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Pies And Tarts: Blackberry Peach Pie And A Tomato Tart

In the summer it’s hard to find balance. I love to cook but it’s so hot out it kind of knocks the wind out of my sails but I was inspired to get in the kitchen after reading Teagan newest serial Thistledown.  I love the story and Teagan is so brilliant, her readers are part of the the story we were given faery names and oh well you’ll just have to read it, it’s wonderful!!! My characters faery name is Peaches Dragonfly and you might have guessed it yes, Peaches is a cook.

When I buy blackberries what I don’t eat I freeze, adding to the freezer container with each unused portion of berries. I do the same with other fruit, peaches, strawberries etc… There happened to be a rather large bag of blackberries and some peaches that I wanted to use and today the temperature is pleasant, a good day to fire up the oven and bake.

Pies are one of my favorite indulgences, especially fruit pies. They are simple to make, and are such a great dessert both homey and elegant. The combination of blackberries and peaches has always been one of my favorites and put them in a flaky buttery pastry crust and it’s pretty much heaven on earth. I’ve published the pie crust recipe I use probably more than a dozen times. It never fails, is always good and its from Julia Child.

I think I will bring both of these the pie and tomato tart to Fiesta Friday #182 the co hosts this week are Liz @ spades, spatulas & spoons and Jenny @ Jenny Is Baking

Blackberry Peach Pie

Makes one 9 inch double crust pie

Pastry

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tsp salt

6 oz unsalted cold butter cut into pieces

4 tbs shortening (cold)

1/2 cup ice water

Whisk the flours and salt in large mixing bowl. Add the butter and shortening and using a pastry cutter or your hands break up the fat into the flour until it resembles crumbs. It’s ok to have small pieces of butter I actually prefer it the pastry is extra flaky. Mix together until if forms a cohesive dough. Divide into two disks, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Fruit and assembling the pie

approximately 3 cups blackberries

approximately 2 cups sliced peaches

2/3-1 cup sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit)

3 tbs-1/4 cup flour

pinch of salt and pinch of cinnamon

NOTE: If using frozen fruit use 1/4 cup flour + 1 tbs

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Mix the fruit with the flour and sugar, salt and cinnamon.

Roll out the bottom crust and place in your pie pan, add the fruit dot with some butter and place in the refrigerator while you roll out the top crust.  I made a lattice top crust  for this pie and all you do is cut strips and basket weave. Roll out the top crust and lay on the pie, crimp the edges however you like, cut a vent or prick with a fork, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Heirloom tomatoes

The first tomatoes of the season are also showing up at the green market and I love buying heirloom tomatoes, they are my favorite, different colors, sizes and shapes and other than enjoying in salad or on their own making a tart is a great way to eat them. This time of year with so much bounty and just me to eat, I end up preserving or freezing much of what I purchase. This year my basil died, not sure why and it was very upsetting so I ended up buying a huge bunch at the farmers market and thought I would make some pesto.

The tomato tart is made using Julia Childs recipe for a galette pastry, it’s very different from a traditional pie crust, you mix flour and corn meal, butter, sour cream or creme fraiche and ice water. It’s a delicious rustic pastry dough and this recipe is one I have been using for many years.

Because tomatoes are so juicy I roast the tomatoes first in the oven until they are soft and a bit drier, I made the mistake once of putting fresh tomato slices on a tart and the crust was soggy, not good.

Tomato Tart

Makes one 9 inch tart

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 tbs sugar

1/2 tsp salt

7 tbs cold unsalted butter

3 tbs sour cream or creme fraiche

1/3 cup ice water

Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in mixing bowl, cut in the butter until it resembles crumbs. Mix the sour cream and ice water and add to the dry ingredients. Stir until it forms a cohesive dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-4 hours.

Roasting the tomatoes and making the tart

Heat oven to 400 degree’s

Line a sheet pan with parchment, cut your tomatoes into thick slices and place on parchment lined baking sheet, bake for about 25-30 minutes they will just start to caramelize and will dry out a bit. Remove carefully so they stay whole and set aside.

Press the dough into your tart pan or roll it out and place in the pan,  put in the freezer for approximately  15 minutes or until partially frozen. Remove from freezer and weight it down by placing a parchment sheet on the pastry and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake on sheet pan for 20 minutes, remove parchment and weights and place back in the oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Spread some pesto on the bottom of the tart crust, sprinkle with some cheese and layer your tomato slices. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature.

 

 

Farmers Market Haul, A Guest Post, Zucchini Fritters And A Big Salad

The farmers market in my neighborhood is absolutely brimming with a fabulous variety of beautiful fruits and vegetables. I love going there and am always inspired by what I see and feel and smell and taste. The wheels are turning and I am so excited to announce that I will be doing another guest post with Teagan, her latest story is amazing and magickal. She brilliantly involves her readers in the stories, remember the Three Ingredients series?

What you see in the photo are pink gooseberries, sour cherries and plums. This guest post has been cooking for a while and I specifically shopped with that in mind. The fruit is so fresh and delicious and I am really looking forward to sharing the recipes with you, but that has to wait.

In the meantime I am going to share a recipe that I saw on Instagram, Zucchini Fritters with Feta and Dill. The recipe comes from Chef Michael Symon, some of you may have seen him on “The Chew”, Food Network or maybe you have eaten in one of his restaurants, well he is a wonderful chef and these fritters are so easy to make and really delicious.


They were delicious for breakfast with a 5 minute egg and salad. A light and satisfying meal.

My tomatoes

I am happy that my tomatoes are growing and it looks like they may just be turning from green to red soon. But in the meantime it’s great that the Farmers market has some beautiful tomatoes and the bounty this summer is phenomenal. I went again this morning and as usual my eyes are bigger than my stomach and I bought a lot, every year I plant basil and almost every year it dies, this year was no different. I was lucky to find a huge bunch of fresh basil and I plan on making some pesto with it.

Perfect summer dinner, fresh salad, simple vinaigrette and Rosé

Percy

I will leave you with a photo of Percy, he recently had dental surgery, 6 teeth pulled and he lost 3 or 4 while they were cleaning his teeth. It was a rough day post surgery and the day after, he was pretty sick. Percy can’t tolerate the heat and boy has it been hot out, my poor boy is miserable so we limit our time outside and I walk him very early in the morning between 5:30-6AM when it’s a little cooler out.

 

Paleo Gluten Free Frosted Cake Brownies

I really want to expand my horizons, I have always been a butter and sugar kind of gal and use it when I bake just about everything. On July 4th I went to a BBQ at a friends house and one of the guests practices a paleo lifestyle and has really done amazingly well. While we all enjoyed the cheesecake for dessert I watched her sit there with nothing and felt kind of bad. On Instagram I noticed a post for paleo brownies with a peanut butter frosting that looked amazing and I decided to give them a try. If you follow strict paleo, the brownies in the recipe are not 100% paleo as they have a peanut butter frosting and peanuts are not permitted. I chose to follow in that same line of thinking and the frosting I made is also not 100% paleo but it’s close. It really is delicious, I paleo-ized  (don’t think thats a word) Merrill Stubbs buttercream recipe on food52, the same one I used for the dacquoise that I made a few months ago. Since the recipe calls for powdered sugar (not paleo) and coconut palm sugar is allowed, I thought I   would make my own powdered sugar using the coconut palm sugar and a little coconut flour. It worked well, if I had a vitamix it probably would have been a little better but my Ninja did a pretty good job. There are a few pieces of the coconut sugar that didn’t break down but IMHO that gives it character. The coconut sugar gives the buttercream a caramel flavor.

