Jul 27, 2011

Strawberry Pie

strawberry pie 2

If you’ve never had fresh strawberry pie – you are really missing out.   It is just about as all American as apple pie.  My family gets together every year on the 4th of July – and I hope to make this pie as part of that tradition.  You have to make this with fresh, local strawberries for the best result – but you could use California ones in a pinch.  This pie went so quickly I was lucky I even got to try a piece of it.  Enjoy – I promise you will not be disappointed!  

strawberry pie 1

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pints (about 2 1/2 to 3 lbs.) fresh strawberries, gently rinsed and dried, hulled
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Sure-Jell for low-sugar recipes (pink box)
  • pinch table salt
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 baked 9-inch pie shell (I use the recipe in this post)
  • whipped cream (homemade or store-bought)

Directions

1. To make the filling, select 6 oz. misshapen, under-ripe or otherwise unattractive berries, halving those that are large; you should have about 1 1 1/2 cups.  In the food processor, process the berries to a smooth puree, about 30 seconds.  You should have about 3/4 cup of the puree.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, Sure-Jell and salt; whisk to combine.  Stir in the strawberry puree.  Cook the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and bring to a full boil.  Boil for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan constantly.  Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the lemon juice.  Let cool to room temperature.

3. Meanwhile, pick over the remaining berries and measure out 2 pounds of the most attractive ones; halve only extra-large berries.  Add the berries to the bowl with the glaze and fold gently with a spatula until the berries are evenly coated.

4. When getting ready to serve, scoop the berries into the pie shell, piling into a mound.  If any cut sides face up on the top, turn them face down.  Refrigerate the pie until chilled, about 2 hours.  Serve within 5 hours of chilling. Serve with whipped cream.

Source: Cooks Illustrated, May/June 2011

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Jul 21, 2011

Frozen Strawberry and Cream Bars

strawberry cream bars 2

I made a call out on Facebook for suggestions when I had my 16 quarts of strawberries – and I got lots of suggestions on what to make and this was one of them (thanks Cathy!).  I liked the idea of making things that can be frozen – like ice cream, popsicles, etc. – because they last much longer than say a strawberry cake or muffins.   These were really simple to mix up together and I enjoyed that the crust stayed crunchy.  Another cool, refreshing treat to make for a summer get together!  Enjoy! 

strawberry cream bars 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cups slivered and chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 whole egg whites
  • 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups whipping (heavy) cream
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups crushed strawberries

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

2. Combine flour, brown sugar, almonds and melted butter in a medium bowl.  Spread gently in an 8×8″ pan.

3. Bake at 325°F for 20 minutes. Stir a couple of times. Cool.

4. Once cooled, evenly press 2/3 of the mixture in the 8×8″ pan to create the crust. Set aside the remaining 1/3 of the mixture.

5. Beat egg whites and granulated sugar until stiff.

6. In a separate bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form.

7. Gently combine beaten egg whites, whipped cream, lemon juice, and crushed strawberries. Spread the mixture over the crust.

8. Sprinkle remaining crust/crumb mixture on top.

9. Freeze at least for 3-6 hours.  Cut in squares to serve.

Source: The Tasty Kitchen

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Jul 18, 2011

Strawberry Ricotta Popsicles

strawberry ricotta popsicles

It’s hot hot hot here – like 90 degrees – which is really hot for Buffalo.  We only have window air conditioners so we can sleep at night during the summer.  But the rest of the house is about as hot as it is outside.  I actually don’t mind it completely – because I’m in air conditioning at work, in the car and at night.  I don’t want to have to live all summer without actually feeling the heat summer (all you have to do is think about how cold it is during the winter – and you don’t mind the heat).   But the heat and humidity can be really draining – and these popsicles turned out to be the perfect relief to the heat.   They are super easy – you just mix everything up in your food processor and then pour into popsicle molds and freeze.  They are not overly sweet and they are creamy and refreshing.  You would never even know there was ricotta cheese in there if I didn’t tell you.   I think I’m going to finish up this post now – so I can go have one Smile   Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 pint (12 oz.) fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 2 cups (15 oz.) part-skim or whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions

1. Puree strawberries in a blender or food processor. Add ricotta cheese, sugar and lemon juice; blend or process 2 minutes.

2. Pour into freezer pop molds and cover with popsicle mold tops.  Freeze 3 hours or until firm.  Makes 8-10 popsicles.

Source: My Baking Addiction

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Jul 14, 2011

Strawberry Daiquiri Ice Cream

strawberry daqu ice cream 2

My husband and I went to Bermuda for our honeymoon two years ago.  And while on the cruise ship there we did a rum tasting – and ended up buying three bottles of rum!   So when I had an overabundance of strawberries and I found this recipe (which includes rum!) – I knew I was all set!  Actually adding alcohol to homemade ice cream helps keep a softer consistency when frozen.   Fortunately this only made a small dent in both my strawberry and rum stash – so I can definitely make more of this when I feel like it!. 

I have to say – this is some of the best ice cream I’ve ever made.  It’s super smooth, creamy and sweet.   

strawberry daqu ice cream 3

Believe me – you will see the bottom of your glass before you know it!   Enjoy!

strawberry daqu ice cream 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar, separated
  • Zest from 2 limes
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups (~12 ounces) strawberry puree
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp. rum

Directions

1. In a medium saucepan, rub the lime zest into 1/2 cup of the sugar until fragrant.  Add the half-and-half  and pinch of salt and heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it simmers.

2. Pour the cream into a large bowl; set a fine-mesh strainer over the bowl.

3. In a separate medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. When the half-and-half simmers, very slowly pour it into the beaten egg yolks, whisking constantly.

4. Pour the mixture back into the pot and bring just to a simmer over medium heat, still whisking constantly (the mixture should reach 170 degrees F).

5. Pour through the strainer into the bowl with the cream; stir to combine. Mix in the strawberry puree, lime juice, and rum.  Chill until cold, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

6. Freeze the ice cream custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and freeze until firm.

Source: slightly adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

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Jul 11, 2011

Strawberry Bruschetta

strawberry bruchetta 1

I wasn’t joking in my last post – after I am done with my strawberry posts you are going to think we’ve turned red – I’ve made that many different recipes already.   We enjoyed these as a pre-dinner appetizer and they were fulfilling and refreshing.  Reminded me a little of the salmon with strawberry salsa I made last year (of course without the salmon).   They are a great easy appetizer that would be fun to serve at an outdoor summer party!  Enjoy!

strawberry bruchetta 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 French baguette, sliced on a bias
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced basil leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Combine the  strawberries and sugar in a small bowl; toss to combine.  Let the berries macerate for about 30 minutes so that they begin to release their juices. 

2. Spread a thin layer of goat cheese on top of each baguette slice.  Top each slice with the strawberry mixture. 

3. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Top each slice with the basil leaves and cracked pepper, to taste.

Source: Annie’s Eats

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Jul 6, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake

strawberries 1

I had a bit of a mini heart attack a few weekends ago – I had plans to go to a strawberry farm to pick up a bunch of local strawberries to freeze and to use in some recipes.  Well I go to their website for directions – and they are already done picking for the season!  Eeek – my heart seriously stopped and I immediately went into search mode online.   Luckily I found another farm that wasn’t too far away and they still had berries available.  So I immediately got in my car and drove there – expecting to buy about 6 quarts.   I get there and they are selling flats (each with 8 quarts) for buy one get one free – since I can’t pass up a deal – I had to get it.  So that’s how I ended up with 16 quarts of strawberries.  

strawberries 2

Let me just say this – 16 quarts is a LOT of strawberries.  The hard thing is that you need to process them fairly quickly before they get mushy and moldy.   It almost doesn’t need to be said – but I have lots of strawberry recipes to share coming up soon. 

strawberry shortcake 2

I knew that the first thing I wanted to make though was basic strawberry shortcakes.  I’ve been craving these since last year when I made them (but my photos got lost so I never shared them here).  

You have to have the perfect biscuit that soaks up the juices and compliments the sweet strawberries.  This recipe is it!   I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Eating these made me reminiscent of 5 years ago when we went to Coney Island to help our friends selling Strawberry shortcakes at their booth there. Good times! 

strawberry shortcake 1

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
  • 5 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 cubes
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. half-and-half
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 6 cups strawberries, hulled
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar
  • whipped cream (store-bought or homemade)

Directions

1. For the fruit: Crush 2 cups of strawberries with a potato masher.   Slice remaining berries and stir into crushed berries along with 4 Tbsp. sugar. Set aside. 

2. For the shortcakes: Adjust oven rack to middle-lower position and heat until 425 degrees F.

3. In food processor, pulse flour, 3 Tbsp. sugar, baking powder and salt to combine.   Scatter butter over and process until mixture resembles coarse meal – about fifteen 1-second pulses.   Transfer to a medium bowl.

4. Mix beaten egg with half and half.  Pour into flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until large clumps form.  Turn onto floured work surface and lightly knead until it comes together. 

5. Pat dough into 9 by 6 inch rectangle about 3/4 inch thick.  Flour a 2 3/4 inch biscuit cutter and cut out into 6 dough rounds.  Pull the scraps together to make 2 or 3 more shortcakes.

6. Place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet, brush tops with beaten egg white and sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar. 

7. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes.  Cook on wire rack until warm, about 10 minutes.

8. When shortcakes are cool, split in half and portion fruit on top and dollop with whipped cream. 

Source: Cook’s Illustrated

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Jul 1, 2011

Mexican Pizza

taco pizza 1

I’m actually not usually a fan of mexican taco pizza – I mean it is typically loaded up with greasy beef topped with loads of cheese and piled on top with shredded iceberg lettuce that wilts within minutes.  But this version of mexican pizza was the complete opposite of that one.   The ‘sauce’ is actually pureed black beans.  I topped this with a mixture of cheddar and monterey jack cheeses and packed it full of yummy toppings – tomatoes, olives, spinach, corn, onions, jalapenos and scallions.  Both my husband and I really enjoyed it – it was the perfect meal on a cool summer evening when I didn’t mind turning on the hot oven. Enjoy!

taco pizza 2

Ingredients

  • 1 ball pizza dough (your favorite homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. chicken broth
  • 3 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 oz. shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 jalapeƱo, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/3 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/3 cup chopped spinach (defrosted frozen spinach)

Directions

1. To make the pizza, preheat the oven and a pizza stone at 450˚ F for at least 15-30 minutes. 

2. Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch round.  Lightly brush the perimeter of the dough with olive oil.

3. Combine the black beans, cumin, paprika, cayenne, chili powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Puree until ground into a paste.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  With the processor running, add the chicken broth through the feed tube until a smooth mixture is formed. 

4. Spread the bean puree onto the shaped pizza crust in an even layer (I did not use all of the puree).

5.  Layer evenly with the cheddar and monterey jack cheese.  Sprinkle the jalapeƱo, red onion, tomato, corn, olives and spinach over the cheese layer.

6. Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats

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