Rhubarb Strawberry Custard Pie

I’m currently in Portland visiting my cousin Kristin and her husband Dick. When I had booked my flight I mentioned that I’d love to cook for them while I was their guest

To my delight their neighbor had given them rhubarb from his magnificent garden and I offered to make my favorite Rhubarb Custard pie. They had beautiful strawberries and Dick asked if we could add those as well, absolutely!

Using my Mom’s Piecrust Recipe, Kristin and I made two 10 inch pie crusts. Twice, though that was not the plan. Chatting too much I botched one tiny step in the first batch and it was impossible to roll out. The second batch was perfect. Then onto the pie recipe:

Rhubarb Strawberry Custard Pie – recipe for one pie

  • 1 10 inch pie crust (unbaked)
  • 3 c Rhubarb – 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 1/2 c sliced strawberries
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 T milk
  • 3 T flour
  • 1/4 t fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 T cold butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together the rhubarb and strawberries, spread over the pie crust.




Whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour, milk and nutmeg, pour over filling. Add the cold diced butter on the top.



Place the pie on a cookie sheet, then into the oven on the lowest rack (this helps to cook the crust on the bottom).  Bake for 35 minutes, remove and sprinkle sugar over the top of the pie. Place back in the oven, turning the pan 180 degrees to get even browning on the crust. Bake another 30 minutes watching for the crust to brown and remove to cool, the center of the pie will still be a bit jiggly. Cool at least 2 hours and then enjoy it!

Fontina & Prosciutto Flatbread with Figs & Balsamic Reduction

This is the second post in my new series, Cooking for One.  Since losing Spence almost three months ago, it’s taken time to regain my appetite and rediscover my passion for cooking.  Thankfully the desire to create and savor delicious meals has slowly returned.  In sharing these ideas, I hope that even when it’s just you, you’ll feel inspired to make something special – you’re worth it!

Fontina & Prosciutto Flatbread with Figs & Balsamic Reduction

  • 1 piece of Naan
  • olive oil
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • sliced Fontina cheese
  • thin sliced prosciutto, torn into smaller pieces
  • chopped or sliced figs
  • thin sliced red onion
  • chopped pistachios
  • fresh baby spinach
  • balsamic reduction

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush a cast iron skillet (or baking stone) with olive oil and place into the oven for five minutes. While the skillet heats, brush the top of the Naan with olive oil, add cracked black pepper and red pepper flakes, then add slices of fontina covering the top. Next add the proscuitto, figs, red onion and chopped pistachios. Place the flatbread into the skillet and return to the oven for ten minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.  Remove from oven and immediately top with a handful of spinach then a good drizzle of balsamic reduction.  I enjoyed this with a lovely glass of Prosecco.

Note:  Naan is such a quick and delicious product to use for a quick flatbread or pizza – try any combination of fun toppings – there’s simply no limit! 

Super Easy Breakfast Soft Taco

 

Breakfast of Champions

This took all of 5 minutes to make and less than a minute to eat.

Warm a flour tortilla – I put it right on the burner, flipping it one time. Top with shredded cheese, lower the heat. Prepare one soft scrambled egg – add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. While it finishes, slice 1/2 avocado, placing it onto the cheese. Add the egg and a splash of hot sauce (I used Slap ya Mama). Fold over soft taco style and enjoy.

This is the first post in my new series, Cooking for One

 

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

I’ve made versions of this salad over time, always with broccoli.  Today knowing that I had both broccoli and cauliflower on hand, I decided to do a twist on my go-to recipe and share it with you.

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

  • 2 c broccoli florets
  • 1 1/2 – 2 c cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries – add to 1/2 c very hot water for 1o minutes, drain
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar, cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 c chopped red onion
  • 1/2 c pecans – chopped and lightly toasted
  • 4-5 slices crisp bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 c mayonnaise
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 t coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • red pepper flake to taste (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, cauliflower, cranberries, cheddar and red onion.  Make the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, honey, vinegar, pepper, dijon and red pepper flakes.  Dress the salad with the desired amount of dressing – you can always add more.  Add the bacon and pecans, stir to blend. Chill for one hour and serve.

Walleye Picatta

As another bitter cold wintry Michigan day unfolded, I realized that I just didn’t want to to leave the house for any reason.  With a household of goodies between pantry, fridge and the chest freezer I came up with a delicious entree.

A fishing buddy of Spence’s used to cook Lake Trout, Bass and Whitefish in foil packets with lemons, butter, green onions, garlic, salt and pepper – then place the packets on the grill.  It was so simple and absolutely delicious.  I decided to adopt the foil packet idea for this recipe using a Walleye Fillet.

