Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bluebarb Pie - It's Unconventional!

As I paged through the Sunset magazine, the name of this recipe just jumped out at me.  Could this possibly blueberries and rhubarb?  Upon further reading...yes, that is exactly what it this rather unconventional pie!

What is an unconventional pie?  Why it is one that isn't made in a crust.  Then how can it be a pie?  It has shards of crust that are served alongside.....rhubarb ice cream with blueberry sauce!!  This pie is disguised as a sundae...!

Bluebarb Pie
adapted from Sunset Magazine, July 2012

Serves 4

3-4 stalks (1 lb) rhubarb, trimmed and thinly sliced
6 Tbsp dark brown sugar
4 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
10 Tbsp sugar, divided
1/8 to1/4 tsp cinnamon (I increased the cinnamon to our taste.)
1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp flour
2 cups (12 oz) blueberries
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Cook rhubarb with brown sugar in a medium frying pan over medium-low heat until it looks like jam, 20 minutes.  Put in a bowl and chill.  Stir in ice cream and freeze until firm, 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Mix 1 Tbsp sugar and the cinnamon in a bowl.  Beat butter, 5 Tbsp sugar, the vanilla, and salt in a bowl until light and fluffy.  Add flour and mix on low until large clumps form.

Gather dough into a ball and roll into a 1/4-inch thick round.  Transfer to a baking sheet, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and freeze until firm, 10 minutes.  Bake until edges are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  Cool, then break into large shards.

Put berries, cornstarch, lemon juice, and remaining sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, until thick and bubbly, 5 minutes.

Divide berry compote among 4 bowls.  Scoop ice cream into each bowl and add crust shards.


This was my kind of pie!  There is a reason you do not see many pies on my blog.  The biggest is that I cannot seem to make a crust that I can get transferred to a pie dish or a baking sheet.  Even this very easy crust ended up on the baking sheet in pieces.  Good thing nobody will ever know.

We really enjoyed this unconventional pie!  Delicious!!

I am participating in:
Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Foodie Friday hosted by Rattlebridge Farm, and
Sweets for a Saturday hosted by Lisa at Sweet as Sugar Cookies
On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable
Food on Friday hosted by Carole at Carole's Chatter

Monday, July 23, 2012

Boca Chica Shrimp

As it was fast approaching the reveal day for The Secret Recipe Club, Mr. T and I both explored the blog that I had been assigned.  We were searching for the one recipe that we would make and then share on reveal day and we knew we wanted to try something authentic.  You see, we were assigned Josie's Kitchen and Josie, while currently residing in New York City, was raised in the Dominican Republic so why not try food from the region.  Ironically, we both tagged the same two recipes and at about the same time said,  "Let's make the shrimp!"  

The recipe we selected, Boca Chica Shrimp, comes from a cookbook that was sent to her by her aunt.    Boca Chica is actually a beach outside of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.  The cookbook featured typical/creole recipes of the Dominican Republic.   

We love creole food and this recipe appeared to be a quick and easy one.  It was:  Thirty minutes to dinner!  Mr. T. and I love creole food and so we added a small onion and 2 celery stalks...along with some Zatarain's seasoning to give it a kick!

Boca Chica Shrimp
adapted from Josie's Kitchen

1 lb raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 basil leaves, chopped
4 tomatoes (We raided the daughter's garden while she was on vacation!)
1 cup red wine
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp  chopped cilantro
2 green onions, chopped (I used them as garnish.)
1 small  onion, diced
1 green pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
2 limes
1/2 tsp Zatarain's Creole Seasoning
1-2 Tbsp Canola oil

Place the shrimp in a ziplock bag along with the juice from two limes. Set aside.  The lime juice will begin cook the shrimp.

In a mortar and pestle or on a cutting board using the edge of your knife, mash the garlic and salt  to form a paste.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, saute the onions, garlic, celery, and pepper until the onion is soft.  Sprinkle Zatarain's Creole Seasoning over the vegetables as they cook.  Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and red wine, simmer about 10 minutes.

Add the cilantro, basil and shrimp.  Cook until the shrimp is heated through about 5 more minutes.  (When added, the shrimp will not have been totally cooked by the lime juice.  Keep an eye on the shrimp and tails to make certain they turn a lovely pink!)

Serve over rice.


This was really delicious.  I told Mr. T. that I would make it again.  He smiled and said, "I would eat it again!"  Quick to make and easy to adjust to your taste.  

It is so much fun to get a blog assignment each month and find the perfect recipe to try and share on revel day.  In case you are not familiar with the Secret Recipe Club, I will give you some background.  Each month club members are assigned a secret blog from which we select recipe to prepare and write about in a blog post.  We keep our assignment secret until  reveal day when everybody's posts appear at the same time.  That takes a little behind the scenes coordination by our new leader, April at Angel Foods Kitchen and Group C's leader, Angela at Big Bear's Wife.  Thanks to both of you!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Flank Steak with Spicy Peanut Noodles

Have you ever looked forward to having something for dinner, anticipated it all day, and thought about how tasty it was going to be?  For some reason, I was salivating just thinking of it! That happened to me recently.  I saw a recipe for Flank Steak with Spicy Peanut Noodles and immediately remembered some noodles I had had that were so good...a hint of peanut butter, spicy and plenty of them!  I looked forward to dinner all day long and was happy to step into the kitchen.

The recipe for the flank steak consisted of salt and pepper....I wanted the flank steak to have a flavor that would compliment the noodles so I elected to use our tried and true favorite flank steak marinade that has lemon, soy sauce and wine in it.  You can take a peak at it here.

Sometimes those things that are anticipated are a big disappointment, as this was to me.  I expected a hint of peanut, a touch of sweet coconut and the bite of the spicy Thai curry paste.  Sadly, it was as though I had a teaspoonful of peanut butter with each bite.  The peanut butter was so overpowering that there were no other flavors...not even the spicy Thai curry paste that I thought was going to give this dish a punch.

My youngest had dinner with us...she was less than impressed as was Mr. T.  It is a good thing that the flank steak was perfect!  My oldest daughter pointed out that America's Test Kitchen doesn't usually have recipes that are very spicy as most folks don't like spicy foods.  Well, I wasn't too tickled with a bowl of peanut butter for dinner either!

I will keep searching and just maybe I will find the right recipe!  If you have a recipe that you think might fit the bill, let me know.

Spicy Peanut Noodles
Simple Weeknight Favorites by America's Test Kitchen

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup lime juice (2 limes)
3 Tbsp fish sauce
4 tsp Thai red curry paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp sugar
1 (9 oz) package fresh Chinese noodles
Salt and Pepper
4 scallions, sliced thin on bias

Bring 3 quarts water to boil in large pot.  Meanwhile, process peanut butter, coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce, curry paste, garlic and sugar in blender until smooth, about 15 seconds.

Add noodles and 1 Tbsp salt to boiling water and cook until tender.  Drain, run under cold water to cool, and drain again.  Return noodles to pot, add 1/2 cup peanut sauce and scallions, and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.


I am sharing this week at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage, Friday's Favorites hosted by Sandi at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking, and Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Water Wheel on the Hood Canal

We couldn't drive by...I had to have pictures.  I love the sound of water.  The creek running by and the water splashing  on the wheel brought a smile....

It was a great day for driving along the Hood Canal, Washington.

I am participating in Outdoor Wednesday hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Whole Foods' Sonoma Chicken Salad

With the very warm, hot, weather lately, I have found it really hard to make my way into the kitchen.  My answer has been to poach chicken breasts and make some sort of pasta salad  or chicken salad for  dinner.  Just when I thought I had tried every type of chicken salad and Mr. T had had it way too often, I found another chicken salad recipe and had to make it!  

I found it while exploring Aimee's blog, from Chapel Hill to Chickenville.  Aimee volunteers at the Whole Foods cooking school and shared the link to their classic Whole Foods  Market dish, Sonoma Chicken Salad.  I had to adapt just a smidge as I didn't have any pecans and it was too hot to bake the chicken in the oven.

Whole Foods' Sonoma Chicken Salad
adapted from The Whole Foods Market Cookbook

Serves:  6-8

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted (I used walnuts as that is what I had.)
2 cups red seedless grapes (I halved the grapes.)
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 cup mayonnaise (I used low-fat mayo.)
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 
5 teaspoons honey 
2 teaspoons poppy seeds 
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad. This can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. 

Place the chicken breast, two spring onions and the celery tops and leaves in a frying pan.  Add 2 parts chicken stock and 1 part white wine to cover the breasts.  Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20-30 minutes.  The time varies depending on whether you cover the pan with a lid or not.  (The aroma reminded me of cooking the giblets at Thanksgiving.)

Remove the chicken breasts from the pan (discard the liquid, onions and celery) cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate until cold.

When the chicken is cold, cut into bite-size chunks.  Place the chicken in a large  bowl and add the grapes, pecans, celery, and dressing.  Mix and refrigerate.


The addition of honey and vinegar to the dressing gave it a really nice subtle, sweet tang. I also like the flavor of the chicken when it is poached in chicken stock and wine.  This was a popular dish at our house and one that I will make again.  I anticipate a few more hot days this summer!

I am sharing at Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper, at On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable and Food on Friday hosted by Carole at Carole's Chatter.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tomato, Olive, and Basil Skewers

Summertime yields beautiful fresh tomatoes and lush basil plants.  The combination of those two ingredients, the addition of kalamata olives and a light dressing creates an easy appetizer skewer with a Mediterranean flair!  Grape tomatoes are so sweet that they are the perfect choice for this light and easy appetizer.  

Tomato, Olive, and Basil Skewers
The America's Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook

1/2 tsp grated orange zest plus 2 Tbsp juice
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest plus 1 Tbsp guice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp fennel seeds, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 cup fresh basil leaves

whisk orange zest and juice, lemon zest and juice, garlic, mustard, honey fennel seeds, slat and pepper together in a large bowl.  Whisking constantly, drizzle in oil.  Gently stir in tomatoes and olives.  Skewer tomatoes, olives and basil leaves in following order from top to bottom:  tomato half, olive, basil leaf (folded if large), and tomato half with flat side facing down.

Stand skewers upright on serving platter.  Reserve remaining dressing leftover in bowl.  Skewers can be held at room temperature for up to 4 hours.)  Just before serving, whisk reserved dressing to re-emulsify, then drizzle over skewers, and serve. (Makes 40 skewers.)


There was no way that I could get these little puppies to stand up!  I think  it was because of the type of skewer  that I had.  These were the only short skewer that I could find.  My thought was that because of the little "handle" at the end, they became top heavy.  These were very tasty and so easy that I would definitely repeat the recipe.

I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Kitchen and Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm, Foodie Friday at Simple Living hosted by Diane, Foodie Friday at Not your Normal Recipes and On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Fresh Caprese Salad

Is the summertime heat getting you down?  Have you been avoiding the kitchen?  Are you searching for something fresh and easy that does not involve your oven or cooktop?  Well, these little nibbles just might be the answer to your appetizer or light salad quest.

This salad appealed to me on many different  levels.  First, we were having some friends over for an "appetizer" dinner, kindof....   On occasion we get together for an evening of simple food, wine and conversation so I needed an easy to do appetizer salad to serve.  

It had to involve basil since it was flourishing and needed trimmed. This was new for me, the herbs at my house are finally having a great year.  I have been happily pinching, watering and loving my basil!  Normally, my basil plants do not flourish.  The grasshoppers always enjoy the basil more than I do!  Not this year!

And, it was hot so I didn't want to heat up the kitchen!  I had seen this simple appetizer at Aimee's blog from Chapel Hill to Chickenville and knew that it would be perfect.

Summer Fresh Caprese Salad 

Small cherry tomatoes (I used some beautiful grape tomatoes)
Buffalo mozzarella
Fresh basil
Balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Toothpicks or small skewers

Slice the mozzarella into cubes making the cubes close in size to the tomatoes.  Pull the leaves of basil  from the stems.  Fold larger leave over when you skewer them.  Selecting leaves that you do not have to cut down makes a "prettier" salad.  Thread each skewer with a tomato, a chunk of cheese and a basil leaf and repeat.  Leave enough skewer showing at each end so that they can be handled easily.

Place the completed skewers on a platter.  Drizzle the appetizer lightly with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Taste to adjust the dressing.  


These were the perfect summertime fresh and tasty salad appetizer!  Your guests will thank you!  The pictures were taken prior to the dressing being added...I made them ahead and preferred to drizzle the dressing just before serving.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chewy Chocolate Meringue Cookies...All Aboard!

Get on board!  The Chewy Chocolate Meringue Cookie train is making the circuit and you do not want to miss out!  I first saw the train moving out of the station at Wives with Knives.  Cathy posted a picture that had my mouth watering...she caught the train after it left Chris's at The Cafe Sucre Farine.  Now this was a train that I didn't want to miss....chewy, chocolatey, shiny little cookies.  
I copied off the recipe and set it aside.  What!?  While I was waiting for that special moment to bake the cookies, the train left Ann's station at Thibeault's Table.  Ann fell in love with the little morsels.  I really wanted on the train so I found the recipe and decided to make them Father's Day weekend.  Well, I did. ....and what happened?  The train moved out of station, La Table de Nana.  Monique had made the cookies the same weekend.  Her comment:  Ooh La La!

The train is now on its way to the next wouldn't be sorry if you jumped on board and made these cookies.  They are a light, chewy, chocolatey delight. (Seems that I am repeating myself....)

Chewy Chocolate Meringue Cookies

3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups chocolate chips
4 egg whites
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Optional ingredients:  dried cranberries, dried cherries, toffee bits

Position 2 racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.  Heat oven to 350° F.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper lightly buttered.

Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in a bowl. Stir in chocolate chips.  Add egg whites and vanilla; mix with a fork or electric mixer on medium until batter is just moistened.  (Do not overbeat or batter will stiffen.)

Drop batter by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets in evenly spaced mounds.  Bake cookies until tops are lightly cracked and glossy, about 15 minutes.  Cool briefly, then carefully remove from parchment paper.  Cookies may be soft and fragile so proceed carefully to lift cookies and place them on racks to cool.  Do not wait too long to remove them from the baking sheets, for they will stick, even to parchment paper.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a  week.


The cookies were delicious...they sure exceeded any expectation that I had....I would encourage you to get on board the Chewy Chocolate Meringue Cookie express!

All Aboard.....

I am participating in Sweets for a Saturday hosted by Lisa at Sweet As Sugar Cookies and the Weekend Potluck hosted by Marsha at The Better Baker.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Sage Butter with Green Beans

I must admit that I am in love with the new cookbook.   Simple Weeknight Favorites by America's Test Kitchen is just that, filled with new favorites!  I have flagged so many to try that it is a certainty that we will be eating some very flavorful and simple dinners.  Not only is the cookbook
"hot", my sage is going "gang-busters" this year!  So, it only seemed logical that I search for a recipe using sage.

I found one:  Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Sage Butter!  I love herb butters and don't know why I didn't think of making some until this recipe caught my eye.  Mr. T. absolutely loved it as well as the leftovers!  What made this recipe really different were the olives that were chopped and mixed in with the butter.  We were sold!

Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Sage Butter with Green Beans
adapted from Simple Weeknight Favorites by America's Test Kitchen

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup pitted mixed olives, chipped fine
2 Tbsp minced fresh sage
4 (6 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed, salt and pepper (I used two.)
8 thin slices prosciutto (I used 6 as the slices weren't all long enough to wrap around the chicken.)
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 pound green beans, trimmed (I used 1/2 pound.)
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 400° F.  Combine butter, olives and sage in small bowl and stir with fork until combined.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper (go easy on the salt...olives are salty!!) Spread mixture on top of each chicken breast.  (I had some butter left over as I only used two chicken breasts.)  Working with one breast at a time, lay two slices of prosciutto on your work surface, slightly overlapped.  Lay chicken, buttered side down, in center of slices, fold prosciutto up and around the chicken, then press ends of prosciutto together gently to adhere.  Repeat with remaining prosciutto and chicken.

Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Add chicken, seam side down, and cook until well browned, about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer chicken to baking sheet and bake until chicken registers 160°, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil.

Reduce heat to medium.  Add garlic to skillet and cook until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add green beans and toss to combine.  Add water and cook, covered, until bean are bright green and tender,  8 to 10 minutes.  Uncover and cook until water has evaporated, about 1 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with chicken.


What I have learned is that one can never rely on the suggested amount of heat and the cooking times.  Each of us knows our own cook top it is better to judge the progress of the meat by observation and from experience!

I am participating in Full Plate Thursday hosted by Mz Helen's Country Cottage and Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.