The radiators in both of our apartments kicked on last night. Fall is almost here. Figured we probably should make a cake to celebrate.…
“Peach Hand Pie” sound like the punchline to a dirty food pun. Probably is. But it’s also the best thing we’ve eaten this summer.
n case y’all haven’t noticed: we like to eat. And, when we don’t get fed, we go from zero to I-will-eat-your-soul real fast.
Hangry was OK when we were in college, but as adults, it ain’t cute. Hanger has ruined dates and meetings– and maaaybe could have been the motivation behind one or two (hundred) strongly worded emails to customer service representatives. Maybe.
We deserve better. The poor souls dealing with the brunt of our food rage deserve better. In an effort to make our lives and the world a bit of a less grump’ed upon place, we started to carry snacks. Everywhere.
Despite it being slow torture for more, uh, normal people, we’ve always been the kind of weirdos that love moving. The neurotic organization, the sorting and purging of possessions– it’s the perfect blend of rehashing the past and fresh start. It’s the best of both worlds, especially if someone else is doing all the schlepping.
But the one part of moving that undeniably sucks is paring down your pantry. I (Rachel) am mid-move and, right now, all that’s left in my cabinets are two cans of coconut milk (typically reserved for coffee-emergencies) and a box of gelatin packets I’ve been lugging around since college. Determined to avoid the store (or, tbh Postmates-ing milkshakes), I’m trying hard to do my best with what’s on hand. And, lucky for me, that best is panna cotta.
The only thing that gets us through the oppressive butthole that is the month of February is slow-cooking meat.
Very loosely based on a Mayan dish involving a suckling pig getting a spa day in bitter oranges, wrapped in banana leaves, and buried in hot coals, Cochinita Pibil– or at least this patently white-girl variation– takes advantage of the abundant citrus available in February. It’s a long-roasted, pork-fat-covered sunbeam in an otherwise sludge-grey landscape. Serve it like tacos, turn it into tortas, put it on your scrambled eggs. Do whatever you want, just don’t forget to make it before winter ends and we’re back to bitching about the heat.
As our stomachs and kitchens recover from a weekend of feasting, we’re craving comfort in a big way. We want something cozy to ease our digestion, satisfy our sweet tooth, and, you know, silence the pounding in our head from freebasing mulled wine for 48 straight hours.
Apple-Cinnamon tea is like Pedialyte and Tums rolled into one– except, instead of tasting like salty, watered-down laffy taffy and sidewalk chalk, it’s delicious and makes your house smell like Christmas.
We’ve always resented that Apples are the defacto fruit of the harvest season. Don’t get us wrong, apples are… fine. But, I suppose, that’s exactly the problem. Apples aren’t special and are, at best, merely palatable. They’re the Mumford & Sons of produce. Technically, they’re okay. There’s nothing particularly offensive– or interesting– but after a while, the mediocrity of it all makes you want to punch someone in the cunt.
This year, we’ve had enough. We’re done with Apples for the foreseeable future and have, instead, switched to Pears.
It’s that time of year where mornings are getting hard. Maybe it’s our S.A.D., or maybe it’s survival instinct hibernation, but we can’t get our asses out of bed. Everything’s grey, and it’s windy, and it’s too cold to put our bare toes on the floor. We always oversleep so there’s no time for the luxuriating over trashy gossip mags with milky coffee that makes our day jobs tenable— but there is time for breakfast.
Baked Oatmeal tastes like cookies. No. Baked Oatmeal tastes better than cookies, because you can eat more of it before you get a tummy ache. With its bright, sunny lemon and juicy blueberries, it can shake the bleak chill off any winter morning. Make a batch on Sunday night and you will have a week of breakfasts that are worth waking up for.
This is one of our many recipes that is a few ratios followed by a couple suggestions. So long as you don’t add wildly different amounts of oats or liquids, there’s no need to be bashful. Fuck around with it. Throw in a handful of walnuts or slivered almonds, swap blueberries for dried cherries, and maybe try classic, comforting maple & cinnamon instead of lemon.
- 3 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
- ¼ cup whole Flax Seeds
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Lemon, Zest only
- 1 tsp Ginger
- ½ tsp Cardamom
- ¾ tsp Salt
- 1 cup Blueberries (or more, if you feel feisty)
- 1 stick Butter, melted
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- 2 Egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp Vanilla
- Some ice cold Milk or Half and Half for serving
- Preheat your oven to 375°.
- Combine all of the dry ingredients, along with the Blueberries, in a 13x9” casserole dish.
- In a small sauce pan, melt the Butter with the Whole Milk. Allow the mixture to cool enough to not curdle shit, and add the Eggs and Vanilla. Thoroughly blend the mixture and pour over the Oats n Stuff.
- Give everything a stir, and make sure it’s evenly distributed.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until set and no longer jiggly.
- Serve immediately or allow the Oatmeal to cool to room temperature and stick it in the fridge. Serve warm, topped with some cold Milk (or Half and Half) and maybe a scattering of extra Blueberries
Yesterday was election day here in the States, and it was pretty fucking cool. Beyond the tremendous victory for our President: we have elected our first openly homosexual member of senate, our first Asian woman in the senate, and Elizabeth Warren (who we’re calling now for 2016). Two states legalized pot, four states recognized the right for love to be protected (no matter what you’ve got happening in your pants), and all of those rape-apologist douche bags beefed it really hard.
We’re proud of our country today, and that pride can only be expressed through one medium: Apple fucking Pie.
Nothing says “Yes We Can” quite like the sweet, spiced, fork-tender fruit, dotted with butter and sticky with syrup, wrapped in a flaky, tender crust. From its sordid English immigrant roots to the African and Latin American spices that turned the dish into the country’s favorite dessert; Apple Pie is the best things about America to its core.
Other than liberal use of spices, the key to a good Apple Pie is the apples. Some of the fruits have a harder texture that stands up to long baking times, but tend to fall a little flat in the flavor department. Conversely, the fruits that taste the appley-est tend to turn into mushed when you cook them long enough to brown the crust. To help combat these cruel laws of nature, we like to use a blend of the more intensely apple flavored fruits (like Pink Ladies and Honey Crisps) and hardy fruits that can stand up to a long cook time (like Granny Smiths)– and we always pick hard, slightly tart, blemish-free fruits.
- 1½ cups All-Purpose Flour
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- ¾ cup (1¼ sticks) Unsalted Butter, chilled and cut into several pieces
- 2 tbsp Irish Whiskey
- 2 tbsp Cold Water
- In your food processor or a large bowl, combine Flour, Salt, and Sugar. We’ll talk about this more another time, but the goal with pie crust is to cover each grain of flour in a protective sheath of butter WITHOUT melting butter.
- Quickly work in the Butter, either in short pulses in your food processor, with your finger tips, or a pastry cutter. You’ll know when you’re done when the mixture looks like coarse sand and kind of stays together, like a shitty snowball, when you squeeze it into a lump.
- Pour the Irish Whiskey and Water into the flour mixture and combine by hand. If you used a food processor so far, you’ll need to do this step outside of the machine, in regular mixing bowl.
- Shape this mixture into a loose disc, wrap it in plastic, and put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. It’s totally OK if the disk you put into the fridge looks like shit. We promise, if you use the proportions we suggested, no matter how messy and terrible your crust looks going into the fridge, it will come out of the fridge looking perfect.
- 6 Pink Lady Apples
- 2 Granny Smith Apples
- 4 tbsp Butter
- ¾ cup Dark Brown Sugar
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp freshly ground Nutmeg
- 1 Vanilla Bean or a splash of Vanilla Extract
- Pinch of Salt
- Preheat your oven to 400°. Peel, core, and chop the Apples. We like to use a melon baller to do our coring for us.
- In thoroughly cleaned, well seasoned cast iron skillet, melt the Butter and sauté the Apples until they’ve shrunk down by about half and have released most of their juices— about 10 minutes. Remove the Apples from the pan, leaving behind a giant pool of buttery apple juice, and set them aside. Add Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Vanilla, and Salt to the pan of juice. Continue to cook until the mixture turns bubbly, sticky, and reduces by at least half.
- Add the Apples back to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Apples should be soft but intact, you don’t want your apples to be mushy.
- Roll out the dough for the Crust, and cut a few holes in the center for the steam to escape. Carefully lay the dough on top of the filling in the skillet. Use the back of a knife to cut off any excess dough.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
- Resist the temptation to dig in immediately. The wonder of this dish comes from the sticky, gooey sauce that forms when the filling cools. Control yourself for at least a half an hour, and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Putting booze into our sweet tea is the best decision we’ve made all summer. It’s better than swimming pools, better than bonfires, and it’s even better than walking to the Tasty-Freez, ordering a chocolate dipped vanilla cone, and dipping each bite into a side of sprinkles.
It took us a while to reach the right formula for this cocktail. We knew right away that bourbon was the best liquor for the job, and were pretty passionate about using peaches, but something was missing. We needed something to round out the warmth of the alcohol and sharpen the fuzzy sweetness of peaches. Pouring through Rachel’s liquor cabinet we found a bottle of Koval’s Ginger Liqueur and its spicy sweet bite was the perfect fit.
Koval is a Chicago distillery located in the Andersonville neighborhood. We’re kind of obsessed. Their weird liqueurs and wonderful white whiskey are one of our favorite parts of Logan Square’s farmer’s market, and we really love their community oriented business model. They use organic Midwestern grain, grown sustainably at nearby farms and support more local organizations and projects than we could ever list. Other than the Ginger stuff, for this cocktail (which is essential for dark and stormies and hot toddies) we’re really into their Chrysanthemum and Honey Liqueur. It’s delicate and flowery and really fucking yummy.
- 6 Black Tea Bags– nothing fancy, we like Luzianne because Rachel’s Boyfriend’s Very Southern Mother said so.
- 1 quart Water
- ½ cup Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Peach Nectar
- 2 Peaches, washed pitted and sliced
- Good Bourbon
- Koval’s Ginger Liqueur or you can make your own
- a BUNCH of Ice Cubes
- Serves: well, sugar, that depends on how thirsty you are. This will make a gigantic pitcher’s worth of hooch.
- Bring Water to a hard boil in a saucepan. Add Brown Sugar and continue to boil for 30 seconds. Turn off your stove and, away from any open flame, add Tea Bags and Peach Nectar. Let the tea steep for at least 30 minutes, or until cooled to room temperature.
- Add the Sweet Tea mixture to your favorite pitcher, with about ½ cup each Bourbon and Ginger Liqueur, adjusting for your own personal preferences and tolerances, and your Peach Slices. Pour into frosty glasses full to the top with Ice, and drink it on a porch with your shoes off.