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Updated: 2015-09-16T22:06:48.867-07:00


"Labor of Love" (aka liver & onions)


(image) The DH is severly anemic. How that happened we do not know. Upon hearing the news, he immediately requested liver and onions. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure organ meats have their place, but they have never had a place on my menu or in my stomach. When DH requested this I immediately flashed back to my childhood when I always thought anyone who cooked onions with round steak must be cooking liver. Anyway, not to deny an anemic man this request, I fried up this plate of said food and he was a happy man. Are people still told to eat liver if they are anemic? I don't know. What I do know is that taking huge quantities of iron, calcium and vitamin D is supposed to get him back in shape. Hopefully all of the pills will do the trick before he requests this meal again.



My own little local harvest. Picked not fifty feet from where I sit and not more than 5 minutes off the vine when they had their photo taken. The fruits of "old vine" tomatoes--planted last spring. Poor vines suffered through searing Arizona heat, monsoon winds and an onslaught of tomato worms. Never gave up or gave in--just kept up the organic food and plenty of water. Enough harvest for a tasty salad a day. After receiving only about 3 inches of rain in 2009, we are finally having rain today. What a relief. Made my trip to the compost bin a real treat. I waited until it rained to go out and deposit peelings and shredded paper from the office. What a wonderful feeling--real rain from the sky and not the faucet.

Whole Wheat Pancakes



These whole wheat pancakes are light, fluffy and fast. They take only about 10 minutes from the kitchen to the table for the entire breakfast. Have tried lots of recipes and mixes and this is so easy and quick I don't know that I will ever use a mix again. These were served with black cherry, raspberry, blood orange preserves heated until they were the consistency of syrup--just added a bit of water to help thin the mixture.


(Original--after years of practice)

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute

1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt

1/4 cup water


Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients and add to dry. The mixture will become light and foamy. If mixture seems too thick add a bit more liquid--water or milk--whatever you are using. Grease a non-stick skillet and pour mixture into skillet when it is hot. Flip pancakes when you start to see bubbles.


I have used lots of variations of this recipe. Have used milk, rice milk, half and half, or cream as a substitute for the sour cream/yogurt and water mixture. The recipe requires about a half cup of liquid or more depending on how much liquid the flour accepts.

Easy Meal


I love cornbread. I like the convenience of mixes and I really like home made. After a couple of days of eating very rich foods, we had a very easy and tasty meal that is comfort food to us. Martha White Sweet Yellow Cornbread Mix and a can of butter beans with those pretty red tomatoes and slices of sweet onion. Quite satisfying and the cornbread always tastes best when made in an iron skillet. This is one of my favorites. It was purchased at an estate sale and is small--marked "3" on the bottom. The small size of the skillet made the slices of cornbread extra thick.

My Table To Yours


(image) Wish I could share the blessings asked and bounty shared at this table for many years. The table is not so much used for eating anymore--only when there are many guests.

May all who gather at their tables today--the readers and writers, the bakers and bloggers, the chefs and cooks--to enjoy the celebration of this day partake of the Bread of Life whose birth we commemorate.

Peace be with you.

Marble Rye Croutons


(image) A tasty part of salad is the crunchy crouton. Decided to make these when there were a few slices of marble rye left. Cut into cubes, placed on a large baking sheet, sprinkle of really good olive oil and fragrant mixture of thyme, rosemary & oregano seasoning--baked until crispy. Very good and easy too.

Apple Cranberry Pie


Don't touch that pie! It was the last piece of evidence that it existed and I wanted a picture. It was a really good pie and the first fruit pie I had made without following someone's recipe. It had the perfect balance of sweet apples and tart cranberries. We have been eating cranberries -- craving cranberries since before Thanksgiving. I have been buying them in 3 pound bags at Costco to satisfy the hunger. They have appeared in sweet and savory dishes and we love them. Here goes the recipe as I made it and if you decide to make a similar pie you may want to adjust the sugar according to the sweetness of your apples.


2 Cups AP Flour

2/3 Cup Canola Oil

1/3 Cup Buttermilk

Pinch of Salt

1/4 Tsp freshly Grated Nutmeg

Mix dry ingredients.

Mix wet ingredients and add to dry.
Combine until a ball of dough can be formed.
Divide in half and roll into rounds between pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper.

