July 31, 2016 § 10 Comments
We’ve had a great spring and summer so far here in Vermont. Not too much rain but that doesn’t seem to bother the blueberries. I’ve been picking my weighted down bushes non stop for a few weeks now. Besides freezing them I’ve made lots of muffins and scones, but wanted to do something a little different with my latest score.
Food and Wine recently had this hand pie recipe and they looked so delicious I had to try them. The recipe is quite easy though I added a few tips as you’re assembling them. I also substituted half white spelt flour and half Einkorn flour for the all purpose. And I had to add some lemon zest because blueberries and lemon zest are a match made in heaven. Try a bowl of berries with sweetened whipped cream sprinkled with lemon zest for dessert one night. Sublime!
So if you find yourself with some blueberries on a rainy Sunday and get the urge to bake, try these.
Blueberry Hand Pies
2 cups all purpose flour or 1/2 white spelt, 1/2 Einkorn flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup ice water
2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar ( I used a little less)
2 TBL flour
2 TBL fresh lemon juice
grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg beaten with 1 tsp water
Turbinado suger for sprinkling or vanilla sugar
Make the dough:
Whisk flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea sizes pieces of butter remaining.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in the egg yolk and water until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth. Cut the dough in half and shape into 2 disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate about an hour until chilled.
In medium bowl, toss the blueberries with sugar, flour, lemon juice, zest, salt and cinnamon.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to a 16 x 9 in rectangle. Approximately. I didn’t get it quite that size. Dough should be about 1/8” thick. Use a 4 in. floured cookie cutter, plate or even a glass to cut out 8 rounds from the dough. I didn’t get 8, only 7 so don’t worry about that either.
Spoon 2 TBL of the filling into the center of each round and fold the dough over.
Tip: After you fold the dough over, push the berries down a bit so they’re evenly spread out. Using the tines of a fork, seal the edges.
Tip: Each one takes a few minutes so while you fill them, put the other cut outs back in the fridge to keep cold. You want to keep the butter cold.
Transfer as you make them to a parchment lined baking sheet, about 1 in apart and put in fridge. Chill about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the hand pies with the beaten egg wash and sprinkle with the sugar.
Bake about 15 to 18 minutes until nice and golden. Some of the juice will spill out.
Let cool a little, then dig in!
You can freeze these unbaked and pop in oven 25 minutes before serving.
Makes 14 to 16.
February 5, 2016 § 6 Comments
Some of you may be familiar with Einkorn, and some may be thinking “What kind of crumble?”
For those of you not familiar with it, Einkorn is nature’s original wheat. It is the only wheat out there that hasn’t been hybridized, which allows many gluten intolerant people to eat it without experiencing the sometimes severe reactions they have to “regular” wheat.
Although neither I or Kevin have a gluten sensitivity, we do feel better not eating it. So I had switched to spelt flour when baking. Spelt has less gluten but what really appealed to me was that Einkorn hasn’t been messed with. It is the same wheat now as it has been for thousands of years. So it’s what I bake and cook with now all the time.
That said, baking with it can be a challenge sometimes. I highly recommend Carla Bartolucci’s book Einkorn. The owner of Jovial Foods, Carla has worked out how to cook and bake with Einkorn flour. The recipes are delicious and easy to follow.
Hopefully I didn’t scare you away from trying it. I simply substitute Einkorn flour for regular wheat flour and the results have worked out just fine. If you’re going to try bread I suggest following Carla’s recipes.
Here’s a simple recipe to try. I used Empire apples, MacIntosh would work well also, you want a softer apple as the baking time is short and you want the apples to soften into a applesauce consistency.
3 to 4 large apple, peeled, cored and cut into medium size chunks
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 TBL unsalted butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Mix all together and place in greased pie dish
6 TBL unsalted butter
2/3 cup Einkorn all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBL milk or cream
2 to 3 TBL chopped walnuts
Cut butter into flour with either your hands or a Dough and Pastry Blender, add sugar, then add the milk. Blend it all together with a fork then spread it over the apples. Sprinkle with the walnuts.
Bake in a 350 degree oven and bake 35 to 45 minutes, until lightly brown and bubbly.
