Sunday, January 11, 2009

Week 16: Pie Birds

Who doesn’t like pies?! I had always thought of pies as sweet desserts, but when my boyfriend, Scott, got a Pie cookbook for Christmas a few years ago, we realized the diversity in sweet and savory pies! Marie Calendars has made millions on Chicken Pot Pies! (Have you seen the calories in the frozen varieties?) Scott is currently on a pie kick, pie for breakfast, lunch, and even dinner! So we have been making a few pies lately, with store bought crust for now, but soon we will move up and experiment with making our own pie dough. Fruit pies are some of my favorites and usually you just make slits in the pie for venting. But, we starting looking into pie vents, AKA, pie birds, and there is just something cool about a little bird in a pie. Anyone can cut a regular little slit in a pie, but a pie bird is so cute and an amazing little invention.
So for Christmas this year I decided to get Scott your traditional black pie bird and... I couldn’t find them anywhere! I checked Sur la Table, Williams Sonoma, other local cooking stores, hardware stores, and nothing! The only place I could find a pie bird was online. You practically pay more for shipping than the pie bird, but he was cute. Scott loved him and we decided to name him, Charlie. So this weekend, we used Charlie the pie bird in a mincemeat pie. Charlie did his job, our pie tin was a little too big, but all in all, it worked well and Charlie was happy to be doing his job and venting steam.

I’d recommend when making your next fruit pie, forget cutting those little vents and get yourself a little pie bird and have some fun. It is a bit hillbilly so enjoy! Here is an amazing pie cookbook if you love pies as much as we do and they use pie birds too!

Pie, by Angela Boggiano

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Week 15: Presser Cooker Cooking

Pressure cookers have always been a mystery to me. As a kid, I remember this scary, whistling, dangerous pot on the stove. My mother was burnt a few times and boy those are nasty burns! Well a few decades later, it seems pressure cookers have gone hi-tech! A few years ago, I got a pressure cooker for Christmas, but this was no ordinary whistling scary pressure cooker, but a German designed, hi-tech, hard to get burned pressure cooker! I got a WMF Perfect Plus pressure cooker and a wonderful cookbook called, The Pressure Cooker Gourmet, by Victoria Wise. If you have a pressure cooker, get this book!

I love the concept of short cooking times with the taste of cooking in the oven. I still have some work to do with cooking in the pressure cooker and need to try some more recipes. My favorite way of cooking cabbage is in the pressure cooker, it takes 5 minutes of cooking and 5 minutes of cool down. Easy and awesome. So that has been about all I have cooked in my pressure cooker until this past weekend, when we decided to make game hens! Big step I know, but the recipe sounded so good, Game Hens with Fig, Orange Zest, and Herb Couscous Stuffing in Honey Almond Glaze. Yum! Total cook time was 22 minutes with 5 minutes of rest. We could have cooked the birds a little longer since we had monster game hens, so we microwaved them for a few minutes, but the pressure cooking method was easy. We definitely need to work at this, but I think this is a great way to cook a little hillbilly. Have fun and don’t be afraid to cook with a modern pressure cooker.

Recipe credit to: Pressure Cooker Gourmet, by Victoria Wise