Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

1. I like popcorn, but I've never been a huge fan of flavored popcorn. I was not the kid who wanted Cracker Jack. But I'm starting to change my mind. Over the weekend, we were at South Hills Village Mall and around noon, we both were a little hungry, so we went to the food court and discovered that Pittsburgh Popcorn Company has moved into the Au Bon Pain spot. PPC offers samples of their popcorn. I sampled Chocolate Waffle Cone popcorn and before I knew it we were purchasing a small bag of it. So. Good. I couldn't stop eating it while we walked around the mall and the only reason I sealed the bag back up was that we stopped at Teavana and bought iced teas, so I needed my hands free to carry tea.

We also sampled Sour Cream & Chive popcorn and it was really good, too, but I controlled myself and didn't buy more popcorn.

2. Speaking of Teavana, I love their Wild Orange Blossom tea. Pricey stuff, but good. When we are at the mall, SP always plots our route so we pass by, then he asks if I want to go in. Sometimes he asks me 2-3 times if I want to go in. That's SP code for "Please, please can I please get a cup of tea and sample all the samples?" This time we got a Peach Tranquility and a Citrus Lavender Sage, iced. He liked the Peach Tranquility better, I liked the Citrus Lavender Sage better. I liked that it wasn't too flowery and didn't leave a strong lavender aftertaste like some lavender teas I've had.

3. The whole purpose of being at the mall was to pick up our new bedspread (for the bed I cannot yet sleep in for more than 2 hours). I bought it a couple weeks ago as a pre-sale purchase. As we were standing in line to pick it up, my mom commented that the colors (maroon/burgundy/golds/browns) reminded her of a restaurant that we ate at in San Diego, the restaurant that used to be a bordello and is now decorated like a bordello. Great. I guess she was saying our bedroom is going to look like a bordello?!!!

4. My girlfriend and her family just left for 2 months in China. My mom and dad are returning to Las Vegas tomorrow. And EPAS and her family are moving far, far away this weekend. OK, just to Texas, not the other side of the world, but she went from EPAS (east PA sister) to MAS (Massachusetts sister) and now to TXS, or maybe DALS (Dallas sister). It's now a plane ride instead of a drive to visit her and her family. This makes us sad.

Everyone is leaving me!

5. I suspect my husband is leaving me, too. His new TV just arrived. This means he''ll be holed up in his mancave for the whole holiday weekend - setting it up, testing it, hooking up the thousands of game systems and gadgets and keyboards and computers and other stuff I have no idea what it does but it is vitally important to the entire NASA like set up, running wires all over the place... you get the idea. Only SP and Googer dare to touch the set up. The rest of us (me and my parents) are afraid to go near the set up.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Peach Pie Time

It's peach season and we can't seem to get enough of them. Last weekend SP stopped at the Farmers Market and picked up a box of peaches from Dawson's Orchards. With so many juicy, ripe peaches, we of course decided to make our annual late August/early September Peach Pie.
This year, I remembered to use my fluted dough cutter to make the lattice strips extra pretty.We had one edge with a lot of dough and we must not have crimped it tightly enough because as the pie baked, the dough slowly fell backward over the edge of the pie dish. For the first time, we had some peach juice bubble up and over the edge of the pie, so it was a good thing we put the pie on a cookie sheet.
Just as delicious as the first two times we made it.
What we've learned about baking peach pie:

1. Make sure you have all the ingredients. Don't be like us and assume you have everything only to discover Saturday night at 9:30 pm, after you have been to both Walmart and Market District, that you do not have shortening for the crust.

2. Thoroughly chilling the dough (overnight) and keeping the dough chilled is very important.

3. Brushing some beaten egg over the bottom and sides of the crust before pouring in the filling helps keep the bottom crust crisp and not soggy.

4. Do not pour in your peach filling until the lattice is ready to be transferred on top.

5. Cut and weave the lattice top on a piece of parchment paper, refrigerate/freeze it for a bit to firm it up, then transfer it onto the top of the pie and crimp the edges. Brush the edges & lattice with beaten egg.

6. Bake it in the lower third of the oven at 400 for half an hour then at 350 for another half hour+ and be sure to have a cookie sheet underneath to catch drips.
With three of us eating the pie, it only lasted 3 days. This pie is so tasty that I want to bake another one this weekend while the Farmers Market peaches are still ripe & juicy & full of flavor.

The crust: Flaky Pastry Dough from The Joy of Cooking found here
The filling: from Fine Cooking here

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Grilled Shrimp with Tomato-Bacon-Mint Rice

We made this dish for dinner a few weeks ago, and I am just now getting around to writing about it. This recipe was in the Pittsburgh Post-GazetteTomato Red Rice with Sweet Mint Dressing.
For me, it was a given that this would be a delicious meal. Bacon? It makes everything tasty. Mint? I love fresh mint plus, we have lots growing out on the deck. Tomatoes? I can't get enough of them in the summer. Asparagus and/or zucchini? Probably my two favorite vegetables. Honey? I love honey flavor mixed into marinades and dressings. Red rice? A southern dish that makes me think of Charleston & Savannah and all the amazing food we ate on our honeymoon.
This recipe can be a little time consuming, but while SP was manning the grill, mom and I were frying bacon and cooking rice - white rice for us, brown rice for SP. We grilled both asparagus and zucchini for this dish and we decided to grill shrimp (seasoned with lemon & pepper) to serve alongside the red rice.
This was just as delicious as I had hoped. SP always does a great job grilling shrimp. The rice had a nice tomato flavor without being too tomato-y and the rice had a wonderful bacon flavor. The dressing was sweet, not just from the honey but also because we used mirin which is rice wine and not rice vinegar but for some reason I thought our mirin would work/be interchangeable with rice vinegar. It tasted OK, but was a little too strong and a little too sweet. A little bit of dressing went a long way! The mint brightened everything up.
We had a lot of leftover rice, which was OK because it was so tasty, but after finishing the rice, we were tomato-bacon-riced out! But we would definitely make this again next summer - with rice vinegar and not mirin.

Note: I forgot to pour dressing on the rice before taking photos, so there isn't any dressing with mint bits in the photos. I realized the mistake after taking photos, when I went to eat it, but didn't feel like taking more photos because I was so hungry.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Toasted Israeli Couscous with Grilled Vegetables

One of our favorite summer meals is a grilled protein, some kind of grain/starch, and grilled vegetables, all marinated in something or tossed with a dressing. My absolute favorite would be pasta salad but since SP doesn't like pasta heavy meals, we often use rice or quinoa or barley.
I was wasting time on the computer one day and came across a recipe for Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Summer Vegetables. I've always wanted to make an Israeli couscous dish and I have ripped out countless recipes that use Israeli couscous but have never actually bought/cooked Israeli couscous. I decided it was time to do so.

You really don't need a recipe for a dish like this, but sometimes some guidance or inspiration is necessary!

We couldn't find Israeli couscous at our Market District (which really surprised me) so on the day that we went to dinner at Dinette, we walked over to Whole Foods and found it there. It's also called pearl couscous.
This is an easy dish to make. As usual SP did all the grilling on Sunday and we put the salad together later in the week. Also as usual, the official recipe was simply a guide.

Some changes we made:

1. We grilled a pork tenderloin marinated in honey, lemon, coriander, and thyme to go with this salad.

2. SP cooked quinoa for himself, in the rice cooker, using vegetable stock instead of water.

3. Mom & I had couscous, followed the cooking instructions on the side of the couscous container, and used almost all vegetable stock and just a bit of water.

4. As usual, we omitted the garlic.

5. We used the same vegetables as listed in the recipe, but our own quantities. For instance, we bought a huge bag of asparagus at Costco and split the bag between 2 dishes we made that week, so there was far more than 6 spears of asparagus in this salad. We had tons of cherry tomatoes, so again, there were a lot used in this. We used zucchini from our garden, so it was all green and no yellow.
This was really, really good. There are 2 reasons we really liked this. One, the vegetable stock added a lot of flavor to the quinoa and couscous. And two, the vegetables marinated in olive oil, balsamic, and mustard before going on the grill. When SP put the basket of veggies on the grill, there was a brief flare up that gave the vegetables a really, really nice grilled, charred, smokey flavor. Really good. We are wondering if dripping balsamic caused the flare up - ?

Sadly, mom didn't like the pearl couscous. She said it was too chewy and she didn't like the little rounds rolling around in her mouth!! She also said it reminded her of barley, which she also dislikes. On couscous leftover nights, she started calling the pearl couscous fish eggs and then decided she was going to eat bread instead. Oh well.

I already knew I liked pearl couscous because I have eaten it out at restaurants, so I really enjoyed the rounds of pasta. I'd definitely make this again - especially for those charred-from-the-flare-up veggies!

Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad recipe here.

Honey Roasted Pork recipe here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

1. The dryer is no longer making a monster noise. It had a screw loose. Literally. The repair guy came, spent 20 minutes here, and now it's all better.

