Carla Aday feels the dinner table is a way to connect and build relationships. The senior minister of Country Club Christian Church and her husband, psychologist Dave Ehman, live in Kansas City. They have three adult children and five grandchildren.
Q: Is food and cooking important to you?
Sharing food around the table allows people to connect. Gathering at the table is a lost art and it is something sacred, especially when you linger at the table after eating and just talk. The Communion Table is important in our church, and for me the dinner table is an extension of the Communion Table.
I love to cook, and yet, we are busy, with many evening meetings. Dave and I often prepare extra on weekends so we can have easy dinners during the busy week ahead.
We celebrate “Wonderful Wednesdays” every week, and that is a night we set aside to share dinner with our grandchildren. We also have family dinners quite often.
I have auctioned dinners for various church fund raising events. For example, I once auctioned six homemade soups, and another time I offered a homemade French dinner for auction.
Q: How did you learn to cook and what tips can you offer for someone learning to cook?
My mom was a great cook and I loved watching her. Then, about the time I was in junior high, she was busy with work and attended graduate school in the evenings, so I prepared many of our dinners. Looking back, it was great that I had that opportunity to cook and I learned a lot.
When learning to cook, I recommend that you start simple, maybe using recipes with just three ingredients. Then, enjoy the process.
Q; What can you tell us about the apple pie recipe you are sharing?
Mom’s Apple Pie was from my mother-in-law, Helen. She was famous for her delicious pies and everyone loved them. No one knew how to bake a pie quite like she did.
She did not use a written recipe. She added ingredients by the handful, eyeing the amount and not measuring anything. I wanted to learn how she did it, so I started following behind her as she baked this pie. Each time she added an ingredient, I would take it out of the bowl and measure it. I carefully wrote it down, so I ended up with the recipe.
I love to make this pie and now, especially since Helen passed away five years ago, it is a cherished family recipe. While I make and serve it throughout the year, it is always a part of our Thanksgiving dinner.
She could roll the crust so thin that she made two pies from this one crust recipe. I can only get one crust, so there is some extra pie crust. She always prepared two pies at once, baking one to serve that day, and refrigerating one to bake the next day. Helen recommended to not take the pie out of the oven until it boiled over.
Mom’s Apple Pie
Makes 1 pie
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening, chilled
3 to 4 tablespoons ice cold water, or as needed
3 pounds apples (such as Jonathan, Granny Smith, McIntosh or other baking apples) peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Pensey’s preferred)
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Heavy cream, half and half or milk
Vanilla ice cream
To prepare the crust: Mix together the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the shortening and cut with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture is the size of peas. Sprinkle the cold water over the flour mixture and blend until the pastry comes together to form a ball. Shape the dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to overnight.
Roll out the larger ball of dough on a lightly floured board, rolling it as thin as you can handle it. Place the crust in a 9-inch deep dish glass pie pan.
To fill the crust, mix together the apple slices, sugar and 2 tablespoons flour. Place the apple mixture in the pastry lined pie pan. Sprinkle the apples with the cinnamon and salt. Top the apples with pieces of butter.
Roll out the top crust on the floured board, rolling as thin as you can. Top the pie with this crust. Trim the top and bottom edges of the crust and then crimp with fingers or a fork.
At this point, you may place the pie in the refrigerator overnight and bake it the next day, or you can bake it now. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Before baking the pie, poke a few holes in the top pie crust, brush it lightly with heavy cream, half and half or milk and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
Bake the pie 1 hour or until the crust begins browning and the pie filling is bubbling. Let the pie sit 1 hour before cutting. Serve the pie warm or at room temperature. Serve topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Tip: To make clean-up easy, when placing the pie in the oven, place it on a baking sheet to catch any spills from the juices that might boil over.
Do you want to nominate someone to be featured in Come Into My Kitchen? Maybe a friend, neighbor, sibling or even yourself? Email us at KCComeIntoMyKitchen@gmail.com. Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore are cookbook authors and food consultants that make up The Electrified Cooks. They have published over 14 cookbooks and thousands of recipes. They are members of Les Dames d’Escoffier and blog at pluggedintocooking.com
Maria Martin: 816-234-4449