Archive for December, 2011

My first ever pie crust!

December 30, 2011

And it won’t be my last!

I’ve got two brothers-in-law, one on each side of the family, who are pretty darn good pie makers.  It’s been easy to just let them handle any pie-making that needs to be done for family gatherings.  Truth be told, making a pie crust always seemed very intimidating to me, and since I really find pie crust to be kind of bland and boring, I’ve never felt motivated to try to make one.  However, when my kids started begging to make a pumpkin pie, a little voice in my head said to just give it a try.  The worst that could happen is that it would wind up in the trash and we’d have to run to the store for a frozen crust.

I used Amanda’s recipe and was really quite shocked at how easy it was!  The only mistake I made was that the pumpkin pie mix that I used was big enough for two pies and I had only made one crust….whoops!  I failed to photograph anything but the crust once it was in the pie dish, but here it is in all its glory:

And after the pie was baked:

I was so excited when it turned out and having made it myself, it didn’t even taste as bland as pie crust usually does for me!


Double-Baked Crazy-Crisp Oven Fries

December 11, 2011

A couple of months ago, my mother-in-law told me about a French fry recipe that she had tried and really liked.  I’m pretty picky when it comes to my fries and simply don’t make them at home.  I NEVER buy the stuff in the frozen foods section because they never bake crisp enough for me.  I don’t like floppy fries, nor do I like them too thick (mainly because the center tends to be undercooked if they are too thick).  But she said that these turned out great, so I figured they were worth a try.  The recipe comes from Rachael Ray.


6 medium Idaho potatoes or other starchy potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
Salt and pepper
Optional flavoring combinations (Rach’s fave is garlic and rosemary):
Minced garlic and lots of minced fresh rosemary or;
Old Bay or Cajun Seasoning or;
Chipotle chili powder or;
Minced garlic, Parm cheese and oregano


Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

Arrange cooling racks or wire racks over two baking sheets.

Peel the potatoes lengthwise, leaving a patch of the skin on each end of the potatoes. Cut each potato into very thin fries lengthwise no more than a quarter-inch thick – the thinner they are, the crispier the end product will be.

In a large bowl, dress the fries very lightly with EVOO – a couple of turns of the bowl ought to do the trick. Season with salt and pepper and arrange the fries in single layer without crowding either baking sheet.

Place the fries in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the fries and increase the heat to 425°F. Toss the fries in a large bowl again with seasonings, garlic and herbs of choice. Return the fries to the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes until very crisp and brown.


How do you like my new bowl?  I won it over at Girl+Food=Love….check it out!

First, toss your cut potatoes in a bit of olive oil, and then season.  We just went with some basic seasonings this time….a little salt, pepper, and season salt.

The recipe calls for 6 potatoes….I opted to just use three this time (they were big ones though) and it turned out to be just the right amount for my family.   This is before they went into the oven for the first bake:

I forgot to take a picture before the second bake, but they looked pretty much the same.  I used a metal spatula to scoop them up off the cooking rack for their second seasoning.  This is how they looked after they were totally baked:

Not too bad, but would they pass the “no floppy fries allowed” test?  I have to say, I was disappointed when the first fry I picked up looked like this:

There was nothing “crazy crisp” about this fry and I figured the whole thing was a bust. However, we decided not to make a snap judgement based on just one fry, and I’m glad we didn’t.  Most of the rest of the fries were surprisingly crisp.  The kids all gave them 2 thumbs up and we’ll be trying them again in the future, maybe with some of the fun seasoning suggestions from Rachael.

What I’d do differently:

I’ll definitely cut them a tad thinner.  Most of the fries were cooked all the way through, but the few that weren’t made my stomach turn when I bit into them.  Also, a thinner fry will lend to more crispiness overall.

Next time I’ll probably try to give them a few minutes with the convection on in my oven and see if that helps crisp them up a bit more as well.