Saturday, December 5, 2009

Prosperity Shortbread

Prosperity Shortbread

This is a recipe that really works. I tried it one day when I was snowed in. I was wanting to bring some good things into my life - prosperity, a new job, etc. I was very, very unhappy in my current situation. So I took a cue from Scott Cunningham and went into the kitchen. I used a basic shortbread recipe and included some special-purpose additions.

4 ounces unsalted butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/8 cup each finely chopped pecans and sesame seeds

Toast pecan pieces and sesame seeds in a dry skillet, stirring constantly. Cook them over medium to medium-low heat for a few minutes, until they smell toasted. I stirred the rune "Fehu" into the nuts and seeds as I toasted them. I put them in a bowl and charged them with my intent - a better teaching job for me (personal prosperity and job-hunting), and prosperity for anyone else who eats a cookie.

In a bowl cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. I used the same motion when mixing those things together. I added the flour and mixed it in with my hands, then I added the nuts and seeds.

I pressed the mixture into a baking sheet, cut them into squares, and inscribed each square with Fehu. They're in the oven right now, at 325. The recipe says about 20 minutes, depending on thickness. Check them after about 12 minutes.

Oh, yeah, I got that new job . :) I ate most of the first batch of shortbread myself, and made a second batch for a potluck. Not long after, the work situation changed.

Makes 24 smallish cookies. Per serving:

Dandelion Greens with Onions and Garlic

Dandelion Greens with Garlic and Onions

1 pound dandelion greens
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 -2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
4-6 Tbsp oil

Let me start out by reminding you to pick dandelion greens that do not grow near the road. Make sure you choose greens that have not been sprayed with any pesticides either. Remember these plants are considered to be weeds by many.

Discard the dandelion roots and wash the greens well in salted water. Cut the leaves into 2-inch pieces. Cook the greens in salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. This also helps remove some of the bitterness. In a skillet, saute the onions in the oil for a few minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the garlic is fragrant (but not browned) and the onions are tender and translucent.

Drain the greens and add to the garlic and onions. Toss with the oil. Season with salt and pepper. You may wish to sprinkle the greens with a little red wine vinegar before serving, or pass it around for individuals to season their own plates.

Creamy Carrot Soup with Dill

Creamy Carrot Soup with Dill

2 Tbsp oil
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups peeled, chopped carrots
5 cups broth (vegetable or chicken, or a mixture of broth and water)
1 cup milk or nondairy milk (almond or rice, but not soy)
salt and white pepper
2-3 Tbsp fresh dill
sugar to taste (optional)

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil. Cook the leeks over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer until the carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.

Ladle the vegetable pieces into a blender. Add enough liquid to puree. Do this in small batches if necessary. Puree for 2-3 minutes, until completely smooth and creamy. Return to the soup pot and add the milk and chopped dill. Add salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Heat thoroughly. Do not boil.

Stuffed Eggs for Ostara

Stuffed Eggs

6 hard-boiled eggs, cooled and peeled
1-3 Tbsp mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 tsp Dijon mustard (my mom loves to use honey mustard instead)
2 tsp minced red onion
salt and white pepper
fresh chives or cilantro, chopped

Slice the eggs in half lengthwise and remove the yolks. Mash the yolks in a bowl with the mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Gently fold in the finely minced red onion. Mix until all is incorporated and you have a creamy texture.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag or a small zippered sandwich bag. Snip off a small corner of the bag and pipe the mixture into the cooked egg whites. Garnish with freshly snipped chives and/or cilantro.

Red Lentil Dip/Hummus

1 cup dried red lentils (or 1 can garbanzos/chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste, available in speciality stores, health food stores, or sometimes in the Jewish food section of the grocery store) (use less with the lentils)
2 Tbsp olive oil (use less with the lentils)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
pinch or two of cayenne
1/2 tsp cumin
salt to taste

If using the red lentils, cook until very soft. Drain of excess moisture and allow to cool.

Place the legumes in a food processor and pulse until pulverized. Add garlic, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. Combine in the food processor until smooth. You may need to add a bit of water or a bit of vegetable broth in order to acheive a smooth, creamy consistency. I usually add a bit of water. You will not need any extra liquid if using the red lentils. You only need some extra liquid when pureeing the larger, harder chickpea.

Place in a bowl or on a platter and chill. Before serving, drizzle with a little more olive oil and garnish with small, whole black olives. You can also sprinkle on a little paprika for color, or add some chopped parsley. Or both! Oh, the red lentil spread is so, so delicious!

