Browsing: Desserts

Strawberry Pie

July24

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When my Mother-in-law offered up a bucket of strawberries that she had just picked and then I found that rhubarb was being delivered in my garden share hamper, I knew immediately that I would combine the two and make a crisp or a platz.  D had other ideas.  He thinks that rhubarb overpowers the delicate taste of freshly picked strawberries and I now know that he is correct.  I have to guard against being overly frugal.  I am constantly trying to “stretch” ingredients, even free offerings.  D thinks that it is his American heritage that has instilled his love of pie.  Perhaps too, because his Mom makes the best darn pies I have ever tasted.  Living up to her legacy and his memories is a challenge, but one that I am happy to take up.

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I will admit right here that I take one major short cut.  I often pick up frozen pie crusts when they are on sale.  This way I can quickly take advantage of fresh fruit when it is offered up.  There is no way that I could ever recreate D’s Mom’s crust (or Sister #3’s for that matter), so I do not even try.  The rest of the recipe is D’s Mom’s though.  It is as easy as pie (tee hee) to throw together.

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Strawberry Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
  • 4 c fresh strawberries
  • 1 c sugar
  • 3 T cornstarch
  • ¾ c water
Instructions
  1. Completely fill the bottom of a baked pie shell with the choicest strawberries.
  2. Mash remaining berries and combine with sugar in a heavy-bottomed pot.
  3. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water.
  5. Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into boiling strawberry mixture.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer mixture until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  7. Pour mixture over berries in pastry shell.
  8. Chill for several hours before serving.

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Kath’s quote: “Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries thrive here. From these they make a wonderful dish combined with syrup and sugar, which is called ‘pai’. I can tell you that is something that glides easily down your throat; they also make the same sort of ‘pai’ out of apples or finely ground meat, with syrup added, and that is really the most superb.”An immigrant living in Beloit, Wisconsin, wrote to friends back in Norway (November 29, 1851)

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Love-that is all.

 

 

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Wild Blueberry Platz

July7

Happy Sunday morning readers.  We were in the city this summer weekend which as you know is very unusual for us.  Yesterday was a perfect summer day-a time for baking and writing and visiting into the wee hours with family and good friends that I don’t see often enough over the summer.  The weekend in town, afforded me the opportunity to write most of this special blog post.  I am honoured to be a part of the Canadian Food Experience Project  which began June 7 2013.  As we (participants) share our collective stories through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity. There were 58 participants in the first round up!  This month’s challenge was to write about a regional Canadian food and I choose wild blueberries for a number of reasons: their exemplary nutritional value, their low cost and their distinct connection to the places they grow here in Manitoba and on the Canadian prairies. 

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The beach areas on the east and west side of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba were populated by various ethnic groups that are like the patchwork swatches that make up the provincial quilt.  The French holidayed at Paige Albert, Jewish persons at Winnipeg Beach, the Anglo-Saxons at Victoria Beach, Icelanders at Gimli and the Germans at Lester Beach.  Our family are not German but we have been welcomed into and have been part of the lake crowd at Lester Beach since the mid-seventies when my brother Tom and his wife bought a little two bedroom cottage.  Fast forward almost forty years and there are now approximately 38 of us who take turns staying at various wooden beach houses within a one block radius.  There are some streets where you can hear German spoken amongst the seniors who still enjoy the forest and the sandy beach.  As you walk along the lanes the cottage families are identified by signs such as the one at the end of our road “The Regiers and the birds live here”.

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Friends of ours who have a cabin close by but who we also know from the city, renewed their wedding vows one summer on the beach and then hosted a huge party in the yard.  At supper time an old metal drum that had been split and made into a barbeque was fired up and there were hamburger patties and various sausages grilled up.  A number of salad and accompaniments were contributed by various guests, as well as a bevy of desserts.  There was one dessert that came in various fruit variations: peach, apple, rhubarb and blueberry.  It was called “platz” and it was the most divine dessert that I had ever tasted.

I am not a sweet lover but prefer desserts like this one that are doughy, and buttery with natural sweetness from the fruit and just a hint of sugar to crunch up the crumb topping.  “Platz” is German for coffee cake and many Mennonite homes have one available in case family, friends or neighbours drop in for coffee and a visit.  From my first taste, I was hooked and now make platz on a regular basis.  I love to bake one up in the summer when fresh fruit is at its peak.  The simple ingredients are always at hand and frozen fruit produces an equally fine result.  I originally found the recipe in a book entitled “Mennonite Girls Can Cook” but have modified it over the years to use half brown sugar and even sugar substitutes.

Wild blueberries are plentiful throughout Manitoba and especially in the lake district.  I love to blueberry picking.  Actually, I have to be honest…I love the results of blueberry picking but not the act of picking itself.  Wood ticks are an issue as well as bears, not to mention poison ivy, the risk of getting lost in the bush and coping with the backache, heat, thirst and mosquitoes.  What I am trying to say is, picking is no fun at all but the results make the difficult task more than worth it.