Serve warm with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
This is great for breakfast!
August 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
I was sitting outside on my patio and watching the bees furiously going from flower to flower. I noticed a pattern, they would alight on a flower and then leave immediately. Off to another flower, and then the same thing. The flowers didn’t seem to interest them. There was nothing there for them.
The flowers they spent a lot of time on were the old fashioned ones. Foxgloves, hollyhocks, old fashioned roses.
As beautiful as the others were, the ones I bought at the nursery because they had the most beautiful cascade of blooms, the bees wanted nothing to do with them. Same with the hummingbirds. The blooms were beautiful but sterile. It disturbed me and I thought about that for awhile.
It’s the same with our food….beautiful specimens of peaches but with no taste. Red ripe tomatoes that taste like cardboard. And that means there’s nothing there for our nourishment…..like the canary in the coal mine, the bees are telling us to beware.
Luckily more and more people are realizing that eating healthy is really pretty simple. I just read that McDonald’s is closing a lot of it’s “restaurants”, a good sign for the organic and healthy food movement.
Anyway, these are just my thoughts for the day. Now on to dessert.
My currants, blueberries and raspberries are all ripening at the same time, at least enough to get a big bowlful for dessert tonight. You can make this with pretty much any fruit that’s really summer ripe, try the farm stands and farmers markets.
Take a handful of berries, I like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and add them to a sauté pan with a little butter and honey. Mash some of them, either with a fork or potato masher. Warm them just a little, you’re not cooking them, just melding the flavors together. Scoop onto individual plates and pour some really good cream over them. I grated a little lemon zest over them too. It’s delicious, gluten and sugar free and couldn’t be easier. And healthier!
January 14, 2015 § 5 Comments
Today was a stay inside kind of day for me. It started out gray (as usual) and then started snowing a little bit. I had a few things in mind for dinners throughout the week and for some reason just decided to cook them all.
I started off with a sort-of stew of braised oxtails with fennel. As that was in the oven I started a version of pot roast, with lots of onions, red wine and tomatoes. Then I put a big pot of beef stock on to simmer, using up some leftover bones from the freezer and adding some fresh ones to it. That’s been simmering all day and will be for another few days.
I still needed some cooking therapy I guess so cornbread came to mind. I wanted to jazz it up a bit, so I added bacon, cheddar cheese, sautéed onions and sage to an otherwise plain cornbread recipe. I used a cast iron pan to cook the bacon and onions in and then kept it hot as I made the batter, then spooned it on top. Once it came out of the oven I felt the urge to add even more cheddar, (probably because I’d been nibbling on some the whole time) so I sprinkled another 1/2 cup on as it cooled, making a nice cheesy glaze.
This is best served warm. To reheat the next day, wrap in foil and place in hot oven for about 10 minutes. Or, I like to melt a little butter in a pan and add some slices of cornbread to it. Makes a great breakfast, topped with a fried or poached egg.
3 pieces bacon, cut into pieces
1 large onion, sliced
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour, I use white spelt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbl butter, melted
1/4 cup cheddar, grated, for top
dried sage for top
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a cast iron pan, about 8″, cook the bacon until almost done, remove to a plate.
Add the sliced onions to the pan, adding more fat to the pan if you need it. Cook until golden.
Put the bacon back in with the onions, and keep the pan warm while you mix up the batter. You could put in the oven but keep an eye on it.
In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add the grated cheddar.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, then add the milk, butter and sour cream.
Add wet to dry, mix.
Spoon into the hot pan with the bacon and onions, sprinkle crumbled dried sage over the top.
Bake about 15 minutes, until tester comes out dry.
Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with the 1/4 cup grated cheddar.
I’ll be giving you the recipes for the oxtail stew and pot roast soon…..oh one more thing…I also made the chickens a treat: melted some old peanut butter, added some seeds, oats, and grains then popped it into the freezer for tomorrow’s treat….think I’m done for this day!
December 22, 2014 § 4 Comments
We’ve all been planning our holiday dinners and feasting. Chances are we’ll have had many hours of shopping, decorating the table, and the actual cooking of that duck or roast. When Christmas morning breakfast rolls around we want it to be easy, but still special.
I like to have something homemade for a breakfast treat, like scones or muffins. This year I was planning on making a coffee cake, then at the last minute I decided to put the batter into muffin cups. This way people can just grab and go and get to those presents!
If you plan ahead, you can make these a few days before then just reheat. If not, make the batter and get them into the oven while everyone is waking up and the coffee is finishing its brew.
Pile them into a basket and put them out next to the coffee pot, the smell will fill the house and get everyone into the kitchen fast!
Coffee Cake Muffins
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup organic sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour, I use white spelt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup nuts, sliced almonds or chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a muffin pan or line with baking cups.
With a mixer, cream the butter and sugar about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the eggs and beat until well combined.
Mix the baking soda with the sour cream in a separate bowl, then add to egg mixture.
Add vanilla and beat well.
Combine flour and baking powder, add and beat until well combined.
Spoon into muffin pan and sprinkle with topping.
Bake 20 to 30 minutes, (depends on your oven) until tester comes out clean. You can also just make a regular coffee cake, pour batter into a greased 8″ or 9″ pan, square or oblong or round, and bake a little longer, about 10 extra minutes.
November 23, 2014 § 4 Comments
My favorite holiday is almost here. Thanksgiving, the holiday which is all about food! Cranberries and turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and squash, and of course, pumpkin.
I see a lot of pumpkin recipes out there now, and from signature cocktails to bread, there’s pumpkin in everything. For me, pumpkin pie is what Thanksgiving dessert is all about……except for this.
It’s a light dessert perfect to finish off your Turkey Day feasting. There’s no crust like in the traditional pie, just a light and creamy custard sweetened with maple syrup and infused with cinnamon, cardamon, ginger and vanilla bean.
It’s so light you could eat this for breakfast the next day, if you have any left!
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp each allspice, cardamon, ginger
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract (try to use the bean, the flavor is sublime)
heavy cream for topping, with extra maple syrup for sweetening
walnuts or pecans for topping
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, bring cream and milk to a simmer.
Remove from the heat, stir in the pumpkin and spices. Set aside.
Beat egg yolks in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy, about a minute or two.
Add the maple syrup and combine well. Keep beating another minute or two until it doubles in volume.
Split the vanilla bean down the middle with a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds right into the bowl. Whisk until blended.
Very slowly add a little of the warm cream mixture into the egg mixture and whisking constantly, keep adding until it’s all blended.
Now I recommend pouring this into a Pyrex measuring cup with a spout for easier pouring.
Pour into 6 oven proof ramekins. You might need more depending on the size. If you don’t have ramekins, use coffee cups. Pretty much anything will work as long as it’s ovenproof.
Set them into a large baking dish and pour some hot water into it. You want the water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake about 40 minutes, until almost set, but this will depend on the size. It should jiggle a bit in the center and will firm up as it cools.
You can eat right away or put in fridge to chill. Before serving, whip up some heavy cream with a little more maple syrup, top the custards with this and some finely chopped walnuts or pecans.
Oh, and don’t throw away that vanilla pod! Add it to a small jar of sugar, let it infuse in your pantry, then use it on all sorts of things: sprinkled on cake or muffins right before they go into the oven, over pancakes and french toast, in your morning oatmeal, for sweetening whipped cream, in your coffee or tea…..
October 28, 2014 § 5 Comments
It started last evening, a nice warm autumn drizzle which then turned into a whole day of downpours. What I would call a soup day, and I had everything I needed to make my Cabbage, Ham and Potato Soup. So that’s what I did, and as the soup simmered away, I pondered what to do with a little bit of extra ham I had leftover. So since I always have some good Vermont cheddar in the fridge, I came up with this: a savory scone, to slather with butter, to have for breakfast or with breakfast, to grab as a quick snack or just have with that bowl of soup.
