Monday, May 17, 2010


Fountain Prairie ham sandwich with Brunkow Morel and Onion Jack cheese, lettuce from my garden, and Hellman's mayo. Served on homemade seed bread with a side of garden radishes. I used this recipe for the bread, except that this time I substituted 1/2 c. of roasted and salted pumpkin seeds for the 1/2 c. of sunflower seeds. I think I will play around with the recipe some more to try to recreate the Karrotten Zwilling (Carrot Twin) loaf that my husband and I were fond of in Austria. I'm thinking I'll cut back on the water a bit, add some shredded carrot, and use pumpkin oil instead of butter. I'll post the recipe when I come up with a version I'm happy with.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Peach Rhubarb Pie

Fresh peaches are truly delectable in a homemade pie. When some organic yellow peaches (from Mexico), went on sale at Whole Foods last week, I knew they were destined for my husband's birthday pie. Combined with rhubarb from our garden, they were sensational. I ended up bringing the pie over to our new friends' house for dinner, where it was very well received.

Comments: "This is way better than the pies the Mennonites sell at the farmer's market." & "There's so much content!" (host) "I love how it's not too sweet." (hostess)

I have to say I was surprised by the Mennonite comment. I always assumed my pies were on par with theirs (or vice versa). Maybe I'll buy one sometime to do a taste test comparison.

The crust on this one came our PERFECT. Light, flaky, and flavorful. Also, here's a tip about the peaches. I bought firm peaches and kept them in a closed paper bag at room temperature for about four days to ripen them up. Works like a charm.

Peach Rhubarb Pie (for 9" pie):
pastry for 2-crust pie (Dimock's recipe)
1 lb. rhubarb, cut into 1/2" pieces
4 small-medium ripe peaches, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
1 c. sugar, heaped
5 T. flour
1-2 dashes of cinnamon
1 T. butter (optional)

Mix the fruit, sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Roll out the bottom crust and place in pie dish. Pour fruit filling in. Cut 1 T. butter into small pieces and dot top of filling with butter. Roll out top crust and place over bottom crust and filling. Trim overhang; crimp, and seal edges. Cut one or more vents in the top crust. Bake at 425 F for 15 min, then 350 F for 40 min. When filling is visibly bubbling vigorously under the vent in the crust or some of the filling erupts onto the crust, the pie is done.

Current Pie Tally: 18

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie with Herb Crust

As Dimock writes in her book, pie in the freezer is money in the bank. I made this chicken pot pie yesterday to add to the stockpile of oven-ready foods to have after the baby is born. I altered this recipe from Here is my recipe:

Herb Crust (top and bottom crust)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley
1 T. chopped fresh thyme
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
10.5 T. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4-6 T. ice water (I used 5 T.)

Blend the dry ingredients and herbs in a food processor until well-blended. Add butter and process until mixture looks like coarse meal. Add 3 T. of the ice water. Pulse. Add more water in 1/2 T. increments, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture just starts to clump together. Gather dough into 2 balls. Place one ball in the refrigerator. Roll out the other ball and place in pie dish.

Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 c. (or more) water
2 chicken boullion cubes

2 carrots, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
4-6 oz. greens (I used spinach and arugula), chopped

1.5 T. butter
1 medium leek (white and pale green parts only), sliced
1 shallot, minced
1 T. minced fresh thyme
1/8 c. all-purpose flour
1/8 c. dry white wine (I used a cheap Pinot Grigio)
1/8 c. whipping cream

Place chicken breasts in a large saucepan. Cover with water (I used 3 c.), add chicken boullion, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Save broth in pot. Transfer chicken to plate or cutting board to cool.

Add carrots and turnips to chicken broth in pot. Simmer uncovered until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer vegetables to prepared pie crust with a slotted spoon. Add greens to broth and cook until just wilted but still bright green, about 1 minute. Save broth. Transfer greens to colander with slotted spoon and drain well. Add greens to vegetables in prepared crust.

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and add to mixture in prepared crust. In a small frying pan, melt 1.5 T. butter. Sautee the leeks, shallot, and thyme until tender, about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir 2 minutes. Decant reserved broth into frying pan, discarding any solids at the bottom. Stir in white wine. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Stir in cream and boil, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens to a gravy, about 8 minutes. Pour gravy over mixture in prepared crust. Stir/jostle to blend. Roll out top crust and place over mixture. Crimp and seal edges; cut a hole in the top crust for steam to escape. Wrap securely in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze. To reheat, bake the pie straight from the freezer. I plan to bake mine at 400 F for 20 minutes, then 350 F for 30-40 minutes, until the crust is golden and it looks like the filling is bubbly.

Current Pie Tally: 17

Monday, May 3, 2010

Great Grandma Helen's Rhubarb Custard Pie

We received a bunch of free rhubarb from some friends of ours in the community gardens at the end of last week and my mom suggested I make Great Grandma Helen's Rhubarb Custard Pie. I had never tasted this pie before. I didn't know what to expect, but I decided to give it a try anyway.

Not having much experience making custard pies, I didn't know how exactly to tell when it was done. I also thought the instructions to cook it at 400 F for 50-60 min seemed a bit excessive. I was paranoid the crust was going to burn, so I cooked it a little less intensely. I'm glad I did, because I anticipate that it's not too hard to overcook the custard. The pie that I made had a slightly underdone center (wasn't quite set in a 1.5" circle in the middle), but the other custard areas were velvety, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. Light. Fluffy. Flavorful. Custard is good.

Since making this rhubarb custard pie, I learned that you tell when the custard is done by sticking a toothpick or chopstick (my choice) into the center of the pie. When it comes out clean, much like any baked good, the custard is done. Next time, I think I'll play around with the cooking time some more to get it just right. Maybe 30 min at 400 F and 15-20 min at 350 F. I also think I might leave the top crust off the pie next time to really let the custard take the spotlight.

Speaking of crust, this was not the best pie crust I have ever made. I added too much ice water and the crust came out rather heavy. No one else who ate the pie noticed, but it detracted from the total excellence of it. I failed to follow my own advice of "add the ice water a little at a time". I threw caution to the wind and dumped the recipe's 6 T of water into the dough all at once. Then I listened to the food processor struggle under the heft and watched the dough clump together like a huge ball of lead. Not gonna do that again.

Slightly Altered Great Grandma Helen's Rhubarb Custard Pie:
1.5 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1.4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cinnamon
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 c. (1 lb.) rhubarb, cut into 1/2" slices
pastry for 2-crust pie (lattice top)

Combine sugar, flour, and nutmeg. Beat into eggs with a whisk. Stir in rhubarb. Pour into pie shell. Add top lattice crust. Crimp and seal. Bake at 400 F for 20 min, then 350 F for 25-30 min. Cool and refrigerate.

Current Pie Tally: 16