Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Easy, Affordable Raw: Sauerkraut

The one thing I absolutely love about late summer and leading into fall is canning, preserving, and fermenting. There's something so enchanting to me about being able to save all of those great colors and flavors of the season and keep them all winter long to enjoy.

One of my favorite things to make is a good sauerkraut. This recipe from Lisa's new book Easy, Affordable Raw really is easy and affordable. And if you're interested in getting into the raw diet, this book and this recipe are both amazing starting points.

Excerpted from Easy, Affordable Raw by Lisa Viger

Cabbage has naturally occurring Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is a bacteria that is excellent for gut health and will help the sauerkraut ferment. You can use additional probiotic powder, but it’s optional.

5 pounds (2.3 kg) shredded cabbage, red or green or a mix of both
2 tablespoons (36 g) salt
1 cup (100 g) chopped scallions (optional)
1 tablespoon (7 g) crushed caraway (optional)
1 tablespoon (10 g) minced garlic (optional)
1 cup (150 g) finely chopped green bell pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon probiotic powder (optional)

Peel several full leaves from the outside of the cabbage and wash them and set them aside.

Cut the cabbage into wedges. Grate the cabbage using a box grater or the grater plate on your food processor. Place the grated cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt over it. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage until the cabbage is softened, has reduced in size, and the juices are coming out nicely. Sauerkraut is delicious on its own, or additions can be made. If desired, mix in your choice of optional additions. Place the cabbage in a very large glass container or a few smaller ones. Press the grated cabbage down and pack it in tightly. This has the added benefit of creating more juicy brine. Pour the juices, known as brine, over the cabbage until it covers the cabbage. It’s essential that the cabbage be completely covered with the brine; otherwise it will mold. The cabbage cannot come into contact with the air because it will spoil.

Place a few cabbage leaves over the top of the cabbage in the jar, and then weigh it down to push the cabbage leaf fully under the brine. Place the jar in a cool, dark room, and allow it to set for about 10 days. Then do a taste test and see if you like the flavor. Use it at 10 days, or allow it to ferment longer. Once
it’s reached the perfect flavor, scoop it out into smaller canning jars and place in the refrigerator. Sauerkraut will last for several months when refrigerated.



Easy, Affordable Raw

Easy, Affordable Raw kickstarts your raw food lifestyle with everything that you need to know. How do I organize my kitchen? What kind of ingredients should I buy? Pie for breakfast? Lisa Viger, author and raw food expert, easily breaks down the raw food lifestyle including health and environmental benefits of a raw food diet. She also answers common questions about nutrition, protein, and energy. With more than 100 recipes that are affordable, simple, and quick to prepare, you'll be enjoying a better-feeling, cleaner body in no time. Inside you'll find fantastic salads, entrees, desserts, condiments, cheeses, and more! Make amazing recipes like: Grapefruit Pear and Candied Nut Salad with Blood Orange Dressing, Almond Pumpkin Seed Vanilla Dried Cherry Cereal, Avocado and Arugula Pizza, and Chocolate and Salted Caramel Pie! Easy, Affordable Raw is a practical handbook and recipe book that makes the raw food lifestyle totally accessible for anyone, anywhere, even on a smaller budget.
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Paleo Grilling: Mojo Pork Shoulder

Grilling season is still in full swing, so we thought we'd start this week off right by sharing one of our favorite things to grill: pork. Whether you're having people over or just looking for a great way to spice up your Monday night dinner, this recipe is easy to make and offers a ton of amazing flavor.

Mojo Pork Shoulder
Excerpted from Paleo Grilling by Tony Federico and Chef James Phelan

There are many types of mojos from many different places. Originally a Portuguese sauce, it is now claimed by people in all of the Caribbean and the Southern United States as far north as North Carolina. This version pays homage to the flavors of Cuba, with lots of citrus and spice.

For mojo marinade:
5 cups (1175 ml) orange juice
1 cup (235 ml) lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
Zest of 1 orange
10 to 12 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
2 ounces (56 g) chopped fresh
Cuban or Mexican oregano

1 bone-in pork shoulder (4 to 5 pounds [1.8 to 2.3 kg])

To make the marinade: Combine all of the marinade ingredients except the oregano in a large pot. Heat over medium heat until it barely simmers, then remove from the heat. Allow to cool completely, and then
add the oregano.

Score the skin of the pork shoulder using a crosshatch pattern, cutting through the fat to the flesh. Place the pork shoulder in a glass dish. Reserve 1 cup (235 ml) of the marinade and pour the rest over the pork
shoulder, cover in plastic wrap, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and as long as overnight.