The brownies which are really more like a cake are so easy to make, you put all the ingredients in a blender, process until smooth and pour into a prepared pan. Got to love that! NOTE: Be careful not to over bake, I think I did and they got a little dry. Whenever I make a recipe for the first time I follow it to the letter but if I make these again I will make a few changes. I am not going to embrace a paleo lifestyle although in theory it sounds good and I know people that have lost an incredible amount of weight and feel great but I find it too restrictive, but rather choose to try to eat healthfully with portion control and limit sugar. I also could not eat as much meat as you are supposed to eat on paleo, not my thing.

  1. Add chocolate chips or chunks or shaved chocolate (if going paleo find paleo friendly chocolate)
  2. The recipe said to use a 7 inch square pan, I have never seen a 7 inch pan and used my 8 inch pan which made them a little thinner than the ones pictured in the original recipe. It would be even better to use a 6 inch square if you can find one.
  3. Might increase the coconut oil a bit adding an additional tablespoon or 2.

Paleo/GF Brownies

Recipe from paleo gluten free eats

1 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat is best)

6 large eggs

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 350 degree’s.

Line 8 inch square pan with parchment paper so there is an overhand on 2 sides. Grease the sides and bottom with a little coconut oil.

Add all the ingredients to your blender and process until smooth, you may need to scrape the sides once or twice. Scrape into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes (test after 20 minutes). Cake tester should come out fairly clean (a few crumbs are fine). Better to be a little under done than over done, it continues to bake a little after removed from the oven.

Powdered coconut sugar

1 cup coconut sugar

1 tbs coconut flour.

Place in high powered blender like vitamix and process until it’s powdery. It took about 10 minutes. If you have a vitamix use the dry container for this if not it’s ok, I used my to go cup on my ninja and it worked great. Place in a covered container. You might want to double the recipe if making the frosting because you need 1 1/2 cups.

Frosting

1 egg yolk from farm fresh egg or pasteurized egg

1 1/2 cup powdered coconut sugar

4 1/2 oz earth balance vegan butter or you could use coconut butter or even  pure cocoa butter (earth balance is not paleo because it contains soy)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place everything in a bowl and beat with your electric mixer until smooth and creamy.

Frost the brownies when cooled and cut into pieces after frosting. Refrigerate until ready to use. NOTE: the egg can be eliminated but it gives a silky smooth texture that I love. The egg is not cooked or heated so make sure you use eggs from a trusted source, fresh or pasteurized.

 

 

Chocolate Marbled Banana Bread

This banana bread recipe has been featured on this site many times, as banana bread and also using other fruits like apples and figs. It is IMHO the best banana bread recipe I have found. While perusing recipes I saw a gorgeous chocolate marble banana bread and although I have added chocolate chips never a chocolate swirl. I used my go to recipe and copied how the chocolate marble swirl was made. The bread is delicious, simple and I like to make 3 mini loaves and freeze them, it freezes beautifully.

It’s moist and chocolaty with lots of banana flavor. The spelt adds some texture and a delicious nuttiness that you only get from spelt.

Chocolate Marbled Banana Bread

Makes one 9 inch or 3 mini loaves

Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart

1 stick 4 oz softened butter

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs at room temperature

1 cup flour

1/2 cup spelt flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 heaping cup mashed very ripe banana (2 1/2 large or 3 medium bananas)

1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche

1 tsp vanilla

3 oz dark chocolate melted

2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Heat oven to 350 degree’s. Prepare your baking tins by greasing generously either with cooking spray, butter or shortening. Place flours, baking soda and salt in bowl and whisk to combine.

In the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter and sugar. Cream until light and fluffy scraping the sides occasionally. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture and beat on medium high speed just until combined. Now add the banana, sour cream and vanilla and mix to combine.

Remove one cup of the batter to a small bowl. Melt the chocolate and add the cocoa powder, stir. Add to the 1 cup of batter and fold in.

Spoon some of the regular batter into the baking pan if using a 9 inch loaf pan add half the batter, now half of the chocolate batter in two spoonful. Add the rest of the plain batter and spoon the rest of the chocolate batter on top. Swirl gently with a knife or skewer being careful not to over swirl, a few times back and forth will be enough.

Bake the 9 inch loaf approximately 50-55 minutes and the 3 mini loaves approximately 25-30 minutes. A cake tester or toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the center. The loaves will be browned and feel firm.

 

No Bake Cheesecake And A New Computer

Hallelujah!  My new computer was delivered yesterday and I couldn’t be happier. It is so nice, pleasant and so much easier to write a post on my laptop. I had a Mac Air and got the same computer, I still have to go to Genius Bar at the Apple Store to see if my old computer’s hard drive is damaged, if it is, my data cannot be retrieved but if not they can transfer to the new one. Fingers crossed.

On July 4th I went to my friends house for a BBQ, I made some hummus using Ottolenghi’s great recipe, some pita bread, veggie burgers and a cheesecake. I found this recipe on Food and Wine, it looked ethereal, light and creamy and I had to give it a try. This is a no bake cheesecake so no hot oven and no eggs. It is very easy to make and the recipe calls for cream cheese, ricotta, mascarpone or sour cream (I used creme fraiche) and whipped cream, it is flavored with a little lemon juice. In the recipe they use a combination of amaretti and graham crackers, I used only graham crackers. Everyone at the BBQ said it is the best cheesecake they have ever had, I have to agree it is wonderful and this recipe will go into my must make again SOON file. They call for a 8 inch springform pan, I only had a 9 inch so I doubled the recipe. There was leftover filling which I made into a small upside down cheesecake. My cousins were in town and came over for dinner and I served it for dessert. The bottom layer was roasted rainier cherries, filing on top of the cherries and crushed graham crackers on top. This was also exceptional.

I am bringing this dessert with me to Fiesta Friday #179. This weeks co hosts are Petra@Food Eat Love and Laura@Feast Wisely. Hope you all have a chance to stop by, it’s always a fun party!!

Triple Cheese Cheesecake

Food and Wine

Makes an 8 inch cake

Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers (approx 12 crackers)

pinch of kosher salt

1/4 cup sugar

5 tbs melted butter

Mix the crushed graham crackers, salt, sugar and melted butter until fully incorporated. Heat oven to 350 degree’s. Press the graham cracker mixture into the spring form pan coming about half way up the sides of the pan. Bake approximately 12 minutes. When you smell it it’s done, it should be lightly browned. Let cool and set aside while you make the filling.

Filling

1 tsp powdered gelatin

2 tbs cold water

3/4 cup chilled heavy cream

2 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup ricotta (whole milk)

3/4 cup sugar

pinch of salt

1/4 cup mascarpone, sour cream or creme fraiche

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

In a microwave safe bowl sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tbs of cold water. Set aside.

Whip the cream into soft peaks and refrigerate.

Add the cream cheese, ricotta, sugar and salt to mixer and whip on high speed until light and fluffy about 5 minutes. Beat in the mascarpone/sour cream or creme fraiche and lemon juice until combined.

Microwave the gelatin for about 5-7 minutes until it melts. Scrape into the cheese mixture and whip until combined.  Fold in the whipped cream. Spoon into the baked graham cracker crust, smooth the top, cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours but best overnight.

Serve with fresh fruit, fruit compote or roasted or poached fruit.

Upside down cheesecake with leftover filling

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Unbearable Ipad

Hello everyone. It has been a while, not because I have nothing to post, far from it I have been busy cooking but trying to post on the blog without my computer has gotten the better of me. Using the iPad is challenging, I am used to using a keypad, I really have a hard time with a touch screen and word press is different on an iPad. The good news is that I I’ll have a new computer soon, maybe even this week and I am hoping all my data is salvageable. When I pick up the computer I will visit the apple wizards and hopefully they will do their tech magic. Because posting on this thing stresses me out I will keep this short.

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I am active on Instagram and yesterday I saw a video about nut milk. I’ve made it before but this one is amazing. I changed it a bit adding my own touches. Honestly I could give up dairy milk after drinking this. I didn’t follow a recipe but can approximate for you.

Nut milk

makes a little more than a quart

1 cup raw unsalted almonds

1/2 cup raw unsalted pecans

filtered water to soak and 5 cups to make the milk

1 heaping tbs cashew butter

pinch of sea salt (generous)

1-2 tbs maple syrup adjusting to your personal taste

2 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of cinnamon

Pour the almonds and pecans in a lidded bowl cover with filtered water, enough so that the nuts are submerged and there is an extra couple of inches. Put lid on and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning drain the nuts and pour into a powerful blender or food processor. Pour in 5 cups filtered water and the rest of the ingredients. Blend on high speed for 2-3 minutes. Pour into nut bag and drain over a bowl or large (8 cup) measuring cup. Squeeze the bag making sure you get all the milk. Adjust for sweetness and flavoring  pour into glass bottle and refrigerate. It’s also delicious in coffee! Dont throw away the nut meal, put it in a ziplock bag and freeze. I use it for granola.

I also took my banana bread recipe that is here on the blog and made it into marbled banana bread. I will post the recipe later it turned out great!

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A few more photos of what I have been making recipes to follow!

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Cantaloupe popsicles

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Vegan nectarine and plum tart

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My first tomato

Easy Homemade Pita Bread

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Making homemade bread for many seems a daunting task, it can be difficult depending on what type of bread you choose. I become instantly confused when I read about hydration levels and keeping a starter alive has eluded me. I came upon this recipe for homemade pita on Food52 years ago, saved it but have never made it. The recipe comes from Linda aka Lapadia, a great cook and community member and a trusted and consistent source of delicious recipes. This bread couldn’t be easier, it comes together so easily only has one rise of 2 hours and bakes quickly.n

Homemade pita bread is delicious, you can make this and freeze the bread using only what you need or use. I like to heat directly on my gas burner turning with tongs.

I am bringing these with me to fiesta Friday #175 and guess what I am cohosting this week with Monika @ everyday healthy recipes

Hope you all stop by the party it’s always a good time for all!!

Pita Bread

made 10 pita but depends on the size how any the recipe yields

recipe on Food52 by Lapadia

3 1/4 cups bread flour ( I used 3 cups bread flour and 1/4 cup spelt)

2 1/2 tsp instant yeast

2 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

Mix all ingredients together and gather with your hands into a cohesive ball. Cover with tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.

heat oven to 500 degrees. Pita likes a hot oven.

break off pieces of dough and roll into a circle fairly thin approximately 1/4 inch thick. Place on baking sheet and bake until lightly browned and puffed about 8 minutes.

I made a sandwich with homemade black bean veggie burger, micro arugula, pickled vegetables, tomato and thousand island dressing.  It was So good,  good highly recommend that you try making this bread.

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Watercress Ricotta Torte

I  got a bit sidelined recently and although I made this recipe over a week ago it is just getting posted today, this recipe is delicious, easy to make and feeds an army. I was immediately drawn to it because there is no pie crust involved and it is similar to a quiche without the carb laden crust. The recipe is from Saveur, I made a few changes as I didn’t have quite enough watercress and I had some pea shoots in the crisper. They say to make it in a 9 inch spring form pan,I only had a 10 inch so added extra ingredients so it would t be as flat as a pancake. I also added more whole eggs and only 2 egg yolks. The beauty of making savory food is that you can adapt and get creative with ingredients. Here is the original recipe Watercress Ricotta Torte .

I am still trying to post using my iPad until I can purchase a new computer. Hoping that I am able to retrieve all of my documents and things that were on there, won’t know until I take it into the Apple Store and they take a look at it. I really don’t like using the iPad probably because I am not used to it. At least I can post albeit with some difficulties.

Watercress and ricotta torte

serves 6-8 generously

unsalted butter softened for greasing the pan

2 cups cleaned baby watercress chopped

1 cup pea shoots

3 cups ricotta cheese

1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano

1/2 cup asiago grated

8 whole eggs

2 egg yolks

pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

zest of 1/2 lemon

4 scallions ends trimmed and left whole roasted until softened and lightly browned

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease well your springform pan. Microwave the watercress for 60 seconds and set aside. Chop pea shoots.

Add to a medium bowl the ricotta and sour cream, most of the grated cheese (reserve a little to sprinkle on top of the torte), the nutmeg, eggs and yolks, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Beat to combine and add the watercress and pea shoots stir just until combined.  Pour into the prepared pan top with the roasted scallions and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. Bake for 45-60 minutes. The middle will slightly jiggle. Remove from oven and turn on the broiler, place u dear the broiler until top is browned. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan, best served warm or at room temperature.

 

I killed My Computer

IMG_2116Well, I did it. I am normally so careful and today I broke my own rule and had my coffee next to the computer which I never do, of course I promptly knocked it over onto the computer. The computer appears to be dead it is covered with uncooked rice, a suggestion by friends. Because of this I may not post anything for a while until either I can pull a Victor Frankenstein and re-animate or get a new one. Hoping all of my information is not lost. Using my iPad to post this we will see how that works. Hope you all had a great Memorial Day that celebrate the holiday and that you have a great week.

Made an ice cream cake for the holiday and as soon as I get used to using an iPad I will post the recipe.

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Mary’s Secret Ingredients Spring Box And A Smoothie Bowl

I need to apologize to Mary Frances, she was kind enough to send me her beautiful spring box of goodies. I told her I would include on the blog and post a recipe for one of the items included in the box. Time, life, stuff got me busy and I am afraid I am late in posting.

Mary’s Secret Ingredient Spring Box

I have used just about every item in the box, and love how varied and versatile they all are. I always look forward to the kitchen gadget which is always included. The stainless steel soap bar is so cool. When you cut garlic the smell of the garlic is transferred to your fingers,  I always knew that stainless steel removes the odor and pull out the nearest stainless steel utensil that I can find and rub my fingers on it using soapy water. It works every time but this handy gadget makes it easy, you fill with your favorite soap and rub away, it even comes with it’s own little caddy so no mess. Love it!

I really wondered what to make with the ingredients, I used the Get Dressed as a marinade for chicken, it was delicious but didn’t have good light and couldn’t take a photo. Honestly, I am not much of a mustard eater and don’t eat sandwiches so I still haven’t opened the mustard although I am certain it’s delicious. The whiskey infused chocolate truffles were so good I quickly downed them and, they were just fine on their own so why mess with perfection. That left the Soom chocolate tahini, I was a bit skeptical, I like tahini in hummus and halva is delicious but mixing with chocolate was something I never thought of. Tasting a spoonful of it, and then another I sort of became obsessed with the flavor, it’s delicious, not too sweet, you can definitely taste the tahini but it’s so well balanced with the chocolate I really liked it a lot.

I am on Instagram all the time and see these amazing smoothie bowls posted, every morning I have a smoothie or shake but never made a smoothie bowl. It came to me, use the chocolate tahini in a smoothie bowl, decorate with some fresh fruit and crunchy stuff and it would make an awesome breakfast. So that is exactly what I did. I always have frozen fruit on hand, for this smoothy I used frozen banana’s and strawberries, some coconut milk and the chocolate tahini. Blend it, pour it in a bowl, decorate. Simple and healthful and delicious.

Thank you again Mary Frances for the amazing box of goodies, I totally enjoyed it and apoligize again for the late posting. You all should give one of Mary’s boxes a try, visit Mary’s blog for amazing recipes and information about ordering her boxes, you will be introduced to some really great products, part of the proceeds goes to charity and I feel very strongly about always supporting small business. I believe the Spring Box may be sold out but you can order the box for Summer here.  Hurray for Entrepreneurs!