Music: Elvis Perkins – Doomsday
Hooray for the first Sunday night dinner! It was a success (hopefully!) and we sure ate well. We had Melissa and Shannon (from Charlottesville) over to share this dinner and it was good to start this tradition with such good friends. I wanted to christen the Sunday Night Dinners with a proper fall meal but it was 67 degrees out today, defeating the purpose of soup entirely. Since I was making Vichyssoise (potato leek soup – just really wanted to use that word somewhere) I could have served it cold…but that just seemed wrong.
We started out with some snacks ; prosciutto, fresh ricotta and a baguette. We opened a bottle of Vientos del Sur Malbec Shannon and Melissa brought from donna de vine on Atlantic. This is a great shop and they are very helpful and knowledgeable. I’ve gone in there, on multiple occasions, with a menu and they’ve chosen just the right things to pair it with. I’ve never been disappointed.
For dinner we served Eggplant Sandwiches, Potato Leek Soup and Parmesan Crusted Brussel Sprouts (Rosa’s suggestion!).
What you’ll need for Eggplant Sandwiches: 2 small eggplants thinly sliced, ¼ lbs. of Mortadella, ¼ lbs. of Provolone, 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan, 3 eggs, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, olive oil and ¼ cup of parsley.
- Slice eggplant into thin slices. Salt and place in layers in a colander and cover with a piece of wax paper. Weight down eggplant slices with 2-4 lbs weight to press acids out of eggplant – up to one hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Chop parsley and grate Parmesan.
- Wash eggplant slices and dry.
- Tear Mortadella and Provolone cheese to fit slices of eggplant and press together. Rest on baking sheet.
- In a shallow bowl beat eggs. In another shallow bowl mix breadcrumbs and parsley.
- Take each sandwich and cover with egg and then breadcrumbs. Drizzle with olive oil and Parmesan.
- Place on baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.
What you’ll need for the Brussel Sprouts: Um, Brussel Sprouts – 24-30 of them, 1/3 cup of shredded Parmesan, salt & pepper, olive oil.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut stems off BS and cut in half and put in medium sized mixing bowl.
- Drizzle with olive oil salt and pepper (I used this lemon pepper my Mom got me from Penzy’s that was awesome) and toss.
- Place on baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes until brownish. After 25 mintues, take out of oven and sprinkle Parmesan over BS and bake for remaining 10 minutes.
What you’ll need for the Potato Leek Soup (basis of this soup comes from The Big Book of Soups and Stews – but I’ve changed a lot): 4 Russet Potatoes peeled and cubed, 3 large leeks (white and light green parts only) cleaned and chopped (probably yield around 4 cups), 2 medium sized shallots chopped, 4-5 cups of chicken broth, 4 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup of heavy cream, salt & pepper, chives, bacon and shredded cheddar cheese.
- In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt butter.
- Add shallots and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add leeks and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add potatoes and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Add 2 cups of chicken stock and reduce heat to medium low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir every few minutes – the bottom of the pot might brown, which is fine, just don’t let it burn.
- While that’s stewing cook bacon, shred cheddar and chop chives (all for garnish).
- Puree in blender or food processor or immersion blender (I covet them so if you are worried about getting us a holiday present we’ll happily accept this.)
- Return to pot after pureed and add 2 cups of chicken stock, heavy cream, salt and pepper (I used the lemon pepper again).
- Simmer for 5-10 minutes more. If soup is too thick add additional cup of chicken stock.
- Plate in soup bowl and sprinkle chives, cheese and bacon over top.
And for the pièce de résistance! Amish Apple Pie! Every time James makes this people ask, “So what makes it Amish?” He usually responds, “About 2 cups of sugar, a cup of heavy cream and a stick of butter.” You could absolutely raise a barn after eating this pie, but as to what makes it Amish, I don’t know. It comes from a great cookbook his mother uses: Cooking from Quilt Country.
What you will need:
For the Streusel Topping: 1/3 cup granulated sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, ½ cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg, a dash of salt, ½ cup (1 Stick) cold Butter
For the Filling: 4 Large Apples (about 4 cups) I used a mix of Granny Smith (tart) and Braeburn apples (sweet), 1 unbaked 10 – inch pie shell (see recipe below), 1 cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 egg, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pat-in-Pan Pie Crust: 1 ½ cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ cup vegetable oil, 3 tablespoons cold milk, 10 inch pie pan variation: For a 10 inch shell use 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 2/3 cup vegetable oil, and 3 tablespoons milk.
This pie crust is super easy to make and requires no rolling or cooling of dough. It can be a little oily, but it goes really well with this particular apple pie recipe. The original recipe calls for a ten-inch dish, but I can say that I have used a 9, a 91/2 and a ten and it changes it very slightly. I will say that this is a very fragile crust that only works as a bottom layer; you can’t make a top crust with this recipe.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- First make the streusel. In a food processor mix sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
- Pulse about 20 times until mixture is crumbly and still dry. Set aside.
- Next, make the crust. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the pie pan and mix with your fingers until blended.
- In a measuring cup combine the oil and milk and beat with a fork until creamy. Pour all at once over the flour mixture. Mix with a fork until the flour is completely moistened. Pat the dough up the sides of the dish and then along the bottom evenly and flute the edges. You can set this aside to be filled later (I usually put in the fridge) or you can precook it at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Peel, core and slice apples into thin slices (about 4 cups).
- For the filling, in a separate container, mix sugar, flour, cinnamon.
- Beat eggs, cream and vanilla extract.
- Add sugar mixture to egg mixture and blend.
- Put apples in pie shell and pour filling mixture over the top.
- Bake for 1 hour in lower part of oven.
- After 20 minutes sprinkle streusel over the top and continue to bake until top is golden brown.
- Plate with side of vanilla ice cream!