Thursday, August 14, 2008

summertime, and the living is easy....

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger. I don’t know what’s wrong with me…what HAS BEEN wrong with me this entire year…all of the sudden it’s august and I look back to see that my last blog was in January. Shameful, but sadly, I won’t promise I’ll be blogging more regularly from now on…I will hope to be, but I won’t promise. For excuses, I offer lack of enthusiasm due to nonexistent photography skills, bad lighting, lack of motivation, lack of a DISHWASHER…just to name a few. Excuses excuses….just COOK something already!


So the hit of the summer has been a strawberry pie recipe I found in gourmet magazine. I am a new subscriber and I have to admit, the first few issues I received found me almost cancelling and then…then it was late spring….something about late spring and all of the promise of summer fruits and vegetables and outdoor cooking fires me up like nothing else. The day I go to the store and see the very first peaches is one of the happiest days of the year for me. I know, get a life….


So back to this strawberry pie….I had no idea it would get such overwhelmingly favorable reviews…I mean honestly, my husband was near tears over this thing, and he’s an “eat to live”-er!! so as per his request (read: begging) it has been somewhat of a constant on our table this summer, even though it is kind of labor intensive, and he has me scheduled to make it once again in the next couple of weeks when we have his family over for labor day….it’s worth its weight in ‘pain in the ass’….

With any luck (motivation…) I will get the oil poached halibut with tomatoes and fennel up in the next few weeks. Also from Gourmet and also a showstopper…glad I didn’t cancel that subscription after all!

So here it is….fresh strawberry pie with whipped cream….
You’re welcome!


• 1 (5-oz) package shortbread cookies
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• 2 lb (1 1/2-inch) strawberries, hulled (see cooks’ note, below)
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1 envelope unflavored gelatin (2 1/4 tsp)
lightly sweetened whipped cream
• Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
• Pulse cookies in a food processor to fine crumbs, then pulse in sugar and butter until combined. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and up side of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
• Select 20 large strawberries as close to same size as possible and set aside. Cut remaining berries into 1/4-inch dice and toss with sugar and lemon juice. Let stand, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Drain berries in a sieve set into a large glass measuring cup. Add enough water to measure 2 cups. Transfer liquid to a medium saucepan and reserve berries.
• Sprinkle gelatin over strawberry liquid and let soften 1 minute. Bring to a bare simmer, stirring until gelatin has dissolved. Add diced berries, then transfer to a metal bowl set into an ice bath and stir frequently until mixture begins to mound, 20 to 30 minutes.
• Spoon 1/2 cup filling into piecrust and arrange reserved whole berries, stem ends down, on filling. Spoon remaining filling over and between berries. Chill pie until filling is set, at least 4 hours.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A fresh start...

January is for a blank slate, starting anew, one more chance to try again. I have always felt like the day after your birthday would be a more sensible day to make resolutions for change, but nevertheless, I can never resist the big January 1st, gentlemen start your engines, shotgun starting line stampede….every year I resolve to eat healthier, drink less, exercise more, be more patient, read more books….but the big one is always about fitting back into my skinny jeans….

Sunday mornings are an exception to the rule, however. Sundays are special. They are for relaxing until noon and using REAL half & half in your coffee. Sundays are for comforting dishes like this delicious baked egg recipe that I found in an everyday food magazine. I still felt somewhat virtuous, since it’s only one egg per serving, and the croutons really gave me that feeling of decadence and naughtiness even though I only ate about 8 of them. It was worth every moderately indulgent bite….

Baked Eggs with Croutons and Onions
Makes 2 servings
2 eggs
½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
A few slices of thick white bread cut into chunks (I used a day old ciabatta)
3 T butter
Salt and pepper
2T cream

Preheat oven to 375. spray 2 oven proof dishes with cooking spray or rub them with butter and set them in an 8x8 pyrex baking dish. Put water on to boil.

Melt 2T butter in a skillet and toast the bread until golden and crispy. Remove from pan and reserve skillet

Add the remaining 1T of butter to the skillet and sauté onions about 10 minutes until soft, fragrant and beginning to caramelize. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide onions among the two prepared dishes, top with croutons. Crack one egg into each dish being careful not to break the yolks. Top each egg with 1T of cream, season with salt and pepper and fill baking dish with boiling water, surrounding the dishes of eggs.

Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes.