Strawberry & Rhubarb Season Repost

Had to repost this Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp recipe.  Now is the perfect time to pick your own strawberries and rhubarb and also to make this crisp.

A request was put in for me to bring my banana cream pie (this one I’d created the crust out of banana Cheerios) to a friend’s barbecue.  But it was forecast to be one of the hottest, most horrifically humid days of the hottest July’s on record, last thing I wanted to do was stand over the stove whisking the eggs and sugar until they reach 165°F.  So instead, I baked a crisp.  At least I could leave the kitchen while it was in the oven.

I had some rhubarb from my CSA and I bought some organic strawberries (we’re into blueberries round here now).  They make such a great sweet-tart combination and I wanted to use up the rhubarb. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
In a bowl mix: 

2 cups of strawberries, cut·
1 1/2 – 2 cups of rhubarb, cut 
sugar- about 1 Tbsp, just enough to coat them
juice of 1/4 lemon
2 Tbsp flour 

Crumb topping:

2 cups oats·        
2 cups oat flour (or wheat flour)        
1 cup minus 2 Tbsp loosely packed brown sugar
1/4 c maple syrup
1 stick butter (if you use unsalted add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt) cut into small pieces.  

Mix ingredients together until you notice crumbly appearance.

 Pour into 9×9 inch glass pan and top with crumb mixture.

Bake  it at 400°F for 20 minutes then at 325° for 20 minutes.  I warmed it later at my friend’s in the oven and served it with vanilla ice cream.   

My eldest son loved it! The other kids weren’t interested that evening, but had some as left-overs next day.  Next time I’ll make nectarine and blueberry pie or crisp, my other favorite combo.  

Easy Peasy Pie Crust

I used to shy away from making my own pie crusts because I thought it was difficult and time consuming.  Then I read Mark Bittman’s recipe and how it just takes a few minutes with a food processor.  The recipe I use is adapted from Allison Holst’s pie crust in her Bacon & Egg pie recipe.  You can add some sugar for a sweet pie crust.  

Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups AP flour (more if needed plus some for dusting surface)
1/4 cup spelt flour (optional- use more AP if omitting) 
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, very cold & cut into pieces
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vinegar

Add vinegar to milk and set aside.

Pulse dry ingredients together in food processor until mixed.  Add butter and process until butter is mostly incorporated (fine if small pieces, but don’t over do it as you want some chunky bits for flakiness).  

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Slowly add milk/vinegar.  The dough should start coming together, if too sticky add more flour.  It will be done when it forms a ball.   IMG_0961IMG_0964

Place on floured surface and split into 2 or you can wrap well and place in fridge for a couple of days. 
Roll with flour on both sides so it doesn’t stick. 
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When it is your desired thickness/thinness you can place in pie plate.  Fill and bake! IMG_0972 IMG_0976 IMG_0979IMG_0984IMG_0987

This was a version of bacon & egg pie I made because I messed up a recipe calling for egg yolks– I blended the whole egg together; actually 11 whole eggs.  

At least I have a great lunch and possibly dinner!

Now to go get some more eggs so I can make my Thanksgiving Day Apple Cream Pie (using just egg yolks!)


Thanksgiving Pie idea- Triple Layer Pumpkin Pie

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My computer died a few weeks back and I fixed it, by myself :-), a couple of days ago.  So, I’m finally back online with more than a smartphone. 


I will be creating a quick pie crust tutorial but haven’t gotten to it yet.  This year for Thanksgiving I am making a sous vide apple cream pie (not all of it is made sous vide) which I haven’t attempted before. I wanted to give anyone a fabulous recipe (actually 2 different recipes) for a great Thanksgiving Day pie.  The following recipe(s) is one of my favorite pies– Triple Layer Pumpkin Pie.  It is time consuming, so unless you’re super organized and already have 3/4 of your Thanksgiving meal cooked, I suggest it for those who only need to take an item or three to family or friend’s house. 


This is a repost from a couple years back, but made it many times and it’s always a winner.  I’ve used several different custard recipes too.  Might try a sous vide one as well next time.  Pie 1 recipe comes from a pastry chef that used to work at Tavern on Main in Westport, CT many moons ago.

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 Keep saying that I should really call it Quadruple Layer as I put another layer of Whipped Cream on Top of this.

You’ll need a couple of hours to complete this.

Triple Layer Pumpkin Pie– 2 Ways

Pie #2 Crust

2 cups flour

1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces (increase by 1 Tbsp if you don’t use lard)

1 Tbsp cold lard (optional)

1 cup milk

1 tsp white vinegar

(if you use unsalted butter, add 1/4 tsp salt)

Preheat oven to 375F. Mix milk with vinegar and set aside.  In food processor, pulse flour with butter and lard until they are size of beans.  Divide in two and place in refrigerator for 10 minutes.  Take one ball of dough and place on well floured surface.  (If you have marble, granite or any cold counter, use that.) Roll out turning and flipping every 2-3 rolls so that it will become circular and won’t stick to surface.  Ease into pie plate.  Prick center with fork and weigh down center with aluminum foil or parchment topped with pie weights (pennies, dried beans).  Bake 10-15 minutes until lightly golden.   Set aside to cool.

Triple (Quadruple) Layer Pumpkin Pie

Mix together spices:

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

3/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

 Then divide into two— one for custard layer, one for mousse layer.

Custard Layer:

1 cup pumpkin puree

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

spice mixture from above

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 Tbsp brandy (I used Calvados)

Preheat oven to 350F. With a whisk mix pureed pumpkin and sugars in bowl, slowly add eggs then remaining ingredients.  Pour into pre-baked pie shell and bake until set (about 40 minutes).  When you gently shake it it should move like Jello not liquid, but don’t let it go until it cracks too much (overdone).  Let cool on wire rack then place in fridge for at least an hour.

Whipped Cream Layer:

2 cups heavy cream

1 Tbsp sugar

Whip together until stiff.  Use 1 cup to spread over custard layer.  Reserve 1/2 cup for mousse layer and 1/2 cup for top.  Place pie and remaining cream in fridge.

Pumpkin Mousse Layer:

1 Tbsp unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

3/4 cup brown sugar

4 egg yolks

3 egg whites (save or throw away the extra white)

spice mixture from above

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

Reserved1/2 cup whipped cream

Mix pumpkin and brown sugar in a medium sausepan.  Add egg yolks (if you separate using shells or hands, make sure no yolk gets in the white) and spices.  Over medium to medium-low heat warm until boiling, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  In small sauce pan put water then gelatin, then warm to dissolve (do not boil).  Add gelatin to pumpkin mixture and whisk until well mixed.  Place saucepan with mixture into a shallow pan of cold water (don’t let water get into saucepan) helping it cool.  Cool until mixture mounds slightly when dropped from spoon.

Whip egg whites and sugar until stiff.  (Copper bowls help egg whites stiffen) Gently fold reserved 1/2 cup whipped cream with egg whites then gently fold together with pumpkin mixture.  Finally spread over whipped cream layer heaping in center.  You can top with more whipped cream, or leave as is. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pumpkin Custard Layer #2 (Alice Water’s Pumpkin Pie)

1 cup cream

2 tsp flour

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

3 eggs

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

pinch fresh ground black pepper

1 1/2 tsp brandy (optional)

In small saucepan whisk together 1/4 cup cream with flour over low heat until it comes to a boil and thickens.  Slowly whisk in remaining cream.  Continue whisking until it returns to boil.  Remove from heat.  In a medium bowl whisk together pumpkin and eggs.  In another bowl combine sugars and spices.  Combine all three mixtures and whisk in brandy (Again, I used Calvados).  Pour into pre-baked pie shell and bake for 45 minutes until center is just setting.  Place foil around rim if it’s browning too much.  Let cool on wire rack then fridge before adding other layers.  This one I did the mousse next then the whipped cream. 

They were both delicious, though I couldn’t decide which one I liked better.  My kids were so excited to try it during the baking/making of it and when I was carrying it to car,  but once we got there and there were so many other foods and desserts only my eldest was as enthusiastic enough to eat any.   He loved them both too!

Either custard layer can be used as your traditional pumpkin pie without all the layers. 

Turning One Obsession into Cake

Middle son wins own cake in Cake Walk

My son is so thrilled to have won his own prize-winning cake!

