Tag Archives: Recipes

Seduce Me (with safety!)

Making Peach Pickles today (see the recipe from “So Easy to Preserve” below) because that is one does this time of year when you have green peaches and don’t want to wait for them to ripen because you MUST can something!

Peaches!
Peaches!

Peach Pickles

Ingredients:

8 pounds peeled peaches
2 tablespoons whole cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon ginger
6¾ cups sugar
1 quart vinegar
4 sticks cinnamon (2 inches long)

Method: Wash and peel peaches with a sharp knife, and drop into a cold solution of ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid and 2 quarts water. Dissolve sugar in vinegar in saucepot and put on range to heat. Boil 5 minutes and skim. Add spices (tied loosely in cheesecloth). Drain peaches. Drop drained peaches into boiling syrup and cook until they can be pierced with a fork, but are not yet soft. Remove from range and allow peaches to set in syrup overnight to plump. Bring to a boil and pack into hot jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Cover with syrup, maintaining the ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids. Process 20 minutes in boiling water bath. Yields about six pint jars.

This extension-tested recipe is safe for home canning if the directions are followed.  But it is sort of boring – it makes me wonder if there isn’t something more.  I miss the days when community recipe books said things like:

“According to Mrs. Ina Mae Jones of Petersburg, these pickled peaches are a perfect accompaniment for roast pork and delightful on ice cream.  Her bridge club is clamoring for the recipe!”

If the bridge club is clamoring then this is something that I MUST make!  It seduces and entices me – I can envision the pork roast on a beautifully appointed table with a gleaming jar of beautiful golden pickled peaches bringing a bit of sunshine to a dark winter meal.  Oh, wait, that is just what the blog post will look like!!  The reality is quite different – at least at my house!  I also recognize that however glamorous and attractive the cookbook or blogger makes a dish or recipe sound, if it isn’t safe for my family then I want nothing to do with it!

WSU Food Safety trained me – vigorously I might add – in safe and appropriate procedures to preserve all manner of foods at home.  I am anointed by The Mother Ship (WSU Pullman) to provide information and answer questions about all home preservation and food safety issues using APPROVED MATERIALS.  These are defined as anything that was tested for safety (for processing time and preservation method) by the National Center for Home Food Preservation or any Extension program dated 2010 or later.  We are not able to teach classes or certify volunteers in a Master Food Preserver program because our office (WSU Kitsap) does not have a food science or food safety faculty member on staff.  Right now there are only four counties with a food safety faculty member – which is about par with the rest of the nation. Shifting priorities within the national land grant university system in general and extension programming in particular 15-20 years ago moved resources from traditional home economic and natural resource faculty (food safety, clothing and textiles, agriculture) into economic development and youth and family since folks weren’t cooking, canning, sewing, and farming as much as in the 40s and 50s.  Like all large institutions this change took place slowly and over a decade or so and was combined with regionalization of programming in an age of cost cutting, changing the face of extension considerably.

The problem?

A few years back we had this little economic downturn and families and individuals returned to many of those tried and true ways to save money in tough times – cooking, canning, sewing, gardening, farming – and not only did they start to do those things – but they started to BLOG about it!!  Many folks tried to pick up traditional food preservation and canning skills after their families had taken a couple generations off.  Lacking experienced teachers and taking the lead from the explosion of DIY and cooking shows folks started trying new things and tweaking recipes not realizing that the principles of safe home food preservation are based upon the acidity of the product being canned.  Low acid foods CAN NOT be processed safely in a water bath canner.  So, that onion jam recipe that looks so tasty?  It can’t be safely preserved – you can make it and keep it in the fridge – but don’t can it!  When Martha Stewart makes jam and seals it with paraffin?  Run away!  Use the jar labels but not the food preservation advice!  Someone gives you Grandma’s cookbook?  Put it up on the shelf along side those vintage kitchen tools – it will be a nice decorator touch.   I know that this may hit close to home for some because often if I suggest that using a recipe from 1940 might not be safe in an online forum, a Facebook flame-war errupts as everyone weighs in with “I have been doing it this way for years and we are fine!!!”  My response is often: “If your doctor pulled out a medical book from the 1940s as his major resource in treating cancer for you or a member of your family, what would you do??”

