Aug 29, 2014

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Everyone Loves Pie

by Arianna Johnson


http://polarbearstale.blogspot.com/2010/09/i-would-like-piece-ofapple-pie-please.html

It is that time of year once again. The leaves are changing colors, the temperature is falling, and the smell of freshly baked pie is in the air. That is, I am talking about Thanksgiving! I mean, who does not love this holiday? You get to eat all day long!

Every year, I go to my aunt’s house, and it is always the same routine. My aunt and uncle get out of bed around 5 in the morning to put the turkey in the oven. Then I come along sometime in the early afternoon to help with everything else. But my main contribution to the meal is my apple pie. It is a huge hit, and it really is not that difficult to make. My secret: store bought pie crust. Now, I am sure homemade, flaky pie crust tastes out of this world, but frankly, I like the already prepared version enough that I would not put the effort into making my own. I do, however, have to admit that I do go above and beyond with my homemade vanilla bean ice cream, but you can just buy that, as well.

Somehow at the end of such a huge meal, I find room for warm, gooey, a la mode apple pie. It is honestly one of the best comfort foods in existence and an American staple. Another trick that makes my pie so good is the apples I use. I always make my pie with Granny Smith apples, a.k.a the green sour ones. The contrast of flavor and how well they hold up in the baking process makes them the best apples for this job.

So, here is the recipe if you want to try it out this Thanksgiving. Maybe you will get lucky and there will be some leftover, especially because most people are going to be passed out on the couch from their turkey coma.

Apple Pie
Yields 6–8 servings

  • 1 frozen package Pillsbury pie crust, defrosted
  • 6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • ½−1 cup flour (depending on apple’s juiciness)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place the bottom crust in a pie plate and prick with a fork. Bake for ten minutes. Combine the filling ingredients in a large bowl until apples are coated. Fill the pie crust and top with remaining crust. Cut two slits on the top. Cover the edges of the crust in foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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Falling Away From Summer

by Arianna Johnson

Summer is my favorite season and for many reasons. The beach, the heat, my tan skin, and really fresh food. When autumn rolls around, I get slightly depressed. To me, it is the preeminence to the cold, snow, and winter. However, I do like fall for its brightly colored leaves and the stone fruit; also known as peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots. I have always loved peaches; especially going out to Davis Peach Farm to get their white peaches. They are so juicy and sweet, and it does not matter that you are going to be a sticky mess by the time you get to the pit. My mom is more of a nectarine fan, because she does not like the peach’s fuzzy skin. Also, I like that these fruits remind me of how amazing the summer was. They are the remainder of the beautiful weather and warmth.

Stone fruit is actually very versatile. It can be sweet, like in a peach cobbler, or savory, like apricots in a salad. However, I used peaches in a more savory way. I had found a recipe for chicken quesadillas with sliced peaches in them. To me, that was a little strange, so I thought, “What about grilled peach salsa?” I put that idea to the test, and it turned out wonderfully! The salty chicken and the spicy cheese was a great contrast against the sweet peaches. It was a delicious end of summer dish and here it is…

Chicken Quesadillas with Grilled Peach Salsa

Serves 4

  • ¼ cup canola oil,
  • divided 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 8-inch whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 limes
  • 1 Tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 2 cups Pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 firm peaches
  • ½ cup cilantro, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sour cream, for garnish

Preheat the grill or grill pan. In a zip-lock bag place chicken, spices, oil, and the zest and juice of one lime. Season with salt and pepper. Cut peaches in half and cut out pits. Place chicken on the grill and cook through, about 10 minutes. Let rest for about 10 minutes. Place peaches flesh down on grill and char until marks appear, about 8 minutes. Place a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Slice chicken and shred cheese. Place a tortilla on the skillet and layer with cheese, chicken, cilantro, more cheese, and the top tortilla. Cook until brown, about 5 minutes on each side or until cheese is melted. Peel skin off of peaches and cut into small pieces. Place in a bowl with the juice of the other lime, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper. Place quesadilla on a plate and cut into quarters. Garnish with the salsa and a dollop of sour cream.

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A Summer’s Internship

by Arianna Johnson

This summer, I was lucky enough to have an internship at Dan’s Papers in the Hamptons. To be perfectly honest, I could not have asked for a better, more exciting experience. But I have to say, my favorite part about this internship was the fact that I got to go on food reviews; pretty much I got a lot of tasty, expensive food for free and wrote about it. With all of the food I consumed, there was one dish that really sticks out in my mind: Corn Chowder from COPA Tapas Bar in Bridgehampton, right down to road from Dan’s office.

COPA is a Spanish inspired tapas restaurant that serves mostly small dishes, as well as bigger entrees. When I went there, I was treated very well and the chef, Dominic, even came out and spoke to me about each dish. He brought me out flashed fried green peppers with sea salt, cockles with chorizo in white wine and garlic, a huge pan of seafood paella – which consisted of lobster, shrimp, and mussels – and more. I was surprised the manager did not have to roll me out of the restaurant. The most scrumptious part of this entire meal, however, was the corn chowder with lobster.

At first, I was very hesitant about this dish because from what I have seen of corn chowder it is yellow goop that resembles baby snot, but this was the exact opposite. Chef Dominic called this soup “Spain meets the Hamptons” because even though they are a tapas bar, they also need to please their customers with certain staple dishes that they are accustomed to. The presentation of this dish was just beautiful. The bowl that the chef placed in front of me was filled with large lobster chunks, pieces of crispy potatoes and corn, and bacon bits. Then he poured the corn broth out of a tea pot all over the top until all of the chunks were swimming. He also explained to me how it was prepared. After he shaved off all of the corn kernels from the cob, he took his knife and scraped the empty cob to squeeze out all of the corn “milk.” Then he still used the corn cobs in the stock for the soup. To finish it all off, he adds a splash of cream to give it a nice “mouth feel.”

Once I put the first spoonful in my mouth, I was in heaven. The corn flavor was so prevalent, but the broth was just so creamy; I could not believe how good it was. Then in the background was a smokiness, which came from the bits of bacon and the fat he cooked the corn kernels and potatoes in; and the lobster was just the decadent cherry on top. Needless to say, I ate the entire bowl happily.

When my internship is over, my goal is to recreate this dish. Right now, corn is at its peak and absolutely delicious. So, even if you are not as ambitious as me when it comes to cooking, just grab a few cobs, boil them up, and slather butter all over them.

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