Tag-Archive for ◊ berries ◊

07 Sep 2010 Mixed Berry Pie

Been to the Farmers’ Markets this weekend? Did you buy a bunch of berries? Time for a Mixed Berry Pie! It is still cool enough that it’s OK to turn on the oven making it the perfect time to make this delicious pie. The orange peel sets this pie above all other berry pies, and the cornstarch-flour thickening is perfect. The pie is great served slightly warm for dinner, with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream or a bit of whipped cream on the side and absolutely divine room temperature, with a cup of hot coffee on the side, for breakfast.

I haven’t mastered pie crust yet, so use your favorite recipe, or that Pillsbury unroll and bake stuff (like I did) which will enable you to get this pie in the oven in 20 minutes or less. Ready, set, goooooo! You’re going to knock the socks off your dinner guests!

Mixed Berry Pie

1 double crust pastry
1 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
2 T. flour
grated zest of 1 medium orange
pinch of salt
6 c. mixed fresh berries*
1 T. cream or milk
pinch of sugar

Prepare pastry. Roll out half the pastry and line the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate. Refrigerate the lined pie plate and the leftover pastry while you mix up the berries. In a large bowl mix sugar, cornstarch, flour, orange zest and salt. Add berries and toss gently to coat each berry. Pile berry mixture into pasty lined pie plate. Roll out second half of pastry. Cut slits in pastry. Lay pastry over berries and tuck into bottom pastry. Decoratively crimp and trim the top and bottom crust to seal together. Brush top pastry with a bit of cream or milk. Sprinkle with a pinch of white sugar. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pie on a baking sheet, and place in oven. Bake 50-60 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is bubbling. Cool completely on rack before serving (juices need to cool to thicken).

*recipe originally came with these proportions: 2 cups blueberries, 2 cups blackberries, 1 cup fresh raspberries, 1 cup quartered fresh strawberries. I wouldn’t use any more strawberries than 1 cup (they don’t hold up well) but the rest of the proportions are mix-and-matchable. Do what I do, buy one or two baskets of everything at the farmer’s market and what makes it home gets put in the pie. If you are a bit short of the required six cups of berries, peel and chop an apple or pear to add into the mixture.

I made the berry pie at the top and my friend Louise made the beautiful berry pie below.  Both of us believe that Mixed Berry Pie is most people’s favorite pie, if it’s not, it’s because they have never tasted this one!

Thanks for stopping by our kitchens today, see you tomorrow!  What shall we make…??

31 Jul 2010 Fresh Strawberry Jam (3 ingredients, no pectin)

Has it been a week since I posted a recipe? Argghhhhh. I hate, hate, hate being laid up. I want to walk! When I get up from this chair, things are going to change. I will swim, I will work out, I will walk…and I will cook and post and maybe(!) start cleaning again. Having a broken ankle is soooo NOT fun. My heart goes out to all of you who have had to go through stuff like this before. I’m in a relatively minor pickle and have a lot of help and just listen to me whine…

Thank goodness I have a lot of recipes and a daughter willing to cook her way through them all while I sit on the sidelines. She’s even turned out to be good little food photographer! She decided it was time to make strawberry jam.

We have a strawberry delivery person in our neighborhood. He first knocked on my door pulling strawberries in a rickety Red Flyer wagon. Now he drives a fancy van. He used to just bring strawberries. Now he brings strawberries, mangoes and oranges. The only problem is…, he brings flats of strawberries and mangoes and 25 lb bags of oranges. I always buy what he has and then I have to start cooking. He knocked early last week so we’ve had Strawberry Volcanoes, Strawberry Cake, Chocolate-Strawberry Pie (not yet posted) and, with the leftover less-than-perfect strawberries, Fresh Strawberry Jam.

I found this recipe in a Cooking Light magazine. I am not sure of the date or the year, but it was probably about 4 or 5 years ago. I usually make a double batch of this, and then store 1/2 cup portions in the freezer. I just loooove hot buttered toast with Fresh Strawberry Jam. By making this when strawberries are at their tastiest, juiciest best, I can enjoy the taste of the best strawberries all winter long!

Fresh Strawberry Jam

4 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Combine strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan, and bring to simmer over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 1 hour or until thick (if you are doubling the batch, this step may take an additional 30 to 45 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and let cool to room temperature. Makes approx. 2 cups. Can be stored in a covered container in refrigerator for up to one month. For longer storage, freeze.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Stop by again in January for some hot buttered toast with Fresh Strawberry Jam (I’ve put some away in the freezer just for us)!

27 Jul 2010 Strawberry Volcanoes

Everyone is making chocolate covered strawberries now. Everyone. Sooooo…, it’s time for us to move onto Strawberry Volcanoes! Just look at that picture! Am I right, or am I right?! I saw a picture of Strawberry Volcanoes on TasteSpotting a few weeks ago and knew then this was the direction in which to move. Their picture was one of strawberries filled with freshly whipped cream, but I wanted something that would hold up longer on a dessert buffet. I decided to fill the strawberries with a cream cheese dip that I have made and served with strawberries for, hmmm…, at least a few decades. I loved the name “Strawberry Volcanoes”, so I am keeping THAT. The recipe below is just a guide. Dip your strawberries in a favorite chocolate and then fill with a favorite filling. Go for it! Create your own, “signature” Strawberry Volcanoes! You can start with my version or just make them like this all the time (like I am going to do)!

Strawberry Volcanoes

Adjust the quantities to fit the number of volcanoes you want to make. Don’t worry, though, leftovers of any component should not be a problem! ( Leftover chocolate? Stir in toasted coconut, raisins and/or nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let chocolate harden and snack! Leftover dip? Get more strawberries and dip them in it, or use as a filling for a cake or cupcakes. Leftover strawberries? Just eat, or freeze for a smoothie later.)

About 48 very large, very ripe strawberries
1 12 oz. package chocolate chips or a favorite large chocolate bar (you’ll need at least 6 oz.) Any kind of chocolate will work … milk, dark or white.

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

Wash strawberries and remove the green stem and leaves. If necessary, slightly slice the strawberry so it has a nice flat bottom and sits nicely on a platter. Let dry on paper towels.

While strawberries are drying, make the filling. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the sugar, sour cream, and vanilla until smooth and creamy (no lumps). Transfer the mixture to a large Ziploc bag or a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Line a tray big enough to hold all strawberries with wax paper and set aside.

A few hours before serving time, melt chocolate or chocolate bar in the microwave on 50% power. (You might only need 1/2 the bag of the chips, you can start with that if you want and then melt more as you go, or melt the whole bag, up to you.) First, set the microwave oven for two minutes on 50% power, stir, and return chocolate to microwave for an additional minute and an additional stir. Repeat as necessary until the chocolate is completely melted. Dip the wide top end of the dry strawberry into melted chocolate. Place on the wax paper covered tray and let sit on it’s chocolate “bottom” (stem end, really) until hard (place tray in refrigerator to speed up this process).

With sharp knife, cut an X into the pointed (non-chocolate covered) end of the strawberry. Make the cut go about halfway down the strawberry. Fill the X with the filling, letting a  little “erupt” out of the top (remember you are making strawberry volcanoes!). If using the Ziploc bag method, push all the filling to one bottom corner of the bag. Snip the corner off, and squirt the filling out of the hole in the bag. If you have a piping bag and a star tip, you know the drill!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Come back again tomorrow!

22 Jul 2010 Fresh Blueberry White Chocolate Pie

I make two no-bake pies in the summer, a Fresh Strawberry Chocolate Pie and this Fresh Blueberry White Chocolate Pie. Fresh pies are quick to pull together, don’t heat up the kitchen, and are real crowd pleasers. Just remember to start early in the day to allow a few hours for the filing to set before serving. This pie usually doesn’t keep well, but maybe I say that because I never have any left over! And my daughter Abby made this pie 3 days ago, which still looks good enough to eat tonight.

The white chocolate graham cracker crust aspect is my own idea (got it from my Strawberry Chocolate Pie) but the blueberry filling part came from Epicurious a few years ago. I haven’t mastered crumb crusts yet (mine are always too hard) so while I am still working on getting the right recipe and the right technique, I use a pre-made crust.

Fresh Blueberry White Chocolate Pie

4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup water plus 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
grated zest, to taste (one lemon, or half of a lemon)
pinch of salt
1 or 2 tablespoons butter

1 graham cracker or shortbread crust (I prefer shortbread)
Approx. 1/2 bag white chocolate chips (Ghiradelli or Guittard–don’t use Nestle or a store brand they don’t taste right)
1 – 2 teaspoons Crisco (optional, just helps with melting and spreading-sometimes I use, sometimes I don’t)

whipped cream (make fresh if at all possible)

Prepare the crust first. Melt the white chocolate with the optional shortening in the MW on 50% power for about 2 minutes. Stir well after every 30 seconds. Do not overhead. Carefully spread a THIN layer of white chocolate onto the sides and bottom of the pie crust. You need to cover all the crust, so the filing can’t seep through and make the crust soggy, but you need to keep the chocolate covering thin enough to not make the pie too sweet! So…, as THIN as you possibly can while covering the crumbs completely! Put prepared crust in refrigerator to set (pssst…, if you have any melted white chocolate left, drizzle it on some pretzels and then put them into refridgerator to harden… Yummeeeeee.  White chocolate covered pretzels will keep, covered, in the fridge for, well, probably longer than they will last!).

Measure out 1 cup of the blueberries, choose the softest most imperfect ones. Put these berries in a medium saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Cover the pan and bring mixture to a boil. After the mixture comes to a boil, remove the lid, lower the heat, and simmer, stirring constantly, for 3 – 4 minutes.

In a small bowl mix the additional 2 tablespoons water with 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Add this cornstarch mixture plus the sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and salt. Simmer mixture for a minute, or until the blueberry mixture becomes translucent. When the mixture becomes translucent immediately remove from heat and stir in remaining 3 cups fresh blueberries, lemon zest and 1 – 2 tablespoons butter.

Spoon blueberry mixture into white chocolate covered crumb crust and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours before serving. When set, the blueberries will remain very juicy, but will not flow out of crust.

Just before serving pipe or spread whipped cream around the sides of the pie, leaving the center unadorned and brilliantly glistening.

According to the original recipe, the pie can be kept at room temperature (minus the whipped cream) for two days. (I keep mine in the RF though)

10 Jul 2010 Amazing Overnight Waffles and Fresh Blueberry Saucesoms

What a way to kick off your July 4th holiday…, homemade waffles with fresh blueberry syrup and a bit of whipped cream. You’llbe singing…”Ohhhhhh, say can you seeeeeee by the dawn’s early light… What so prOUdly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleeeeaming…” all day long! The waffles are delicious; the first bite has a wonderfully light crispness to it. You’ll want to keep taking bite after bite, believe me. The waffle batter is mixed the night before, covered and set out on the counter to ferment a bit. In the morning an egg and melted butter are stirred into the batter while the waffle iron preheats. The blueberry sauce can be made in advance, but it only takes 15 minutes so it can be made while the coffee brews. It’s going to be a GREAT day… “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air…”

Don’t wait for next July 4th to make these though.  I make these for overnight guests.  This, and a latte, and they are in heaven, and I am not exhausted by 9 AM.

I don’t have one of those fancy-schmancy waffle irons.  Both of mine cost less than $20 each.  They work GREAT, especially with this recipe.  Look for a sale, buy one or two inexpensive waffle irons while you wait for Santa Claus, Prince Charming, or Mom to get you one of those expensive ones. (I’ve been waiting 20+ years….)
This recipe is from the book I started out cooking my way through…, “The 150 Best American Recipes“. The recipe was in the right book!

Amazing Overnight Waffles

2 cups flour
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 T. butter, melted

Combine flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk in milk. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter overnight. (If the overnight temp in room is above 70 degrees, refrigerate batter). The next morning, beat egg and melted butter into batter. Preheat waffle iron. Spray waffle iron with Pam. Pour 2/3 cup batter into standard waffle iron or 1 1/3 cup batter into Belgian waffle iron. Cook waffle for 2-3 minutes (or until crisp and brown). Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven. (Place cooked waffles directly on oven racks, do not stack, and waffles should remain warm and crisp).

Two notes… mix the waffle batter in a big bowl before covering to rest overnight. Once I made the batter in a 5 cup bowl… Not a good idea. When I got up the next morning there was batter on the counter and on the floor. There must have been quite a waffle batter party in the kitchen while I slept…

After stirring in the melted butter and beaten egg, let the batter sit for a bit. Because of some late risers in my house, I have discovered that batter that sits an hour or two, has a really GOOD crispy crust.

Makes 4 big waffles.

Fresh Blueberry Sauce

1 lb. Fresh Blueberries
1/2 cup apple juice (can substitute water in a pinch)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.

Bring blueberries, apple juice and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and then stir into bubbling blueberry mixture, keep mixture at a boil, add in lemon juice. Continue to boil the mixture until sauce is thickened, no more than 1 or 2 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve. Can be made up to two days ahead. Leftovers can be frozen for future use.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

03 Jun 2010 Polly’s 3-2-1 Smoothies

I’m pretty sure I was one of the first people ever to taste a smoothie. There was a smoothie man on campus at San Diego State University in 1976. He had a blender, fresh pineapple, fresh bananas, and a bunch of fruit juices. Every smoothie consisted of a large slice of fresh pineapple, half a banana, ice, and juice. The juice determined the flavor of the smoothie. They smelled divine, tasted divine and the memories lasted…

I’ve been making smoothies at home for a long, long time. Probably since 1977. I have spent 33 years perfecting this recipe…, it’s GREAT, better than the smoothie man’s, and it’s simple. Even I have this one memorized: 3 cups of frozen fruit, 2 cups of juice, and 1 cup of yogurt with an optional squirt of honey or spoonful of jam. (I use honey or jam only if the yogurt is plain and the fruit tart–usually the sweetening is not needed.) The recipe makes 4 cups of smoothie goodness. Enough for a 2, 3, or 4 people for breakfast. Just making one for yourself? Get out the blender (you don’t even have to measure)… Pour in one to one-and-a-half cups of frozen fruit, 3/4 to 1 cup of juice, and a small container of yogurt. Whirl on high for about a minute. Done. What a way to start a summer day!!!

I like using the frozen fruit because then there’s no need to use ice–which dilutes the intensity and the goodness of the smoothie. Now don’t be using packaged frozen fruit this time of year. I know you want to buy all those fresh berries from the market. Go ahead! Freeze the leftovers. When the strawberries get a bit past their prime…, rinse, pull the stem off, freeze. Same with peaches nectarines, apricots, plums, and bananas. No need to peel them. Just wash, slice, and bag. Leftover fresh pineapple? mango? Slice, freeze, and bag along with some blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. (OK…,it’s best to ‘open freeze’ the fruit first. Place the sliced fruit on a tray, freeze as is, then remove to a Ziploc bag. If you freeze wet fruit it tends to freeze into a solid ball. Starting out the morning with a cleaver and a ball of frozen fruit can be frustrating…). By the end of the summer you will have a wide variety of frozen fresh fruit for your smoothies and think how great you’ll feel having had a few healthy servings of fruit each day for breakfast.

I made our first smoothies of the season yesterday. Frozen strawberries (all the frozen fruit we had, usually I have more of a variety), orange-mango juice, plain yogurt, and a squirt of honey.One for me, one for my nineteen year old son and his friend, and one for my eighteen month old grandson. My son, texting away, drank a third of his and said, “Can you make more of these?” I said, “Sure. Are you that hungry”. He said, “Yeah, I’ll have another one…, but my friends are driving by and they want to stop by and have one. I told them how good they were.”!

Tonight for dinner my grandson and I had smoothies made out of frozen strawberries and raspberries, orange juice, and blueberry yogurt. Delicious (even though the picture is one of the worst pictures I’ve ever posted). My son’s favorite is frozen peaches, peach yogurt, and any kind of juice. I like to jazz his up with some frozen raspberries or raspberry yogurt. My daughter likes a citrus smoothie–frozen pineapple, sometimes with some mango and banana, lemon or plain yogurt and grapefruit juice, orange juice, or lemonade. I like frozen raspberries and blueberries, plain or berry yogurt, and any kind of juice…, but orange-passion fruit is to die for…

Let me know your favorite flavor combination! Enjoy!

Polly’s 3-2-1 Smoothies

3 cups of frozen fruit
2 cups of fruit juice (start with orange…then experiment)
1 cup of yogurt (any kind)
optional squirt of honey or spoonful of jam

Put frozen fruit in blender. Cover with juice. Add in yogurt. Blend until thick and frosty. Add in a squirt of honey or jam, if desired. Whirl again to blend. Makes four cups of smoothie goodness. Pour into 2, 3, or 4 glasses. Add a straw…, and maybe a squirt of whipped cream. Serve. YUM!