So, what are you to do if you have a question about a recipe or need food preservation or food safety questions answered?  Extension is online and here to help!   Check out the WSU Kitsap Food Products page for links to all of all the extension publications containing safe and tested recipes for a wide range of home preservation.  Check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation for recipes and tips.  Or, give us a call at 360-337-7026 and leave a brief message.  We will get back to you within 24 hrs if possible.  If you are right in the middle of a project and need help NOW you can tap into the resources of our neighbors to the south and call the OSU Food Safety/Preservation Hotline at 1-800-354-7319.  It is staffed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from July 15 to Oct. 11.  In 2012 they responded to about 3,500 calls from consumers!

Happy (and safe) canning!

Farm Breakfast!

A bunch of my friends have reclaimed sit-down Sunday Dinners by posting their menus on Facebook.  If you do a big sit-down it is a chance to see if you measure up, if you just graze on left-overs from the week after church, it is a bit ego-busting!  While we do the full meal deal periodically, Sunday sit-down’s aren’t a tradition at our house – but Saturday Farm Breakfast is a big deal!

We started this tradition years ago because my boys needed a decent meal because we sell hay from 9:00-1:00 on Saturdays and by the time they came in for lunch about 2:00 they were famished.  Cereal just didn’t cut it.  After a while a couple of our hired hands started showing up a few minutes early to catch what was left of the meal.  That became an issue because we would have customers lined up and the help would still be sopping up gravy in the kitchen.  Hence the rule, “Be here by 8:30 if you want breakfast!”

Most of my kids have moved on to other adventures, but we still do the Farm Breakfast for the hay crew, hubby and the occasional hay customer who has figured out what is going on! Recent offerings include buttermilk pancakes with fresh raspberries, french toast, breakfast casserole (eggs, potatoes, sausage, bacon, onions, peppers, cubed bread), eggs and hashbrown potatoes, and of course, biscuits and sausage gravy. I couldn’t do this without the farm.  Eggs from the chickens, milk from the cow, pork sausage and bacon from the hogs we raise, potatoes and veggies from the garden, and buckets of raspberries from the berry patch make all this possible.   Without this ultra-local bounty feeding 4-8 people every Saturday morning would be cost prohibitive but my girls (Lexie and the chickens) keep up their end of the bargain.

We’ve been blessed with a bunch of great helpers over the years – and the community we have built around the kitchen table has forged relationships that are why we keep doing the hay business – and the Farm Breakfast!  This week it was fresh chorizo, eggs, beans, rice, homegrown salsa, and tortilla!  Next week it is biscuits and gravy with fried red potatoes and eggs – by request.  Carlos is moving on to a new adventure as he leaves to go on a church mission for two years!  We will miss him, but when he comes home I am sure he will join us again for an occasional breakfast!  They always do!

Here is the recipe for the chorizo – it is also great for a quick taco dinner!  I always have the butcher grind my pork and leave it unseasoned when we do a hog – that gives me lots of flexibility in meal planning.  You can have most butchers grind up pork shoulder and do the same thing or buy some boneless pork spareribs and grind it yourself.

Chorizo

  • 2# ground pork
  • 1/4 c vinegar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or more too taste)

Grind the meat if needed, blend spices, pour over ground meat, mix well with hands.  Best if it can sit in the fridge 24 hours to allow flavors to blend before using.  Fry it up and make a breakfast burrito!

Soup for the soggy soul

There are days that challenge my commitment to farming.  Like today.  Cold, wet, slushy, rainy, soggy…sick cows, muddy pastures, backed up storm drains in the milking area, I am tired and feel sick….it goes on and on.

So, as an antidote to all the woes of the world I made soup.

We had a hog butchered at Home Meats in Shelton.  They do an old-fashioned slow cure on their hams and bacon.  Very tasty indeed.  We had the ham for dinner earlier in the week and all that was left was a meaty bone.  I tossed it in the crock pot this morning with a pound of white beans, a chopped onion, a couple bay leaves, 3 quarts of water and about 1/2 cup of pan drippings from roasting the ham.  Pan drippings are my secret ingredient any time I need to give a soup or gravy a boost.  Intense, smoky and salty, the pan drippings  are strained and defatted and stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer.  It is so salty that it doesn’t really freeze properly, just getting firm but not solid.  A couple tablespoons adds life to potato-corn chowder, or gives an added layer of flavor to sausage gravy.   #2 son is always saying, “Everything is a little better with some pig on it!” and I think he might be right.

This afternoon when the beans were cooked I tossed in a couple potatoes, peeled and diced and half-a-dozen carrots, sliced up.   I stripped the remaining meat from the bone, chopped it up, tossed it in the pot and gave it a couple turns of the peppermill.

When we got in from doing chores this afternoon, chilled and soaked to the bone, it really hit the spot.  It will be even better tomorrow but for tonight it was good enough!

Yogurt Tart

The Julie/Julia Project chronicled the adventures of Julie Powell as she attempted to cook her way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in one year.  I lack the ambition and time to do something like this but I have always loved Julia Child (“bon appetite!”) since my childhood growing up in BC.  TV in BC was grim back in the day.  Two Canadian Channels (plus one independent American channel when you were lucky!) that only broadcast in the morning (think early PBS) and after 4:00pm.  When other kids were watching “Bewitched” all I had was the test pattern.   Julia and the Galloping Gourmet were staples of morning programming, along with Mr Dressup.  I can remember being inspired by her enthusiasm for life and the “exotic” recipes she was making.  We lived a nice rural, meat-and-potatoes life and the notion of an “Omelet Party” was so far out of the realm of my experience, so cosmopolitan, as to be unbelievable.  The fact that many of them were “French” also made them vaguely suspicious and seditious because the tension between Quebec and the rest of Canada pervaded much of my childhood as well.  Like many formative experiences, you had to be there…anyhow…back to Julia.

I was junkin’ and found a copy of “Baking with Julia” which is based on the PBS series of the same name about the same time as Julie and Julia hit the big screens.  It wasn’t quite the same but I was inspired to buy it anyhow.  It contains lots of wonderful recipes – and my current favorite is her Yogurt Tart.  The narrative with the recipe signs the praises of the delicate vanilla flavor and tasty custard.  Now that I have to deal with four gallons of milk a day to deal with I am making lots of yogurt and cheese.  I strain the yogurt and make this recipe with a Greek-style yogurt which results in a dense cheesecake-y custard.  I also omit the added fruit, preferring to top with berries or fruit and make it with a graham cracker crust.  It is a the perfect dessert for a spring or summer meal (assuming the summer EVER arrives for us!)
Ingredients

  • pie dough, well chilled ( or pastry, enough to line a 9″ round cake pan or 9″ round springform pan, at least 1 1/2″ deep
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, raspberries, mixed berries, sliced peaches, plums, nectarines
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions

  • Working on a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12″ circle 1/8 to 1/4″ thick; Fit into the pan, pressing against bottom and up the sides; Trim to 1/2″ and crimp edges; Chill about 30 minute.
  • Fit a round of parchment or wax paper or aluminum foil into bottom of the crust, fill with dried beans, rice or pie weights; Blind bake crust 20-25 minutes in a 400* oven, until set and lightly browned.
  • Remove weights and liner; Cool to room temperature on a rack and lower oven to 325*.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar together until they thicken slightly and turn pale, 2-3 minutes.
  • Fold in yogurt and vanilla, mix just until blended.
  • Gradually add the flour through a sifter, folding it in gently.
  • Pour the yogurt filling into the cooled tart shell, smoothing the top; the filling will only come about 2/3′s of the way to the top.
  • Scatter the fruit over the top of the tart; it will push the filling to the top of the crust.
  • Sprinkle with chopped nuts around the edge of the tart.
  • Place tart on jelly roll pan to catch drips and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until top is golden
  • Transfer to rack and cool to room temperature.
  • Unmold tart; Serve at room temperature, or chilled if desired; sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Serve the same day as baked; cover and refrigerate. 1 1/2 times the recipe makes enough for a 9×13 pan.  Perfect for a potluck!

