29 September 2010

Tales from the CSA: Week 18

In this week's box:

1 pumpkin
1 butternut squash
1 head Boston Bibb lettuce
5 potatoes
4 apples
small pile of green beans
1 green bell pepper
2 little hot peppers
a cute little decorative gourd

More squash!  That squash-cooking day is starting to look increasingly critical. Last week's and this week's apples went into pies for the weekend.  My folks were in town to celebrate my dad's birthday, which is a pretty common event each fall - they'll often make the trek down from the Philly area for a weekend of fun, good company, yummy food, and football around his birthday.  And I always make apple pie for dessert, because it's his favorite.  My crust making has improved dramatically in the past year.  I attribute it to 3 things:

  1. Butter.  I had been sticking with 100% vegetable shortening for my crust.  Since it's an old family recipe, it used to be made with lard, and shortening is the closest modern cognate.  But it really tastes better if you use about 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening.  The shortening is easier and more forgiving (and makes the crust nice and tender), but flavor-wise, it doesn't bring much to the party.  Butter does.
  2. Better sense of what the dough is supposed to feel like.  I've been making pies with homemade crust for years, but, as is the point of this whole Food Lab exercise, you need to make a given thing frequently to really get a sense of the best tricks.
  3. Confidence.  See above. 
Also, I have a much better rolling pin now (solid wood French style pin rather than the kind with the ball bearings), which contributes.  The right equipment really does make a difference.

I was a little heavy with the cloves (I was chatting with my mom while making the pie, and shook the container a little too vigorously over my sliced apples), but everyone was nice enough not to mention that.

Two more weeks to go - I'm really going to miss the weekly surprise over the winter...

No comments: