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Marlene

eG Foodblog: Marlene Maple Leaves, Bacon & Pecans - A Canadian go

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Hello, it's been a while. Since we've been promised snow in this week's forecast, I've traded in my food bus for a sleigh.

This blog doesn't actually get started until tomorrow, but I wanted to get y'all thinking some.

See here's the deal. In my first foodblog, many of you came and visited with me as guests in my home. Well, now you're all more like family. So this time, you have to help me. Welcome to the interactive foodblog. :biggrin:

I decided that if I was going to do another blog, I had to branch out. I couldn't just do the same thing I did last time and more importantly, I didn't want to replicate any of the dishes I did last time around. This I realized was going to require me to step outside my foodbox somewhat though. So I'm going to do some experimenting.

I'm going to make some things I've never made before. Now I know, from reading the various threads on these forums that there's a wealth of information and advice to be had, and that's exactly what I need from y'all. I'll be doing stuff that you're going to think "how can she not know how to do that?!". Well I haven't and I don't. But, I'm willing to put my ingnorance on the line in the interests of higher learning. I'm putting myself out there folks. Don't let me fall.

Not only that, but other than our big Christmas dinner, which will actually be Boxing Day (the day after Christmas for all you non Canadian and English people), I don't think there's a speck of beef on the menu. Oh the withdrawal!

Note the Southern drawl? A lot of what I'll be doing are Southern dishes. I figure by the time I'm done, not only will my drawl have improved, but I'll be a card carrying Southern Mama. :rolleyes:

So sit back and relax. But don't get too comfortable. Y'all need to work with me on this one.

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Glad your up at it again, Marlene.

And, any topic with bacon in the subject line really gets me going :wub::wub::wub: .

This is a busy (and potentially emotionally charged) week for many of us, and thanks for taking this one one!

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Marlene,

I have always enjoyed your posts so I'm very excited about your blog! I'll go back and read your first one....I've been in a bit of blog withdrawl last week!!

Yeah!!! blog on!

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Sounds like you'll be making some pecan pie, eh Marlene? :biggrin:

Enjoy your week of blogging. I know I will.

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Sounds like you'll be making some pecan pie, eh Marlene? :biggrin:

Enjoy your week of blogging. I know I will.

I"m not sure how I can avoid it Pan. So it's possible. If someone teaches me to make pie crust. :rolleyes:

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Clueless questions will abound, trust me. In the meantime, just spread your coat over that puddle for me would you?

Pie crust?

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I'm not the baker in our family but when I need to make a pie crust I use a very easy French Pate Brisee pie crust recipe. Do you have a food processor or want to make it by hand (easy)

1 1/4 c flour

1/4 tsp salt

6 TBSP cold unsalted butter

2 TBSP cold vegetable shortning

3 TBSP ice water

by hand (what I do too):

1. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl

2. Cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal- you can use your fingers, two forks or a pastry blender

3. Break up the vegetable shortning and add it to the bowl continueing with the method above until the mixture becomes small clumps.

4. Add the ice water and toss the mixture with a spatula until the water is incorporated.

5. Form the dough into a ball, roll it in a bit of bench flour, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour or up to several days.

Roll our when you are ready!! super easy and yummy flaky pie dough.


Edited by little ms foodie (log)

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I'd probably make it by hand. I can't remember the last time I actually used my food processer!

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That looks alot like the pie dough recipe I use (out of Martha's Pie's and Tart's). One more hint-I keep the flour in the freezer as well. The colder everything is, the better it works.

Also, in this part of the world, if meals and flours are not kept in the freezer, you quickly develop some crunchy bonuses in your flour.

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Flour in the freezer? And what's "bench" flour?

Don't worry Brooks, any crunchy things are well frozen here after today.

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Flour in the freezer?  And what's "bench" flour?

Don't worry Brooks, any crunchy things are well frozen here after today.

I keep my flour in the freezer in a zip lock bag because my mom said it stayed fresher that way.

Bench flour is just the small amount of flour you sprinkly on your board so it doesn't stick to it, or that you sprinkle before you roll it out. Sorry about that, it's just a pastry term- nothing difficult!!

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Welcome!

I've been having foodblog withdrawal symptoms.

I use my standard pate brisee or sucre for crusts. Its very high fat, so there is no need to grease the tin if you are making a tart, and it satys crisp.

The magic formula to remember is 3:2:1 by weight

3 flour (say 6oz)

2 Butter (say 4 oz) Pinch salt if unsalted

1 Sugar (optional)

Add an egg yolk or the quivalent in cold water.

Dump all in a food processor and whizz until a ball forms; leave to rest for half an hour.

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Morning all! While the lad sleeps and I fortify myself with coffee, let me catch you up on a few things. First the lad, otherwise known as the eating machine.

The last time I did this, I was still doing all of the cooking and meal prep in the house. Somewhere over the summer, Ryan grew up. Literally. He's now an inch taller than I am and on school days he makes his own breakfast and packs his own lunch. (I don't even want to know what's in there). When school first started, I wandered around in the morning not knowing what do with all the free time I suddenly had!

Of course he is now on Christmas break and so, I will revert to making breakfasts for him. He just turned 12 a few weeks ago and we gave him a digital camera for his birthday, and he's enthusiastic about taking some of the pictures for this week's activities as well as helping with some of the prep.

Speaking of pictures, I took a lesson from Don last night on how to upload pictures from the camera to the PC. If I can make sense of my notes, I should be able to post pics as I go this week, instead of having to wait for him to come home and do it for me!

And so on with the blog. In order to solicit all your advice, I'll let you know a day in advance when I'm going to be doing something "new". That way, if I need ingredients I can get them the day before and study tips and techniques before actually attempting the damn thing.

I'll start off today doing stuff I know how to do. Breakfast, whenever the lad shakes himself out of bed will consist of maple leaf pancakes and sausages. Maple leaf pancakes are simply pancakes made in Maple Leaf molds. Somewhere on this site is a thread about William Sonoma starting to ship to Canada. FOr me, this was like suddenly being let loose in a candy store! As an added bonus, everytime they shipped an order to Canada, they included a set of Maple Leaf pancake molds. And they never shipped an order complete. I'd end up with three or 4 boxes and in each, a set of pancake molds!

The damn things breed. I swear. I kept putting these things away in a cupboard, and when I last looked, I had 14 boxes of pancake molds. That's 42 molds folks.

I've wrapped a bunch up as gifts, I've given them away to friends. And I still have 3 boxes of the damn things. So I'm gonna use them this morning.

Ryan and I will attempt (as we do every year) to make a Gingerbread house, or in this case a gingerbread church). We have never ever been sucessful at making these things look any good, but it's a tradition now.

Dinner will be homemade mac and cheese. I don't eat lunch, but I'll be sure to let you know what the lad scarfs down throughout the day :biggrin:

Tomorrow will be experiement #1. What could be more Southern than Fried Chicken? I now have a deep fryer. I'm not even afraid of it (much) anymore, and if there's one thing I know you guys have, it's tips and techqniues for frying chicken. So y'all can think on that one a spell, while I go get more coffee and feed the lad who seems to have decided to roll on out of bed.

And he's hungry - of course.

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I hate to disappoint you, Marlene, but real southern fried chicken is not made in a deep fryer, but in a cast iron skillet or dutch oven. It is shallow fried, not deep fried. However, I am not an expert on this, having only fried (bone in) chicken a couple times in my life. So, I'm sure an expert will pipe in soon.

Not too worry about using the deep fryer, though: make some french fries to go with the chicken (although mashed & gravy is more traditional).

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I hate to disappoint you, Marlene, but real southern fried chicken is not made in a deep fryer, but in a cast iron skillet or dutch oven. It is shallow fried, not deep fried. However, I am not an expert on this, having only fried (bone in) chicken a couple times in my life. So, I'm sure an expert will pipe in soon.

Not too worry about using the deep fryer, though: make some french fries to go with the chicken (although mashed & gravy is more traditional).

I'm planning on mashed and gravy. And heck, I'm not opposed to trying the chicken both ways. Deep fried and cast iron! I can do a side by side comparision!

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Hmm, have you ever made tempura? You've got that deep fryer, so I'm trying to think of things you can make with it! :)

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Hmm, have you ever made tempura? You've got that deep fryer, so I'm trying to think of things you can make with it! :)

I have not. But I'm willing to try just about anything this week! And I need nibbles for my family Christmas dinner. :biggrin:

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And so, breakfast is served.

gallery_6080_487_1103552204.jpg

The pancakes in their cute little molds

gallery_6080_487_1103552223.jpg

Voila! Maple Leaf Pancakes and Sausage

And because there is nothing more important in my house in the morning than coffee,

gallery_6080_487_1103552178.jpg

The Cusinart Grind and Brew coffee machine.

I adore this machine. I get freshly ground coffee, and the thermal carafe keeps it hot for several hours. I tend to make several pots of coffee throughout the day. Particularly if I'm working at my desk or on conference calls, a cup of coffee is standard office equipment for me.

In some ways this week will be more relaxed. Ryan's out of school, there's no pressure of homework and deadlines. On the other hand, I need to keep him amused, get the rest of my Christmas shopping done, and get ready for my family Christmas dinner.

I've a few errands to run this morning, and then we shall attempt the gingerbread church. Wish us luck. We're gonna need it!

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yay, a new blog! I'm looking forward to this

I hope you're going to squeeze lots of warm food in to help cope with this sudden cold snap :blink:

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Did someone say pie crust? :rolleyes:

When I posted about My First "from scratch" Pie Crust the amount of helpful advice was astounding. I'm also happy to say that, entirely due to the sage advice I received rather than by virtue of my own talent, my next crust was fantastic.

The key proved to be cold, cold, cold ingredients (including flour from the freezer), minimal handling and butter that was cut into the flour only until it yielded small irregular chunks. I found so many on-line recipes that advised to get the consistency of the flour and butter to be like cornmeal - big mistake. Much better to have a rougher texture and let the butter melt while the crust bakes.

You will be using a bit of maple syrup in your pecan pie, won't you?

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Owen, that thread is going to prove extremely useful to me, thanks!

And having never made pecan pie before, I'll use whatever y'all tell me to use! :biggrin:

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You will be using a bit of maple syrup in your pecan pie, won't you?

Decidedly un-Southern. Authenticity demands Steen's 100% Pure Cane Syrup. Brooks will back me up on this.

As for the chicken, it's true that a cast-iron pan is traditional. But first, any fried chicken is better than no fried chicken; second, both ways are valid, though different (for instance, I find that deep-fried is not as good the next day, so if you're not expecting leftovers, it's a level playing field); and finally, I figure you've got a new toy, and it needs a workout. Woman does not live by bloomin' onions alone.

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You will be using a bit of maple syrup in your pecan pie, won't you?

Decidedly un-Southern. Authenticity demands Steen's 100% Pure Cane Syrup. Brooks will back me up on this.

Marlene, your breakfast pics make me want to go in the kitchen and cook up a second breakfast. Those pancakes look good, and the maple syrup, mmmmm.... :wub:

I think you've already set a certain style to your week...southern with a canadian twist, soooo....regarding the pecan pie, why not make two?? One according to phaelon56's inclinations and another one, more authentic, along the lines of what Dave the Cook recommends...

Yes, that means TWO pie crusts, but practice does make perfect! Oh, and I think I'd do two batches of dough rather than trying to double up... Also, I have to admit that I grate my frozen butter into the flour. I've always done that and it seems that I work the dough less this way. Can hardly wait to see the results!

By the way, you downloaded the pictures yourself? Way to go! I have yet to master that!

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You will be using a bit of maple syrup in your pecan pie, won't you?

Decidedly un-Southern. Authenticity demands Steen's 100% Pure Cane Syrup. Brooks will back me up on this.

.

That may be, but I don't think we get that brand up here.

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