Culinary adventures

A while back I posted about the “Dark Days Challenge” and said I was going to share our progress … and then NOTHING.  So much for being a Food Blogger!

So, what are my recent culinary adventures?  Tonight, motivated by Ann Vogel’s trip down memory lane with the Egg and I (great book!) and having an excess of eggs, I made the Chiffon Cake.  For the record, the recipe must be calling for large eggs – not extra large – and 12 eggs might be a bit too many!  I made it with 11 farm eggs and it still spilled over the top of the pan.

It was definitely a lofty cake – perhaps a bit too much.  We will have it with berries and a bit of creme anglais tomorrow for dessert!

Tonight for dinner we had clams with pasta.  My sister-in-law was coming through Shelton yesterday and stopped at Tom Farmer Oysters (which should probably be called Tom Farmer Oysters AND Clams) and picked me up 5# of steamers!   After much debate (eat them plain – all by myself(!) – dipped in melted butter or do something with them??)  Weighing my alternatives and knowing that I was going to have six for dinner tonight I opted for pasta and used a recipe of Emeril’s and made it with bowties rather than linguine.  Very tasty indeed but no pictures because we ate it before I thought to get out the camera.  This brings up the the biggest problem I have with Food Blogging – the only time I think to take pictures is when the crew is late coming in for dinner and I have a couple extra minutes to set up a shot.  The other problem? Remembering to take a BEFORE picture to document the process.

Tomorrow Karen Olsen of Blackjack Valley Farm will process her first batch of broilers for the year and she is going to drop off a couple for me!  I guess that we will be having chicken in the next day or so.  Shannon and I have a batch of Red Rangers in the brooder right now and I will have about a dozen roosters to butcher late in August, but that is a long time to wait for chicken dinner!  I don’t have any definite plans for those chickens yet, but I do have a before shot!

And a possible after!

I promise, I will work on the photo thing!

If you want to learn more about raising chickens there are two upcoming opportunities to learn more about keeping feathered friends!

  • Backyard Chickens – Tuesday, May 10th, 2-3 pm at the Port Orchard Library.  Shannon and I will be giving a free presentation on backyard chickens.  Free to the public.
  • The Kitsap Poultry Grower’s Cooperative Meeting.  Also on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 6:30pm at the Kitsap Humane Society Training Center, 9167 Dickey Rd. NW in Silverdale. There is no cost to attend and non-members are welcome. More information is available at the KPGC website at http://www.kitsappoultry.com/.  This month’s special guest is Fred Berman, WSDA Small Farms and Direct Marketing Program, who will discuss current state regulations for raising, marketing and selling poultry and poultry products for farmers and other’s interested in raising poultry.

Chicken Stew with Ricotta-Chive Dumplings

Chris Henry posted my recipe for Chicken Cacciatore over on Peninsular Thinking as a follow up to her story on our Chickens 101 class.  That is my favorite recipe for stewing hens, but Harley suggested his favorite was this chicken stew and dumpling recipe.  It is pretty good too.  It is from Chefs on the Farm featuring the Quillisascut Farm School with photographs by Harley.  Check out the review here.  This is a “spring” stew because it features chives.  Winter variations can feature dried herbs or sage or rosemary as well.

Place a large (or two small) stewing hen in a pot with 1 onion, 3 stalks celery, 3 large carrots, two bay leaves, sage, thyme, parsley and 1 Tbsp pepper corns.  Simmer 2-3 hours on low.  Strain stock, discard vegetables, shred chick off the bones and reserve.  This can also be done in a crock pot on high for 4-5 hours or 8-10 hours on low.

