Monday, October 29, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

287.  A new food market opened in our neighborhood called Fairway.  I love all the extra special items you can pick up there.  Fresh roasted coffee, seafood, cheeses from all over the world. And items I usually drove to Amish country for.  As I walked through the frozen section I spotted frozen rhubarb.  I have never seen this in our regular grocery store.
I grew rhubarb in my garden years ago but it doesn't seem to like the soil in my garden now.
Frozen rhubarb is exciting!  So I looked a little more and found frozen strawberries and now I had a plan...Strawberry Rhubarb Pie!
 You need pie dough for a two crust pie.  Roll out the first crust and place it in your pie plate.
Pour frozen rhubarb and strawberries into a mixing bowl.  Add 2 cups sugar and 4 Tablespoons tapioca.  Zest a lemon and add about 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest.  Mix all together and set aside till the fruit thaws.
 Mix the fruit to completely cover with sugar and tapioca.
 As the fruit rests and thaws, roll out the second crust and cut it in strips to make a lattice top pie.
 Once the fruit is thawed, pour into your pie crust.
 Take the strips of dough and make a lattice cross pattern over the pie placing closely together so the tapioca and fruit can create steam to cook the filling.
 Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.
 This is a beautiful pie and you don't have to wait for Strawberry season...just check your local Trader Joes or Grocery store.
"Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow.  The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
~Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Beef Kabobs

286.  A quick and easy meal is Beef Kabobs with Rice.  I pick up beef that is cubed for stew and kabobs or a piece of steak and cut it into cubes.  Place it into a ziplock bag.  Add salt and pepper, 2 garlic cloves crushed, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tablespoons soy sauce and a splash of Worcestershire, and a pinch of sugar.  Close the zip top and with your hands squeeze and move the meat around in the bag to cover and mix all the ingredients.
Place the ziplock in the fridge up to one hour or over night.  Take long wooden skewers and soak in water.
 Collect vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, etc.  Cut into large cubes.
 When ready to prepare begin with marinated beef then push on each piece of vegetable following a pattern.
 Use up all the vegetables by pushing the contents on the skewer tightly.
 Prepare them all and start your grill, turn on your broiler or heat up your grill pan on the stove.
 Grill the kabobs till the meat is to your desired doneness and the veggies are tender.
 Serve over rice or with a baked potato.
 So delicious!
 "All great change in America begins at the dinner table."
~Ronald Reagan

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Concord Grape Pie

285.  My dear friend Darlene was the first to introduce me to Concord Grape Pie.  Every year, in the fall, she would collect concord grapes from her families grape vines and make us a perfect grape pie.  At first we had never heard of such a pie till we tried it.  It was fantastic!

Her pies were so perfect, her niece requested that her Aunt Darlene bake grape pie for her wedding in place of a wedding cake.  Now that's the sign of a delicious dessert!  
She taught me her recipe, of course it could never match Darlene's pie, but here is my version.
Concord Grape Pie

pie dough for a two crust pie
4 cups fresh concord grapes
2 cups sugar
4 Tablespoons tapioca

Roll out the bottom crust and place in pie plate.
 Rinse the grapes and drain.  Have ready a 3 quart saucepan and a bowl.  Take each grape and squeeze the grape over the saucepan.  The juice and center of the grape with the seeds will pop out and let it drop in the saucepan.
 Place the skin in the bowl.  Continue until all the fruit is separated.
 Place the saucepan on the heat and bring to a boil.  Boil for about 3 minutes till the seeds begin to rise to the top of the liquid.
 Place a strainer over the bowl filled with the skins.
 Pour the hot liquid with seeds into the strainer.
 With a spoon or spatula, press the liquid pulp through the strainer back and forth.
 Till all the liquid has gone through the strainer and the seeds are the only thing left.  Throw away the seeds and scrap the strainer clean of all liquid and pulp.
 Mix the pulp juice and skins together.
 Add your sugar and tapioca.  Mix and allow to sit for about 15 minutes.
 Pour filling into a prepared pie crust.
 Cover with a top crust and cut vent slits over pie to allow steam to escape.
 Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes and till you see bubbles of the filling rising from the opening slits.
 Allow to cool.  Slice the pie and serve with vanilla bean ice cream.
 Now this is indeed a treat!  This is how pie should taste!
"Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand."
~Mother Teresa

"GRAPES - The Fruit of Hope!"

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwich

284.  How delicious is a hot Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwich? Coleslaw and pickle on the side...this is comfort food!
My honey found a recipe in the BJ Journal for Ron's Slow Cooker BBQ Pork.  You can go online and find the recipe/pdf at:  Ron's Slow Cooker BBQ Pork
I followed the recipe but changed it a bit by replacing the Ragu Sauce with ketchup instead.  Next time I think I will add a bit of maple syrup as well and only 1 cup brown sugar.
The pork shoulder went into the slow cooker and I rubbed it with dry steak marinade.  Then I placed in a blender: chili powder, pepper, salt, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, onions, garlic and mustard.  Blended this on high and made a slurry.  Then poured this around the pork shoulder in the slow cooker.  

I started at 11:00p.m. and placed all the items in the slow cooker.  By 4:00a.m. the house smelled so good!  By 8:00a.m. we were all drooling.  This recipe would be great if you are having a party this holiday season.  You prepare it ahead of time and can reheat.  It says that it serves up to 20 people...actually, it could feed more based on the size of your rolls and how much fat is on your piece of meat.
Once the meat was completely cooked it formed a crust on top.
When I removed the meat from the cooker it wanted to melt in my hands.  The tenderness was throughout the whole roast.
It pulled away so easily with just a fork...therein the name, "pulled pork".
I reserved the juices and needed to skim quite a bit of fat from the top.  Once I removed 95% of the fat, the sauce was placed on the stove to reduce.  If you like the sauce like an "au jus" sauce, don't reduce.  But I wanted the sauce to be thicker so it would not soak the rolls.
Once it reduced I immediately poured it over the pork that was pulled.  Make sure you place your pork in a deep pan to contain the meat and sauce.
We enjoyed wonderful pulled pork sandwiches on kaiser rolls with pickles and potato salad.  With the remaining meat, I placed it in 4, 2 cup containers to use for future meals.  It is a wonderful recipe!!
"If I had to narrow my choice of meats down to one for the rest of my life, I am quite certain that meat would be pork."
~James Beard


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