May 24, 2015

Classic Rhubarb Custard Pie

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Classic Rhubarb Custard Pie is the perfect treat to make after those stalks start sprouting up in the spring! Flaky layers of pie crust surrounding a sweet/tart filling giving you a perfect bite!

Rhubarb is one of the first plants to pop up from the ground in the early spring months. I remember when I was just starting out on my own, my cousin Michelle and I were living in her dad's little brown farm house that was just across the road from where I grew up. Along the outside shed there was an abundant amount of rhubarb just dying to be made into all kinds of treats. The first pie I made on my own was a Rhubarb Custard pie, homemade crust and all! I was all of 19 years old and when I served a piece to Nanny, her proclamation was "that was the best Rhubarb Pie I have ever eaten!" She proceeded to tell everyone going forward what an excellent pie maker I was. Needless to say, I got my baking genes from my Nanny and Mom however as I got older I got a little lazier about wanting to put the effort into a pie crust. That laziness may have disappeared after the results I got with this pie!
My children grew up on Rhubarb Pie the same as I did and both of them love it just as much as I do. and my son Justin is the reason I am sharing this with you as he suggested I make it and post the recipe here on my blog. It is a yearly treat that I hate to go without. I don't have my own rhubarb anymore and what I do get is either bought at a local stand or given to me from my parents. This year I was lucky enough to get just enough rhubarb for one pie from my parents on my recent visit home. 
Rhubarb has a lot of different varieties. Some stalks are more red and some are more green. The greener variety is the heartier variety which is what I received this year when I visited my parents. A lot of people think that the red stalks are "sweeter" however, that is not a correct assumption as there is no such thing as sweet rhubarb. Less tart maybe, but not sweet. Green stalks tend to be thicker whereas red stalks tend to be more tender and thinner. I like getting the red stalks because I do like the color better, but the green stalks work just as great in a recipe as the red, your product just doesn't have the prettier color to it even though it is just as tasty!
I decided to experiment a little and go with shortening and butter. I do use Crisco for my solid shortening and I highly recommend that is what you use also as I believe it gives the best results. I also used salted butter for the crust and put a few little extra pats of butter on top of the pie before covering it with the top crust. This is a personal preference and you do not need to do it but I wanted to tell you since that is what I do no matter what kind of fresh fruit pie I make.

Are you a pie person? What is your favorite pie?

Classic Rhubarb Custard Pie

Shelby Law Ruttan
Published 05/24/2015
Rhubarb Custard Pie

Ingredients

  • For the crust:
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup ice water
  • For the filling:
  • 6 cups rhubarb, washed and cut into slices
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1-2 pats of salted butter to top the filling before placing top crust on pie

Instructions

  1. Place flour, salt, and sugar in food processor. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Place shortening and butter in food processor on top of flour mixture. Pulse flour crumbles start to form. Do not over pulse. Add the ice water a little at a time, pulsing food processor a couple of times after each addition. Once dough begins to form into a ball remove from food processor and place on well floured surface (such as a pastry mat). Bring dough together to form a ball being careful not to handle dough too much. Divide dough into two pieces and flatten out into a circle. Roll dough out on a floured surface until about 10-11 inch circle in diameter. Place 1 circle in bottom of pie pan and form to shape. Place other disc of dough in refrigerator until ready to top the pie.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss together rhubarb, flour, sugar, and cinnamon until rhubarb is coated. Stir in beaten egg until combined. Place filling in well of pie crust in your pie pan.
  3. Roll out 2nd disc of dough, fold in half and cut slits in center of dough. Carefully transfer dough to cover top of pie. Gently pick up folded half and bring to cover the pie. Pinch edges of pie together removing any excess dough around the edges of the pie*.
  4. Crimp edged as desired. Brush top of dough with non-fat milk and sprinkle with sugar 1 tablespoon of sugar.
  5. Cover pie with pie guard or aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove guard/foil and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes until filling is bubbly and pastry is golden. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting. Store leftovers in a cool, dry place.

May 18, 2015

Banana Rum Coconut Raisin Cookies

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A cookie made with no butter, chock full of banana, coconut, and raisins and flavored with rum. These Banana Rum Coconut Raisin cookies have a special ingredient that is the cause of their success and nobody will ever guess that is what you put in your cookies!  

I'm always game for finding new recipes that include bananas. I almost always have them around the house and more likely than not, they will get overripe before we eat them all. That has been especially true lately because we have been gone the last couple of weekends visiting Grumpy's family. The second weekend we went back to help deliver the new living room furniture we bought for Grumpy's mom!
I originally wasn't going to blog these, even though I had taken a zillion photos of them. Grumpy raved about these cookies and I have to admit, they really are worth raving about! They are so good, that I actually made another batch and while I kept some here, we did take some to share with his mom. 
I found the recipe in a Cooking Light magazine. The testers over at Cooking Light used light mayonnaise in their recipe. I, on the other hand, never have that stuff in my house. While I like to eat healthy, I prefer to eat what is also tasty and I don't care for the flavor or texture of light mayonnaise. I felt it was not going to hurt to use the real deal in my recipe and I wasn't wrong. I also omitted the ginger the recipe called for and rather than quick oats, I used whole oats and a brown sugar blend (Truvia) and I didn't see that it affected the recipe in a negative way. My motto is, eat what you want as long as your eating good, nutritious food in moderation. Also, a little bit of a treat once in a while is not going to hurt you. These cookies, I would consider them my treat as I would any sweet, but I would also consider they have some good nutritional value also. After all, there is oatmeal, coconut, raisins and walnuts in these delicious cookies!

Banana Rum Coconut Cookies

Published 05/18/2015
slightly adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
Banana Rum Coconut Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar Blend (I used Truvia)
  • 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon rum
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup whole oats
  • 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, add brown sugar, banana, mayonnaise, and rum and mix with a hand mixer until well blended.
  2. In a medium sized bowl combine flour, oats, coconut, raisins, walnuts, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredient mixture and stir until just combined.
  4. Drop dough using large cookie scoop (about 1/4 cup of dough) on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 19-22 minutes. Cool completely.
Yield: 20 cookies
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 20 mins.
Total time: 30 mins.
Tags: baking, Cookies, dessert, mayonnaise, oatmeal, raisin, snacks, Spice, Walnut


April 28, 2015

Slow Cooker Clam Chowder

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This fuss free, easy to make Slow Cooker Clam Chowder is thick, creamy, and full of delicious clams making it a perfect comfort food and chilly evening meal! Thanks to my fellow blogging friend Sarah Olson and her new cookbook The Magical Slow Cooker I have discovered that there is more to slow cooking than just roast with carrots, onions, and potatoes!


I am very happy and grateful to be a part of Sarah's blog tour for her cookbook The Magical Slow Cooker. I have been a fan of Sarah's blog for quite a while now and I love everything she has to offer! She has opened my eyes and helped me see that not only can you make delicious food from breakfast to dessert in the slow cooker, but it can also be beautiful! I love that her cookbook is easy to read and has a photo of every recipe! 

I remember when I was younger my dad loved to eat oyster stew or clam chowder and the only way he ever had it was from the can. With mom not eating seafood, she probably never felt inspired to make this type of soup from scratch. So, other than a restaurant experience, all I have ever had for clam chowder is from a can. Until this last weekend. I made a few little changes to the recipe itself to suit our tastes and Grumpy's desire! I steamed some extra clams for our Spaghetti with Pino Grigio and used those clams in this chowder rather than the clams from a can, and added a few less potatoes than the recipe called for. Grumpy informed me not to do that the "next time" I make this recipe. So, this is a real keeper folks since I was told "next time!"
I learned several things from this experience. For instance, did you know you could roast nuts in your slow cooker? Sarah has a recipe for Rosemary Party Nuts (page 35) that I must try! What a perfect way to make some holiday treats for your friends. I also must try the Italian Beef Sliders (page 45) and Caramel Apple Crisp (page 190) would be perfect to take to a potluck function! You could take it still warm and wouldn't people love you for that! Come to think of it The Magical Slow Cooker would be a perfect gift for your busy friends! 

Thank you Sarah for asking me to be a part of your blog tour! If you would like to follow Sarah on Social Media you can find her on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


Slow Cooker Clam Chowder

slightly adapted from The Magical Slow Cooker
Published 04/27/2015
Slow Cooker Clam Chowder
Thick, creamy, and fuss free, this flavorful clam chowder is the perfect comfort food!

Ingredients

  • 1-32 ounce container chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup diced leeks
  • 5 cups peeled and diced white potatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1-8 ounce package reduced fat cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • 2-6.5 ounce cans minced clams, drained OR 1 lb fresh steamed clams
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Oyster Crackers, Paprika, and fresh thyme leaves for serving

Instructions

  1. Combine the chicken broth and cornstartch in a 6-quart slow cooker until smooth. Add the potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours without removing the lid during cooking time.
  2. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add 1/2 of the potato mixture and broth to blender (secure lid well and cover with towel to prevent burning or explosions!) Pulse until smooth. Add this mixture back to the slow cooker. Add clams and stir. Keep on warm until ready to serve. Serve with Oyster crackers, sprinkles of paprika and fresh thyme leaves.
Yield: 5 servings
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 15 mins.
Cook time: 08 hrs. 00 mins.
Total time: 8 hrs. 15 mins.
Tags: Seafood, Soups and Stews, Clams, Comfort Food, slow cooker, Cookbook review, blog tour

April 26, 2015

Spaghetti with Pinot Grigio and Seafood

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Spaghetti tossed with clams and shrimp simmered with garlic, onion and sun dried tomato infusing amazing flavor in this lovely Italian dish! It is quick and easy and you can have this dinner on your table in less than 30 minutes!