2. I am still having fuzzy, frizzy hair issues. Getting the gray colored didn't help as much as I'd hoped. Extra hair gel stuff isn't helping. So I bought a new curling iron this week. It's a Conair nano tourmaline ceramic device that's supposed to emit ions to eliminate frizz, but I don't think it really does. Today I dug out the flat iron. It does the best smoothing/getting rid of frizz job but it gets so hot and I have a horrible track record of burning my neck, hands, and arms on the flat iron. I'm sure once SP sees the flat iron in the bathroom, I'll get the over-the-top-of-the-glasses look followed by a mini lecture on my inability to use it without mishaps.

3. I'm still behind on my reading. The reading pile is now 3 food magazines, 5 National Geographic magazines, and 7 library books (all due September 3-4). I managed to finish that lame 12th of Never book. Then I read Little Black Book of Murder. I've always enjoyed the Blackbird Sisters series from Nancy Martin. Plus, I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Nancy Martin is from and/or lives in Pittsburgh.

4. Our latest kitchen gadget purchase: a hot air popper. I haven't had one since college. I don't really know why, but since last Christmas, I've been wanting freshly popped popcorn for snacking. SP likes popcorn, too. Neither of us much likes microwave popcorn and I don't like to bother making it on a stove top with oil, so we bought this one. We haven't experimented with making flavored popcorn yet, just a little salt and butter. I did, however, spend a bunch of time looking up flavored popcorn recipes and browsing all the options here. Bacon Caramel Popcorn?! Cinnamon Bun?!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lidia's (Restaurant Week)

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week is over and we didn't go to as many meals as we would have liked. One place we did go to is Lidia's. We haven't been to Lidia's since the first few months or so that we were dating, so it's been a while! In fact, it was so long ago that it was before the blog. One reason for the lengthy delay in returning is that I had not been super duper impressed with our lunch there back in October 2007 (if I correctly remember), I thought the manicotti I had was just OK, and based on that, I was unsure of returning for dinner and the higher dinner prices.

This time, we went Sunday evening, the last night of Restaurant Week, and instead of using the valet (which is on a slight slope/hill and I am not yet good at getting in/out of the car on any surface except a nice flat one - hurry up and get all better hip, please!), we parked a block away in a lot that, it turns out, is free on Sundays. Yay!
Neither of us wanted wine/cocktails since we had enjoyed a few the night before, so we ordered iced teas and I decided to try one of the Italian sodas, a mint-lemon soda. It was refreshing and bright with lots of mint flavor. I made SP help me drink it because it is a soda, so it's fizzy, and fizzy drinks seem to bother my stomach these days.
A lovely bread basket with an herb focaccia, cheese straws, and a white bread (I forget the exact description!) and a plate with a scoop of kalamata bean puree and I think a pesto bean puree, I'm not sure. I didn't eat much of the bean spreads (garlic fear) but did dip my breads in the olive oil. The breads were delicious.
We both chose to do the Restaurant Week menu and we both chose to start with Caprese Salad (tomatoes, mozzarella, onions, basil, balsamic vinaigrette). This is one of my favorite dishes and this version did not disappoint. I liked the variety if tomatoes. They were ripe and juicy and flavorful (of course it is tomato season, so they should be). Just enough vinaigrette - I never like when my dish is drowning in vinaigrette.
The second course was Cheese and Pear Ravioli with Cracked Black Pepper Butter. This ravioli is one of the best I have enjoyed in recent memory. The pasta was so light and fluffy and flavorful, lots of cheese flavor, delicious butter flavor without drowning in a pool of butter, extra cheese freshly grated on top. They seemed to melt in my mouth. I ate the entire plate. SP ate most of his, which made me sad because for medical reasons he currently needs to be extra careful of his carb intake and I was kind of hoping he would eat just 1 or 2 and leave the rest for me!
My third course was Pollo al Limone (scallopine of chicken breast with lemon, olives, and capers). I ate just one bite. Look:
Can you see the garlic cloves? It's my fault, I should have asked before ordering this, I guess I just thought that because garlic wasn't listed as an ingredient and that because I've had this dish in other restaurants that it would be OK/not have garlic cloves on the plate, but from the smell wafting off the plate and the number of cloves, I knew I couldn't/shouldn't risk it, even if they had been roasted until super soft and that is usually OK for me, but... I traded plates with SP and he ate one of my chicken breasts. We took the other one home.
SP had ordered Saltimbocca alla Romana (pork scallopine, fresh sage, prosciutto, wilted spinach & arugula). After we traded and this became my dish, I wasn't especially excited because we had eaten a lot of pork the previous week and the night before I had ordered pork for dinner, so I was feeling porked out. Plus, I had trouble cutting the pork. I found it a bit overcooked/dry. SP did not. Also, the greens had some garlic in them. And I didn't really like the crispy prosciutto; crisping it seemed to make it less salty, prosciutto-y.

So in the end, I had one bite of chicken and 2 bites of pork. SP ate the entire pork plate and half the chicken plate. He says it was all really delicious.
Dessert was Tiramisu, one of my favorite desserts. SP was disappointed because the Restaurant Week menu online had listed Lemon Basil Crostata as the dessert but our menus in the restaurant said tiramisu, which made me happy. This is a light, creamy version, a very good version. I ate all of it and he ate half of his.
Service was fine, although I found it odd that we were not given Restaurant Week menus until we asked and we were not offered coffee/cappuccino/tea after our meal (we didn't want any, we were just surprised by not being offered any).

It's beautiful and relaxing inside, orange colors and two huge glass chandeliers that look like a bunch of grapes and remind me of Chihuly glass. The food was good and I would go back again, although I would be more careful what I ordered and I would ask questions before ordering. The Restaurant Week deal seems like a good deal, $35 for the 4 courses, and the portions were definitely generous.

Lidia's Pittsburgh on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Today was the appointment with the surgeon who inserted the screws to fix the hip fracture. The x-rays showed that the screws are still in the proper position and there is no sign of the fracture, which means it is healed. Yay! This doesn't mean that when I walked out of the medical building at 11 am that everything was magically back to normal. I still have a hard time rolling onto that side/sleeping on that side (in fact, I am still sleeping in the recliner and not in our bed), it's still difficult/impossible to twist/bend certain ways, and I still can't get my sock on that foot, but it does mean that I do not have to worry about screwing up the screws!

So that's the medical news, now back to food news:

A couple of weeks ago, SP & I decided to go to a place at which we had not dined for 4 years: Dinette. Our last visit recap is here. Friends who live close to Dinette and frequently dine there have raved about the shishito peppers and pizzas. SP has frequently mentioned Dinette, and the peppers, for 4 years, so we decided to finally return.
Dinette's menu changes frequently, and since we dined there a couple of weeks ago, I might not remember the correct descriptions of the food we enjoyed. The photo above is the shishito peppers SP ordered, served with goat cheese, almonds, fleur de sel, and olive oil. Since he loves peppers, he loved this dish. The heat of the pepper was offset by the creamy and cool goat cheese.
I ordered a plate of tomatoes from the rooftop, with a long strip of cucumber, red onions, arugula and a creamy gorgonzola dressing. The presentation was beautiful. The tomatoes were delicious and juicy, just as they should be this time of year. The creamy gorgonzola dressing was good, too, not too tangy but just enough of that gorgonzola bite to keep you wanting more.
Dinette's main meals are pizzas. SP chose the Prosciutto (arugula, parmesan, mozzarella, and tomato).
I chose the Fresh Ricotta (rooftop basil, fresh mozzarella, tomato).

So I still feel the same way as last time, which is somewhat vaguely disappointed but not really able to pinpoint why. Yes, I know Dinette uses local and organic foods and grows some foods on their rooftop. Yes, I knew full well going in what the pizzas were going to cost. The pizzas were good, just not great, to me, for the cost. The crust is thin, but supports the toppings and isn't soggy. It's chewy crust, which isn't my thing, and I thought the edges were a bit too charred.

As for my tomato appetizer dish, I thought it was pricey ($10) for the amount actually on the plate, especially compared to appetizers/salads I've had at other similar pizza/pasta restaurants.

I can't quite put my finger on why, but I am not at ease inside Dinette. I thought that last time my unease was because we were there early and were the only people dining. But this time, we went later and were seated at one of two remaining tables and I still felt uneasy. I don't know if it's too bright inside (the huge glass walls/windows let a lot of sunlight in and we've only been there between 5 pm and 7 pm in summer, when the sun is still brightly shining), if it was the loud child (which annoys me when I dine out), if it's because we were seated near the door (so incoming patrons got to stare at us and our table as they waited to be seated)... I don't know. I just know I have been uncomfortable both times.

The last time we dined at Dinette, I had not yet dined at Piccolo Forno or Cucina Bella and it had been quite a while since Il Pizzaiolo. Since then, we have dined at those places several times, and I can now say that I much prefer Piccolo Forno or Cucina Bella for a meal like this. That being said, if a group of friends wanted to have a meal at Dinette, I wouldn't pout and be sad.

  Dinette on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 16, 2013

How Not To Make A Quesadilla

Tacos and quesadillas can be easy, quick, tasty dinners. We had tortillas leftover from recent chicken taco nights, so we decided to make spinach, tomato, shrimp, and cheddar quesadillas. Mom and I got hungry so we made ours before SP got home from work. Mom made herself a wrap sandwich with the tortilla & filling. I made this oozy mess.
It was easy to make. Took only 10-15 minutes in the oven. But look at these photos. Tacos & quesadillas are dishes I cannot make. I always over stuff them. Too much filling and then it oozes out and all over the place and I have a huge mess. Also, the spinach made the bottom soggy, so in the future, I would probably put it on after heating the cheese, shrimp, and tortilla. I also need to curb my cheese enthusiasm. Don't get me wrong - lots of cheese is sooooo yummy, but it also gets kind of greasy and helps everything else ooze out as it melts.
Next taco/quesadilla night, I'm just going to have to wait for SP to get home to make mine. He's much better at it. He rarely, if ever, over stuffs the tortillas. Me? I end up wearing it and needing a fork and 3 napkins. At least my messy creations taste good.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

1. I'm kind of enjoying not blogging about food on Thursdays.

2. Countdown: In 5 days I see the surgeon. It's a bit before the full 12 weeks, but... looking forward to/hoping that everything is OK!

3. I've been doing more, without help. That means more hip aches. But I guess that's a good thing. It's almost back to normal. Except for the whole I still can't sleep in our bed for more than 2 hours and end up moving to the recliner.

4. My reading slowed down this past week. I only made it 1/3 of the way through 12th of Never by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro. It's just not very good. I'm bored and annoyed. I enjoyed the first 11 books in this series, but this one...

5. Meanwhile I have 6 other books sitting in a pile next to my chair. Why did so many of the books I requested become available at the same time?!

6. Of course I blame SP for my lack of reading. It has nothing to do with my awful allergies causing watery and tired eyes and making me want to nap all the time. I planned to read in the sunroom on last Sunday, but then he wanted to be in the sunroom and watch TV, and then he put Continuum on, and... sigh. Sucked into sci-fi. Again.

7. The piling up of unread books and magazines might be because I got hooked on Scandal. I recorded last Saturday's marathon on BET and this Saturday is another marathon of the remaining episodes. I've spent a lot of this week watching Scandal episodes in the afternoons.

8. There hasn't been any super appealing dessert in the house this week, just old and starting to get frostbit ice cream and old Kennywood fudge. Sadness.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week: Lunch at Bistro 19

When my parents are in town and trying to decide where to go to dinner, SP & I frequently suggest that they try Bistro 19, which is one of our favorite places to dine. They have not yet tried it. When I saw that Bistro 19 was offering a lunch deal for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, I suggested to mom that she and I go there for lunch. She agreed. After a morning of shopping at South Hills Village, we headed north on Route 19 to Mt. Lebanon.

It was a beautiful and sunny, if a wee bit humid, afternoon and the front windows at Bistro 19 were wide open. We sat inside, but right next to the large, open windows, so we got to enjoy the outside sunshine and the inside a/c. We also were entertained by the kids who walked by out on the sidewalk, looked in, and then would run over and stick their hands through the open windows, as if they couldn't believe the glass was missing, or maybe it just seemed like it was missing, but they had to check it out!

We ordered iced teas and munched on some delicious, hearty bread with chive butter while deciding what to order. Mom opted for the Restaurant Week Special. She chose:
Mixed greens with peach vinaigrette. The peaches were wonderfully peachy and juicy. Fresh greens, Lots of feta. A flavorful dressing but not too overwhelming, which was nice, just lightly dressed, just enough to know there was dressing but not enough to really think about it.
Shrimp penne with spinach~artichoke white wine sauce topped with parmesan. She said it was delicious and creamy and definitely a good portion for her. She ate everything except for 5-6 pieces of pasta.
Salted Pretzel Caramel Brownie. Wow. This was very generous portion. A large brownie with a scoop of ice cream, dollop of whipped cream, and garnished with fresh mint leaves.
The brownie was very chocolaty and moist - not dry at all. The crushed pretzel crust was delicious and had, if I remember correctly, a hint of cinnamon. The ooey and gooey caramel was salty and delicious - the three flavors were a terrific mix of salty and sweet and even though we were full from the bread, salad, and large lunch entree, we kept going back for more because the salty & sweet combo just drew you back for another bite. The vanilla ice cream melted next to the warm brownie and the cool, vanilla flavor was a nice counterpart to the warm, rich chocolate flavor of the brownie.
I made the mistake of looking at the regular lunch menu. They have a lunch portion of the Black Tiger Shrimp stuffed with spinach & artichoke with tomato-parmesan cream sauce. I love this dish. It's what I always get at Bistro 19. We have so many restaurants we like and we try to get to a lot of different places which means that we only get to Bistro 19 1-2 times a year, so I don't feel too bad always ordering the same dish.
The dinner portion is served with risotto and spinach. Lunch is served with basmati rice and vegetable, which was broccoli. I prefer the shrimp with the risotto and spinach, but the rice and broccoli were quite tasty, too. The broccoli was simply steamed, which is how I like it, and still a bit crisp. The rice was fine, especially when mixed with the delicious tomato-parmesan cream sauce. There were two large shrimp stuffed with a creamy spinach and artichoke mixture. So. Good.

As usual, service was wonderful. Lunch was leisurely. No rushing us out. I think that for the price, the restaurant week lunch is a great deal since it's 3 courses and they are very generous portions. I ate some of mom's salad and shared her dessert. If we both had ordered the special deal, I think we would have had to bring home a salad and a dessert.

  Bistro 19 on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Favorite Fruit Tart

We are a little late with the best ever Fruit Tart this year. We didn't make it over the July 4 holiday like we usually do. That doesn't matter because it's still the best fruit season time and the tart is still one one my favorite desserts, especially this year.
One reason the tart was extra wonderful this year: we remembered to spray the non-stick tart pan before pressing the shortbread crust into the pan. This means the crust did not stick and crumble and fall apart/fly around the kitchen when we removed the tart from the pan.
Still lots of creamy, vanilla goodness - I love seeing the vanilla bean flecks.

The other reason the tart was so wonderful this year: lots of fruit. Quantity, quality, and variety. Kiwi, local peaches, cherries, blueberries, and strawberries. Oh my gosh. I ate way more fruit than what was on top the tart.
If we're serving this tart to guests, we put fruit all over the tart. If we're serving just to ourselves over a 3-4 day period, then we add the fruit on a per slice basis. So no photos of an entirely fruit covered tart, just a photo of my slice and the fruit I put on it.

I will be so sad when summer ends and the best fruit season time is over for another year.

Shortbread Crust recipe here page 868.
Pastry Cream recipe here. Scroll to page 58.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mixed Berry Cobbler

Last Thursday afternoon I settled into my recliner with a cup of hot tea and a bowlful of cherries, strawberries, and blueberries that SP had left for me. As I ate the berries, I thought about how much I love berries, how summer is the best fruit time, and then the memory of blueberry cobbler popped into my mind.
Long before the blog, SP made a blueberry cobbler. It was delicious. Suddenly, all I could think about was warm berry cobbler. So I grabbed my tablet and started looking up recipes. Mostly, I wanted to find a recipe for just 1-2 ramekins, and something with a very simple crumble topping.
When the tablet battery died, I continued the search on my cell phone. Then I went into the kitchen and looked through almost every cookbook, looking for just the right recipe, just the right inspiration. Mom and I ate dinner and I continued thinking about cobbler.
When SP got home, I asked what he thought about making a spur of the moment cobbler. He agreed - he loves fruit desserts. We settled on a recipe, not exactly the kind of cobbler I was looking for, but close enough. I suppose I was actually envisioning a crisp and not cobbler, but I didn't want oats or too many nuts in the topping. I also didn't want too much of a pie crust like topping. I measured while he ate dinner and then he cooked the fruit and made the dough.
A short time later, we had a delicious cobbler. It would have been better with vanilla ice cream melting down into it, but even without ice cream, this is a darn good spur of the moment cobbler.
From our ancient copy of Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook

Fruit mixture:
4 cups mixed fruit (we used blueberries, cherries, and strawberries)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon (if desired)
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp butter

Heat the fruit with cornstarch, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Cook until thick and bubbly. We pitted the cherries but did not cut them. We halved the strawberries. Pour the fruit mixture into an 8x8x2 glass baking dish.

Mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and baking powder. Using pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In separate bowl, mix together egg and milk. Add to dry ingredients and mix. Drop 6 spoonfuls on top of filling.

Bake 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees.