Thursday, October 27, 2011

Colin Approved Apple Crisp

At BU on Thursdays in the Fall they have a farmers market. I always make it a point to stop by because I would so much rather support a local business than my local shaws and the quality of the produce is so much better! I wanted to make an apple crisp but somehow we had already blown through the pounds of apples we picked at Honey Pot Hill. So I bought a few delicious looking maccouns, macintosh and cortland apples from Ward's Berry Farm located in Central Mass.

In my family we have two recipes for apple crisp and it's always a huge debate over which one we will make. My Mom prefers the white sugar and flour based one while I prefer the brown sugar and oatmeal based one. I decided to take the best of both recipes and combine them into a delicious (and gluten-free) apple crisp.

I started my chopping up my apples in thin slices and layering them in a buttered pie dish. I then took 1/2 cup of..
White Sugar
Brown Sugar
Certified Gluten-Free Oats
Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
and mixed it all together with a half teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking powder and mixed it together with one egg to form a crumbly mixture.

I then pressed it all onto the top of the apples and then took thin slices of (frozen) butter and covered the  top. After that you pop it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 or until the top is crunchy and the apples are the texture you prefer.

The non-gluten-free members of my household always preface anything that is gluten-free with a caveat emptor (or more aptly eater beware) and it always drives me nuts! Except for the bad gravy incident recently nearly everything I have made gluten-free is usually better than the non-gluten-free versions. This crisp is no exception!

The straight substitution of the gluten-free flour caused no problems and the oats are always a great idea, GF or not. My father who on principle chooses not to eat gluten-free things really enjoyed this and my Mom ate some before and after dinner. Enjoy with both whipped cream and ice cream. Life is short!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Quote of the Day!

Some things are hard to write about. After something happens to you, you go write it down, and either you over dramatize it or underplay it, exaggerate the wrong parts or ignore the important ones. At any rate, you never write it quite the way you want to. 
--Sylvia Plath

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gluten-Free Apple Pie Done Right

This past weekend we went apple picking! I love, love, love the fall and taking a trip to the orchard is hands down one of my favorite activities. We are big fans of making all things apple too so that just makes bringing home pounds and pounds of apples more enjoyable.

Now my Nana use to make a mean apple pie. Specifically her pie crusts rocked. Now, not to brag but I was pretty darn good at making them too. Obviously they were made with flour though which is a no-go for me now. The entire week before we went apple picking I was really craving an apple pie so I started looking around for a good gluten-free pie crust. I checked the Gluten-Free Girl's website and I found a recipe that wasn't too difficult and I already had a good number of the various flours I would need.

This particular recipe called for portioning ingredients out by weight and luckily I have a food scale. It also calls for "leaf lard" which is a type of lard made from the fat around pig's kidneys--super particular! I went to Whole Foods but they didn't carry it and the butcher looked at me like I was crazy. So I just used butter in its place because I figured there wouldn't be anywhere else I could get it on short notice.

It called for almond, teff, oat, potato starch, tapioca and rice flour. I made my own almond flour (you can see how on this blog!) and I wanted to make my own oat flour but I wanted to make the pie that afternoon so I just bought it for the sake of convenience. It also calls for xanthan and guar gum which are expensive but will last you forever. As with most gluten-free things they store better in the freezer. You mix the flours together really well because they are all very different densities and consistencies. 

A few hours before you are planning on making the pie put your butter in the freezer to solidify it. Once it's totally solid you grate it like cheese! That way it is in perfect tiny pieces and there is no mashing in of warm butter with a pie crust thing-y. Does anyone know what those are actually called?

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the next few steps. After mixing in the butter you add the "sandy" flour to your food processor (I have fallen in love with mine this past year and I can't believe that I never had one) and then add the cold water a tablespoon at a time. Only add one at a time because it comes together very quickly. I added a tablespoon too much and had to add in some extra potato starch to dry it up. Below is the finished product! I was so proud that it held together and although it looked more "whole wheat" than anything it still looked "normal!"

So the best thing about gluten-free dough--you can roll it and re-roll it as many times as you like. Why? Because there is no gluten in it to turn the dough tough! The gluten in regular dough toughens up as you handle it more and more but this dough was great and super pliable. 

The Gluten-Free Girl's dough recipe makes enough dough for two crusts or one pie with a top. I decided to make a fancy-ish top by just cutting out a ton of maple leaves and placing them all over the top of my apple mixture. I used the Yankee Magazine's Apple Pie Recipe but I only used two pounds of apples because my pie dish was a little small and I didn't want to overwhelm it.

I brushed some milk on the top so it would brown nicely and I pressed some leaf lines onto the cutouts so they would look prettier.

I baked it for about 45 minutes and it was the perfect length! The apples were soft but not mushy and still totally discernible as apple slices.

It was SO good! The crust was more substantial than a normal crust but I enjoyed that. Also the top was slightly thicker than normal owing to the layering of the leaves but crust is always one of my favorite parts and I like to have some in every bite. The best part was that I was able to bring a big slice to my neighbor Caroline who has Celiac disease and who has never had apple pie! Anyway I would highly recommend this recipe because it turned out really well. Buying the flours will be a costly venture because you can't get small amounts but if you do it over time it isn't so bad. I am planning on making some of these crusts on weekends in the future and freezing them to use during the holidays. I think pumpkin or sweet potato would pair up with this crust fabulously!

This dough recipe can be found on or by clicking here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Photo Assignments 3 & 4

For my next photo assignment we had to take a photo of a subject with a blurry and sharp background. To achieve these different backgrounds we had to shoot the pictures with different apertures (or f/stops).

This picture was shot at Webb Park in Weymouth, MA.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall in Boston

There is nothing like a walk along the Charles River at sunset in the Fall. I love watching the crew boats practicing for the upcoming Head of the Charles, with their totally in sync movements and their bodies nearly submerged in the opaque Charles. 

Patterns of migratory birds and the quickly setting sun grace the sky. On the ground is the zinging of bicycles as they fly by and the steady thump of the ever present runners. 

The cool breeze coming off the river reminds you that it is now October and our indian summer is coming to an end. Soon the trees lining the Esplanade will turn a brilliant shades of red or yellow or orange and coats and hats will make their seasonal appearance, too. I love Fall in Boston.