mad apple pie to welcome 2017!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I cannot wait for the last few hours of 2016.  It will be great to wake up tomorrow, after sleeping in a bit, to a fresh new year 2017!  At the market today, at the coffee shop and everywhere I was hearing people wish Happy New Year to complete strangers, their kids and their dogs.

 

Just look at these amazing, crusty breads!

This morning we took Michael’s mom out to the Green Market in WPB.  When I say today was an absolutely gorgeous day, it’s true!  In fact, I want to spend as much time outside today as possible.  There’s no humidity, the sun is bright and there’s a light breeze from the east.  I’m typing this blog outside on our bistro table (this was my Christmas gift from the mad cafe :).

At the Green Market I was in complete foodie heaven!  From pop-up bakeries to organic produce and Cuban coffee from Havana’s, it was just wonderful to walk around, look at everything and watch people as they walk by.

Serious eye candy for the mad cafe chef!

The highlight of the market this time of year is the Christmas tree made from sand.  It will be gone in a couple of days so everyone was snapping photos today.

Gorgeous day to enjoy the last days of the sand Christmas Tree in WPB

After staring, touching and buying some of the local produce, I felt inspired at home and decided to use up the honey crisp apples that have been in the fridge since last week.  I have been meaning to bake an apple pie for a while.  If you are anything like me, which most people aren’t, you take a bite of an apple pie and poke around the crust and leave the rest to waste.  That’s why I never buy or order apple pie… and I don’t make it.  Like, ever.

But, today was different!  Many of you have resolutions, etc… mine is to try to new things, to explore and learn more where I can.  So, yes, the apple pie is ready and out of the oven and cooling.  This experiment came about because I’ve ready SO many recipes and everyone’s is always the best.  Like with many of the Greek treats, pie is one that’s subjective since it’s tied with memories of childhood.

In my family, my mom would hardly ever bake pies, but my grandmother Aphrodite was very fond of apple pie.  In her food diary she was fair in giving recipes credit to those who shared them with her… “Mrs. Vans chicken… Mrs. Vans phinikia, etc.”  She eventually perfected her own apple pie recipe though and proudly called it “Mrs. Karatinos Apple Pie.”  And the crust was delicious.  And I still couldn’t eat the whole piece of pie because the filling was too sweet.  And I would always feel badly…

Mrs. Karatinos’ Apple Pie

So, over the years I studied tons of recipes for apple pie, with the hope that one day I would find one that was not too sweet, or mushy, or sour.  I didn’t find one specific recipe, and therefore I’ve formed my own that I’m happy to share with you: Mad Apple Pie… to welcome 2017!

 

 

 

MAD APPLE PIE

Prep time:  30 minutes  Baking time:  1 hour (convection oven)

Ingredients

About 8 cups of honey crisp apples, peeled, cored and quartered

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

Evening out the apple pie filling

1/4 whole wheat flour

2 tbsp butter

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp mace

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp good salt

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp fresh orange juice

zest of a lemon

zest of an orange (or tangerine)

Eggwash (one egg with a little water, lightly beaten)

For the Dough (this is Mrs. Karatinos’ recipe):

3 cups all purpose flour, sifted

2 cups COLD crisco (you can use cold butter instead)

1 tbsp salt

3/4 cup COLD water

Directions

Make the dough first:  Mix the cold crisco and flour by working lightly with fingers into a large ball.  Dissolve the salt in the cold water and pour into the flour mixture all at once.  Work the dough with a large fork until the dough is formed… divide into 4 balls.  You’ll need two for this 9″ pie and you can freeze the rest for another pie.  Refrigerate the dough while you prepare the filling.

Preheat the oven at 400F

Make the filling:  cut thin slices of the quartered apples, about 2 mm thickness.  In a bowl, mix together everything else… sugars, salt, flour, spices, butter, juices, zest, etc. and toss the sliced apples until well incorporated.  You don’t have to cook the apples at all.

Mad apple pie… voila 🙂 Out with the old in with 2017!

Prepare the pie:  Take out the two balls of dough and roll out with a rolling pin (use flour as needed to roll out).  Lay the bottom dough in a 9″ deep dish pie pan enough so that there is excess dough over the sides.  Make sure no air bubbles at the bottom.  Pour in the filling and even out.  Lay the other layer of dough on top and work with your fingers to crimp the sides well.  You can use a fork to finish off the crimping.

Brush egg wash on top with a pastry brush.  Cut a few slits around the middle of the pie and sprinkle some coarse sugar on top (optional).

Bake for about 1 hour until the crust is golden brown and filling starts to bubble.  Let the apple pie cool.  Serve warm.

Happy 2017!

 

 

 

 

 

When the day is off, bite into a rainbow chard pie

Not sure how to title this post, but now it does feels like a rainbow chard day.  I woke up happy this morning and excited since today is the annual Christmas tree lighting on Worth Avenue, where Santa parades down the beautifully lit street, passing the holiday decorated windows of Valentino, Cartier and Tiffany’s – usually in a Lamborghini.  Last year, he came through in a Rolls.  I guess it depends on the sponsor every year.  Palm Beach is la-la land for sure.  Where else can Santa ride in a sled like that?

santa
Santa coming down Worth Ave in a Lamborghini during the 2014 Christmas tree lighting

My morning wasn’t planned to continue so well though…  Usually, I’ll walk to school with Anna, but today we drove the few blocks and since I like to walk her up to the gate, I parked the car for five minutes in an empty parking lot of one of the private client banks that was still closed.  I should note two things: 1) that I was not comfortable doing that, and literally I was only going to be five minutes, and 2) there is zero parking for parents at Anna’s school… just a helplessly long drop off line that simply creates a ridiculous traffic pattern.

Are you an introvert like me? Loving this view of the Pacific a few years back.
Are you an introvert like me?  Loving this view of the Pacific a few years back.

So, as soon as I turned off the engine of my SQ5, this gentleman walks over and I knew what was coming.  He said, “Can I help you?”  Apologetically, I mentioned that I will literally be driving away in a five minutes just so that I can walk my daughter to school.  I’m sure he anticipated that answer, and rudely snapped, and said “Uh, ok and no more.”

The interesting part is that this was maybe the third time I’ve done this in six months.  It’s one of those moments I guess when, yes, I’ve done something I am not technically supposed to, but for heaven’s sake, it’s five minutes in an empty lot… some people have no empathy!  And not that I’m a wealthy private client, but what if I were, or what if I become?  Would I give my business to an office like this?  Ugh – I took a long morning walk to let it go…

From the posts of the last ten days, I’ve noticed from your feedback that many of you seem to enjoy not only the recipes but also the stories.  I’m not sure how you liked this one today, hopefully  you will excuse me as it has been one of “those” mornings!  Nonetheless, I do have a really awesome healthy recipe that I wanted to share that always brings a smile on my face when I’m feeling a bit… well, off kilter.

MAD RAINBOW CHARD PIE

Prep time: 20 minutes  Cook time: 30-35 minutes

Ingredients

1 pie crust for a 9″ pie pan – you can make it or I just buy it from the store if I’m in a rush

2 bunches of rainbow chard (or Swiss chard), washed and roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Saute the chard and greens handful at a time
Saute the chard and greens handful at a time until liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked

1 bunch of kale or spinach, washed and chopped (remove ribs from kale)

1 medium onion, chopped

1/4 cup chopped chives (optional)

1/4 cup quinoa

2 eggs

3/4 cup of milk

2tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp crushed pepper flakes

Salt and Pepper

1/2 cup shredded Asiago or Romano cheese (you can also use aged cheddar or Parmigiano)

Extra cheese to sprinkle on top

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325F.  Spread the dough in a 9″ pie pan and crimp the sides.  Smooth it out so there are no air bubbles on the bottom or the sides of the pie dish.  You can add pie weights so that the dough doesn’t bubble up.  Poke with a form randomly and bake for about 15 minutes.  Take out and set aside to cool.

Make the rainbow chard filling:  make sure all the greens are well washed and chopped accordingly.  Chop the rainbow chard all the way down to stems and keep them.  Only discard the rough kale stems.  On medium heat in a skillet or wok, heat the olive oil and saute the chopped onions, about 4-5 minutes so that they are lightly brown.  Stir in the quinoa, add garlic and pepper flakes and saute for another minute.  Add the chopped chard, stems first, and then the kale or spinach, handful at a time.   Lower the heat to medium, semi cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and quinoa starts to “open up.”  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Once filling is ready let it rest to cool for about 15 minutes.

Delicious and healthy, this pie makes great use of greens that you have in the refrigerator just calling out to be cooked!
Delicious and healthy, this pie makes great use of greens that you have in the refrigerator just calling out to be cooked!

Set the oven to 400F.

While the oven is preheating again, in a bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork and add the milk and chopped chives.  Add the 1/2 cup of Asiago cheese (or whatever you are prefer).  Note: you can always use feta… too 🙂

By now, the chard filling should be cooled and you can spread it into the pie pan, making sure it’s even.  Don’t over fill.  Slowly pour over the egg, milk and cheese mixture and gently fold it in so that it coats the greens.  Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until sides are brown and cheese bubbles up.

Enjoy a bite of a rainbow that you make yourself today.  I know I need to smile!