For 8, as part of an appetizer selection

Baked Shrimp Dip

This recipe started out as an enchilada recipe, but I decided it would be better as a baked dip, served with corn tortilla chips. The corn is a representation of the Corn Mother (fertility), and the recipe also includes garlic, onions, and chiles, all spicy foods that increase passion. Perfect for Beltain!

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or a combination of Jack and Cheddar), plus 1/3 cup for the top
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 cup cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp, cut into small pieces
1 small can chopped green chiles
1/3 cup chopped green or red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can green chile enchilada sauce (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

corn tortilla chips (I like to use blue corn, but any kind will do)

In a medium bowl, gently combine all the ingredients except the enchilada sauce and extra cheese. Place dip in a small baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the dip into the baking dish.

Bake dip at 350 F until it starts to bubble. Top with the enchilada sauce (if using), and the rest of the cheese. Bake until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips. Serve with some sangria or a margarita or two as well!

Blueberry Lemonade

Blueberry Lemonade

This recipe begins with a berry- and lemon-infused simple syrup.

You will need:

1 1/2 pints blueberries, washed (raspberries or strawberries can also be used for this recipe)

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

5-6 lemons + zest of 2-3 of the lemons

Using a peeler, remove the zest from the lemons in long strips.

In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve, then add the berries and strips of lemon zest. Allow the sugar to dissolve and simmer the fruit for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Discard the zest.

Place a mesh strainer over the mouth of a pitcher or jug. Pour the berry syrup into the strainer, mashing the berries against the mesh with a spoon or spatula.

Using a juicer or a reamer, extract the juice from the lemons and add to the syrup. Stir to combine. Dilute the mixture with 3-4 cups of cold water, depending on how strong you want the drink. Taste for sweetness and tartness and add more lemon juice or sweetener if needed.

Chill before serving. Serve with ice and slices of lemon or more strips of lemon zest.

Quick Vegetarian Chili

This chili is chock full of protective ingredients, it's quick to throw together, and it's pretty darn tasty.

I used:

1 650-gram bag frozen beans (barbunya) +
1 small can red kidney beans
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 banana peppers, seeded and chopped
1.5 cups frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
2 tablespoons chili powder (I can't get this ingredient here, so I left it out)
salt and pepper to taste

Optional: 1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein), reconstituted for 10 minutes in boiling water (another ingredient I wasn't able to acquire)

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

Start by cooking the onion in a heavy soup pot. Soften for about 5 minutes. Add the pepper and soften for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Adding a little salt will let the allow the vegetables to "sweat" and should be added when the peppers are put in.

Stir the spices into the onions and peppers. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste and stir well. Put in the beans and add enough water to cover them. Allow the beans to simmer until they are thawed and tender (if using frozen). If only using canned beans, add beans and corn at the same time. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. Chili is better the longer it simmers, but you can certainly eat it after 25 minutes. If using cilantro, add it at the end of cooking so the flavor stays fresh. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

The chipotle powder adds a really deep, smoky flavor, plus a touch of warmth. I used a type of frozen bean because they are more common than canned and I didn't have time to cook dried beans. You can use any combination of beans that you want. I had red kidney beans and a type of white bean with flecks of red. They're known as "barbunya" here.

Meatball Soup

This soup is full of veggies, beans, pasta and little meatballs. This is a hearty soup and needs only a few accompaniments - good bread, maybe a salad, and a nice red wine. It's perfect autumn fare!

For the meatballs:

1 lb ground beef
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
¼ chopped parsley
2-3 tablespoons grated onion (you can also use dehydrated minced onion, but only use 1 tablespoon)
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Use your hands to fully incorporate all the ingredients. Roll the mixture into 1-inch meatballs and set aside.

For the soup:

½ cup small pasta (e.g. thimble, ditalini, small shells, etc.)
2 cups cooked white beans (I used frozen)
2 carrots, washed, peeled and sliced into rounds
2 small zucchini, diced
1 onion, diced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen green beans
2 banana peppers, cored and sliced into rings
1 red pepper, cored and chunked
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
2 tsp fresh basil, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 pints stock or ½ water, ½ stock
Salt and pepper

Optional: 3 Italian sausages, sprinkle of chili flake
If using the sausages, brown along with the meatballs. Slice before adding to the soup.
(I would add the sausages if I could find them, but they aren’t available here. Most pork products are not readily available here.)

