Archive for March 2011


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Today (3/13) I had a Pi Day Party for the Bad at Math!

First of all, make 1 recipe pie crust from the Joy of Cooking (all butter, enough for a double-crust pie).

Chicken pot pie in our giant cast iron skillet (this was a big hit):

1 package TJ’s “boneless skinless breast meat with rib meat” –I think this was about 2 lbs, maybe? $2-3/lb and the package I picked cost around $7.

3 ribs celery, sliced

4 carrots, diced

1 onion, diced

Maybe 1 cup frozen peas

1 package sliced baby bella mushrooms (again from TJ’s)




Whole milk

1 lemon

Butter (about 4 Tbsp, plus more for sauteeing)

Flour (about 4 Tbsp)

1 package flat leaf Italian parsley

Cut the chicken into chunks, barely cover with cold water, and put the pan on to heat. Simmer till the chicken is cooked through.

At the same time:

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the carrots, onions, and celery, and cook, stirring, till the vegetables are cooked through and browned. Remove the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

Add more butter or oil and cook, then remove, the sliced mushrooms the same way.

Add the 4 Tbsp butter to the pan along with the flour. Mix them together and cook this roux for a minute or two. Add a ladleful of the chicken cooking water and mix. Start adding the whole milk a little at a time, stirring constantly, till it seems like the bechamel won’t take any more liquid without getting too runny. There should be a pretty good amount of sauce here, I think mine was about 1/2 inch deep at this point.

Take out the chicken pieces and cut into smaller chunks if needed. Add all the vegetables (including the frozen peas) and the chicken.  Season with nutmeg, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add the chopped parsley. Stir everything up.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Take about 2/3 of the pie crust and roll it out. Drape it over the top of the skillet. Cut steam holes and brush the top with a mixture of beaten egg white and milk. Bake for about 30 minutes, till the crust is cooked and golden.

Slightly disastrous orange pie:

Same pie crust as above, remaining 1/3 of it rolled out thinly. I toasted 1/2 cup whole hazelnuts for 10 mins at 350 degrees in the toaster, rubbed off the skins, then ground them in the food processor. I sprinkled this nut powder all over the pie pan, then pressed the rolled-out pie crust into it. I weighted and blind baked the crust at 400 degrees for 20 mins, then brushed the edges with egg white/milk mixture and baked a little longer. Filled with:

Blood orange curd made roughly like this one from the Kitchn, but I only had 1 Eureka lemon and added also 1 clementine and the seeds of 1 vanilla bean (pod saved for vanilla sugar). Unfortunately, I had kind of a disaster with the makeshift double boiler/bain-marie. I’d floated a deep ceramic bowl in a saucepan of water. Everything was going great until I let the water get too hot. It started boiling, I freaked out and accidentally flipped the bowl sideways so a bunch of boiling water gushed in. I tried to salvage it by taking it off the heat and ladling out the hot water as best I could, and whisking the rest. It looked OK, so I put it away to cool. Unfortunately, it never set up and I had to try to fix it just before mealtime by nuking it in 2-min intervals till it was simmering, then whisking in 2 additional egg yolks and a teaspoonful or so of cornstarch (dissolved first in a little cold water). It never got as solid as I wanted, but it was at least not as liquid as before. In the future, this microwave version looks promising.

Final count: 4 blood oranges, 1 tangerine, 1 Eureka lemon (all juiced and zested), 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 vanilla bean, 3 eggs, 2 egg yolks, 1 tsp cornstarch, 8 Tbsp butter cut into little cubes. In an ideal world, add everything but the butter to a bain-marie and cook, whisking, till thickened. Remove from heat, strain, and whisk in butter. Chill.

Topped it with sweetened vanilla whipped cream made in the food processor. This, at least, worked like a dream.

Attendees: Liz and her friends Chris and Katie (with a pear-raspberry pie and a Pennsylvania corn pie with potatoes, with pi-shaped cutouts), Sarah and Dino (with a Grasshopper Pie made with creme de menthe and marshmallows and Roundy-Os Oreo crust), Kael, Matthew, Ah-Reum and Ted (all with various libations). It was awesome to share pie with friends.

I’m going to SF tomorrow!


Written by orata

March 14, 2011 at 12:21 am

Posted in parties, recipes

Tagged with , , , ,