avail. I tried my own, using a mix of flakes, bisquick, and some other ingredients, and it still tasted like poop. Anyone have a good recipe to make potato pancakes without using real spuds?