Simply Delicious – Poached Egg & Arugula

On Sunday I woke up and knew I wanted to make brunch. The problem was that our food supplies were pretty sparse and by sparse I mean no milk, 3 eggs, no juice and some bacon. As I sat contemplating my predicament and googled substituting water for milk when making waffles, it dawned on me that for brunch, anything goes! It didn’t need to be specifically a breakfast dish.

As I spyed some arugula I had picked up a day before (along with the bacon) at the farmers market I made the decision to go with a poached egg (come on, you know they are my favorite now) on top of some bacon and arugula.

It was so simply and so delicious! First, I fried up the bacon and then sliced it. Next, I washed the arugula and placed it into bowls and topped with the chopped bacon.

Poach your the egg and place on top of the arugula, sprinkle with salt and fresh black pepper. And voila!

 

Doesn’t it look beautiful?! And I love how the runny yolk acts like dressing. The dish also felt very healthy, even with the bacon…

Sorry for the short post today, I’m in my kitchen pitting 20 lbs of cherries:

 

This is by far the most cherries I’ve ever pitted and I’m not sure if I’ll do this again. Eric was an unstoppable force this past weekend at the cherry orchard. Tart cherry posts coming soon!

Black Raspberry Ice Cream

As you may have read from my post on Friday, I scored some beautiful black raspberries at the Lancaster Central Market with the intention of making them into my favorite ice cream flavor, black raspberry, naturally.

They sat in my fridge calling out each time I opened the door “ice cream!” and I finally got around to making the ice cream base on Sunday afternoon. I left the base sit overnight in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly and churned it today when I got home from work.

I found a few recipes on other blogs and websites and in the end choose to create the raspberry puree according to a few recipes’ recommendations and create a basic custard style base according to the vanilla bean recipe that I have successfully execute a few times, now.

For the raspberry puree, I began by washing all the berries and allowing them to drain. Next, I put all the berries into a blender and pureed all of them into a liquid. Strain the berries through a fine mesh strainer. You’ll need to use a spoon to push all the liquid through and it will take a few minutes. Once you’re finished, all the seeds should be left over and your puree will look like this:

While you’re making the puree, heat the milk, cream, half the sugar and a pinch on salt over medium-low heat just until boiling. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, mix the other half of the sugar and egg yolks until light yellow in color and thick.

Once the milk mixture is hot, stir 1/3 of it into the egg yolk mixture. Once combined add another 1/3 of the milk mixture and combine and then pour the whole thing back into the saucepan with the remaining 1/3 of milk mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon for a few minutes over low heat until the mixture thickens slightly, coating the back of the spoon.

Once thickened, remove the mixture from the heat. Strain into a medium sized bowl through a fine mesh strainer. Stir in all the rasberry puree an mix well. Chill on an ice bath until cold and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. The next day it should look something like this:

Pour into your countertop ice cream machine and mix for 20 minutes until thick.

Mine did not get as thick as I wanted it to and began to leak down the sides because I mixed too much at once. Next time, I’ll mix it in two batches so I can achieve a thicker consistency. I placed the ice cream back into the freezer for a few hours and came back to this:

 It tasted fresh and delicious; better than anything from the freezer section at the grocery store. I think I could have used less berries though, the color was darker than I’m used to. I used 1 quart of berries, next time I’m going to try reducing how many berries I use to get a more “normal” berry color/flavor. I may pick up some more berries this week…You can never have too much ice cream, and it keeps so long in the freezer!

Here is the recipe a combination from me and from Cuisinart:

Custard Style Black Raspberry Ice Cream

Ingredients

1 quart black rasperries
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar, divided
pinch of salt
4  large egg yolks

Preparation

1. Puree the raspberries in a blender until smooth. Push through a fine mesh strainer or a food mill to take out off of the seeds. Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan set over medium low heat, whisk together the milk, cream, half the sugar and salt. Bring the mixture just to boil.

3. While the milk/cream mixture is heating, combine the yolks and remaining sugar in a mediu bowl. Using a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk, beat until mixture is pale and thick.

4. Once the milk/cream mixture has come to a slight boil, whisk about 1/3 of the hot mixture into the yolk/sugar mixture. Add another 1/3 of the mixture, then return the combined mixture to the saucepan. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly over low heat until it thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon. This mixture must NOT boil or the yolks will overcook – the process should only take a few minutes.

5. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, stir in the black raspberry puree and bring to room temperature over an ice bath. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

6. Turn on the Cuisinart ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 20 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an air tight container and place in freezer for about two hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

TGIF

Happy Friday to you and yours! I had to share two wonderful parts of my Friday with all of you because they are food related and therefore make me happy. The first is that my lunch consisted of this:

Celebrate Lancaster (Lancaster’s annual street fair and July 4th celebration that always takes place the last Friday in June) is happening right outside my office. Lucky for me and many others who work downtown, the food vendors opened for business at 11:30am. After scarfing a hot dog, because my mother always told me to eat something healthy before dessert (what?! hot dogs are a perfectly healthy choice!) I headed straight for the funnel cake cart.

Funnel cakes have a special place in my heart. They are one of those foods that is always a special treat because you have to be somewhere special to get one; a street fair, an amusement park, a ballgame, the beach. I would also categorize myself as a funnel cake connoisseur. I’ve tried funnel cakes in hundreds of places and have determined that the best places to get one are fairs, Busch Gardens (seriously I don’t know what they do but they’re incredible) and the boardwalk at the beach. The worst places, and by worst I mean the funnel cake is stale and old and rubbery in texture,  are any sporting event or a cafeteria setting. I remember funnel cakes being served in my college dining hall and they were awful.

I’m also a purist, the funnel cake can only have powdered sugar on top, none of this fruit topping, chocolate or whipped cream. Today, I enjoyed a fair funnel cake and it was soft, squishy, warm and doughy. I will wear the powdered sugar down the front of me for the rest of the day proudly.

Any of you love funnel cakes? Do you like funnel cake toppings? What about those crab cake sandwiches? Or the fried veggies?

The other great Friday moment I had today happened while I was walking through Lancaster’s Central Market and came upon these babies:

(Sorry for the iPhone quality picture, it was all I had.) These are black raspberries! I bought the rest at that stand and moved on to buy some more at another stand up the aisle. I can’t wait to get them home and start my black raspberry ice cream!

Happy Friday to all and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Strawberry Crisp

Picture of Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Recipe

As strawberry season comes to an end and cherry season begins, I bought one last batch of strawberries to use for dessert. Initially, I found a recipe by Barefoot Contessa on Foodnetwork.com for strawberry rhubarb crisp but couldn’t find any rhubarb at the store so I modified it to strawbery and blackberry crisp. The great thing about crisps is that you can pretty much use any kind of fruit that you want.

A crisp is a mixture of fruit that is topped with a crumb topping usually containting butter, brown sugar and oats. This recipe called for orange juice and orange rind which I thought would be a nice compliment to the strawberry and a flavor I had never thought to use in a crisp before.

Start by hulling and slicing the strawberries and wash the blackberries. Mix the fruit with the sugar and orange zest.

Whisk the cornstarch and orange juice together until the cornstarch is completely dissolved.

Pour it over the fruit and set aside while mixing up the topping.

Use chilled butter straight from the fridge buuret cut it up into cubes. Mix the topping in an elecrtic mixer with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, oats and salt in the mixer bowl and then with the paddle on the slowest speed, slowly add the butter until the mixture is granular and looks crumbly. Keep an eye on it, it will mix quickly; I left mine on too long, mixed it too much and it turned into more of a dough. It still tastes great, but is harder to sprinkle evenly on the top of the fruit.

