Archive for 2011

  • Dense Cherry-Almond Coffeecake Pie

    I have in my files all manner of almond cakes, all of which I’m wild about, from chocolate tortes to moist sour cream coffeecakes. I also have this: a pie in the tradition of the latter, just moist and dense enough to require a pastry to contain it. We begin by putting a single layer of cherries in a partially prebaked pie shell. Then a rich sour cream filling, thickened with almond meal and eggs, is poured over the fruit. As it bakes, a delicious cake-like filling forms around the cherries, leaving a lovely golden almond crust on top. Rich and tasty as it is, I love this served just barely warm, with a bit of coffee or vanilla ice cream.

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  • Rhubarb Rules!

    I have been seeing rhubarb everywhere lately! And rightfully so, as rhubarb is still quite in season in this hemisphere.  Originally used for medicinal purposes, this vegetable (who knew?!) was not used as a food for thousands of years, not until sugar became more easily accessible and available.  Its intensely bitter flavor, mixed with the sweetness of strawberries and other fruits and sugar, makes for some delicious early summer treats.  Here are some of my favorite recipes for rhubarb dishes, including a non-traditional rhubarb pie, a refreshing summer cooler, and a jam mixing fruit and flowers.  Just remember not to use the rhubarb leaves—they can be toxic!

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  • Strawberry-Rhubarb Lemonade

    Intensely bitter, rhubarb becomes a willing partner when blended with strawberries and sugar. Nothing announces the arrival of spring more potently than strawberries and rhubarb. With this recipe, you can get a jump on summer by combining these seasonal gems with lemon.

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  • Rhubarb-Rose Preserves

    A few minutes before writing these words, I opened a six-year-old jar of Rhubarb-Rose Preserves, and for a moment I thought that the roses were blooming in the garden. These preserves can raise you out of midwinter blues into happy plans for spring. Dark red rose petals may enhance the color of this jam a bit, but they won’t turn a green jam red.

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  • Sumner, Washington, Rhubarb Custard Pie

    I had seen several references to Sumner, Washington, declaring the town to be the rhubarb pie capital of the country. I love that sort of boast, so I called the mayor, Barbara Skinner, and asked her if she’d care to comment. She told me, quite frankly, that she wasn’t sure where the pie title came from. But she informed me that Sumner—a town of 8,800 in the southern Puget Sound area, where she was born and raised—is in the fertile Puyallup Valley, which produces 90 percent of the rhubarb grown in this country. Fair enough. As the town’s mayor, would she be willing to share the best local recipe for rhubarb pie? Indeed, she would, and by the end of the day, she’d sent me this recipe from the local St. Andrew’s Church cookbook, adding a note that “everyone in the church is a good cook.” They must be, because the pie is quite excellent— a thick layer of rhubarb on top of a very light custard. I think you’ll enjoy this quite a bit.

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  • Fresh Whipped Cream

    Fresh whipped cream is so easy and quick to prepare that there’s almost no reason to use canned. It can be made with either granulated sugar or confectioners’ sugar. I prefer the latter, since the presence of cornstarch in confectioners’ sugar makes the whipped cream more stable. This basic recipe can easily be scaled up if a greater quantity is required. To make unsweetened whipped cream, which is what you’d serve with a very sweet pie, simply omit the sugar.

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  • The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook in the News

    The Whole Grains Council refers to The Ultimate Rice Cooker as “one of the top-rated independent books we’ve found.”

    Read the full article here.

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  • Around the Web for Father’s Day

    What are other bloggers cooking up in honor of their dads this Father’s Day?  I’ve looked into it, and here are my favorites of what I’ve seen!

    Breakfast: Homesick Texan
    Brunch isn’t just for Mother’s Day you know!  Let your dad enjoy breakfast in bed this Sunday with a French Toast Casserole, complete with blueberries and sausage, from Lisa at Homesick Texan.

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  • Grill up something good this Father’s Day

    Three things my dad loves?  Garlic, steak, and shrimp cocktails.  He’ll order some combination of the three of those just about every time we go out to eat.  But this Sunday is Father’s Day, and why go out when you can let him relax on the couch or deck and grill up something yourself in his honor?  It’s the middle of June and there is no better time to whip out that gas grill.  Start off his Father’s Day feast with a Grilled Shrimp Cocktail, excite him even more with a Garlic-Studded London Broil, and finish it off with some sweet Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Calzones—after all, you’ve got to remind him you’re still his little kid!  All recipes come from A. Cort Sinnes’s The New Gas Grill Gourmet.

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  • Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Calzones

    Here’s a novel dessert that will surprise and delight any youngster or like-minded adult in the crowd. Got milk?

    Each calzone serves 1

    2 tablespoons cornmeal
    One 10-ounce tube premade pizza dough, available in your supermarket refrigerator case

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  • Garlic-Studded London Broil

    Serve this steak hot off the grill, or cold the next day for out-of-this-world steak sandwiches.

    Serves 6 to 8

    One 3- to 4-pound London broil, about 2 inches thick
    3 to 4 cloves garlic, cut into about a dozen slivers total
    Olive oil
    Freshly ground black pepper to taste

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  • Grilled Shrimp Cocktail

    This is a delicious twist on the more common bay shrimp cocktail, loosely based on the way shrimp are served in Baja, Mexico. Not only are the shrimp grilled, but the sauce is also much lighter than the typical stateside cocktail sauce. Serve well chilled.

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