For the Stew:

  • 2 Tbsp chicken fat or olive oil
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 1 pound carrots, diced
  • 1 stalk green garlic or 3-4 cloves thinly sliced
  • 4 c stock
  • 4 c shredded chicken
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme (1 Tbsp dry)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Saute veggies in oil or fat until onions are tender, add stock, bring to simmer and cook until vegetables are tender.  Add shredded chicken and time.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Dumplings:

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (make your own)
  • 1/2 c fresh chived, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c corn meal
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 3 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together, do not over mix.  Drop by spoonfuls into the simmering stew.  (Tip: use an ice cream scoop for nice round dumplings.  Cookie-sized for small ones, regular-sized for big ones).  Simmer small dumplings 4 minutes or until tender, larger dumplings will take 7-9 minutes.  Turn them over and simmer for 2-3 minutes longer.  Serve hot.  You will be tempted to lick the bowl. Winter Variation:  Potatoes, with sage in the dumplings instead of chives is also good.

Urban Pantry – kitchen stimulus

I am a cookbook geek.  Cookbooks often litter the surfaces of my home.  Bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen…I am constantly perusing and leaving them behind.  This weekend, as I was cleaning the kitchen, I gathered up my current inspirations in an effort to regroup and de-clutter.

This is where I have been finding my inspiration, right here.  The pyramid of books.  I suppose it is sort of intimate, like inviting you all over for dinner.  These books have been arousing the inner cook in me to create delectable feasts, often referred to in our home as “supper”.

As you are gazing over the titles, you will notice right there at the top, Amy Pennington’s, “urban pantry”.  A witty food writer for the magazine, Edible Seattle, urban gardener extraordinaire, author, and local food champion, Amy is coming to spend an afternoon in Kitsap folks!  She will be the keynote speaker and local food cheerleader at The West Sound Small Farms Expo that Diane and I have been working on.

Talk is cheap, so I decided to give one of her recipes a whirl last Saturday morning.  “Spiced Yogurt Chicken” was the recipe that leapt out at me as I had been thawing one of our chickens in the refrigerator and didn’t want to cook the same ol’ roast chicken.   I went to work like all get out as my children’s eyes grew wider.  Cutting up a whole chicken has that effect on them.  And then, letting them smell each spice before I added it to the chicken, their eyes nearly glazed over.  Together we created a culinary prize!

LOOK at all of that spice people!  Coriander, cinnamon, and chicken…OH MY!  And that was it, rubbed it all together and threw it into the fridge while we ran errands, cleaned house, folded laundry… you know, “Saturday Stuff”.  Popped it in the oven and presto!

We devoured it and the truth is, I honestly can’t remember what I served it with.  It was THAT good!  Amy will have books for sale and will be signing them at “the Expo”.  She will also be presenting a breakout session on building your very own urban pantry.  It will be a day you certainly won’t want to miss!

Dark Days Challenge

Laura over at (not so) Urban Hennery issued her annual Dark Days Challenge – and regretfully I missed the deadline to sign up.  I was spending more time back then farming than blogging.  I think that was the weekend we were butchering turkeys…but that is a whole ‘nother Oprah!

Shannon and I have been talking about a pantry challenge for this blog – but I am thinking that the Dark Days Challenge might be kind of fun too!  The rules say that basically you need to eat four SOLE (sustainable, organic, local and ethical) meals a month.  That shouldn’t be much of a challenge for us – given that we eat that way all the time anyhow!  However – it will provide me with the incentive to plan, take pictures and blog about what we are doing – which is the bigger part of the challenge for me!  I spend hours working on the farm and compose great blog posts – in my head!  But when the time comes to sit down at the computer and get it posted on the blog I just don’t seem to get there!

Tonight for dinner (we don’t have a picture of this because we ate it before I found out about the challenge!) we had broiled pork chops, rice pilaf, cranberry and apple compote, green beans and milk or apple cider.  The pork was from a hog we slaughtered this fall, the pilaf contained scallions and carrots from our garden, and the compote included apples from my mom’s place and Grays Harbor-grown cranberries.  The green beans came out of the garden last summer and went right into the freezer.  The milk came from Alexis (The Princess Cow) and the apple cider was pressed this fall.  With the exception of the rice, all of the food was Washington grown, most within 100 feet (let alone 100 miles!) of the house.