Place one round in the bottom of 9" pie plate & reserve the other round for topping the fruit once it is added to the pie plate.


6 or 7 Gala Apples (I was short 1 Gala so I used 1 Honey Crisp) peeled and sliced thinly

1 Cup Cranberries

2/3 Cup Sugar

1/3 Cup AP Flour

1 Tsp Saigon Cinnamon

1/4 Tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

1 jar (4 plus ounces) of baby Apple/Cran Juice

Pinch of Salt

4 Tbsp Butter

In a large bowl combine apples/cranberries with juice. Combine dry ingredients and stir into apple/cranberry mixture. Pour into pastry lined pie plate, top with butter, and top with remaining pastry round. Crimp edges and prick top of pastry with knife or fork to allow steam to escape. Brush pastry with a little buttermilk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Bake in a 425 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 325 and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown (and probably bubbling over!). I always bake fruit pies on a cookie sheet to catch spills. Mom always said a fruit pie isn't ready until it bubbles over and generally she is right.

Lentils & Quinoa


I love following the recipes of others. It is a challenge to see if I can create what someone else has created. Do my efforts meet the standard? Sometimes. Sometimes adding my own ideas make the recipe a failure, or interesting or even a success. I also like just cooking with things I have that I enjoy eating and making it up as I go along. Baking isn't as easy when following that path. Sometimes I imagine I can create biscuits from scratch with no recipe like my Great Grandmother did.
This lentil and quinoa dish was one of those creations that included just the things I liked that I had on hand. No special recipe. The bite and texture of the two main ingredients was the start. I added shallots, carrot, mushroom, small sweet peppers and parsley all browned in olive oil and cooked until the lentils and quinoa were still firm in vegetable broth. The result was a success for me. Sometimes not using a recipe is ok.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake


This cake is truly delicious. Melts in your mouth & is very adaptable. I first read the recipe at Simply Anne's. Had to try it--with a few changes. The original recipe used dried mango & real eggs.


8 T butter, room temp

6 oz. cream cheese, room temp

1/2 t salt

1 C sugar

2 t baking powder

2 C cake flour

1 C egg substitute

2 t lemon zest

2 oz. chopped dried apricots

2 T lime juice


5 t lime juice

1 C powdered sugar-sifted

Preheat oven to 350 F


Combine flour, salt, baking powder, sugar & zest. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese & butter until soft & fluffy. Add egg sub 1/4 @ a time, beating after each addition. Add lime juice & mix. Add flour until just combined & fold in dried apricots. Pour batter into a greased 9x5 loaf pan & bake for about 50-60 minutes depending on your oven. Toothpick should come out clean when baked through. Introduce lime juice to sifted powdered sugar & use only the amount that makes the glaze the consistency you desire. Make holes in cake w/toothpick & pour glaze over top.

Note--am already planning different versions of this cake--using all lemon, all lime, w/ cranberries or blueberries or even mini chocolate chips &/or pecans. It is a truly moist & delicious cake that would make a great back drop for fresh strawberries & whipped cream.

Raspberry Fried Pies


(image) After nummerous requests, I finally made fried pies. They turned out well & were light & flakey. I used purchased pie dough & a cookie cutter to make some of the pies & free formed a couple with the dough left from cutting the shapes. The filling was made from cooking 2 cups of frozen raspberries with 1/3 cup of sugar, pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons of raspberry preserves, 1/4 cup of water & 3 tablespoons of corn starch until thickened. Cooled the filling a bit, cut out the shapes, put a spoonful in the centers & closed the top layers with a bit of water around the edges & sealed with the tines of a fork, then deep fried them in canola oil. I don't have a deep fryer so I used a heavy metal pot with a couple of inches oil heated to medium on the cook top. They fried very quickly. After draining on paper towels & a sprinkle of powdered sugar they were ready. Very quick & easy. Family said they would want them again, so, that equals a thumbs up around here. Happy New year!

Potatoes & Ham



Simple Sunday supper for us last night--all on one plate. A bowl of potatoes cubed & fried in olive oil, butter, pepper & onion flakes along with some delicious cubed ham baked for Saturday supper. Added a simple salad of iceburg lettuce & avacado with only a squeeze of lemon juice and a Gala apple for dessert & it was a wrap for our evening meal. Easy & delicious comfort food.



Actually, Gingerbread & Lemon Curd Trifle with Blackberry Sauce to be exact. My first attempt at home made gingerbread & my first trifle & it was a hit today. Tangy, lemony & creamy all at once. Great flavor combinations and a thumbs up from everyone at the table. This was a creation of Bobby Flay shown earlier this month on Food Network & one I will make again. The only changes I made from the original were to use pomegranite liquer instead of framboise & egg substutue & it didn't hurt the outcome at all. I assembled the trifle yesterday & refrigerated until it's unveiling at the table today. Gingerbread Cake:Nonstick vegetable oil spray3 cups ap flour2 tbsp ground ginger2 tsp baking soda1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon3/4 tsp ground cloves1/2 tsp ground nutmeg1/4 tsp salt3 tbsp minced crystalized ginger10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp1 cup brown sugar3 large eggs1 cup molasses1 cup boiling water2 1/2 tsp grated lemon peelLemon Curd Filling, recipe followsBlackberry Sauce, recipe follows Position rack in center of oven & preheat to 350 degrees F.Spray 1 half-sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; spray paper. Sift flour & next 6 ingredients into medium bowl. Mix in crystalized ginger. Using an electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in brown sugar. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Gradually beat in molasses, followed by 1 cup boiling water. Mix in grated lemon peel. Gradually mix in dry ingredients. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the pan sides. Turn out onto a rack & peel off paper. Cool & cut into 1-inch cubes.To assemble:Using a trifle bowl, start with an even layer of gingerbread cubes, top with 1/3 of the lemon curd mixture, and 1/3 of the blackberry sauce. Repeat 2 more times. Top with remaining whipped cream. Cover & refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.Lemon Curd Filling:2 (11-ounce) jars prepared lemon curd2 cups heavy cream, sweetened with sugar & vanilla, beaten to soft peaksPlace lemon curd in a large bowl. Fold in half of the whipped cream until combined. Refrigerate if not using immediately. Reserve remaining whipped cream for the top of the trifle.Blackberry Sauce:2 pints fresh blackberries, or 1 bag frozen blackberries, thawed1/4 cup sugarPinch salt2 tbsp framboise (raspberry liquer)1 tablesponn fresh squeezed lemon juicePlace blackberries, sugar & salt in a medium saucepan & cook until the berries are soft & the sugar has melted. Transfer to a blender & blend until smooth. Poor through a strainer into a bowl. Stir in the framboise & lemon juice. Set aside until ready to use.Next time I will make half the gingerbread recipe as I had plenty left over after assembly -- which is not a bad thing! If you make the original cake recipe, you will need a VERY large bowl.[...]

July 4


Happy July 4th!

Hope everyone is enjoying the day in a relaxing way. Yesterday was my baking day--Pina Colada Cake baked in the convection oven. Living in the Valley of the Sun when it is 115 degrees, I really don't like using my oven. It heats the house--not to mention the electricity usage. I love my little convection oven.

We will celebrate the 4th quietly. We will feast on the fruits of summer--a compote of blueberries, strawberries & raspberries (maybe served over that cake from yesterday). Ribeye steak, baked potatoes, & corn on the cob on the weber. Some family members are working today so we will watch the fireworks produced at a nearby stadium but still close enough to be viewed from our patio. Makes me melancholy for summers past when we could actually have our own fireworks displays. We all had our own sparklers & "punks" & Dad's that were the masters of orchestrating marvelous roman candle displays--the summer sounds of cicadas, the smell of freshly mown green grass, home made lemonade, chiggers & mosquito bites. It was home & it was safe & delicious.

Even though our celebration will be low key, I will be busy. I am totally immersed in an online course--my first. Required class for teachers in the Copper State. My current "Block" is estimated to take 6 hours. I hope that is an accurate estimate. I'm learning--that is the good thing & proof that an "old dog" can learn new tricks.

