Yankee Galette

Posted: January 28, 2010 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I’m going to come right out and say that if you are a vegetarian, you might want to just skip this entry. If you’re observant Jewish, you should probably test this with turkey bacon, to see if the taste is similar. In fact, maybe I’ll test it out with turkey bacon, and tell you how it goes.

Recently, I went to a Pie Party at the home of my friend Erin’s lovely cousin Emily. The basic jist was that everyone was to bring a pie – sweet, savory, family recipe, just wingin’it…. whatever. There was a judging, and a prize for the best sweet and best savory recipe. It was really fun, and it was excellent to meet and talk to new people, while gorging on pie (or, as Erin says it, “paaah”).
Since our invite was very last minute – as in, Erin and I were in the middle of a 6-mile run, when she suggested I throw something together and attend – I had to make do mostly with what was in my refrigerator. I had half a bag of cranberries left from some jam making, and decided to go with an apple cranberry galette.
While perusing the internets, I came across a few great recipes for such a galette, as well as a recipe that legitimately made me whimper when I read the title: Maple Bacon Apple Galette. In the end, I couldn’t decide, so I combined them.

Yankee Galette
1. Make a single recipe of your favorite pastry. My favorite is the recipe of another friend named Erin’s mother: 1 cup of flour, 1/3 cup shortening or butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 3-5 tablespoons of ice water. Chill the pastry in the fridge while you do the rest.
2. Chop or cut 4-5 slices of thick-cut smoked bacon into 1/4-1/2″ pieces, and brown the pieces. You’re not looking for totally crispy, because you’re going to bake the cooked bacon. But cook it till it’s brown and has rendered some of its fat.
3. While the bacon is browning, peel, core, and slice 3-4 medium sized apples. I used the amazing apple peeler/corer/slicer that I received as a Christmas gift last year, which sped up the process greatly. Toss with roughly 3/4 cup of fresh cranberries and 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon each cardamom and nutmeg.
4. Remove the bacon from the skillet with a slotted spoon, and drain. Then, put the drained bacon pieces in a non-stick pan with 2-3 tablespoons of
real maple syrup
(NOT Aunt Jemimah or Mrs. Butterworth or whatever else.) and turn the heat on to medium. The syrup will simmer, and this is exactly what you want. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, which should be just enough time to pick yourself up off the floor after you faint from the gorgeous smells coming from that non-stick pan. After 3-5 minutes, scrape the bacon/syrup concoction into the bowl of apples, cranberries, and spices.
5. Take your pie crust out of the fridge, and roll it out on a lightly-floured surface. You want to roll it out into a BIG, uneven roundish shape. No worries about making a perfect circle or making it even, since this is supposed to be a rustic, peasant style dish. Transfer the pastry crust to a baking sheet, and pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
If you want, trace a circle onto your pie crust lightly with a sharp knife, so that you know how big your finished galette will be. I used an upside-down plate. Pile your apple-cranberry-maple-bacon mixture on the crust, and begin folding and crimping the sides up and over the fruit. You don’t need to stress about making it beautiful – when it comes out of the oven all golden and baked up, it will BE beautiful.
6. Brush the folded-up edges of the galette with either melted butter, an egg wash, or (if you’re me) bacon grease. Sprinkle turbinado or sanding sugar along the crust edge if you’re feeling fancy, and bake for 35-40 minutes.

I love this galette, and combining apple pie with cranberries, bacon, and maple syrup reminds me of New England, of all the things that make me think of home, of Thanksgiving and my heritage foods.
Plus, it’s delish. I didn’t win the contest, but I got some good encouragements, and I ate some delicious pie, and in the end, that makes everybody there winners. :)

A Very Pretty Thanksgiving: Cranberry-Chipotle Relish

Posted: November 20, 2009 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: A Very Pretty Thanksgiving, delish, Johanna, Make-Ahead | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Being a native New Englander, I know the story of the first Thanksgiving very well. And even if it isn’t true, and even if Thanksgiving is a holiday to cover up the horrible, terrible things that the original Pilgrims did to the Wampanoag people, what with their smallpox and their venerial diseases….. I don’t care.

