Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Running Amuck

Today was yet another dreary drizzly day out. The perfect day for something comforting. After dropping off Abigail at school this morning, I decided that today was a day for pie. Specifically, a Cherry-Red Raspberry pie that I saw on Food Network last week. It won best in show at a recent competition, and just sounded too good to pass up. So wandering around the grocery store I picked up two cans of cherries in juice and a package of frozen raspberries. What else could I need? So I took these things home and looked at the recipe. Looked okay. So I proceeded with the recipe. Oops. First error- the pie called for sour cherries and I had these big beautiful bing cherries. Oh well, they're gorgeous anyway. One step calls for draining the thawing raspberries and using the juice. Well, these rasberries were individually frozen, and yielded about a tablespoon of juice- that can't possibly be enough. So I quickly glanced through the recipe thinking that maybe I could press the berries through a sieve. I didn't see the berries used anywhere else. So I dumped them in a sieve and started pressing them through. I got just over 3/4 of a cup of puree and juice when reading through the directions I found "gently fold in rasberries." Oops. I just looked at the mound of seeds sitting in my sieve and shook my head.

So I continued with the recipe, except that I added 3 small apples- knowing full well that my two cans of plump juicy cherries were not enough to fill my pie. And the end result? It was a fantastic rasberry/apple/cherry pie. Very good- maybe a tad on the sweet side, but overall I am thrilled. I've only ever made cherry pie with pre-made filling before- so I'm looking forward to more experimentation. I will eventually get around to making the pie as written. And if you're interested, you can check out the link here for Cherry Red Raspberry Pie.

For dinner tonight, I also tried something new. I used Michael Chiarello's Fennel Spice Rub on some baked chicken. It was phenomenal. Seriously good eating. Andy and I both love watching his show on FoodTV, but I've yet to make anything of his. So I turned to one of my more recent cookbook acquisitions, At Home With Michael Chiarello, and we were not disapppointed. He says this rub can really be used for anything, and today we used it for baked chicken, but I think it would be equally excellent with pork. If yo udo make it, don't be worried to use a heavy hand when seasoning. I worried that I would use too much, and I really could have used about twice as much for the chicken. After it was seasoned, I gave the chicken a shot of lemon juice before baking at 400ยบ for about 45 minutes. Here is his recipe for fennel spice rub. Make sure you let the seeds cool before grinding or they will turn to mush.

Fennel Spice Rub

1 cup fennel seeds
3 Tablespoons coriander seeds
2 Tablespoons white peppercorns
3 Tablespoons sea salt (preferrably grey) ** I tend to agree, grey salt is a great splurge.

In a saucepan over med-low heat, toast the fennel, coriander, and peppercorns. Toss them frequently, and toast until golden brown and fragrant. Pour onto a plate to cool completely.

Combine toasted seeds with sea salt in a blender and grind. If making a half recipe, you can use a spice grinder. When using the blender, make sure to pause and shake the jar a few times to evenly distribute the ingredients.

Fennel spice rub will keep for about 6 months tightly sealed in a spice jar. (But I bet it won't last that long)


Andy said...

sounds awesome!

I've made a butternut squash lasagna (recipe courtesy of Michael Chiarello) that is really good too!

oh, and I was the one who commented on your salsa....I made 5 pints yesterday!

Erika said...

I'm so glad you like the salsa. Have you played with the ingredients at all? I'm always trying to come up with new variations.

I think I have that lasagna recipe, I'll have to look that up soon, it's getting close to lasagna season here.

Andy said...

well, when I made it the first time as a trial run I didn't have too many peppers.

This time I probably had 6-7 serranos, a Hungarian hot, some poblanos, 4-5 jalapenos, and a habenaro. Well see how it tastes after it sits for a couple months!

I think next time I might try adding some peaches or raspberries....

Winter squash just started to hit the farmer's markets here in Madison. They're still a little on the small side though.

You're from Seymour? My hometown is Pulaski, my wife is from Green Bay.

I'm just getting started on a blog on Vox. It'll probably just be a bunch of recipes though, we'll see.

Erika said...

Peach salsa would be great! Blueberry comes to mind to me as well.

And Seymour it is. when you get your blog up and running, send me a link! I'd love to see it, and it's always fun to "know" a local blogger. :-)