12/27/17

Cooky Cat Home Page
When it comes to cooking . . .

This Cat can Cook! Very Cooky!


BOILERPLATE

The Internet is full of cats these days. Here's a Cat among cats. The one who put the puss in his boots. The very one whom the Ad Biggies referred to when they said, "let's put it out on the back stoop and see if the cat licks it up."

Cooky Cat cooks from scratch. (No claw-related pun intended.) You’ll find not so much recipes, as suggestions. The world, after all, doesn’t need another cook book. A certain culinary skill is expected to dig this cat.

Inspiration is what is needed. And Cooky Cat brings it. A sense of humor also wouldn't hurt. He kids... but, always, he loves. In his own words, "Just kitting."

We give you... Cooky Cat!

The Cooky Cat is into cooking. He can be a playful kitty, sometimes prone to exaggerating the facts (he can be a down right fibber), but always true blue when it comes to steering you in the right direction kitchen-wise. Take what he may say otherwise with a grain of salt. Just shoe him off your lap(top) when he gets too frisky for you.  

Cooky Cat can cook anything (he is not vouching for its edibility, however). Don't expect recipes and treatments on the more conventional dishes. [E.G., regarding omelets... Wisk a few fresh eggs, shake and stir in a pan with some butter, fold onto plate. Done. Next.]

Cooky Cat is also very straight ahead in the kitchen. No stunt foods. So don't expect any of those trendy piled high ego displays or cakes made to look like... whatever. Take this pledge: "I will never again watch a cake show on television." About foam... you can't even get him anywhere near the foam of a bubble bath. And, as few gadgets as possible. It took him years to get around to a Cuisinart processor; prior, it was the trusty Benriner mandoline.

He also vigorously eschews the trend to overly combine wildly disparate ingredients or overly sauce and/or multi-spice recipes. Things do have their own taste and Cooky Cat stands for letting the ingredients speak for themselves.

His motto: Create meals from what looks good at the market, always looking first for what is seasonal, fresh, and local. Shopping to a recipe is a way to go, but many times slavishly sticking to that approach can be frustrating if you can't find the ingredients; it forces compromises if what's only available is of lesser quality, and it is certainly the most expensive approach. Quality costs, and pays off in the long run; but when it's on sale, go for it. By and large, you get what you pay for.

There have been comments from certain quarters that the recipes are not detailed enough. The point Cooky Cat is making has to do with conveying the secret ingredient to all good cooking. If you want the specifics, just do a search and zillions of options magically appear. To repeat, the world does not need another cook book!

Now go ahead, scratch around and see what Cooky Cat has for YOU!

A faithful follower of Cooky Cat  shows her appreciation. . .

 




12/26/17

As an American Apple Pie


One Michele T. Fillion in our life is the Pie Queen. Any baked item, for that matter.

Here is the definitive recipe for Apple Pie.

Secret: She follows the recipe in the Joy of Cooking exactly. But ... for the shortening element — good butcher rendered Lard. (Do it yourself. Or, from an Italian Pork Store or Polish butcher. Not the packaged bland supermarket kind. )

CRUST:

[Exactly as presented in the Joy of Cooking — "Pie Dough Cockaigne"]

1. Sift together ...

— 2.5 Cups All Purpose Flour
— 2 tsp. Sugar
— 1 tsp. Salt

2. Add ...

 — 6 Tbsp. cold unsalted Butter
 — 1/4 Cup chilled shortening*
          *MTF uses rendered Lard. (Not the supermarket kind, but from a real            butcher.)

3. Cut in half of the shortenings, then the remainder. Dough should become crumbly pea sized.

4. Sprinkle with 6 Tbsp. ice Water. (More if necessary for ingredients to hold.)

5. Divide in two, shape into a disks. Wrap with plastic. Refrigerate.

6. Roll out chilled Dough and assemble pie**.

** If making something like an Apple Dumpling, roll out a portion of Dough large enough to wrap peeled and cored whole Apple. Follow directions for additions to the filling as below.


FILLING: 

For 9" Pie pan. (Again, Joy of Cooking.)

