Yup. It’s really going to be warm today. What an odd, crazy, climatic world we live in now. I grew up in New Jersey where we had blizzards and snow half way up the house this time of year. My kids don’t believe me….one of those “yes, I walked 10 miles to school and back” routines. Anyway….
A crazy food week here as well. This past Saturday night, happy to be back in my kitchen again, we had a pizza party with two friends. Six doughs later –
We had a lot of fun putting together the various pizzas. My friend, Peggy, started out really modestly with the toppings then saw me heaping it on – she got the hang of it. We used everything! I prepped it all up earlier in the day so it was not a last minute thing. Easy. The dough was from last months Bon Appetit – a no knead dough. My pal marji turned me on to it – what a snap, mix it up the night before (flour, water, salt, tiny bit of yeast) Wallah, completely risen on it’s own with no kneading. Cool. It was very similar to the normal dough I make which also makes 6 balls. This was a bit less pliable than my own but most people would not notice that. I’m such a dork about certain things I do, i.e. texture, etc.
Anyhow, the pizza was delish. We had a huge, yummy, fresh, crispy salad with it. I got one of those containers of four different kinds of heads of baby lettuce. I much prefer these than those boxes or bags of mixed stuff. And, the bonus to these…..our visiting dogs just love to eat the cores (my best friends). I have very little kitchen waste with Gomer and Easter around.
I’m am sorry I did not take a picture of the pies baked. Those cheeses? One is a Bulgarian cheese. How yummy was that! Kind of a sour type of taste; a creamy type of taste, sheep’s milk. Perfect for pizza.
Also what I did not take a picture of: The BANANA CREAM PIE. Yiikes it was the best darn tasting thing. I usually don’t make this kind of pie but it was Paul’s request so off I went. I had a crust in the freezer from a previous pie making endeavor (the apple one from the other day, with cornflakes). I made a custard from James’ McNair’s pie book in the a.m. then baked the crust blind (meaning nothing in it) as the oven was heating for the pizzas. That is the secret to the most amazing filled pie. Baking the crust just before you serve creates a fresh, crispy, flaky crust. I do the same with tarts. Whenever I see a tart in a bakery I just know it’s not going to be great cause who knows when that crust was baked? After I loaded in the cream, the bananas, more cream, more bananas and more cream I topped it with fresh whipped cream. It looked and tasted exactly like a Diner Pie. Does anyone make these anymore? My husband and friends want me to open a pie store or put a kiosk up at the end of the driveway with pies. I would love that but I’m just not sure people appreciate pies that much anymore. When I was a teenager we used to go to a diner on Route 46 in North Jersey just to eat pie and drink coffee late at night. What comfort.
So, I felt gross afterwards, eating too much and drinking too much wine. Darn. As a side note I decided to stop that wine thing every night (a good idea). I feel so much better already only problem is I stay up half the night – for me that is staying up past 7 p.m. to knit and watch stuff on netflix. These past two nights I watched the 13 episodes of Bleak House by Charles Dickens. OMG what a great story and the characters were so, so funny. Fascinating.
While discussing the state of the gardens yesterday we talked of all the raspberries I have in the freezer from last years crop so I pulled a large bag out of the freezer (I have 4 more). I suspect you’ll be seeing quite a bit more about raspberries in here before the rhubarb starts.
Trolling through my books of ideas I came up with a variation of 101’s Tutti-Frutti Crumble. We loved this. It has the most unique taste – very interesting, herbally although there are no herbs in it (but could be). I’m thinking you should definitely try this one – one of my best!
First, a disclaimer. I made this for my Accountant John Lane and crew up in Kennebunk where I was headed to discuss financial matters. Jennifer, my point contact person, always asks if there are nuts in what I bring as her husband can’t have them and I always forget and bring those darn outrageous brownies loaded with nuts. This year I decided to “make an effort for nut less” hence, this crumb dish. But, as the traffic flowed through my kitchen yesterday morning there was not much left to take with me. I did tell them about it and showed them pictures of what I had intended to bring. Probably not good enough. What a heel I am…..next week when I pick up my “stuff” I’ll take something special, with no nuts!
The Recipe: Make your Crumb first as it pops into the freezer while your preparing the rest:
1.5 C. Whole Wheat flour (or anything)
4 Tbs. Sesame Seeds
1 C. Oats
½ C. Sugar
½ tsp. salt
2/3 C. melted butter
Mix it all together and clump with your hands into a few ball shapes – this is Heidi’s idea which I did not do but it would form probably better clumps, mine was less clumpish as you can see from the photo.
Filling: Mix in large bowl:
4 C. Raspberries
4 C. Blueberries
1 Bag (16oz?) dried cherries
hand full of chopped candied ginger softened in microwave if not soft enough
2 Tbs. cornstarch
2/3 C. sugar
Toss together then add:
½ C. Red Wine – I use a Merlot or Malbec type
Toss all together, pour in buttered baking dish, crumple crumb on top and bake at 375 about 45 minutes.
Unbelievable. And, would be truly amazing with vanilla ice cream on the side. The color is fab. You could do more wine, less crumb and even add a few sprigs of fresh thyme in the mixture.
Heidi uses poppy seeds instead of sesame which looks cool but I don’t like those black things in my teeth. She also uses strawberries and currants. Use whatever you have. I find cooked strawberries kind of gross and watery.
Ah, the best for the almost last.
Yesterday the Wall Street Journal had a nice article on Chocolate as Heart Healthy:
Off the doggies and I went to the Health Food Store for some cocoa to brew “like coffee”. Interesting. I bought Crio Bru, Cocoa River. I had been wanting to try it but just never got around to it. The glass in the picture is it, iced. It’s o.k. I’m not a big fan of cocoa but it was fun to experiment with. The man at the health food store told me to try it brewed first, as tea, which I did. I brewed it in a paper funnel (like I do my coffee), California style, one cup at a time. We’ll have to talk about that at another time. I thought it tasted kind of mild and “black” whatever that taste is. So, I put it on ice, it needed half & half, taste, then it needed some agave, fine. I don’t think I’d replace coffee with it which is the point but different, kind of interesting. This jury is out. As to the rest of the article. It’s good for you, flavanols, great for your mood, lowers blood pressure, etc. I like it in small bites. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s just plain chocolate 72%. A small bite is enough. My mother adored chocolate. She was quite the crabby person most of the time when she first arrive to live with us. We made some adjustments around here which included really good chocolate availability (no snickers or any of that other cheap trash she used to eat quite a bit of). Her mood improved. Seriously, she’d have just a bite here and there and you could see the difference. I believe in it. I had read somewhere that Katherine Hepburn ate a certain amount of ounces every single day for the same reason. I believe that too. So, it’s a tasty, inexpensive mood enhancer. Works for me!!!
We came upon this little critter on the way home yesterday. The dogs were going ballistic in the car so I couldn’t stop and watch for very long. What is with their manners? Very interesting animal. I had never seen one up close…the way it waddles and stops and looks at you. Really, kind of humanistic. I was fascinated. Amazing cute face. Just thought I’d share this guy. Gotta go for a walk before it gets too hot!
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