taste test tuesday: strawberry rhubarb pie

Jeanne here.

It’s Tuesday.  And we’re doing that taste test thing again.

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I was out of town last week and returned home to find a jungle of rhubarb growing in one of our garden beds … ready to harvest and screaming to be made into a pie.  And we had the excuse of a Memorial Day Cookout to try my hand at a strawberry-rhubarb pie.

But here’s the thing:  Growing up in New Jersey, we also had a plethora of rhubarb growing in the garden.  And my stepdad’s Aunt Ginny (God bless her … a beautiful and funny gal) would take this incredibly tart stalky plant and cook it down with loads of plump juicy red strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, sugar, a little more cornstarch and a lot more sugar and would turn this beautiful Spring harvest into a gelatinous pie that pretty much tasted like cornstarch and sugar.

So to say I was excited to learn a few years ago that we had rhubarb growing (like a weed) in the garden is kind of … well … it would actually be kind of an exaggeration.

I didn’t know that strawberry-rhubarb pie could be tangy (that’s the job of fresh rhubarb in a pie) … sweet (naturally sweet because fresh organic strawberries cook down into a gorgeously sweet, but not overly sweet, treat) … and a totally refreshing end to a holiday cookout.  Especially with some homemade ice cream.

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But then I met (metaphorically … in the blogsphere … I’ve never actually met her) Deb Perelman from The Smitten Kitchen, and everything about my relationship with rhubarb has changed.

Because her recipe for strawberry-rhubarb pie is totally sublime.

Firstly, there’s no cornstarch (she uses tapioca instead).

She limits her use of sugar (which I reduced even more, and I used maple syrup instead of brown sugar).

And the tablespoon of lemon juice makes everything taste as fresh as it is.

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Here’s what’s in it:

  • Deb uses an All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough or double-crust pie dough of your choice (we use a recipe for a butter crust from The Pie Chef that has never failed us.  It’s the best pie crust I’ve ever had)
  • rhubarb, in 1/2-inch thick slices
  • strawberries, hulled and sliced if big, halved if tiny
  • granulated sugar (I used organic cane sugar and reduced the amount by about a third)
  • light brown sugar (I used grade B maple syrup, instead)
  • lemon juice
  • salt (her recipes generally call for kosher or iodized salt.  I use sea salt)
  • quick-cooking tapioca (you can use tapioca pearls instead, but they need to be soaked first)
  • unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • egg yolk beaten to blend with water (for wash)

I’m not kidding when I say this pie is sublime.  The kiddos and I are headed out this morning to “harvest” more rhubarb so we can try a version of this in a breakfast cobbler.

One thing I should point out … Deb Perelman is not necessarily a “real food” or “nourishing food” blogger.  She may not soak her grains or use traditional cooking methods.  But her food is not processed.  It’s wholesome, delicious and clearly cooked with love.

We’re linked up:

This Chick Cooks
Kelly the Kitchen Kop
The Nourishing Gourmet 

 

triple berry cobbler … it’s too easy

I know I shouldn’t start the week with a dessert recipe.

But this one doesn’t have refined sugar (unless you want to use sugar instead of maple syrup).

And we needed an excuse to use up some of the DIY-Bisquick that was leftover from the cornbread that we made a few weeks ago.

Plus, we were having dinner at Abby’s, I told her we’d bring dessert, and the day got away from me so I only had about 45 minutes to whip this thing together.  I had to use what we had on hand.

Sometimes … being forced to use what’s already on hand can be the very best thing … ever.

triple berry cobbler

I don’t know if you can tell from the photos, but this incredibly easy and super fast dessert is not overly sweet and totally satisfying and there wasn’t one person out of 10 that didn’t wish there was more in the pan. (Sure, four of the 10 are under 4 years old … but their vote counts just as much … especially when it comes to tasty desserts!)