It’s a basic recipe and you can easily change the ingredients depending on your mood or what you have in your kitchen. Here’s a few ideas:
Bacon and Onion: cook enough chopped bacon to measure about 3/4 cup, sauté 1/2 minced onion until soft
Apple and Cheddar: a classic, use 1 cup peeled, chopped apple and 1 cup grated cheddar
Sun dried Tomato and Goat Cheese: chop 1 cup drained sun dried tomato and add with about 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
Olive and Pine Nut: chop about 1 cup olives finely, then add 1/2 cup pine nuts at the end
You can change the herbs, try thyme, oregano or lavender, add some sautéed mushrooms, substitute different cheeses (crumbled bleu would be delicious) the list is pretty endless.
2 cups flour, I use organic white spelt
1 TBL baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 – 2 TBL fresh chopped sage or 3/4 tsp crumbled dried
1 tsp sugar
6 TBL cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped ham
1 egg, beaten
about 1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment.
Combine the dry ingredients, including the sage.
Cut in the butter until it resembles small peas, with either your fingers or a pastry cutter.
Add the ham and cheese and stir.
Beat the egg and cream together and add to dry ingredients. Mix well with a fork.
Knead it all together right in the bowl, if it seems a bit dry add a little more cream until it holds together. You don’t want to overwork it, just a few kneads will do.
Pat out on a floured surface and shape into a 7″ disk, about 3/4″ thick.
Transfer to your baking sheet, then using a knife, cut it into 8 wedges, like a pie.
Separate the wedges a bit, then brush with a bit of cream to give it a nice golden crust.
Bake about 18 to 22 minutes until golden brown.
Let cool right on the cookie sheet.
These are best served warm, and if by some miracle you have any left over the next day, wrap in foil and heat in a 300 degree oven about 15 minutes.
Makes 8 scones.
October 12, 2014 § 4 Comments
As much as I hate to see summer go, part of me is glad. It’s the part that weeds and waters the gardens, deadheads the flowers, cans the fruit and picks the endless supply of blueberries.
I don’t want that to sound like a complaint, but those who have large gardens understand I’m sure. And there is also the part that likes the changes of the seasons, the soups and stews, and the smell of the wood stove.
Today started off a beautiful warm, sunny day. Then the clouds rolled in, and it got a bit chilly! I grabbed a sweater and decided a cobbler would be perfect for the afternoon’s coffee break. I had some pears that I meant to use in a salad and were calling to me, “use us now or else!”
The recipe uses fresh mint, which I love to use in baking. It’s from a recipe I’ve had for many, many years, from Lee Bailey’s cookbook Country Weekends. I usually change things a bit when following a recipe, always cutting down the amount of sugar, or using maple syrup instead, adding a spice or two, and substituting spelt or Einkorn flour for the all purpose flour most recipes use.
You can also make this with apples and add a handful of raisins and some cinnamon. So now that cobbler weather is here, bake yourself one, and serve with sweetened whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or just grab a spoon and have it for breakfast.
6 large pears, I used Bartlett
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
2 TBL maple syrup
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
grating of fresh nutmeg
1 tsp chopped fresh mint
1 cup all purpose flour, I use organic white spelt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup milk or almond milk
2 TBL unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a 9″ovenproof pie dish.
Peel and core the pears, then cut into medium size chunks.
Pour lemon juice over the pears, then add the zest. Mix.
Combine spices, maple syrup and mint, add to the pears and put in pie dish.
Make batter by mixing flour, baking powder and salt.
In separate bowl beat egg yolks with milk and maple syrup, then add to flour mixture.
Mix in the butter then drop onto the fruit. Bake about 30 to 35 minutes, making sure the middle is done by lifting a piece of pear and checking.
July 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
Breakfast can be a challenge for me sometimes. I have a piece of bacon or sausage and some fruit, like melon, or a bowl of strawberries with some fresh cream poured over, and a cup of coffee. In winter it’s usually oatmeal, again with fruit, maple syrup and cream. Of course eggs are in there too, but today I got tired of the over-easy version and got a little creative.
I love a muffin in the morning, but I try to avoid flour if I can. And I’m not a fan of gluten free flours really, I don’t think some of the substitutes are all that healthy…. so this is basically an egg beaten with salt and pepper and poured into a muffin tin. Pretty simple!
I added quite a few things to the “recipe”- whatever I had in the fridge really….leftover broccoli, chopped kale, a few cherry tomatoes and of course cheese. Gotta have cheese – pretty much on everything!
