World’s Best Pie Crust (and Bonus Peach Cobbler Recipe, woo hoo!)

What is this? How can someone make such brazen culinary claims? The audacity!

No, really. This recipe solves a few problems that stand between you and pastry goodness, such as:

  1. Water + flour = gluten (tough crust)
  2. six ingredients, real foods
  3. really fast, easy, little work, less mess!

Food Chemistry Lesson!
When you mix flour with water, you create gluten strands. You want bread to develop a lot of gluten, bread gets a lot of kneading. Gluten makes great bread, but tough biscuits and pie crusts. Pastry dough should be moved around as little as possible.

Trader Joe's, cheap and good!
Trader Joe’s, cheap and good!

This recipe hinges on using your food processor, really cold butter, and one secret ingredient: vodka.

World’s Best Pie Crust Recipe (adapted from Alton Brown)
(for single crust)

Ingredients ready...
Ingredients ready…

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick very cold butter (8 tablespoons)
1/4 cup vodka and ice water mix
(A couple of green olives, optional)

-Into your food processor bowl add the flour, sugar and salt and give them a couple hits of the mix button.
-In a graduated measuring cup, pour in 1/4 cup of water, add another 1/4 cup of vodka (now you have 1/2 cup of liquid), then add ice cubes to top it off up to the 3/4 cup line; none for the baker, yet… you have to wait a couple more minute.

Dough looks done!
Dough looks done!

-Cut butter into small cubes and add to dry mixture, pulse in the processor until the chunks of butter are rice or pea sized.

-Now you are ready to add only 1/4 cup worth of your water/vodka/ice… be honest, your cocktail. Pulse the processor blade only enough times to bring together the flour mix and liquid mix, this is where you really want to avoid overmixing. I think my dough came together in less than 10 pulses.

IMG_7203-Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour or more. Roll out as you need!

Now you can drink the remaining1/2 cup vodka/water/ice mix cocktail! This is where the optional olives come in. Be ready for a lot of great/obnoxious comments from your family

Peach Cobbler

IMG_72086-8 peaches, sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon tapioca (the small, dry, dessert pudding size of tapioca)
1 recipe of the above pie crust rolled out to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick
optional cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top of crust (about 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, mixed)

-In a bowl, mix peaches, sugar, cinnamon, and tapioca together.

-Butter a 9″ by 9″ glass pan (my favorite) and add peach mixture.

Extra dough on tray makes crusty cookies!
Extra dough on tray makes crusty cookies!

-Roll out dough, handling it as little as possible so it will not be tough, and slice or tear the dough into palm sized pieces to lay atop the peaches. No need to be fancy trying for a perfect 9″x 9″ crust, handle the dough as little as possible and your cobbler’s crust will be tender and flaky! Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mix on top of the crust for a nice finish, if you like. That is what I do.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then lover temperature to 350 for another 30 minutes. Let the cobbler cool for ten minutes, top with ice cream if that’s what floats your boat, and enjoy!

Half gone before we got a photo. Delicious!
Half gone before we got a photo. Delicious!

OH MY GOSH! I Won Tickets!

I FINALLY get to go to COMIC-CON here in San Diego! Six years of living here and never getting passes and I win two today. That’s the joke around here- no one from San Diego seems to get Comic-Con tickets, locals just can’t seem to get them unless they know someone.

I won our local news station’s daily drawing for two passes…Thank You Fox 5 Morning News!! Unfortunately, now my kids and husband are going to have to compete to see who gets the second pass, things might get ugly around here…

Image from the Fox 5 web site, click to connect to try your chance at winning!
Image from the Fox 5 web site, click to connect to try your chance at winning!

Little Personal/Family Victories… yea!

Just a short post about how I’ve wanted to see my friends daughters perform ever since we met at our children’s school six years ago…


While we may have missed the opportunity to see one of their fabulous flamenco shows as they have moved on to a different dance company, we were rewarded with an outstanding show this afternoon.

Lovely young men and women, with these two my favorite stars!

Whoops- only snagged one of the girls in costume.
Whoops- only snagged one of the girls in costume.

Moscato D’Oro, Peaches (almost) from Heaven, and A Nice Evening…

One of the best Napa wine tours I ever attended ended the winery visit with not only samples of their cellars, but with foods paired with the wines. I will never forget how deliciously a sauvignon blanc pairs with bruschetta, or how lovely a dessert wine tastes with shortbread and strawberries. I am not a fan of sweeter wines, but a well made dessert wine can be heavenly. Even if you are a die-hard dry red lover like me, I bet you can find a dessert wine that you like, too.

Peaches, Mahón cheese, and Moscato D'Oro
Peaches, Mahón cheese, and Moscato D’Oro

The Husband is not too fond of sweet wines, but he had no choice. I made him try a Moscato D’Oro from Robert Mondavi Winery, along with a Mahón cheese and fresh peaches. Fresh peaches… aahhhh… is there any fruit better than tree ripened fresh peaches? I practically turn orange this time of year from eating so many peaches. If I don’t keep The Boy out of the most recent box, I won’t have enough to make another cobbler. I better hide them.

The Husband had no complaints about the wine. If he did, I would hide the next cobbler from him. I fight dirty. He didn’t care for the cheese pairing but nonetheless, we still ate all the cheese. I loved the fruity flavors of this wine- such rich peach and berry flavors. Maybe I’ll make that cobbler tomorrow and we will finish off the wine tomorrow.

It has been over twenty years since I’ve had a dessert wine, so I am counting this as something new. The last time was that Napa trip, our honeymoon. Thanks for being my wine buddy tonight, sweetie!

Coconut Porter to Inebriate a Virus? Don’t Mind If I Do!

Is it “Feed a cold and starve a fever? Or the other way around?

A study by the Japanese beverage behemoth Sapporo suggests that inebriating the virus could help. Time Magazine had a article about this back in 2012 titled “Got a Cold? Have a Beer!” Unfortunately, one of the researchers admitted that you’d need to drink 30 12oz. cans to begin to do any good. Take heart, San Diego-style lovers! Your super high IBUs from triple hopped brews means your beer is packed with more of the anti-viral good stuff. (Wondering what IBUs are? Here is a great article from about decoding beer acronyms).

Coconut Castaway Porter and Got Nelson? IPA
Coconut Castaway Porter and Got Nelson? IPA

So, off to O’Brien’s Pub we went for spicy enchilada soup and a Thorn Street’s Castaway Coconut Porter. If the soup doesn’t clear me up, I have faith that the beer will restore my health. Don’t go pointing out the lack of healthy hops in my porter… it was good.

The Husband hadn’t heard of Thorn Street Brewery, and, surprise, it is one of our 100+ craft breweries here in San Diego. We found out that the North Park facility is a pub of activities for the whole family, including a Kids Eat Free Taco Tuesday with the Famoso Taco Truck, home brew classes, dance film fest and golf fundraisers, and other food trucks, too. Now that we have perused their web site, I think we need to check out this spot, soon.

Beer Tour!! Vacation AND Pub Hopping all in one convenient package!
Beer Tour!! Vacation AND Pub Hopping all in one convenient package!

And for a fun extra, here is a photo of one of the 21st Annual Great British & Belgian Christmas Beer Festival Tour! O’Brien’s Pub’s own Tyson and Kristina can take you on “the Ultimate Beer Geek Holiday” if you have a spare $3K laying about…