Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Marinated Spring Pea Salad

(Printable Recipe)

Fresh green peas with just a little spark of crunchy radish and green onion make this salad quick and simple, but the marinade makes it surprisingly (and almost addictively) different. This sweet and tangy dressing has much less sugar than the traditional marinade for canned pea and corn salad you may have encountered in the past. I have skipped the corn, as one starch is enough, replacing it, à la Française, with fresh crunchy radishes. Even those who think they don't like radishes will love this dish.

I was lucky enough to find these lovely purple scallions at the Farmer's Market this week, but plain green will certainly work just fine.
Steam the rinsed peas briefly in the microwave, covered tightly with plastic wrap, for 6-8 minutes or until firm but cooked through. For 2 cups of peas, use 3-5 radishes, and 3-5 scallions

For a nice small dice, slice crosswise and divide in half for stability, then turn the ruby red radish on its side and slice again for tiny cubes. Or just chop willy-nilly until you have some small pieces to suit you.

For the scallions, I like to use about half the green, but stop chopping if it is tough at all. 

And now for the dressing.  1/3 cup White Wine Vinegar, 1/4 cup canola oil. To this add 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. (A flavorless oil like canola works better for this recipe than olive oil which contributes its own flavor.)

 Give it a good serious shake to blend and dissolve the sugar and seasonings well. This will look like too much dressing, but we're using it as a marinade so it needs to cover the vegetables well. Serving with a slotted spoon or pouring off some of the dressing beforehand is the solution.  **This salad only improves with several days in the fridge. Try to give it at least an overnight stay there before serving.**

And voila! So delicious is the spring pea. Only made better here.

Fresh Peas (OR frozen NEVER canned)
scallions (green onions)
white wine vinegar
canola oil

SummerFest at the Food Network website is back! Once again, you'll find my foodie blogs along with other great food lovin' bloggers, offering up our best ideas for your Farmer's Market finds all summer long. Each week we'll be blogging together with the FN Dish to produce fabulous ways to enjoy your produce!  This week it's peas, next week corn...hmmm, I'm thinking that calls for something that features the sweet taste of the first summer corn. In the meantime, check out these other tasty ideas for peas:

Dishin & DishesSmashed Pea Bruschetta with Mint
Feed Me PhoebeSweet Pea and Green Onion Soup
Taste With the EyesPeas and Pasta with a Garlicky Yogurt Sauce and Smoky Walnuts
WeeliciousPeas and Pasta
DevourQuick Salad with Peas
Napa Farmhouse 1885Pasta with Spring Peas, Mushrooms and Greens
Red or Green?Szechuan Spring Peas, Asparagus, Pine Nuts and Brown Rice Salad
Blue Apron BlogSweet Corn & Pea Fritters with Pea Tendril Salad
Pinch My SaltHomemade Tuna Noodle Casserole
Domesticate MeClean Out Fridge Frittata
Virtually HomemadeSummer Lasagna with Skinny Alfredo Sauce
The Sensitive EpicurePea Puree with Roasted Salmon and Chives
The Heritage CookPea, Potato and Bacon Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
FN DishFavorite Shelled Pea Sides

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fresh and Easy Blueberry Pie

(Printable Recipe)
Perfect blueberry pie should be sweet with just a hint of tartness in a berry that has not turned to mush, which is just what makes this pie perfect. If you don't have fresh berries, fear not, you can do pretty well using frozen. I'll tell you more about that later, for now we shall devote ourselves to pie. Today I'm fortunate enough to have berries picked from our orchard just today; berries fat and purple and I beat the birds to them by dragging myself down there early enough in the morning to win.

Rinse those berries and leave in the strainer a moment while we divert our attention to the crust. If you don't like to make homemade crust, get the Pillsbury All Ready Piecrust in the red box, all rolled up and ready to put in the pan. Go ahead and bake the bottom crust according to the box directions, but not quite until done, maybe shave off 5 minutes or so of cook time because it's going back in the oven after the filling is in and top on and that bottom crust will cook a bit more then.

For the filling, we'll use 4 cups of berries. However, the success of this pie is in this secret: Take out one cup and bubble them up with a half cup of water and in a pan over medium heat, just until they start to burst and purple up the water, just 5 minutes or so. These we will sweeten and add to the rest so that most of the berries will remain plump and firm and slightly tart.

