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Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

It’s spring!  Rhubarb and the first strawberries of the year are at the Farmer’s market!  So I’ve just GOT TO make a strawberry-rhubarb pie!  Which recipe will I use?  My own of course, but can I really call it my own creation after all it originated as a Rhubarb pie from a Martha Stewart recipe?   

I was re-reading a post from Diane Jacob’s excellent and informative blog, Will Write for Food about the controversial issue of calling a recipe ones own. Most recipes aren’t ever truly original. Does adapting a recipe make it possible to lay claim to it?  Some people feel that if there are three ingredients/measurement changes and the recipe is not copied verbatim from the original then it’s fair game to claim it as their own. My changes included the addition of strawberries and a change from orange to Minneola tangerines. My measurements were more specific and the amount of flour, cardamom and type of juice and rind were changed to fit my taste. Other folks say to give acknowledgement to the originator. So with all this in mind I will state that my Strawberry Rhubarb pie is adapted from Martha Stewart’s Tartan Rhubarb Pie and leave it at that. You can check out her recipe and compare the changes I’ve made.  Now that we’re done with that,” Ladies and Gentlemen, FIRE UP your oven, GET OUT your rolling pin and START baking ! Cause this pie will get you out of your winter hibernation and jumpstart your Spring !! 

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Rosie’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

 Pie dough for 2-crust pie

 

Filling:

3 cups halved strawberries

3 cups fresh rhubarb- cut into 1-inch pieces

1-cup sugar

grated rind of one Minneola Tangerine *( approx. 1 Tblsp.)

¼ cup FRESH tangerine juice

½ tsp. cardamom powder (freshly ground/pulverized the best)

1/3-cup flour

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place a cookie pan in oven to heat up. **

 Combine strawberries with rhubarb.  Add sugar, tangerine rind, juice and , cardamom. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add flour to fruit mixture and toss until incorporated.  Let sit for 5 more minutes.

Roll out bottom crust and lay this into the pie pan. Fill with fruit mixture.

Roll out second pie dough and cut into 1-½ inch wide strips.  Lay half of the strips across the top of pie. Weave the remaining dough strips over and under the first strips. Roll the dough from strips and bottom crust together to form a rim. Crimp crust together and attach parts to pie pan.

 Brush the top piecrust with some milk or cream and sprinkle some coarse sugar or white sugar on top.

 Bake for 60-75 minutes until the juices are bubbling CLEAR red.

 *You can substitute any tangerine rind or juice

** Preheating the cookie sheet before placing the pie on top will insure that your bottom crust will be crispy.


  

 

 

 

 

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It’s a brand new year with an even tighter budget. Eeek! Since Larry and I are not into living a life of deprivation we decided to explore what we absolutely had to have besides our basic needs. Eating, cooking and entertaining were our top priorities. It’s not unusual for us to entertain friends over a home cooked meal at least three-four times a month. So how were we going to accomplish this within our budget? We decided to have two ways of entertaining. One would be to have simple suppers with a one dish entree. No frills such as dessert or appetizer, just a spontaneous invite to join us for our normal weekday meal.

We also wanted to continue having themed based dinner parties serving a complete meal of appetizer,main course,side dish and dessert. We decided to set a budget of $20 for each dinner. How would we be able to accomplish this? Here’s what we came up with. First we would ask our guests to contribute to the meal by bringing a beverage of choice and an appetizer, salad or dessert. We would cook the main dish and whatever else needed. In addition we would limit the number of guests to a maximum of four.

It would be a win-win situation for all of us. Our guest would be spending less than they would in a restaurant and they would also have the opportunity to learn how to make a new dish with the recipes I provided.

I decided upon a Cuban menu this month since a bunch of us were going to a local club to learn a new (for us) kind of Cuban dance called Son. Here’s what we made.

Cuban dinner for Six

Appetizer:  Yucca fritas ( fried yucca) with mojo criolla sauce

Yucca fritas
2 large yucca roots
1/4 cup cooking oil
salt
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Cut yucca into 4 inch lengths. Leave peels on yucca. Steam them until knife cuts into them and they are soft ( not mushy) like potatoes. Cool and strip peels off. Cut into french fry size wedges. Fry in hot oil until brown on all sides and sprinkle with salt.

Mojo Criolla sauce

6-7 cloves garlic- crushed
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 Tablsp. white vinegar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
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Crush and pulverize garlic cloves with salt and pepper. Add cumin powder. Combine garlic mixture, vinegar, orange,lime juice and olive oil in blender and blend until frothy. Add chopped cilantro and adjust with more salt as needed.

Salad: Orange avocado salad with lime cumin vinaigrette


Orange avocado salad with lime cumin vinaigrette

3 cups mixed salad greens
1-avocado sliced or chunked
3 oranges- peels cut off and cut into 1 inch chunks
1/4-1/2 cup sliced red onions

Toss ingredients above gently with vinaigrette.

Lime cumin vinaigrette * from Deborah Madison- Vegetarian cooking for Everyone

1 garlic clove
salt
grated rind of 2 limes
3 Tablsp. lime juice
2 Tablsp.chopped shallots
1/2 jalapeno chili- seeded and minced
1/2 tsp.cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tablsp. chopped cilantro
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Mash and pulverize garlic with salt. Combine with lime rind,juice, shallots and chili.
Toast cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant. Cool and then grind into a fine powder. Add to lime mixture. Whisk in mustard and oil. Taste and adjust with more salt if needed. Let rest for 15 minutes and add cilantro just serving.

Entree:  Arroz con pollo ( rice with chicken)


Arroz con Pollo

4 chicken thighs
4 chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic- minced
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp.dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. coriander powder
2 Tablsp. red wine vinegar
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2 Tablsp. olive oil
2 cups onion- chopped
4 cloves garlic- minced
1 red bell pepper- -sliced
3-4 ripe Roma tomatoes- chopped
12 oz. of beer
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups short grain white rice
3/4 cup of fresh or frozen peas
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Cut each chicken breast into 2 half pieces. Marinate the chicken breasts and thighs with the garlic, salt, pepper, oregano,cumin,coriander and red wine vinegar for 6-24 hours. Refrigerate.

In a large oven proof pan, fry chicken pieces over medium high heat in oil until browned on all sides. They should not be cooked through. Set aside chicken when browned and saute the onion and garlic with the oil from fried chicken. Saute onions until soft and yellow. Add bell pepper slices and cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook at medium flame until the tomatoes are soft and juices have been released. Add beer and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add rice and mix thoroughly. Turn off heat and place chicken pieces decoratively over rice. Place a foil over the pan and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Take foil off and sprinkle peas over rice and chicken and bake for 10 minutes longer.
Rice will be soft and almost soupy. I like the rice to be soft and almost risotto like in texture. If you want it to be drier, bake it a bit longer uncovered.

Dessert:  Fresh pineapple and mango sorbet


Fresh pineapple slices with mango sorbet and guava halves*

Cut pineapple into small wedges and serve with scoops of store bought mango sorbet.
*If you are able to find fresh guava, include on plate.

Total cost for arroz con pollo and fried yucca with mojo sauce and ingredients: $18
It really amounted to less since I bought two whole chickens and was able to use the drumsticks and wings for another meal.

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I’m Back !!! I’ve officially retired from teaching in the classroom. After twenty years teaching kids with learning needs it was time to strike out and spend more time on following my other bliss, writing, cooking, creating new recipes. So many projects, so little time and as I entered my 65th year of life I wanted to make sure I got a couple of these projects done before……… So first on the list was to make a list, prioritize and set goals. Got my private practice as a Learning specialist started. Next was to self publish my book “Tasting Life” a collection of food stories, poems and recipes.** Shameless promoting but that’s what old ladies can get away with these days. Got that done. Now finally, I have the time to work on completing my cookbook and attending to my neglected blog.

In preparation for retirement Larry and I talked about what I wanted to gain from this decision. One major thing was to get healthier, lose weight, exercise more and have the time to complete my writing projects. As my income would be greatly reduced, we planned how we could live on a smaller budget yet still continue to cook and eat delicious meals as well as entertain our friends. We both agreed that we didn’t want to feel deprived when it came to eating. So we started cooking differently and found that we were able save money, eat more healthfully and continue to enjoy delicious meals. I found to my delight that not only was I losing weight but also I was wasting less food in the process. So here’s one thing I’ve learned so far.

Budget and health tip number one. Eat less meat. As a child in a Chinese household, meat was never the main item on the table but was used to accompany vegetables in stir fries. If we did have a roasted chicken, pork or beef we only ate a few pieces alongside the variety of other dishes with vegetables on the table. Back then I was much slimmer and healthier. Over the years after leaving my mother’s kitchen I ate more meat, less vegetables and subsequently gained more weight. Now I’m back to cooking in the style of my mother and I’m finally losing weight and feeling way healthier. Last week I bought a whole roasted chicken from Costco for $4.99. I used just one breast from this roast and made this Southeast Asian chopped salad. Now I’ve got enough leftover meat and bones to make a chicken pot pie for four people, chicken hash for two and enough for curried chicken salad for both of us for lunch. Hmmm, maybe I’ll make some empanadas instead……..

South East Asian chopped chicken salad- 2 large servings

3 cups- sliced romaine lettuce ( 1 inch strips)
handful of arugula
1/2 cup – red onion – sliced thinly
1- medium carrot- cut into julienne slices
3/4 cup cubed cucumbers
1 1/2-2 cups fresh mango*- cut up into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup – chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp.- black pepper
3 Tablespoons FRESH lime juice
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 cup-roasted chicken- cubed into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped or crushed roasted (unsalted) peanuts
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1. In a large salad bowl, toss lettuce,arugula, onion, carrots and cucumbers together.
2. Peel mango with vegetable peeler. Cut sides and then cube. Cut off any extra meat off seed and use as well.
2. Add the cut up mango pieces with cilantro to salad .
3. Sprinkle lime juice and black pepper over the mango pieces.
3. Sprinkle soy sauce, fish sauce over mango, salad and toss together.
4. Add chicken, peanuts and toss again.

* I prefer to use the Hayden or Tommy Atkins mangoes. They are firmer than the Manilla type of mangoes and have more meat.
** “Tasting Life” will be available through Amazon in late September.

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