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Wild Blueberry Platz
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Mennonite
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 c of sugar (or substitute brown, Splenda or Monkfruit Sugar for ½ the white sugar)
  • ¾ c of room temperature butter
  • Scoop out 1¼ c of the above and set it aside for the topping (once it has been blended with a pastry blender).
  • To the balance of the mixture that is left, add:
  • 2 t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ¾ c milk soured with 1 T vinegar
Instructions
  1. Mix baking powder and soda into dry ingredients.
  2. Add beaten egg and soured milk.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Spread into a greased 9 x 13 pan.
  5. Sprinkle with 2 c of blueberries.
  6. Drop crumb mixture over blueberries.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes in a 375 oven.

The time for wild blueberry picking is not yet upon us, as it was a very late spring on the prairies.  But I have noticed an abundance of plants and flowers as I have meandered in the forest, so this summer’s crop is sure to be abundant.  In the mean time, because we so love the nutritious fruit, I always have a pint on hand.  But because I live in a busy house, my plans sometimes are foiled by a hungry family member looking for something to have with their morning granola.  In that case, I go to plan B because I always have frozen berries as well.  When all is said and done, the taste is very close.

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Kath’s hint:  I made a double batch this morning and then split it between three smaller sized pans.  With one I varied the fruit to mango and banana and then added coconut to the crumb mix.  This will go with us to a tropical pool party this evening.  One of the berry cakes will accompany us to a back yard graduate lunch this afternoon.  The third is to just have on hand.  It stays fresh on the counter for a day, can go into the fridge for a couple of days or go immediately into the freezer for future entertaining.

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Kath’s quote: “I remember his burlesque pretense that morning of an inextinguishable grief when I wonder that I had never eaten blueberry cake before, and how he kept returning to the pathos of the fact that there should be a region of the earth where blueberry cake was unknown.”-William Dean Howells (1894)

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Love-that is all.

My First Memory of an Authentic Canadian Food Experience

June7

Hello lovely readers.  How far back does memory go?  I can distinctly remember being four years old.  That is because I started kindergarten that year.  Now a days it is called junior kindergarten or nursery school but back in the late 50’s (yes I am THAT old), there was no such thing as these or of day care, for that matter.  Most Moms were of the “stay at home” variety, unless there were extenuating circumstances, such as my Auntie who was a school teacher because, my uncle passed away suddenly at the age of 27.  I was also familiar with a couple of Moms who were nurses and there was my Mom’s best friend who lived (and still does) across the street, who had a kindergarten classroom in her basement.  As a favour to my Mom, she invited me to join this class when I was four years old.

When I was three, my Mom give birth to my twin brother and sister and so the gesture was to give my Mom a bit of a break, as there was a distinct possibility that I was a tad precocious.  I still remember many of the resources that were in the classroom that assisted us in learning our colours, numbers and letters.  I also remember how the room was set up with long tables in a “u” formation and where the teacher’s desk was placed, in addition to the shelves that held extra fat crayons and pencils for little hands.

I love exercising my brain in  this way because as is often the case as your grow older, my long range memory seems sharper than my more immediate.  I am forever running downstairs to our basement pantry and then yelling back upstairs “Does anyone know why I came down here?”

I suppose that I remember my fourth year so distinctly because I loved every single minute of school.  Does it make sense that the most vivid memories are of things that you love?  My love of food brings clear images to me as well, but in even greater detail, including aromas and tastes.  My first memory of an authentic Canadian food experience was when my Mom and Dad purchased a 1/4 bushel of corn on the cob.  I don’t even know how much that is, but I clearly remember that a pick up truck arrived in our back lane and we were rallied around to unload, what seemed to me, an endless supply of cobs.  The truck had come from a farm in Morden, Manitoba where the long, warm growing season produces bumper crops of corn and apples.

At this particular time, there were seven people in my family, as Sister #3 was not born until I was eight years old.  Feeding seven people is no easy task on one income and my Mom and Dad were very resourceful.  My Mom canned and pickled and my Dad had connections in the food-service business so that he could buy “wholesale”.  My Dad was an agrologist and knew many local farmers and so it must have come to pass that he got a deal on this bulk corn.

I also remember that we were all enlisted to shuck the corn.  The twins were too young to help and so my hands were the youngest and not the strongest, therefore instead of the muscular task of removing the husks and snapping off the stock, I was in charge of pulling out the fine strands that sometimes remain between the kernels.  When the corn was “bare naked”, I recall that my Mom blanched batches of it in her “pressure cooker” pot and then after they were patted dry, she lined six cobs into each freezer bag.  The day was a hot one and in those days there were very few homes with air conditioning.  The continual process of blanching the corn, produced a very steamy kitchen, indeed.  By the time supper came around we were all “dying” to taste the fruits of our labour.  I also think that my Mom must have been pooped, because what did we have for supper that night?  Corn on the cob, of course.  Just…corn on the cob.

There was always a pound of butter sitting on the kitchen table as well as the salt and pepper shaker and I was allowed to dress up my own cob.  Perhaps this is one of the sources for my love of sweet and salty tastes.  The corn was super-sweet-in fact, I think that was the name of the variety that we had ordered.  When slathered with creamy butter and liberally dosed with a glistening of salt, well, I don’t know if there is a taste in the world that would compare.  I was allowed to have seconds.  In fact, I was permitted to eat until my heart’s content.  I don’t recall the exact count, but it was the greatest number of cobs that I have eaten in one sitting, to this day.