So give these a try, they are great for anytime you want a snack, packed in lunch boxes and for traveling, and of course breakfast, still warm from the oven.
Here’s the “recipe”
12 eggs, one for each muffin cup
salt and pepper
vegetables, either left over of fresh
goat cheese, cheddar, feta, Parmesan-as much or little as you like-I used a heaping TBL on top of each one.
Pine nuts or any type of seed, sesame or pumpkin, etc.
Minced garlic, fresh herbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper liners.
Beat the eggs. If you’re making different kinds, I suggest separating some of the eggs into different bowls for the different ingredients ( like 2 eggs with kale and cheddar, and 2 eggs with tomatoes, broccoli and goat cheese, etc. I find it easier to pour into the cups this way). Or just beat them all at once, then add the veggies.
Add salt and pepper to taste, remembering if you add cheese it may be salty already.
Add the veggies, then sprinkle on the cheese and seeds, etc.
Pour into muffin tin and bake about 30 minutes until knife inserted comes out clean.
And that’s it. You can get creative here, of course, add some cooked bacon, a little cooked sausage, some sun dried tomatoes, herbs, pretty much anything goes!
June 1, 2014 § 4 Comments
You know spring is on it’s way when you see the gnarly leaves of the rhubarb plant emerge from the dirt. There’s no stopping it once it starts, the leaves getting bigger and bigger until the flower pops up in the middle.
Rhubarb, a perennial, is a very hardy plant that thrives in the cold northern regions. Every old farmstead likely has a rhubarb patch somewhere, having been made into pies and sauces for the family get togethers through the years and still going strong.
It doesn’t require much care, producing ruby red stalks for decades each spring. Every few years you can divide the plant and either start a new patch or pass it on to a gardening friend or family member. There’s only one important point you must know, in case you don’t already, and that is that the leaves are highly poisonous. I just cut the leaves off right in the garden and add them to the compost pile.
Rhubarb will keep for about a week in the fridge, but I find it easiest to just go out and pick some when I need it. You can freeze it, but not very well in my opinion, kind of turns to mush.
Here are a few recipes using rhubarb. One is for scones, one for chutney, and one for a syrup. And don’t forget the Rhubarb Clafouti!
Strawberry Rhubarb Scones
3 cups flour, I use white spelt
1/2 cup organic sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup sliced strawberries
Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease lightly.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix the dry ingredients together.
Add the butter pieces and work into the flour mixture with your fingers or a fork until you have pea sized pieces throughout.
Add buttermilk and fruit and stir gently with a fork until combined. don’t overwork or they’ll be tough. The dough will be on the moist side.
Lightly flour the baking sheet and pat out the dough, making a circle about 10 inches wide.
Cut into even pieces, like a pizza. You can sprinkle with a little extra sugar if you like.
Bake about 18 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned.
Rhubarb Raisin Chutney
This chutney is great on sandwiches, like ham or roast pork. It also makes a nice glaze for pork tenderloin, chops or fish.
2 1/2 cups roughly chopped rhubarb
1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup golden raisins
In a medium sized pot combine maple syrup, vinegar, onion, coriander, ginger, mustard and salt. Bring to a boil, then cook for about 5 minutes, uncovered.
Add the rhubarb and raisins and continue cooking, simmering actually, another 15 minutes or so, until rhubarb is softened. You don’t want mush here, so keep an eye on it.
Remove from the heat, then taste for sweetness, adding more maple syrup if you’d like.
Makes about 2 cups.
Strawberry Rhubarb Syrup
This is a delicious syrup you can drizzle over vanilla ice cream or pound cake. Use instead of maple syrup on pancakes or french toast. It’s also great mixed with a little sparking water and a splash of vodka. Ok, maybe more than a splash.
1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sliced strawberries
3/4 cup sugar, organic preferably organic
1 cup water
In saucepan, combine all ingredients.
Bring to a boil and cook about 15 minutes until rhubarb is soft.
Put through a fine mesh strainer to separate pulp. You can either discard it or mix it with butter or cream cheese and spread on a bagel. Stir it into oatmeal or yogurt with some nuts for breakfast. Yum.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.