I don't know how pretty this dish is. I mean, when I compare it to the photo on the Food Network site, I feel very inadequate. The clams I bought had dark shells (I honestly know nothing about clams) and the reason I bought these specific clams was because the only other clams in the store were these humongous ones!

All in all, this was a pretty darn tasty dish. Grumpy was very happy with this meal as he is a huge fan of clams. The recipe is very easy to put together. It was stated on the site (or on Giada's show, not sure where now) that this didn't have a lot of sauce to it, but let me tell you, I certainly had enough and I'm a saucy kind of girl! I didn't have arugula and couldn't find any so I went with spinach, and that was good enough for me. The flavor was awesome and I would definitely make this dish again. It also stated it served 4 people, but I think that was an understatement! I believe this could easily serve 6! I definitely say this is a dish to try and if you don't like clams, just add more shrimp!

Spaghetti with Pinot Grigio and Seafood

slightly adapted from Food Network (Giada DeLaurentis)
Originally published on 03/25/2010
Spaghetti with Pinot Grigio and Seafood
Spaghetti tossed with clams and shrimp simmered with garlic, onion and sun dried tomato infusing amazing flavor in this lovely Italian dish! It is quick and easy and you can have this dinner on your table in less than 30 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cup Pino Grigio
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 pounds clams washed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups spinach

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain Pasta.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, until tender but not brown. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for another minute. Add the wine, shrimp, and clams. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the shrimp are pink and the clams have opened, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add the spaghetti to the seafood mixture. Add the salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the spinach. Stir gently and place on a serving platter. Serve immediately.
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 20 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.
Total time: 30 mins.
Tags: Pasta, Seafood, shrimp, Clams, sun-dried tomato, garlic, Italian, Quick and Easy,

April 20, 2015

Lemon Marscapone Muffins

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This Lemon Marscapone Muffin is simple, delicious and full of lemon and cheese flavor with a tender crumb that is soft but still holds together well. It is a perfect spring morning muffin to serve with your family on a sunny Sunday morning brunch!

Its been a while since I've made a muffin. You may think, well, she just made the Lemon-Strawberry Chia Seed Muffins. Yes, I did post those recently but I can promise you its still been a while since I've made a muffin! These are the first muffins I have made since I made the Strawberry Chia Seed Muffins. For me, that is a long time. I used to be well known for bringing muffins to the office on a regular basis when I was working at Clarkson. I strayed away from making them when we moved to Albany. Mostly because I had gotten tired of them. Yes, I got tired of muffins. They started to get boring for me.
Lately, Grumpy has been making Long Island Iced Tea's for a drink. Everytime he makes one I smell the lemon as he's cutting it and I absolutely love the smell of a fresh cut lemon. I'm also a huge fan of lemon curd. When I was browsing through some lemon recipes I came across a muffin from Cooking Light that was made with ricotta cheese. I wasn't sure if I had ricotta or not but I was pretty sure I had some marscapone. By no means are these two "cheeses" in any way the same, but I figured that the marsapone would work so I gave it a shot. I also added some lemon extract to the muffin although the original recipe did not call for it. I just wanted a muffin saturated with lemon!
Just a few notes about these muffins should you decide to make them.  First and foremost, let them cool completely before removing them from the muffin pan. Because these are such a tender muffin, if you try to remove them from the pan when they are still warm you will have your muffins fall apart. Trust me, I know because I tried. Once the muffins have cooled then you will have a muffin that stays together. The muffin are delicious as is, but because I am such a lemon freak, I served mine with some Lemon Curd. I do like to make my own, but I also am not against buying it from the store as you can tell from my photos! There is no lemon curd in the recipe itself, I used it as a condiment to help amplify my lemon love.

Don't these muffins just scream "sunshine" to you? I know this much, I am ready for some sun and warmth. To me, this recipe just gives me a little promise that its coming!

Lemon Marscapone Muffins

slightly adapted from Cooking Light
Published 04/20/2015
Lemon Marscapone Muffins
A muffin bursting with lemon and cheese flavor. Excellent with some lemon curd spread!

Ingredients

  • 7.9 ounces flour (or 1-3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces Marscapone Cheese
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • yellow sanding sugar (optional)

Instructions

  1. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. With a hand held mixer, blend the marscapone cheese, olive oil, lemon rind, lemon extract, lemon juice, and egg together until well blended. Gradually add the water and blend on low until well combined.
  3. Gradually add the flour mixture to the cheese mixture and mix with hand mixer until combined.
  4. Divide batter evenly between 18 muffin cups. Sprinkle with sanding sugar if desired. Bake at 375 for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean after inserted into center of muffin.
Yield: 18 muffins
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 15 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 16 mins.
Total time: 31 mins.
Tags: lemon, cheese, marscapone, lemon zest, muffins, breakfast, brunch, snack

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