This morning, I was running late and luckily so, since I heard the sump pump stick and I got down in time to free it and keep the motor from burning out. The swamp I drive past on the way to the main road had flooded across the roadway, and there was a sign posting the closure and a van from a local news station, though I didn't see anyone filming. There was minor flooding once I got to the main road and slow traffic. It's both funny and damn annoying to see huge SUVs tip-toeing their way through 3 inches of water. (No, it's not because the driver doesn't know how deep it really is: they've been following other cars. No, it's not because they're being considerate about throwing up a spray of water on other cars, gimme a break.)
Yesterday was "pi" day: 3/14. (Hmmm... I guess Europeans never get a "pi" day?) I made two pies after I got home from the workshop.
Beef and Mushroom Pot Pie
3 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into small cubes
1 medium-large onion, diced
1 pound portabello mushrooms, chopped
2 to 4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 quart beef stock, or mix of stock and water, or water
1/4 to 1/2 cup of bourbon, or other whiskey, or ale
1 18-oz. can cream of mushroom soup (not condensed; I used Progresso)
1/4 cup flour
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed if bought frozen
You'll need both a large stew pot and an oven-proof casserole. In the pot, brown the beef in oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes more, till onion is translucent and mushrooms are giving up their liquid. Pour in the beef stock and the bourbon and bring to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce heat. Let simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, till meat is tender. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the solid bits of the stew to the casserole (save the stock for another time and dish). Sprinkle with flour and stir, then add the soup and mix well. Cover with the puff pastry and cut slits to let out steam. Bake for 20-30 minutes till pastry is puffed and brown. (For a better presentation, you can bake the top separately on a sheet of foil.) Makes about 6-8 servings.
Orangy Apple Pie
6 to 8 apples (I used 4 Golden Delicious, 3 Granny Smith)
zest and sections of 1 orange
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon butter
unbaked pastry for a double-crust pie
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the bottom crust into the pie dish and sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of the flour. Peel, core, and slice the apples and put in a large bowl. Grate the zest from the orange and add to apples. Pare the rest of the orange and chop up the sections and add those, removing seeds if needed of course. Sprinkle apples and orange with the sugar, the remaining flour, and the spices, and mix together, then pour into the bottom pie shell, mounding up apples in center. Dot with butter. Cover with top pie crust and press edges together. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 40 more minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes or so before cutting, so that the juices have a chance to congeal a little.