Tag Archives: fruit

Strawberry Lemonade

If you have an excess of sweet (or not so sweet) strawberries on hand, make a big jug of strawberry lemonade this summer and enjoy it under a shady umbrella in your favourite outdoor spot.

Strawberry Lemonade – makes 5-6 cups of lemonade

Sugar Syrup
1/2 cup water, boiling
1/4 cup sugar, plus more sugar if needed

In a saucepan on the stove, or in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave, bring water to the boil and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Let cool slightly.

Strawberry Puree
400-425 gm (~2 1/4 cup) chopped strawberries
1/2 cup cold water
2 tbsp (1/8 cup) sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups cold water

5-6 fresh strawberries, for garnish

In a stand/bar blender, puree the chopped strawberries, water and sugar.

In a large jug, add 1 1/2 cups water, sugar syrup, strawberry puree and lemon juice. Stir well, taste, adding more sugar if needed (another 2 tbsp at a rough estimate) and refrigerate.

Serve over a tall glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish with small to medium strawberries with a small slit in the base.

NOTE: The strawberry lemonade will look somewhat pink when first made due to all the air incorporated into the strawberry syrup during pureeing. As the bubbles burst and the foam dissipates, the lemonade will darken in colour.

Hard lemonade: Add 1 oz of vodka to each glass of lemonade.

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Strawberry “Cheesecake” Crepes with Strawberry Sauce

Thanks go to Eva of “Kitchen Inspirations” for posting her strawberry sauce recipe (link posted below) and inspiring this ‘amazing’ crepe dessert. The finished dessert itself was based on a recipe from the Allrecipe website. I happily ‘borrow’ ideas and components for dishes from wherever I find them. I used my mom’s recipe for the sweetened crepes.

I scaled down and adjusted the recipe to serve two people generously and posted the revised recipe below so that the construction of the recipe was in one place.

Strawberry Cheesecake Crepes – enough filling for 4 9 inch crepes, serves 2

4 9 inch sweetened crepes

Cream cheese filling

2 oz cream cheese, softened
6 tbsp (1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp) sifted icing sugar
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup whipping cream, whipped (add 2 tbsp of icing sugar after the whipped cream has formed soft peaks)
4-5 large strawberries, rinsed, hulled and chopped for garnish

Strawberry sauce (location of the recipe)

In a medium sized bowl, whip together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup icing sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Gently fold in the sweetened whipped cream.

Divide the filling among the crepes, reserving about 1 tbsp for garnishing the finished crepes.  Add about a tablespoon of strawberry sauce on top of the cream cheese filling and some of the diced fresh strawberries.

Roll up the crepes and top with a small dollop of the cream cheese filling, a few more chunks of diced fresh strawberries and some more of the strawberry sauce.

Dig in.

Pie Filling Duo … Two Desserts in One Can

E.D. Smith is my favourite brand of pie filling and, around the holidays, it often goes on sale. I’ve had a can (540 ml in Canada) of cherry pie filling in the pantry for four to six months. Originally, I had planned on making a New York Style vanilla bean cheesecake and using the pie filling to top it. Even individual mini cheesecakes made in a muffin tin with a base of ‘Nilla wafers were a possibility.

And then … I changed my mind.

I ended up with a couple of scaled down cherry desserts designed for a single person or a couple to enjoy, each using half (a bit over a cup) of the filling.

This coffee cake was originally made in a 9 by 13 inch glass baking pan but I used a small disposable aluminum pie tin.

Cherry Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping – cut into 9 squares

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
4-6 tbsp sugar (use the lesser amount if you prefer less sugar)
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1-1 1/4 cups cherry pie filling (or flavor of your choice)
2 tbsp finely chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or almonds), optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease a 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch aluminum baking pan with shortening or margarine.

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and melted butter in a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together with a fork until crumbly. Break up by hand if necessary.

Take 1/4 cup of the crumbs out and place into a small bowl. If you’re using nuts in the topping, add the finely chopped nuts to this portion of crumbs and set aside.

In a small bowl whisk the slightly beaten egg and milk together, add the milk mixture to the large bowl of crumbs and stir until incorporated. (There will be small lumps in the batter.)

Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan. Spoon the cherry pie filling over the cake. Sprinkle the reserved crumb topping over the pie filling.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the batter comes out cleanly. Cool for at least 15-20 minutes, cut and serve.

Instead of a full sized cherry pie, I used the pastry from a single crust pie, to make six mini cherry pies in muffin tins and used the leftover pie filling from the coffee cake above to fill them, making sure to reserve least 3 cherries per mini pie.

Mini Cherry Pies – makes 6 mini pies

1 disk of single crust pastry
1-1 1/4 cups cherry pie filling (or your favourite pie filling flavour)
1 tbsp whipping cream, to brush over the the pastry decoration on each mini pie
coarse sugar for sprinkling over the pastry decoration (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll out the pastry to about 1/8th of an inch thickness. Cut six 3 3/4-4 inch diameter circles out of the pastry. Use the leftover pastry to cut out six mini stars or hearts for decorating the tops of your mini pies. Fit the pastry circles into large sized muffin tins.

Distribute the pie filling evenly among the muffins tins, making sure there are 3 cherries in each tin. Decorate each mini pie with one of the pastry cut-outs.

Brush some whipping cream over each pastry decoration and sprinkle some coarse sugar over each.

Bake the mini pies until the filling is hot and bubbling and the pastry crust is set and golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. Let the muffin tin cool on a wire rack before removing.

Serve on their own or with a scoop of vanilla or cherry ice cream.

Mini “Magic” Coconut Pie Plus a Chocolate Variation

NOTE: I corrected the amount of flour listed in the recipe below as I realized I had written it incorrectly as the full (rather than the halved) recipe amount.

I had plans for a coconut dessert this weekend, as well as the chili etc., but it didn’t happen. I still had a coconut craving when I got home from work today, though, so I made a “Magic” coconut pie.

What does the term refer to, you may ask? Well, it’s one of those dishes in which all the ingredients are whisked together and then, during baking, they separate into a crust, filling and some sort of top. And because I didn’t want to be eating it daily – and doesn’t that sound familiar – I decided to scale down the recipe, which supposedly serves six, to half that. I had to do a couple of adjustments since my shredded coconut was unsweetened, and I used melted margarine instead of butter. I’m posting the revised recipe below.

Mini ‘Magic’ Coconut Pie – serves 3 (2 is more realistic)

2 tbsp  flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp  baking powder
1/4 cup  sweetened shredded coconut*
6 tbsp (1/4 cup and 2 tbsp) milk
2 tbsp melted butter**
pinch of salt**
1 egg
1 tsp  vanilla extract

* Replaced the sweetened shredded coconut with unsweetened coconut and an additional tbsp of sugar
** Replaced the melted butter and salt with just melted margarine

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium sized bowl, mix all the ingredients together with a whisk or hand blender. Pour into a buttered and floured 5 1/4-inch wide pie dish. Place on a baking sheet in case of spills.

Bake in a 350 deg F oven for 35 min or until golden brown and set. (You may want to test with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean.)

Let cool, slice and serve with a scoop of sweetened whipped cream or a small scoop of ice cream or gelato.

Chocolate Variation: Substitute 1 tbsp of cocoa powder for 1 tbsp of the flour in the recipe above.

NOTE: Visual progress of the pie

After 20 minutes, the pie showed little change.
After 25 minutes, it’s puffed up to almost double in size, there’s cracking on the surface, which is pale. The custard inside seems moist.
After 30 minutes, the surface of the pie has darkened somewhat and the custard seen through the cracks seems more set.
After 35 minutes, a toothpick inserted into the ‘custard’ filling comes out clean and the top is nicely browned.
Upon removal from the oven, the pie slowly deflates and about half an hour later, there is a definite depression in the central 2/3 of the pie.

The crust is defined but a bit soft and not like a ‘regular’ pie crust. Taste-wise, it’s delicious. And not overly sweet.

The Three P’s (Pineapple, Pizza and Pork) … Pineapple Ice Cream Topping

The cold weather has returned to south-western Ontario, breaking the streak of above average temperatures we’ve been enjoying. Another reason to stay in and cook. This weekend I made sourdough thin crust pizza dough, roasted a boneless pork loin and then made a pineapple ice cream topping/sauce.

