I’m back and I am oh so sorry! But don’t worry I made pie!

Hi Everyone,
After about a six month hiatus I am back. My summer didn’t open up much time for cooking as I was commuting back and forth from St. Louis and my small college town, and overall just being lazy.I also spent some time in Myrtle Beach eating tons of seafood, going to concerts, and watching a baseball game or two. But summer has ended and so has my era of lazy. I am back at school working on my thesis and completing my degree for my expected graduation in May. So what’s a better way of avoiding schoolwork than baking?

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This weekend I got to go to the pumpkin patch and apple picking orchard with a good friend, Megan, and her fiance. Turns out $8 worth of apples kind of turns you into one of those people you read about in math problem. If Josie has 26 apples but took away however many… I digress. So I did what I do best with those apples, and made pie! Special props to Megan and her apartment for having awesome window light.

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Look at how cute these kids are. 

Basic Recipe for an Apple Pie That’s Pretty Hard to Mess Up! 

Recipe is special thanks to Pillsbury with a twist from me. 

6- Medium Sliced Thin Apples of your choice, I like Granny Smith or Honeycrisp
3/4- Cup of Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Flour
2 Teaspoons of cinnamon (I like adding more)
2 Generous Pinches of Salt
1/8 Teaspoon of Nutmeg
1/8 Teaspoon of Cloves and/or Allspice
2 Homemade or Premade Pie Crusts

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2) Peel and slice apples thin or thick depending on how you like them.

3) Mix all of your ingredients (except for the pie crusts of course!) together in a large bowl. The easiest way is to use your hands!
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4) Line your pie pan with your first crust and fill it with your apples. Make sure they are evenly distributed.
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5) Time to put your second pie crust on top.
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6)You can do pretty stuff here like add the ripples around your pie. Also don’t forget to put air hole cuts on top to the pie can vent. This is also where you can add cute designs. Look at my previous blog posts for cute pie tips!
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7) Brush butter, sprinkle sugar, and put a little bit of cinnamon on the top of your pie.

8) Add a pie ring or tinfoil around your pie so the edges do not burn. Some people say to leave it on half the time, but I leave it on the whole time.

9) Put your cute little pie in the oven for about 40 minutes or until it is golden brown. It really just depends on how mushy you want your apples and how crispy you want your crust.

10) Once the pie is done share and enjoy! : )
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Thank you for reading. Again I’m super sorry for my hiatus. I have a few more blog posts lined up. I plan on branching a bit away from food and talking about crafts and school too!

Do you like making pie? What is your favorite recipe? Do you have any kitchen tools you have to use when making pie? Comment below! Let’s have a conversation.

Thanks 🙂
Josie 

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HAPPY (PI)E Day! : )

Hello Everyone!
Happy PI(E) Day, Everyone! I can’t help but love Pi Day because of my love of the 314 (St. Louis) and my fraternity Phi Sigma PI.

I still have vivid memories of receiving cookies and pies on Pi Day in grade school and high school. But now as a recent undergrad and current graduate student I’ve had to step up my kitchen a bit.

My obsession this past Thanksgiving was making you guessed it, PIES! Through careful guidance of my aunt we made apple and pumpkin pies for our families. I was extremely excited, but there is a catch… I must admit to you all. I don’t like pie. And I don’t like cooked fruit. Yes I feel you glaring at me now. But regardless, I LOVE to make pie.

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The first pies I EVER made. This past Thanksgiving 

While I would love to share with you “my Great Grandma’s pie recipe” and whatnot, I don’t have any. I am guilty of looking at the Libby’s canned pumpkin label and following the directions. Or googling a Martha Stewart apple pie recipe. While that may be the case, I do have…

5 Pie Tips that I have learned from my aunt and other sources. Here we go!

1) Let your eggs get to room temperature before making a pumpkin pie. This prevents your pie from getting one of those ugly cracks in the middle. If you forget to leave your eggs out, you can bring them to room temperature by putting them in a bowl of warm water for ten minutes.

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Pumpkin Pie before oven time : ) 

2) USE BUTTER. Yes, to get good flavor out of your apple pie cut up a stick of butter. Put the bits of butter on your apple pie before you put the crust on.

3) Buy fun shapes for crusts and experiment with crust design. This past winter I bought patterned cookie cutters for my apple pie. Rather than put an entire crust over my pie, I cut out shapes and laid them on top.

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Shapes really do add some fun and dimension to your pies! Look at the cute snowman faces!

4) Put tinfoil on the crust of your pie to not over brown. Do this before you put your pie in the oven so you don’t burn yourself. The past time I made pies I ended up shrieking (and driving my boyfriend crazy) because I couldn’t get my tinfoil on. Don’t be crazy like me and just go ahead and do it beforehand. Your significant others and pets will thank you later.

5) Use disposable pans to make pies as presents. Who doesn’t love pie (except for me of course)? Use a disposable pan and those shapes I mentioned to make a Christmas present for a friend at work. Save the glass pans for pies you will leave at home.