Many moms of boys I know get a bit sick of Minecrack Minecraft.  My boys play and play and play.  They stay in on the computer too long and I find it hard to get them off willingly.  I have to resort to turning it off or taking away another privilege.  But last weekend I actually turned their obsession into something else fun. (We’ve done Minecraft themed Halloween costumes and decorating before too!)

Our town has a library that Mark Twain started and each year the library puts on a country children’s fair called the Frog Frolic. My kids run around safely unattended for hours and hours (while I volunteer at one or two stations) in the sun and fresh air, bouncing on one of several bounce houses/obstacle courses, and do cute games.  For the past couple of years the fair has had a Cake Walk– kids and adults bake/decorate cakes that are then auctioned off in a contest.  The contestants walk around on top of numbered lily pads and when the music stops whomever is on top of the drawn number is the winner of a cake– of their choosing.  Continue reading

Thank you!

You had wanted the recipe for the roasted banana crepes
I learnt this method from the banana sticky toffee pudding I’ve made many times now.
In a roasting dish put 2 whole bananas (in their skins) into into a 375F oven for 15- 20 minutes until they’re soft. Carefully peel, then basically pour into a bowl and let cool. You can mash any solid with a fork,
The crepe recipe is from Mark Bittman. I just reduced some of the liquid and added the bananas into the batter toward the end.
So delicious!


Every now and then I just need to let one out— get up on my soapbox and shout about something.  The time has come for one of those rants.  I recently took my kids to Peachwave, a self-serve soft yogurt place.  Seemed like a fun idea, plus I’d used it as an incentive to get my reluctant 4th grader to get over his Mondayitis and go to school that morning (when you get home from school I’ll take you).  Peachwave is a franchise that is similar (but not the same) as other frozen yogurt places that have cropped up not only here but overseas.  They have a wall of self-serve yogurt flavors and then a buffet of toppings (fresh fruit, cookies, candies).  Then it’s all weighed and you pay by the ounce or gram.  Well, sounds innocuous enough, but then I ate some and really started looking around and paying attention. All over the place “healthy” was emblazoned.  Now, I’m all for healthy and eating healthful foods, but something seemed off.  I should have become aware when I saw the plentiful vibrantly colored candies as the most common toppings. 

First I noticed that the two cup sizes were huge and massive (the smallest was 16oz).  Then when I was really tasting the yogurt I kept getting this kvetchy sensation in the back of my throat and a strange aftertaste.  I decided to ask the staff if they had a list of ingredients.  They looked at me as though I had two heads then rolled their eyes at each other like this was the strangest thing each of them had ever been asked.  One older woman did try to help and said that there was probably a list of ingredients on the bags of mix in the back.  Bags of mix?  That didn’t sound appealing.  Then she pointed out that there was a nutritional contents list near the front of the store.  So, upon reading that I noticed that a serving size was3 oz.  Wait? 3 ounces per serving when the smallest cup to hold a “serving” in was16 ounces.  Hmm… so the smallest cup holds 5+ servings.  The amount of sugar on average was 18g. 

So, if someone filled their small cup to the top and didn’t load it with candies, strawberry syrup, chocolate fudge, whipped cream or even fruit… and they ate it all it would be over 86 grams of sugar!  That’s without the toppings.  Healthy?  How is that healthy? Average calories per serving (sampled 20 off their list alphabetically) is 92. I noticed most people there ate at least half.  So, if they ate the whole cup that would equal 491 calories.  This is how we’ve gotten to be an obese society— by increasing the portion size while pretending to be health food.

Since I’ve got an iPhone I decided to look up on their website for ingredients, etc. Four of the yogurt flavors were listed, most were not.  But, for example vanilla has sugar as its second ingredient and it’s flavored artificially.  Yet, they claim their yogurt to be “natural” on the products page.  I highly doubt most people would consider their newest brightly colored cotton candy or bubblegum flavors to be natural.

Personally I would rather go to our local creamery ice cream spot (when they’re open for the season) and get full-fat, sweet ice cream that is made on premises with their own cow’s milk.  It’s rich, delicious and you only need a tiny bit to feel satisfied (because they left the fat in there).  I’m not saying don’t go to Peachwave. What I’m trying to point out is that theirhealthy” claims are not as they seem.  I really think people are trying to do the right thing and this takes advantage of that.  I believe that people should make informed decisions with food and food-like substances.

