Apple Pie in Utah

N’Gai and I road-tripped to Brian Head, Utah. And while it was only the second time I’ve been to Utah, I enjoyed our time there and look forward to returning. It’s about an 8 hour drive from San Diego, and Sunny joined us for the ride.


Except for cook, go to the spa for a facial, and nap with Sunny, I did nothing. And I loved every moment of it. To recharge batteries, some people need to be around other people. I need quiet. No email, no t.v., no music, just a book and a place to rest.

I wasn't in this little house but was so relaxed for this trip that it felt like it!

I wasn’t in this little house but was so relaxed for this trip that it felt like it!

Our friends Loren and Jennifer go to Brian Head every year and this time, we met them there. They stayed at Cedar Breaks Lodge, where I went for my facial (which was amazing) and we rented a private condo. I volunteered to cook us all dinner since we had a full kitchen.

I made Fresh Tomato, Sausage, and Pecorino Pasta, a crunchy salad, and Dutch Apple Pie. Before I get into the incredible-ness of the apple pie, let me just say that the Pecorino Pasta is my go-to for pasta. I have adopted it as our family recipe. My mom and I joke that, as Italians, no one likes the way anyone else makes sauce (aka sugo aka gravy). And that’s the truth! And it’s no exception here because I’m telling you that this is the best pasta. Make it!

Now, on to the apple pie. I knew I wanted to make it Dutch style, but I had never made apple pie before and had a few questions. Like what’s the best apple to use? Pre-made or homemade dough? I found many answers on the Serious Eats Blog:

I used the Jam Hands Dutch Apple Pie recipe for inspiration, and with a few adjustments, mine turned out fantastic!


My adjustments included:

  • Homemade dough. I don’t recall the exact recipe I used, but it was just flour, sugar, and ice cold butter (cut into tablespoons and in the freezer right up until before I needed it).
  • I precooked the dough just slightly, before it turned golden, to ensure that it didn’t get soggy.
  • I also precooked the Golden Delicious Apples I used for the recipe, and added a little corn starch so that the apple mixture didn’t get too runny.

True pie connoisseurs might take issue with this pie, but me, my husband, and our guests thought it was fantastic. And I would definitely make it again!

Pierogies with Ma


We went to Omaha for Thanksgiving weekend and had a great time spending the holiday with family and also attending a wedding. Mom wanted us to celebrate Christmas since she would not see us so we decided to call it Festivus.🙂

While home this time, I really wanted to make pierogies. We used to make them with my Grandma P. and I hadn’t made them in years. I think Mrs. T’s brand was acceptable for my sister… until she made the homemade kind. Here is the recipe we followed, which can be modified to suit your tastes.

Filling ingredients:

  • 5 lbs white potatoes peeled and boiled
  • 12-24 oz cottage cheese (range for preference)
  • Onions lightly sautéed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dough ingredients:

  • 6 c flour
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • Warm water (add to dough as necessary)


  1. Boil potatoes. When done, mix with other filling ingredients.
  2. Mix dough ingredients and roll into a log shape.
  3. Cut 2-3 oz pieces of dough and roll into circular shape.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of filling.
  5. Add small amount of warm water around edges and fold over to seal.
  6. Use a fork to seal the half-moon shape.
  7. Boil pierogi until it floats (only a few minutes).
  8. Remove from boiling water and dip into cool water.
  9. Add to pan with butter and fry until lightly brown, (replacing butter about every two uses).

Thanks Mom for making these with us and passing down Grandma’s recipe. For my sister’s first time making these, she did a fantastic job assembling her pierogies into perfectly small half-moon shapes!

I would have taken a photo of the finished product, but I was too busy eating!

Taste of Thai

Thai Food

I’ve been wanting to make Thai food for our dinner club for a while now and our month to make it finally arrived!

I didn’t realize how easy it is to cook with curry. Our recipes had a lot of garlic, galangal, ginger, lemongrass, coriander, cilantro, fish sauce, and of course coconut milk. We bought most of the ingredients from 99 Ranch Market. Check out our photos, with recipes to follow!

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Soup and Salad



I’m glad we selected these recipes, they turned out great! Also, they didn’t need to be finished all at the same time, so we ended up eating over a 3 hour period. Another dinner club success!

Grandpa’s Spice List

This SeptGrandpa's Spice Listember marks 6 years since my grandfather on my dad’s side passed away. I believe I got my love of cooking and serving people what they like to eat, from him.

For a time as a child I lived with my grandparents. And every night before I went to bed my grandpa would ask me what I wanted for breakfast. I usually wanted Malt-O-Meal or Orsi Bakery toast. I think I probably walked straight from my bed into the kitchen every morning and breakfast was always there.

The house my grandpa and grandma lived in is still in our family. Recently I was there perusing the cabinets and found my grandpa’s spice list, still taped to the inside of the cabinet. It is dated 5-19-90, more than 22 years ago, older than my brother.

When my husband saw it, he said, “48 cans of tomato paste and 48 cans of tomato sauce… think he’s Italian?”

Miss you grandpa.

Grandpa Charlie

Grandpa Charlie

Cajun Boil and Football

Our August theme was Cajun food! My husband had to do some convincing for me to go with it, and I’m glad I gave in, it turned out great!

Darin and Vanessa have season tickets to the San Diego Chargers games and asked us if we could wanted to join them on the day we had our dinner scheduled. And wouldn’t you know that Cajun fare is the perfect tailgating food?!

We just Googled different Cajun Boil recipes and while we considered getting crawfish, we kept it simple and got crab legs instead. Here are recipes for the hush puppies and peach pies we made:

Hot and Spicy Hush Puppies
Bourbon Peach Hand Pies

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Seafood in May

May’s seafood theme was great! Of the recipes we made, I enjoyed the crab cakes and risotto the most. Unfortunately, I do not have pics, so this post is all business and all about preserving the recipes we used so we can revisit them another time!

  • Cajun Crab Cakes– MAKE THESE! They are better than any crab cakes from ay restaurant.

Asparagus Risotto

Life Has Become Too Busy!

The bad news: It’s been way too long since my last post.

The good news: we continue our monthly dinners with Darin & Vanessa and with great success!

I can’t even remember what the dinners were for the rest of 2011! Literally I’m sitting here with my husband, getting an equally blank stare when I ask what the themes were…

I DO know that for this year, we made a vegetarian dinner for January and a seafood theme for March. I’m going to add a separate entries for the dates we had the vegetarian and seafood themes!

Happy spring cooking!