Once the topping is ready, place the fruit in a large baking dish or small individual size ramkins and top evenly with the topping mixture.

Place the baking dish(s) on a baking sheet to catch any juices that bubble over and protect the bottom of your oven.

Bake for one hour at 350 degrees until the fruit is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Crisp is best served the day it is made, if it sits over night the crisp will get soggy. I forgot to take an after picture so here is the one from the recipe on Foodnetwork.com.

Picture of Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Recipe

I loved the orange addition but might use less of the orange juice next time, it was very runny.

Here is the recipe from Foodnetwork.com

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh rhubarb, 1-inch diced (4 to 5 stalks)
  • 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved, if large
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal, such as McCann’s
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving
  • Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    For the fruit, toss the rhubarb, strawberries, 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar and the orange zest together in a large bowl. In a measuring cup, dissolve the cornstarch in the orange juice and then mix it into the fruit. Pour the mixture into an 8-by-11-inch baking dish and place it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

    For the topping, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, salt and oatmeal. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter and mix until the dry ingredients are moist and the mixture is in crumbles. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit, covering it completely, and bake for 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream.

    You’ve Got Mail

    Check out what I recieved in the mail today from my favorite, St. Germain!

    These are seeds to grow my very own elderflowers to harvest and make my own St. Germain. The growing process is on the packet and seems a little involved and considering the fact that I can’t even keep a few herbs alive in pots in my house, growing my own elderflowers may not be the best idea for me.

    Props to St. Germain’s marketing company though, they send me fun things in the mail often and it keeps me loving the stuff even more than the way it seems to mix well with any alcohol you can find. They also sent me a really nice chart with Summer drink mix ideas!

    hmm…which one should I make next…

    Indoor Herb Garden, Part II

    I have an update on my little indoor herb garden. You can find out how I started this project by reading more here. Things had progressed very well since I planted the herbs as seeds back in April. The basil looked great and the cilantro and parsley weren’t as hearty as if they had been planted outside, but were still healthy and usable.

    I went away for a long weekend a few weeks ago and came home to this:

    Can you hear the big “wop-wop”? I left the plants outside on our second floor sleeping porch while we were away for 3 days and we also had a heat wave. This meant no water and extreme temperatures. So naturally, the plants look like they were scorched. Another plant gone by the hand of Marah.

    Good thing I have an outdoor herb garden that looks like this right now:

    I don’t have any cilantro or parsley at the moment but I do have some lovely basil, sage, oregano, dill, rosemary and thyme. I love summer herbs! I also love that they’re outside and I don’t have to water them!

    Herb and Cheese Soufflé

    Tonight I made my very first soufflé. Soufflés have the stigma of being very difficult and tempermental and yes, they are tempermental, anything with egg whites is, but they are not really difficult. The whole soufflé took about 20 minutes for me to prep and 35 minutes in the oven to bake. Give yourself one hour and you will have a fabulous dinner or dessert!

    I ate my first soufflé while studying abroad in Paris while I was in college. The family I lived with cooked dinner for us each night and this night they made an egg soufflé. It was light as air with a subtle egg flavor and I found myself wanting seconds.

    My second soufflé experience was on my honeymoon in Hawaii. The restaurant we were eating at was known for its chocolate soufflé (the waitor even interrupted the meal to see if you planned to order it because it took 20 minutes to cook). I made us each get our own chocolate soufflé because I definitely was not sharing. It was heavenly!

    All this to say that I love soufflé but never had a proper soufflé dish. In April, Eric bought me a beautiful soufflé dish, I think in hopes of getting some soufflé for himself. I knew I wanted to try a savory soufflé and found a recipe for an herb and goat cheese soufflé on Epicurious.com. This was just the sort of light dish I was hoping to make.

    To begin, I chopped up all of my herbs and separated my eggs and egg whites. Once you begin making the soufflé you will need to access all your ingredients quickly, so make sure everything is ready to go and within reach.

    Butter the bottom and sides of your soufflé dish and sprinkle with bit of fresh thyme.

    Use a large saucepan and heat up the olive oil. Sauté the garlic and whisk in the flour. Whisk until the mixture begins to bubble. Add the milk and white wine and continue whisking until the mixture is thick and bubbling. Take the pan off the heat.

    Mix together the egg yolks and salt in a separate small bowl and then add those into the saucepan mixture. Add the two cheeses to the saucepan. 

    Fold in the cheeses until just combined. Set aside.

    Use an electric mixer to mix the egg whites into stiff peaks, but not too much you don’t want the eggs to get dry.

    Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the cheese mixture until just combined.

    Fold the rest of the egg whites into the mixture.

    Once combined, pour into the prepared soufflé dish and top with freshly ground black pepper.

    Put into a 400 degree oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 375. Bake for 35 minutes until the top is golden and puffed up. It will look beautiful!

    Serve immediately; if you wait too long, it will sink! I served mine with a side of ratatouille but it would also go well with a light side salad.

    My first soufflé turned out light, airy and delicious. I’m already planning my next one…chocolate.

    Here is the full recipe from Epicurious.com:

    Ingredients

    • Minced fresh thyme
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
    • 1 large garlic clove, minced
    • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
    • 1/4 cup dry white wine
    • 6 large egg yolks
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
    • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
    • 1 cup crumbled chilled soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet)
    • 1/2 cup (packed) grated Gruyère cheese (about 2 ounces)

    Preparation

    Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Generously butter one 10-cup soufflé dish or six 1 1/4-cup soufflé dishes; sprinkle with minced thyme to coat. (If using 1 1/4-cup dishes, place all 6 on rimmed baking sheet.) Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and minced garlic. Cook without browning until mixture begins to bubble, whisking constantly, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in whole milk, then white wine. Cook until smooth, thick and beginning to boil, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix egg yolks and salt in small bowl. Add egg yolk mixture all at once to sauce; whisk quickly to blend. Mix in 1 tablespoon basil, 1 tablespoon thyme and 1 teaspoon rosemary. Fold in cold goat cheese and Gruyère cheese (cheeses do not need to melt).

    Using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm soufflé base to lighten. Fold in remaining whites. Transfer soufflé mixture to prepared dish. Sprinkle with ground black pepper.

    Place soufflé in oven; reduce heat to 375°F. Bake soufflé until puffed, golden and gently set in center, about 35 minutes for large soufflé (or 25 minutes for small soufflé). Using oven mitts, transfer soufflé to platter and serve immediately.

    Banana Bread

    Sunday morning I went downstairs to see what I could scrap together for breakfast. It had been about 2 weeks since I had visited the grocery store and things were a bit lean, to say the least. I noticed that I had only one egg left in the fridge and no bacon or sausage to use for breakfast. We were also out of cereal, even thought we did miraculously have milk. I scanned the fridge and the pantry and my eyes then fell upon some over ripe bananas sitting on my counter. Immediately I thought, banana bread!

    I’ve only made banana bread a few times so I haven’t found a recipe I prefer yet and quickly pulled up Epicurious on my phone and searched for a recipe. I found one that all the reviews said was delicious and easy; it didn’t even require the electric mixer!

    First, I peeled and mashed up 3 ripe bananas in a big bowl. Next I added all the rest of the ingredients. I love that this recipe uses zero oil. I also added a shake of cinnamon to this recipe.

    Mix everything up until it’s well combined, but it will still look a bit lumpy.

    Butter your loaf pan, in my case I had two smaller ones on hand that I decided to use so I buttered two. Pour into the prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 45-44 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

    Cool for 10 minutes in the pans and then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, slice and enjoy!

    I have a bit of chocolate frosting left over in the fridge so I may top mine with a bit of that. Pair it with a hot cup of tea or coffee and it’s a great little breakfast! Plus, I’ll have some left over to take with me to work for breakfast.

