This recipe comes together quickly and has a small list of ingredients that pack a spicy punch.
This recipe comes together quickly and has a small list of ingredients that pack a spicy punch.
First off, sorry I didn't mention it sooner but Happy Fourth of July everyone! I spent most of the day on the river and got fried.
As in, I don't remember the last time I got this burnt because I don't normally burn. And yes, I put on sunscreen, several times, but it must of washed off in the water. Lessons learned....
Secondly, again this week I'm sharing a recipe from "the vault". I posted this recipe last year and it is perfect for these sultry summers we are having where the last thing you want to do is crank up the oven for an hour to make dessert. Just a couple minutes in the oven to cook the pie crust and the rest is cooked right on the stove top in a flash. I'm making 2 of these pies tomorrow: 1 for my Grandma's birthday and 1 for my dear friend Lynnie who gave birth to the darling-est little girl on Tuesday. That deserves a pie!
Sweet. Tart. Floral. Berries are the perfect combination of those three tastes. And when you pair them up with a crusty, salty, flaky crust you just might feel like you're in heaven. Think I'm exaggerating? My friends, I wouldn't steer you wrong.
I first saw a version of this recipe on the site Rachel Cooks. She made a beautiful, shiny blueberry pie that appeared to hold together remarkably well. That is one thing about berry pies that has always bothered me; they tend to be runny and the filling dumps into the middle of the pie pan after the first slice is removed. I have experimented with adding tapioca pearls to my berry cobblers with great success. But those little pearls can be telling and can potentially cook unevenly and flour just makes the filling it murky but I knew there must be a way to incorporate some other thickener to get the results I was looking for.
After reading the full recipe I saw that she adapted it from a blueberry pie recipe by Baked Bree. Again, she shows a glossy pie that held together quite well.
So after reading both recipes I concluded that the trick was indeed cornstarch. A surprisingly large amount of it: 6 tablespoons. I was a little hesitant to put that much cornstarch into my pie but then I realized, this filling is pre-cooked. And you pour it into a pre-cooked pie shell. Pre-cooking the filling allows the cornstarch to get even distributed and come fully up to temperature, allowing it to dissolve and thicken. I was a tad wary that it might make my pie cloudy but if you look at their photos, it doesn't appear to have effected their results so what-the-hay, I would give it a try!
(Don't be confused by the sight of 2 pies below. We had 2 family get-togethers that day so I went ahead and doubled the recipe so each gathering would have it's own pie.)
First things first, I had to get some berries. The other 2 recipes call for all blueberries but I crave plump, juicy blackberries (or better yet boysenberries) this time of year, so instead I opted for a combo of fresh blackberries and frozen wild blueberries. Off I went to a local farm stand to find some fresh blackberries. 5 miles down the road I found 7 full pints of the biggest blackberries I have ever seen. I bought them all, even though I really only needed 4. And yes, we ate them all.
About that time I realized I had not eaten lunch! There was a brief intermission so I could whip up a fresh blackberry vanilla protein shake. And eat a handful of berries.
While my pie crusts were cooling I worked on the filling which was as simple as throwing everything into a pot, stirring well till it boiled, stirring a few minutes more, then setting it aside to cool.
I let the filling cool just for bit then tossed in a few more whole berries for good measure, then poured it into my pie shells. Into the fridge they went for a good 3-4 hours and then we devoured. The filling stayed together beautifully and the flavor was intensely "berry". The tartness of the blackberries rounded out the sweet perfume of the blueberries... ohhhhh, it was heaven.
The full recipe is below, with my own changes. I hope you can give it a try because it really was one of the easiest pies I've made and truly delicious.
(adapted from Baked Bree)
In a large saucepan, combine 2 pints of blackberries (reserving the 1/2 pint for later), blueberries, and cornstarch, stirring gently so as not to damage the blackberries. After the cornstarch is evenly distributed, add the salt, sugar, water and lemon juice and turn the heat up to medium high. Stirring occasionally, allow the mixture to come up to a soft boil. Continue to stir for 2-4 more minutes, letting the mixture get thick and coat the spoon. Remove from heat and add the butter, gently stirring to combine.
Allow the mixture to cool slightly then add the 1/2 pint reserved blackberries then pour mixture into your cooled pie shell. Cover loosely with plastic wrap (just to make sure nothing falls into it) and set in refrigerator to cool for at least 3-4 hours before serving.
PS: You might have a little extra filling so might I recommend cooling it then using it to top a serving of full fat Greek yogurt? Trust me, it's yummy.
If you must transport your pie before it has rested in the refrigerator for 3 hours, be sure to place it in a cardboard box or you will end up with blackberry pie filling all over your car. You have been warned.
Summer is in full swing! I love it, even the 100 degree heat wave we are having here in Northern California. Sunshine makes me happy!
In honor of summer I'm sharing my recipe for easy but tasty Triple Berry Sauce. This sauce is terrific over ice cream, strawberry shortcake or my personal favorite, cheesecake. It's the perfect light summer condiment. Let's get started!
The ingredients are so simple:
Place the berries in a medium saucepan with just a splash of water. Add the lemon, sugar and cinnamon.
Cook the mixture over medium high, stirring occasionally to coax the berries to break down and the mixture comes to a soft boil.
Once the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, take it off the heat and using a big spoon or potato masher, make sure the berries are all broken down, letting their juices out. You could give it a whirl with an immersion blender to break down the fruit, just be extra careful, you don't want to wear this berry sauce! It stains clothing, trust me.
Pour the mixture through a sieve, pressing and scraping the solids to get all the berry goodness out.
Pour the sauce into container and place in the refrigerator to cool. Drizzle the cold sauce over your favorite dessert!
Occasionally, I add a little framboise (raspberry liqueur) or creme de cassis (black current liqueur) to the saucepan for a little extra kick, but it's totally optional.
Just sitting here thinking about it, I'm dreaming up new ways to eat this sauce: drizzled over grilled peaches, mixed with Greek yogurt, a few dollops in a smoothie... my mouth is watering!
Give it a shot, I know you will love it!
I'm not sure that "sprinkle with salt & pepper; broil for 10-15 minutes" qualifies as a recipe but I really, really wanted to share this favorite food with you today. I was shocked (shocked I tell you!) to discover how many people have never heard of this product after I put a picture of it up on my Instagram feed.
Everyone assumed it was bacon because, well, it does look an awful lot like thick cut bacon. But it's not bacon. Close but no cigar.
There were some other great guesses:
We had this about once per week growing up and there was never enough because everyone loved it. Hot, meaty, salty, a little crunchy...
... It's called Side Pork!
Yes, it looks just like bacon but there are some distinct differences. I will share:
First of all, Side Pork is not cured. It is raw as raw can be which is why you need to generously salt it before cooking. No curing means no nitrates, yippeee!
Secondly, Side Pork is from a little further up the side of the pig than bacon. Bacon is closer to the belly where all the fat is. Side Pork does have fat on it but certainly less than bacon, especially after it renders down. Side Pork is much meatier than bacon which makes it a perfect, protein-packed breakfast food. I have been known to eat it for dinner as well.
Lastly, Side Pork has a sort of...rind. I'm not 100% sure, but I believe it's the skin of the piggie, the part that you would normally use to make crack'lins or chicharron. For me, this is what Side Pork is all about because after it cooks in the oven, it gets all curly and crispy and toasted. Some parts of the rind also get sorta chewy. It will be the last part you eat and you will chew on it for a while. I'm not gonna lie, it can be tough and rubbery. Kind of like pork-flavored chewing gum. But I grew up gnawing on those skinny rinds so it doesn't seem weird to me, I suppose just like Spam is normal to some people. You will either love it or hate it. If you hate it, just don't eat it or you can cut it off before cooking.
Side Pork can be hard to find. Once I asked one of the youngsters at the meat counter of my local supermarket if they had any Side Pork and he pointed me to the "fat back" next to the bacon. I didn't know whether to correct him or pat him on the head & pinch his cheeks. Kids today!
If you have a reliable, experienced butcher he can order Side Pork for you and may even have some in stock. My Uncle P. (you also know him as Uncle Farmer's Market) has a butcher that orders it for him. A couple weeks ago he paid $2.99/lb for it. I'm a little embarrassed to tell you that I don't know how that price compares to bacon but I just don't buy bacon that often so... maybe you can tell me.
If given the choice, I prefer it cut thinner rather than thicker. Certainly no thicker than thick-cut bacon. I like it on the thinner side because I feel that the fat renders out a little better. But don't get me wrong... I'll eat it thick, thin or anywhere in between.
Once you find some Side Pork, cooking it is pretty simple. Generously salt both sides with salt and a little pepper. Place it on a baking sheet lined with foil or broiler pan and broil for 10-15 minutes (depending on the thickness). It needs to get well browned so that the fat melts out and the rind curls up and gets dark in some spots. Flip it over and let the other side get a little toasty as well, about 2 minutes. Place the cooked Side Pork on paper towel to drain off any extra fat and serve hot.
I hope you can find some Side Pork and give it a try!
Like you didn't see that one coming, right?
Obviously I was going to use my own new recipe for our Friday Recipe even though I kinda-sorta shared it with you already on Tuesday because:
1. My knee has recovered enough that I can drive and walk reasonably well, so I've been running all sorts of errands this week and didn't have time to come up with a different recipe.
2. It's a really good recipe. Really. And I don't want my readers to miss it.
This recipe comes together in the food processor and has a short list of ingredients.
There is just a teensy bit of butter involved. Or you can omit the butter and just use olive oil. I'm flexible like that.
I ate the leftovers for breakfast. This recipe is good hot out of the oven or later after it's cooled off a bit.
You can get the full list of ingredients and the directions from this post over at The Ranting Chef.
Oh my gosh I'm so excited I can't stand it! I have had something in the works, a little something up my sleeve but I was keeping it a secret... well because I had to. I thought it was going to "launch" tomorrow but I came home from dinner tonight and noticed the traffic on my site was waaaay up. Guess what?! It happened today so now I can share it with you!!
Today I have the privilege of being a guest poster over at the amazing site The Ranting Chef!!
The Ranting Chef (Pat), has a site that is chock-full of inspiring recipes, helpful tips and fun community of food writers and people who just like to eat! One of my favorite things about The Ranting Chef is that you can search his recipes by ingredient...brilliant! Please, please pop on over to Pat's site and check it out, I promise you won't be disappointed!!
I'm really proud of this recipe, I put months and months of thought into the flavor combos, using Bree & LeiLani as my taste-testers. This Lemon-Dill Baked Ricotta dip comes together in a flash, is cheap to make and is very versatile.
Here it is, as promised! I'm really excited to share this Friday Recipe with you for a few reasons:
I have very few memories of my mother cooking with pre-packaged, processed foods. She preferred to make things from scratch, and she could. She was a brilliant cook. Ironically, although she was very health conscious (very!), she was fine with sweet treats that were homemade in our kitchen and we made this recipe for Homemade Cracker Jack often.
It's easy enough to whip up on a weeknight after dinner and still maintain a feeling of health because the ingredients are very natural. You can easily increase or decrease the size of your batch, making it a perfect party snack.
Are you ready? Let's get started! The full recipe will be at the end of this post, but I'll walk you through the finer points:
This recipe starts out simple enough... pop some popcorn. You can use air popped corn, microwave popcorn (natural, not flavored) or you can do the stovetop method, which is my personal favorite. You are going to need about 2 quarts of popcorn. Don't know how much that is? It is roughly 1/2 cup unpopped kernels but you can also use a 2 qt sauce pan to measure your corn after it is popped. This recipe is casual, easy-going, forgiving. Don't get too hung up on getting exactly 2 quarts of popped corn, just estimate. All will be well, I promise.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat combine the honey, butter and my addition, molasses. The molasses is optional, my mom didn't use it. But I think it adds one more delectable layer of flavor.
After those ingredients are melted and combined add the peanuts. Some of you observant ones are looking at the above photo and thinking, "Those don't look like peanuts!" You caught me! It turns out, I was all out of peanuts so I grabbed some almond slivers. This proves my point that this recipe is so easy, so forgiving. You can swap the peanuts for your favorite nut or better yet, use a combination of nuts. You could even leave the nuts out or use pumpkin seeds & sunflower seeds instead.
Pour the melted honey-butter mixture over the popcorn and then using your hands or two spoons lightly toss the popcorn so the syrup and nuts are evenly distributed.
Slide the gooey popcorn onto a shallow baking sheet. I line mine with parchment so the cleanup is a snap. Spread the popcorn across the pan in a single, even layer. You observant ones have caught me again, "That doesn't look like a single layer!" Do as I say, not as I do! My pan was a little too small. But you can get around that non-problem by either giving the popcorn a little stir halfway through OR bake it in 2 batches.
Into a preheated 350 degree oven it goes for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it! It will be very sad if it burns because there is no salvaging burnt cracker jack. It will turn golden brown as it bakes, pull it out before it starts turning dark brown.
This part is important: when you take it out of the oven you must let it cool! You will be greatly tempted to start snacking on your cracker jack as soon as it comes out of the oven. It will smell nutty and sweet, glistening from the butter and honey. Resist! You will blister your fingers and taste buds, I speak from experience. Also, the popcorn might appear to be a little soggy when it first comes out of the oven. Be patient dear friend, you will be rewarded.
After about 15 minutes of relaxing on the counter the popcorn will be nearly dry and cool enough to touch. Slide your cracker jack into a big bowl, give it a little toss to break up any big clumps and enjoy!
It's crunchy and sweet. It's salty and nutty. It's addicting. I really hope you will give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!
1/4 cup salted butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup honey
1 Tablespoon molasses (optional)
2 quarts popped corn, in a large bowl
3/4 cup peanuts (can substitute other nuts, seeds or leave out completely)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter, honey and molasses in a small saucepan over medium heat. Mix in the nuts. Pour mixture evenly over the popcorn and toss lightly to coat the popcorn evenly with the butter mixture. Spread the sticky popcorn onto a shallow baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake the popcorn for 10-15 minutes, giving it a stir halfway through. Remove the popcorn from the oven when it has turned golden brown. Let it cool on the counter or stove top for 15 minutes before transferring to a large bowl. Gently toss to break up any clumps and enjoy!
Uhhhh, ok so your Friday Recipe is really not coming until Sunday. But it's worth it, I promise!
By now you all know what a Dutch Baby is, right? A little over a year ago recipes for Dutch Babies, or German Pancake, or Oven Pancake started popping up everywhere and to be completely honest, I was dumbfounded. Not because they aren't amazing, but because I couldn't believe how many people had never heard of them before. My mother made Dutch Babies at least once a week for breakfast from the time I was little. And everyone loved them. They are buttery, crusty and chewy at the same time and the perfect vehicle for a sweet topping, like maple syrup.
Dutch Babies are really economical and require only the most basic of ingredients: milk, eggs, flour, sugar, butter. They are also speedy to make, which I'm sure is one of the reasons my mother made them so often. The whole batter is made in the blender, poured into a preheated pan and ready to eat in less than 1/2 hour. Good stuff.
But what about when you're not serving breakfast to a family of 6? What if it's just you and your significant other? Or just yourself? It seems so wasteful to bake a great big Dutch Baby only to toss most of it in the waste bin.
