Easy Peasy Pie Crust

I used to shy away from making my own pie crusts because I thought it was difficult and time consuming.  Then I read Mark Bittman’s recipe and how it just takes a few minutes with a food processor.  The recipe I use is adapted from Allison Holst’s pie crust in her Bacon & Egg pie recipe.  You can add some sugar for a sweet pie crust.  

Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups AP flour (more if needed plus some for dusting surface)
1/4 cup spelt flour (optional- use more AP if omitting) 
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, very cold & cut into pieces
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vinegar

Add vinegar to milk and set aside.

Pulse dry ingredients together in food processor until mixed.  Add butter and process until butter is mostly incorporated (fine if small pieces, but don’t over do it as you want some chunky bits for flakiness).  

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Slowly add milk/vinegar.  The dough should start coming together, if too sticky add more flour.  It will be done when it forms a ball.   IMG_0961IMG_0964

Place on floured surface and split into 2 or you can wrap well and place in fridge for a couple of days. 
Roll with flour on both sides so it doesn’t stick. 
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When it is your desired thickness/thinness you can place in pie plate.  Fill and bake! IMG_0972 IMG_0976 IMG_0979IMG_0984IMG_0987

This was a version of bacon & egg pie I made because I messed up a recipe calling for egg yolks– I blended the whole egg together; actually 11 whole eggs.  

At least I have a great lunch and possibly dinner!

Now to go get some more eggs so I can make my Thanksgiving Day Apple Cream Pie (using just egg yolks!)


That smells so good!

It can be hard coming up with new recipes all the time.  I’ve been working a few extra p/t jobs since my husband is still out of work and it seems like we get in a rut of the same ol’ same ol’ rotation of foods.  But with summer trying to spring upon us (if the damn rain would just hold up for a while) new foods (and some summer-time favorites) are getting into our weekly menus.  

At the supermarket the other day I saw a special on shoulder lamb chops from Down Under (NZ/Australia) and scooped up a few packs.  I thought it would be nice to put a dry rub on them instead of just grilling/cooking them with just salt and pepper.  


sprinkle spice mixture on lamb

Since it was pouring out we cooked them inside.  My suggested rub was fabulous and the house smelled so good while they were cooking (I’m not a big fan of cooking-lamb smell)!  You could imagine yourself in some Middle Eastern or Northern African bazaar.  

Lamb with Aromatic Spices
In a small bowl mix together these ground spices:

2 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp turmeric
½ Tbsp coriander
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cayenne
½  tsp sumac
1 tsp salt

I used ½ inch thick shoulder lamb chops. 

Preheat oven to 350°F or get outdoor grill started. Sprinkle spice mixture on lamb, let sit for a few seconds before rubbing in/around.  You don’t need to use up all the spices, just lightly coat. (Using gloves help prevent staining, eases cleanup) Let sit for 10 minutes.
For oven method:  in a hot iron skillet (on medium-high) place a tsp neutral oil and sear the meat until brown then place in oven to finish.  Cook approximately 15 minutes (depending on thickness).  For grill: place on indirect heat (so that spices don’t burn) for 8-10 minutes each side. 

Sear in iron skillet

Sear in iron skillet

finish lamb in oven

finish lamb in oven

My husband and I came up with a delicious sauce too– plain yogurt with fresh chopped mint, sriracha and a tiny squeeze of lemon juice. We served them with boiled new potatoes, corn off the cob, haricot vert and broccoli.  All the boys love each of those vegetables, but I wasn’t sure about the lamb.    I thought it might be too spicy for my youngest two so we left two small chops naked. 

It was a good call.   Everyone enjoyed it all and there were no tears or cries of “too spicy”.  And now I’ve got a new item to add to our rotation.

A subtle touch

Sometimes a simple addition can change the whole dish.  I’ve already posted how salmon is one of my go-to dishes for dinner.  The kids love it and will eat it in almost any way I’ve prepared it.  But, this simple addition of Matcha salt, a powdery green tea infused sea salt, on top of the finished pan roasted salmon, makes it that more delicious and the kids greedily gobbled up.  My husband brought home a small sample of Matcha after he’d cooked a Japanese themed dinner at the restaurant alongside some real Japanese trained chefs.

It’s really amazing how subtle the Matcha salt is but how it transforms the dish in an almost indescribable way: slightly salty, slightly sweet.   If you can get your hands on some, you’ll see what I mean.  Just add a sprinkle on top of some grilled fish or shrimp and the subtle difference will convert you.


My middle son exclaimed when he saw me cutting the salmon into portions to cook, “I don’t want salmon! …Well, unless you have that green stuff on it.”  I told him that was exactly what I’d planned and he happily left me to continue cooking dinner without complaint.

Pan Roasted Salmon with Matcha Green Tea Salt

Fresh wild caught salmon (about 1 lb)

1 Tbsp olive oil

Matcha to taste (about 1 tsp)

optional fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut the salmon into 2-3 inch width slices and with a sharp knife score the skin (shallow crisscross cuts).  Heat olive oil in sauté pan with oven-proof handle.  Place salmon pieces into oil skin side up.  Cook for about 5 minutes (you see the color change up the sides from dark to light) and turn over.  Place in oven for another 5-8 minutes (depending on thickness of your salmon).  Remove from oven (Remember the handle is hot.  I place an oven mitt on it, so I don’t grab it.) and sprinkle the Matcha salt over the salmon tops. Serve with rice, vegetables and/or salad. 

Watch everyone devour it!

It’s also such a quick dinner.  After play dates and homework help there wasn’t much time and I didn’t have any fresh vegetables in the house.  Still had a wonderful, healthful meal.

My eldest ate his so quickly that my middle son was nice enough to share some of his with his older brother.