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Fresh Strawberry Pie with Almond Crust

I think I got this from Epicurious. I skip the orange peel. And usually use 6 cups strawberries. It’s awesome. Make it now.

Fresh strawberries get piled into an easy press-in crust of ground graham crackers and toasted almonds. Chill the pie at least two hours before serving. Pay attention to this, or you’ll get pieces that you have to scoop, as in photo, rather than slice. But it’s one of those “can’t wait” kinda pies. Sooooo good.

Strawberry Icebox Pie With Almond Crust
Makes 6 servings. Or just 1 if you don’t want to share.

1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
5 cups quartered hulled strawberries (about 24 ounces)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
For crust:
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Coarsely chop almonds in processor. Add graham cracker crumbs and sugar; process until finely ground. Add butter; process until evenly moistened. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of prepared pie dish.
Bake crust until set, about 12 minutes.
Cool completely on rack.

For filling:
Place 2 cups strawberries in medium saucepan.
Mash strawberries with potato masher until chunky. Add sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils and thickens, about 3 minutes.
Transfer mixture to bowl. Cool to room temperature. Stir in remaining 3 cups strawberries and grated orange peel. Mound filling in crust.

Favorite Peach Cherry Slab Pie

Last summer, I spent some time in the tiny cowboy town of Dubois, Wyoming playing in the most amazing little bakery. I taught the baker about slab pie. She taught me all about sourdough bread and homemade goat cheese.
Fellow traveler, Michelle, and I (in photo) made Rhubarb-Bing Cherry slab pie because the rhubarb was ready to be picked and Michelle had just bought bing cherries at the market. The experiment was a success.

It was such a favorite that when I came home to Des Moines, I made a Peach-Blueberry version…because that was the season here. (I even used canned tart cherries with frozen peach slices when I was feeding a crowd in the winter.)

Here’s the slab pie recipe for those who’ve asked about it. You can load it with the fruit of your choice. Apples are great, too.

The key is to use a total of at least 8 cups of fruit.

Peach-Blueberry Slab Pie

3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter (or 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortening)
1 egg yolk

1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
5 cups sliced peaches
3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not thaw)
1 recipe Vanilla Glaze (below)

1. For pastry, stir together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in shortening and butter til mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Lightly beat egg yolk in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to the egg yolk to make 3/4 cup; mix well. Mix egg yolk mixture into flour mixture until dough holds together in a ball. Divide dough into two-thirds and one-third portions.

2. On a floured surface, roll the larger portion of dough into an 18×12-inch rectangle. Transfer carefully into a 15x10x1-inch baking pan (jelly roll pan). Pastry should hang over edges of pan. (I roll pastry around rolling pin and then unroll over baking pan.)

3. Preheat oven to 375 F. For filling, stir together sugar and cornstarch. Add peaches and blueberries (or fruit of choice). Toss to coat. Spoon into prepared crust.

4. Roll remaining dough into a 16×11-inch rectangle. Place dough over fruit. Bring bottom pastry up and over top pastry. Seal edges with tines of fork. Prick top of pastry surface all over with fork.

5. Bake in preheated oven about 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on rack. Drizzle with Vanilla Glaze.

Vanilla Glaze
Stir together 1 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and enough milk (5 to 6 tsp) to make of drizzling consistency.

Chocolate-Dipped Spice Cake Balls

Everybody loved them. Loved them. Good thing. We spent a long time creating these little masterpieces.

This cake ball thing seems to be all the rage. You’ll find many a recipe by typing “cake balls” into your favorite search engine (google). You’re not getting our recipe. Well, maybe later. In the cookbook. Maybe. Haven’t decided yet.

Here’s the typical generic recipe. Bake a cake from a cake mix. Crumble up the finished cake (what?) and stir in a can of frosting. (OMG…Frosting from a can? Shudder.) You end up with a glob of frosted cake mooshed together. Use a melon baller or mini ice-cream scoop to form balls. Dip the balls in melted candy coating. (Candy coating? Shudder.) Done.

A heartbreak, for sure. Homemade cake, can of frosting, and candy coating? Teeth-achingly sweet with an artificial afterburn.

Nonetheless, we liked the concept. Why not bring it into the kitchen and create our own homemade balls of wonder? We tried two versions: From- scratch Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting rolled into mini balls and dipped into dark chocolate, then sprinkled with granola (Chocolate-Dipped Spice Cake Balls).

Then we tried a from-scratch Dark Chocolate Cake with added mini chips. Fudge Frosting. Again, dipped in dark chocolate. Sprinkled with macadamia nuts.

Our gourmet balls were not bad. The hungry hoards raved. (We brought them to a fundraising auction for a friend who needed help with her medical expenses.) Still a bit sweetish for us. But, we like our sweets on the subtle side.

Crispy Kale Chips

Oops. These crunchy, airy snacks were so good, I sampled a couple to make sure they were OK and then I couldn’t stop eating them. They were gone before I remembered I was going to take a picture.

Kale Chips. Who knew?

Here’s how:

Take a bunch of kale. Cut the leaves away from the thick stem. Wash and pat dry (or send them whirling thru a salad spinner). Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and toss with sea salt and/or grated Parmesan cheese. Spread them on a baking sheet and pop them into a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
Munch. Crunch. Crunch. And they’re gone.

Make another batch.

Food Fix

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