Monday, August 22, 2016

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp and Disaster

We built the house fourteen years ago.  I would have never dreamed that we would have to remove all of the tile and redo the floors.  But, that is what has happened.  Over the last year, we have watched the grout loosen and, as the dominoes fell, the tiles loosened.  Of course there was no way to repair it. Of course the same tile was no longer made.  And no, it hadn't been installed properly.

To make a long story short.  What a mess!  Oh the dust!  I can only be thankful that instead of 110° it was 99°.  Every ray of sunshine helped.

I worried my tile selection silly.  After weeks of trying to match what I had, it finally dawned on me to wipe the old tile and color out of my mind and start with a clean slate.  So, I selected something totally different. I worried and worried.  But, it is finished and I love it!

Now you know what I have been doing.  But that isn't the disaster that was waiting for me.

Story number two:  I bought a take and bake pizza.  I set the oven to preheat and went about my business.  Then, there was an awful smell.  I thought that was odd as I hadn't been cooking and I had definitely not been using my oven.  Upon deciding that something was burning, I opened the oven. And, there all lined up neatly were the items from the pantry that I couldn't find!  (I am either stressed or of that age...)  Center stage was the mayonnaise that was bubbling out of the container and all over the oven.  What a mess.  We worked quickly with tongs and a trash can to remove all of the baked pantry items!  Thank goodness I have two ovens!  Dinner happened and with an icy glass of beer!

Thank goodness I had made this Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp a few weeks earlier!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
adapted slightly from Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? by Ina Garten

Yield: 6 servings

4 cups fresh rhubarb (4 to 5 stalks) 1-inch dice
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, diced

Vanilla ice cream for serving.

Preheat oven 350° F.

Place an 8 X 11-inch baking dish on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and set aside.

Fruit:  In a large bowl, toss the rhubarb and strawberries, with 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar and the orange zest.  Dissolve the cornstarch in the orange juice and then stir it into the fruit mixture.  Pout the mixture into the baking dish.

Topping:  Using your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, salt and oatmeal.  At low speed, add the butter.  Mix until the dry ingredients are moist and resemble crumbles.  Sprinkle the topping over the fruit.

Cover the baking dish completely.  Bake for 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is a golden brown.

Serve the crisp warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


This was delightful...a crispy topping covering sweet and tart yumminess!  (If that is a word!)  This is a keeper recipe..quick, easy and certain to please.

I am sharing today at Full  Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's County Cottage.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Blueberry Muffins for the Road!

Vacation!  I am still thinking about it.  I love cool mornings, a bit of fog, crabbing, fishing, exploring, reading, sitting!  What's not to like?  I know we really liked the Blueberry Muffins that I made for the road.  They weren't too sweet and had just the right amount of blueberries to keep me smiling.

I had never made muffins for the road before and I can't imagine why I never thought of doing it.  It was so nice to be able to bite into a moist muffin and enjoy coffee, while listening to our audio book as we rolled north...thirteen hours.  It was a long drive but made enjoyable by blueberry muffins and our book and a few sandwiches and stops along the way.

There is a story behind the blueberry muffins and it has to do with the Secret Recipe Club and my blog assignment, WHYIAMNOTSKINNY and metric measure.  When I got my assignment I knew that I had to get cooking immediately as we were going to be leaving.  The urgency, needing a recipe for something that could "travel" and having frozen blueberries and very ripe bananas all pointed me to the muffin section of Maxine's recipe index.

But wait, before I go on, let me talk about Maxine.  She is a South African blogger who now lives in Brussels.  She has a love for good food and enjoying it.  Her blog is her outlet for reminiscing over meals, recipes, restaurants and general food gathering experiences...and sharing with her readers! She has a one year old daughter who I am certain keeps the food experiences interesting!

There is quite a variety of recipes on Maxine's blog. And, she has a special place in her heart for desserts and sweet treats.  As I explored, I found a number of recipes that I would like to prepare, such as the Cheese, Leek and Potato Pasties or Cottage.  But being sensible about my situation, I
determined that the Blueberry MuffinsBanana Raspberry Muffins or the Orange and Poppyseed Muffins would be good choices....with the Blueberry Muffins being the winner of the day!

But....metric measure.....?  Many years ago, when I was in the classroom, I always taught a unit on metric measure.  Of course, the big no-no was to try to convert.  So, I never went there....converting just didn't come out "equal".  And, you know, that is so true.

On baking day, I found myself looking at the metric measure, looking at the tools on hand, and the biggest mistake...the internet.  I must have found three or four conversion charts and each was different.  So, I did the best I could.  I looked at a standard recipe I had on hand and the ratio of sugar to flour, the ratio of wet ingredients to dry...I over analyzed it.  But, I made a determination and dove in!  (It was actually fun to step up to the challenge!)

My muffins were really tasty....not overly sweet...very moist.  What they did, was lose the beautiful puffy raise that they had. So, I did something with the leavening or some other proportion, but I am not certain what it was.  Good thing it didn't effect the taste!

Blueberry Muffins

Yield:  12 muffins

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup blueberries

Preheat the oven:  350° F.

Prepare the muffin tin.  Place the muffin liners in the muffin tin or grease the tin.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream. milk, sugar, butter and vanilla.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Stir.  Gently fold in the blueberries. (Be careful to not over mix.)

Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin cases.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Test the muffins at 25 minutes to see if tester comes out dry.


They may not have a cute little domed top but they had a great taste.  Everybody loved them....and what they mentioned was that they were moist, not overly sweet and had a great flavor.

If you are a pro at converting metric to standard measure.....and can see what I did incorrectly, please share!!

In the meantime, I will be thinking about Oregon and looking forward to our next trip!