Cherry-Berry-Peach Pie

22 Jul

Cherry berry peach pie (peach-a-berry) by Fiona via FlckrOh boy! It’s that rare time of year when bing cherries, peaches and blueberries are all readily available at reasonable prices — i.e. the perfect time to make a Cherry-Berry-Peach Pie, one of my all-time faves.

I usually use a frozen pie crust, but if you want to make your own, I’ve added a recipe below. And if you’ve never made a lattice-top pie, fear not — it’s not as hard as you might think, and it’s so pretty! Here is a good video that will show you how.

Ingredients:

3 cups sliced, peeled peaches (about 6)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup pitted, halved, fresh sweet cherries
1 Tbs. lemon juice
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 Tbs. flour
Pinch of salt
¼ tsp. cinnamon
Pastry for a deep-dish, two-crust, 9-inch pie

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the peaches, blueberries and cherries. Sprinkle with the lemon juice. Gently stir in the brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon.

Line a 9-inch, deep pie plate with half the pastry; trim overhang to one inch. Turn the fruit into the pie. Roll out the remaining pastry and place over the filling. If you like, make a lattice top: cut the dough  into thee-quarter-inch strips. Arrange the strips over the fruit in a lattice. Fold the top crust or the ends of the lattice strips under the edge of the pastry and flute the edges. If you like, you can brush the top of the pie with milk or apple juice and a add a sprinkle of granulated sugar.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees aand bake 45 to 50 minutes longer, until pastry is brown and fruit is tender.

Serves 6 to 8

Classic Piecrust

(for a double-crust deep-dish pie)

Ingredients:

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup well-chilled vegetable shortening
6 to 10 Tbs. ice-cold water

Directions:

Blend  flour and salt in medium mixing bowl.

Cut  chilled shortening into flour mixture, using a pastry blender, in an up and down chopping motion, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some small pea-sized pieces remaining.

Sprinkle 5 Tbs. ice-cold water over the flour mixture. Using a fork, quickly stir, drawing flour from bottom of bowl to the top, distributing moisture evenly into flour. Press chunks down to bottom of bowl with fork. Add more water by the tablespoon, until dough is moist enough to hold together when pressed together.

Tip: Test dough for proper moistness by squeezing a marble-sized ball of dough in your hand. If it holds together firmly, do not add any additional water. If the dough crumbles, add more water by the tablespoonful, until dough is moist enough to form a smooth ball when pressed together.

Divide dough in two balls, one ball slightly larger than the other. Flatten balls into ½-inch thick round disks.

Tip: For ease in rolling, wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

Roll larger ball of dough from center outward with steady pressure on a lightly floured work surface or between two sheets of wax or parchment paper into a circle 2-inches wider than top of pie plate for the bottom crust. Transfer dough to pie plate by loosely rolling around rolling pin. Center the rolling pin over the pie plate, and then unroll, easing dough into pie plate.

Fill unbaked pie crust according to recipe directions. Roll out smaller dough disk. Transfer dough carefully onto filled pie. Trim edges of dough leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Fold top edge under bottom crust. Press edges together to seal and flute as desired. Cut slits in top crust or prick with fork to vent steam. Bake according to specific recipe directions.

The Best Potato Salad

8 Jul

Potato saladI love my homemade potato salad, and it’s not hard to make!

First some tips about the potatoes. It’s best to use a waxy thin-skinned type like Yukon Gold or red potatoes, or small “new” potatoes. If you do, you can keep the skins on when you cut them up for the salad, and they hold their shape better than baking potatoes. If all you have is baking potatoes, don’t worry. Boil the potatoes, and then peel them as soon as they’re cooked — the skin will zip right off.

And here’s a foolproof method for making hard-boiled eggs, for those of you who may say you can’t even boil an egg. It works for any number of eggs, as long as they’re in a single layer in the pot. Cover the eggs with cold water and bring to a full, rolling boil. Then turn off the heat, cover the pot and let them sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Drain and place  immediately in ice water to cover, until the eggs are cool.

This method cooks the eggs completely without giving you that unattractive gray ring around the yolk. What this method doesn’t do is make the eggs easy to peel. The ice-water bath helps a bit, but if eggs are hard to peel it’s usually because they’re too fresh! Really fresh eggs don’t have that little air pocket that develops between the white and the shell. For hard-boiled eggs, it’s best to use eggs that have been in your fridge at least a week after purchase.

Ingredients:

1 lb. waxy potatoes, such as red or Yukon Gold
1 hard-boiled egg
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 large or 2 small scallions, sliced (or use 2 Tbs. minced red onion)
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
½ tsp. celery seed
½ tsp. salt, or more to taste
black pepper to taste
paprika

Directions:

Wash the potatoes and cut off any imperfections but don’t peel them.
Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 15 or 20 minutes (test by sticking a knife into the largest potato).

Rinse the potatoes in cold water, drain completely, and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Place in a large bowl.

Chop the hard-boiled egg and add to the potatoes along with the sliced celery and scallion. Add the celery seed, salt and pepper.

Combine the vinegar and the mayonnaise and mix well, then pour the mixture over the potatoes and stir well.

If the potato salad seems too dry, add a little more mayo and vinegar in the same proportions (twice as much mayo as vinegar). Taste, and correct the seasoning if necessary.

Sprinkle the top with paprika to add a dash of color.

Serves 6

Mujadrah

17 Jun

MujadaraSome friends and I were talking about making rice. One noted that she’d started making rice and lentils together, and I asked if she’d ever tried mujadrah, the Middle Eastern lentil pilaf. It’s very easy to make. What makes it taste so good are the sliced onions that are browned to a crisp in oil before being added to the pilaf.

Top with plain yogurt, if you like, and serve  with a tossed salad or an Israeli salad* for a satisfying supper.

Note: Bobbie’s Best Recipes is going on vacation for a couple of weeks, so don’t worry if you don’t get your weekly recipe next week. We’ll be back!

Ingredients:

1¼ cups brown lentils
½ tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste
1¼ cups rice
4 large onions
4½  cups of water or vegetable broth
1½ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
⅓ cup olive or vegetable oil

Directions:

Combine lentils, water, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until lentils are starting to soften. Add rice, cumin, allspice and cayenne pepper. Cook another 20 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is tender. (Check after 15 minutes and add a bit more water if necessary.) Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.

While lentils and rice are cooking, quarter and slice the onions vertically. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and fry the onions in oil until they are dark brown. Drain the onions and reserve. Pour any remaining hot oil over the mujadrah and mix well.

Sprinkle the onions over the top of the mujadrah.

*Make an Israeli salad by finely chopping tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers (optional) and onion – roughly equal amounts of tomatoes and cucumbers and about half as much onion. Drizzle over a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 6

Broccoli-Cheese Salad

10 Jun

Broccoli-Cheese SaladI first experienced this tasty and colorful salad at a potluck, and looked for a recipe online. I found this one, which I have altered a bit, on a site called BellaOnline.

The original recipe called for 4 slices of bacon, which we obviously don’t use in a kosher kitchen. It also called for mozzarella cheese, which I found rather tasteless, so I substituted cheddar. And I use about half the amount of dressing called for in the original, which is plenty (my quantities are what I list here). If you’re concerned about the sugar, you can substitute Splenda, which I have done with no ill effect.

Ingredients:

1 head of broccoli
1 small onion
1 hard-boiled egg
½ cup soy “bacon” bits
1 cup shredded cheese
½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbs. cider vinegar

Directions:

Finely chop the broccoli, onion and hard-boiled egg. If you use a food processor for this (a good idea), do the vegetables first and add the egg at the end for a few pulses.

Mix in the cheese and “bacon” bits.

Make a dressing by mixing the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

Mix the dressing into the broccoli mixture. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Serves 6 to 8

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce

3 Jun

Lemon-ricotta pancakesI had some ricotta that was nearing its “use by” date, and blueberries were on sale at the supermarket. What could be more yummy for a Sunday brunch than lemon-ricotta pancakes?

And if you don’t have your menu set for Shavuot, the Jewish cheesecake festival that starts tonight, consider making these pancakes for a light lunch or supper.

They’re light and fluffy. The batter is thicker than that made with the boxed pancake mix you may be used to, and they take a little longer to cook through, so when you put the pancakes on the griddle, you might want to flatten the batter out a bit with your spoon or ladle. I set my electric griddle to 300 instead of 350, to give them a little more time to cook inside as they browned.

The recipe says to use cooking spray. I forgot to spray my non-stick griddle, and the pancakes were fine and didn’t stick.

My husband and I scarfed down the whole recipe for brunch (though we had some blueberry sauce left over), but this recipe should be able to serve three or four people if you include salads with the meal.

