Tag Archives: The Pot Pie Plan

Thanksgiving Deja Vu Pot Pie

November 2010

First there was a special Thanksgiving dinner lovingly prepared for two…

There was cranapple sauce in a hollowed orange with a touch of zest…

There were buttermilk biscuits

Cornish hen…

and fixings!  Only the brussels and taters would make it to another day.

There was also dessert as you already may know.

Then there was a trip to the cheese shop where a label mistake made for a cheese steal!  God bless the new girl!

and a trip to the market….

Then it all came together!

Déjà vu Thanksgiving Potpie


2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 Tablespoons cream cheese
2 sticks butter
Red Wine Vinegar
Cold water


Thanksgiving Brussel Sprouts (peanut oil, sesame oil, garlic)
Thanksgiving mashed potatoes (red potatoes, butter, parano cheese)
Clarion River Farms Organic Hot Italian Sausage
1 head of garlic
1 medium white onion, chopped
4-5 mushrooms, sliced
1 cup grated comté cheese
fresh thyme
fresh parsley for garnish

Then it started to disappear quite quickly!


Leftover Pie

November 2010

A pot pie can be a slew of comfort foods thrown effortlessly into a pie crust, or it can be a carefully calculated combination of ingredients.  I like the line between those two approaches when a pot pie wraps a whole-wheat, flaky crust around the remnants of meal prepared with all the love and care of a Saturday morning trip to the farmer’s market and an afternoon spent in a kitchen.

This was one of those potpies.

The herb-crusted beef, horseradish sauce and potato casserole of a well spent Saturday combined with green peas and a homemade crust for a weeknight treat and a jealous dogface.

Part One:  A Meat and Potatoes Kind of Night

Herb-Crusted Beef


½ cup sour cream
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup horseradish, drained
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon pure cane sugar
Salt and pepper


2 high quality chuck steaks, 5-6 lbs total
2 teaspoons pure cane sugar
2 slices high quality whole grain bread, quartered
½ cup fresh parsley
2 teaspoons plus 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 ¼ ounces parmesan cheese
6 Tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves

For the Sauce

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 to 1½ hours to thicken.

For the Beef

Combine 1 Tablespoon salt, 1 Tablespoon pepper and sugar in a small bowl and rub the mixture over the steaks.

Place one steak on top of the other and secure with butcher’s twine if necessary.

Transfer the beef to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, pulse the bread in a food processor for crumbs.  Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and toss with 2 Tablespoons parsley, 2 teaspoons thyme, ½ cup parmesan and 2 Tablespoons olive oil until evenly combined.

Wipe out the food processor and process the remaining parsley, thyme cheese, 4 Tbs oil and garlic to a smooth paste.  Transfer the paste to a small bowl.

Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Roast the beef 20 minutes and remove from the oven.

Separate the two steaks.  Coat the beef with the herb paste followed by the crumb topping.

Roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 125 degrees for medium-rare and the topping is golden brown, 20-25 minutes.

Leave the beef uncovered on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

Transfer to a cutting board and carve.  Serve with the sauce.

Mashed Potato Casserole


4 lbs local potatoes (about 8 medium) peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks.
½ cup half-and-half
½ cup organic, low-sodium chicken broth
12 Tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) local Amish butter, cut into pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons salt
4 large, local, free-range eggs
¼ cup finely chopped chives


Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a saucepan, cover the potatoes with water and bring to boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Heat the half-and-half, broth, butter, garlic, mustard and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth, about 5 minutes.  Keep warm.

Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a large bowl.  With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the potatoes, slowly adding the half-and-half mixture until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.  Scrape down the bowl; beat in the eggs 1 at a time until incorporated.

Transfer the mixture to a greased, glass, baking dish.  Use a fork to make a peaked design on the potatoes.  Bake until the potatoes rise and brown, about 35 minutes.

Let cool 10 minutes.  Serve.

How Do You Eat an Elephant?

September 2010

My boss has this saying, which apparently is heavily shuffled around the business world:  “How do you eat an elephant?  One piece at a time.”

As the elephant is my favorite wild animal, I find it really hard to support the business world’s metaphor.  Someone once scoffed at me when I declared the elephant as my favorite wild animal.  “Everyone’s favorite wild animal is the elephant,” the person sneered.  I would like to take this opportunity to justify that I am not on some wild animal bandwagon, and I have a real history of loving elephants, as exhibited by the time I went to Kenya.

I was very fortunate to be part of a trip to Kenya in 2005.  As part of a group of volunteers (including Erin, my partner in The QT Pie Project), we brought medicine to an American doctor and his wife living in the Turkana region of Kenya.  We had the opportunity to follow the couple on their clinic rounds throughout the region.  The pair had been in Africa for thirty years, so their rounds were old hat to them.  It was more of a learning experience and cultural exchange for us, but the medicine and company was well appreciated by our hosts.   After our time in the Turkana desert, we returned to Nairobi for some site seeing.  One of the activities I planned for Nairobi was a trip to the elephant orphanage.

While watching the elephants play with baby pools, tires and in the sand, I learned that elephants really don’t forget.  The orphanage always has two trainers working with any given elephant.  In case one of the trainers has to be absent, the elephant still has another trusted human in his or her daily activities.  Otherwise, the baby elephant’s memories of abandonment would overwhelm the poor thing.

Thus I conclude my elephant tangent.  How do I eat an elephant? Only as a cookie cutter imprint on a chicken pot pie.

Chicken Pot Pie Part One:  The Roasted Chicken
Adapted from a Julia Child recipe

In my efforts to cook more and to cook more extravagantly, I sought a roasted chicken recipe from the Kitchen Queen herself, Julia Child.  I paired it with a macaroni and cheese recipe inspired by one of her modern day protégées, Martha Stewart.  It was an epic and delicious meal, and there was more chicken than room in our stomachs, though the dashing carpenter always makes an impressive, stomach-defying, eating effort.

Roasted Chicken Ingredients

4.6lbs local, free-range chicken
1 small, local yellow onion, quartered
1.5 limes
All the celery leaves from one package of organic celery
5 local garlic cloves
Salt and black pepper
Local Amish Butter
1 small local onion, chopped
1 local carrot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups organic chicken broth


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash the chicken in hot water and dry thoroughly.

Season the cavity with salt and black pepper and stuff with the onion, lemon, and celery leaves.

Rub the chicken lightly with softened butter and season all over with salt and pepper.

Tie the drumsticks ends together and set the chicken, breast side up, in an oiled v-shaped rack or on an oiled roasting pan in the oven.

Roast for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees, baste the chicken, and roast for 15 minutes.

Add the chopped onion, carrot to the pan, (leftover potatoes, yellow squash) chicken broth basting them and the chicken.

Continue roasting the chicken for 45 minutes plus an additional 7 minutes for each pound. (In other words, a 3 1/2 pound chicken would take a basic 45 minutes plus an additional 25 minutes, for a total 70 minutes or 1 hour and 10 minutes of cooking time.)

Remove the chicken and sprinkle on the herbs.

Part Two:  Chicken Becomes Pot Pie

For the Crust

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 sticks Amish butter
2 Heaping Tbs Local Wildflower honey
6-10 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
1 local, free-range egg for egg wash

For the Filling

Roasted chicken
4 carrots, chopped
1 green pepper
1 small red potato, thinly sliced
3Tbs of the roast liquid
A generous garnishing of black pepper
Pinch of Thyme
Pinch of Sage
Pinch of Rosemary


Pie Luck

June 2010

On Sunday, June 6th, 2010, the QT Pi(e) girls hosted a “Pie Luck Picnic.”  What’s a Pie Luck?  A Pie Luck was our version of a Pot Luck.  We provided pizza-pie dough and piecrusts made from local ingredients.  Our creative attendees came bearing ingredients to add to both, which we then baked, ate and enjoyed in an ambient, backyard setting.  It was a chance to wine, dine and mingle with a new mix of people, but that’s not all!

As this Pie Luck was conceived to highlight local foods, we asked our participants to document the local food they planned to bring and the exchanges they had in the process of buying it.  We equipped each participant with a disposable camera and some simple guidelines/requests.

Here is the breakdown of our requests:

The Market
Please purchase your Pie Luck ingredients at a local farmers market, farm stand, from a small vendor or through a CSA program.  You could also bring something you grew or foraged.

Tell us about how you traveled to the market.  Our hope is that you will bike or walk or roller skate- some mode of transportation with a low carbon footprint.  We’d love to see some hand drawn maps with quirky annotations and drawings (ie:  pass the house with the cds hanging on the porch, turn at the prettiest lilac bush in Lawrenceville, etc).  This is a very open ended guideline, but in the end, we’d like to include your maps and drawings in our blog and exhibit.  We’re not looking for accuracy but concepts, sentiments, mixed mediums, etc.

We’d like at least one photo of the ingredient you are going to bring to the Pie Luck, and the farmer/worker who sold it to you or plot where you picked it.   Our goal is to highlight the benefits of interacting with the people who grow our food (or the land that produced it) versus the impersonal exchanges of most commercial scenarios.  Other photos can range from the oddities on your route to market, produce varieties, interesting people, etc.  It would be great if you could map the locations where you took your photos as well.

Then it all came together…

It all came together, and it was quite the photo!  Peruse the gallery to see my photos and those of a few of the Pie Luck participants. 

For the full QT Pi(e) story, check out:  www.qtpieproject.wordpress.com

The Carpenter’s Birthday, Part Two

May 2010

The Carpenter’s Birthday arrived, and it all came together like a mortise and tenon [cake]!

The Maple Wood Mortise and Tenon Cake Recipe

Cake Ingredients
½ cup local pure maple syrup
¾ cup organic vanilla lowfat yogurt
½ cup local maple crumb sugar
4 local, free-range eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon organic orange zest
1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup olive oil

Frosting Ingredients
1 package organic cream cheese
1 stick organic butter
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons local maple crumb sugar

For the Cake

Preheat oven to 350ºF

Combine the syrup, yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla and orange zest.  Stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir to incorporate.

Add oil, and fold gradually until oil absorbs the batter.

Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the cake is golden and toothpick comes out clean.

Cut around the pan sides to loosen the cake and allow it to cool completely.

For Frosting

Blend all of the ingredients in a mixer until smooth.  Ice the cake!

Happy Birthday Carpenter!  May there be many, many, many mannnnny more!

The Carpenter’s Birthday Part One

May 2010

Almost time for the Carpenter’s birthday!  This was the first time I would share his birthday with him, so I wanted it all to be magically special.  Of course, there had to be a pot pie made from my whole grains to pair with his wood grains!

I had French markets, meals and pique-niques in mind when I created this concoction.

While I selected a natural ham, a woman next to me in the grocery store scoffed at its higher price, but I’d say it was worth it to have the extra ham promises.

An extra dash of greens and an extra drizzle of sweet.


Now for the rest of the birthday…