When ready to cook, remove the shoulder from the marinade and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Place the shoulder on the rack above the grill, close the lid, and let cook for 3 to 4 hours. When it’s done, the internal temperature of the meat should be 160°F (71°C) and the meat should pull easily away from the bone. Transfer to a platter. While still hot, use two forks to shred the pork. Mix the shredded pork with the reserved marinade and serve.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings


Paleo Grilling A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire

The Paleo diet is all about getting back to the basics; eating food in its most simple, unprocessed form, just like our ancestors. What could be more primal than cooking meat over a fire? This book, from Tony Federico and chef James Phelan, features more than 100 recipes for grilling, smoking, and searing natural, locally farmed beef, chicken, pork, and wild game over fire. Paleo Grilling will help you to choose the best meats for any meal, and offers both innovative new recipes as well as internationally inspired dishes, including desserts and sides, suitable for the modern caveman.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer Cocktail Sunday: Spice It Up with the Serafina Cocktail and a Recap of True Blood S07E05

Happy Sunday, Truebies! The peppers are coming out in my garden! I've got sweet bells and banana peppers and hothothot ones. I figured I'd use them in something fun, so I've got a spicy infused cocktail to help us kick things up a notch this week! But first, let's get some spoilers out of the way:
In exchange for her release, Willa gives Eric and Pam the information that they need to head off on their quest to kill Sarah Newlin. So off they go to Dallas to Sarah's vampire sister, also sick with the Hep-V virus that Sarah brought upon the world. As they prepare to head to the republican gala to question Sarah's parents, we get a touching moment between Eric and Pam. They really do love each other and it goes very very deep.

At the gala, just as Eric and Pam get to Sarah's parents, the Yakuza come in and decimate the place... until they get to Eric, who has Sarah Newlin by the throat, who he quickly throws aside to exact his revenge on the Japanese mafia. Priorities, people.

Sookie comes home to an almost empty house, but being surrounded by Alcide's things is just too much for her to bear, so Lafayette tucks her in.... and starts to plan a party. Priorities, people.

Alcide's father, Jackson has arrived and is taking Alcide's things away, not to maliciously deprive Sookie, but to save her pain for later, when she's ready. It's a nice, gentle turn of events for Sookie. But then looks around at her Lafayettified house and is shocked by the news that they decided to throw a party in her house.
Convinced by Lafayette and JAckson, she decides to go with the "Celebrate Life" plan. Bill arrives... with flowers... they seem to be really playing up the Empathy-For-Bill card. AUDIENCE: WE ARE SUPPOSED TO LIKE BILL AGAIN. There's the memo. Get it. It's the reason for these flashbacks. We may not seem to think that they belong in the episode, but it's to convert that last faction of Bill haters, to at least feel a little bit of love for our first vampire.
Our feelings culminate at the end of the episode and we find out that Bill has the first stages of Hep-V.

Because she wants to go to the party "to say goodbye to Tara" (read: drink V), Letty Mae (are we done with her yet?) decides to drug her husband, Reverend Daniels, with Benedryl and sneaks out anyway.

Holly, Arlene, Nicole, and Jane Bodehouse are celebrating the whole not-dying-in-a-dungeon thing. It's seven years of surviving for these folks, but Nicole isn't used to this euphoria of being a survivalist.

Jackson leads a toast to Alcide and in walks Letty Mae to say a few wonderful words about Tara. Two long awaited and fitting tributes. Little victories. SO MANY FEELS. And then outside, Andy Bellefleur has a chat with Jessica and basically forgives her for everything so that they both can move forward. He finally gets up the gumption to propose to Holly. Sookie offers Andy Gran's ring, one that was left to Jason (Violet makes an ass out of herself- she's making it easy to hate her). Finally, Andy heads over to Holly, drops down on a knee, and in a seriously honest and sweet way- no grand gesture, but deep loving just the same- proposes to Holly, who says yes even before he even gets the words out. And if you didn't choke up a tiny bit, you might belong on team Violet.

In the lovey-dovey wake of emotion, Sookie glances a look at Bill (and their almost marraige),
Jess rebuffs James's advances sending him  straight into Lafayette's waiting arms, and Arlene takes Sookie upstairs for some girl talk. Having jsut lost Terry, Arlene offers some heartfelt and sage advice. Jackson overhears the ladies talking and we realize at the end that he leaves Alcide's jacket with Sookie. Another little victory.

Of course with a little give, there has to be a little take, and James cheats on Jess with Lafayette, and that's sad. But we all know, in our heart of hearts, that Jess and Jason belong together, and Lafayette and James belong together. It's the way that it went down that is the little fail. One that might end badly due to Violet's craziness.

A few things I loved:
- Drunk Arlene is amazing.
- Lafayette's incredible speech about finding love and loving people in general.

- Pam's line: Oh my god, I'm a republic---.
- Everyone saying nice things in their heads about Sookie.
- Letty Mae stabbing Willa - because obviously.
- Eric ripping the head Yakuza's face off.

This episode is a wonderful character building episode where we get to see the growth and actions of our favorite people without the loud intensity of action and danger. Of course there is still drama, but this time it feels grounded and real.

We're ready for things to get spicy, so we've got this gorgeous home-grown cocktail from Katie Loeb's Shake, Stir, Pour:


This combination came about after a conversation about infusions with mixologist Gary Regan. He had told me about a pineapple, serrano pepper, and tarragon infusion that he had enjoyed at the Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur, California. There, Chef Bradley Ogden makes their infusion with reposado tequila and uses fresh pineapple chunks along with the fresh tarragon and serrano peppers to make a spicy and savory sipping tequila. The name serafin translates as “the fiery one.”

4 serrano chili peppers, split and seeds removed, cut into rings (do with gloves)
10 sprigs of tarragon, bruised
1 bottle (1.75 L) silver tequila
1. Place the peppers and tarragon in a clean infusion jar.
2. Top with the tequila. Allow to infuse for 48 to 72 hours
3. Strain and funnel into clean bottle for storage. Keep refrigerated.


{ OYSTER SHOOTER VARIATION: To make a Serafin oyster shooter, place a shucked oyster in a shot glass and top with 1 ounce (30 ml) of infused tequila. Top with a splash of pineapple juice. }

Serafina Cocktail
The Serafin tequila also makes a very interesting and savory cocktail when served martini style. Sweet and hot is always a great flavor contrast, and somewhat unexpected in this format.

2½ ounces (75 ml) Serafin (above)
1 ounce (30 ml) pineapple juice
Splash of fresh lime juice
Garnish: Lime wedge
1. Add infused tequila, pineapple juice, and lime juice to an ice-filled shaker.
2. Shake until well chilled and strain into a cocktail or coupe glass.
3. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Create Your Own Fresh, Homegrown Cocktails!
Pure, intense, and flavorful—homemade cocktails are best straight from the source. Start in your garden or local market and create an in-season, made-from-scratch cocktail to lift your spirits and impress your guests. But be warned: Once you’ve tasted the fresh version of your favorite drink, you’ll never want to go back.
Start by making your own syrups:
—Simple syrup: an absolute staple and the base for unlimited concoctions
—Herbal syrups including Thai Basil Syrup, Mint Syrup, and Lavender Syrup
—Spice syrups, featuring Cinnamon Syrup, Ginger Syrup, and Orange Cardamom Syrup
—Fruit/vegetable syrups such as Rhubarb Syrup, Pear Syrup, and Celery Syrup
Make your own bar basics:
—Fresh Citrus Cordials like the Ruby Red Grapefruit-Lemongrass Cordial
—Classic garnishes, including real Cocktail Cherries and Cocktail Onions
—Classic mixers like Grenadine, Ginger Beer Concentrate, and Bloody Mary Mix
Make your own infusions:
—Base spirits including Cucumber, Lemon & Dill Gin and Jalapeño-Cilantro Vodka
—Limoncello: a homemade version of the Italian classic
—Bitters: a cocktail classic with new, unique flavor combinations
And explore the more than 50 drink recipes that feature your fresh, homemade creations!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Farm Share Friday: Red and White Quinoa Kale Salad

Happy Farm Share Friday SPOON fans. Have you picked up your share yet this week? Did you get any kale? Perhaps you're growing kale in your backyard. (I know we are!) In the last few years, kale has quickly risen to be one of the most popular greens in North America.

Whether you're a die-hard fan or just on the fence, you should give this vegan recipe a try. It's a great way to feature your CSA greens and have a healthy meal while you're at it.

Thanks to http://www.horticulturewales.co.uk/
Have a great weekend!

Red and White Quinoa Kale Salad
Excerpted from Going Vegan by Joni Marie Newman and Gerrie L. Adams

The tahini in the dressing for this salad gives it a nice rich flavor, while the raisins add an unexpected sweetness. This salad tastes great warm or cold, which makes it the perfect dish to bring to potlucks or pack for lunches.

1 cup (168 g) white quinoa, uncooked
½ cup (84 g) red quinoa, uncooked
3 cups (705 ml) water or lowsodium vegetable broth
8 ounces (227 g) chopped curly or lacinto kale
½ cup (45 g) sliced or slivered almonds (toasted or raw)
½ cup (80 g) raisins
½ cup (128 g) tahini (See “Veggie Bite” below.)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce, tamari, or Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
1 tablespoon (8 g) minced garlic

In a fine mesh strainer, rinse quinoa. Strain out as much excess water as possible. (If you buy prewashed quinoa, you can omit this step.) To a dry pot with a lid, add quinoa and heat over medium heat to lightly
toast the quinoa, stirring constantly to prevent burning, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Add water or vegetable broth, raise the heat, and bring to boil. Immediately lower heat to low, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand, covered, 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with fork.

While your quinoa is cooking, blanch your kale. Bring a pot of water to boil, drop in kale, give it a quick stir and then quickly remove it and place into an ice water bath to stop the cooking.

Once the quinoa is cooked, place it in a mixing bowl, along with kale, almonds, and raisins.

In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, soy sauce, lemon juice, and garlic. Toss the dressing with the salad to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Veggie Bite

Tahinis vary in texture and thickness, from very liquidy to very thick. The measure in this recipe assumes that you’re using a more liquid tahini. If yours is very thick, you may need to thin it out with water or vegetable broth to reach the consistency of a pourable milkshake. If you have a rice cooker, you can use it to prepare quinoa. Use a 2- to-1 ratio of liquid to quinoa and follow the instructions on your rice cooker.


Going Vegan The Complete Guide to Making a Healthy Transition to a Plant-Based Lifestyle

The fear of change, the fear of the unknown, the fear of never being able to eat bacon again! These are just a few of the reasons people are afraid to go vegan. Going Vegan seeks to change that, and provide a practical and easy-to-understand guidebook to fearlessly (and deliciously) transition to a plant-based way of life. Authors Joni Marie Newman and Gerrie L. Adams will effortlessly guide you through your transformation while providing support and explaining all of the advantages of a vegan diet. Revealed within this comprehensive book are truths about the health, environmental, financial, and ethical benefits in this to living well. You'll also find amazing recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Meals so delicious and satisfying, you won't even miss the bacon!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Best Kids Lunches: Baked Raviolis

I don't know about you, but I am always on the run. From work to travel to spending time with friends and family, planning out lunches for my son is always the last thing on my mind. That is, until I get to daycare and realize I've packed him the same macaroni and cheese for the third day in a row. #parentfail

Enter The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet. This amazing cookbook for busy parents shows us all how easy it can be to give our kids healthy, homemade, and fun lunches. Like this one below. If you haven't picked up your copy yet, what are you waiting for?

Baked Raviolis
Excerpted from The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet by Laura Fuentes of MOMables

There is a popular restaurant that serves fried raviolis as an appetizer. My daughter tried them once and loved them. Not wanting to eat fried foods at home (not to mention the mess of frying anything), I decided to bake them instead. This recipe was an all-around success!

1 1/2 cups (175 g) plain Panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup (90 g) plain bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons (4 g) Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon (5 g) grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs, beaten
24 frozen cheese raviolis
Olive oil spray

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C, or gas mark 7), and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, salt, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil, cook the raviolis for 3 minutes, drain and allow them to cool for 5 for 10 minutes.

Begin the breading process by adding 4 raviolis at a time to the beaten eggs, and flip to coat. Transfer to the Parmesan and breadcrumb mixture, and toss to coat well. Place on the baking sheet.

Repeat the breading process with the remaining ravioli. Coat lightly with the olive oil spray and bake for 15 minutes.

Serve with ¼ cup (60 g) Veggie Tomato Sauce (see below)

For a school lunch: Make these ravioli for dinner the night before. Double this recipe if necessary. In the morning, lightly warm the ravioli and pack in a lunchbox. They are meant to be eaten at room temperature.

YIELD: 24 baked raviolis

Veggie Tomato Sauce

This is my go-to recipe for all things tomato sauce. With extra veggies and the option to make it in the crockpot or on the stovetop, it’s perfect for pasta, pizzas, school lunches, and dipping!