In a soup pot, add 2 tablespoons oil. Lightly seal and brown the meatballs so they don’t lose their shape when cooking. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Lower the heat and add the chopped onion and pepper. Cook for 5-6 minutes until slightly tender, then add garlic. Cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add the zucchini and carrots and allow them to cook for a couple more minutes.

Combine the rest of the ingredients (except for the pasta) and bring to a near boil. Skim off any foam from the meatballs. Reduce heat and allow soup to simmer until meatballs are cooked and veggies are tender. You may need to add some additional liquid during the cooking time. Keep warm water or stock handy. Don’t use cold as it will reduce the temperature of the soup.

While the soup is cooking, bring salted water to a boil in another pot. Cook the pasta until just al dente. Keeping the pasta separate will keep it from getting mushy. To serve, put some pasta in the soup bowl and ladle over the soup. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Notes: The ingredients are really flexible. If you're super short on time, use all frozen vegetables. You can buy frozen onions and peppers together as well as frozen Italian vegetable mixes. I'm using frozen barbunya again like I did in the chili recipe because the canned beans can be too mushy. You could even use frozen meatballs but I think they're rather disgusting and prefer to make my own. I can't get a lot of frozen products here, anyway.

Use chicken or beef broth or stock in this recipe. Feel free to leave out the tomato paste if you want a less "tomato-y" soup. Use dried herbs or fresh, but remember to use about half the amount of dried.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup


8 ounces bacon, chopped into small pieces
2 1/2- 3 lbs potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and cut into cubes
1 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons AP (all-purpose) flour
4 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
2 cups shredded cheese - Colby, Cheddar, what you will
3-4 green onions, sliced thin, for garnish
sour cream, for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the bacon in your soup pot until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon but reserve the drippings. Cook the onion in the bacon drippings until soft. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook about 1 minute. Whisk in the broth and milk. Add the cubed potatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cover Cook until the potatoes fork-tender, 7-10 minutes. (Cut the cubes fairly small so they will cook more quickly.)

Remove about 2 cups of cooked potato cubes and set aside. Puree the rest of the soup in a blender or using a stick blender. Reheat the soup over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese to melt. Return the reserved pieces of potato to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with crispy bacon, sliced green onions, and dollops of sour cream.

Corn Chowder I and II

Corn Chowder for Mabon

There are several ways you can spice up this delicious chowder. You can give it some southwestern flair by adding chorizo instead of bacon, and seasoning it with cumin and chile. Or you can keep it traditional, with bacon and even potatoes.

Version 1

2 T oil or butter
1 T flour
1 large onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed (small)
4 cups stock
6 slices bacon, cut into small chunks
3 cups corn kernels, fresh, canned or frozen
1/2 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil or butter in a soup pot. Add the bacon and fry for 2-3 minutes before adding onion and celery. Cook the onion and celery for a few minutes. Add the garlic and stir, cooking 2-3 minutes more. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine, cooking another 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the corn and potato. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the potato is tender, 15-20 minutes. At this point you can puree a ladleful or two of the soup and return it to the pot. Stir in the cream and check the seasoning. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Southwest Corn Chowder

2 T oil or butter
1 T flour
1 chorizo, casing removed
1 large onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small chile, deseeded
1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons (t) ground cumin
1/4 - 1/2 t ground chipotle powder
4 cups stock
3 cups corn kernels
salt and pepper
1/2 cup cream
chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil or butter in a soup pot. Cook the chorizo, crumbling with a wooden spoon. Remove the cooked sausage and reserve. Drain all but about 2 T of oil. Cook the onions and chile for 5 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes, then stir in the flour. Add the spices, salt and pepper, and stock. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add the corn and simmer the soup for 10-15 minutes. Again, you may choose to puree a cup or cup and a half of the soup before stirring in the cream. After stirring in the cream, add the reserved chorizo. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

As with the black bean soup, you may also garnish with sliced green onions. You can also sprinkle on some grated Monterrey Jack, and/or some chopped canned green chiles. Yumyumyum!

Z's Family Cornbread

Z’s Family Cornbread

My mom has been making this cornbread for years. I think the recipe actually came as part of a grade school project when I was in the third grade. I don’t know who to credit; I just know it’s delicious and it goes wonderfully with the soup.

3/4 c. cornmeal
1 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 tablespoon (T). baking powder
3/4 teaspoon (t. ) salt
1 cup milk (1 1/4 for buttermilk)
1 egg
2 T. shortening

Mix ingredients and pour into greased baking pan.
Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.

Decorate your altar and/or table with vines and miniature squash and light candles of orange, purple and yellow. Raise a glass of wine or beer and give thanks for the second harvest.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

My Spicy Black Bean Soup

2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, diced
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups broth
4 cans (15-16 oz each) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon cumin
¼-1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (or cayenne)
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch cilantro, washed and finely chopped

In a soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the onion for about 5 minutes until it softens. Add the garlic and stir, cooking another 2-3 minutes. Add the broth and about ½ cup water, beans, lime juice, cumin and chipotle. Stir to combine.
Turn up the heat and bring to a simmer. Cover and lower the temperature and simmer for about 10 minutes. Check to see if you need more liquid. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
Take about ½ of the beans and put in a blender. Add enough of the soup liquid to make a puree. Add about 1/3 cup cilantro before pureeing. Stir this mixture back into the rest of the soup.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls. You can add a scoop of white rice to the middle and garnish with the reserved cilantro. Other garnishes: sliced green onions and finely minced jalapeno (seeded if you don’t want so much heat).

Pumpkin Soup, II

Pumpkin Soup

6 ounces bacon, cut into small pieces (optional if making a vegetarian soup)
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds pumpkin, roasted at about 400 F until tender (or you can use canned in a pinch)
2-3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup half and half (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cook the bacon, if using, in a soup pot until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Cook the onions in the drippings (or in olive oil/butter) until soft. Add the garlic and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the roasted pumpkin, liquid (except dairy), seasonings and spices. Simmer 10-15 minutes. Blend with a stick blender or place in a blender in batches. Return to the pot and add half and half, if using.

Garnish with bacon and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

I love pumpkin seeds. Some people crack the outer shell and eat the inner kernel like with sunflower seeds, but I eat the whole thing. I do the same with sunflower seeds! It won't hurt you and you might even get a little extra fiber.

Pumpkin seeds are very nutritious. They're chock-full of magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc, which we all need for healthy bodies. If you're going to be cutting into a pumpkin or two this season, you might as well save and eat the seeds. You'll be creating less waste and doing something good for yourself in the process.

The easiest way to prepare them is to wash off as much of the gunk as you can, dry the seeds off on some kitchen paper or a tea towel, and pop everything into the oven. The little strings and leftover bits of pumpkin "guts" will come off very easily once the whole shebang is toasted.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the seeds out in an even layer on a cookie sheet or baking sheet and roast until the seeds are dried out. Watch them, though, and make sure they don't get brown. They'll taste like burnt popcorn and won't be any good. Unless you like burnt popcorn, that is.

Once they're toasted and you've separated out the non-seedy bits, pop them into a bowl and drizzle with a bit of oil and salt. After that, get creative!

Sweet and spicy: Olive oil, salt, brown sugar, cayenne and/or chipotle chili powder (love and protection, no?)

To draw money: Olive oil, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch each of ground ginger, nutmeg and cloves.

For non-magical purposes:

Olive oil, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese
Olive oil, salt, a dash of garlic powder, cumin, chili powder and coriander
Olive oil, salt, garam masala, cumin, cayenne (optional)

Spicy Hot Chocolate

Zedral Z's Chocolate (pseudo)Mexicano:

1 1/3 cups milk
2-3 teaspoons sugar, depending on how sweet you like it
2 teaspoons good quality cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon crushed hot chili (a pinch, really)


Measure these in the little caps from the bottles. You want less than 1/2 a capful, say 1/8 teaspoon or just slightly under

Heat the milk on low heat. Whisk in the other ingredients and warm until bubbles form along the sides of your pan. Remember to heat the milk slowly and whisk often. You don't want the milk to scald and form that weird skin on top.

Serve it with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish it with a cinnamon stick, sprinkle of cinnamon, chocolate curls, or whatever you fancy.

Bonus: Serve this one to a loved one to increase passion. Cinnamon, chocolate and chili together make a potent combination.

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Curried Pumpkin Soup

First, let’s talk about that pumpkin. As we have discussed before, this is an excellent symbol of the harvest. Its round shape represents fertility and abundance. The seeds are also symbols of fertility and can be toasted and eaten, or dried and marked with runes for divination. If you like to do things the slower way, maybe you’ve purchased a pumpkin and roasted it yourself. If so, good for you. Roasting the pumpkin intensifies the flavor and brings out a lovely sweetness. If you’re short on time, however, canned or raw pumpkin will work just as well. This recipe is partially about the spice.

2 medium onions, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced or grated
1 hot red chili, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 ½ cups pumpkin (used canned or roasted, whichever you have)
3 cups water
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth
1 14-oz can coconut milk
3 tablespoons butter or oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, melt butter and cook onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, chili, and spices. Stir to coat everything with the spice mixture and cook 2 more minutes.

Add the pumpkin, water and broth and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes. Add the coconut milk and continue simmering for another 5-10 minutes. Puree the soup in batches in your blender or use a stick immersion blender to blend until smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot. Soup can be thinned with a little extra water or stock if it’s too thick for your liking.

Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro leaves if desired.

Not in the mood for soup? You can also turn this into a satisfying, chunky curry to serve over rice. Use cubes of roasted pumpkin instead of canned, and omit the water and stock, keeping the coconut milk.

Rajma Masala

Rajma Masala - for honoring Kali

2 cups kidney beans, soaked over night
1-2 bay leaves
1-2 onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon each finely chopped/grated ginger
1-2 tablespoons finely minced garlic 1
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon asafetida powder, optional
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons red chili powder
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped, or one small can
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons ground coriander
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
Finely chopped cilantro/coriander leaves for garnish

Cook the kidney beans until they are soft. Some recipes recommend a pressure cooker but most people don’t have these. You’re more than welcome to use canned kidney beans, which most people can get. They’re safer. If you’re using canned beans, use two large cans.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet. Add the cumin seeds and let them sputter for a minute. Add the bay leaves, asafetida (if using), garlic and ginger. Stir-fry so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the onions and fry until lightly golden. Add the rest of the spices except the garam masala. Add the tomatoes. Fry for 5-6 more minutes.
Add the beans and either a ladleful or two of the cooking water, or a 2 cups of regular water. Add salt to taste. Simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add the garam masala last. Cover and turn the heat to low. Let the dish simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes. Garnish with the fresh cilantro leaves. Serve with Basmati rice.

Leek and Onion Quiche

Pate Brisee (That's crust, y'all)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup chilled shortening, cut into small cubes
1/4 - 1/2 cup ice water

If you have a food processor, this crust is super easy to put together. Put the flour, salt and fat (mmmm....two kinds of fat) into the food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the ice water a few tablespoonfuls at a time, pulsing in between. To test, pinch a little bit of the dough together. If it sticks together and isn't crumbly, it's ready.

Turn the mixture out onto a board or table and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for an hour.

After an hour, divide the dough into two pieces. (I actually used the whole thing for my 10-inch dish. The crust was a little thicker, which is how I like it.) Using a floured rolling pin and a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out into circles about 1/4 or 1/3-inch thick. Place in a buttered pie plate and poke holes all over the bottom. This will let steam escape and keep the pastry from being puffy.

Heat the oven to 375. Put a buttered piece of foil or parchment into the bottom of the crust and weigh it down with a handful of beans or a couple handfuls of rice. You can buy an expensive pie weight if you wish, but you probably have extra rice or dried beans lying around the house. You can't eat the beans or rice after, but you can store these items in a jar and reuse for future crusts.

Bake for 10-15 minutes.


While the pastry was busy chilling, I started making my filling. I used:

2 leeks, split down the middle and sliced into thin rings **
1 1/2 white onions, thinly sliced
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
1/2 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

**Note on leeks: Leeks are notorious for being hard to clean. I find that the easiest way to get rid of the deep-down grit is to split them down the middle and slice them into the pieces I want to use. I discard the tough green tops. Then, put the slices into a bowl of water. The leeks will float and after a few minutes, all the grit will sink to the bottom. Use a strainer to scoop out your clean leeks.

Melt the butter in a skillet and add the onions and leeks. Cook on low, low heat until the leeks and onions have caramelized. The smell is just fantastic! They will become soft and brown and beautiful. Season with salt and pepper.

While I was cooking the veggies, I envisioned them releasing their protective energy. I sort of "smudged" myself with onion vapor. Yum. :)

When the crust has blind baked for a while, remove it and remove your homemade pie weight. Spread the onion and leek mixture onto the bottom. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream. Add salt and pepper. Pour over the leeks and onions and pop into the oven. Bake until set.

I didn't notice exactly how long mine baked. It seemed as though it were perfectly set after 15 minutes or so. Maybe it was because I had the oven on for a while. Whatever the reason, it baked quickly and was soon firm and lightly brown on top and OMFG delicious.