Hatch Apple Pie

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Hatch-Apple-pie_Yes,-more-please!

Last week I went prickly pear hunting with my good friends Andrea and Aaron. This involved intense heat, lots of driving, and careful handling of ingredients, and lots of tiny needles. After picking these thorny fruits, we juiced them and they produced a bright pink fragrant juice which tastes like a sweet tart lemonade. Afterwards, we were having a food conversation over our drinks and Hatch chilli’s which are in season became the topic,no matter what we always end up talking about food is inevitable…I love it!. As ingredients go Hatch peppers its one of the gems of the chili world, having a mild heat and great flavor. Andrea’s Hatch mode was contagious. After tossing around some favorite Hatch combinations, I began considering Apple Pie with Hatch peppers. Apple pie is normally reserved for the fall but I am married to a man who can eat it regardless of season. I thought this would be the right time to bake a test batch (which ran on Instagram, which you knew because all of you MUST follow YMP on Instagram) and they turned out splendidly, or at least the eaters of the samples left not a crumb,apple, or chili behind.

I twisted my classic crostata crust recipe which you can find the step by step in this post (Ian this phrase is just for me!..need to plug the link!) and I added cheddar cheese! Yes you heard well, sharp cheddar cheese. It came to me like a dream. The cheddar adds the savory a bit salty note to the crust, and it makes it airy and flaky. I also tried a new technique when kneading the pie crust, I learned by watching one of the episodes “ The Mind of a Chef ” with Sean Brock and southern baker Lisa Donovan who were making her amazing buttermilk pies. What I learned about her Pate brise type of dough, (which is my favorite kind for pie), is the following: she “flaked the butter” when she was making her dough, instead of leaving those famous “pea size butter chunks”. She squeezes them between her thumb and index finger to create what she called “butter flakes” Genius!!!! So I tried her technique and I added grated cheddar to create more flaking. The result is this utterly buttery and flaky crust, you can see the pictures which do not lie! Omg what a great technique and awesome combination between the fat of the butter and the cheese if I do say so myself.

But where is the hatch? After I chard them, they were hanging out with the apples in a combination of raw sugar, Gause Jaupon honey, Mexican cinnamon, and nutmeg. That’s what the crust had to stand up to! You can only imagine the amazing outcome after all these ingredients colliding in the same universe. Amazing pie. Go for it. Don’t be shy. If you want to comment on your experience with it please e-mail me. If you love the recipe shout it on the streets! …Enjoy!

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Hatch Apple Pie

A tongue twister by name and by taste!
Makes 2- 5” baby pies

For the pie filling:

2 green apples
2 red Apples
2-3 hatch chiles charred, skinned , de-seeded and chopped. (I used hot!)
¼ cup honey
½ cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon mexican cinnamon grated
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon corn starch
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 good pinch of salt

For the cheddar cheese crust:

1+1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 stick = 4 oz. of european style butter cut into small cubes.
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese grated
1 pinch of kosher salt
3-4 tablespoons of iced water.

Extra flour for dusting and rolling the dough.
1 egg for egg-wash the pie tops
a little extra turbinado sugar to sprinkle on crust.

Preparation method:

1. Start by making the crust. In a large bowl combine flour and salt. Then add the chilled butter cubes, and the grated cheddar cheese. With you hands start rubbing the flour and butter between your fingers and creating “the flakes” see picture bellow) you want to be gentle and as fast as possible.
2. Once your dough looks flaky and coarse, add the iced water and quickly combine by incorporating the flour with the least kneading possible. (see picture below)
3. The dough will look almost like is not together. Gently press into a flat ball and divide into fours. (you will need two tops, and two bottoms)
4. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and quickly shape into 4 small disks. Chill them for at least 15-20 minutes in the freezer.

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5. Meantime, prepare the apple filling. Peel and thinly slice the apples. In a medium bowl toss the sliced apples, diced roasted hatch peppers, honey, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cornstarch, salt apple cider vinegar. Mix well. Use your hands to well combine every ingredient. Set aside.

