Saturday, July 26, 2008

Blueberry Tart( everday food).......

I absolutely love blueberries. I bought 3 pints for 5.00 last week because I really wanted to make this blueberry tart. I saw it on Everday Baking and it totally called out to me..... " Randi, make me.... make Robin eat a piece". LOL, we all know by now Robin is not a lover of fruit.

It was super simple and if you love blueberries, you'll love this. I think the next time I make it, I'm going to add a cream cheese type filling under the blueberries.

Serves 10
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for dusting ( I used 1/4 corn meal for 1/4 cup of the flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 cups (3 pints) fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter; process until large moist crumbs form (dough should hold together when squeezed).
Transfer dough to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom; with floured fingers, press evenly into bottom and up sides. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes; prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes; cool completely.
Meanwhile, reserve 1 cup of the prettiest berries for topping. In a medium saucepan, bring 1/4 cup water and 1 1/2 cups berries to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to break down, 3 to 4 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water; stir into berries in pan. Add lemon zest and juice, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, stirring, just until mixture begins to thicken, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 3 1/2 cups fresh berries. Immediately pour hot berry mixture into cooled tart shell, and smooth with a spatula.
Scatter reserved berries on top, pressing down lightly to help them adhere. Refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes and up to overnight.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Homemade frosty paws.....

We're back from our holiday to Nova Scotia. I've come to the conclusion that I really dont like taking trips in the Summer. After our week in Nova Scotia, we went to Toronto for 2 days to see Dirty Dancing. We also took our niece to the Ontario Science Centre. It was soooooo crowded with so many screaming button pushing children, oy!!

When I returned, I was dismayed to find out that I missed the garden centre clearance sale. I was hoping to score some clearance perennial herbs to fill out my herb garden. Alas, the only herb left was the lowly spearmint, which I got for .25

Anyway, my boys were pretty excited to see us when we picked them up yesterday. Ten days is just way too long for them to be boarded. They're very spoiled( they sleep on cotton sheets ya know) and I don't think they did that well away from us. When we came home around noon, they didn't even want to eat. If you know dachshunds, you'll know they would eat themselves to death if given the opportunity. Robin and I think they were just so exhausted. This particular kennel puts the dogs outside with the other dogs 5 times a day for "play time". We were a bit apprehensive about this as Harley can't stand other dogs and Oliver goes outside to do his business and the scratches at the door to come inside. He is the ultimate couch potato.

After bathing them( they were so dirty), they slept the entire day and night, only rising to go outside. They pretty much slept the entire day today as well.

Tomorrow they'll get a homemade frosty paw. I bought the container of yogurt for 50% off. The best by date is July 21st, but I pretty much ignore those when it comes to yogurt, as I've found it lasts at least 2 more weeks after the expiration date.

To the yogurt I added 1 jar of banana baby food and some agave nectar. I poured it back into the containers and topped it with a dab of peanut butter. I covered it with foil and chucked it into the freezer.

In the spirit of multi-tasking, I used two of the containers of yogurt to make tzatziki sauce to go with some chicken schwarma we'll eat for dinner this week. I prefer to use a greek style yogurt for that, but I just drained the water off this kind and it came out fine.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Date squares and seafood chowder......

We're leaving for Halifax on Wednesday so I'm trying to use up what we have in the fridge and freezer. I've also decided to try my hand at selling some baked goods at a local flea market. Last week Robin and I set up a table( Robin is selling collectibles), but we were rained out. I did manage to sell about 30 bucks worth before the rain came. There was another lady selling next to me and she had quite the following. She's selling pies and butter tarts( oh so Canadian) and jams. I did make some awesome jam a couple weeks ago( strawberry w/out pectin and a mixed berry vanilla). I bought some pretty quilted mason jars at Wal*Mart in Michigan and I honestly dont want to sell a jar for 4.00. I'd rather give them away as gifts. I might bring a few with me and see if they'd actually sell.

Anyway, last week I made a bacardi rum cake, a couple of sour cream coffee cakes( my mom's amazing recipe) and some various cookies and squares. I individually wrapped each one, but Robin thought that wasnt the best way to go. So, I'm trying a different approach this week. My friend the butcher gave me a bunch of those white meat trays and I put 6 squares( aka bar cookies South of the Canadian border) on each one. So far I've made shortbread, these date squares and I currently have the Magic Brownies and Pecan Pie squares( recipe from Anna) cooling. The pecan pie squares are amazing. I'm going to have to photgraph those alone and give them their own entry. They're so good!!

In cleaning out the freezer a few days ago, I noticed a bunch of single serving portions of seafood that I bought at Wal*Mart( do you see a theme here?) in MI. As I said before, I'm a sucker for a bargain. For 1.50(50 cents each), I got 2 stuffed tilapia fillets and a bag of bay scallops. I also found about 10 shrimp languishing in there as well. So, I sauteed a shallot and some celery in some evoo. I added some old bay seasoning, a can of evap milk( 59 cents at Big Lots), some skim milk and 1/4c of whipping cream. I shredded a russet potato for its thickening power. I added some frozen corn, the seafood and some fresh dill. Robin proclaimed it amazing. I'm glad I decided to make it on the one coolish day we had last week. Robin isnt really a soup person and I really only like soup in the winter or if I'm sick. I also threw together some quesadilla's using some frozen flour tortilla's. It was a true budget meal!!

I made the date squares by cooking a 500g package of dates with 1/2 c. of OJ. I pureed that in the cuisinart. I made the crust with butter, flour, baking soda and powder, brown sugar and oats. I pulsed in some butter and then layered the whole thing. They're pretty thick. Next time, I'll use a 9 x 13 pan instead of a 9" square. Now, wish me luck that everything sells or my freezer will be totally full again!!