After opening up a can of crushed pineapple to make a Pineapple Margarita, I was left with the pineapple (~ 1 1/3 cup) and the remaining pineapple juice (~1/3 cup). I had thawed a boneless pork loin and considered making a marinade and/or basting sauce for the roast using the pineapple. However, I woke up late, and then spent an hour shoveling the wet snow that had started falling yesterday and continued sporadically until earlier this morning. By the time I staggered into house, too tired to do more than put one foot in front of the other, to make my first cup of instant coffee, I had to change my plans.

A single scoop of ice cream in ice cream pedestal bowl from the 70’s

Pineapple Ice Cream Topping – makes ~ 1 1/2 cups of topping

1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup pineapple juice
1 can crushed pineapple (~1 1/3 cups)
1 tsp unsalted butter

Drain the pineapple juice and reserve the crushed pineapple.

In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, syrup and pineapple juice to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes and then reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer the contents for 5 minutes. Add the drained pineapple and the butter and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Pour the pineapple topping into a scrupulously clean 2 cup glass jar and seal. Listen for the seal on the lid to pop as it cools. Once the jar has reached room temperature, refrigerate. Good for 1-2 weeks.

 

Technique: No Churn Ice Cream (Cranberry Sauce)

I’ve posted this recipe/technique of making ice cream, without an ice cream maker, before. However, I thought I’d give it another look before the holidays, when an easy make-ahead dessert might be just what you want. Especially if you have some leftover cranberry sauce. You may even want to make some cranberry sauce just so you can make this.

All you need is whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk (though you CAN use sweetened cream of coconut as well), alcohol (about 1 tbsp per batch) and flavourings. And at least six hours in the freezer.

Small Batch No Churn Ice Cream – recipe makes ~ 3-4 cups of ice cream, more depending on the bulk of add-ins

3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp alcohol**
1 tbsp flavouring**

** If using an extract with an alcohol base, like vanilla extract or limoncello, as I have in the past, one tablespoon of the extract is all you need.

Variations:

Fruit – fruit purees or preserve, shredded coconut, curd (lemon, lime, orange, raspberry etc), fruit liquer ie Kirsch, Cointreau/Grand Marnier
Chocolate – cocoa powder, chocolate or fudge sauce, Nutella, chocolate liquer ie Bailey’s, Bols, De Kuyper, chocolate bars
Coffee – espresso powder, coffee liqueur ie Tia Maria, Kahlua, Patron for a tequila base
Nuts and seeds – coarsely or finely chopped, peanut butter, Nutella, sesame seeds (tahini), chocolate bars
Cheesecake – softened cream cheese or mascarpone may be combined with the sweetened condensed milk for a denser ice cream

Special Category:

Seasonal favourites – pumpkin pie, egg nog, cranberry sauce

Cranberry Sauce No Churn Ice Cream Ingredients – 3/4 cups whipping cream, 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk, 1 tbsp brandy, 1/2 cup home made cranberry sauce, plus another 1/4 cup cranberry sauce to swirl through the ice cream.

Reader Challenge:

Replicate your favourite chocolate bar (ie Thin Mints, Cadbury creme egg), cookie (ie Samoas, Oreos) or other dessert (ie tiramisu, apple pie) in ice cream form, like the Ferrero Rocher chocolates I made a while ago. Share a link to a picture on your own site.

Early October Wrap Up

I haven’t had a lot of inspiration for cooking in the last couple of weeks, and I’m just getting over a bad cold. A woman’s got to eat, however. Luckily, I threw a few things together before it got too bad.

I used the same basic dough recipe that I made those pumpkin and kaiser-shaped rolls with, but I left out the ground oats and threw in an egg and 1/4 cup of sugar. About 1/3 of the dough (300 gm) was rolled out and cut into six strips to wrap around Jumbo hot dogs … for pigs in blankets.

NOTE: Shaping and baking instructions found at link above.

I was going to make caramel rolls with some of the remaining dough but it turned out I didn’t have any caramel sauce in the fridge (just fudge sauce). So I got creative with the leftover cranberry sauce in my fridge and some quince jam from the pantry.

  

I transferred some of the cranberry sauce onto the quince jam portion, cause there was just too much sauce to roll up without it all oozing out. Originally, I was going to make two distinct fillings.

Icing sugar, softened butter and milk glaze

Close-up of crumb inside the rolls

Pantry chili with veggies from the crisper drawer and canned small red kidney beans and diced tomatoes (with herbs and spices). Served over or with those piggy buns.

   

Pasta is always a quick meal like this Shrimp aglio e olio over leftover linguine.  Sometimes finely minced garlic sauteed in olive oil is all you need to dress your pasta. And a sprinkle of pepperoncini (dry hot red pepper flakes). Cooking the pasta takes longer than cooking the shrimp and making the sauce.

Brunch – I love fried eggs over easy and bacon. For breakfast, lunch OR dinner. And some sort of dairy … like cottage cheese, or cream cheese if I can’t get that. Sometimes I pile it on top of toasted home made bread.

  

Red pepper hummus with home made sourdough tortillas for a quick snack or part of brunch

There’s still the weekend left for more cooking, but I think I’ll wrap things up here.

Cranberry Sauce

A bit of history first …

For Canadian immigrants in the 60’s, assimilation was the goal.

The ‘melting pot’ was a thing, and my brother and I adopted the Canadian life style with enthusiasm. So, a traditional Thanksgiving meal was one of the must have’s at our house.

Pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce weren’t a priority but the big turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy were front and center on our table. Stuffing … well my mom combined cooked rice, toasted and seasoned bread, sauteed onion and celery, turkey broth and turkey giblets into a dish that was the first thing I put on my plate. I even make it occasionally now that I’m doing all the cooking.

I think my mom must have bought canned cranberry sauce at some point. But I don’t remember. What I DO remember is that my nephew, a picky eater, HAD to have traditional jelly cranberry sauce. My SIL, may have even brought the can to our house to make sure that there were no tantrums in those early days. Watching that solid mass SLIDE out was a vivid memory. When they took leftovers home, the cranberry sauce was always included because no one at OUR house was a big fan.

Fast forward to the present and at the age of 61, I made my first batch of cranberry sauce, with whole berries.

Cranberry sauce

Cranberry Sauce – makes ~ 3 cups

12 oz/ 340 gm cranberries
1 cup white sugar
1 cup orange juice (or 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup orange juice)
1 tbsp of orange zest

In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the orange juice. Stir in the cranberries and cook until the cranberries start to pop (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat, stir in the orange zest and place sauce in a bowl.

Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

And you know what?

It’s pretty tasty.

Uses for leftover cranberry sauce

Yogurt and cranberry sauce – if you like fruit flavoured yogurt for breakfast, stir as much of the cranberry sauce as you like into some drained yogurt and dig in

A moist and tender batch of Yogurt & Cranberry muffins, from “Cook the Story”. Instead of the large size that the recipe suggested, I made a dozen medium sized muffins and used the rest of the batter to make a tray that can be cut into bars. For serving, I stirred some cranberry sauce into sweetened whipped cream.

Maybe I should try making a pumpkin pie next year.

A leftover meal that’s even better than the original … turkey drumstick, blue cheese polenta, giblet gravy, sauteed kale

Blue Monday … Blueberry BBQ Sauce and Blueberry Hand Pies

Happy Labour Day US/Canada!

Two ‘blue’ themed dishes for the last day of the summer holidays.

And a link to a song that just says it all.

Blueberries have been on sale for the last couple of months so I tossed a couple of clamshells in the freezer … for later.

Well, later has come, and I started with a marinade/bbq sauce for the strip of pork ribs I found in the basement freezer. I took the lazy route and didn’t saute an onion and garlic, as I should have. Instead, I added a tablespoon of dry minced onion and a few shakes of garlic powder to a bbq recipe I found on the Blueberry Council website. It was a lot looser than I wanted even after I simmered it uncovered (and unattended) for a while. You might want to hang around the kitchen and stir it every few minutes so that it doesn’t catch on the bottom and scorch.

Pork ribs before and after marinating and baking

Dessert also featured that juicy blue fruit. Hand pies using a recipe posted on one of the FB groups I belong to.

The pastry was tender and delicious but, even baking it an additional 10 minutes, didn’t brown the whole egg glazed tops as much as I wanted. And, during that extra 10 minutes, all of the hand pies burst open and oozed their tasty filling over the baking sheet. Luckily I had lined it with parchment paper so I didn’t have a mess to clean up. I plan on upping the temperature to 400 deg F, and cut steam vents in the top. (NOTE: Just had a chance to touch base with the recipe poster and she mentions that she now does both those things.)

I had halved the filling recipe because I only had two cups of blueberries, but I had more filling than I needed for the hand pies I made, so I made a mini pie with the surplus. And the extra pastry was shaped into three mini pie shells and blind baked. Disappointingly they shrank quite a bit, even though I refrigerated them before baking. When I serve the mini blueberry pie and decide what to fill those shells with, I’ll share pics.

Labour Day Meal

August/Summer Wrap-Up … Butter Saffron Basmati Rice and Pepperoni Pizza Sourdough Bread Loaf

PICTURE HEAVY WARNING

Summer has been much too short. Of course, I didn’t get much accomplished. In fact, I can’t even remember the semi-ambitious plans I had made.

Next year, I’m going to have to make and post a list of To Do‘s to keep me on track.

I hope work calls are more frequent this fall than last year and that my insomnia doesn’t flare up again. Going to bed at 5am is a bad habit and I need to get my sleep patterns back on track if I keep getting 6am phone calls to work.

And now, for a quick clear out of dishes I’ve cooked and pictures that I haven’t shared in August. Posting should slow  down quite a bit as work starts again.

I made butter saffron basmati rice with which to serve some leftover green chicken curry.

Butter Saffron Basmati Rice – ~3 cups

1 cup basmati rice
1 1/3 cup water
1 tbsp butter, unsalted
1/2 tsp salt

Saffron garnish
pinch or two of saffron threads
2 tbsp boiling water

Combine the boiling water and the saffron threads in a small bowl/ramekin and set aside.

Cooking the rice:

Wash the rice in several changes of cold water and then pour into a colander and drain.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and then add the drained rice. Saute for a minute or two. Add the water and salt to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to the minimum setting on your stove and cover.

Cook for 20 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the rice continue to steam for another 5-10 minutes.

Fluff with a fork. Every rice grain should be separate from every other. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle the saffron over the top.

Serve.

I tested the suggestion that using bread flour instead of all-purpose flour in my sourdough baking would give me better oven spring. The result did not bear that out but as I made some other changes to my ‘go to’ no-knead sourdough recipe, they’re not conclusive. The add-ins (1 oz diced hot pepperette, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, 2 oz shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1 tsp Italian herb seasonings), at least, gave me a very tasty, if flat, oval loaf of pepperoni pizza bread.

It was great as a dip for marinara sauce and toasted or plain, with butter, peanut butter or as a base for an open faced egg salad sandwich.

 

Mushroom and Tofu Egg Drop Miso Soup – It’s hard to take a nice picture of miso soup

A shrimp appetizer

Shrimp and Mushroom Scampi over home made Fettuccine pasta

Some breakfasts/lunches

 

Spicy pepperoni and mozzarella cheese stuffed omelette

Sourdough tortilla pizzas have been appearing often on my plate – from the classic pepperoni/mozzarella, with or without sweet peppers, Canadian bacon and fresh basil to pulled pork/bbq sauce to shrimp or mushroom on a base of shiso pesto. A bacon and mozzarella pizza made today isn’t pictured.

 

 

I was sure I had some fudgy chocolate cupcakes in the downstairs freezer for a quick dessert (even had a frosting idea that I was excited about) but then I had to scramble for a new plan when I discovered that I had eaten them all up, and all that was left were nine red velvet cupcakes. Making a cream cheese frosting was my immediate thought and, after weighing what was left of the last brick of Philly cream cheese (77 gm) in  my fridge, I searched my hard drive for one of the many ‘one day, I must try this’ frosting recipes that I could scale down. I was very pleased with the result … a thick, pipeable frosting with a touch of lemon juice to cut through the cloying sweetness of so many cream cheese frostings.

The last of the raspberry cupcakes with raspberry curd