Walleye Picatta    Serves 1-2

  • 1 Walleye Fillet (1/2 – 3/4 lb)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 large clove of garlic – minced
  • 1 large shallot – chopped
  • lemon pepper
  • coarse sea salt
  • red pepper flake (optional)
  • 1 T capers
  • 2 T Extra Dry Vermouth (or other dry white wine)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil. Rub about 1 tablespoon of butter on the foil, add the Walleye Fillet (skin side down).  Zest a lemon, set the zest aside.  Cut the lemon in half placing it on either side of the fillet then top the fish with another tablespoon of butter cut into 4 pieces placed on top of the fish.

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Sprinkle sea salt, zest, red pepper flakes and coarse ground lemon pepper over the top, to taste.

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Next add the garlic and shallot over the top and around the fillet.  Top with the capers  followed with the extra dry vermouth around the fillet.

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Seal the foil tightly allowing for a pocket of air above the fillet. Bake for 10 minutes, allowing it to rest for five minutes and then opening with care to avoid burns from the steam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Festive Winter Fruit Salad

My lifelong BFF put together a Winter Solstice Meditation for a small group of women.  We’ll start with a delicious dinner (she is an amazing cook) and I’ve offered to bring a salad.  At least three of the women there are vegan and I wanted to honor that so that everyone can enjoy it. As I thought about the holidays, I shopped for ingredients that would be both delicious and look festive.  This recipe is what I came up with…what do you think?

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Festive Winter Fruit Salad

  • organic baby greens
  • baby spinach
  • shredded purple cabbage
  • Belgian Endive
  • thin sliced red onion
  • sliced strawberries
  • raspberries
  • blueberries
  • pomegranate seeds

Toss the greens, spinach and cabbage together, place the endive around the edges.  Top with the onion, then berries.  Finish topping with the pomegranate seeds.   Chill and serve.  I’m bringing toasted walnut halves and Boars Head crumbled blue cheese – on the side – for those that want to add them.

This is the dressing I made for the salad…

Dressing

  • 1/2 c white strawberry & peach balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 c good extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 T dijon mustard

Place ingredients in a large mason jar, stir to blend and put top on tight.  Shake vigorously to blend, allowing the mustard to emulsify.

Pork Fried Rice

Let me start by saying, I love fried rice and I love to cook.  That said, I’ve never made fried rice…until last night – with great success. I even dreamt about it. I had leftover baby back ribs from Sunday’s dinner which inspired me to do Pork Fried Rice.  If you want, this recipe would be equally delicious with shrimp, chicken or amp up the veggies and make it a veggie fried rice as well.

Pork Fried Rice   serves 3-4

  • 2 c uncooked white rice
  • 2 eggs – beaten with a fork
  • 1 1/2 – 2 c cooked, chopped pork
  • 3/4 c diced white onion
  • 1/2 c diced carrot
  • 1/3 c diced peppers
  • 1 c frozen peas – thawed
  • sesame & peanut oil
  • liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/4 c Rice Wine vinegar

Start by cooking your rice (using a little less water than called for), early in the day or the night before.  Spread it out and cool it on a sheet pan, allowing it to dry out a bit.

Compile your ingredients and heat your wok to medium high heat, add a teaspoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of peanut oil.

Add the eggs to the pan, allow them to start cooking then break up with your spatula into soft scramble egg bites.  Remove from the wok and set aside.

Add the same amount of oils to the wok as for the eggs then add the carrots allowing them to cook for several minutes.  Now add the onions and peppers, cook for a few minutes more, then remove them from the wok and set aside.

Add the same amount of oils as in previous steps, then add the pork allowing it to crisp up a bit.  Remove from the wok and set aside.

Add 2 T sesame oil and 2 T peanut oil to the wok, add the rice spreading it out to cover as much of the wok surface as possible.  Let it brown for a couple of minutes, then move it around allowing it to continue to brown, repeating this step until it’s nicely golden. Stir in the Rice Wine vinegar and the liquid amigos/soy sauce to taste.  Add the veggies and pork into the rice, stir to combine. Now add the peas, then the scrambled egg, stir to combine and it’s ready to serve!