That's why today I took my mother's original recipe that serves approximately 6 people and shrunk it down to create the Itty Bitty Dutch Baby, serving 1-2 people.
As you can see, the cast of characters is pretty simple. Just 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of milk (not pictured), 1 tablespoon sugar (optional), scant 1/4 cup all purpose flour, and 2 tablespoons of butter. And an itty, bitty skillet. Today I used an 8 inch stainless steel skillet but you could also use a small baking dish, cast iron skillet, muffin tin, just about anything with a lip on it that can hold about 1 cup worth of liquid.
Because it was such a small batch, I could forgo the big blender and use my immersion blender and the small cup that came with it. Easier cleanup, I love it!
After the butter melted and the mixture was blended, I simply poured the mixture into the hot pan and put it back in the oven until puffy and golden!
See how puffy it got! Be sure to bake it in the middle of the oven so it doesn't puff up to the top of the oven.
Serve it immediately, while it's still piping hot. My favorite topping is molasses but classically it is served with maple syrup or a lemony glaze. It would also be great smothered in raspberry jam or a warmed fruit compote!
This Itty Bitty Dutch Baby is large enough to feed 2 hungry people or 1 very hungry person. I'm not saying I ate the whole thing. I'm not saying that.
Start by heating an 8 inch pan in a 425 degree oven, with a generous pat of butter in the pan. Next, in a blender blend the eggs for about 30 seconds and then add the milk and sugar, blending again for 30 seconds. Gradually add the flour, again mixing for about 30 seconds. By now the butter should be melted, foaming and just starting to brown. Pour the batter into the hot pan and bake for 12-15 minutes. The pancake will puff up as it cooks. When the edges are dark brown and the middle is just beginning to turn golden it's ready! The pancake will deflate as soon as you take it out of the oven, don't worry, that's supposed to happen. Slice it into wedges and serve with maple syrup, lemon sauce, jam or my personal favorite, molasses.
Corn. Butter. Herbs. Spices. Could a recipe be any more simple than that? Ok, there is a touch more to the process but not much.
Last weekend I was preparing some plump, fresh corn on the cob (just boil the water & when you smell corn it's ready) when I started craving... something spicy. I do have a special place in my heart for chile spiked corn. But as most of you know, I have an even bigger space in my heart for butter. So I did what anyone would do, I combined the two. Double the love! Oh, and I had a tiny bit of cilantro leftover from salsa-making so I added that to the mix too. Triple the love!
More specifically, I let 1 cube of butter come to room temperature inside my mini food processor. I sprinkled in a scant pinch of smoked Serrano powder (this stuff is seriously hot but definitely addictive), a tiny pinch of salt (because the butter was already salted), a couple grinds from the pepper mill and about 1/4 cup of loosely packed cilantro leaves. After a couple pulses on the food processor I had this:
I slathered my herbed & spiced compound butter onto the hot corn and as my brother would say, "Boy howdy!". I didn't even bother to tell everyone else what was on the corn. I let them blindly chomp into the buttery goodness and then I basked in the chorus of "Mmmmms!" and "Yuuuuummmms!"
I usually lean towards the Mexican side of flavors but the possibilities with compound butters are virtually endless. Someday I might try these variations:
And you don't have to limit your use of compound butter to corn. Compound butters are great on steaks, french bread, sandwiches, chicken, popcorn... anywhere you would normally spread a little buttery-love. If you have extra you can roll it up in waxed paper and save it for a later day. It can store in the fridge for about 1 week or the freezer for a couple months. About 5 minutes of effort for a BIG flavor payoff. Make some today, you wont regret it!
I'm hoping to catch up on some art projects this weekend. I'm taking the Brave Girl Art School course from Melody Ross. So far it is so much fun and I know it will just get better and better. I hope you are doing something fun this weekend, see you back here next week!