Strawberry Rhubarb (or Green Apple) Pie

My cousin just posted pictures of loads of beautiful rhubarb jam on Facebook. I’m jealous. I haven’t made any jam yet this year, BUT– I made a pie.

Quick story, when my Dad was a kid he was told  rhubarb pie was “green apple pie”. Apparently he must not have liked the idea of rhubarb, so my Grandma convinced him otherwise by changing the name. Green apples are tart, but I think the resemblance stops there!  Anyways, the name stuck and we still joking call this pie “green apple”.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

I love the crimson color of the rhubarb. It really is a feast for the eyes.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie~ Erin's DC Kitchen

What’s that you say? The crust does look amazeballs, thanks! 😉

The tartness of the rhubarb in this pie is tempered with soft sweetness from strawberries and majorly complimented by an unexpected addition– almond extract. It provides a fuller, richer taste I think. I was comparing recipes before I started baking, and Richard Sax’s Classic Home Desserts has a recipe for sour cherry and rhubarb pie that seemed fabulous. That’s where I got the idea of adding almond extract.

Rhubarb season will end soon, once it starts to heat up, so if you want to try this recipe out hurry down to your local farmers market (or garden) and pick some up soon!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

  • 3 1/2 cups diced rhubarb (about 4 large stalks)
  • 1 quart strawberries, sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp (scant) cinnamon

For the double crust

  • 2 1/4 cups flour (I did the 1/4 cup wheat, the rest white)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup Crisco shortening
  • 8 tbl ice cold water or milk

Preparing the crust: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Measure out the shortening and dollop it across the flour mixture (don’t dump it in one lump). Using a pastry blender, cut the shortening into the flour until it is course. Pile more than half of the flour mixture to one side of the bowl. Measure out a tablespoon of cold water and sprinkle it over the smaller pile of flour and fluff it with a fork to work the water through. As the mixture forms into dough, move it aside. Continue sprinkling a tablespoon of water onto a small pile of flour and fluffing it with the fork, moving aside the dough that forms. You may or may not use all 8 tbl of water. This process becomes easier the more you do it, trust me, and you get a feel for the dough. Divide the final lump of dough into two equal parts and roll them out into circles. Put one circle into the pie plate and add your filling, then put the top crust on. You need 1 inch or more of excess dough to roll under to make the edge. Anything over that you can cut off. Use your thumb and pointer finger to pinch together a pretty edge.

Preparing the pie:

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a large bowl, toss the fruit with the sugar, cinnamon and part of the flour. Let stand while you prepare the crust. Once the crust is ready, stir in the almond extract and the remainder of the flour. Toss to coat. Spoon filling into the pie crust. If there is a ton of excess juice, don’t pour it all into the crust, just some of it.  With a sharp knife, cut a slit into the top of the pie (or a design if you’re ambitious) to let steam out.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes, but cover the crust with a crust protector or foil. Pie is done when the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly and steaming (peek into the center slit).

Let cool fully before cutting into, or else the filling will spill out everywhere and you’ll be sad about it.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Winter Squash with Sugar-Toasted Almonds

It has been sooo freezing across the Midwest and East Coast recently. I was suddenly in the mood for something cozy and comforting in a way I haven’t been since pre-holidays so I grabbed a petite acorn squash from the grocery store last week.

Acorn squash is a favorite of mine since childhood; my mom would roast it and serve with brown sugar on top, which melted and flowed like a caramel river off the sides of a heaping helping of mashed squash.

This time, I scooped the flesh out of the roasted squash halves and mixed in some honey, clove, cinnamon and egg to make a souffle-casserole mash-up.

Winter Squash with Sugar Toasted Almonds

Bake it for 30 minutes and top with sugar toasted almonds and dried cranberries.

Crunchy, nutty, sweet and addictive! Awesome on salads too.

Crunchy, nutty, sweet and addictive! Awesome on salads too.

Yum, perfect as a side dish.

Winter Squash with Sugar Toasted Almonds

Or a very large bowl as a main dish if you are me :-).

Winter Squash with Sugar Toasted Almonds

  • one medium-small acorn squash
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove plus extra for dusting
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon plus extra for dusting
  • 2-3 tbl honey (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 heaping tablespoon plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 heaping tbl white sugar
  • handle of dried unsweetened cranberries

Preheat oven to 375°.  Cut acorn squash in half, scoop out the seeds and lightly dust with cloves and cinnamon. Place cut side up in a large baking dish with a little water in the bottom, cover with a lid or tinfoil. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes until squash is fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly until you can handle the halves.  Reduce oven temperature to 350°.

Scoop out the roasted flesh into a medium bowl. Mash and mix well with a fork. Mix in the 1/4 tsp cloves and cinnamon, 2 to 3 tbl honey, and Greek yogurt (this makes it a wee-bit more creamy). If needed, temper the egg with some squash before fully mixing in. Mix well and then scoop into a 1 quart baking dish. Cover and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The casserole will crack a bit on top and not be jiggly in the center when finished.

For the almonds: Place the almonds and white sugar in a small pan over medium heat. The sugar will begin to melt and coat the almonds. Stir frequently and watch out, it can scorch easily.  Once sugar is melted and the almonds coated, spread out onto a sheet of parchment paper to cool.

Sprinkle the almonds and cranberries over top of the casserole and serve.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Butternut Squash Soup

Thick, creamy and satisfying. Not always words you can use to describe soup, but they definitely apply for this butternut squash soup!  I love the slight natural sweetness you get from the squash that mingles with the warmth from fresh cracked pepper and chicken broth.

I paired this with cheese, apples and crackers to make a complete meal.  You could also serve it alongside a warm, gooey-cheesy grilled sandwich.  Or maybe a first course at Thanksgiving? Nom nom nom. 🙂

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 4 lbs butternut squash
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cube chicken bullion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven the 375°. Cut the squash into manageable size pieces and roast on a tray, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove and peel off skin. The flesh will not be fully cooked through, that is ok. Cut into 1 inch pieces, along with the celery and put into a large saucepan.  Quarter the onion and add to the pot.

Partially dissolve the bullion cube in the cup of hot water. Pour it into the pot along with the broth, pepper and bay leaf. Bring it to a boil and boil for 10 minutes, stirring often. The squash and celery will start to soften and dissolve into the broth. Remove the bay leaf and any pieces of celery that are particularly stringy. Working in batches, puree the squash and vegetable mixture until smooth. Return all the mixture to the pot, taste, and add salt if needed.

Serve warm and enjoy!

– Erin

Thai Sweet Potato Curry

Hi to all my readers and happy (meatless) Monday.

I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day. I got to spend some time with my in-laws down in lovely Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia. We ate lunch at a colonial-times inspired country restaurant that served up some mean fried chicken. Needless to say it wasn’t the healthiest of meals! But today’s post balances that out.

This Thai curry features one of my current vegetable obsessions, rainbow chard.

Look at how beautiful it is, with those reds and yellows and purples, it makes any dish prettier.

I planted some of this in my garden, but it’s not quite ready yet, this bunch is from the Dupont Circle farmers market

There are so many colors in this Thai curry dish, you just feel healthier looking at it. Imagine how you’ll feel eating it 🙂

The broth is rich, complex and delightfully coconuty. Yup, that’s a word.

Apologies for such a short post, I have poison ivy and the horrible itchyness is seriously interrupting my thought process.  It can’t last forever though, right?

Thai Sweet Potato Curry

  • 2 tbl fish sauce
  • 1 tbl red curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen)
  • 1 tbl brown sugar
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 8 oz broth (veggie, chicken etc)
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cup (packed) rainbow chard, chopped

Pour coconut milk into a large saucepan. Bring the milk to a slight boil, whisk in the curry paste, fish sauce and brown sugar. Cook for 5 minutes. Add in the broth, carrots and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover partially. Let cook for 10 minutes, then add the chard and cook for 10 more minutes. Finished! Serve over rice or eat as is.

Enjoy!

Daily Question: What did you do for Mother’s Day?

– Erin

Meatless Monday Stacked Tostada Salad

Hello to all my readers and welcome to week three of my blog! Yes, this is a happy milestone for me, hopefully one of many to come as I go along on this food blogging journey.

A friend and I were chatting a couple weeks ago and the subject of Meatless Monday came up. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this concept, Meatless Monday is an international movement started in association with Johns Hopkins University in 2003 to promote personal and environmental health by cutting meat out of your diet one day a week.

This concept isn’t entirely unique, during both World Wars Americans at home went ‘meatless’ or ‘wheatless’ once a week to help out with the war effort. At my house, we don’t go vegetarian every Monday, but I do make a meatless dish a least once a week. It just may be on a Thursday instead of Monday! So what is the significance of going meatless on Monday? Read more here!

In the spirit of the MM movement, today’s recipe is for a salad that is anything but boring. It’s infused with Mexican spices like cumin and smoked chipotle pepper and has an amazing crunch from homemade tostadas. Intrigued? Read on!

Start with some diced onion and garlic

And add them to a skilletfull of your favorite beans, along with some cumin and chipotle pepper.

Simmering the beans and spices is key to a bold flavor

Now for the freshness- grab some tomatoes on the vine and shred some lettuce

While the beans slow cook, place a small tortilla into hot oil

Notice how it is puffing and bubbling up, that means it is time to flip

Lightly browned and crunchy in all the right places! 🙂

DON’T turn your back on the tortillas, or else this will happen to you:

A sad, burned tortilla. It happened so fast...

By now the beans should be getting thick and creamy

Start breaking up some of the beans by smushing them with the back of a large spoon. This makes the dish creamier.

Now you are ready to assemble your salad.

Start with one tortilla and top with beans, lettuce and tomato

Then repeat with a second tortilla

Then top it off with some sour cream and shredded cheese. You can add salsa or guacamole if you want too 🙂

By using sour cream, you don't even need salad dressing

Isn’t it pretty?

Get your knife and fork and dig in 🙂

Stacked Tostada Salad

  • 1 15 oz can of beans, undrained (I like black or pinto)
  • 2 tomatoes from the vine, diced
  • 1 cup or more shredded iceburg lettuce
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground chipotle chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 small tortillas (will make two salads)
  • 1 to 3 tbl vegetable oil
  •  Optional: Salsa, sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole


In a large skillet, combine beans, garlic, onion, water and spices. You could sautee the onion and garlic first but I just threw them in raw to simmer along with everything else. Bring the mixture to a quick bowl, then turn heat down to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. Occasionally, break down some of the beans with the back of a large spoon and stir. Shred your lettuce and dice the tomatoes now, set aside.

Heat 1 tbl vegetable oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add a small tortilla to the oil and cook until bubbles begin to puff up and it looks browned around the edges. Turn to cook other side. When finished, place tortilla on a paper towel covered plate. You may need to add more oil, a tbl at a time, as you cook the remaining tortillas.

Once the beans and tortillas are done, place one  tortilla each on your serving plates and top with beans, lettuce and tomato. Repeat with a second tortilla. Top the salads with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of cheese and other optional ingredients.  Perfection. On a plate. 🙂

Enjoy!

Daily Question: Do you have a favorite Meatless Monday recipe?

– Erin

Brussel Sprouts with Caramelized Onions

I’ve noticed that as I get older, foods that I couldn’t stand as a kid have become some of my favorites.

Asparagus, beets, cucumbers and brussel sprouts to name a few.

If you were like me, take what you thought you knew about this little green veggie and throw it out the window, ’cause this side dish is soooo good!

Start with a bag of fresh sprouts.

Cut up the big ones and get them ready to roast in the oven,

This brings out a deliciously warm and nutty flavor. (Who knew, from a vegetable!)

Get your onion slices going in a skillet,  caramelizing takes at least 30 min.

Before

After

The caramelized onions lend a smooth, rich and slightly sweet flavor to this dish.

It really pulls the room dish together. 😉

Toss the sprouts in with the onions, et viola! (This is killer if you fry up some bacon and crumble it on top, alas, I was trying to be ‘healthy’ …. this time) 🙂

Brussel Sprouts with Caramelized Onions

  • Fresh brussel sprouts (not sure of the weight, maybe 1 lb)
  • 3 Tbl or more of olive oil
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • Pinch of sugar

Heat oven to 400. Wash and cut sprouts, you can slice of the hardy knubby end and cut large sprouts in half.  Place in a foil lined baking pan and toss with 1 tbl olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, coat evenly. Roast for 30 min, a knife should easily slide into the center of the sprout when it’s done. 

Meanwhile, slice the sweet onion, keeping slices fairly thin. Heat 2 tbl olive oil in a large skillet (you don’t want the onions to be crowded). When oil is shimmering, add onions and sprinkle them with salt and a pinch of sugar. Keep the heat on medium to medium low and cook the onions, stirring occasionally, for at least 30 min. You can add a little more salt and sugar as you go to help the caramelizing process.  Low and slow is the key here, and the longer they cook, the more rich and amber looking they become. When the sprouts are done and you are satisfied with the onions, toss them together in a bowl and serve.

Enjoy!

– Erin

I’ll see ya’ll back here on Monday, have a great weekend. 🙂

Semi- Homemade Ravioli Dinner

Tell me if this sounds familiar.  You walk in the front door and hear:

“Hey (insert name of choice, wife/mom/you) what’s for dinner?”

Gosh, let me at least set down my bag.

 

Enter, the semi-homemade dinner: Ravioli with Parmesan  Cauliflower

Roast some cauliflower dressed with olive oil, parmesan cheese and ground pepper. Mmmm, fresh veggies!

Then toss with fresh ravioli and a healthy spoonful of basil-liscious pesto for the sauce.

Done. In less than 15 minutes.

Maybe right now you’re wondering why that picutre is so small. Well, pesto doesn’t look awesome when photographed (by me) up close. Let’s leave it at that.

Ravioli with Parmesan  Cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower, about 2 1/2 cups
  • 1  9 ounce package of fresh ravioli (I buy one that cooks in 4 minutes)
  • ground pepper
  • parmesan cheese (from the green can of course)
  • 2 tbl pesto
  • olive oil

Heat oven to 400. Cut up the cauliflower into manageable pieces and then spread onto a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with enough olive oil to decently coat the cauliflower and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and ground pepper. Toss it well so the cauliflower is coated, roast in oven for about 15 min. Stir halfway through.  The cauliflower will get some nice crispy spots if you do this, yum. 

Meanwhile, cook the ravioli according to package directions and return to pot when finished.  Stir in the pesto. When the cauliflower is done, gently fold it in with the ravioli. Enjoy!

– Erin

P.S. I’d like to send some love out to Sandra Lee, the semi-homemade pioneer,  right now.  Check her out at http://www.semihomemade.com/