Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011.03.23 - Root Vegetable Pie, Peppermint Patty Brownies

In a rare departure, this week's dinner was on Wednesday!  The original dinner day was Wednesday before being moved to Thursdays many years ago, so there's precedent :)

I had a ton of cheese left over from the St. Patrick's day extravaganza, so somehow this menu sprung from that (the inner workings of the mind baffle).  We started with cheese and crackers, which I dressed up with some almonds and dried figs.  I used my awesome soup and sandwich bowls as the cheese and cracker trays - an application that I thought turned out well.

The root vegetable pie recipe came from the blog of Baking For Good, an online baked goods shop that donates 15% of sales revenue to charity.  The owner, Emily, is the cousin of a close college friend and a great person.  I admire her for leaving the world of consulting to follow her passions and do good!  I haven't bought from her yet (because I love baking so much myself!), but have definitely been meaning to.  I recommend checking it out if you don't like to bake but want some yummy goodies, or if you want a LOT of yummy goodies (BFG does specialty orders for things like baby showers and weddings).

Root Vegetable Pie with Rosemary Crust, with crust adapted from Jeanne's gluten free pie crust

I love root vegetables and loved the sound of a rosemary crust, so I've been itching for an opportunity to try this out.  I thought that the combination of butternut squash, sweet potato, and beets was a great one.  This is favorite dish involving beets thus far because I felt the "earthy" taste of the beets was properly muted.  The rosemary crust was delicious, and not at all greasy, which is a complaint I have with most pie crusts.  This pie was delicious and is definitely going to become a go-to winter brunch recipe for me.

Modifications: Omitted the mushrooms and ricotta topping.  I swapped the crust for a gluten free pie crust based on Jeanne's recipe.  I halved Jeanne's recipe (since I only needed a bottom crust), used 1/2 tsp. of salt, omitted the sugar, and added about two teaspoons of chopped rosemary.

Gripes: I thought as I was making it that the amount of milk and egg filling sounded suspiciously small for the size of the pie.  I found this to be the case after baking -- the egg part was almost unnoticeable.  The pie could have used more binding, so next time I would increase the egg and milk mixture - doubling or even tripling it.  I think it is a fine line because I wouldn't want this to tip over into the world of quiche -- I liked that the root veggies had an individual texture instead of being suspended in egg.  More experimentation necessary.

My hands got super red while peeling and chopping the uncooked beets!  Next time, I will roast them separately in their skin (easier peeling and chopping afterward), or buy them pre-prepared :)

Peppermint Patty Brownies

I had peppermint patties left over from last week's Shamrock Shakes, so I decided to get rid of them in brownie form instead of eating them all myself.  This brownies were nothing special, I wouldn't make them again.

Modifications: I used 10 regular size peppermint patties instead of the mini ones mentioned in the recipe, and probably could have used 12.  I converted the recipe to gluten free by using Bob's Red Mill all purpose GF baking mix and 1/8 tsp. xanthan gum instead of the flour.  I typically dislike the BRM baking mix because of its high proportion of bean flours, which have a very strong taste.  I have found in the past that the taste is masked in something that uses a relatively low amount of flour, like brownies, but unfortunately I thought these brownies tasted slightly off because of the bean flour.  I used the BRM flour because I have some in the fridge and am trying to get rid of it in places where I think it won't matter, but next time I'll stick to Jeanne's mix!

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