    In the end, this recipe took about 10 minutes to mix up and was moist and delicious. The ingredients are simple and organic and you can taste that as you eat it. Here is the recipe from Epicurious.com:

    Aunt Holly’s Banana Bread

    Ingredients

    • 3 to 4 ripe bananas
    • 1/4 cup melted butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • Chocolate chips (as many as you want!)

    Preparation

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Mash the bananas in a bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon. Bake in a buttered loaf pan until a toothpick stuck into the bread comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Slice and serve.

    Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

    I can remember the very first pie I ever made. I was in Home Economics class in the 11th grade and my teacher told us we could make any kind of fruit pie we chose. My dad has always been crazy about blueberries and so I chose the blueberry pie. Turns out, that was a great choice because blueberries are one of the easiest fruit pies to make; blueberries require no prep work, they don’t have to be cut or seeded, they’re pretty much wash and use. Anyway, I learned to roll out pie crust from scratch and how to flute edges so they looked pretty. I made the decision during that class that I wanted to be a great pie maker.

    Growing up my mother was a cake and cookie baker (perhaps that’s where I get my love of all things cake) but she always told me that when it came to pie, her crust never came out right and she ended up tearing it, so having pie at my house was rare and always a special treat. After making my first pie and learning that I could conquer the crust I began making pies all the time. Lucky for me, pie is Eric’s favorite dessert, too so by the time we met, I could win his heart with my cherry pie but I’ll save that story for when I make a cherry pie in a few weeks.

    As I mentioned yesterday, it’s strawberry season and there is no better combination that fresh local strawberries, rhubarb and pie crust, along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some whipped cream, of course. Yesterday, I walked to Central Market and picked up strawberries and rhubarb.

    Strawberries are best when used the day you buy them, as you can see, these are the perfect ripeness.

    I pulled a new recipe for this pie from Epicurious.com and it included a pie crust recipe. Typically I use the same crust recipe and know how to execute it well but decided, on a whim, to try this new one. Bad decision. I started all the crust how I start all crust, with the food processor. If you try and make pie crust without one, you’re just asking for trouble. I started using one when I got married (and finally got a food processor) and have been kicking myself ever since for not having one all along. It mixes the crust more evenly and thoroughly and saves lots of time.

    The recipe called for chilled butter and shortening, the butter was already in the fridge but I threw the shortening in for about an hour to get it cold. Then I cube it all up and stick it back in the fridge until its ready to use. The key to good pie crust is really cold ingredients.

    Fill the food processor with the flour, sugar and salt and turn on for a few seconds to mix it well.

    Fill a small cup with ice cubes and cold tap water and set aside to get cold. Then add your cold butter and shortening. Pulse a few times to and mix until it looks crumbly, the size of peas and carrots. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time to wet the mixture (2-3 tbsp should be all you need). You’ll know the dough is ready when it balls up and pulls away from the sides of the processor.

    Take the dough out and flour around the sides so it’s not sticky anymore. Form into a large ball and cut in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about half and hour to chill. You can make pie dough a few days in advance and store it in the fridge. If I’m making more than one for an event or dinner party, I usually make the crust up at least a day ahead to save myself some time when its time to make the crust. I’ve also frozen it so I have some “ready to use.” Both methods work well.

    While the crust dough was chilling, I washed and chopped up my strawberries, washed and chopped up the rhubarb and added the rest of the ingredients for the filling. I mixed it all up and let it sit until it was ready to go into the pie shell.

    The reason I chose to use this new recipe, was because the filling called for brown sugar and cinnamon. I have never tried strawberry rhubarb with brown sugar before and it sounds fantastic. I’m a firm believer that cinnamon is an essential ingredient in most fruit pies and often end up adding it when a recipe doesn’t call for it. Seeing it on this ingredient list was a definite plus.

    After the pie crust felt firmer and chilled, I began to roll it out and disaster insued. When I roll out crust I make a base of flour, white sugar and cinnamon. The sugar and cinnamon are something my grandma taught me, the sugar really makes the dough sparkle. Make your base first then place your round of dough on it and top with more flour, sugar and cinnamon.

    Start to roll out, don’t press too hard and rotate your dough constantly, adding more flour, sugar and cinnamon continuously. You want to prevent the dough from sticking to your rolling pin and to the counter. At this point, I realized that this pie crust was extremely delicate and softer than I had anticipated. I began to worry that it was not going to turn out well but eventually got it rolled out to here:

    As soon as I began to attempt to pick the crust up to place it in the pie dish, the whole thing tore and split apart. I then cursed, punched the dough and tried to salvage it. It was to the point of no return. Then I had to make a decision. Attempt to do this all again with the second half of the dough in the fridge (for the top crust) and throw together a crumb topping? Or make my tried and true crust recipe, just as I had finished washing and cleaning up the entire food processor? I chose the way I knew and mixed up a new bottom crust. I left the second top crust in the fridge, hoping it would get firmer. I knew that I was planning a lattice top for the pie so if it ripped, it wouldn’t be a big deal, I was going to cut it into strips anyway.

    I rolled out my new/old crust lickity split, filled my pie dish and fluted the edges. It’s not so pretty, but trust me it was night and day from the previous attempt.

    I filled the crust with the strawberry and rhubarb filling and then began attempt #2 at rolling out this new pie crust.

    The second attempt was much like the first, disaster. I cut the strips for lattice and they broke and tore about every 2-3 inches. So I ended up throwing all the small pieces on top of the pie in as much of a lattice design as I could manage. I’m not taking this to any parties and it will still taste just as good. Here is my end result:

    I brushed the top with a mixture of egg and water and put in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and then reduced the temperature to 350 degrees and cooked for another hour and 25 minutes. Be sure and place a sheet pan underneath this pie, lots of juice will bubble out and burn on the bottom of your oven, otherwise.

    Here is my finished pie:

    This is the super close money shot:

    You can even see the tiny grains of cinnamon in the crust.

    All in all I was pleased with this pie, considering the crust disaster. Why didn’t the crust work? This could have been attributed to many factors. I’m used to using an all butter crust, so the shortening butter combo could have thrown me off and I just wasn’t used to it. It was warm out and perhaps the dough was just too warm and fell apart.  I could have put in too much water, though I used 3 tablespoons of water and the recipe called for 10. Maybe I didn’t use enough flour when rolling it out. Who knows. I read the reviews for the recipe and a lot of people said they used a different crust recipe but those who made this crust had nothing negative to say about it. Pie crust is tricky, sometimes and baking is more of a science than cooking, one wrong move can throw the whole thing off.

    The most important thing to me, though is taste and this pie tasted amazing! It’s perfect for a snack, for dessert and even for breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee (it’s got fruit, so it makes for a very healthy breakfast).

    Here’s the recipe from Epicurious.com:

    For crust

    • 3 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
    • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    • 10 tablespoons (about) ice water

    Make crust:
    Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in shortening and butter until coarse meal forms. Blend in enough ice water 2 tablespoons at a time to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; cut in half. Flatten each half into disk. Wrap separately in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling.)

    For filling

    • 3 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb (1 1/2 pounds untrimmed)
    • 1 16-ounce container strawberries, hulled, halved (about 3 1/2 cups)
    • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt

     

    • 1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)

    Make filling:
    Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Toss gently to blend.

    Roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter flass pie dish. Trim excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang.

    Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into fourteen 1/2-inch-wide strips. Spoon filling into crust. Arrange 7 dough strips atop filling, spacing evenly. Form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges decoratively.

    Brush glaze over crust. transfer pie to baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake pie until golden and filling thickens, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

    Strawberry Gelato

    It’s strawberry season and given the fact that the novelty of my new ice cream maker has no worn off yet, I wanted to make ice cream with fresh strawberries. I found this recipe for strawberry gelato in Mario Batali’s cook book, Molto Italiano, and immediately wanted to give it a try.

    What’s the difference between gelato and ice cream? Here’s a little Wikipedia explanation:

    Gelato is different from some ice cream because it has a lower butterfat content. Gelato typically contains 4-8% butterfat, versus 14% for ice cream in the United States. Gelato has a higher sugar content than ice cream. Dairy based gelato contains 16-24% sugar and water and fruit based sorbet contains 24-30% sugar. Most ice cream in the United States contains 12-16% sugar. The sugar content in gelato is precisely balanced with the water content to act as an anti-freeze to prevent the gelato from freezing solid.

    I’m was getting together a menu for an all Italian dinner and given the present hot weather, though that strawberry gelato would be the perfect ending to such a meal.

    This recipe is very similar to the one I made for vanilla bean ice cream, here. It will take you about 2 days to complete, but the steps are fairly simple. You will use sweetened condensed milk (the one in the can) and dry milk powder. I had never used milk powder before but found it right next to the condensed milk. Unfortunately, they only sold it in a large box.

    I guess i’ll be making lots of gelato to use this thing up!

    First you whisk together the dry milk powder and some sugar in a small bowl. Put the milk and cream in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stir in the milk powder/sugar mixture until it dissolves. Slowly bring to a light simmer, be careful not to boil, it will scald the milk.

    While the milk/cream is heating up, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl. Once hot, spoon a cup of the hot milk into the egg yolks and whisk together, then pour it back into the saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon over medium heat until it thickens slightly or reaches 185 degrees F.

    Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer into a medium size bowl and put on a ice bath to cool it down.

    Once cold, cover and put in the refrigerator over night.

    The following day you will begin by prepping the strawberries, haul and cut them all. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt, mix, cover and place in the fridge for 45 minutes. This sweetens the strawberries and the salt pulls out excess water.

    After 45 minutes, take out the milk mixture and the  chopped strawberries. Drain the strawberries and place them into the milk mixture. Use an immersion blender or a regular blender to blend the whole thing together well.

    Place the mixture in your cold ice cream maker and turn it on for about 20 minutes. The gelato will thicken, but will not be as thick as ice cream.

    Place in a container in the freezer for 3 hours or until ready to eat.

    The gelato is fresh and not too sweet. There is such a difference without artificial sweeteners or chemicals to preserve it. And the pink color is gorgeous! I served my gelato with chocolate macarons I made the night before. It was an perfect combination!

    Here’s the recipe from Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano:

    Ingredients

    2 tablespoon(s) dry milk, nonfat
    1/2 cup(s) sugar
    1 1/2 cup(s) milk, whole
    1/2 cup(s) heavy cream
    4 large egg yolks
    14 ounce(s) condensed milk, sweetened
    1 pound(s) strawberries, fresh
    1/4 teaspoon(s) salt

    Preparation

    In a small bowl, whisk together dry milk and 2 Tablespoons sugar. Combine milk and heavy cream in a large heavy bottomed saucepan and stir in dry milk mixture. Bring just to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.
    Meanwhile, in a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 2 Tablespoons sugar. Slowly whisk in about 1 cup of hot milk mixture, then return mixture to saucepan and stir in condensed milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring
    constantly with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, until custard registers 185 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Do not let mixture boil
    Immediately strain custard through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl and chill over an ice bath, stirring occasionally, until cool. Cover and refrrigerate at least 6 hours or preferably overnight. Chill ice cream maker parts if necessary.
    Combine strawberries, remaining 1/4 cup sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
    Drain strawberries and combine with custard mixture in a blender (in batches if necessary) and blend well.
    Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturers directions. Pack gelato into a freezer container and freeze at least 3 hours before serving. Best served the day it is made.