(Golden) Delicious Apple Pie

Apple pie is one of the most classic American dishes. It’s the perfect dessert when you want something a little bit lighter that flourless chocolate cake; which for me, is admittedly rare since I’m a crazy chocolate fiend, but even I switch things up now and again! What I love about apple pie is how super easy it is to throw together. All the ingredients are typically ones you have stocked at home and the recipe is pretty fail proof. It’s easier than pumpkin pie to make and just as delicious!

Killer Apple Pie | Land of Laurel

To me, apple pie means fall and Thanksgiving, it means winter and foggy windows, it means filling the house with the smell of cinnamon and cloves, but most of all it means a gathering of friends or family. I like my apple pies tart and spicy, just like my friends, so it’s pretty much the perfect dessert for a girls night. Ha! Plus, apple pie is the perfect house freshener: put an apple pie in the oven 20 minutes before your guests come over and your whole house will smell like heaven! It’s a multipurpose dessert y’all! Check out the recipe below for a super easy and delicious evening.

Killer Apple Pie | Land of Laurel

Ingredients

1 – pie crust

7 – medium, organic, green apples, granny smith is the classic

1 – medium, organic, multi-colored apple, fugi or gala work well

1/2 cup – organic, brown sugar

1  – lemon, zest and juice

1/4 teaspoon – salt

1 teaspoon – cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon – cloves

1/4 teaspoon – nutmeg

4 tablespoons – organic butter

1 – organic egg

Recipe

Split your ball of pie crust dough in two and roll out half, keeping the other half cool in the refrigerator for later as it will form the top crust. Use your rolling pin to help convey the rolled bottom pie crust dough from your counter to you pie pan, then use your fingers shape the dough inside. Leaving half an inch over the edge of the pan, cut off the excess dough. Pop the bottom crust into the oven to pre-bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Once baked, remove from oven and set aside to cool. Turn the oven to 425° to pre-heat for the pie.

While the bottom crust pre-bakes, begin peeling, coring, and thinly slicing your apples. You want your apples to be roughly peeled, so don’t worry about getting every last bit off. I use this awesome kitchen aide attachment I have and love, and then slice the peeled, cored, and spiral sliced apple in half.  The kitchen aide attachment or counter-mounted version are fantastic because they do all the peeling, slicing, and coring at once, but this isn’t difficult to accomplish with a simple knife alone.

Place the apple slices into a large bowl, add all other ingredients except the butter andegg, and use your hands to toss everything together. Once apples are evenly coated, place in cooled, pre-baked pie shell in a spiral pattern, coating the bottom before placing additional layers. Use small or broken slices to fill any odd spaces. Once you’ve piled your mound of apples into the bottom shell, you will have some excess liquid in your bowl, pour about half over the apples in the pie shell and compost the rest. Cut butter into 8 evenly sized pieces and sprinkle over mounded apples.

Roll out the other half of your pie dough and use it to cover your mounded apples. Pinch the edges into the pre-baked bottom crust and remove any excess. Cut openings in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Coat the top pie crust completely with a whipped egg yolk to give it a deep finished sheen. To make decorative leaves, cut leaf shapes out of excess down, using the knife to carve leaf veins into the tops. Coat leaves with lightly whipped egg white mixed with food coloring and place on pie shell.

Bake at 425° degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350° and bake for another 40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving, refrigerate after slicing. Pie keeps well and can be baked and left on counter up to 36 hours in advance, before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for best results!

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Mango Mint Salad

I’m sharing another recipe from the dishes I served at my birthday party today! Remember the spread? The colorful crostini? Here is something equally simple that you can totally make ahead of time! Boom! Easy! My favorite.

 

Party Food | Land of Laurel

 

I’ve always just loved mangos. My mom always gave them to us during the summer when I was little. She’d cut them up into little “porcupines” as we called it and we’d use our teeth to scrape off chunks of the delicious fruit, the juices running down our chins until we were sticky messes. Don’t worry, this recipe isn’t anywhere near that messy.

 

My favorite way to cut mangos — for this recipe and just for eating in general– is to slice the mango on either side of the pit. You should end up with 3 pieces, each about one-third the size of the mango, the pit piece being the smallest. Take each side and slice a grid into the flesh of the fruit with your knife. Then use your fingers to push on the peel side of the piece of fruit until it’s “inside-out” and looks like a series of rectangular projections on a hillside (or a porcupine!). Then use your knife to slice off the projection fruit flesh.

 

This Mango Mint Salad is easy, peasy. It requires only three ingredients and can be whipped up in a few minutes. It’s a great use for slightly over-ripened mangos and can be stored in the fridge for a few days, then brought to room temperature, before serving. It’s great for a side dish at lunch or breakfast. It’s a great dish to bring to a barbecue on a hot summer day. With organic mangos at Berkeley Bowl selling at 10 for $5.00 in the summers, I’m guaranteed to make this dish another half dozen times this season alone!

 

Mango Mint Salad | Land of Laurel

 

MANGO MINT SALAD

Serves as a side dish for 4-8 people

Ingredients:

4 – Organic Mangos

3 – Organic Limes

15-20 – Medium-Sized Organic Mint Leaves (freshly plucked from the stem)

 

Instructions:

Cut the mangos into bite sized pieces no larger than three-quarters of an inch. Place into medium sized bowl. Juice the limes and add the liquid to the mangos. Slice the mint leaves into small pieces and stir into the mangos. Let rest for at least thirty minutes, stirring occasionally, before serving. The rest period allow the mango to absorb more of the lime juice.

 

Wasn’t that quick and easy? I promise it’s so delicious, you have to try! I made it the day of my party and then again this weekend to bring to a crab feed. It’s incredibly yummy. I even paired it with avocado toast for breakfast a couple days after my party.

 

Mango Mint Salad and Avocado Toast | Land of Laurel

 

Does anyone else have a fruit that just screams summer to them? That’s what mangos do for me! They’re so inspiring, I know as soon as they come to under $1/each in the grocery store, it’s time for sand, sunscreen, and some lazy, hazy days of summer!

Perfect Porridge

Who out there eats the exact same thing for breakfast nearly every morning? Show of hands? I don’t know about you, but both of my hands are high in the sky. What do I eat? Only the yummiest, healthiest, delicious-ist porridge there was! Steel cut oatmeal.

 

Steel Cut Oats | Land of Laurel

 

Each morning, I wake up, put on the tea kettle, and bring a pot of milk to boil. Then I add my oats and let them cook while I get ready. When I’m completely ready to go, the oats are done! It’s fantastic timing really.

 

Why steel-cut oats as opposed to rolled oats? Well, I read somewhere that they were dramatically better for you and less processed. While this article confirms the latter, I’ve yet to see anything else supporting the former. In fact, this one states that they’re pretty much identical in nutritional and environmental impacts. Though steel-cut may have more fiber according to these guys. So really, who knows? What pretty much everyone can confirm though is that oatmeal is pretty dang good for you. So eat it. There.

 

I used to buy these steel-cut oats at Trader Joes before I started shopping in Berkeley Bowl’s bulk foods section where they are so much less expensive. Sometimes I will pick up the McCann’s tin at Trader Joes though, simply because I adore the can they come in. I’ve used several to house plants over the years. I’m a sucker for a pretty tin.

 

I stick to steel cut oats though because of their longer cook time. I know, sounds crazy, right? But really, it’s less time for me in the kitchen. How is that possible? Well when something needs to come to a boil, have grain added, and cook for a while longer and all of that happens in fifteen minutes? You have to be in the kitchen over the stove for that entire fifteen minutes. Right now, I wait for my milk to boil and then add my oats an leave. It’s a five minute process. Making my thirty-five oatmeal takes me less time than fifteen-minute oatmeal. Less time than frying a couple eggs. It sounds crazy, but it’s the truth. So before you judge steel cut oats on their long cook time, give it a try. It might just save you time.

 

I add chia seeds on top of mine for a little extra crunch and a banana for sweetness. That way I don’t add any sugar to my breakfast and get a little fruit too. If you do feel like you need a little honey in your life, a teaspoon will make this oatmeal completely delish.

 

Chia Seeds and Banana on Steel Cut Oats | Land of Laurel

 

Steel Cut Oats for One

 

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Almond Milk

3 Tablespoons Steel Cut Oats

1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon Cloves

Dash of salt

1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

1/2 Banana

 

First put your milk in a small pot over medium-high heat on the stove. Add your dash of salt. When the milk first begins to steam and forms tiny bubbles along the edges of the pan, add the steel cut oats, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir together and turn heat down to a simmer. Stir occasionally. Let cook for approximately twenty-five minutes. Oatmeal and milk should combine into a porridge. Remove from heat and add chia seeds and banana. Eat!

 

Do you have oatmeal every morning for breakfast? Love it? Hate it?