Tomorrow I take the day off. Tomorrow is the day that my sister-in-law & I take off every summer & shop. We are Phoenicians & the heat doesn't stop us! We have planned our first stop for a year now. It will be Penzey's. I have read many comments on the wonders of this place & all it has to offer. I'm sure I won't know where to begin. I've read every single listing from their website & have narrowed my list down to an even dozen items. Penzey's is on the other side of the world from where we live. This makes this trip even more special, a sort of mini-vacation to Scottsdale.

If anyone has any suggestions of "must haves" from Penzey's please leave a comment.

Strawberry Tart


Couldn't resist buying those red beauties. I will eat strawberries without dressing them up at all. I love strawberries. My family requested that I "do" something with the huge container I brought home. Had never made a strawberry tart so this was a gamble. It was really delicious. The whipped cream topping didn't hurt. I used the same toasted pecan crust that I had made to go with my chocolate tart last summer. Just enhanced a container of premade strawberry glaze with a tablespoon of Gran Marnier & a couple of tablespoons of wild straberry gelatin to help thicken the glaze. This got the thumbs up last weekend!(image)



(image) (image)

It has been a week now since many of us enjoyed corned beef & cabbage. If you are lucky , you have an Irish neighbor who supplies you with delicious Irish Soda Bread, hot out of the oven. If you really are experiencing the luck of the Irish you get to share it all with family you've not seen & have a chance to do some catching up. That was our March 17 & it is all memories now. Some captured digitally. Helping a niece make her first batch of "real" lemonade--picking the lemons herself & squeezing the juice & then watching that sweet, toothless, 6 year old smile when we all drank her concoction. The only tangible thing left was that bit of corned beef stowed in the freezer. Couldn't think of a better use for it than to make our favorite hot sandwiches-reubens. Nice marbled rye from the bakery, aged swiss cheese, thousand island dressing, and a bit of crunchy sauerkraut and of course that thinly slice corned beef. They tasted great and I feel like I won't need to eat for about a week--very filling.

(Thanks to for the sign at the top.)

Vanilla Paste


Who doesn't like trying new things in the kitchen? Should have included this in the previous post with the Saigon Cinnamon. Have used the cinnamon & vanilla paste together in several recipes over the holidays & they are so wonderful. The vanilla paste is quite tasty & contains flecks of vanilla bean. Have stirred it into yogurt & made ice cream with it. Substitute it for vanilla extract in like amounts. Wonderful!

Saigon Cinnamon


(image) Have you tried this wonderful cinnamon? Had been seeing it & didn't know the difference between this & my usual cinnamon until Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law made wonderful desserts using it & all I can say is wow! If you haven't used this & you like cinnamon, you really should put it on your shopping list. The aroma is unbelieveable & the flavor is superb. Have used it in my own oatmeal cookies & cranberry upside down cake. Anyone else love this fragrant spice?

Gardening in the Desert



There are advantages to living in a desert. This is the payback for having weathered multiple 100 degree days & months with no rain. Stepping out into a tiny microclimate & retrieving citrus & salad for the day tends to make one grateful for where we are. Hope you are all blessed and grateful for what you have & where you are & will be in the coming year.

Happy New Year!!!



Blogger Postcards From Around The World



Who doesn't love receiving mail? Electronic mail, snail mail or any other kind of mail is usually a welcome and sometimes greatly anticipated event in our lives. The wonderfully creative Meeta designed a way for many of us who enjoy sending & receiving mail to experience an extra special event.

This event has been fun from the beginning. I have enjoyed looking at "the list" and reading the blogs of the participants, some of which were new to me.

Tried to think of something that would be representative of where I am & couldn't think of anything better than the Grand Canyon. It's majesty knows no bounds & it is a true wonder to behold. As soon as I finish this little post I'll be off to the post office to mail my card to someone wonderful & interesting who is far away.

Meanwhile, I will be anxiously checking my mailbox each & every day looking forward to receiving my special card.

Thank you to Meeta. We know this was a time consuming project for her & her efforts are much appreciated. If you didn't have an opportunity to participate this time, check back around September or October for another postcard exchange. Link to Meeta's page

Tarte Tatin


Tarte Tatin is a dessert I just had to try. We love apples and I like to try recipes that are new to me--sometimes for the flavor--sometimes for the experience. This recipe is based on one I read at and was really pretty simple. The next time (and yes, there will be a next time) I make this I will change the recipe once again to give it more caramelization. I may even be brave & make the traditional pate brisee dough or even use a puff pastry. This time around I used my old favorite oil crust recipe and it worked fine--except for the parts that stuck to the edges of my skillet. Those extra bits of crust did not go to waste. I scraped them off the edges of the skillet and crumbled them over the top of each serving of the yummy apple dessert. I could not do one version of the recipe that calls for a cast iron skillet since my cook top is Ceran. Possibly, I could achieve good results using the cast iron skillet in the oven but felt it would take more time & I was anxious to try this. Following is the recipe which I altered from the original*****1 recipe of oil pie crust2 Cups AP Flour2/3 Cup Canola Oil1/3 Cup MilkDash of SaltFor this recipe I added a dash of nutmeg & cinnamon.Mix all ingredients & roll out between 2 pieces of parchment. Use as much of this as you need to cover your apples after their session on the cook top & 20 minutes in the oven. I had a bit of dough left so it was placed in plastic wrap & then in the freezer.Filling1/2 stick butter, softened1/2 cup sugar7-9 Gala Apples, peeled, cored & halvedDash of Cinnamon & NutmegPreheat oven to 425 degrees.Spread butter over the bottom & sides of skillet (I used stainless steel). Pour sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg over the bottom of skillet. Arrange apples vertically on sugar. Pack them tightly in an even circle. Cook apples over medium heat, undisturbed, until juices are brown & bubbling. This took about 25 minutes. Put skillet in middle of oven on a cookie sheet (to catch drips). Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and lay pastry over apples. Bake until pastry is browned, about 25 minutes. Ovens vary, so watch after 20 minutes. Place skillet on a rack and cool for at least 10 minutes. Invert a platter (larger than your skillet and best with some type of lip) over skillet. Use potholders and invert tart onto platter. There may be some of that great caramel left in the skillet--don't waste it. Scoop it out and pour it over apples. Supposed to be served warm. We ate it warm & cold the next day. Either way -- delicious!Great with ice cream, whipped cream, or just a plain splash of cream or milk over the top. Next time I would use more sugar, maybe even some brown sugar to yield more caramel. I won't feel I need to stick with only Gala apples. I'll use whatever I have. Anyone have a different recipe for Tarte Tatin you love & would like to share? Happy Baking,Fran[...]

The Long Green Mole


This wonderful cooking adventure began a couple of weeks ago. I was reading a beautiful post at Cream Puffs In Venice about a delicious Crepes Suzette recipe. Ivonne told the story of finding Mrs. B at Eating Suburbia who was editing a cookbook (The World is a Kitchen) to be released in August. Mrs. B had invited fellow bloggers to test the recipes from the upcoming book. This caught my interest. What does a teacher want when school is out? An assignment, of course! I contacted Mrs. B at her wonderful site and she sent me the names & descriptions of 4 recipes. The only recipe I eliminated was one which included snails, as I wasn't so sure I could find them. I told her I would be willing to do any of the others. My assignment--a 22 ingredient Mole Verde--one of the 7 Moles of Oaxaca. Mrs. B told me it would take "stamina" to complete this recipe and I gladly accepted what I viewed as a challenge. This was a cooking adventure that taught me to enjoy the journey as well as the destination. I quickly perused the list of ingredients and was pleased to discover that I actually had most of them. There were only a small number that I would search for at a store that I knew would have them if anyone would--epazote, yerba santa, chile de arbol. Visiting the market was a story in itself. Everyone was very helpful when I explained what I was doing. The produce manager directed me to the fresh epazote & chile de arbol. The bakery manager directed me to the store manager who directed me to the yerba santa leaves (turns out to be a type of "mint"). Couldn't resist the pastry while visiting with the bakery manager. I just felt compelled to buy something (you'll see why later). Brought home pumpkin & sweet potato filled empanadas, yoyos(strawberry & coconut), cherry & apple fritters, & a cute corn shaped pastry filled with raspberry! To top off an interesting trip (which I thought would be a short routine grocery run) the president of the entire 3 state grocery chain popped in for an unannounced visit & bagged my groceries! It was a great trip and I met a lot of nice people and came home with lots of good stuff. DH always says I'd talk to anyone (I don't mean that in a bad way--he says it out of concern). I think he thinks I must be related to the famous humorist from our home state (Oklahoma)--Will Rogers--never met a stranger. Anyway, I digress.Ingredients assembled, the first thing was to clean & soak small white beans overnight. That part I knew I could do. I read & re-read the recipe & hoped it would turn out. I issued instructions that the morning belonged to me & the kitchen was "off limits", although I know we had breakfast and I seem to remember a turkey sandwich in there somewhere for DH. If we were to sit down and talk I would tell you every single detail of every step of the process. DH says I am long winded--he's right. I just don't want to leave any detail out that might be important. I would just like to say that this was a wonderful recipe & a wonderful experience from start to finish. Don't be stifled if you see a recipe with many ingredients or a "difficult" rating. Give it a try. It may not be perfect, but you will be richer for the experience of the journey & I still believe there are more successes than failures. I will take this mole & make it mine next time. It was a wonderfully green tasting, light (yes, light) dish. Green, green everywhere. Layers of flavor--the green of the leafy ingredients, celery, peppers, tomatoes, & [...]

Porcupine Meatballs


Well, just to let you know there is no actual exotic meat in this dish, just plain freshly ground lean beef. I chose this as a retro food 1st because I know I have been making & actually enjoying them for more years than I care to admit. Before that, I was fed these meatballs or a version of them by the cooks in my family. When I first asked about the curious name, I was told it was because the rice grains resemble little porcupine quills! True? I don't know. It is a good story. I am not sure of the origin of the recipe (there are many variations--most more complicated than mine--one is found in my very retro 1967 edition of The Joy of Cooking-p.430). The story of the original recipe as I heard it was that it was devised when pressure cookers became popular way back when and the meatballs could be made quickly. Those of you who are older, probably remember all of the accompanying horror stories of pressure cookers. When I was growing up every kitchen had one, yet I never (fortunately) witnessed any of the awful accidents told by the cooks of the day. Probably a heartfelt warning to keep children away from the hot stove. Please note the retro dish which contains the meatballs. This is the pattern I chose to live with back in the early 70's and keep them around for old time's sake. Yes, I am very sentimental. (I guess I am a retro relic myself). The recipe for this retro dish is easy and is still a regular on our menu. You can change it to your liking. Spice it up with hot sauce or pepper flakes or google a more complicated version, but this is something that always comes away with an A+ rating, especially served with (don't cringe) instant mashed potatoes, & Le Suere Baby Peas. Ingredients***I Can Campbells Tomato Soup (10 3/4 ounce size)2 Soup Cans of Water1/4 Cup Uncooked Rice (does not need to be instant, but you can use it)1 to 1 1/2 pounds good ground beefFinely Chopped onion (about 1/3 Cup)Salt & Pepper to tasteMix meat, rice, onion, salt & pepper in a large bowl. Form ping pong ball sized meatballs (or larger if you are my DH and don't want to take the time to make smaller ones). This will make up to 2 dozen. In a large pan mix soup & water over low heat. Gently add meatballs to the soup. Keep the heat low & watch since the soup and any stray rice will want to stick to the bottom of the pan. When you stir, stir gently. The mixture will seem watery, but after about 1 1/2 hours of cooking it thickens nicely, the rice is cooked and you have a wonderful warm bunch of comfort food. Thank you to Laura Rebecca's Kitchen for hosting this fun event. Can't wait to see & try the other contributions.You can visit her site @[...]