(Disclaimer- I used to eat ice cream 5 times a week when I was pregnant and nursing. Can’t do that anymore, but I really love ice cream. Now only buy hormone-free, mostly natural ingredients-especially colored.)

Yes, I use dessert to get my kids to eat “good” food.

I had way too much mushroom, leek, ricotta stuffing left over from the raviolis so I was trying to think what to do with it.  My husband suggested stuffing chicken breasts, which would have been wonderful, but I’d already decided: I would incorporate it into a lasagna.  It became one layer that would normally have been mostly ricotta.  Most of the remaining ingredients were from Trader Joe’s. I used their Spinach, Fontina and Roasted Garlic chicken sausages, Quattro Formaggio shredded cheese, plain ricotta organic tomato basil Marinara.I also had some left over cooked spinach that I chopped and put in with ricotta.

Let me digress: so many advice columns, books, blogs, etc that pertain to child nutrition/feeding tell parents not to have “bad/good” words about food and tellparents not to threaten kids with not getting dessert if they don’t eat their good food.  Sorry, but, I don’t agree with this.  I want my kids to learn what “good” food is and what is junk.  And I don’t always give dessert.  I don’t think it’s a given every day/meal. And I do sometimes use dessert to get my kids to eat well; especially my youngest two who are such sweet-tooths and if it’s something that I know they should eat/will like and they’re just not touching it.  

I think sometimes we need to “use” whatever we can to overcome the natural desire in most kids for sweeter foods.  For instance, I never put chocolate in their milk just to get them to drink milk and now I don’t have to.  I want them to develop the taste for the more bitter, sour or less-sweet foods (especially many vegetables).  I remember in my university psychology classes the studies showing babies reactions to foods— sweet foods: happy faces, bitter foods: scrunched up and sticking out their tongues in disgust. Babies are born with a natural affinity for their mother’s sweet milk and distaste for bitter so that they won’t ingest poisonous plants.  As parents we need to teach our children what foods are safe and good for them.  So, I think part of teaching is using verbiage like good and bad— just like we would with sharp objects, hot stoves and drugs. 

Anyway, I  had all guns blazing the other night when I made the lasagna and my two youngest were initially refusing to eat every part of it (besides just the noodle).  My eldest ate it without taking a breath!  I had chocolate covered ice cream bars for dessert.  The night before they didn’t get them because they didn’t eat all their vegetables, so they knew I meant business. Well, it worked.  Not only did they eat it, they liked it. And they were so happy to have that ice cream.

German Apple Pancake/Dutch Baby

A friend posted a photo of a Dutch Baby on her Facebook page.  I thought… that looks so good; I must make one!  So I did!  But hers was without apples, I decided to make mine with apples.

It made reminded of growing up with a friend’s father making Hungarian Apple Pancakes (Palacsintas), which are more like crepes than this style of baked pancake.  These  were described in some places as a cross between custard and Yorkshire pudding.

German Apple Pancake/Apple Dutch Baby

4 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar (divided)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup unsalted butter (divided)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (divided)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 sm/med apples, peeled & sliced
Confectioners sugar

In a bowl mix the flour, 1 tsp sugar and salt.  Mix in eggs one at a time then slowly add milk, whisking often. Add vanilla, 3 Tbsp melted butter and 1/8 tsp nutmeg.  Set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425F.  Mix cinnamon, remaining nutmeg, sugar and toss in apples making sure they’re well coated with mixture.  On med-high heat, melt 3-4 Tbsp butter in 10-12 in ovenproof fry pan coating sides.  Pour apple, sugar mixture into pan (with spatula scrape in any remaining in bowl).  Saute for a couple of minutes and add remaining butter.  Cook until bubbling.  Pour egg/flour batter over eggs and place in oven. 
Bake for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 375F.  Bake for another 12 minutes.  Unstick any part and slide onto large plate.  Dust with confectioners sugar.  Slice and serve.

My eldest son, my mother and a family friend from New Zealand enjoyed it immensely.  The youngest 2 boys liked it but only without the apples.  I’ll make this one again!

My recipe was adapted from one by Mollie_Cole found on