Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Yer Blues, but not All Blues: Blueberry & Blackberry Crumb Pie

She was correct. And I should probably also say, “as usual” but hey, I’m the one making the pies. You expect me to remember if I made a blueberry and blackberry combo for pie night? I’ve made them at work but I am obviously confusing my realities.
My daughters would have a snappy comeback for that admission.
Fresh, locally grown blackberries are a treat. Sweeter than the ones you find in the grocery store all year round and perfect to mix in with blueberries.
While blueberries are still abundant, take advantage and buy extra. Spread them out on a tray, freeze them, then bag them and put them back into the freezer for future use.
I am still finding sour pie cherries at my local farmers’ market; it must be a bumper year. I have purchased extra, pitted and bagged them, and tucked them away in the freezer. Come Thanksgiving, you will be able to make some different pies for the feast. 
You’ll find recipes here, but it’ll be awhile.
Until then, enjoy your anti-oxidants.

Blueberry & Blackberry Crumb Pie
For one 9” pie. You will need pie dough for one pie

1 pint (2 cups) blueberries
1 pint (2 cups) blackberries
½ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1. Rinse the blueberries under cold water and let drain. Pick over the berries and remove any stems, if necessary. Place the blueberries into a bowl with the blackberries. Add the sugar and lemon juice and mix carefully. Let stand for at least 20 minutes.
2. On a lightly floured surface roll out the pie dough to 1/8th –inch thickness. Lift and place the pie dough into the dish; do not stretch. Trim around the edge of the crust leaving about a ½ inch overhang. Roll this extra dough under and crimp the edge of the crust. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
3. To make the crumb topping, place all of the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients together. Add the butter and mix until the mixture comes together and forms medium-sized crumbs. Set aside. (Alternately, this can be done by hand using a fork or a pastry blender).
4. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix the cornstarch into the berries until the cornstarch has dissolved. Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator. Spread the berries and the juices into the prepared pie shell. Cover with the crumb topping. Place the pie onto baking tray and place the pie into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Continue baking for 45 to 55 minutes until the filling is bubbling. You might want to rotate the pie during baking for even browning. Remove pie from the oven and let cool. This probably demands some ice cream.

Crumb Topping
1 cup  all-purpose flour (you can substitute some whole wheat flour if you wish)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar                                               
¼ cup oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 pound (one stick) unsalted butter

.....and yes, you can make this pie with all blues, i.e. blueberries. 
You can watch and hear what Wayne Shorter does with All Blues here-

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blueberry & Black Raspberry Pie with Crème Fraiche

This recipe is from my archives. I had made it years ago using only blueberries but with black raspberries continuing to appear at the farmers’ market, it was an easy decision to combine both. Having made a blueberry/black raspberry pie last summer a variation was called for this year. I had originally used sour cream in the original recipe but I switched over to crème fraiche for this go around. Either works.
This pie has no top crust with the crème fraiche/sour cream custard going over the filling toward the end of baking. Because of that, the pie is covered loosely with foil until the filling begins to bubble and thicken.

Blueberry & Black Raspberry Pie with Crème Fraiche
For one 9” pie
You will need pie dough for one 9” pie.
You can use 4 cups blueberries if black raspberries are unavailable.

1 pint (2 cups) blueberries
1 pint (2 cups) black raspberries
½ cup sugar
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 ½ cups (12 ounces) crème fraiche or sour cream
2 Tablespoons brown sugar.

1. Rinse the blueberries under cold water and drain in a colander; pick over the berries and remove any stems, if necessary. Place the blueberries into a bowl. Add the black raspberries, sugar and lemon juice. Toss to coat the berries. Set side for 20 to 30 minutes.
2. One a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough to an 1/8th inch thickness and fit the crust into the pie pan, lifting and placing the dough into place, not stretching the dough to fit. Trim and crimp the edge of the crust. Refrigerate the pie shell for 20 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator and place it onto a baking tray. Add the cornstarch to the berry mixture and mix carefully until the cornstarch dissolves; if the mixture appears dry add an extra tablespoon or two of cold water to the berries. Spread the berries in and even layer into the pie shell. Place the pie into the oven and bake uncovered for 10 minutes. After reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.
4. After 15 minutes, remove the pie from the oven. Carefully cover the pie loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. Return the pie to the oven and continue baking for an additional 25 to 35 minutes, until the filling is gently bubbling and thickening.
5. In a bowl, whisk together the crème fraiche or sour cream, egg and sugar. Remove the pie from the oven and uncover. The filling should be gently bubbling and thickening. Carefully pour the custard mixture over the top of the pie, gently spreading it out over the filling. Return the pie to the oven and bake for a final 10 to 15 minutes until custard has set and is golden brown.  Remove pie from the oven and let cool completely before serving.