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 rib celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (16 g) tomato paste
2 cans (28 ounces, or 1.6 kg) tomato purée
1 tablespoon (13 g) sugar

Crockpot directions: Place all ingredients in a crockpot and cook for 4 to 6 hours on low. Using an immersion blender, purée the sauce so that no veggie chunks remain. Add water if needed for a lighter sauce consistency.

Stove-top directions: Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, carrots, zucchini, celery, onions, garlic, and salt. Sauté until the veggies are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly.

Add the puréed tomatoes and sugar, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and purée with an immersion hand blender until smooth. Return the sauce to the heat and simmer until thick, 10 to 20 minutes. For a thicker sauce, simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

YIELD: Approximately 5 cups (1.2 kg)

Kitchen Note
If you don’t have an immersion blender, cook the sauce thoroughly and allow it to cool. Mix in your
blender (in small batches) so that no chunks remain.


The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet

We all know that kids need to eat right and get the nutrition they need to be their best all day long. So why not make lunches that will power their growing brains and bodies? Making lunches at home is a great way to keep your child healthy. Not only does it allow you to nourish your child with the most pure and wholesome ingredients, but it also gives you the peace of mind of knowing what has gone into every bite your little one takes. Full of recipes to suit every age and stage, The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet shows you how simple and easy it is to prepare food that'll be the envy of the lunch table. The 200+ adorable and inspiring recipes in this book are just as much a joy to make as they are to eat! There are even entire lunchbox meals that are gluten-, soy-, and/or nut-free. Make your own super-delicious, super-nutritious homemade lunches today--it's guaranteed to be at the top of the class!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Blueberry Muffin Streusel Mug Cakes

In my humble opinion, there is nothing more collectible in the world than a good, fun mug. I have a preposterous amount of mugs in my home and yet every time I travel and see another adorable mug, I can't help but bring it home with me. Laura knows all about this. She loves Starbucks mugs. hehe

Friends... Laura... Did you know you can make CAKE in your MUGS? This life-changing realization has made me one happy camper. It also made me feel that it was absolutely necessary to share a sneak peek recipe from the not-yet-published book 5-Minute Mug Cakes. Once you make this recipe at home (in less than 5 minutes!) and it blows your mind, go preorder your copy today. And then send your proof of purchase into the author and she'll sign your book for you. Amazing news? We think so.

Blueberry Muffin Streusel Mug Cakes
Excerpted from 5-Minute Mug Cakes by Jennifer Lee

I am a strong believer that streusel makes everything taste better. This muffin cake is studded with blueberries and then covered with a generous amount of streusel. The cake takes a little more effort if you want to add the topping, but streusel is always worth it, at least in my book!


4 tbsp (30 g) all-purpose flour
1⁄8 tsp baking powder
1⁄16 tsp baking soda
2 tsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp (45 ml) fat-free milk
½ tbsp (7.5 ml) vegetable oil
8 fresh blueberries

Streusel Topping (serves 2)

½ tbsp (7 g) cold butter, chopped into tiny pieces
¾ tbsp (5.6 g) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (12.5 g) plus 1 tsp (4 g) light brown sugar
1⁄16 tsp ground cinnamon

For the Muffin: Combine all muffin ingredients except blueberries in an oversized microwave-safe mug. Mix with a small whisk until batter is smooth. Stir in blueberries.

For the Streusel Topping: In a separate small bowl, mix streusel ingredients until butter pieces are completely coated in the flour, sugar, and cinnamon.

Sprinkle crumbles of streusel on top of muffin batter, spreading out evenly across surface of batter.

Cook in microwave for about 1 minute. If cake is not done, heat an additional 15 seconds. Let cake cool a few minutes. Cake is best consumed while still warm or within a few hours of it being cooked.

Skip a Step!
If you don’t care for streusel, you can just exclude it and save some time. Or you can sprinkle coarse sugar on top as an alternative.


5-Minute Mug Cakes

Don't think you can make a warm, gooey homemade cake in under five minutes? Think again! 5-Minute Mug Cakes is the perfect gift for anyone with a mug, a microwave, and a dream. With nearly 100 delectable recipes for cakes, brownies, cookies, and more, every single recipe can be made in an ordinary, microwave-safe mug in just a few minutes. Author Jennifer Lee, creator of Kirbie's Cravings, guides you through simple recipe favorites like:

-2-Ingredient Flourless Nutella® Cake
-Salted-Caramel Chocolate Cake
-Funfetti Cake
-S'mores Cake
-Strawberries & Cream Cake
-Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
-Red Velvet Cake
-Lemon Dream Cake and dozens more!