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Morden corn-my first authentic Canadian food experience. Here’s a bonus.  Sister #3 is preparing a cookbook of all of our family and friend favourites.  She has tested our Mom’s recipe for wild blueberry pie.  I told you that my Mom and Dad were resourceful and this included yearly family foraging trips for enough wild blueberries to freeze for the winter.  One year our car got stuck and we were almost stranded in the woods, but I leave that tale for another day.

My Mom's Wild Blueberry Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Canadian
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c fresh wild blueberries
  • ¼ c white sugar
  • 2 T flour
  • dash of lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • prepared pie crust
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Mix together sugar, flour and salt, toss blueberries in mixture.
  3. Place in pie crust, drizzle with lemon juice.
  4. Cover with pie crust top.
  5. Poke holes in top with fork so that steam can escape while baking.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes at 425º, turn oven down to 350º and bake for another 40 minutes.

Kath’s quote: “Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn.” -Garrison Keillor

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Love-that is all.

 

 

 

Guest Blogger-Daughter #3: Protein for Preggos

June6

Most of my readers will know by now that Daughter #3 is carrying our first Grandchild.  Yes, I am going to be a Glamma!  J2 is also a blogger and if you are a young Mom or Mom to be, you will really enjoy her posts: Baby Lady of the Prairies

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“In my first trimester of pregnancy I had zero energy, zero motivation to get anything done, my house was a mess and the thought of cooking or even being near my kitchen made me queasy. Then, like clockwork, at 15 weeks life started to gain its color back. I started getting antsy to start and finish projects, I once again gained the satisfaction of having a clean house and best of all I loved food again!

Loving food again is helpful as baby is growing and developing in the second and third trimesters – especially loving foods rich in protein. The amino acids that make up protein are the building blocks of your body’s cells. Pregnant women are advised to consume around 70-100 grams of protein every day. I don’t track the specific number of grams that I take in, but I am always aware of how I can add more protein to every meal.

Since I don’t have any dietary restrictions (by choice or otherwise) I usually eat at least one good-sized portion of meat every day which generally contains about 20-35 grams of my daily protein intake. Lately I have been trying to be creative with other sources of protein besides meat.

Here is a yummy recipe I have made including the beloved quinoa. Just 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains over 8 grams of protein.”

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Quinoa Cookies with Coconut and Chocolate Chunks
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c whole wheat flour
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ½ c unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ c sugar
  • ¼ c light brown sugar
  • ¼ c honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • ½ t almond extract
  • 1 c cooked quinoa, cooled
  • ½ c desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1 c dark chocolate chunks or chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375° & Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. In stand or electric mixer, cream butter, sugars, and honey until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, vanilla, and almond extract, and mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 more minutes.
  5. Mix in flour mixture, ½ cup at a time.
  6. Stir in quinoa, coconut, and chocolate.
  7. Plop spoon size balls of dough onto sheets an inch or so apart, and bake until golden, 12–15 minutes.
  8. Cool on wire rack.

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J2 searched and found her recipe on this blog site.

Kath’s quote: “Being pregnant was the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life. Except for the cupcakes.” Ashlee Simpson

Love-that is all.

 

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Easter Treats

March28

Just in case you need some suggestions for your last minute preparations for the weekend.  Here are Lori’s Mom’s Easter Nests.

No-Bake Easter Bake Cookies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c sugar
  • 5 T cocoa
  • ½ c milk
  • ½ c margarine
  • 3 c of quick oats
  • 1 c coconut (I use the unsweetened one… otherwise these are a little too sweet for my liking)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • ¼ t salt
Instructions
  1. Combine sugar and cocoa in a saucepan.
  2. Add milk slowly. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Bring to a boil, add margarine and oats stirring briskly. Cook for 1 – 3 minutes stirring constantly. (3 minutes was the magic number for me — no more or it gets a little hard)
  4. Remove from heat. Add coconut, vanilla and salt.
  5. Let the mixture cool a bit at room temperature so that you can handle it to make the nests (about 10 – 15 minutes).
  6. Using a spoon, scoop a ball of the mixture onto wax paper. Press in the middle to form a nest. Add 2 or 3 mini eggs.
  7. Refrigerate. These also freeze well!

These are Sister #3’s Easter cupcakes.

She uses a cake mix (white cake with pastel colour confetti sprinkles inside) and a butter cream (1/2 c butter, 1/2 c shortening, whipped with 4 c icing sugar and two T milk) and adds lots of sprinkles and treats.

If you are looking for a fun twist to an Easter Egg hunt, think about including Two Hens and a Rooster from the World Vision Canada Gift Catalogue at worldvision.ca/gifts. This will provide a family with nutritious eggs and income.  What a great moment to teach your kids about helping others. Simply donate the gift online and print the e-card (or select the card to be mailed to you) and hide it with the chocolate the Easter Bunny leaves (he won’t mind, promise).

Kath’s quote: “Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.”  Clarence W. Hall

Love-that is all.

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