Sunday, July 31, 2011

Blackberry/Strawberry/Blueberry Pie

It gets really HOT here in Arizona in the summer and that puts a damper on many outside activities.  So what's left to do when it's over 100 degrees and you don't feel like swimming or going to an air-conditioned mall?  Bake? Cook? Go out to dinner?  The latter gets expensive after awhile so I chose to bake and cook.  Berries are in season and I thought what better thing to do than bake a pie that consists of many of the delicious berries that are in season right now...blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries!  I found this great recipe in a Rachel Ray magazine so let's give it a try together shall we?

3 containers (6 oz each) blackberries (about 3-1/2 cups)
1 cup sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca (not pearl)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
8 oz strawberries (about 2 cups) halved
1 container blueberries (6 oz) (about 1-1/4 cups)
1-1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter (8 tbsp) plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 large egg separated
Ice water
She suggests serving strawberry ice cream but I used vanilla. Serve it with the pie!

Wash 2 cups of strawberries and 3-1/2 cups of blackberries.

Wash and take off the stems of the blueberries (1-1/4 cups).

Blackberries, 3-1/2 cups.

Halve the strawberries.

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup blackberries, 1/4 cup sugar, the tapioca, and lemon juice, mash with a potato masher. (I know this picture is blurry but it's kinda' hard to take photos when you've got fruit and flour on your hands!)

Stir in the strawberries, blueberries, and remaining blackberries, and 3/4 cup sugar.  Let stand for at least 20 minutes, gently stirring once or twice.

Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.  Add 8 tbsp of butter and with a pastry blender or 2 knives (I didn't use either and used my hands instead).  Cut the butter into the flour until crumbly.  Continue working with your fingertips until the mixture is flaky.  In a cup, combine the egg yolk with 1/4 cup ice water.  Drizzle over the flour mixture and stir with a fork until incorporated and the dough is slightly moist but not wet. (Test by pinching some of the dough; if it doesn't stay together, sprinkle about 1 tsp more ice water and gather the dough into a mass).

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out to 13-inches round, rotating the dough occassionally to keep it even and to prevent it from sticking to the surface. Don't worry if you don't get a round shape.  It'll just make the top of your pie look a little more interesting :-)

Roll the dough up onto the pin and unroll over and into the 9-inch pie plate; center it and let the excess pastry drape over the edges.  Gently press the dough into the pan. I would have taken pics of this but my hands were covered in flour!

Spoon the berry mixture evenly into the pan, making sure to pour in all the juices that have collected in the bowl.

Dot the top with the remaning 2 tbsp butter.  Gently fold the pastry up and over the berries, pleating as you go around. In a small bowl, beat the egg white with a fork until frothy.  I used an electric blender.  With a pastry brush, lightly glaze the pastry all over with the egg white.  Sprinkle the dough with a few pinches of sugar. I like my pie crust a little on the sweet side so I was a bit liberal with the pinches of sugar!  

Bake the pie until the the berry filling is bubbling well, about 1 hour; check after 40 minutes and if the crust is browning too quickly, cover loosely with a sheet of foil.  You might also want to put some foil under the pie pan because the filling will probably bubble over.  It'll save having to clean the oven afterwards.

Let the pie cool completely, at least 4 hours, before cutting and serving with scoops of vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

This is a really easy recipe to make so I highly recommend you give it a try. Hey, if I can do it, YOU can too.  One bite and your family and friends will be asking for more.  I've made 3 of these pies in one week by demand!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Caprese Quiche

Today, my guest butch in the kitchen is Amy, also known as @Pirate71, on Twitter.  I met Amy a few months ago on Twitter and during the course of discussing food, women, and joking around about life in general, I asked if  she'd be willing to share something with us and she agreed!

If  you haven't tweeted before, I suggest that you give it a try. It's a fun way to exchange ideas, chat, & just goof off with other like-minded folks. Believe it or not, there are A LOT of foodies on Twitter.  I've had some fun conversations with lots of them and also learned about new and cool recipes too.  If you want to follow me, click on the "follow me" button with the bird on it to the right of this post. From there you can see who I'm following and follow them as well. then jump in and chat me up!

Alright, let's get on to today's project in the kitchen! Amy sent a recipe for Caprese Quiche with step-by-step photo instructions.  Ready? Got your whisk? Bowls? Here we go...

Recipe for the quiche (1 each):
1 deep dish pie shell
2 oz sun dried tomatoes, rough chopped
1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
5 eggs
1-1/4 cup half/half
Salt/pepper/nutmeg to taste

Step 1 - Pre-bake the deep dish pie shells for 8 minutes at 400 degrees then set aside to cool.

Step 2 - Dice fresh basil.

Step 3 - Shred mozzarella, chop sun dried tomatoes, and add eggs in a bowl.

Step 4 - Add half and half to the eggs.

Step 5 - Whisk eggs.

Step  6 - Take a picture of Amy, our Butchie in the Kitchen hard at work...

Step 7 - Add sun-dried tomatoes to pie shells.

Step 8 - Add mozzarella on top of the sun-dried tomatoes.

Step 9 - Add freshly chopped basil.

Step 10 - Pie shells are now ready for the egg mixture.

Step 11 - Add egg mixture.

Step 13 - Loosely cover edges of crust with foil as shown below:

Step 14 - Into the oven they go!  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes THEN 300 degrees for 30 minutes.

Step 15 -Remove foil from pies and wha la! No burnt edges.  Let them cool a little.

Step 16 - Prepare a nice salad with romaine lettuce, carrots, and Roma tomatoes.

Step 17 - Serve your quiche with the salad and enjoy!

Looks delicious! Amy, thank you for sharing your recipe with us!

About Amy:

Tell me about yourself. Hobbies? Happily married? partnered?
I am happily partnered for now but hopefully next April, if Renee still agrees to marry me, will be happily married.  We have been together for over 5 yrs. I’m pretty sporty, love the beach, outdoors and camping.  We spent memorial day this year camping on the beach, best part of which was making and eating breakfast about 20ft from the coast. I spent about 5 yrs of my life cooking in a kitchen, a pizza kitchen, but still a kitchen.  I loved making and creating wonderfully tasty things but after several years I started to lose that fun and it became work so I did what I needed to do and changed my career path.  I currently work in the communication/technology field and my love for creating in the kitchen has returned.

Do you prefer to bake or cook? or both? 
I actually like both but I think I’m better at cooking while she is much better at baking and making homemade jams & curds.

What is your favorite meal of the day to cook? Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Why?
I prefer to cook either breakfast or dinner. In my opinion lunch is kind of boring cause it is a meal you just eat for the sake of eating while breakfast & dinner can be elaborate meals that you can sit, savor and enjoy.

Who wears the apron strings in the kitchen? You or your girlfriend? 
Well, she looks “very nice” in an apron but we actually both have aprons but rarely wear them and we have found that we can cook very well together.

What made you pick Caprese Quiche to cook? Is it a family favorite? 
Well, Quiche is a household favorite and who does not like caprese salad? so I thought…why not mix them and see what happens.

Do you have an audience when you're cooking or are you solo? like kids, pets, wife?
Audience, yes but not intentional. We have cats and I have been labeled “The kitty food giver” so once I enter the kitchen the kitties come running to see what I’m doing.  Plus since we have teenagers and well they are usually always hungry they usually mill around the kitchen and see what is happening while dinner/breakfast is being prepared. 

That was yummy , what're we cooking next?

If you've got a recipe you'd like to share, either here or on your own blog and would like to link to this one, hit me up via email at: