30 April 2010

Workin' on the weekend

0 remarks
(Please click the image for a larger view)

I'm working this Saturday to help install new computers at the office.  I got a good chuckle reading this comic the other day, especially since I knew I would soon be working on a weekend.  I realized I would rather be drenched with a water balloon thrown by a mud covered boy with an angry mom in the house than be at work on a Saturday.  Looks like the makings of an epic water balloon fight!

28 April 2010

Peanut Butter Madness!

1 remarks
One of my oldest and most crowd pleasing recipes is what we refer to as the 'atom bomb.'  This sweet concoction is composed of Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch, marshmallows, peanut butter, and M&M's.  It's quite a treat.

The first time I tried it is when Valerie worked as a teller.  One of her co-workers made it and I got to try a piece.  It was so good I asked her for the recipe on the spot and she was nice enough to give it to me.  I asked the co-worker what it was called, and she told me that her family called it an 'atom bomb', so the name stuck. Here's the recipe for all you peanut butter-marshmallow-chocolate lovers out there.

Atom Bomb
Printable Recipe

2 oz. butter
1 lb. of marshmallows
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 14 oz. box of Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch
2 cups M&M's (frozen)

Melt the butter over low heat in a large saucepan.  Once the butter is completely melted, add the marshmallows and stir constantly until completely melted.  To the melted marshmallows add the peanut butter and stir until combined, then add the vanilla extract and salt.  Remove mixture from the heat and add the Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch and gently stir to combine.  Pour mixture onto a buttered sheet pan and add frozen M&M's.  Using your hands or some buttered wax paper, fold the M&M's into the cereal mixture and press into the pan.  Let cool before serving.

---

There are several ways to serve this tasty treat.  For a more sophisticated appearance it can be cut into squares.  For a more primitive approach, the whole thing could be left as a mound of peanut buttery goodness, and potential eaters could tear off chunks of it as they wish.  I personally prefer the 'mound' approach, but for more formal affairs, I cut it into squares.  It may not be one of my more nutritious recipes, but it sure does taste good!


One side note, I've never really been a fan of the name 'atom bomb.'  I've looked for variations of the recipe in the internet to see what others call it, and most people name it something like 'Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch Treats.'  That's a little too boring and mundane for me.  I've been trying to come up with a new fun name, but the perfect label escapes me.  'Peanut Butter Blast' is my best attempt.  I like it, but I think it could be better.  If anyone has any name suggestions, I'd love to hear them!  I know a lot of you are much better with words than I am.

27 April 2010

Screen Dreams

1 remarks
Home improvement projects are not necessarily my forte, but sometimes duty calls and I am thrust upon a new task. To my delight, these tasks are most often given to me by my lovely wife. One such project has been on my 'to do' list for some time, and I recently completed it; with Valerie's help, no less. To be honest, though, there is nothing like the satisfaction of a job well done; especially if it is hard earned.

Our front porch has eleven removable panels. We have a set of glass panels, and a set of screen panels. I install the glass panels during the winter months, and install the screen panels for spring, summer, and fall. It is a nice option to have, as the screens allow for a nice breeze on the porch in the summer. Unfortunately, most of the screens became rusty over the years, and they really looked unattractive on the house. They looked so bad I didn't even install them last summer, and just kept the glass up year round. The porch got so uncomfortably hot last summer; we really didn't spend any time out there, so we decided we had to do something about those rusty screens.

Figuring it would cost a small fortune to have someone re-screen them for us, I looked into doing the project myself. Upon analyzing the screen panels, it was clear to see how they were assembled, and it was pretty basic. The screen frames are made of wood, and a piece of screen is just stretched across the opening. A small piece of trim is nailed into place to cover the edges of the screen. It seemed easy enough to disassemble the frame, remove the old screen, apply the new screen, and reassemble the frame. Once we had our game plan, we headed to the hardware store to get supplies.

Anxious to get to work, I got started on the screens as soon as we got home from the hardware store. I placed a screen panel on our picnic table and began taking off the trim. The trim came off without any problem, and I then proceeded to take off the old screen. Removing the old screen proved to be more difficult, but I was able to do it without much trouble. After the old screen was removed, I stretched the new screen over the panel and began nailing it in. I put a nail every two or three inches and pulled the screen in order to keep it tight. Once the new screen was on, I cut off any excess and hammered the trim back on. One down, ten to go.

It took me a little less than an hour to get that first screen finished. The work wasn't difficult at all, just time consuming. In order to cut down on the time it took to finish a panel, I recruited Valerie to do the dismantling for me. She happily obliged, and we were a force to be reckoned with. She would get the old screen off in about the same amount of time it took me to get a new one on. It was a great system.

It took us two days to get it done, probably a total of eight hours of work, and the porch looks wonderful! It was definitely worth the effort, and it is so nice to feel the breeze on the front porch again.


26 April 2010

Spring Bouquet

2 remarks
I just can't get enough of this springtime splendor. It has been a spring for the ages with the warm weather and beautiful flowers everywhere I look. The sensational fragrance that accompanies some of the flowers is only matched by their beauty. To my delight, we have some of the more wonderful scents of spring blossoming right outside our windows.

We have a lilac bush outside our dining room window which was in full bloom again this year. It is an older plant, and has grown to be quite large. It is still going strong, though, and it is one of Valerie's favorites.  It has a lovely fragrance, and we usually have a vase with some of its flowering branches sitting on the table.


New to our landscaping is a Burkwood Daphne, or 'Carol Mackie' shrub. It was by my insistence that we bought this shrub, and I wanted it because of scent alone. The fragrance that comes from its petite white flowers is my definition of what spring should smell like. We planted it by the porch and its aroma sometimes wafts through our living room windows. Every time I walk past it, I have to stop and smell the flowers. I've done it so much, Ari and Emilie do the same thing when they walk by.



25 April 2010

Acer palmatum

0 remarks


Young leaves on the Japanese Maple in our front yard.

23 April 2010

Super Mario Galaxy 2...May 23rd!

0 remarks

Mark your calendars!  The sequel to arguably the best game on the Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 2, will be hitting the shelves on May 23rd.  One month from today, in fact.

I just want to spread the word.  It's not like I'm excited or anything...
...
...
...
...
...
...
YOSHI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's the trailer:



Oh, Mario, you've come a long way since 1985.

22 April 2010

Merry Earth Day!

1 remarks

Unfortunately, I did not take this picture. It was taken by the Lunar Orbiter 1 spacecraft in 1966. This image is among the first views of Earth from the Moon, and shows the Earth rising above the lunar surface. An "Earthrise", if you will.

Today is Earth Day, and Ari has been all about Earth Day this year. He keeps asking what we are going to do, so I think we will take him on a trip to the recycling center, or maybe transplant some of our young plants outside.

He also asked if anyone would be coming over in the middle of the night, à la Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. We told him there would be no visitors in the night to bring him Earth Day surprises.

But, why not? Maybe next year, there will be a sapling, a tomato plant, or some nice flowers brought overnight by Mother Nature or some other Earth Day ambassador. That would be something fun to do for the kids; something to make Earth Day a little more special. Plus, think of the money that could be made by exploiting Earth Day!  It's virtually an untapped market!

Let's hear it for the over-commercialization of Earth Day! I want my Reese's peanut butter earths!

21 April 2010

Hanafuda Cards

2 remarks


I was referred to Club Nintendo by a fellow co-worker who shares my passion for gaming. She told me about the site and how they have some exclusive Nintendo merchandise available. I was intrigued, so I checked it out one evening. In order to participate, I had to join the club, and then register my games in order to accumulate 'coins'; I could then redeem the 'coins' for Nintendo merchandise.


I decided to join Club Nintendo and I started registering all my Wii and DS games. It took me a while since I had accumulated a lot of games over the past four years or so. I couldn't just type in the registration code either; I had to answer several questions about the game as well.  Once I registered all my games, I looked to see what product I wanted to purchase with my 'coins'. One item jumped out at me right away, the Hanafuda Cards.


I remembered reading a long time ago how Nintendo started out as a card company in the late 1800's. I didn't know what kind of cards they made, but I thought it was interesting that the company started so long ago. Seeing these Hanafuda Cards, I knew I wanted them; I could a piece of Nintendo history! So, I ordered the cards and anxiously waited for them to arrive in the mail.


The cards came rather quickly, and when I opened the box, I was surprised how small they were. They came in a protective case with a picture of Mario on it. There are 48 Hanafuda cards in the set, and they measure 2.2 x 1.25 inches each. Some of them have Nintendo themed artwork, such as Mario and Yoshi, while others have floral designs. The cards are quite nice, actually.


The card set also came with instructions on how to play the two player game "Koi-Koi." I haven't yet played the game. I read the instructions and could not follow them whatsoever. But hey, at least I have the cards, if only for aesthetic purposes. I also still have a balance of 'coins' on Club Nintendo, so more Nintendo goodies may be coming my way soon!

20 April 2010

Strawberry shortcake

0 remarks

A springtime delight.  I used to be partial to strawberry shortcake made with a base of sponge cake, but now I prefer the more traditional sweet biscuit shortcake (as pictured above).  I have been making my own shortcake for a few years now, and I just love the flavor and texture it brings to the party.  Here is the shortcake recipe I use:

Shortcake
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Printable Recipe

8 shortcakes

Ingredients
2 cups flour (12 ounces)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (2 ounces) plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 ounce), plus one tablespoon melted butter for brushing
2 tablespoons shortening (2 ounces)
3/4 cup half and half
Macerated strawberries
Whipped cream

Directions
Heat oven 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda salt and sugar. Cut in butter and shortening with your fingers. Mix in half-and-half until a sticky batter forms. Drop by large spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 minutes or until brown. Turn out into a kitchen towel lined basket and cool 10 minutes before making strawberry shortcake.

This recipe is a cinch if you already know how to make biscuits from scratch.  If not, it is crucial to know what consistency the dough needs to be before baking.  3/4 cup of half and half may not be enough or it may be too much depending on a variety of factors.  So, add it slowly and keep adding it until a slightly sticky and integrated dough forms.  You do not want the dough to be sticky, nor do you want there to be crumbs.  It takes a little practice and patience, but the result is worth it.

Also, I macerate my strawberries by adding sugar to sliced strawberries and letting them sit for at least an hour to let the strawberries release some of their juices.  There are more complicated ways to do it, but I prefer this simple way.  Assemble the strawberry shortcake however you see fit, then proceed to consume in mass quantities!

19 April 2010

Strawberry Huller (Multitasker variety)

2 remarks

One of the best tips I have ever received from Alton Brown was to use a star decorating tip as a strawberry huller. This thing works like a charm, and I already had one in my kitchen! Just pierce the top of the strawberry and scoop to remove the hull without wasting any of the fruit. Give the tip it a little shake to expel the removed hull and move on to the next strawberry. It's a piece of cake, and eliminates any urge to buy a unitasker to get the job done. Thanks for the great 'tip' AB!

17 April 2010

One 'Monster' of an apron!

3 remarks
I received a marvelous birthday present in the mail today courtesy of Eva & Daniel.  A handmade apron complete with the R.E.M. Monster logo! 


The Monster design is flawless and the fabric patterns and colors are perfect.  If R.E.M. were to design their own apron, no doubt, this is what it would look like.  Eva and Daniel, you truly captured the essence of R.E.M. with this apron.  It will surely get plenty of use in my kitchen, and I can't wait to do some baking with 'What's the Frequency, Kenneth?' blaring in the background!