Chocolate Tart


Did you ever have any ingredient in your kitchen that was just begging to be used? I did. Creme Fraiche. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. The clock had been ticking & I kept checking the "use by" date. I wanted to make a chocolate tart & if I was going to use this creme fraiche, now was the time. I had watched Giada make Chocolate Ricotta Pie and loved the look of it. Giada's crust used pine nuts and that sounded good. But alas, the filling used 4 eggs and if I was going to be able to eat the pie I would need to use a recipe with fewer eggs. (I don't have a good relationship with eggs.) What I finally decided upon was a crust which used pecans instead of pine nuts and a filling with creme fraiche and 1 egg.Crust Ingredients******(I will make this the day before next time.)AP Flour 1 1/2 cupsCornmeal 2 tablespoonsPecans 3/4 cupSugar 1/4 cupButter 1 stick, melted & cooled slightlyProcess the dry ingredients (including the pecans) in a food processor until fine. Add butter & process until dough forms. Press dough over the bottom & sides of tart pan. My tart pan is one piece and it works fine with this crust. At this point the original recipe called for the dough to be refrigerated for 30 minutes. I placed mine in the freezer for 15 minutes & all was well. Blind bake the crust in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until just set. Remove foil & weights from blind bake. (I lined my crust with aluminum foil and sat a pie plate on top for weight--next time I will spray the foil before it touches the dough, as I lost a bit of crust when removing the foil.) Bake the shell about 10 minutes more or until golden. Cool completely. I put my crust in front of a fan at this point to speed the process. Now you know why I will do it the day before next time.Chocolate Filling Ingredients******The creme fraiche I used was from Bellweather Farms (got it at Trader Joe's) and it was delicious. Very smooth & buttery tasting. The packaging has several recipes as does their website. I used their Chocolate Tart recipe as a starting point for my filling. Their recipe uses bittersweet chocolate and no sugar. I am a chocolate lover but knew that DH would not go for a dark chocolate pie that was not sweet. This is my version--Half & Half --1/2 cupEggYolk--1 largeCreme Fraiche--7.5 ouncePowdered Sugar--6 tablespoons(This was another deviation from the original recipe.)Vanilla-- a few drops(Another deviation, use the best you have.)Chocolate--7 ounces, finely chopped (I used 3 rectangles of Dagoba Organic Eclipse 87% extra dark chocolate, 2 squares of Lindt 85% dark chocolate, and made up the difference with Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips.) Use what you like.Lightly whip egg yolk with creme fraiche. Bring half & half to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate and stir until melted. Add vanilla and mix. Add powdered sugar a spoon at a time, stirring after each addition so that the mixture remains smooth. Slowly add egg/creme fraiche mixture & mix thoroughly. Pour chocolate mixture into tart shell and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. At this point my tart was not set. I upped the temp to 350 and set it to be checked in 5 minute intervals. I removed my tart 13 minutes & 33 seconds later. Sounds rather unorthodox but I was panicking when it was not done at the appointed time. Next time I will try 35o degrees for 25 minutes.For a little color and extra[...]

Berry Cobbler


Seems as though my baking is driven by requests from DH. That's ok since he has more of a sweet tooth than me & I love baking. I have made this cobbler twice in the last 2 weeks. DH says he is craving berries. The first cobbler was made from all frozen berries but this time it was a combination of fresh & frozen. The colors are all natural & beautiful. I must admit that sometimes when I make cherry pie I do add a few drops of red food coloring. It was amazing how the fragrance of raspberries permeated the house during & after baking. The recipe is one that has developed over time. Sometimes I use cornstarch and sometimes tapioca as a thickening agent. I was out of cornstarch yesterday so I used tapioca. If you love berries (you can use a combination of just about anything you like) this is a great way to use them. I use my standard oil crust recipe (found in the November Archive) and you can use your favorite crust recipe.Ingredients******Raspberries (12 ounces fresh or frozen--used frozen this time)Blackberries (12 ounces fresh or frozen--used fresh this time)Sugar (1 cup--you may use less if you don't like it as sweet)Lemon Juice (fresh from 1/2 lemon)Nutmeg (dash)Instant Tapioca (3 tablespoons)Turbinado Sugar (Just a sprinkle over the top crust)Mix berries in a large bowl. Mix dry ingredients. Pour lemon juice over berries & then pour dry ingredients over berries and mix to coat.Line the bottom of pie plate with a layer of crust. Add fruit mixture. Cover with a layer of crust. Sprinkle with turbinado. This may be a solid layer of crust or a pattern or just free form pieces of crust. This is a cobbler & not a pie!Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for up to 50 minutes. Ovens vary, so watch carefully. I start checking mine at 30 minutes. When top crust is turning brown, I remove it from the oven.Notes--This is not an exact recipe. You may use a little more or less of any berries you choose. I have used different combinations with success--strawberries, blueberries, golden raspberries, cherries. If you prefer a less sweet dessert, just use less sugar. If you don't have lemon juice use orange, lime, or grapefruit. Use less tapioca if you like a juicier treat. This goes great with ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.[...]