Here’s the “skinny” on how it’s done:

INGREDIENTS:

For the biscuit batter:
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup DIY-better-than-Bisquick mix
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (I melted it in the casserole dish and used it to grease the pan before adding to the batter)
For the fruit compote:

  • 2-3 cups mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (or unrefined sugar)
  • 2/3 cup water

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the milk, maple syrup, non-Bisquick and coconut oil in a medium bowl.  After letting the casserole dish cool for a few minutes, put the batter in the dish.  Don’t spread it around too much.  It’s ok if it’s clumpy.

In another medium bowl, combine the berries, maple syrup and water.

NOTE: I used frozen berries (the organic antioxidant frozen berries from Costco) and found that the strawberries were HUGE so I cut them each in half so they wouldn’t be quite so unwieldy.  You could also use just strawberries, or just blackberries, or raspberries … it’s sort of up to you.  What’s your favorite?

Now pour the berry mixture over batter.  Yes … the berries go on TOP.  The batter is so light an airy.  When it cooks, it actually forces it’s way to the top.  It’s one of the great things about this treat.
Bake for 40-45 minutes.
We topped the cobbler with some homemade vanilla ice cream.And there wasn’t a lick of either cobbler or ice cream left about four and a half minutes after we cut into the first piece.Happy Monday!- JeanneWe are linked up at Natural Living Mamma and Healthy Roots, Happy Soul!

We are also linked up at The Nourishing Gourmet, Nourishing Simplicity and Domestic Superhero!

seasonally inappropriate coconut milk ice cream … and happy birthday Abby!

Last night we celebrated Abby’s birthday (which is actually today).

We had a simple dinner … fried chicken, roasted root veggies, a salad and apple pie with maple coconut ice cream.  It was delicious.  And perfectly Abby.

But before I share my “ancient family secret” for tasty dairy free coconut milk ice cream (which we love, even though we aren’t a dairy free family), I’d like to take a moment to say something about Abby.

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Because she’s pretty amazing.

She’s one of those people who can immediately make everyone comfortable … just by walking into the room.

She’s an incredible mom … one of those moms who makes it look really easy.  She can stop an argument between toddlers without interrupting her train of thought.

Her photographs … well … she didn’t give me permission to repost these but … her photographs speak for themselves (she does family portraits and baby photos … in case you’re interested 🙂

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The thing is … Abby is love.  Not the air-kiss-on-the-cheek-love ya-mean it-love.  But Genuine Love.

Unpretentious.

Unassuming.

Unadulterated love.

She is love of family.

Love of friends.

Love of food.

Love of life.

And all of that love permeates everything she does and everyone she meets.

Which makes me a pretty lucky gal, actually (not to turn this into a post about me) … You see, I’m one of those people who believe that we do get to choose our family.  Sure, we’re born into a unit.  Mom.  Dad.  Sisters.  Brothers.  Aunts.  Uncles.  blah blah blah.  But we spend our lives accumulating the people we want to share it with.  We get to choose our mate.  We choose our friends.  So why not choose people with whom we’d like to have as family?  Who we love and respect and enjoy.

So … I’m the lucky one.  That day at the Dinosaur Playground when our little one decided that Abby’s little guy was going to be her friend.

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Because that was the day I got to meet my new family.

(And now for the recipe for the maple coconut milk ice cream that I promised yesterday … which is seriously a favorite in our house … like … we can’t keep coconut milk in the house because it’s too dang tasty!)

Maple Coconut Milk Ice Cream (makes about 8-10 servings)

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 14 oz. cans of organic coconut milk (we use full fat because I like the creamy ice cream texture!  “Light” will make it more like ice milk)
  • 2/3 cup of maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

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DIRECTIONS:

Whisk together all of the ingredients.

Turn on your ice cream maker.

Once it’s spinning, pour in the coconut milk mixture.

Let it spin for about 15 minutes (checking occasionally to make sure things are progressing) — the time spent in the ice cream machine is going to depend on your ice cream maker.  Fifteen-twenty minutes is about as long as it needs to go in our Cuisinart ICE-21.

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It will start to “firm up.”  Before it becomes butter-like, remove from the ice cream maker into a freezer safe container and freeze for a few hours before serving.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ABBY!

love, Jeanne