Thank you Eva and Daniel for such a thoughtful and unique birthday present!

16 April 2010

Groundwork for the future

3 remarks
We got the ground ready for our expanded garden the other day and anticipate transporting our little seedlings outside in the next week or so. 

It was a little bittersweet digging up a patch of grass in the yard considering how hard we worked to get grass there in the first place.  For those of you who don't know, it's a long story.  Let's just say the person who lived in our house before us didn't like grass.  Digging up part of the yard did have an unexpected benefit, though.


We were able to transport the grass we removed to the spot where we had our tomatoes last year.  It looks really nice, and so far, it is holding up really well.  Oh, joyous me!

14 April 2010

Nonna's pizza

7 remarks
I posted about pizza last month and mentioned how Nonna and my mom inspired me to make my own pizza from scratch. I had no idea that post would create such a firestorm of pizza chatter that culminated with me, my mom, and Angela making pizza, as she so eloquently put it, 'Nonna style.'

It started when Eva left a comment on the pizza post stating that she had a recipe card with Nonna's pizza recipe on it. She offered to send me the recipe and I was eager to see it. As I read the recipe, I saw that it called for the cheese to go directly on the dough, then sauce and toppings on top of the cheese. I did not realize Nonna assembled her pizza that way, so I asked Eva if she remembered. She did not remember either, so we decided we needed to get the facts from more experienced 'Nonna's pizza' connoisseurs.

So, Eva emailed Aunt Sue and Aunt Mare, and I asked my mom. We heard back from Aunt Sue first, and she confirmed the cheese was directly on the dough. I learned the term "Where there's no cheese, put cheese," which was what Nonna told Nedra when she was helping her assemble the pizzas. I also learned that Nonna used slices of mozzarella and not shredded. We then heard back from Aunt Mare and she added that Nonna used a mixture of half whole wheat, and half white flour for the crust, and to sprinkle finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese on top of the sauce and toppings. When I talked to my mom, she told me how Nonna made her own sauce, and some of the herbs and seasonings she used.

I felt better knowing how Nonna made her pizza, but I realized I really didn't really remember Nonna's pizza. I just had a vague recollection if it, perhaps an amalgam of different pizzas I have had. I couldn't even remember the cheese was under the sauce, for goodness sake. Then, I had a revelation, the best way to remember Nonna's pizza was to make Nonna's pizza.

Eva and I continued emailing each other about what we found out about Nonna's pizza. Meanwhile, I asked my mom if Nonna still had her pizza pans, and she said she would check. If I was going to make Nonna's pizza, I wanted to make it as authentic as possible, right down to the pans she used. My mom asked Uncle Lee if he knew where the pans where and he was able to find them. I wanted to make the pizzas with my mom, so we decided to make them for my birthday party at her house.

We each made a batch of dough using Nonna's recipe that Eva sent us. My mom got the sauce simmering early in the day, and by the time I got there in the afternoon we were ready to make the pizza. We decided to make one cheese pizza, one with pepperoni and sausage, and one supreme.

Angela helped us too, and my mom showed her how Nonna cut the slices of mozzarella. We then placed the slices of cheese on the dough remembering the adage 'where there's no cheese, put cheese.'

Then came the sauce and toppings with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.


We baked the pizzas at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, and when they came out of the oven I thought to myself, 'these look like Nonna's pizzas.'


Complete with the crispy edges.


The proof was in the eating, though. The cheese pizza brought back what I remembered Nonna's pizza to be. My mom said is best when she took that first bite and said, 'This is my mom's pizza!" She looked stunned, and said she didn't think it would be so close to the original. I asked Angela, and she said it was just how she remembered, too.

It was a little surreal eating that pizza again after so many years. It was also very rewarding because we were able to introduce it to Valerie, Michael, and Marty. Watching Ari, Emilie, and Piper eat it was also special, since this pizza was so much a part of my childhood. Ari even asked for seconds, which is something he rarely does.

I loved using Nonna's pizza pans, and I am so glad I was able to borrow them. Seeing all those marks from the pizza cutter on the bottom of the pan, I knew these pans were special and got a lot of use. This recipe is definitely a keeper, and I look forward to breaking in my own pizza pan and revisiting Nonna's pizza for years to come.

13 April 2010

Garlic knots

4 remarks

Remember that roasted garlic post I did last week? Well, I hinted that I was going to do something with it, and this is the result. Garlic knots.

I first tried garlic knots years ago in a little Italian restaurant my dad took me to in Borden, IN. They were so delicious, I was inspired to make my own. After years of tinkering with the recipe, I now have a method that consistently produces mouthwatering results. They must be good because Angela asks for them every time we have something Italian on Friday night. Every time!

I start with my basic pizza dough recipe. I dissolve 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast in one cup of lukewarm water in the work bowl of my stand mixer. Once the yeast begins to foam, I add one cup of bread flour. As the bread flour is being incorporated, I add two heads of roasted garlic and a combination of garlic infused butter and olive oil. I then add a little salt and 2 more cups of bread flour. If the mood strikes me, I may add some dried herbs to the dough.

After all the ingredients form a cohesive ball of goodness, I let the dough sit until it doubles in size. Then, it's time to make the knots. I usually make sixteen knots from one batch of dough. I basically just pinch off some dough, roll it into a six inch rope and tie it in a knot, and put them on a baking sheet. I then brush the tops of the knots with more garlic butter and a sprinkle of garlic salt. I bake them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and delicious.

They are so simple, and delicious. If you make your own pizza dough already, you're half-way there. Give these a try next time you have spaghetti for dinner; there really is no reason (k)not to!

12 April 2010

Trees in spring

2 remarks
Over the last couple weeks I have really started to take notice how beautiful the flowering trees are this year. Eva had posted a picture of her young magnolia tree on her blog and it inspired me to go take pictures of Nonna's magnolia and weeping cherry tree.

I found out I was not alone with my idea when I talked to Uncle Lee as I was taking pictures of the trees. He informed me that my Aunt Sue had posted pictures of the trees on This Old Paper, and he was planning a post on his Postcardiness's Blog. (He posted it Sunday, and you can see it here.)

So, even though I am lacking in originality, I'm still posting my pictures. Nonna's magnolia tree means so much to me, as I spent many a summer day climbing on it's branches. It has been so many things; an apartment, a spaceship, a restaurant, you name it. A lot of creativity dwelled within those branches.

The weeping cherry tree, on the other hand, always posed a problem for me while mowing that yard. I remember fighting through those weeping branches when they were long enough to touch the ground. I always loved it, though, and think it is one of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen. Enjoy the pictures!











10 April 2010

Super Mario Onesies!

10 remarks

Check it out! Super Mario Bros. onesies! I think these are just about the coolest baby clothes I have ever seen. I wish I had discovered the magic of the iron on transfer sheets when my kids were still babies.

My Aunt Joyce was visiting the other day and asked if I had made Thomas any clothes. I did make him a quilt, but I have never made clothes before. The closest I have been to making clothes has been with iron on transfers when I made Emilie a Fresh Beat Band shirt and Ari a couple Calvin and Hobbes shirts. Then it hit me, I needed to make Thomas some Super Mario onesies!

It was a piece of cake. I got Thomas some onesies, picked out the images I wanted to use, printed them, cut them, then ironed them on. We got the 3-6 month size, so they should fit him during the summer. I can't wait to see him wear one!

09 April 2010

Mario Quilt Design

4 remarks
I've come up with a design for my 8-bit Mario quilt. I'm very excited about making it.

I basically just took the image of Mario from the title screen of 'Super Mario Bros.' and zoomed in on it. I moved the green hill over a little bit because I wanted to some blue sky behind Mario in the quilt.


I'm still debating whether or not to go with an all blue background so Mario would stand out more. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. When it's done it should measure about about 6 feet by 4.5 feet. Now to buy the materials. Onward and upward!

08 April 2010

Roasted Garlic

0 remarks
The application is simple enough. Slice off the top of a head of garlic, drizzle some olive oil on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, wrap the entire thing in some foil with a little vent at the top, and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. The result is pure garlicky deliciousness and the aroma that penetrates the household is heaven to the senses. Now, this magnificent garlic could be simply enjoyed smeared on a crusty piece of bread, but I have other plans...

07 April 2010

Crack the code

1 remarks
It was like an episode of 'The X-Files', a father walks outside and finds a cryptic group of letters inscribed on the driveway. After angst ridden consideration, he alerts the proper authorities to these strange findings. A lengthy FBI investigation ensues. It turns out his son was abducted by aliens and given a mysterious implant. The implant was then triggered and the boy began writing these seemingly random letters and symbols. It is then discovered that these figures are not random at all, but an encrypted code that hold the secrets of the universe.


But, in the real world, it's just Ari practicing his letters with chalk on the driveway.
...
...or is it?...(cue X-Files intro)...The truth is out there!

06 April 2010

Miniature Pumpkin Patch

0 remarks
I was really excited to see the pumpkins we planted sprouting out of the soil. With all the warm weather we've been having, I suspect we'll have to transplant these delicate little darlings outdoors a lot sooner than we planned. Everything we planted has been growing so fast, I'm afraid they are going to outgrow their little containers. Looks like I'll be getting the ground ready this weekend. I can't wait to start tilling our new garden!

05 April 2010

Happy 30th R.E.M.!

1 remarks
On April 5, 1980 R.E.M. performed live for the first time. Seeing how this is their 30th birthday, I found myself reflecting on my favorite R.E.M. song. There are about five songs that immediately come to mind as potential candidates, but the one song that strikes the greatest resonance and stirs the most emotion in me is "Find the River".

"Find the River" is the twelfth and final track on Automatic for the People. It is a perfect song. Better yet, a perfect R.E.M. song. All of the elements that make R.E.M. great are there, but what stand out the most to me are the harmonies. The just continue to build throughout the song, then by the end, they are so powerful, I always get a little choked up.

Like a lot of R.E.M. songs, there is not one clear interpretation, so the listener is able to give whatever meaning he or she sees fit. It is one aspect of the band I particularly enjoy. The different ways to hear the songs keep them fresh, and keep them relevant. I could have heard this song one way when it was released in 1993, and a completely different way now in 2010. But no matter how I interpret the lyrics, there is one constant, it is an absolutely beautiful song.

Whenever I hear the opening chords to the song, no matter what I'm doing, I stop and listen. So, now that I have built it up to a point where the expectations are unrealistically high, here is the song for you to listen to. Please take time and listen to it in recognition of the 30th birthday of one of the greatest bands of all time! Hopefully it lives up to all my hype. I also posted the lyrics, too, because they are equally moving. Enjoy!



Hey now, little speedyhead,
the read on the speedmeter says
you have to go to task in the city
where people drown and people serve.
Don't be shy. Your just deserve
is only just light years to go.

Me, my thoughts are flower strewn
ocean storm, bayberry moon.
I have got to leave to find my way.
Watch the road and memorize
this life that pass before my eyes.
Nothing is going my way.

The ocean is the river's goal,
a need to leave the water knows
We're closer now than light years to go.

I have got to find the river,
bergamot and vetiver
run through my head and fall away.
Leave the road and memorize
this life that pass before my eyes.
Nothing is going my way.

There's no one left to take the lead,
but I tell you and you can see
we're closer now than light years to go.
Pick up here and chase the ride.
The river empties to the tide.
Fall into the ocean.

The river to the ocean goes,
a fortune for the undertow.
None of this is going my way.
There is nothing left to throw
of Ginger, lemon, indigo,
coriander stem and rose of hay.
Strength and courage overrides
the privileged and weary eyes
of river poet search naivete.
Pick up here and chase the ride.
The river empties to the tide.
All of this is coming your way

04 April 2010

Easter!

2 remarks
We got the Easter festivities started this year by coloring some eggs on Friday. We spread some newspaper on the floor, filled some cups with dye, and let the kids have at it! It was pretty much chaos, and we attempted to control it to no avail. The kids hands were shades of colors I didn't know existed, but it was all the name of fun and creativity, so it was well worth it.

It was over in no time and we ended up with some beautiful eggs.

We arose Easter morning and I baked a delicious little lamala (thanks again Eva and Daniel) and the kids dug into their Easter baskets.
We then headed over to my mom & Marty's house and the kids hunted for their colored eggs. Emilie did really well considering Ari showed no mercy.

You don't want to mess with the boy when he's huntin' eggs!

It was a gorgeous day and I've got a lot of egg salad to eat! Here's a look at my favorite egg this year...

02 April 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

2 remarks
Beautiful, fresh strawberries are starting to flood the stores and markets. Ari and Emilie love strawberries so we have been taking advantage of them coming into season. Sure, the supermarkets sell fresh strawberries year round, but the off season varieties pale in comparison to these.

As I was walking through the supermarket the other day, I was drawn to a mesmerizing crimson patch of produce. My eyes opened wide as I saw some delicious looking rhubarb. Already holding a container of strawberries in my hand, it didn't take me long to realize what I must do. Make a strawberry rhubarb pie. The conditions couldn't have been more perfect.

I know I say this about a lot of pies, but strawberry rhubarb pie really is one of my favorites. The tartness of the rhubarb matched with the sweetness of the strawberries is an irresistible flavor combination. Combine that with a tender, flaky crust, and it is pure pie bliss.



The recipe I used when I made this pie in the past produced mixed results and I found myself modifying it quite a bit. The recipe was quite old, too, and since Alton Brown hasn't given us a strawberry rhubarb pie recipe yet, I decided to look for a new one. I found this recipe on foodnetwork.com that looked promising.

When I made the pie, I ended up using Alton Browns pie crust recipe instead of the one in the recipe because it is an exceptional pie crust and I am familiar with making it. I also made a couple modifications to the filling recipe based on the comments from foodnetwork.com. I added four tablespoons of tapioca flour instead of two tablespoons of minute tapioca; and I omitted the lemon zest because of personal preference. Here is how I made the filling and finished the pie:


Printable Recipe
Filling:
2 1/2 cups chopped red rhubarb, fresh
2 1/2 cups de-stemmed, washed and cut strawberries (in larger pieces)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons tapioca flour
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, cubed small
1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Large granule sugar

Filling Preparation:
Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, tapioca, flour, zest and juice of lemon, dash of cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix well in a large bowl and pour out into chilled crust. Dot the top of the filling with the butter. Brush edges of pie crust with egg white wash. Roll out the other piece of dough and place over filling. Crimp to seal edges. Brush with egg white wash and garnish with large granule sugar. Collar with foil and bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling starts bubbling. Also, you can use a pie bird for extra decor. Let cool before serving.
One other change I made was a lattice top crust, just because that's how I like my strawberry rhubarb pie.

This was the best strawberry rhubarb pie I have ever had, and this recipe is definitely a keeper. I'm glad strawberry season is just getting started!

01 April 2010

Short lived glory

2 remarks
A masterpiece! It's fun how such small accomplishments can bring such joy. It's even more special because I got to build this tour de force with my children. Shall I place it ever so lovingly on a shelf? Shall I glue all the pieces together in order to preserve it's brilliance forevermore? I mean, we can always buy more blocks; and the kids don't play with them much anyway. Oh wait...I forgot, I don't get to savor the moment too long...

...because soon it all comes crashing down without a second thought. All great things must come to an end. Well, I'll always have the picture to remember it by. Let's build a new one!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails