Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Day 2010

I haven't always been as thankful as I should be for what I have been given. This year I really have a feeling of appreciation for all of the blessings I have received. I wish I could give everyone I know the feeling of peace and serenity I have, but I know that that job is below my pay grade. I guess I will just say thank you to everyone who is reading this message and I hope you have great joy throughout the coming year---Adam, "The Pie Guy."

Alice Yucht, a librarian acquaintance I met on the Internet, kindly gave me permission to use this recipe for cooking a 15-20 lb. turkey in just 2 and a half hours several years ago, and every turkey I have made has turned out great!

Alice’s Roasted Turkey

1 15-20 pound unstuffed, completely thawed turkey (Be sure to remove innards!)
2 cups chicken broth
Optional: 1 raw onion or 1 raw apple
Assorted herbs and spices

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Put UNSTUFFED, COMPLETELY THAWED turkey into deep roasting pan.

Note: If turkey is 20-25 pounds, just add 15 minutes to last hour. If turkey is 10-15 pounds, subtract 15 minutes from last hour.

Pour broth into bottom of pan.

Cover turkey with aluminum foil (tented, not sealed).

Put turkey into hot oven, set timer for 90 minutes and walk away. (Do NOT keep opening oven to look; that bird is not going anywhere).

When timer rings after 90 minutes, take foil tent off turkey. Lower heat to 4000, set timer for one hour, and walk away. Do NOT open the oven!

When timer rings, take turkey out of oven and remove from pan to rest on platter for 15-20 minutes before carving.


This is an outstanding stuffing recipe to go with the turkey given to me by a former aide, Shirley Gatis. I add the finely minced turkey liver, because Mom always did, and I like the added flavor. You could make a half recipe to go with any roast chicken.

When I lived  in Germany, we were worried that we would have to forego a traditional Thanksgiving dinner because we could not find a turkey, not even on base. A German restaurant offered to make us a turkey dinner. We were delighted, but when dinner was served, the turkey had been smoked instead of baked, and “pommes frites” (French fries!) were served. Not exactly traditional, but we appreciated the effort! This recipe was adapted from my aide in at Naples High.

Adam’s Sausage Stuffing

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

1 pound mild pork sausage
4 Tbsps. butter
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped onion
1 turkey liver, finely minced
4 cups chicken broth
Sage, salt, pepper to taste
1 loaf dry white bread, cubed

Sauté sausage in butter until brown. Add celery and onions, cook until soft. Add minced turkey liver and sauté until no longer pink. Pour in chicken broth and spices to taste. Bring to boil. Add bread. Stir until combined.

Spray casserole pan with non-stick spray. Put in pan, bake until top is brown and crispy, about 30-40 minutes.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Adam’s Polish Hunter’s Stew (Bigos)

Polish Hunter's Stew: Bigos
I learned later that Polish people call this Hunter's Stew "Bigos" but we called it kapusta when I was growing up.

1/2 pork tenderloin, cut into 1” pieces
3 links of fresh Polish or sweet Italian sausage
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound baked ham chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large can of sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium cabbage
1 or 2 tablespoons of butter
2 to 3 cups chicken stock
1/2 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup
Salt and pepper

In a large frying pan brown sausage in olive oil. Remove and transfer to large soup pan .Do the same with the pork pieces.

Sauté onions and garlic until golden in the frying pan. Add mushrooms, sauté for 10 minutes, add cabbage, sauté for 10 minutes. Add butter as necessary to keep vegetables from sticking. Transfer to soup pan.

Add the ham pieces to the soup pan.

Drain and rinse sauerkraut. Add to soup pan.

Add 2 cups chicken stock to soup pan. If you want more soupy stew, add an additional 1 cup of stock.

Bring to boil, and then simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in mushroom soup. Turn off heat. Stew can be served now but it is better if you refrigerate it overnight to allow flavors to meld together. Reheat the next day and serve over boiled potatoes.

Seeded deli rye bread goes well with this dish.

We called this dish "Kapusta" which is the Polish word for sauerkraut, but the official name is "Bigos" or Hunter's Stew. It was originally made with whatever combination of meat Polish hunters were able to find.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Adam's Prize Winning Peanut Butter Mousse Pie


20 Oreo cookies
¼ cup butter melted


1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 8 ounces)
2/3 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup smooth peanut butter
½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ whipping cream, divided


1/4 cup reservered chocolate ganache
1 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ cup honey roasted peanuts
6 mini Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, halved

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place Oreos in food processor or blender and process until finely crumbled. Empty crumbs into a mixing bowl and stir in melted butter until well combined. Pat wet crumbs all over and up sides of  a 10" pie pan, making an even surface. Bake crust for 8-10 minutes or until hardened. Cool before filling.