While those are heating up, juice 1/2 lemon for 2 tsp of fresh juice and measure up 1/2 cup sugar. Add these to the boiling berries. Now, you may need as much as a full cup of sugar if your berries are very tart. Taste them before you start and you be the judge of the pucker level you detect. Remember that this small batch will be fairly sweet before the whole batch is mixed in.

Finally, add the thickener: 2 Tbs Cornstarch and 2 Tbs Water shaken vigorously in a jar.

Stir this into the berries and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes until is goes from cloudy to glossy as you can see in the split pic below.

Now! Gently stir in the rest of the berries and move this glorious delight to your pie shell where we shall make it more beautiful still.

You can simply top the pie with a full-on solid crust and make plenty of little vents with the tip of your knife, but why not go for the lattice crust that lets those lovely purpley berries peak through? With my cheater method for lattice you'll have it finished in under five minutes. Unroll the other crust onto wax paper and cut into strips. If you don't have a crinkle-cutter like this little contraption, just use a pizza cutter or sharp knife.

Place the first strips about an inch apart across the whole pie; now give it a quarter turn and lay the second set of strips at an angle like this. I start with a longer length and let all the others follow suit. It will appear to be woven without the trouble.

Since you'll have extra crust strips left, I'll show you how to make an easy crimped edge. Just layer the extra strips around the outer edge of the pie and pinch all the way around, this way:
Poke with your index finger and pinch around it with thumb and finger of the other hand until you've gone all the way around. Easy fancy.

Now, bake at 375 for 20 minutes or so until golden but not too brown.
When cooled, this filling is just right, not thick and jelled, but just firm enough not to run liquidy blue all over the plate. And the flavor is perfection!

4 cups blueberries
1/2 cup water
 2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 to 1 cup sugar
2 TBS cornstarch
2 TBS water
Double Pie Crust

**Now for that note about using frozen - if you're craving BB Pie and it's just not the right time, skip the out-of-season berries in produce, which are often too tart and flavorless because they've been picked underripe for their long trip to your store. Choosing frozen, especially wild blueberries frozen, is the best choice according to Cook's Illustrated because they're picked at their peak of ripeness. Test the bag though by picking it up and feeling for individually berries rolling around in there, not a solid block or chunk (means they've thawed and refrozen and are often full of ice crystals). You'll still end up with a very tasty pie!

SummerFest at the Food Network website is back! Once again, you'll find my foodie blogs along with other great food lovin' bloggers, offering up our best ideas for your Farmer's Market finds all summer long. Each week we'll be blogging together with the FN Dish to produce fabulous ways to enjoy your produce!  This week it's blueberries, next week peas and I'm thinking about something cool and crisp. In the meantime, check out these other tasty ideas for blueberries:

Feed Me Phoebe: Gluten-Free Blueberry-Almond Pancakes
The Lemon Bowl: Strawberry Mango Chia Smoothie
Dishin & Dishes: Crunchy Topped Blueberry White Chocolate Muffins
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Gingered Blueberry Shortcakes With Light Creamy Topping
Taste With The Eyes: Blueberry Limoncello Pavlova
Sweet Life Bake: Paletas de Fresca y Aguacate
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Mixed Berry Tea Cake
Red or Green?: Strawberry & Blueberry Crisp (Red or Green-style)
Virtually Homemade: Blueberry Mint Margaritas
Haute Apple Pie: Triple Berry Ice Cream
Pinch My Salt: Strawberry Peach Cobbler With Almond Biscuit Topping
Cooking With Elise: Dehydrating Blueberries, Plus Blueberry and White Chocolate Cookies
Devour: Four Healthy Berry Recipes
Domesticate Me: Summer Berry Crisp
Weelicious: Brainy Breakfast
The Sensitive Epicure: Strawberries With White Balsamic Vinegar Caramel, Orange Zest and Black Pepper
Daily*Dishin: Fresh and Easy Blueberry Pie
From My Corner of Saratoga: Mixed Berry Freezer Pops
FN Dish: Wake Up With Berries
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