Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts

An in-season, out-of-season dessert: organic strawberry rhubarb pie


There hasn't been much activity on the blog this week because there isn't much to say! We've been attempting to enjoy the 4 days of warm weather because it dropped almost 40 degrees overnight and is chilly, chilly and rainy. Ick.

I thought it was quite appropriate to share a still-out-of-season, yet in-season-in-my-freezer dessert today. Doesn't a piece of organic strawberry-rhubarb pie with a cup of something hot sound amazing? Perfect for a drizzly, cold, gray day. Mmmm.

I've been trying to use up the frozen goods in my freezer to make room for this year's harvest to come. We are eating up the end of last fall's apple butter and applesauce as well as the rhubarb and zucchini.

My in-laws brought some frozen strawberries from their garden when they came over Valentine's day weekend, and my mom always provides plenty of rhubarb from her garden. Garden goods equal organic in this case! I was inspired to whip up this pie a few weeks ago for book club.

I have to admit that it was super yummy - and was deemed "the best thing I've eaten in 2013" from a very credible source. Wow! It was simple but SO yummy.

Here's the recipe:

Double pie crust
Martha Stewart's pate brisee

Strawberry-rhubarb filling
(from Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book - the 1998 facsimile copy of the 1950s version ... a much loved high-school graduation gift!)

1 c. sugar
4-1/2 T. flour
1-1/2 c. rhubarb, thawed & drained
1-1/2 c. strawberries, mostly thawed & drained
1 T. butter

Stir first four ingredients in a bowl. Place in bottom crust - dot with butter. Add top pie crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 40-50minutes. Cover edges halfway through baking time with foil to prevent burning.

Happy spring! It's not quite rhubarb/strawberry season yet but it will be soon.

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Heart Cookies


I love making heart-shaped cookies for Valentine's Day. Call me corny, but I do. Usually it's the magic, traditional heart shaped sugar cookie recipe, but this year I decided to make shortbread cookies for the first time.

I used this recipe here without the frosting. (It had 1/4 cup more sugar than the other and used a tiny spot of baking powder.) Then I just melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips and dipped half of the cookie in them. When the chocolate was too low to dip, I grabbed a spoon and made pretty drizzles on the rest.

For my first shortbread making try, I was pleased. If you let it warm just a little after refrigerating, it rolls out very well (because of the butter). But it also sticks to the rolling pin quite badly if you don't flour enough. So 1) let them warm for 5-10 min and 2) flour up! Finally, the cookies will hold their shape better in the oven if they are refrigerated after cut.

What rich, yummy goodness!

Pomegranate Tea


I found a use for pomegranates that I absolutely love. 

Pomegranate Tea (!) 
from Martha Stewart Living's Annual Recipes 2003

1 large pomegranate's seeds, mostly pulled away from the rind
4 cups cold water
a few tablespoons of honey
a few mint sprigs (optional)

Place pomegranate seeds in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat (add mint here if desired), and simmer until very fragrant and colorful, about 15 minutes. Stir in honey; strain tea and serve hot. 

Yum! Isn't it gorgeous? It's just as yummy to drink!

This one also looks amazing... 

Spiced Pomegranate Punch
Serves six; makes about 4 cups
taken from

5 pomegranates
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh ginger
1/4 cup fresh orange juice, plus strips of orange zest for garnish

Cut pomegranates in half. Extract juice from seeds with a citrus juicer or reamer. Strain into a medium saucepan. (You should have about 2 1/2 cups juice.) Add cider, 2 cups water, cinnamon stick, and ginger. Cook over high heat until simmering, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce heat; gently simmer 15 minutes. Skim any foam that rises to the surface. Remove from heat. Discard cinnamon and ginger. Stir in orange juice. Serve warm, garnished with orange zest.

Santa Lucia Day - Traditional Scandanavian Recipe


 (I've kept this recipe for almost 10 year without tossing it because I was determined that one December 13 I was going to remember and have time to make it. 2012 was the year!)
"As the sun rises on December 13, Scandinavians honor Saint Lucia, the patroness of light, at an early morning feast of cake or buns flavored with saffron, which imparts a golden hue. You can celebrate the day, which marks the start of the Christmas season, with this traditional braided cake with dried fruits."

Recipe found here

INCREDIBLE muffin recipe


I made muffins for my birthday last week and they were a winner! Incredible, like the title suggests. Fresh cranberries can often be too sour, but chopped up in these muffins - perfection!

Cranberry Orange Coffee Cakes

2 c flour
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 c butter, softened
1/2 cup of white and brown sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
1T. finely shredded orange peel
1 T orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups of fresh cranberries, chopped
2 T finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 recipe orange glaze
1/2 c walnuts toasted and chopped, optional

Preheat oven to 350 (makes 15-18 muffins).
Combine dry ingredients and 1/4 tsp salt.
Beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in cheese, egg, OJ, vanilla and peel.
Stir in flour mixture until just combined.
Fold in berries and ginger.
Fill cups 1/2 full and bake 15-20 min until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 min, then spoon on glaze. Sprinkle with nuts and more peel, if desired.

Glaze:1 c pwd sugar, 1T OJ and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Stir in 2 T melted butter and 1/2 tsp shredded peel

Yum yum!

I substituted sour cream for the ricotta, added a little water to the glaze (it was way too thick) and used one medium-large orange for the peel first then the juice in the muffins and glaze. I also left the nuts out and just sprinkled a little ginger in for the candied ginger.

I would highly suggest trying these. My 2-year old scarfed down two in one sitting and even Jeremy is asking for a second batch! :-) If you do, let me know what you think!

CSA Week 19 - with a couple recipes


This week...

... a bag of lettuce, a bag of salad greens, several Asian eggplants, a lb of green beans, half dozen eggs, a pound of Roma tomatoes, and 2 large white/yellow peppers and a tiny red one.

I have to admit that with the Market frenzy in my head, I've had much less time to meal plan and think about how to use our produce. But, I'm still trying. :-)

I did have a new recipe success and thought I'd share.

Arugula-Cilantro Pesto
(*source is a CSA website I can't find at the moment...)

1 C arugula (or so)
1 C cilantro (or so)
2 lg garlic cloves
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C grated parmesan
2 tbsp. pine nuts (or more)
salt and pepper to taste

Whirl it all in the food processor - and yummy! Freeze any extra in small portions for a quick meal.

** I fried some chicken pieces and we had chicken-pesto pasta. Then a couple days later, I made a pizza with the pesto as the sauce, chicken, green/red peppers and sliced grape tomatoes with mozzarella on top. Also quite good!

White Bean Soup with Winter Greens 
(*adapted from vegetarian version in From Our House to Yours cookbook with Italian sausage)

2 cans navy beans, drained (you can use lb of dried beans, but the process is so much longer!)
(1/2-1 lb Italian sausage, cooked and drained) 
2 tbsp. EVOO
1 lg onion
2 carrots, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp minced fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken stock/broth
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 lb winter greens like kale, chard, dandelion, collard or turnip greens
freshly grated Parmesan, optional

Heat EVOO in lg pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, garlic, parsley and bay leaves. Saute until veggies are slightly softened, about 10 min.

Add beans, stock, water (and sausage). Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover. Cook 20-30 minutes. If you choose, remove some of the beans and puree to make soup thicker (I skipped this part).

Wash greens, remove any thick stems or ribs. Stack the leaves a few at a time and roll into a log. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch ribbons. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add greens and boil about 2-5 minutes until tender. Drain. Stir into soup. Simmer a few minutes more.

Enjoy with freshly grated Parm (if you have any).

Probably the best soup I've ever made!! Wonderful the next day too.

CSA Week 17


This week in the CSA world we got...

... a half dozen brown eggs, a bunch of turnips, a bunch of braising greens (4 different kinds of greens), several cups of salad mix, several small sweet peppers, a pint of cherry tomatoes, and a lb of wax beans.

Anyone know about wax beans? Are they the same as green beans? I'm excited to find out and try these!

And, a few recipes as promised.

Fresh Salsa (small batch)

1/2 small white onion
1 garlic clove
1 small jalapeno pepper
1-1/2 lb plum/grape/cherry tomatoes
1-2 T lime juice
2 T cilantro
3/4 t salt

Pulse together in a food processor just until combined.

Applesauce Spice Cake (8" or 9" square cake)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 5 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 

    Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8- or 9-inch square cake pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined, then stir in walnuts (if using). Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Reinvert cake onto a rack to cool completely. Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated. Spread frosting over top of cooled cake.
So yummy! A dense, moist cake.

Apple Butter (from Valerie, but adapted crock pot version)

5-6 lbs apples reduced to applesauce

1-1/2 c sugar (more or less depending on sweetness of apples)
3 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. nutmeg

Combine ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low 8-10 hours removing lid for last 1-2 hours until desired spreading consistency is achieved.

I froze mine in bags because I don't have canning supplies. :-( Hopefully it'll be just fine. We'll see how that works out!

a birthday pie - and a recipe!


A certain hubby of mine had a birthday last week. He turned the exciting 3-2 and we went to Ohio to celebrate. That's pretty much his gift, but I wanted to surprise him with an apple pie.

And, boy, it was YUMMY served warm a la mode!

Here's my scrumptious flaky apple pie recipe:

Crust: Martha Stewart's Pate Brisee 

Filling: 6 large granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
a few tsp of cinnamon (or to taste)
a few Tblsp white sugar (depending on how sweet you like your pie)
a splash of lemon juice (or juice of one medium lemon)

Mix together, spoon into bottom pie crust. Slice several pieces of butter on top, close with second pie crust. Brush crust lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle a little white sugar on top to make it pretty.

Bake at 375*F for 1 hour until bubbly and brown.

Cool for awhile and then enjoy!!


Happy Birthday Love!

CSA week 7


CSA pick up seemed pretty sparse this week...

a pint of cherry tomatoes, 1 squash, 2 small cucumbers, 4 slicing tomatoes, a bag of shallots, 2 garlic cloves and a half dozen brown eggs.

Here's the CSA pick of the week! (Except ... I don't know what kind of squash it is or how to cook it...)

Update: It's a scallop squash, a.k.a. patty pan squash.

So my corn is completely dead after I pulled it all up. I peeled back part of a really sad looking corn husk and indeed, it was drying up. Boo! The drought is only going to get worse ... and I wonder what it will do to the CSA farms?

But for now, we're enjoying a bountiful harvest of multicolored tomatoes and I put them all together. Pretty huh?

(Here's to hoping little fingers stay out of them ...)


And, here's a few pictures of recipes I made last week with CSA ingredients. We are really enjoying all of the fresh goodness. (Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a food photographer, so if my photos gross you out, my apologies.) 

First up, Margherita Pizza with whole wheat crust, garlic/olive oil herb sauce, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes.

Feta, cucumber and tomato salad with salt, pepper, balsamic and oil dressing.

Purple potatoes = lavender mashed potatoes. Kind weird, but tasted the same.

And, finally, a European specialty ... tomato slice topped with a piece of fresh mozzarella and a basil leaf then drizzled with olive oil. YUM!

Until next time, friends!

CSA - week 6


Our CSA pick-up this week provided a very large head of fennel, three small - med kholrabi, one large yellow squash, a pint of yellow and red cherry tomatoes, a bunch of basil (yum!), 1-1/2 lbs yellow onions and 1-1/2 lbs purple potatoes.

And the CSA pick-of-the-week is ... purple potatoes! Actually she called them "blue" but they look pretty purple to me. I cut the tiniest one in half so you (and I) could have a peek.

I need to get back to meal planning (vacation threw that off a little bit) - my poor dear husband. He needs some sustenance after working all day! Haha. So, I'm going to look up fennel recipes - unless any of you have good ones! - and braise the kholrabi as a side.

As for my garden, it's several tomatoes ...

... and some sad lookin' corn vs. the heat.

Pretty sure it's not gonna make it. But, we'll see.

And, finally, the recipe I promised you last week for cabbage:

Japanese Ramen Noodle Salad

1-2 whole seasoned grilled chicken breasts (slivered)
2 T. sesame seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2-1 head cabbage, finely shredded
2 green onions, chopped
1 pkg oriental-flavored Ramen noodles


1 T. sugar
1/2 c. oil
1 pkg seasoning from Ramen
1/2 t. pepper (or to taste)
3 T vinegar

Toast sesame seeds and almonds in a 300 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Combine chicken, sesame seeds, almonds, cabbage, onions. Mix dressing ingredients. Toss cabbage mixture with dressing and noodles right before serving.


this week's CSA (week 3)


Here's what was in this week's CSA bag:

3 stems broccoli, 2 lbs new potatoes, half dozen brown eggs, 
6 small peaches, 1 med head cabbage, 2 lbs carrots

Remember last week's red raspberries? They were SO tasty and we ate them plain with sweetened whipped cream.


We also tried baked kale chips and they were a hit, even with the girl! I've altered the cooking time in the recipe below because I think ours were a little over-salted and definitely over-baked. Watch them closely! 

Baked Kale Chips

1 bunch (about 6 ounces) kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse and dry the kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs. Cut into large pieces, toss with olive oil in a bowl then sprinkle with salt. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until crisp. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool. Eat right away!

Favorite Recipe: Dark Chocolate Muffins


I made one of my favorite muffin recipes on a whim a couple of days ago. So yum. I thought I'd share the recipe with you.

It's actually a dieters' recipe, so it has some strange ingredients, but why can't it be one of my favorites?! Don't turn your nose up at the weird ingredients until you try them. You'll be surprised too! I just sneak in quite a few more chocolate chips and you have yourself a scrumptious, filling dark chocolate muffin recipe. And these aren't your boxed fluff muffins, nor are they cupcakes. A perfect mix of in between and homemade goodness. (Plus they almost taste better the next day!)

Dark Chocolate Mini Muffins

1-1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp. oil
1 Tbsp. molasses
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (or about a cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat about 48 mini or 18 regular muffin cups with cooking spray, set aside. In a bowl, combine flours, sugars, coca powder, soda and 1/4 tsp. salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside. In another bowl combine milk, applesauce, oil, molasses, vinegar, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Stir in half of the chocolate pieces. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each between 1/2-2/3 full. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. Bake minis for 8-10 minutes or regular for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes. Remove and serve warm or cool completely and freeze for up to 3 months.


My two favorite recipes


AND ... we're back!

More on the long weekend coming soon. So, in lieu of real news, here's my two favorite recipes to make with sweet bell peppers.


I've REALLY been struggling in the meal planning department. I don't really enjoy cooking these days (I'd much rather be thrifting or sewing) and I just get so discouraged when I have no ideas!!

The other day chicken was on sale (thank goodness!) and I stocked up and promptly made two of my favorite recipes. I price matched a three pack of peppers at (cough) Wal-mart - from Aldi - for 99 cents. Score.


First up...

Sweet and Sour Chicken

2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 T paprika
2 T olive oil

1/4 c. sugar
2-3 T. cornstarch
1 can pineapple chunks, juice reserved
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)

1-2 bell peppers, cut into chunks
1/2 medium onion, chopped

Saute chicken breasts sprinkled with desired amount of paprika and salt in oil until cooked through. Add bell peppers and onions, steaming for a couple of minutes. In a separate bowl combine sugar, cornstarch, pineapple juice, vinegar and soy sauce. Pour over chicken and vegetables. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened.

Serve over steamed white rice and enjoy!!

((Sorry, I've tried to photograph SSC before and it never looks good. I'm really not a food photographer. So, just imagine with me.)) 

Homemade Fajitas

1-1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. oregano
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. red pepper
1/4 t. black pepper
1/8 t. garlic powder (or 1 clove, minced)
1/8 t. onion powder

Cut 2 chicken breasts into strips and saute in olive oil. Add seasoning and a little water. (I usually at least double the seasoning recipe because we like it better). Once the chicken is cooked through, I add the sliced bell peppers (about 1-1/2 large ones) and 1/2 sliced onion. Cook until crisp tender and serve with warm tortillas, taco sauce and sour cream if desired.


Do you have a go-to recipe when you are out of ideas?? Do share!! I'm in need!