Not-Quite-Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s nice, to think that in celebration and thanks for the fact that they did not die alone in the horrible New England winter (a thing I too gave thanks for, every time it got to be spring in my childhood and I still had a pulse), my forebears sent a message to ol’ Squanto, and chief Massasoit, telling them to come hang out and bring some food and some friends. Together, said Miles Standish, we’ll all celebrate the fact that we did not die. And while there may or may not have been cranberries (although cranberries originated in Massachusetts and Maine), and there may or may not have been some gnarly old heritage turkey, I think that the Pilgrims were probably pretty happy that the Wampanoag hadn’t murdered them all yet, and had in fact helped them survive.

Along with laying an extra place for the people who might show up, and the people who are there only in spirit, my family is mindful of tradition. My father, true to his Yankee heritage, makes cranberry sauce every year, from a very nice recipe by Jeff Smith, that old preacher-man, whose ingredients are essentially, if memory serves, cranberries, oranges, and sugar. Dad, correct me in the comments if I’m wrong.

While I’ve often eaten it, I can’t say that cranberry sauce is one of my favorite parts of the actual holiday table. Cranberries are tough to eat, very bitter and sour. But I’ve long been intrigued by them, and wondered if it was just me, or Jeff Smith’s pairing of them with something that could ALSO be bitter and sour. So, emboldened and embarking on a trip into the land of Thanksgiving foods, I decided that Cranberries should be tested.
Cranberry-Chipotle RelishCranberry Chipotle Relish
Via Epicurious – Bon Appetit November 2009

The ingredients here are pretty simple: 1 pkg of frozen cranberries. 1 1/3 cup of sugar. Juice of 1 lemon. 2 chipotles in adobo (don’t bother soaking a dried chipotle. Trust me.) Garlic. Cinnamon (I’m working on a replacement). Cumin.

You combine the cranberries, sugar, lemon juice, and chipotles (rinsed. trust me.) in a saucepan, and bring them to a simmer. You can put the cranberries in still frozen, I learned. Once the sugar and lemon juice have dissolved and everything is at a simmer, let it go for about 5 minutes. I mashed some of the cranberries up with a potato masher, although I also mashed some of the chipotle by mistake, but didn’t see any adverse effects.
You add the garlic, cinnamon and cumin, and simmer until things start thickening and darkening. When this happens, immediately scoop or pour your cranberry relish into a clean bowl, and rinse. out. your. saucepan. STAT.
Melted sugar, especially when combined with fruit sugars, WILL TURN TO CEMENT. It’s a fact. Sort of. Regardless, you need to wash your saucepan while the sugar is still warm, and therefore liquidy, to avoid a situation that involves you chipping caked-on sugar out of it (sidenote: anyone know how my new saucepot got a dent in it already? dub tee eff?)

Back to the relish. Once it’s in the bowl, put it in the fridge while you prepare your baked chicken and brussels sprouts (roasted with bacon and garlic. delish. who knew?? not me. this was the first time I’d ever even SEEN a brussels sprout in person. legitimately.)
So technically they're Belgian Sprouts, right?It's not about the chicken.

And there you have it! A winning update to a Thanksgiving classic, and a TON better than whatever you shake out of the can on the big day, I promise. Not to mention, I bet if you mixed this with some honey mustard, it would create a sandwich spread that would rival the delicious one that I slathered on turkey burgers last year, at the behest of my girl, Rachael Ray. Also, it keeps for ages. Make it on Saturday and put it in the refrigerator until Thursday, and you’ll have one dish less to worry about on Thanksgiving.
Simplicity in the face of chaos – that’s really what we’re looking for, isn’t it?

Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.