Friday, September 28, 2012


While a lot of peeps are bemoaning the end of summer, I am looking forward to the upcoming crisp fall afternoons and football Saturdays. (Go Blue!) So far September has been a pretty great month with plenty of sunny skies and 70 degree days. But truth be told I’m still looking forward to those cooler 50 and 60 degree days. Maybe in October?

The one thing that I regretted about this past summer was not baking a blueberry pie. It’s totally my fave and I totally slept on it. I went out looking for berries last week and was only able to find blueberries from Canada. To be honest, I don’t even recall seeing many local berries all summer. Did I just miss the entire season? Did they not do well this year? New Jersey peaches, however, were still available in my farmers’ market last weekend, along with some killer tomatoes. And I don’t mean Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. That’s something else all together. (And highly recommended!) May I present, a very late summer, classic peach pie!

Classic Peach Pie

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup ice water, plus more if needed

6 - 8 large, ripe but firm peaches (about 3 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste), plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, thinly sliced

Egg wash:
1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons water

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

1. In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse briefly, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (To mix by hand combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl then cut in the butter with a pastry blender.) Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and sprinkle the ice water on top. Stir with a fork until a crumbly dough forms. (Add more water one tablespoon at a time if needed.) Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead 2 or 3 times, just until the dough comes together. Cut the dough in half and form into 2 disks; wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each disk of dough to a 12-inch round. Ease one of the rounds into a 9-inch glass pie plate and transfer the other round to a baking sheet. Refrigerate.

3. Preheat the oven to 400°. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and fill a large bowl with ice water. Using a sharp knife, mark a shallow X in the bottom of each peach. Blanch the peaches in the boiling water for about 1 minute, until the skins begin to loosen. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches to the ice water to cool. Drain and peel the peaches and cut them into 1/2-inch wedges. Transfer the peach wedges to a large bowl. Add the sugar, lemon juice and flour, toss well and let stand for 5 minutes.

4. Pour the peaches and their juices into the chilled pie shell and scatter the butter slices on top. Brush the edge of the pie shell with the egg wash and lay the round of dough from the baking sheet on top. Press the edges of the pie shell together to seal and trim the overhang to a 1/2 inch. Fold the edge of the pie dough under itself and crimp. Brush the remaining egg wash on the top crust and cut a few slits for venting steam. Sprinkle with sugar.

5. Place the pie on a parchment lined baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°, cover the edge of the pie with foil, and bake for about 45 minutes longer, until the filling is bubbling and the crust is deeply golden. Transfer the pie to a rack to cool completely. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Talking Turkey

I've finally organized (some) of my photos from my recent trip to Turkey! I divided my time between Istanbul and Bodrum, with a dash of Greece, and got a full dose of both the city and the sea. I'm not going to go into a full explanation of each photo (it would take me days to write and likely be painful to read!) so feel free to ask me questions in my comments section. It was an outstanding trip. I highly recommend a visit. I'm ready to go back!

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

Street in Beyoglu 

Haghia Sophia

Haghia Sophia Mosaic Detail

Haghia Sophia

Istiklal Caddesi (pedestrian street)

Afternoon snack (Yes, those are French Fries wrapped up with the lamb!)

Istiklal Caddesi Nostalgic Tram

Suleymaniye Mosque beyond the Galata Bridge

Suleymaniye Mosque

Suleymaniye Mosque

Spice Bazaar

Spice Bazaar

Spice Bazaar

Topkapi Palace Harem

Topkapi Palace Harem

Topkapi Palace Harem

Topkapi Palace Harem

Topkapi Palace Harem

Topkapi Palace Harem Tile Detail

Topkapi Palace Harem Walkway

Aegean Sea

View from the Asklepieion Archeaelogical Site (Kos Island, Greece)

Columns at the Asklepieion

Roman Odeon (Kos Island)

Acropolis (Kos Island)

My Greek lunch menu with an amusing English translation

Greek Kebab Lunch

Grand Yazici Hotel Pool (Bodrum)

View of Bodrum from Pool

My Pool View

Bodrum Gulets (traditional wooden sail boats)

Bodrum Marina

School of Fish in the Aegean Sea

Bodrum Blue Sky

Bosphorus Bridge

Lunch at Ciya (restaurant on the Asian side of Istanbul)

Ciya's special kebab that I like to call a Turkish cheeseburger

Dolmabahce Palace


Fortress of Europe

The Pera Palas Hotel has, since 1892, hosted travellers from the Orient Express. And me for cocktails!

Galata Tower

View of the Golden Horn from the Galata Tower

Galata Bridge

Galata Tower from the Golden Horn