 

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6. Time to roll up your dough!.. this is fun! Using 2 small 5” baking pie dishes. Roll each dough piece into a 7- 8” rounds. Rub some butter into the dishes, and then place the bottom disc shaping the dough into the dish with your hands.
7. Fill each pie with half of the apple filling. Arrange the apple pieces in flat layers. You don’t want to be to fussy about it, just pay attention at not leaving apple gaps specially on the bottom layer ; )

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8. Now your pies look like mountains of apples, that’s great! Roll the other two pastry disks into 7”-8” and cover your pies.
9. Crimp the edges of the pie with the help of a fork, make four 1” slits on top of the pie. Beat one egg and 1 teaspoon of water and with a pastry brush, brush the tops of the pies with this egg wash mixture. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top, and edges of the pie.hatch-apple-pie_sprinkle-some-sugar
10. Line up a baking sheet with a lip with aluminum foil. Place the two pies in the tray. Place the tray in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
11. Place the rack oven into the bottom third of the oven. Preheat your oven at 400F.
12. After 20 minutes, remove the pies from freezer and place them directly into the oven.
13. Bake at 400F for the first 20 minutes. Rotate the pies and lower the temperature to 350F. Bake for another 20-25 minutes.
14. By now your house smell like heaven! Place the pies into a cooling rack let them cool for about 30 minutes. Serve with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream and a dash of ground cinnamon. Enjoy!

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Life is too short. Make pie. Eat pie. Repeat!

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Pizza Azteca

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It’s a pizza!…no!
It’s a casserole!….no! It’s a tamale?!…..no!
It’s a Corn Masa Pizza Pie!….Yes!
As silly as it sounds, it is ridiculously delicious!
Call it what you like: Mexican pizza, Corn Masa pizza; Pizza Azteca-its the ultimate summer one pan wonder. This is a great quick meal solution too! To get pizza on board it takes no more than 35 minutes since the masa does not rely on yeast or waiting time to rise.
Let me describe this pizza for you… Imagine a hot cast iron pan filled with corn masa crust, when baked the bottom gets crusty with soft delicious nutty corn masa. Fresh corn kernels add texture, enhance the corn flavor and add moisture to the crust. The top layer load with summer vegetables like zucchini, fresh corn, tomatoes, red onions, hatch peppers, and loads of melty cheese layered on top. The summer vegetables pair great with the flavor of the corn masa, the oregano on the fresh quick base sauce adds the perfect herb note. I made the pizza sauce by grating some fresh tomatoes which adds extra freshness to the pizza. I baked everything on the king of pans, “the cast iron pan”.

When this pizza comes out of the oven you will be fill with warmth and happiness as you experience the comforting smell of cooked corn masa and fresh vegetables. Pizza Azteca is best served with a fresh green salad on the side and will be a sure crowd pleaser.

This Pizza Azteca is what I would offer Moctezuma on a summer afternoon… Pizza Azteca is a meal fit for kings!

Enjoy!

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Pizza Azteca

Makes 1 round 12” pizza, yields 8-10 slices.

For the crust:

2 cups corn masa- Maseca is the brand I like, if you can get fresh masa, use it! you will be in heaven.
2 to 2-1/2 cups warm water
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup fresh corn kernels (white or yellow corn is ok)

For the sauce:

3 medium roma tomatoes grated
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 garlic clove grated
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper to taste

For the toppings:

1 large or 2 medium zucchini thinly sliced.
1 ear of corn worth of kernels
1 hatch pepper or substitute for 1 good pinch of red pepper flakes.
Use roasted red peppers if you do not care for spicy.
1 cup cherry, sun golds or grape tomatoes sliced in half.
2 cups of grated cheese like Adobera, Oaxaca, Gouda, Mozzarella or Monterrey jack.
Use the cheese you like the most, as long it melts and has a mild flavor so you can taste the rest of the ingredients.
Salt and pepper to taste a little extra virgin olive oil for drizzle.

Preparation:

Preparing the masa:

1. Start by preparing the masa dough. Dissolve the salt into the 2 cups of warm water.
2. In a large bowl place your dry corn masa flour, make a well in the center add half of the water, and start incorporating the flour from the sides. Add corn kernels and the rest of the water. Knead for 2-3 minutes until water is well absorbed by the masa.
3. The masa should feel moist a bit sticky to the touch. You should be able to shape it into a ball and cover with plastic wrap, set aside let it rest while you prepare the rest of your vegetables.
4. Preheat Oven at 450F/ 230F

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5. Prepare and slice all your vegetables, grate your cheese and prepare your tomato sauce by grating the tomatoes and adding the oregano, salt, garlic, black pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Set aside.

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6. At this point your masa should be well hydrated and ready to shape into the cast iron pan. Using a 11-12” Cast Iron Pan place your masa dough in the center and with wet hands start by evenly shaping the masa into the pan. Create a  higher rim on the edge of the pan. see photo.

Note: If your cast iron pan is well seasoned do not worry about the crust it will not stick to the pan, if not just apply some neutral oil on a napkin and grease the pan before shaping your crust.

7. Once you have an even layer with a bit of a rim on the outside edges, Place skillet with the crust in the oven, on the bottom rack. Bake for 15 minutes lowering the oven temperature to 425F as soon the crust is in the oven.

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8. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven, place it on top of the stove or a metal trivet and start layering your pizza ingredients. Note: leave the pot holders into the cast iron pan handles at all times!, this will prevent you to try to grab the hot pan by mistake!…believe me I’ve been there…ouch!
9. Layer the ingredients same way you do like on a pizza, starting with tomato sauce on the bottom, half of the cheese, zucchini, corn, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and the rest of the cheese. A pinch of salt and some fresh cracked pepper.
10. Place the cast iron pan into the oven for another 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and the pizza has some gratin golden brown blisters.

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11. Remove from oven, place the pan on a trivet and wait 5 minutes to cool off a bit before cutting. Sprinkle some fresh cilantro for garnish.
12. Serve and Enjoy!

 

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Enjoy!

 

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Watermelon Wedge Salad

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Its hot in here! Austin is reaching 100F temperatures. All I can think of is something refreshing. I’m craving lots of juicy ingredients. So what to make?… Watermelon and iceberg lettuce together its the ultimate ode to crisp and fresh.
Inspired by the classic wedge salad, I played with summer flavors and made a Watermelon Wedge Salad. It consists of one head of iceberg lettuce cut into quarters plus a good sweet crisp watermelon dressed with a light and clean, olive oil + salt + black pepper dressing. 
One bite has it all; crisp crunch of the iceberg lettuce, tangy lemony light dressing, sweet juicy watermelon, creamy and salty pancetta, fragrant basil adds a great herb note.

What is not to like ?

This recipe is a pairing of summery ingredients that work divine together. Much like a summer gathering of good old friends having a good time.
Easy, fast and fun to make, in a blink of an eye this salad is ready to cool you down.

Music pairing: Our favorite music band : SPOON just released its new album: “They want my soul “
that is what is playing on the background.

Keep it fresh. Enjoy!

Watermelon-wedge-salad_ingredients

Watermelon Wedge Salad

Serves 4 warm souls

1 head of iceberg lettuce
4 cups seedless watermelon chilled.
½ cup goat cheese crumbs.
2 half inch thick slices of pancetta.
Small bunch 6-8 large leaves fresh basil.
2-3 tablespoons fresh finishing extra virgin olive oil
2 juicy lemons
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Preparation:

1. Cut the pancetta in small cubes, sauté until crisp and render the fat. Place them over a paper towel to absorb the excess fat.

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2. Remove the hard steam of the lettuce. Cut the head lettuce in four wedges.
3. With a melon baller scoop 4-5 cups of watermelon balls.

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4. Place the lettuce wedges on a plater, and drizzle olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, generous amounts of kosher salt and black pepper.

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5. Add the watermelon balls, crumbled goat cheese, crispy pancetta.

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6. Tier the basil leaves and sprinkle on top, add the rest of the lemon juice a little extra drizzle of olive oil, serve.

Note: Make sure your watermelon is cold, place it into the refrigerator hours before to ensure maximum chill! This salad taste better when the crisp clean iceberg lettuce and the juicy watermelon are cold.

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Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the freshest of them all?

 

 

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Zucchini Ginger Brown Rice bowls

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Light and refreshing is what best describes this recipe. A one bowl meal! It’s no fuss, maximum flavor, raw zucchini with a gingery-soy sauce over a nutty sesame seasoned brown rice. This Zucchini Asian flare recipe, is so light, refreshing and savory, you are going to want to eat it more than once a day.
I know what Brown rice does not have a great reputation among the grains because it tends to be mushy and it can taste like cardboard… Well my friend, I have you covered on this one, you will love the quick easy method that I use. Cook the brown rice as you would cook pasta. Use  a large pot with plenty of water and pinch or two of sea salt. The brown rice boils loosely for about 25-30 minutes; stir often and check for an al-dente consistency. When is up to my desired doneness I strain it and the heat of the steam dries the excess water in the brown rice,  leaving you with perfectly cooked,  fluffy individual grains, with great texture cooked trough and slightly  al-dente.

Using this method, I cook larger batches of brown rice and use them later for a quick sautéed, salads, soups or in this case; this humble and refreshing Zucchini Ginger Brown Rice bowl.

As you can see there is hope for this misunderstood grain. I assure you once you try this method you will love brown rice again.

Enjoy the bountiful zucchini season and stay fresh!

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Zucchini Ginger Brown Rice bowls

Makes 2 meal bowls

3 medium size zucchini any color is up to your preference.
1/2 cup toasted and finely chopped walnuts
2 green scallions finely chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (any color)
1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger.
1 small garlic clove grated

For the dressing:

1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame seed oil
2 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar

For the rice:

1 cup short grain brown rice
8 cups of water
2 pinches of salt.

Season the rice with:

1 Tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar.

Preparation Method:

1. Bring to a boil a large pot filled with 8 cups of water and 2 good pinches of sea salt. Once is boiling add the brown rice, bring back to a boil, and then lower the temperature for a slow simmer. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
2. While your rice is cooking, shred your zucchini, ~omit the seed core on the zucchinis~ I used one of my favorite uni-taskers, I absolutely adore this julienne peeler! you can get it any cooking supply store or get it on-line. Toast your walnuts, chop the scallions, grate your ginger and garlic.

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3. In a large bowl Combine the shredded zucchini, finely chopped toasted walnuts, toasted sesame seeds, green scallions, grated ginger, grated garlic.
4. Combine the soy sauce, sesame seed oil, rice vinegar. Set a side you will dress your zucchini right before serving. Please check on your rice.

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5. Check for rice doneness. I usually look for a soft but firm grain, that tastes cooked and has a god bite. Usually is around 25-30 minutes, the doneness I prefer. See the picture below.If you want to go a little further on cooking is up to your preference, give the rice another 5 minutes, re-check and taste; always taste!
6. Once your rice is cooked, with the help of a colander or a sieve, strain the rice. Allow the hot steam to dry the extra water, give it around 5-7 minutes. Once all the excess water is drained and still warm, transfer the rice into a bowl and season with the sesame oil, sesame seeds and rice vinegar toss until well combined.

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7. Once your rice is seasoned, Add the Soy sauce sesame seed oil, and rice vinegar dressing to the zucchini mixture. Toss well.

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8. Using two deep bowls, divide the rice and top it with the zucchini mixture. Sprinkle some extra sesame seeds and for spice maybe some Thai pepper, red pepper flakes, or some Sriracha-hot sauce! Enjoy!

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Fresh, light, easy lunch or dinner…

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