 

My Famous Cran-Orange Relish, just in time for Thanksgiving

 Cran-Orange Relish
Cran-Orange Relish
  • 2 12 oz bags of fresh cranberries
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 1 T raspberry or strawberry jam
  • 2-3 T sugar
  • 1 t balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 T Grand Marnier liqueur
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Assembly Line

I use a dutch oven pan to create more surface area for warming the berries. Place cranberries, sugar, jam and vinegar in the pan on a low to medium setting, stir. Zest one navel orange and then juice that orange, adding both juice and zest to berry mixture. Stir again

Using a veggie peeler or small sharp knife, remove about 1/2 the peel from the second orange, careful not to go beneath the “orange” peel (avoiding the bitter white part). Chop the peel fine (see below) until you have 1 tablespoon. You may use more peel if you end up with more or freeze it for later use.

Add peel to berry mixture. Cut the second orange in half and then section it, adding the sections to the berry mixture. Squeeze any residual juice from the second orange into the pan.

Looks pretty, smells tart and citrusy
Looks pretty, smells tart and citrusy

You will start to hear little pops from the pan, those are the cranberries bursting. Give it a stir, put a lid on the pan, reduce the heat to low. Check back every 15 -20 minutes for another stir, letting it simmer. After 45 minutes, stir in the Grand Marnier, the berry mixture should be breaking down like a chutney. Continue to cook for 15-20 minutes more. Cool and serve. Makes 2-3 cups of relish. This can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to two weeks and freezes beautifully, simply thaw and serve.

This is delicious as to serve not only with your Thanksgiving dinner but with chicken, pork or even seared scallops (trust me). For a festive appetizer, make a charcuterie platter  with cheeses like brie or a spreadable goat cheese or camembert, manchego, sharp white cheddar, cornichons and marcona almonds with sliced baguettes! Get creative…..and always, enjoy!

Looking for other Thanksgiving or Holiday recipes? Here’s links to a few of my best recipes:

Chestnut, Apple and Sausage Stuffing

Roasting Chestnuts – a Labor of Love

As I’m making my 2016 batch today, I decided to re-publish this recipe in hopes that it might be helpful to someone this Thanksgiving!  

Taco Fiesta Casserole

Taco Fiesta Casserole serves 6-8

Ingredients:
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 package pillsbury grand biscuits (10 count)
Taco seasoning – 2 T Pampered Chef Fiesta Seasoning, 1 T Cumin, 1 T chili powder (you can use packaged taco seasoning)
1 1/2 cup salsa
1 chopped chipoltle in adobo, chopped
1 c black beans (rinsed)
2 cup diced peppers – green, red, yellow & orange
1 cup diced red onion
2 cups Mexican shredded cheese
3 chopped green onions
Sour cream for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown ground beef, stirring in taco seasoning mix, salsa and chipotle. Set aside.
Cut the biscuits into quarters, then into eighths. Place half the biscuits in the bottom of a 9 x 13 in pan. Top with 1/2 the meat mixture, then all of the pepper, onion and black bean mixture. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese over the top. Now add the remaining biscuit pieces, meat mix and 1 cup of cheese followed by the chopped green onion.

Place in oven, tented with foil for 35 minutes. Remove foil and return to oven for 15 minutes more. Remove and let it cool for 5 minutes before serving. Top servings with sour cream if desired.

 

Oven-Roasted Honey Glazed Carrots

With Autumn upon us, I’m in that mindset to switch to my colder weather cooking – casseroles, crockpots and last Sunday, my mouth-watering pot roast.  I’d bought the most perfect carrots at the Farmer’s Market and thought they’d be a colorful and tasty side dish.

While I could have dropped them in with the simmering pot roast I wanted to change it up and do something visually stunning and delicious.  Though it’s in the seventies today, on Sunday our furnace was on and having the oven fired up was welcome, making the kitchen cozy.

After perusing lots of recipes, as usual, I took those ingredients that looked the best from several recipes and came up with this.  Visually stunning – check.  Delicious – check. I wanted to share it as it would make a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving.

Oven-Roasted Honey Glazed Carrots

  • 6-8 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3 inch long sticks
  • 3-4 T honey
  • 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 t coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 2 t balsamic vinegar
  • chopped flat leaf parsley, chives and thyme for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a shallow baking pan with foil (for super easy clean up), drizzle with olive oil and smear to cover the surface.

In a bowl, mix the olive oil, honey, pepper, salt and balsamic till blended.  Add the carrot sticks and toss to completely coat them.  Place the carrots in a single layer onto the pan, use a spatula to get any excess glaze out of the bowl and drizzled over the top.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, onto your serving platter and top with the chopped herbs.  If you don’t have honey or want to make this vegan, maple syrup would be wonderful as a substitution.