I hope everyone enjoyed this post. I know it is about a season too late, but go make pie! Send me pictures! : )

Imagemy aunt helped me with the crust on this one! 


The Sassy Sicilian: I See Seafood (Calamari, shrimp, scallops, OH MY!)

Hello You Kind Wonderful People,

Who could believe in such a short amount of time I have reached 133 views?! How exciting is that?! : ) Thank you for checking my blog out, it means so much to me. 

I am super excited for this post because its my first actual recipe I will be posting. This recipe has roots that start with my nana, Carmella, so you know its Sicilian goodness. It has traveled from Agusta, Sicily to St. Louis, Missouri to my father’s kitchen to my blog. Send a recipe through three people and it is bound to change! It originated as “Diablo Shrimp”, coined by my father, but has changed as I have added more bits of seafood. If you think of a good name let me know!

One great thing about this recipe is you don’t need to measure a bunch of ingredients. A lot just depends on how much of each element you want.
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Food and wine you need:
1) Your sea food of choice– I bought a mix of shrimp, scallops, calamari, mussels, and squid bits at Sam’s club. But you can chose to single out certain aspects. But the mix works great because you get a variety of textures. Calamari rings are rubbery so if you add in shrimp or mussels you can take a break from the overwhelming texture.

2) A dry white wine (Such as Holland House) – If you’re not 21 do not fret! Go to the vinegar section of your local super market and pick up some cooking wine. No one in their right mind would drink the stuff because it is salty as all get out and contains barely any alcohol. The alcohol is not what makes the recipe anyway, and the saltiness will give more flavor.

3) A can of crushed tomatoes (you can go with a big can or small can it just depends how much sauce you want, get the small can if you want light)  Just make sure the tomatoes are CRUSHED, not paste, pureed, or diced. If you want a brand name I would say Cento never disappoints.

3) One large white onion thinly sliced to rings
4) Red pepper flakes– No need to get fancy, Great Value works great in this case
5) Olive Oil
6) Garlic– Chopped or pressed, just add garlic!
7) Salt and pepper if and when you want it

Supplies you need:
1) A deep skillet
2) A basic skillet
3) Patience to get through my first attempt at a recipe : )

The Steps you will need to take:
1) Chop and caramelize your onions- After you remove the outermost shell of your white onion slice it thin and so that the cut naturally makes rings. Add some olive oil to which ever skillet of yours is the shallowest and start to cook those puppies. Go ahead and add in some garlic in accordance to how much you like it. If you love it go crazy!

2) While your onions are cooking add your crushed tomatoes to your deeper skillet. Add some wine too. Don’t worry too much about measuring, most of it will cook out but leave behind a good flavor. Your main goal in this step is to add the wine flavor to the tomatoes while also cooking out some moisture. We want to make something you can put on a plate not in a bowl. If the mixture is too thin it will not stick to the sea food. Also put in your crushed red pepper flakes. Keep in mind a little amount goes a long way. If you like red pepper flavor add as much as you like. If not, an amount about the size of a thumb nail will work. Don’t be afraid to sample and add it bit by bit to achieve the flavor you want.

3) Grab your bag of sea food and run it under COLD water to thaw it a bit. We don’t want to throw the sea food in frozen, but we also don’t want the water to “precook” it. One of the easiest ways to thaw seafood safely and quickly is it to do it this was. If you are afraid you won’t have time for this go ahead and thaw your seafood a head of time in ice water in the fridge. Also if you are using any sea food with a shell make sure that none of them have broken. The last time I thawed a bag I had little black shell pieces I had to remove. Nothing sounds worse than cutting your gums on a mussel shell.  : ( 

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Hello little shrimps, scallops, and squids! 

4) At this point your tomato mixture should have thickened up a bit and your onions should be caramelized glory. Go ahead and combine these two mixtures in the deeper skillet, and make sure they mix up. This part is where it is ideal to have a wooden spoon to mix. If you have an adversity to wooden spoons because your mom hit you with them (you know you deserved it) you can use a different stirring utensil.

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5) Add in your sea food and some extra wine. Sea food cooks fast, and this step won’t take as long as you think . You can tell shrimp are done when they lose their transparency and mussels and clams will open. The calamari rings and squid pieces will follow in suit. If you find a mussels or clam has not opened go ahead and throw it away, because that means it is not good to eat.

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Oh Boy!

6) Plate up! This recipe is great to serve with a crusty bread and a side pasta.

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Please be aware that sometimes when you cook black mussels they end up looking like cockroaches on your plate. There is nothing you can do about it. Just accept it and move on. I wish the rules were different but alas some tasty foods don’t always looks pretty. 

The last time I served this dish was for my boyfriend’s birthday. We paired it with a tricolor totellini and…. well more wine of course. When I posted the photos of our dinner on facebook everyone commented “oh how romantic”. And while it certainly was I can guarantee after dinner was spent with the both of us playing Lego Marvel Super Heroes and me shrieking at the tv.