1. Preheat oven to 425° F.

2. Combine ...

— 2.5 Pounds crisp tart Apples, peeled and sliced; 5-6 large. (Rome is at the top of the list. Or, mix 'em up.)
— 3/4 Cup Sugar
—  2-3 Tbsp. Flour (to thicken juices)
—  1 Tbsp. fresh Lemon juice
— 1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon
— 1/8 tsp. Salt

TIP: Add Apple slices to bowl with Lemon juice to prevent slice from browning.

3. Let stand for 15 minutes to soften Apples.

4. Evenly pour into pan lined with bottom crust.

5. Dot with 2 Tbsp. unsalted Butter.

6. Place top crust. Crimp edges. Cut slit in center for steam to escape.

7. Dust top with 2 tsp. Sugar and 1/8 tsp. of ground Cinnamon.

8. Place Pie on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 425° F, then turn oven down to 350° F for 30-45 minutes until pie is done, and juices are bubbling.

9. Let baked Pie cool for 1/2 to 1 hour before serving.













12/2/17

Mom's Apple Pie



We love one Michele T. Fillion. Not least for her excellent pies. She in our world is the "Pie Queen".

Here is her recipe for Apple Pie using a 10 inch pie pan. The crust will work for whatever other filling you may choose.

Crust: 

Dough Ingredients:

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
5 Tbsp. Sweet Butter, chilled
3.5 Tbsp. Lard, chilled (from butcher, not store packaged)
4-5 Tbsp. ice Water 

Crust Preparation:

1. Sift dry ingredients (Flour, Sugar, Salt) together into a large mixing bowl.
2. Cut the shortening (cold Butter, Lard) into the flour mixture until well combined.
     (Not too fine, leave some large pieces. This will ensure flakiness of crust.)
3. Criss-cross divide the flour/shortening mixture into four equal parts in the bowl.
4. Add 1 Tbsp. ice Water a few drops at a time to each of the four portions, mixing in each with a fork. (This will ensure equal distribution and right amount of water. Careful not to add too much rendering the dough mushy.)
5. Lift dough with the hands in the bowl and form into a ball which holds together. (If dough doesn't come together add more water, but only a little at a time.)
6. Cut dough ball in two pieces, wrap in plastic, and let rest refrigerated for 1/2 hour to chill (while preparing the Apple filling).

Apple Filling:

1. 8-10 medium to large baking Apples. (Rome, Northern Spy, Granny Smith. Try a mixture of types. Baking Apples are preferred since they won't melt while baking.)
2. Peel and core Apples cutting each into 8 pieces.
3. Sprinkle onto Apple pieces a little Lemon juice or Citric Acid solution to prevent browning.
4. 1-1.5 Cups granulated Sugar mixed to combine with ... (HINT: Adjust Sugar amount according to sweetness/tartness of selected Apple variety.)
5. 4 Tbsp. Corn Starch.
6. 1/4 tsp. Grated Nutmeg. (1/2 tsp.Cinnamon optional to taste.)
7. Simply combine half of Sugar mixture with Apples, stirring just once. Set remainder aside.

Final Assembly:

(Start oven to preheat to 425° F)

1. Roll out one of the dough halves large enough to fill pie pan.
2. Trim edges flush with a knife and prick bottom of crust all over in pan bottom with a fork.
3. Roll out top crust an inch wider that pie pan and set aside. In warm weather refrigerate to keep dough firm.
4. Add Apple mixture to bottom crust in pan.
5. Cut 2 Tbsp. Butter into equal pieces onto filling.
6. Drizzle on remaining 1/2 Sugar mixture evenly over buttered filling.
7. Unroll top crust dough onto pie. Crimp edges uniformly with fingers. Cut a vent crosswise in the center, prick all over with fork.
8. Make a Glaze — Beat 1 Egg Yolk with 1 Tbsp. Cream. Glaze pie with pastry brush.
9. Sprinkle 2-3 Tbsp. Sugar over top. (Optional to mix in Nutmeg and/or Cinnamon.)
10. Place on parchment or foil lined tray (to catch drips).

Baking:

1. Place tray in center of a preheated 425° F oven, initial bake for 12 minutes.
2. Lower heat to 350° F and bake until done. Approximately 1 hour, or more as needed. HINT: Look for bubbles in center to gauge doneness.
3. HINT: Cover pie with foil to control browning of top crust.