                                                   Who says you can't get no satisfaction?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Chanterelles and English Peas: Two for the Season

These recipes were inspired by a recent visit to the farmers’market where the first English peas, also called shell peas, and chanterelle mushrooms arrived. Fresh peas and chanterelles work well together so I paired them together with tagliatelle pasta for one dinner and for another with wild sockeye salmon.
The first time I cooked chanterelle mushrooms, I smelled the slight scent of apricots as they cooked which is, curiously enough, the title of a painting by Archile Gorky, “The Scent of Apricots on the Field.”
                                                  The Scent of Apricots on the Field (1944)

We made fresh pasta, but you don’t have; any wide pasta will work. Since we had to shell the peas, we made the pea pods into a broth to use with the pasta. You could just as easily use some of the pasta cooking water. The recipe calls for ricotta salata, but again, you could use Parmesan or Pecorino cheese. If you need one, a recipe for pasta dough is at the end.

Tagialtelle Pasta with Chanterelles and English Peas
While this was made for three people, it could serve four.

One recipe fresh pasta cut into wide noodles or 8 ounce dried pasta

1 quart basket English or shell peas, shelled, approx. 1 cup peas
¼ pound chanterelle mushrooms
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon minced garlic
salt and ground black pepper
olive oil, for cooking
1 or 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 to 4 Tablespoons grated ricotta salata                      

2 Tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese

1. Shells the peas and set aside. If you are making the pea broth, rinse the pods in cold water. Place the pea pods into a medium-sized saucepan with one carrot, chopped, a small piece of onion, and a rib of celery, chopped. Cover the vegetables with cold water; season with ½ teaspoon salt and add 4 to 5 black peppercorns to the pan Place the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the broth simmers until reduced by 2/3ds, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the broth, reserving the broth and discarding the solids. Set aside until needed.
2. Place a pot of cold, salted water on the stove. Cover and bring to a boil. When the water boils, cook the pasta until al dente (cook about 1 minute less than suggested).
3.While the pasta is cooking, cook the chanterelles and peas: Wipe the chanterelles clean. Tear the mushrooms lengthwise and set aside. Place a large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Swirl in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the shallots and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the chanterelles to the pan, season them with salt and black pepper, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes; add extra olive oil if necessary. Add the garlic and continue cooking the chanterelles until tender, about 5 minutes total.
4. Add the peas to the pan. Ladle about ½ cup of the pea broth or pasta cooking water to the pan. Lightly season with some salt and cook the peas until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set pan aside until the pasta is ready.
5. If you are not using the pea broth, ladle some of the pasta water and transfer it to a measuring cup before draining the pasta. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the chanterelles and peas. Ladle some more of the pea broth (or pasta water) into the pan. Add the unsalted butter and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the pan and toss to coat the pasta. Add the cheeses and toss together. The cheeses will melt and turn creamy. Remove the pan from the heat and divide the pasta between serving bowls. Serve.

Fresh Pasta Dough                                    

makes ½ pound of dough

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1. Place the flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the eggs and mix until a ball of dough forms. Remove the pasta dough and knead for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling out. The dough can also be mixed by hand.

Grilled Wild Salmon with Chanterelles, Fresh Peas, and New Potatoes

Wild Alaska salmon had been arriving for its short seasonal visit. Wild salmon needs little extra flavor enhancement, just a simple brushing of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkling of salt and some ground black pepper before grilling. If you are afraid that the salmon might stick to the grill, you can use a grill basket to hold the salmon. If you go directly onto the grill make sure the grill rack is hot and has been rubbed with oil. Avoid the common mistake of constantly moving the fish around on the grill as it cooks. It will lift off the grill when it is ready. You can also use a grill pan inside.
In preparation, you want to cook the bacon, boil the potatoes, and start the chanterelles and peas. The potatoes can be any variety; I had fingerlings so I used them.

For two servings:
Two  4 to 5 ounce filets wild salmon
4 small, new potatoes
1 piece bacon, thick sliced, but not necessary
2 ounces chanterelle mushrooms
½ cup shelled peas
1 to 2 Tablespoons minced shallot
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
salt and ground black pepper
olive oil, for cooking
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, to finish the sauce.

1. Place the potatoes into a pot of cold, lightly salted water. Bring the pot to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender; a knife inserted into potato should slide easily into the potato. Remove from the heat, drain, and place the potatoes onto a plate to cool.
2. Slice the bacon crosswise into ½ “ wide pieces. Cook the bacon in a small pan until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan, drain it on a paper towel, and it set aside.
3. Wipe the chanterelles with a paper towel and tear them lengthwise into pieces, depending on their sizd. Place a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high heat. Swirl in about 2 tablespoons olive oil into the pan. Add the shallots and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and sauté; season with salt and black pepper. After about two minutes, add the garlic and stir together. Add additional olive oil if the pan appears dry. Add the peas into the pan and toss them together with the mushrooms. Add the broth to the pan and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes; Set pan aside.
4.  Slice the potatoes in half and place them into a bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush the salmon with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and ground black pepper. Place the potatoes onto the grill; since they are already cooked you just want to heat them through and get some grill marks on them. Grill the fish; cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of the filet; sockeye tends to be about ½” thick, so grill for 3 to 4 minutes a side. Remove the potatoes after they have been grilled and taken on a nice color. Remove the fish from the grill to a plate. Cover and keep warm while finishing the sauce.
5. Return the pan with the chanterelles and peas to the heat. Add the reserved bacon and bring to a simmer. Add the butter and swirl until the butter has melted. Taste for seasoning and correct if necessary.
6. Remove the skin from the salmon, if necessary. Arrange the potatoes around the outside of the plate. Place a salmon filet onto the center of each plate. Divide the chanterelles, peas, bacon and sauce between the portions and serve.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

You Are my Thrill: Strawberry & Black Raspberry Pie

“Formerly, we had a short, intensive strawberry season. Now, like poor relations, they are always with us. No longer a thrill, just an everyday “happenstance” that leaves us unmoved.”
                                    -The Joy of Cooking 1943 edition

You need not be unmoved. You just need to hurry to enjoy the last of this longer-than-usual season of fresh local strawberries. I paired them with black raspberries purchased from Mickley’s Orchard, one of the growers at our local farmers’ market who also announced that he would have strawberries throughout the summer. To quote Stimpson J. Cat, “Oh, Joy!”

Pie night resumes once again. Ego percoquo ergo sum.*

Strawberry and Black Raspberry Pie
I made this as a double crust pie, opting to make a tight lattice top, but you could just as easily cover it with a plain top crust. Just don’t forget to cut a small steam hole in the center.

You will need a double recipe of pie dough
For one 9” pie

3 cups strawberries from 1 quart of strawberries
1 pint black raspberries, about 1 ¼ cups
¼ cup  sugar
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water

1. Rinse the strawberries with cold water.  Remove the stems from the strawberries and cut them in half or not at all depending on their size; local strawberries are often small enough to bake whole. Place the strawberries and the black raspberries into a bowl; add the sugar and mix, coating the berries with the sugar. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the juices to come out.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of pie dough to an 1/8th inch thickness. Lift and place the dough into the pie dish, fitting it, not stretching it, into place. Place the pie dish into the refrigerator to chill.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
4. On a lightly floured surface roll out the second piece of pie dough. Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator. Brush the edge of the crust with some of the egg wash mixture. Add the cornstarch to the berries and mix carefully until cornstarch has dissolved. Spread the berries in an even layer on the bottom the pie shell. Cut the second piece of dough into strips and weave them into a somewhat tight lattice with little of the filling showing. Trim the edges of the crust, seal and crimp the edges together. Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash mixture. Sprinkle the top of the pie with some sugar. Place the pie onto a baking tray and place into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 25 minutes. Rotate the pie and continue baking for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until the pie is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove from oven, let cool and serve.

*I know I will hear from oldest daughter, our Latin scholar, about my lousy translation but at least they keep in touch, if only to point out the error of our ways.