Tag Archives: strawberry

Berry Picking Time

Every year I have visions of going to a local farm, spending an afternoon picking strawberries, and then skipping into the kitchen to make jam.  Then I remind myself that I made a pie for Easter and I haven’t had time to post it here until now so I probably don’t have time for berry picking.  Reality is cruel that way sometimes. Whether you have time to visit a farm and pick your own berries or you’re more like me and will be picking your berries at the farmer’s market or supermarket this summer this is a fantastic way to make use of strawberries.

This is a great warm-weather dessert because once you’re done with the crust you’re done with the baking.  So if you happen to have some extra berries and you’re not looking to heat up the kitchen too much this ideal.  I will confess that the pie I made for Easter didn’t entirely set.  More recent attempts have been perfect.  The only variable I can think of is that I might not have heated up the cranberry juice enough to set the gelatin.  Be sure to heat the cranberry juice until it is steaming and you should avoid having a runny pie.  Confession number two- even if you scoop a runny mess out of the pie plate it is still delicious.

strawberry chiffon pie

Strawberry Chiffon Pie


for the pie crust:

  • 1 1/4 C. all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
  • 9 Tbsp.  chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3-4 Tbsp. ice water

for the pie filling:

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries, stems removed, 6 berries reserved for garnish if desired
  • 3/4 C. plus 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 C. cranberry juice or water
  • 1 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin (about 2 packets)
  • 2 C. whipping cream, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 medium-size strawberries, halved


Start by making the pie crust.

In a medium bowl whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together until well-combined.

Sprinkle the butter over the flour mixture and use your fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture.  Do this by rubbing your thumb against your fingertips, smearing the butter between them. Do this until the mixture looks like cornmeal and only pea-sized pieces of butter remain.

Sprinkle 3 Tbsp. of the ice water on top of the mixture and stir with a fork until the dough comes together.  Use another Tbsp. of ice water if needed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and kneed just enough to make a cohesive dough (about 3 times), do not over-mix.

Shape the dough into a ball and then flatten it slightly into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out the pie crust into an 11 inch surface.

Transfer the crust to a 9-inch deep dish pie plate, gently pressing the dough into the plate and fluting the edges (press your thumb around the edge of the crust).

Lay a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil over the pie crust and then fill the pie crust with dried beans or pie weights to keep the crust from puffing up.

Bake for 30 minutes until crust is golden brown.

Remove the pie weights and let the crust cool before filling.

While the pie crust bakes and cools start on the filling by stirring together the strawberries, 3/4 C. of sugar, and lemon juice.  Use a potato masher, pastry cutter, or heavy spoon to mash up the berries as you mix the ingredients.

Chill the berry mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Warm the cranberry juice in the microwave for 15-25 seconds until just steaming (microwave it longer if you don’t see steam).

Stir into the gelatin and whisk the mixture until smooth.

Stir the gelatin mixture into the berry mixture and chill for 20 minutes, until partially set.

Using a stand or handheld mixer, whip 1 C. of the cream into medium peaks and stir into the berry mixture.

Pour the berry and cream mixture into the prepared pie crust and chill until firm (at least 1 hour).

Whip the remaining 1 C. of cream with remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar and the vanilla until firm peaks form.  Spread or pipe over top of pie.

Garnish the pie with reserved strawberries if desired  (cut into halves or slices if desired).

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Strawberry Swing

April’s over after today, and that means National Grilled Cheese Month ends as well.  Even though I love a good grilled cheese sandwich, I didn’t make anything special to celebrate.  I tend to keep my grilled cheese simple, maybe adding in some ham or bacon on occasion when I want to really get wild.  So while I drooled over everyone else’s amazing grilled cheese variations, I also kept in mind that tomorrow is May, and that means National Salad Month.  Unlike Lane who did not eat salad until he was thirty-eight years old, I love salad.  I could honestly eat salad at least twice a day and never get bored.  Not sure what to do with that leftover chicken? Toss it in a salad.  Have leftover bacon from breakfast (okay, that might never happen in this house)? Throw it on top of a salad.  Tired of packing sandwiches for lunch? Salad is your friend.  Need to feed the kids a vegetable so you don’t feel like you’re serving them things devoid of any nutritional value for dinner? Side salad, here we come.

Of course, I have to be early for something like National Salad Month.  The people at Dole have designated tomorrow, May first, as National Salad Day so it seemed fitting to celebrate my love of all things salad sooner rather than later.  While my absolute favorite salad is a simple tossed version with whatever veggies I happen to have hanging around, salad is something I have turning into an experiment.  Even though it’s a little early around here for strawberries, I couldn’t stop myself when they were on sale and I always have lettuce of some variety hanging around.  Strawberries and lettuce might not seem like the most obvious combination, but when you toss in almonds and top it all with some strawberry balsamic vinaigrette, it’s a party.  The vinaigrette gets a little tang from Dijon mustard, and while I like it a little tart you can add a teaspoon or so of sugar or honey to sweeten it up if your berries aren’t quite sweet enough yet.  Four ingredients in the blender and ten seconds are all you need to make the dressing.  The smoked almonds add the right amount of saltiness and crunch.  This was a great quick lunch, and it’s going to be a summer staple in this house.

strawberry almond salad

Strawberry Almond Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette


for the dressing:

  • 1 C. strawberries, stems removed (about 8 large-ish berries)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

for the salad:

  • 4 C. Romaine lettuce or your favorite lettuce blend (I used Dole European blend, 10 oz. bag)
  • 1 C. strawberries, stems removed, quartered
  • 1/2 C. smoked almonds


To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender jar.

Blend on high speed (“liquefy” on my blender) for 10-20 seconds until smooth and completely combined.

To make the salad, arrange the lettuce on 4 plates (for individual servings) or in a large salad bowl (to serve family style).

Evenly sprinkle the strawberry quarters over each plate or over the lettuce in the salad bowl.

Evenly sprinkle the almonds over each plate or over the mixture in the salad bowl.

To serve, top each salad with 2-3 Tbsp. of the dressing, or toss the dressing with the salad to serve family style.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: dressing adapted from Tasty Kitchen


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Academy Award

The 85th Academy Awards air tonight from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood and before I settle in to catch all of the red carpet action, I want to share a round-up of the film-inspired recipes I’ve shared over the previous twelve days.  It wouldn’t be a round-up without some Oscar trivia:

Nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) is the youngest actress ever nominated for Best Actress in a Lead Role, taking the distinction from actress Keisha Castle-Hughes who was nominated at thirteen for her role in Whale Rider.  She competes against Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), who at eighty-five is the oldest nominee in the category.

The youngest actor ever nominated is Justin Henry, who at eight years old was nominated for his role as Billy Kramer in the 1979 film Kramer vs. Kramer.

Silver Linings Playbook is the first film since the 1981 film Reds to earn nominations in all four acting categories as well as Best Director and Best Picture.

Les Miserables is the first musical nominated for Best Picture since Chicago in 2002, and prior to Chicago no musical had been nominated in the Best Picture category since Oliver! in 1969.

Composer John Williams, nominated this year for his work on Lincoln, still holds the record for the living person with the most nominations at forty-eight.  Next in line is Woody Allen with twenty-three.

Three of this year’s Best Actor nominees: Bradley Cooper, Denzel Washington, and Hugh Jackman, have previously been named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive.

For this year’s 12 Days of Oscar feature, I selected four movies that have been nominated for but did not win Oscars, four films that have won at least one Oscar, and four films hoping to win an Oscar this year.

salisbury steak

Pleasantville, Salisbury Steak

ihop sweet crepes

I Am Sam, Crepes

chef salad

When Harry Met Sally, Chef Salad (with oil and vinegar on the side!)

roasted chicken salad

My Week With Marilyn, Roasted Chicken Salad

banana ripple ice cream

The Aviator, Banana Ripple Ice Cream

cream puff

Marie Antoinette, Cream Puffs

chicago deep dish

Chicago, Deep Dish Pizza

chicken lyonnaise

Titanic, Chicken Lyonnaise

lemon butter pollock

Moonrise Kingdom, Lemon Butter Pollock

french bread

Les Miserables, French Bread

crabby snacks

Silver Linings Playbook, Crabby Snacks

mary lincoln apple bread pudding

Lincoln, Mary Lincoln’s Apple Bread Pudding

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Don’t Let Me Down

As we count down to this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, the second film is 2001’s I Am Sam.  I Am Sam‘s Sean Penn was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for this film, but lost to Denzel Washington.  In the film, Sam Dawson (Penn) is a single father to seven-year-old Lucy (Dakota Fanning).  Sam is well-adjusted and provides a loving home for Lucy despite his developmental disabilities.  When a social worker takes Lucy from the home during a birthday party, Sam turns to attorney Rita Harrison (Michelle Pfeiffer) to help him secure parental rights.  In the process Sam helps Rita with her own family problems.  I won’t tell you how it all ends but I will say that if you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend doing so.


Sam and Lucy go to IHOP every Wednesday, but one Wednesday Lucy convinces Sam to go to Big Boy instead.  Sam becomes irritated and Lucy becomes embarrassed when Big Boy doesn’t have “French pancakes.”  The server tries to explain that they don’t have French pancakes, while Lucy tries to explain that what he wants are “those thin pancakes.”  The server correctly asks if he means “crepe pancakes,” and Sam exclaims that he wants French pancakes with fruit topping on the side and that the customer is always right.  What Sam wants are in fact crepes, his favorite breakfast at IHOP.

I made crepes with a sweet cream cheese filling, topped with bananas and strawberries.  They are similar to the strawberry banana Danish fruit crepes on the IHOP menu, and they are amazing.  There are a few keys to crepe success.  Use the correct pan, it should be non-stick and large enough for you to comfortably get a spatula under the crepe.  Use plenty of butter/ oil/ or non-stick spray to spray the pan in between making each crepe (I used a Misto olive oil sprayer) so the flipping is easy.  Also, watch the crepes because they cook up fairly quickly (about two minutes per side) and burnt crepes aren’t anyone’s favorite breakfast.  In order to keep them all warm until serving time, I suggest warming the oven to the lowest temperature possible and placing the crepes in the oven on a baking sheet until all of the crepes are made and you’re ready to fill them.  The filling isn’t overly sweet, which is perfect because the fruit gives this enough sweetness.  As far as fillings go, I love this one but there are really no limits.  Nutella, or whipped cream, or fresh fruit, or jam are all favorite crepe fillings for me.  Oh, and if you forgot that Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and you want to make your sweetheart a fancy breakfast, I strongly suggest this one!

ihop sweet crepes

Crepes with Sweet Cream Cheese Filling and Strawberry Banana Topping


for the crepes:

  • 1 1/2 C. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 C. milk
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Additional butter (or non-stick cooking spray)

for the filling and topping:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 C. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 C. strawberry slices
  • 1 C. banana slices


In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Add the milk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and add a small pat of butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray to make sure that the crepe doesn’t stick to the pan.

Pour about 1/2 C. of batter into the pan at a time and turn the pan to spread the batter evenly and thinly into a 6-8 inch diameter circle.

Cook for 1-2 minutes until the batter no longer looks shiny.

Run a rubber spatula around the edges of the crepe, then use the rubber spatula to flip the crepe and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

Repeat until all batter has been used.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese for 3-4 minutes, then add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until combined.

If desired, mix the strawberries with 1-2 tsp. of sugar (optional, but if the strawberries need some sweetness this is recommended).

To assemble, spread about 2 Tbsp. cream cheese filling (or more or less, depending on your preference) down the center of the crepe.  Fold the sides of the crepe over onto the center, and top with fruit.

Makes 10-12 crepes.

Source: adapted from The Crazy Apron

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Biscuit Power

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Memorial Day.  I spent the day with Lane and his kids at a local amusement park and it was a great day.  Today, we have another holiday to celebrate.  It might not be on your calendars, but it deserves some attention just the same.  Today is National Biscuit Day.

Now, because I was busy this past weekend, National Biscuit Day snuck up on me, and I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare.  Sadly, this isn’t going to be a post where I tell you how to make fantastic buttermilk biscuits.  What I can tell you is how to make a biscuit that comes from a can (thank you to the fine folks at Pillsbury) and make it into a fantastic summer dessert.  This dessert goes against my campaign to make things at home, from scratch, whenever possible.  What this recipe does support is the idea that sometimes a shortcut is okay, and that if you have leftover biscuits from dinner and the kitchen is already one hundred degrees, you can still have dessert.  I did use reduced-fat canned biscuits, if that makes it any better.

Oh, I should mention that I used whipped cream out of a can.  Hey, I said this was a quick, shortcut for dessert that starts as biscuits out of a can.  Also, there is no mixer of any kind at Lane’s, and I wanted dessert, dammit.  If you’d like to whip your own cream, that would make this even better.

Quick  Strawberry Peach Shortcake


  • 1 can reduced-fat buttermilk biscuits (such as Pillsbury), 8 biscuit size
  • 2 C. strawberries, sliced
  • 4 small peaches, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • whipped cream (I used canned light whipped cream)


Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the sugar in a shallow dish.

Remove the biscuits from the package and dip one side of them into the sugar.

Place the biscuits sugar-side-up on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes (or as directed on the package), until biscuits are golden brown.

Allow the biscuits to cool.

**If you’re using biscuits that are leftover from a meal and didn’t dip them in sugar before baking, brush each biscuit with a little melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

While the biscuits are baking and cooling, combine the strawberries and peaches in a large bowl.

Add the remaining sugar from the shallow dish to the fruit (this should be about 2 Tbsp., you can use more or less to suit your tastes).

Stir to combine.

Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

When ready to serve, cut the biscuits in half.

Place one half of each biscuit onto a plate and top the biscuit halves evenly with the strawberry mixture.

Add whipped cream as desired, then top with the remaining half of each biscuit.

Makes 8 servings.

Source:  My dad used to make strawberry shortcake out of leftover biscuits this way.

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