Archives for posts with tag: easy recipe
First blueberries of the season.

we all love fresh berries! in winter, though, frozen ones are a great option

Last night I made a quick and easy adaptation of a classic blueberry pie. I was in an unusual and very fortunate situation: I had a bag of frozen blueberries, some flour, and eggs all on hand, all at the same time! I checked the cupboards for my usual supply of baking/cooking supplies… yes, I had sugar, salt, milk powder and oil, so I thought “why not”.

I placed about 2 cups of blueberries with a half cup of water in a little pot on the stove. I cooked this at low temperature until the berries had thawed. I smushed them around a bit, to extract more of the juices. You don’t need to do this, though, you actually shouldn’t try to extract the juices. You don’t need to add this much water, either. I was removing some of the juices and blueberry-dye for more artistic purposes, that I will tell you about another time.

Once the berries are soft, you can add a bit of sugar. I used brown sugar, about a third of a cup or so. You don’t need to add sugar at all, but I was feeling decadent. Into this I stirred two eggs (you could use three if you really like a jiggly pie and have enough eggs). I threw in a tiny sprinkle of salt, imagining the salt and sugar contrasting with each other to bring out the blueberry flavour even more. I didn’t really cook this any longer, I turned off the heat at this point.

* * * * *

I used a quick little no-cook pie crust recipe:

1.5 Cups flour3/4 tsp salt

Sift/stir around in your pie-plate or other pan.

Add: 1/2 Cup oil (I used grape seed that I had on hand, in the past I’ve used olive oil) + 3 Tbsp milk (I used a dash of milk powder, and a dash of water)

Mix with a fork or your fingers (I use my fingers) ’til it’s blended enough to press into the pan firmly. You don’t need to pre-bake the crust, though a few minutes in your pre-heated oven before adding the filling can’t hurt. (I didn’t last night, and it’s still a fine and delicious Breakfast-Pie at the moment.)

* * * * *

The next step for this pie is to pour the remaining frozen blueberries (about 2 cups) into this pie crust, then pour the gooey blueberries on top. Put into the oven (preheated to about 300 or 350 F) and bake until the middle of the pie starts to firm up. This is about 30 minutes, I do believe.

You could try this with variations, different frozen berries, cinnamon, vanilla, other flavourings to suit what you have on hand and your taste. I would like to try making the crust with a gluten-free flour. I almost added some almond slivers to the top of the pie, but thought better of it in the end. Maybe next time…

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

(Whipped cream is not necessary, but highly recommended.)

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a pan of these lovlies, ready to pop into the oven for a quick appetizer

One of the quickest, easiest things to make with savory, sweet, salty, or miscellaneous ingredients is a plate of mushroom caps. True, you do need some fresh mushrooms, but besides the necessity of that one ingredient, pretty much anything else you have on hand can stuff them. I love how the natural moisture of the mushroom comes out, stewing whatever is stuffed in them into a little pocket of taste. When I was a child, it was an old standby in our house to have mushroom caps as an appetizer: Mom would use orange cheddar and a “seasoning salt” to fill them. I’ve been trying out a few different options, lately.

mushroom caps stuffed with hot peppers, hot peppers stuffed with mushroom stems

Some of my personal favorite combos are:

-any sort of pepper (green, jalapeno, spicy, etc) with a drop of cheese on top and maybe garlic too. Sprinkle on some black pepper and any range of herbs such as oregano or basil or rosemary or dill or…

-the stems from the mushrooms mixed in with tomato and a bit of honey and/or soy sauce or any other type of “sauce” you like and have. Or skip those sauces and mince up some olives.

cheese and black pepper. Any type of cheese.

salsa of any type, with or without leftover vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, sweet potatoes.

bok choy with spicy chilli pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

sour cream and broccoli and paprika.

rosemary and goat cheese.

leftovers… any type of leftovers that can fit into a mushroom.

even in the heat of summer, these are worth turning the oven on for

Really, most any mixture works. I normally would “see what I have” then adjust my plans accordingly. I like to mince the ingredients up finely, then stir them together and spoon into the ‘caps. Sometimes, though, I don’t. This is a great type of recipe: there really aren’t any rules. Alright, one rule: if you use cheese, put it on top. That way it will melt and be a sort of “lid” for the rest of the ingredients in your little mini-casserole dish.

Cook at about 300-350 degrees ferenheit, for about 20-30 minutes… ’til “done”!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Fresh from the oven. They're delicious piping hot, too...

I have been living away from “home” now for four Christmases-worth. Happily, each year I have managed to spend the holiday season with good friends, enjoyed many wonderful meals and parties, and witnessed others’ traditions. There’s no place like home for the Holidays in many things, though… and for me, a big part of what makes up “home” (besides the loved ones surrounding me, of course) are certain treats that I enjoyed pretty much every year of my life thus far.

I have mentioned Mom’s Peanut Butter Balls here, before, and how I changed the recipe to be a little more healthy. Another recipe that I gleaned off Mom via telephone this year was Scuffles.

Scuffles are, for my family, one of the highlights of Christmastime. Despite the fact that they are made with common ingredients (I am on a tight budget at the moment, yet I have all the ingredients on hand…) and take very little effort, for us they are a Christmastime-Only tradition. Perhaps this is due to their fattening-aspects. Hmm. Well, in any event, it turns out that many of Scuffles’ ingredients can be altered to be a touch more “healthy”.

Mom’s Traditional Scuffles

Combine 1 package yeast + 1/4 Cup lukewarm water. Let stand a few minutes.

-Mix: 3 Cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 3 Tbsp sugar, 1 Cup butter.

-Add: 1/2 Cup milk, 2 eggs, and the yeast mixture.

-Knead ’til soft. Leave, covered, overnight in fridge.

-Divide into four parts. Roll each part out on a layer of about 1/4 Cup sugar and cinnamon.

-Cut into approx. 1.5″ wide wedges (triangles) and roll up from wide end.

-Bake 15 minutes in 350F oven.

The dough can be frozen, the scuffles can be frozen, all sorts of things can be done to prevent you from eating the entire batch right away. I recommend having friends around when you make them, so that you cannot eat them all yourself.

UPDATING THE RECIPE:

Now, Mom’s recipe calls for some pretty traditional baking ingredients. I have changed this recipe a couple of times, with good results. My tentative changes have been:

-Brown sugar in place of “Sugar”: This caused a marvelous caramelization.

-More cinnamon in place of sugar on the outside: This was good, too. I love cinnamon, more than I love sugar.

-Half Kamut Flour instead of all Regular Unbleached Flour: I didn’t notice any difference, it was still really wonderful in both texture and taste.

-Using organic sugar, infused with cinnamon and vanilla (see previous recipe, thanks Tammy!) on the outside when rolling out dough: Wonderful, and even more delicious than ever.

Indeed, I thankfully have a packet of yeast, some flour and butter, a bit of sugar, two eggs and plentiful amounts of cinnamon. I know what’s for breakfast tomorrow…

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

by Natasha Henderson. Recipe thanks to her Mom.

When I was growing up, there was an infamous recipe (well, there were actually several) that my Mom would make for Christmas. This is one of my personal favorites, a classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate. A reward for not eating them all while they’re being processed is to lick clean the chocolate-pan. Yummy!

care package...

I love this recipe, however, I would like to try some changes the next time I make it. I’d change the icing sugar to a small amount of stevia, or try some natural cane icing sugar. I would most certainly change the sweet chocolate into dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. I already use a natural peanut butter (ingredients: peanuts!) rather than a sugary, fructose-laden, hydrogenated-oily one. I might even throw a dash of salt into the mix to contrast with the sweetness or tartness of the chocolate.

Mom’s Peanut Butter Balls

1 Cup Peanut Butter

1 Cup Icing Sugar

1 Teaspoon vanilla

3/4 Cup Chopped Peanuts

Combine all above ingredients, then shape into balls of about 3/4″. Chill in a pan, on waxed paper, overnight.

When they’ve chilled thoroughly, melt enough sweet chocolate to cover them (about three squares) and dip. At this point you have an option to roll them in crushed nuts, toasted coconut, or graham crumbs. (My family has tried all these over the years and always go back to the plain chocolate…) Place on waxed paper pan, and chill in the refrigerator again ’til the chocolate hardens. Can be frozen (but probably won’t be!) Enjoy!

Natasha will make a “classic version” of this recipe, and will also try out the healthier options. She will taste-test them both, and report back here…

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