I admit it, okay? No need to give me the third degree. I stole it, and I would do it again. I stole the strawberry from the strawberry plant at the greenhouse, the tiny, red one that was almost too ripe. I did it because I couldn’t stand to see it go to waste.
It’s that lovely season where the weather isn’t roasting just yet, berries are cheap, and I’m in a baking mood. All of these factors collide into a mixed berry pie of blueberries and strawberries, just in time for your summer savoring.
Red and Blue Crumble Pie
2 1/2 cups of sliced fresh strawberries
2 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tbsp of tapioca
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2/3 cup of white sugar
1 premade pie-crust (or make your own)
2/3 cup of all-purpose flour (or a mixture of 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup flour)
1/3 cup of butter, slightly chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 cup of brown sugar
Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients and let macerate for 15 minutes.
In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, and brown sugar and stir well. Cut in the butter until it forms small chunks.
After fifteen minutes, pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and cover with topping. Put pie pan on a rimmed baking sheet (for easier clean up, cover with foil).
Bake in the oven for approximately 50 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!
The garden is coming up, and one item in particular is ready and has been for weeks: chives. If you grow chives, you know that they grow as heartily as dandelions and they are reliably ready early in the season. Chives are a great addition if you’re looking for a perennial, since they’re edible and they make pretty purple flowers (which my three year old likes to gather into onion-y bouquets). Chives can be good additions to garden salads, but I like them especially as a finisher to my favorite potato dish. This recipe, adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, gives you soft potatoes with a crunchy, buttery shell. They take a bit of babysitting (especially near the end), but the payoff is worth it. I like to serve these alongside a roast chicken, since so many ingredients (lemon, thyme) overlap.
World’s Best Potatoes
1 1/2 lbs small red potatoes (similarly sized, if possible)
2 cups water
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into single tbsp
3 peeled garlic cloves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp minced fresh chives
Scrub potatoes and halve them, but do not peel or pierce them. Place the potatoes facedown in a single layer, covering the bottom of a 12-inch nonstick skillet. The potatoes should fit snugly along the bottom. Add water, butter segments, garlic, thyme sprigs, and salt and bring to a simmer over medium/high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes (or until potatoes are just tender).
After fifteen minutes have elapsed, remove the cover and take out the sprigs of thyme and cloves of garlic. Discard the thyme, but keep the garlic and allow to cool. Mash garlic and combine with lemon juice and pepper. Set mixture aside.
Increase the heat on the potatoes to medium/high once more and, with lid still off, simmer until the water has evaporated– about fifteen minutes. The butter will start to sizzle (you’ll smell and hear it, at this point).
At this point, babysit your potatoes very closely, moving them gently to allow the cut sides to remain down but not stick to any one spot in the pan. The goal is to get spotty, browned cut sides (about 5 minutes). If you aren’t vigiliant, the best parts may stick to the pan.
Once browned, remove the potatoes from pan and toss with garlic/lemon mixture. Add chives just before serving, and enjoy! While this recipe claims to serve 4-6, my husband and I routinely polish it off with just a little help from our two kiddos. A recipe simple enough for weeknight dinner, but tasty enough to impress a dinner guest or two (if you’re generous enough to share).
To me, the tastes of summer have always included watermelon and peaches and corn… But the thing that speaks summer to me the most is the good old-fashioned tomato. Whenever I tell my husband that tomatoes are ripening in my garden, he gets disappointed when I bring in a handful of cherry tomatoes. When the big guys start getting ripe, that’s when the real fun begins.
One of the foods that I hated as a child but love now would be the BLT sandwich. I’m not a big bacon person, which puts me at odds with the rest of Iowa. We Iowans have the blue ribbon bacon festival every year, which sports everything from bacon-flavored beer to bacon-flavored ice cream, not counting bacon-wrapped everything.
This version of the old classic includes some elements which really highlight the tomato and lettuce aspects of this dish. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did last night…
1 good quality fresh baguette, split lengthwise in half, but not separated, soft centers removed
5 tablespoons mayo
3 tablespoons basil pesto (homemade or store-bought)
10 slices bacon
2 large good quality tomatoes or 4 small good quality tomatoes
1 head red leaf lettuce, leaves separated, washed, and dried
HOUSE DRESSING use 3 to 4 Tablespoons
1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1⁄2 teaspoon soy sauce
1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Make your bacon by your preferred method. I like to do it this way:
Line a baking pan with aluminum foil, and place raw bacon down directly on the foil (not on a rack). Put pan in a cold oven and set for 400. Bake bacon for 20 minutes, or until reaches your desired level of crispiness. Remove pan from oven and transfer bacon to paper towels to remove extra oil.
Next, make the house dressing, by combining all ingredients in a mason jar. Shake thoroughly.
Under a broiler or on a griddle, lightly toast the inside of the baguette.
Combine the mayonnaise and pesto.
Spread the pesto mayonnaise all over the inside of both halves of the baguette.
Lay the bacon along the length of the bottom half of the bread.
Lay the tomato slices on top of the bacon and drizzle with the house dressing.
Fill the remaining cavity with the lettuce leaves.
Close the sandwich tightly.
Cut on the diagonal with a sharp serrated knife into 2 to 4 pieces, depending on your hunger level. You may need a toothpick to hold the sandwich together.
Pig out. (Quite fittingly.)
My husband re-proposed after taking a bite. Hope you have a similarly good experience!