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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I am home visiting my parents this weekend and while we were grocery shopping I saw some big stalks of red rhubarb. It reminded me that I have been wanting to make something with rhubarb so I mentioned it to my mom. She thought it would be fun to make a strawberry rhubarb pie and so we did.

I grabbed a pint of strawberries to add to the dish and they turned out to be some of the best looking strawberries I’ve ever seen.

Strawberries

I knew rhubarb had a distinct tart flavor to it so I wasn’t how much to use, but the recipe said 2 cups, so I used 2 cups.

Here are a couple quick facts about rhubarb.

  1. Although technically a vegetable, a New York court decided it was a fruit in 1947.
  2. The green leaves that grow on rhubarb are poisonous and therefore you won’t find them attached in stores.

Rhubarb

The strawberries and rhubarb are then mixed together with a cup of sugar and a half cup of flour.

The Filling 1

This makes the gooey pie filling which needs to rest for 30 minutes before baking.  The sugar interacts with the acidity in the fruit and the flour is added because both fruits produce a lot of water when baked and it acts as a thickening agent.

The Filling 2

Confession time.  The pie crust was made with gluten free flour which did not have the same consistency that regular flour produces.  It turned out too wet and did not roll or shape well at all.

Pie Filled

This is my attempt at making a cool pattern for the top crust.  Alternating cuts should have made a neat design but due to the consistency of the gluten free dough it didn’t turn out so well.

The Pattern

I had to freeze the top crust to make it easier to work with so that’s why it looks a little awkward here.  I brushed with an egg wash and sprinkled with sugar.

Top Crust

This baked for ~60 minutes on 400F.   It made the kitchen smell amazing and it looked ok as it came out.   The crazy thing is that the crust still wasn’t done.  It looked done but was still very soft and undercooked.   We let it cool for a couple hours and ate it with vanilla ice cream.

Cooked

The crust was soft and a little mealy which I can only attribute to the gluten free flour.  It was actually better the next day after it had been refrigerated over night.    I’ll need to redeem this attempt and make it again with a gluten-full All Purpose Flour crust.

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Easy Chicken Pot Pie

One of my favorite dishes is chicken pot pie.  I’m always on the prowl for a flaky crust wrapped around a hearty creamy chicken filling.   The Mrs. isn’t a big fan so I don’t eat it too often.  I made this bad boy after she left town recently.   I had left over pie crust from my recent banana cream pie and wanted to put it to good use.

This is the quick/easy recipe because I start with… I hate saying this… a can of cream of chicken soup.  GASP!  The HORROR!

I know, I know, I’m a hippogriff (nerd humor)… I’m mean hypocrite and I gave myself enough self loathing that you don’t have to.  I just tell myself “I’m doing it for those cooks who need a quick meal”, cause it makes me feel better. To the soup I add a cup or two of frozen mixed vegetables (depending on how much you like), salt, pepper and diced cooked chicken.

Soup and Chicken

This time I added in (uncooked) potatoes which was a first for me. You can skip this to make the dish ever quicker.  Cook this over medium until the vegetables and potatoes are soft.

Added Potatoes

I laid down the bottom pie crust in my cast iron pan and filled ‘er up.

Filled Up

Then I put the top layer on and put a couple slits to let the air escape.  I know the shot is blurry, I already told you my photographer was gone. I just wanted to show it nicely bundled up.

Blurry cover up

It bakes for 30-40 minutes at 375, until the crust is golden brown, and then it’s ready to eat.

Ready to Eat

I ate half for dinner and half for lunch the next day.  It’s good eaten hot or cold I discovered.


My First Frittata

I was on the prowl for a dinner idea and I was reminded of a dish a co-worker of mine frequently makes. The classic frittata.

I have to admit, I thought a frittata would be a bit more involved than it turned out to be.   As I do before all my endeavors, I started my research on recipes, approaches, and recommendations.   It didn’t take long to figure out that dinner was going to be eggs + whatever I wanted to add to it.

My cast iron skillet was the right move on this. I cooked up some potatoes and spinach in a little butter.

Potatoes and Spinach

Then I beat the eggs and added a few spices. I don’t remember exactly what I added. I think it included salt, pepper, basil, and maybe oregano.

Eggs and Spices

I added the egg mixture to the potatoes and let that cook on the stove over medium heat until it started to firm up.

Combined

Then I put it in the oven at 350f until completely set.

Finished Product

My co-worker suggests making this at the start of your week and having a slice for breakfast each morning.

The Mrs. and I decided we’d eat the whole thing.


The Cream of The Banana Crop

I’ve been in the mood to make a pie recently and learned a friend of ours, who just so happens to love pie, was having a birthday.  We knew one of his favorite pies was Banana Cream, which I have never made before, so I was excited to try it out.

The first thing to do was make the pie crust.  I’ve learned to make some killer pie crusts so I wasn’t worried about this step.  I followed my regular recipe and refrigerated the dough over night.

Basic pie crust

I then went on the hunt for the banana cream side of this pie.  I found a lot of various recipes and settled on this one from Martha Stewart.

I like to break down a recipe into basic components so I’m not intimidated by it.  To me “Banana Cream Pie” sounds daunting. So when I learned that a banana cream pie is nothing more than 1) vanilla pudding and 2) sliced bananas, it put my mind at ease.  I’ve made chocolate pudding before so I knew vanilla would be about the same.

Pudding can be tricky since you’re heating milk and eggs and want to end up with a thick custard.  I followed Martha’s recipe to a T and it came out perfectly.

I pre-baked the pie crust, put down a layer of banana slices, then filled it with the vanilla pudding/custard.  The egg yolks are what make it more of a custard and adds the nice flavor.

Filled Up

We then made our traditional whipped cream to finish it off.  Remember what whip cream is? Heavy cream + air.  You got it.  We added a little confectioner sugar this time for sweetness.  Here’s me piping it on like a true professional.

Piping the Cream

The final product.

Final Look

And once more at a cool angle.  You can almost taste it can’t you?

Angle Shot


Mexican Chicken and Rice

It was one of those nights where I hadn’t thought about dinner until it was time to eat and I knew we had chicken and rice on hand.  I went out search and found this recipe which I was very pleased with. I unfortunately don’t have any pictures of it but thought it the recipe was worth sharing.

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/mexican-chicken-and-rice

Step 1: Cook up rice.
Step 2: Cook up chicken, green pepper, onion (we just do the powder)
Step 3: Add to the chicken: corn, broth, salsa and seasonings (salt, pepper, chili powder)
Step 4: Combine rice, chicken mixture.
Step 5: Top with cheese
Step 6: Enjoy

I love when a good meal comes together with little thought and no planning.


The B.L.T. Pasta

I’m trying to remember how I came up with the idea for this meal but something deep inside me wanted it.  I remember we were talking with some friends who were having pasta for dinner and I had suggested having B.L.T sandwiches the week before so I think it somehow came together subconsciously.  It just so happened that the famous Chef John at Food Wishes had this planned out for me already.

I made a few substitutions to the recipe since I didn’t have any arugula or creme fraiche nearby.  Cause who really has those on hand?

I learned a bit about creme fraiche tonight.  First, I thought that yogurt or sour cream would be a good substitute, but read they don’t hold up under high heat and tend to separate.  I then read that Creme Fraiche is just heavy cream that has been soured and thickened.   Since I always have heavy cream on hand I decided to just use that instead.

While cooking the pasta and bacon (separately of course) I diced up the lettuce and tomatoes. Once the bacon was done I added garlic, lemon zest and heavy cream.  Once that had simmered a bit I threw in the lettuce and tomatoes for a minute and mixed in the pasta to create the final dish.  I let this cook for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors meld together and then it’s ready to serve.

B.L.T. Pasta


Blondes are my favorite

There’s an age old debate between blondes and brunettes and for the majority of my life I have resided in the blonde camp.  There’s definitely some very beautiful and attractive looking brownies, as I like to call them.  On both sides you’ll find some that are rich, a little nutty, dry humored, but almost always sweet.  It’s a tough choice and they both deserve our respect and admiration.

I introduced you to a brownie a few months ago so I’d like to introduce you to this blondie today.  Check the original site where I found her for some better looking photos.  I tend to cook at night under bad lighting so I apologize for my pictures.  My photographer had the night off.

These were super simple to make and turned out great, which is why they call this a “No-Fail” recipe. The best part is making the caramel which is simply butter + dark brown sugar.  You can’t go wrong when you start with that.

Caramel Base

Once melted together you add in the egg, vanilla extract, and flour.

Here’s where you get to have some fun.  Each blondie and brownie out there has their own personality,  that one thing that makes them stand out from the crowd.  I like to call it the special ingredient. I consider myself a traditional kind of guy so I chose the tried and true chocolate chips.  Please don’t ruin yours by choosing nuts. Just say No.

Dry Ingredients

A quick 25 minutes in the oven and you’re left with a beautiful, soft, chewy, blondie that’s ready to enjoy. Yes, I said that.

Baked

Presented

Hope you enjoy them!