In the top of a double boiler combine chocolate chips, 2/3 cup whipping cream, corn syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Whisk until melted and smooth. Reserve 1/4 cup of the ganache for decorating. Spread chocolate mixture over bottom of crust and refrigerate until cool.

Dissolve gelatin in cold water. Let sit for about 5 minutes. In a small saucepan heat milk to almost boiling. Remove from heat. Add gelating and whisk until gelatin is completely dissolved. Allow to come to room temperature. In a large bowl combine peanut butter, ½ cup powdered sugar and ¾ cup cream. Whisk until smooth. In a medium bowl beat remaining 1 cup cream until soft peaks form. While still beating, pour in milk and gelatin mixture. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold into peanut butter mixture in 3 additions. Spread mousse over chocolate layer. Chill at least 1 hour.

Drizzle reserved ganache (You may need to whisk in a little whipping cream to make it spreadable) over peanut butter mousse layer in a crisscross pattern.

Whip 1 cup whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and continue whipping until peaks are stiff. Do not overbeat. Pipe whipping cream around edge. Garnish with honey roasted peanuts (chopped if desired). Tuck peanut butter halves into the whipping cream around the edge of the pie. Chill at least 3 hours before serving.

Prize Winning Pies

I was surprised that they didn't post any of the recipes for my prize-winning pies in the newspaper article. I'll try to get a few of them up. If you haven't read the article about me, "The Pie Guy," in the Naples Daily News, here is the link.
And here is a picture of the pie after the reporter and the photographer had pieces of it!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Polish Easter Soup (Adam's version)

Polish Easter Soup
We had a tradition of everyone getting their own Easter egg. We would then partner with someone and try to crack the other person's egg. We would continue until there was only one person left with an uncracked egg. That person would have good luck for the rest of the year.
Polish Easter Soup
I like to make my own red horseradish as shown in the picture above. I cook one small beet, puree it, then add it to white orseradish. It has a much better flavor than buying a jar of red horseradish.
Polish Easter Soup
Polish Easter Soup
The pictures above are from my Easter table. The soup is more traditionally served on the Monday after Easter in Poland. Following that tradition I had it for lunch today (Monday) and it was absolutely delicious.

I always had trouble with the original version curdling on me. As I got older I also found it too vinegary for my taste. After a little experimentation I found that Cream of Mushroom Soup will work as a thickener and it doesn't curdle! Here's my version.

Polish Easter Soup (Adam's Version)

2 links smoked Polish sausage (Polska Kielbasa)
1 baked ham
1 3" piece of salt pork (optional--but I always include it)
1 dozen hard-boiled eggs (dyed)
1 loaf seeded rye bread
1 jar horseradish red or white (see note below)
1 3" piece of feta cheese (see note below)
3 tablespoons white vinegar
3 cans of mushroom soup
In a large soup pot, place sausage and add water to cover, about one quart. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour. Every few minutes puncture sausage skin to allow juice to flow.
Remove sausage, allow broth to cool, add vinegar, and refrigerate overnight.
Bake ham. Do not add an cloves or other spices or sweet glazes and refrigerate overnight.
Cook salt pork in water until tender, about one hour and refrigerate overnight.
Cover feta cheese with milk and refrigerate overnight.
The next day skim the fat off the broth. Add mushroom soup. Whisk together until well blended. If desired, strain to remove mushrooms (I don't even worry about them any more). Bring soup just to boil, reduce temperature to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Whisk from time to time. Taste it and if too salty or vinegary you may add a can of whole milk.

Cut about 2 cups each of sausage, ham, rye bread and eggs into 1/2 inch cubes.

Rince, dry, and cut feta cheese into 1/2 inch cubes.

Cut salt pork into 1/4 inch cubes.

Arrange meats on one platter, bread, cheese and eggs on another.

In soup bowls, allow guests to combine meats, bread, cheese and eggs as desired. Add hot soup. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons horseradish as desired.

Note: I like to make my own red horseradish. I cook one small beet until soft, peel it, coarsely chop it, then put it in a blender and blend until fairly smooth. I mix the beet with a fresh jar of white horseradish. It gives the soup a pretty pink color and the beet cuts the intensity of the horseradish.