Torta de Maça Recipe (Apple Pie)

Torta de MaçaFor this Torta de Maça Recipe, you can use two store bought graham cracker crusts or make two crusts from scratch if you like your crust less sweet.

Fresh apples are the key to this recipe so we usually make this dish during the Autumn months. For this pie, we bought a half peck of grade 2 McIntosh apples from a nearby orchard, Iron's Fruit Farm.

This recipe departs from a standard apple pie recipe in that it uses condensed milk to give the apple filling a sweet, creamy texture. I also use a modified pie crust recipe to make the sweet, crumbly topping.

This recipe for Torta de Maça makes two tortas (pies).

2 store bought graham cracker crust pie shells or make your own pie crusts.

8 McIntosh apples
1/2 cup sugar
2 tspn cinnamon
3 tbsp condensed milk
1/4 cup flour

1 1/4 cup flour
pinch salt
3 tbsp condensed milk
1/2 cup butter, cut into 1/2 tbsp pieces
1 egg
2 tbsp brown sugar

  1. Peel and core each of the apples and slice them into very thin slices.
    apple slices
  2. Place apple slices in a large bowl and add the sugar, cinnamon, condensed milk, and flour. Mix these ingredients together so that all of the apple slices are well coated.
  3. Pour the apple mixture into the pie crusts so that they are distributed equally.
  4. Next, bake another pie crust similar to the recipe in the previous post. Follow this recipe and add 3 tablespoons of condensed milk and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to the dough and then bake.
  5. After 20 to 25 minutes, remove the crust and let cool. Pour the crust into a large bowl and break up the crust into smaller pieces.
  6. Top both of the two pies equally with these pieces.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool.
  9. Top with whip cream with ice cream on the side.
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Basic Pie Crust Recipe

Pie Crust
This basic pie crust recipe is simple and versatile. It should work with most fruit fillings providing a crust that is buttery with a hint of sweetness. This recipe can also be modified slightly to create a unique sweet, crumbly topping for pies as well. (See my recipe for Torte de Maça).

1 1/4 cup flour
2 tspn sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg, beaten

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together.
  3. On a flour dusted surface, roll the dough into a circle big enough to cover a standard pie dish.
  4. Place dough in dish so that it covers the entire dish.
  5. Cover in plastic wrap and place in freezer for 1/2 hour.
  6. Remove from freezer and remove plastic wrap. Put a layer of aluminum foil over the crust so that the foil is touching the dough. Place some dry beans on top of the foil to keep the foil pressed upon the dough during baking.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Remove foil and dry beans from the top of the foil and bake the crust for another 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Let crust cool before adding pie filling.
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Boston Baked Beans

Boston Baked BeansBaked beans are usually served at cookouts in North America and are also an important component in a Full English Breakfast in the UK. When you are making this recipe, it's OK to use canned baked beans that already contain some brown sugar and pieces of bacon as a starting point.

28 ounce can baked beans
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp mustard
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 strips bacon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix all ingredients except the bacon in a casserole dish.
  3. Put the 3 strips of bacon on top of bean mixture and place casserole dish in the oven.
  4. Bake for 1 hour.
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Mazatlán Meatloaf

Mazatlán MeatloafMazatlán Meatloaf is a Mexican take on an American classic comfort food. It's rich, spicy hot flavor are unforgettable. Try it with Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1/2 pound chorizo sausage
2 eggs
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 tspn kosher salt
1/2 tspn black pepper
1 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 tspn ground cumin
1/2 tspn dried basil
3/4 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 of a 7 ounce can of chipotles in adobo sauce
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1/2 tspn sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, add the ground beef, ground pork, chorizo, bread crumbs, eggs, salt, pepper, porcini mushrooms, cumin, basil, onion, and garlic. Mix all of these ingredients together using your hands to form a loaf.
  3. Grease a 4 x 7 casserole dish or bread pan.
  4. Put loaf in the pan.
  5. In a food processor, pulse 1/2 of the chipotle and adobo. Then mix it together with the tomato paste and sugar. Use this sauce to top the meat loaf.
  6. Bake meat loaf for 1 hour and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
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Maxwell Street Polish

Maxwell Street PolishThe Maxwell Polish is a Chicago classic. It is a spicy Polish sausage topped with grilled, caramelized onions and yellow mustard on a toasted bun.

When you make a Maxwell Street Polish, it's important to use a Polish with some heat so you may have to seek out a good specialty meat shop or butcher to find the key ingredient.
I used a "Bahama Mama" sausage, sold at Schmidt's Sausage Haus in Columbus, Ohio's German Village. Schmidt's has been in business since 1886 and they feature a great selection of sausages for carry out.

  • Bahama Mama - cross between a polish kielbasa and a all-beef hot dog but spicier than either - made with beef and pork
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into strips
  • 1 tspn sugar
  • 1 tspn salt
  • mustard, yellow
  • butter
  • hot dog buns
  1. Place onions in a skillet with 2 tbsp butter, sugar, and salt. Cook onions over medium-low heat until onions become golden brown.
  2. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Cut sausages lengthwise almost all of the way through.
  4. Place a metal cooling rack on a baking sheet and place in an oven preheated to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the sausages on the cooling rack and bake for about 40 minutes until edges of sausage begin to get crisp.
  5. Melt 1/2 tbsp butter in skillet over medium heat. Toast hot dog buns face down on skillet for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Place sausage in bun, apply desired amount of mustard, and caramelized onions. Serve hot.
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Fruit Pancake Recipe

blueberry pancakeThis fruit pancake recipe is another old family favorite. My mom used to make layer upon layer for me and my brothers and sisters. This recipe makes about 7 pancakes so if you are cooking for alot of people, you can increase the amounts as needed.

Fruit pancakes are a great choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The key is to use the freshest fruit possible. As such, I usually make these more in the summer and fall as you have many great choices for toppings during these seasons.

kiwi pancakes

apple pancake

1 cup flour, sifted
1/3 cup sugar
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn salt
2 eggs
2 tspn cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1 tspn canola oil
2 tspn vanilla
+ fruit of your choice (apples, blueberries, kiwi, banana all work well)

  1. Sift the dry ingredients.
  2. Mix eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients.
  4. Prep your fruit. Whatever fruit that you decide to use, try to slice it as thin as you can. Small berries can be put onto the pancake whole.
  5. Heat skillet over medium heat.
  6. Pour a little less than 1/4 cup batter onto the skillet.
  7. When bubbles start to form in the batter, add a pieces of fruit to cover the pancake.
  8. Flip and cook the other side (about another 2 - 3 minutes).
  9. Top with confection sugar, fresh fruit, or both.
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The German Dish

The German DishThe German Dish has been a specialty in my family for as long as I can remember. In fact, I think it has been passed down through several generations and can be traced to the Ruhr Valley in an area known as Westphalia. I love this dish because all of its flavor comes from a few basic ingredients. I also like it because you can prepare a generous portion for between $10 and $15. As an added bonus, when you are cooking, it it will make your house smell great and everyone will think you really know how to cook. Give it a try. You will be amazed at how simple and easy a great dish can be.

Note: This recipe uses Polish kielbasas because the German version of this sausage may be difficult to find in your average grocery store.

1 16oz. Polska kielbasa, cut into 4 inch pieces
2 large potatoes, pealed and cut into 2 inch pieces
3 medium carrots, cut in half lengthwise
2 ribs celery, diced
2 medium onions, diced
1 tspn kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
3/4 tbsp beef bullion
3 cups water

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large pot or Dutch oven. Heat ingredients over medium-low heat for about three hours.
  2. If water starts to boil, reduce heat to low.
  3. After potatoes and carrots can become tender, remove the kielbasas and set aside.
  4. With a potato masher, mash all of the vegetables together in the pot until they are well combined.
  5. Add the kielbasas back to the pot.
  6. Continue to simmer over low heat until most of the remaining water has been reduced.
  7. Serve with hot, spicy or Dijon mustard on the side.
Looking for a wine to pair with this dish? Try this German wine that is produced in Chile:
Cono Sur Gewürztraminer

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El Tapitio

El Tapitio
El Tapitio is one of the many great dishes served at Los Mariachis in Springfield, Ohio. If you are ever in Springfield or Xenia, you should visit "Los." Be sure to try their Margaritas too.

This recipe is not quite at the level of the version served at the restaurant, but it does come close. If you are not able to visit the restaurant, give it a try along with Cuban Black Beans and Margaritas.

1 pound chicken breast
1/2 pound Chorizo
iceberg lettuce, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
mozzarella cheese
sour cream

1/4 cup beer
juice of 1 fresh lime
5 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tspn ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the marinade.
  2. Cut the chicken breast into 1 to 2 inch pieces and add to the bowl of marinade.
  3. Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pieces of chicken along with the ground Chorizo to the skillet and cook until browned.
  5. Heat the tortillas.
  6. Add the chicken and Chorizo mixture to the tortilla and top with lettuce, tomato, mozzarella cheese and sour cream.
Looking for a wine to go with El Tapitio? Try one of these:
Forest Glen Pinot Noir
Motos Liberty Pinot Grigio

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Dirty Rice Recipe

Dirty Rice
Dirty Rice is a Cajun classic made with white rice and chicken liver. When cooked with the liver, the dirty rice develops its distinctive, dark color. This version of dirty rice uses chorizo instead of liver to give the rice its color.

1/2 pound of chorizo
1 medium yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 tspn cayenne pepper
1 tspn salt
1/2 tspn red pepper flakes
2 cups of cooked medium grain rice
2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
3 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

  1. Cook chorizo in a skillet over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, celery, cayenne pepper, salt, red pepper flakes and Worchestershire sauce to the skillet. Cook for an additional 10 minutes over medium heat.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the rice, cilantro, and green onions and mix well.
  4. Add the chorizo mixture to the bowl of rice and mix until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  5. Serve hot. Optional: serve with a dollop of sour cream.
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