Ingredients:

Blueberry sauce:

1½  Tbs.fresh lemon juice
1½ tsp. cornstarch
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 – 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
2 Tbs. water

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and cornstarch and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and stir in lemon juice and cornstarch mixture. Stir until the sauce thickens slightly. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

Pancakes:

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 Tbs. canola oil

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese, egg, egg whites, lemon juice, lemon zest, and canola oil. Gently fold this mixture into the dry ingredients until flour disappears. Don’t over-mix. The batter will be thick.

Heat a griddle or a nonstick skillet over medium heat (300 degrees on an electric griddle). Spray with cooking spray. Drop about a third-cup of batter onto the hot griddle or skillet. Cook the pancakes until browned on the underside and beginning to set, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook the pancakes on the other side, about 2 minutes longer. Continue making pancakes until batter is gone.

Serve warm with blueberry sauce.

Serves 2 to 4

Sesame Encrusted Chicken with Raspberry Sauce

27 May

Chicken with Raspberry SauceI adapted this from a recipe that appeared in the Detroit Free Press. It was originally sent by Robert Harrison of Swartz Creek, Mich. If you make only two chicken breasts, you don’t need to add any water to the egg. I used panko bread crumbs, which I think adds a little extra crunch. The recipe is a little long and involved, but not difficult.

We used the frozen Empire chicken breasts from Costco, which are quite large, and so we had one left over after the meal (but we used all the raspberry sauce). The next day I sliced it in half vertically and we had lovely cold chicken sub sandwiches for supper.

Ingredients:

⅓ cup flour
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup water
½ cup sesame seeds
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. ground ginger
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, washed and patted dry
2 Tbs. olive oil or vegetable oil

Raspberry Sauce:

¼ cup seedless raspberry preserves
2 Tbs. white or cider vinegar
1 Tbs. sugar
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. ground ginger

Directions:

Put the flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Add the chicken breasts and shake until the breasts are coated.

Put the beaten egg in a shallow dish, and in another shallow dish, combine the sesame seeds, breadcrumbs, garlic powder and ground ginger.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Shake off any excess flour from the chicken pieces, then dip each one in beaten egg and then in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing down so that the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds stick to the chicken. Set aside until all are done.

Heat the oil in a large skillet, and sauté the chicken breasts over medium-high heat about 2 minutes on each side until they are browned. Don’t crowd them in the skillet, but do in two batches if necessary. Remove to a baking sheet.

Bake for about 15 minutes (more or less depending on size and thickness of the pieces) until chicken is fork-tender and cooked throughout.

While chicken is baking, combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. Heat to boiling and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes before serving.

Arrange the chicken on a platter or individual plates and drizzle the raspberry sauce over the top.

Serves 4

Corn and Smoked Salmon Chowder

20 May

Corn & smoked salmon chowderWe’re starting to see fresh corn in the markets again, so keep this recipe on hand for the summer months.

The original recipe called for frozen corn, but use fresh if you can get it. I also added a few squirts of Tabasco and a pinch of ground nutmeg. The potato is optional, but it gives the soup some body; cook it for about 15 minutes before adding the corn. The soup is good with fat-free milk, but if you make it with whole-fat milk it will taste richer.

You can probably use cooked salmon instead of smoked salmon and increase the amount of salt slightly. Once the smoked salmon is in the soup, it tastes like regular salmon!

This is not one of those soups that has to simmer for hours, so you can make it with little advance planning if you have the ingredients on hand.

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. unsalted butter
½ to ⅔ cup each finely chopped onion, celery and sweet red pepper
2 Tbs. flour
3 cups vegetable stock, heated
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped into small pieces, optional
2 cups low-fat milk
½ tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste
2 cups fresh corn (cooked and sliced from the cob) or frozen corn (thawed)
4 oz. smoked salmon, chopped
A few drops of Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce, optional
Dash ground nutmeg, optional
Fresh parsley, dill or chervil for garnish

Directions:

Saute the onion, celery and red pepper in butter over medium heat until the onion is just beginning to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, another minute or two. Add the warm stock, stirring till smooth, and cook another 2 or 3 minutes until it thickens slightly (here’s where I would add the potato and cook a little longer).

Add the milk and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the salt, black pepper and corn. (Remember that the smoked salmon will add some salt, so don’t use too much; you can add more later if necessary.) Add the Tabasco and nutmeg if desired.  Bring back to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in the salmon. Serve immediately, sprinkled with a chopped fresh herb such as parsley, dill or chervil.

Serves 6

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