Square Root of…

Can you believe I’ve had this blog for a year and a half, called it Square Root of PIE, and never even posted a pie recipe?

I’ve made pies before, but somehow never blogged them. Because I’m silly. So when I got invited to a pre-Thanksgiving potluck, I knew exactly what needed to happen. I needed to bake a pie. Not just any pie, but the pie of all pies. A pie with flaky crust, fresh filling, and a delicious topping. Everything a pie should be!

I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for this pie. And by that I mean I didn’t get to go to the grocery store. So I poked around the kitchen until the creative juices started flowing. And by that I mean I found some berries in the freezer.

I’m not real big on pies with top crusts, so I poked around a little bit more until it dawned on me: oatmeal. And thus the pie was born. Baked. Whatever.

Apple Berry Crumb Pie
Crust recipe found here.

Ingredients
for the crust
1 1/4 C flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, chilled and diced
1/4-1/3 C ice water
for the filling
4 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
1/2 C frozen mixed berries
1/2 C brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp orange juice
for the topping
3/4 C oats
3/4 C flour
1 C brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter, melted
dash salt

Instructions
1.
Start the crust by combining flour and salt in a large bowl. Slowly mash in butter with a fork until crumbs form.
2. Add water about a tablespoon at a time, mixing until you can form the dough into a ball with your hands. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
3. Remove dough from fridge and let thaw while you make the rest of the pie. Preheat oven to 425 F.
4. In a large bowl, stir together all filling ingredients. Set aside to marinate while you begin the topping.
5. In a medium bowl sift together dry ingredients for the topping until combined. Pour in melted butter and stir until crumbly.
6. Roll out pie crust. (I prefer to do it in between two sheets of plastic wrap – no need for extra flour and no mess to clean up!) Press evenly into pie plate.
7. Spoon filling evenly into the crust. Top with the oat mixture.
8. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 20 min. Then remove foil, reduce heat to 375 F, and bake another 35 min.
9. Let cool at least 15-20 min before serving.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

What Month Is It?

I’ve been back in sunny Southern California for about two weeks now, loving this weather and absolutely dreading my return to Pittsburgh and the snow. It’s “cooled off” a bit here, down to about 75 everyday, but it was high 80s last week. Feels like summer. I hate snow.

I’ve got a couple recipes for you. It’s been so hot that I’ve been making smoothies almost everyday for lunch. This one has hidden veggies in it, but unlike my Tropical Green Monster it doesn’t have a scary color.

Berry Green Smoothie

Ingredients
1 C frozen mixed berries (I used strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
1/4 – 1/3 C milk, as needed (I used soy but any milk would be fine)
1 Tbsp chia seed
1 Tbsp flax meal
soy protein powder
1 large handful fresh spinach leaves
agave nectar, to taste

Instructions
Blend until smooth and serve.

Then the other day, my mom and I tried out a new recipe for vegetarian chili. It was really delicious but it took a lot of work. It wasn’t difficult but just cutting the vegetables took forever because there was so much. I must say, though, this is a pretty substantial chili. Some of my meat-eating friends seem to think there’s no such thing as vegetarian chili – I think they should try a bowl of this. It’s got some really interesting ingredients – coffee and chocolate – that give it a really unique flavor.

Spicy Vegetarian Chili
Original recipe from Food Network Magazine, Jan/Feb 2012

Ingredients
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large bell peppers (1 red, 1 green), chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1/4 tsp adobo seasoning
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 corn tortillas, torn into pieces
1/2 C brewed coffee
1 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes, crushed
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 15 oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 head cauliflower, grated
1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped
cheese, onions, corn, etc. for topping

Instructions
1.
 In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, carrots, and salt, stirring frequently for 8 minutes or until carrots are soft.
2. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
3. Stir in chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, chipotle, adobo, tomato paste, and tortillas. Cook about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick.
4. Add coffee and let simmer 30 seconds until almost completely reduced.
5. Reduce to low heat. Add tomatoes, cocoa powder, beans, and 2 1/2 C water, and let simmer for 1 hour 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Stir in cauliflower and let cook an additional 10 minutes.
7. Dig in!

How do you eat chili? Just in a bowl? My mom puts it over rice, or sometimes we put it on baked potatoes, but my first choice will always be the Frito Pie. How do you make a Frito Pie, you ask?

Just like that. Asian noodle bowl is optional.