Thank you for stopping by again! How does everyone feel about a Pie Post? With 3.14 (PIE DAY! AHH!) coming up I think we may retroactively go back to the Christmas season. I have pumpkin, apple, and chocolate pie recipes to share! Leave a comment and let me know!

The Sassy Sicilian: My Top Five Items in my Kitchen

What better way to start off my listing a few of my favorite things?

I do have a few staples in my little kitchen:

1) My Kitchenaid Stand Mixer 
Let’s talk about this guy. He was gifted to me less than a year ago as a graduation present from my aunt and uncle. I was overjoyed. Not only do I get to display it proudly on my counter (seriously I feel like it is right of passage to get a Kitchenaid Mixer) but I get to cook the best foods with ease. It has been a learning experience, but the more I work with it the better my creations become. You will be seeing plenty of this guy on here as I get more adventurous with recipes.

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At my graduation party I remember looking at the box with a hopeful heart and screeching the moment I saw “Kitch-” as I removed the wrapping paper!

2) Olive Oil 
No Sicilian kitchen is complete without a jug of olive oil. Mine was purchased at the Italian grocer, Viviano’s across the street from my Nana’s. I should also add Viviano’s is owned by family friends and they carry some of the best imports in the midwest. I try my hardest to use the good stuff because how could I not? There’s a big outcry on the internet about what olive oil is good or bad, real or fake. That’s why I get my stuff straight from Italia!

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Just look at the glory.

3) My Fiesta Dishes 
Another gift from my aunt and uncle! They are truly the best. My aunt is always willing to get me the best cooking supplies. And when I am at home she lets me use all supplies in her kitchen. I’m in the works of giving my kitchen a Grand Mariner theme so my dishes are red and yellow. One day I hope to have vintage Grand Mariner posters to put on my walls, but due to my tiny apartment I don’t have much room for aesthetics. You can guarantee that when I see Fiesta Ware on sale at Macy’s you can hear the sound barrier break because I click the “BUY” button so quickly.

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I often hear them say to me “Josie, we need orange friends!” 

4) Wine 
Let’s be real here wine is always in my kitchen. A dry white wine is essential for most of the seafood dished I make. But I am also guilty of having a bottle of Yellowtail Muscato in my fridge for nights where I don’t have homework… or when I have too much homework. I will admit I’m not too much of a wine snob. I don’t try pairing wine with food. I might in the future, but I am not quite there yet.

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Just bottles and bottles of Moscato, please. 

5) My cat
I own a 13 pound orange tabby cat and he loves to help in the kitchen. Sometimes his involvement is small, such as me seeing a single stand of cat hair in the peanut butter I am about to spread on my toast. The last time this happened I didn’t even bother removing it because I was running late for work. I am pretty sure cat hair is at least 3% of my daily diet. I suppose you win and lose some battles… Sometimes its large like when he is sitting on the counter about to put his face in a boiling pot of tortellini, or he tries to sniff what is inside the oven. Regardless, he is my little helper whether or not I like it.

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Hey, Ma. Can I help? 

Thanks for checking out my blog. If you liked what you read could you leave a comment? I want suggestions and critiques! I think my next post will be about the calamari mix I cooked a few weeks ago

The Sassy Sicilian: An Introduction

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Oh you are too kind to read this!

Well hello, my name is Giuseppina and this is an attempt to start a food blog. My first blog since my 7th grade xanga. I promise a minimal amount of My Chemical Romance lyrics and over all teen angst. I’m hoping this will not eventually bury itself in the other food blogs lurking on the internet untouched for years. But ANYWAY. Yes, hello thank you for reading.

To get things started I’m sure right now you’re probably like Giuseppina? That’s a mouthful. Do you have a nickname? And I do. Its Josie. I currently reside in the middle of nowhere Missouri in a college town known as Warrensburg, and I have been here for five years. May 2013 I graduated with a BS in Photography and I returned in the fall to pursue a MS in Industrial Management with a certificate in Lean Six Sigma. This year marked my first time as actual slave labor for the university as a graduate assistant. I did that thing where I stayed at my alma mater to enter the 17th grade. So when I am not running 6 online classes for the university or weeping over a research prospectus I spend most of my time in a once dorm but now converted university apartment with my 13lb tabby cat named Damnit. My kitchen is small, but so am I. It measures in at 9×11 with a full fridge and miniature stove. I measure in at being a tad over five feet tall, but what I lack in height I make up in spunk and personality.

What can you expect from this blog? A lot of home style dishes with some Sicilian flair. On one side of my family I am 50% Sicilian. The other is 50% American Mutt. The juxtaposition of these two traits makes for some interesting food and interesting experiments. Hell I suppose, it makes me have an interesting personality. Stick around and I promise you will be entertained with sassy humor, tons of inspiration, and recipes that you can put your own spin on.

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Pictured up top: 1) My teeny tiny kitchen, 2) my always needed imported olive oil, 3) the start of risotto, 4) me and my cat, 5) my Nana Carmella and Nanu Giuseppe, 6) some of my photo work from my portfolio

Pictured at bottom: My first time cooking eggplant parmesan, photo credits to my wonderful boyfriend