For many folks eating local all winter long is a challenge because the Farmer’s Markets close down for a couple months, and even though Abundantly Green has their farm store open on Tuesdays and several other local farms offer winter CSA’s it is more challenging and you need to work harder to locally source fruits and veggies. In my case (and Shannon’s) winter is actually a time to take it easy.  It is much simpler to open the jar and eat the contents than it was to put it up!

We look forward to sharing of our meals during the challenge and hope you will share what you are doing with us!

Rich Chocolate Pudding

Alexis the Princess Cow had her calf, the milk is rolling in – and I have gained a new appreciation for my mother and her creative and thrifty ways.  Growing up we always had a milk cow and as a result, a never-ending assortment of puddings, custards, and fresh cheeses filled the fridge as she attempted to deal with the continual onslaught of milk.  There was also an unfortunte incident with a batch of cottage cheese that even the dog wouldn’t eat…but that is another story.  Basically, she managed to use gallons of the stuff without breaking a sweat. 

Most folks in this day and age buy milk as needed; as in “Oh, pick up a gallon so of milk on the way home.” or “We are almost out of milk again!”  Almost no one has a family cow and none of my friends ever has to answer the question, “How am I going to use up 3 gallons of milk today?”  I am sharing with the calf right now and he takes a couple gallons a day, and until last week the pigs enjoyed extra milk.   But, they went to the butcher on Wednesday, leaving me with lots of extra milk until the new batch of piglets arrive in a couple weeks.  Now, before you ask, the answer is: “No, I can’t sell raw milk.”  I am not a Grade A Dairy so I can’t sell, barter, trade or give away milk – no cow shares – no wink, wink, nudge, nudge, look the other way.  The WSDA takes their job seriously and I have no desire to get crossways of them.  If you are interested in buying raw milk my farmer friend Karen Olsen at Black Jack Valley Farm sells raw milk, fresh eggs, pastured chicken and beef from her farm off of Sidney Rd.  You can also buy her milk at Farmer George’s Meats in Port Orchard and at the Poulsbo Farmer’s Market.  If you want to buy local raw milk you can reach her at 360-731-3382 or via email at bljkvalleyfarms@aol.com

Back to my dilemma.  I make fresh cheeses like mozerrella and ricotta ( there are 3 gallons of milk in a pan of lasagna!), yoghurt, yoghurt cheese, buckets of white sauce for things like mac’n’cheese and we drink milk at EVERY meal. I have made soap and I also make aged cheeses like cheddar.  And, this discussion doesn’t even take into account using up a gallon of heavy cream a couple times a week!  Now, some folks might enjoy this froathy, white bounty but I am here to tell you that the sheer unrelenting nature of coping with this much milk taxes you.  So, I took a page out of my mom’s play book and made pudding.  As a child there was always the large pyrex bowl in the fridge, covered with Saran wrap, filled with pudding.  Usually butterscotch or vanilla, but periodically we would get chocolate.  Now, my mom was a home ec teacher in a former life so she made good pudding – rich and creamy.  Not like Jello Cook and Serve which has a undertone of artificial flavor, or heaven forbid, instant Jello Pudding with its coat the roof of your mouth unpleasantness.  However, her recipe is lost in the sands of time and she assured me that it was “just a recipe for pudding!”  So, I went in search of the perfect pudding recipe.  After some trial and error (America’s Test Kitchen let me down a bit this time) I came across this recipe on culinate.com.    It is divine, creamy, chocolaty and purely addictive.  This is not chocolate pudding for the faint of heart! 

Creamy Chocolate Pudding from Culinate.com
Serves 6 to 8 ( I triple the recipe and just use whole milk because it is about 30% milkfat anyhow!)

Ingredients:

  •  3 Tbsp. cornstarch  
  • ½ cup granulated sugar  
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutched) 
  • ⅛ tsp. salt  
  • 1 cup heavy cream  
  • 1½ cups whole milk 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 8 oz. (about 1¼ cups) chopped semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are fine and I only use about 2 cups) 
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract  
  • Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)  
  • Grated chocolate, for garnish (optional) 

Directions:

  1. Put the cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk the ingredients together thoroughly, making sure no cornstarch or cocoa-powder lumps remain. Whisk in the cream and milk.
  2. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking steadily and scraping the sides of the pan occasionally. When warm (but before the pudding comes to a boil), whisk in the egg, the butter, and the chopped chocolate. Increase the heat to medium and continue cooking and stirring until the butter and chocolate have melted and dissolved into the mixture.
  3. When the pudding has come to a low boil and begun to thicken, remove from the heat. Whisk in the vanilla extract and pour the pudding into dessert dishes or a single large bowl. (I pour it through a strainer into a big bowl – catches any bits of egg that get over cooked.)
  4. You can let the pudding cool slowly on the countertop and serve it soft and warm, if you like. If you prefer to serve it firm and chilled, cover the pudding with plastic wrap (stretched taut if you like skin on your pudding, or pressed gently into the surface of the pudding if you don’t) and refrigerate until set.
  5. Serve garnished with freshly whipped cream and grated semisweet chocolate.

I Love Summer!

Dinner tonight was amazing – not just because it was ALL from here – but because the flavors were so bright and the food was so fresh!  It was nothing special or fancy – hamburgers, new potatoes with butter, green salad, cucumbers in a bit of white vinegar and grilled zucchini.  It is always challenging to decide what vegetable with dinner during the winter – but during the summer the challenge is deciding which veggie to leave out!   I suppose that is what I love MOST about summer.

The raspberry harvest is winding down.  Tonight I am making a raspberry – yogurt tart from a recipe I found in the “Baking with Julia (Child)” cookbook that I picked up at the St. Vincent de Paul a couple of weeks ago.  Don’t worry – I am not launching into a Julie and Julia thing – but the woman (Julia that is!) was a marvel and we should all be very grateful that she found her muse in food!  The biggest problem with the success of the movie is that now I will NEVER be able to find her classic book at the thrift stores! 

This recipe would be good with any type of berry – and Julia offers that it could also be baked without the berries and served with the berries sprinkled on top.  I am beginning to think that would be a better choice because there is so much moisture in the berries that the pie took forever to bake and the center was rather damp and gooey. 

Raspberry Yogurt Tart

  • 1 – 9′ pie crust
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups plain yogurt (I used greek style that I made the other day)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sifted flour
  • 1 1/2 cup raspberries (blackberries, cherries, strawberrries…you get the idea!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake pie crust until slightly browned.

Meanwhile – beat eggs and sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Add yoghurt and vanilla and stir until blended.  Fold in flour, pour into pie shell, top with berries and turn oven down to 325 degrees.  Bake about 1 hour or until the center of the pie is set. 

Cool before serving

I haven’t been doing much baking this summer but was inspired by my friend Margo and her “52 Weeks of Pies” project.  If she can make pies EVERY week the least that I can do is make ONE pie.  One thing that makes pies quick and easy for me is that I make up a large batch of pie crust mix and put it in a ziplock and toss it in the freezer.  When I need to put out a pie I just dump a couple cups in a bowl, add ice water until it comes together, roll it out and put the filling in.  My pie crust mix is my mom’s recipe and is really simple, but rather old-fashioned. 

Trudy’s Pie Crust

  • 1 box SoftasSilk Cake Flour
  • 1 # lard 
  • 1 Tbsp salt

Blend lard into flour and salt until it resembles corn meal and the fat is the size of small peas.  Will keep for several months in the freezer.  To make a 9″ pie crust use 2 cups of mix and add ice water 2-3 Tbsp at a time until it comes together.  I mix it with a fork until it forms a ball.  Roll out on a floured board.  Do not overwork the dough!  For me this is a never-fail recipe for flakey, tender crust.  I have tried butter crusts with limited success.  But I usually don’t tell people it is made with lard - when you confess to folks that the reason your pie crust is so flakey is because you use lard they look at you like you are also making your own shoes!