Fourth of July & Apple Pie

I hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day! We enjoyed beautiful weather with cool breezes down by the San Diego shoreline of La Jolla. La Jolla's meaning “The Jewel” is so befitting for this glorious town. Only a forty-five minute drive from Temecula, the crystal aqua ocean is so dazzling, like a clear and perfect gem with coves cut out so perfectly along the coastline and the quaint backdrop of shops, restaurants and homes.

We shopped a little and walked around town being serenaded by reggae music coming from a second story café and watched the hustle and bustle of tourists while we ourselves enjoyed art galleries and chic Armani Exchange, one of the few clothing stores open for the day.

That evening we headed back home for our own festival of sorts with an all American dinner and dessert, ending the evening with a view of Temecula’s own fireworks extravaganza.

And without further ado.. a showstopper in it's own right!

Apple Pie

This is a simple pie with my favorite pastry dough recipe from Dorie Greenspan. I really think the two crusts that I continually use are Dorie’s and Nick Malgierri’s. I always have perfect results with these two recipes!

Dorie Greenspan's Pie Crust
Crust Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons chilled non-hydrogenated solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons (or more) ice water

Crust Preparation
Mix flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening; pulse until coarse meal forms. Add 2 tablespoons ice water; pulse until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Chill 2 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.

Apple Pie Filling
8 Red Apples (I used Mac Intosh)
3 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
¾ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ cup Mighty Mango Naked Juice (you can sub with juice of your choice)
½ stick butter
Bowl of cold water with a few tablespoon lemon juice;
I egg yolk and 1/8 cup cream for brushing dough.

Make crust and set aside in the refrigerator till your ready to fill. Keep remaining scraps to make dough strips for the top of your pie.

Peel and core apples. Keep in bowl of lemon doused water till time to slice.
Slice apples1/8 of an inch thick. In large mixing bowl add apple slices, sugar, cinnamon and mango juice. Stir to coat apples well. Fill pastry shell with apples. Cut slices of butter and dot apple pie filling.

Use extra dough to make strips for lattice. If you don’t want to do this you can roll out another sheet of pastry to cover the pie filling. Brush outer dough with egg yolk mixture. Place either strips or another sheet of dough cut to fit over pie filling. Pinch to seal edges. If you completely covered the pie make some vents on top of the dough to release steam while baking. Brush the top of the pastry dough with remaining egg mixture and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.

I cover the top of my pie with foil for the first 15 minutes so it doesn’t get too brown. I would rather the apples cook all the way through on a lower temperature and longer cook time. Uncover the pie for the last 40 to 45 minutes.

Bake at 400° for 50 minutes to an hour.
Check periodically.
Serve warm with ice cream!

Buon Appetito!

Pepper & Pistachio Encrusted Rib Eye Steak
with Rosemary Green Butter

So, I wonder what my husband was thinking when I said to him, "Darling, I'm grilling the steaks tonight...and please don't come into the kitchen... and another thing...can you keep your eyes closed until you've had the first bite!"

Playing with his steaks isn't usually what I do, my hubby likes them grilled, period!! Oh, yes, I have grilled the steaks many a time with a simple marinade of wine, olive oil and an herb concoction, but to totally transform the texture and look...hmmm, this was a first for me! I have been so impressed with the beautiful pepper encrusted steaks and filet mignons I have seen all over the food blogosphere that I just had to give it a try! I have encrusted chicken fillets with almonds and lamb roasts with pistachio so why not, lets dress up that rib eye steak!

We had just come home from the market with some fresh herbs and an array of greens for a beautiful salad.
It was easy to decide on the combinations for this meal, as many of you know I "love" pistachios and look for every opportunity to use them when I cook. Pistachios have a mild but distinct flavor. I thought they would pair well with the pepper crust and for a butter topping to cool off the spice of the crust I used fresh rosemary finely chopped with parsley and chives.
Rosemary is so pungent and floraly, it went so well with the pepper pistachio combination.


2 Rib Eye Steaks around 3/4 inch thickness
Vegetable oil
White Wine

1/2 cup Pistachios
1/4 cup black peppercorns

Rosemary Butter
1 stick butter salted
3 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves torn off their stalk cleaned and dried
2 chive chutes cleaned and dried
2 parsley sprigs cleaned, dried and leaves removed from stems


Crust Topping Prep
In mini prep or food processor pulse peppercorns until chopped to a medium texture, add pistachios and continue pulsing until the texture is fine but still has crunch.

Steak Prep
Mix around two tablespoons of oil with two tablespoons of wine. Pat on steaks just to moisten but not to drench. Set aside.
On wax paper spread out pepper pistachio crumbs. Lay Rib Eye steaks on crumbs and press to cover all over on both sides.
On a pre-heated grill set to medium high cook steak for around 4 minutes on each side. This resulted in a medium done steak, around an 1/8 of an inch line of red in the middle. The steak was 3/4 inch thickness.
In the mean time make butter.

Rosemary Green Butter Prep
In food processor finely chop rosemary leaves, chives and parsley. When done add cold pieces of butter and continue to process till blended. Stop blending when ingredients are well combined. Refrigerate until steaks are done.

When steak is done, let rest for 5 minutes. Take two dollops of rosemary butter to top steaks and dress with rosemary leaves.
Serve remainder of butter with butter boiled small potatoes or crusty bread.

"My husband was in Rib Eye heaven!" He loved it and was so surprised, he gave it a two thumbs up! :)
I also loved it! It was so tender and the butter cooled the spiciness of it just like I thought it would.
Warning, expect this dish it to be extremely rich!
I would serve this dish with vegetables, a salad and some wild rice and
for dessert something to cool off the palate like a Granita!
Ciao and Buon Appetito!

I know, this picture is terrible but I wanted to show the inside with the line of red...if you can see it!

Raspberry Sherry Almond
Coffee Cake

I have had so much fun working on this video.
I do have to say, there were a lot of cuts.. and second, third and fourth takes, but for now I'm happy with the outcome and look forward to future "DMC Video Productions!

I haven't learned yet how to fade out the music.. so it just cuts off at the end of the video, but my husband and I loved the music choice for this recipe and laughed a lot at some of the words. Cake, and sweets in general create a "love hate" relationship with me.. am I the only one? :)

So I hope you enjoy my first video, but more than that enjoy a yummy slice of cake with a cup of your favorite beverage.

Raspberry Sherry Almond Coffee Cake
Recipe adapted from Ina Gartens Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Ok, can anyone relate!! I love you, I hate you, I love you, I hate you.. my love affair with desserts waivers. Yes, I fall in and out of love with you. Why oh why do they cause so much joy.. but so much pain at the same time?? 
Hope you enjoy the video and the music accompaniment. xo Laurie

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cream sherry
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4-teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup chopped almonds
1 ½ cups cleaned and dried raspberries

Sherry Sugar Syrup
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup water
2 tablespoons cream sherry

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch bunt or tube pan.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sherry and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the almonds and then gently fold in raspberries so not to crush them.

Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a spatula. Spread streusel. over batter. Spoon the rest of the batter to cover streusel in the pan.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Syrup Preparation
Meanwhile heat sugars, water and sherry in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium high heat till sugar dissolves. Lower heat to a simmer and cook till syrup thickens, around 15 minutes. Consistency should be thinner than honey, syrup will continue to thicken as it cools. Take off heat and transfer to a porcelain or glass container to cool off.

When cake comes out of the oven, let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake onto a serving plate.

You can drizzle syrup over the coffee cake or have it on the side to allow for individual preference.

Ciao and Buon Appetito!