Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pure Preservation

I stumbled across an amazing blog today (this lady is living my dream!) and I'm so excited to start trying recipes with honey in them.  Here are the first two I want to try.

Honey Strawberry Lemonade
5 or 6 fresh or frozen strawberries (clean and hull fresh strawberries)
1/4 to 1/2 c honey (more or less to your own liking)
1 small can frozen lemonade concentrate, made according to directions (you will only use about 1/2 of this in the recipe)
Ice cubes 

In blender, process strawberries with honey until pureed. If using frozen, no need to thaw first. Add lemonade and blend.  Use a few ice cubes if using fresh strawberries and it's not "slushy" enough for you or you can add the frozen lemonade straight into the blender without making according to directions first.   Substitute limeade concentrate for lemonade for a twist. Can use maple syrup or stevia in place of honey (but why would you want to do that?) 

Honey Strawberry Tea Cooler (Adapted from the National Honey Board)
1 pint strawberries
1/2 c honey
1 can frozen orange juice
2 cups brewed green tea

Process strawberries and honey in blender.  Add juice and stir into tea.  Serve over ice.

Within the week I'll be grocery shopping for canning ingredients.  My beans and things are far from ready to be canned but if I'm prepared with the necessities, I'll be more motivated.  It's a little sad that I have to trick myself into it.  :)  Anyways, I plan to can green beans according to the recipe found here along with blueberry jam from the same recipe source.  I have big plans, but we'll see how it goes.  Mostly I'm just interested in the idea of a canning party. 

Also, I've missed baking pies.  I'll try out this whole gluten-free business at my earliest convenience.  This reciple is from gluten free girl's blog which rocks!

This is a super-chatty recipe. Forgive the length, but I wanted to make it feel like I’m standing in the kitchen with you, showing you how to make this pie. You can do it. Read through, gather your ingredients, and then begin.
A happy baker makes a happy pie. Remember that. Don’t be afraid. What’s the worst that could happen? It’s pie.
For the dough
350 grams Aherns’ all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
230 grams (2 US sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup ice-cold water, plus a few splashes more
For the filling
1 pint strawberries (as red and juicy as you can find them)
1 pint cherries, pitted
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ cup sugar (or more, if you have a sweeter tooth)
70 grams (about ½ cup) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon Saigon cinnamon (we’ve been loving this one from McCormick Gourmet)
1 large egg, beaten
Preparing to make the dough. Cut the butter into one-inch cubes. Put them in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Making the dough. Put the flour and salt into a large food processor. Pulse them together until the flour is fluffy and aerated.
Add the butter cubes. Pulse ten times. (Count loudly, and firmly: one! two! three! as though you are a toddler proud to know how to say these numbers.) At this point, the flour and butter should look like a sandy mixture, with the butter chunks still visible.
Pour in the ½ cup of ice-cold water. Pulse five times. Look at the dough. If it still looks a bit dry, add a splash more water, not exceeding another ¼ cup. The finished dough should like curds of dry cottage cheese. (See photograph above.) Stop adding water.
Forming the dough into a disk. Dump the dough onto a clean, cool surface. (We love our marble pastry board.) Gently gather all the dough together in your hands. Working quickly, take half the dough, make it into a ball, then flatten it into a plump disk, about 2 inches tall. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Do the same with the remaining dough.
(Now let’s be honest here. If you want, you could roll out the dough immediately. Sure, the dough is better when you let it rest, because the flours hydrate more fully. But if you’re in a rush, you can roll out the dough immediately, if you work quickly.)
Making the filling. Meanwhile, prepare the filling of your choice. In this case, we’re working with strawberries and cherries. Take the tops off the strawberries. If they are large, cut them into cherry-sized pieces. If they are small, throw the whole strawberry into the bowl. Pit the cherries and throw them into the bowl. Pour in the almond extract. Toss the fruit to coat it with the almond extract. Put the sugar, flour, and cinnamon on top of the fruit.
(Now again, let’s be honest. I never measure these. These measurements are a guess. You simply want enough sugar and flour to cover the top of the fruit, lightly.)
Toss the fruit with your hands so everything is evenly coated. Let the filling sit while you roll out the pie.
Rolling out the pie. Take the pie dough disks out of the refrigerator and let them sit out for 15 minutes or so, or until it has come to a chilly room temperature. (Think Seattle in June.) Preheat the oven to 425°.
You have your choice here: a floured countertop, a floured marble pastry board, or two pieces of parchment paper. Once you have made pie a few times, you’ll know which one works best for you.
(If you’re brand-new to this, try the parchment paper trick first.)
Gluten-free dough can be a bit stickier than gluten dough. This is just a fact. So, be sure to use plenty of gluten-free flour to flour the board. When I use two pieces of parchment paper, I lightly oil them, to try to prevent sticking. (And I mean lightly.)
So, using the method of your choice, roll out the dough. Pat down the disk and put the rolling pin on it. Now, imagine that the dough is the face of a clock. Roll out once at 12 o’clock. Then, lift the pin and roll at 12:10. Moving in “ten-minute” increments, roll out the pie dough to slightly larger than your pie pan. Be patient. Think of this as meditation. Roll out the dough evenly.
Now, if you have worked with the parchment paper, lift the top paper, put the pie pan on top of the dough, and flip it over. Carefully, strip away the parchment paper. Go slowly. Voila! Pat the dough down into the pan.
Now, if some of the pie dough has stuck onto the parchment, do not despair. Simply peel it off and pat into the rest of the pie dough. With a gluten dough, this might make a crust tough. Guess what here? No gluten! No problem. Pat away.
(If you have used the marble board or countertop, roll the dough onto your rolling pin and transfer to the pie pan. Again, if it sticks, no worries.)
Crimping the edges. Crimp the edges of the pie pan by working with floured fingers. I press from the inside of the pie pan with my thumb and first finger on the left hand, then press between those with the first finger of my right hand from the outside. (That’s a lot of words. Try to visualize it. This will make sense.) This is one of my favorite activities in the world. Go slowly and enjoy it.
Fill the pie with the filling. Pat it down.
Roll out the remaining dough the same way. Lay it onto the pie gently, like you’re putting a blanket on a sleeping child. And if the dough sticks and breaks, just pat the pieces together. (That’s what happened with both the finished pies you see here. They didn’t suffer.) Tuck the edges into the crust.
Baking the pie. Cut a few slits into the top crust. Brush the top crust with the beaten egg. Slide the pie pan into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 375°. Bake until the juices are bubbling out of the pie, the crust is browned, and you hear a sizzle-whump when you put your ear to the baked pie, about 45 to 55 minutes. (That last part will tell you that the juices are boiling in the pie and are thoroughly cooked.)
And, you have pie.
But wait.
You HAVE to let it cool for at least 2 hours before you cut it. I know. Hard. But you want happy pie, not sad pie. Wait.


  1. I was praying you'd say that. :) The weekend in July that you're not going to play with tourists, you should come here. :) I'm getting supplies tomorrow.