Caramel Apple Slab Pie

People always ask me which kind of apple is best for apple pie.  Oh don’t get me started.  I love talking about apples almost as much as I love talking about Star Trek. I have had the fantastic fortune of being able to live in so many places.  One of the things that’s enabled me to enjoy the experience to the fullest, are the amazing variations I observe in nature, including, but not limited to, the local produce I’m able to try. I had a ball with the Bramley Apples in England.  Pies after pies and baked apples galore.  So tart.  So crisp.  So […]

My Best Pie Crust

 “Pie Crust Anxiety”. Oh yes, it’s real. Of all the topics of cooking classes I’ve taught and of all the time I’ve spent with students and friends in my own kitchen, I’ve witnessed an incredible amount of angst and trepidation over pie crust. It seems to be the American woman’s Achilles heel. “Pie Crust Anxiety” hits an all-time peak around the holidays.  Right about the same time all other anxieties come screaming out of nowhere and just come and sit on our heads like giant toads. I’ve deciphered that “Pie Crust Anxiety” stems from two different things: You feel pressure to perform […]

DIY Designer Cake Plate

I have always relied on the old adage, “Necessity is the mother of invention”.  It is exhilarating to create something on the fly – something that didn’t even exist an hour ago.  And most times, what necessity requires you to invent is far superior to anything that could have been handed to you.  Some of the best ideas I’ve ever had, and some of the best situations I’ve ever been in came directly from a place where I had to be completely self-reliant and/or work to get myself out of a pickle.   Like I said in the previous post, I didn’t have any disposable […]

An Old-Fashioned Cakewalk Cake for My Son

My fifth child is in first grade already!  I can’t believe it.  It seems like only yesterday that he was bounding all over the house in a diaper and a ninja costume. Every year my kids’ elementary school has an old-fashioned “fall festival”.  Think Pollyanna and the bazaar.  Really neat stuff. My son was so excited that his first grade class was in charge of the cakewalk.  He knows cake is “my thing” and he could not wait to see what I would come up with.  . I didn’t want to disappoint him with something below my skill level (believe me…he was watching), […]

True Love’s Beef Stew

I met my husband when I was only eighteen.  I may have been only eighteen, but I was smart.  I thought to myself, “He’s the one”.  And then I set about to convince him that I was the one for him. Since my only training in romance had come from Janet Jackson and Madonna songs, and since things didn’t seem to be working too well for those ladies, I decided to just the opposite of what their songs told us all to do. “What Have You Done for Me Lately”, by Janet Jackson made a big impression on me.  It was supposed to be empowering, I suppose, but […]

My 72-Hour Beef Broth

That’s right.  Seventy-two hours.  This is the kind of broth that will make a hundred dishes swoon-worthy.  This is the kind of thing you make when you really FEEL your food.  When you consider yourself an alchemist.  A rogue.  A guns-blazing, ax wielding badass of a cook. If you’re any kind of a pansy at all, turn away.  You can’t handle this truth.  I use two different kinds of soup bones for this broth, and a special touch which I’ll reveal in a minute.   First, observe the above.  We’ve got beef soup bones along with “meaty” beef soup bones.  Basically some ball and socket […]

Fresh Persimmons with Moroccan Rosewater and Okinawan Honey

Persimmons are in season right now in Okinawa. I’ve had several people ask me what they taste like. An orange? A mango? Yes. Kind of a combination of orange and mango, but with flesh like a mango. Sort of. The skin is firm and almost as thick as a mango’s skin. You definitely want to peel persimmons. They almost look like you could eat them like an apple, skin and all. But the skin is a little too tough to be palatable. I had a few persimmons left over from my trip to the market last week. Truly, these little […]