Featuring special chapters like Skinny Mug Cakes (all under 200 calories!), Gluten-Free Mug Cakes, and even 4-Ingredients-or-Less Mug Cakes, there is no excuse for eating tasteless, packaged desserts anymore. Every recipe in 5-Minute Mug Cakes is simple, fast, and delicious. The best part? If you mix your ingredients right in your favorite mug, there is next to no cleanup!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Peach Pie

Are you planning on attending the Iowa State Fair this year? If so, why not enter a pie in our Ms. American Pie Contest on August 13th at 2 PM? Simply download this chapter from Beth's book on Pies to Compete in the Iowa State Fair and choose one to compete with.


1st place - $150 plus Beth’s new cookbook Ms. American Pie
2nd place - $100 plus Beth’s new cookbook Ms. American Pie
3rd place - $50 plus Beth’s new cookbook Ms. American Pie
Honorable Mention - Beth’s new cookbook Ms. American Pie
Each entrant will receive a discount coupon for books published by Quarto Publishing


Choose a recipe from the chapter “Pies to Compete in the Iowa State Fair” in Beth’s Ms. American Pie cookbook. There are 10 kinds of pie. You can do a variation on the recipes in the book. The crust must be homemade. Entries will be judged on flavor, consistency, crust, and appearance (pie should look ‘homemade’).

Class: 798 Ms. American Pie

Good luck! And in case you need some inspiration, here is one of our favorite pie recipes from Beth's book. Peach season is right around the corner, so here's to some amazing pies.

Peach Pie
Excerpted from Ms. American Pie by Beth Howard

My peach pie didn’t used to turn out very well. I had been using flour to thicken the filling and because the
peaches were so juicy I just kept adding more and more flour until I ended up with a gluey, mealy, inedible
mess. What was I thinking?! When I moved to Eldon, Iowa, the mayor of the town, Shirley Stacey, brought
me a slice of her peach pie. It was not gluey or mealy. It was so incredibly tasty and perfectly thickened, I had to learn her secret. In one word, it was this: tapioca. I’ve dubbed tapioca the Super Power of Thickeners because it always saves the day—and the pie.


Basic Pie Dough for double-crust pie (recipe here)

8 to 10 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced (number of peaches depends on size of fruit and size of your pie
dish, but have at least 3 pounds on hand)
1 cup sugar (if your peaches are super ripe and sweet use less)
¼ cup tapioca
½ tsp cinnamon (optional, but I love it)
1 tbsp butter, to pat on top of filling
1 beaten egg, to brush on top crust

I have three words for you: Vanilla. Ice. Cream.

Prepare the Basic Pie Dough for a double-crust recipe (recipe here).

Prepare the Filling: In a large bowl, combine peaches, sugar, tapioca, and cinnamon. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes to let tapioca activate, then pour into pie shell.

Place pat of butter on top, then cover with top crust. Trim, crimp, brush with egg, and poke vent holes.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes to set and brown crust, then turn oven down to 375 degrees F and bake for another 30 minutes. Filling should be bubbling and thickened.

My neighbor, Allen Morrison (the same adorable guy who supplies me with rhubarb), brings me crates of peaches from the Dutchman’s Store in Cantril, about 45 minutes away from the American Gothic House. He’s the one who insisted—and, as it turns out, rightly so— that blanching the peaches helps tremendously in removing the skin. Instead of peeling the peaches, the skin slides right off in one layer! To blanch, boil the peaches in a pot of water for just a few minutes to loosen the skin, then dip in cold water to cool them enough so you can handle them.


Ms. American Pie

Beth M. Howard knows about pie. She made pies at California’s Malibu Kitchen for celebrities including Barbra Streisand (lemon meringue), Dick Van Dyke (strawberry rhubarb), and Steven Spielberg (coconut cream) before moving back home to rural Iowa. She now lives in the famous American Gothic House (the backdrop for Grant Wood’s famous painting) and runs the hugely popular Pitchfork Pie Stand.

With full-color photos throughout, Ms. American Pie features 80 of Beth’s coveted pie recipes and some of her own true tales to accompany them. With chapters like Pies to Heal, Pies to Seduce, and Pies to Win the Iowa State Fair, Beth will divulge her secret for making a killer crust without refrigerating the dough and will show you how to break every rule you’ve ever learned about making delicious, homemade pie.