Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blueberry Clafouti

Quick, and perfect on a busy day.

You Will Need:

1 pint blueberries, washed and drained
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup light cream (half and half)
1/3 cup cinnamon sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups AP flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 inch pie plate.

Combine in a blender:
milk, cream, cinnamon sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, and flour. Whir until well-blended-about 1 minute at high speed. Pour about 1/4 inch into pan. Place in oven 3 minutes. Remove. Pour blueberries evenly over set batter. Sprinkle with plain granulated sugar, then remaining batter. Bake 1 hour, or until puffed and a knife plunged in the centre comes out clean. Serve slightly warm, with powdered sugar or whipped cream if you're feeling fancy.

Sour Cherry Preserves

And if you live in Saskatchewan, there's a jar headed your way ;)

From the Ball Blue Book:

3 pounds pitted sour cherries
1 package powdered pectin
5 cups sugar

Combine cherries and powdered pectin in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add sugar, and stir until dissolved. Bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat, skim foam, and stir 3 minutes to distribute fruit. Ladle into hot, sterilised jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles, wipe threads clean and seal with a warmed lid. Process 15 minutes in a water bath canner, adjusting time for your elevation. Let cool five minutes in uncovered canner before removing to a heat-proof surface to cool. Let stand undisturbed for 24 hours before testing seals. Makes about 6 half pints (I got 8)

I Let My Son Eat Cookies For Lunch

-but made him eat vegetables for tea. He thought it was hilarious to re-arrange our schedule, and it worked really well for me as we were out all morning, and early afternoon.

Posting may be light around here for a while as I'm seriously buried under a heap of work.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Guess Who Lost His First Tooth?

-On a homemade eggplant calzone. I think that's pretty awesome, I mean, at least he didn't lose it eating boiled cabbage or something.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What Was I Thinking?

Today is so hot the weather service issued heat advisories. What did I do? I got up at an ungodly hour, drove to Omaha, and bought thirty dollars worth of sour cherries to make preserves. Yes, I really am an idiot.

I might put it off until tomorrow. So far, the house is staying pretty cool, but the idea of running a boiling water canner isn't terribly appealing.

Sour cherries are really difficult to come by around here, so when I heard they had them, my mind was made up. Have I mentioned how beastly hot it is here at the moment? Yeah. I'm an idiot. An idiot that will be spreading sour cherry preserves on her toast in December.

I've been up since 3 AM. I couldn't fall back asleep, so I got up and made apple fritters for breakfast en-route to Omaha. Er...yeah, that's pretty idiotic too, but at that hour it was still nice and cool in the kitchen.

Anyway, wish me luck.

Hy-Vee Chinese Honey Cod

Another recipe card from Hy-Vee. I didn't cook mine on the grill, but rather baked them in foil packets at 500 degrees f. for 15 minutes, with five standing. Perfect. I served them over noodles, and stir-fried vegetables.

You Will Need:

6 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 lbs. cod fillets

Combine everything except cod and pour into a baking dish. Turn once to coat, and cover. Set in fridge for at least half an hour (I did two).

Place fish in foil packets and place on a baking sheet in a very hot (500 degree F.) oven. Bake 15 minutes, for thick fillets, 12 for thinner ones. Remove baking sheet from oven and let fish stand in unopened packets for five minutes. Open carefully (watch the steam) and serve over noodles, rice, or whatever you like.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Good Fruit Topping

Yes, (hangs head in shame) I made a cake with jimmies inside. I blame Raymond for telling me about it. Just your basic angel food cake, frosted and filled with those flat, round decorations.

Now, the topping is interesting. I had some peaches, and a handful of cherries I wanted to serve with the cake. I didn't really want to cook the fruit, but I thought it needed a cornstarch-type coating. Here's the compromise. The fruit stays fresh, and gets coated in a cooked sauce. Bonus thrifty points: I used the 1 1/2 cups of cranberry apple juice I had left in the fridge that no one liked. I guess it tastes better with a cup of sugar, and fresh fruit.

You Will Need:

2-3 cups cut-up fresh fruit of your choice
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups clear fruit juice

Combine sugar, cornstarch and juice in a small pan. Whisk over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Cook until thickened-about 1 minute. Remove from heat, fold in fruit and chill.

Serve with a really festive looking angel food cake (oh, you know it looks festive).

Blueberry/Lemon Bagels and Cinnamon Raisin

I don't make fruit bagels often, as it limits them to breakfast use, but I had some lovely blueberries that were pleading to be used in bread ("pleaseeeee, bake me in bread").

The blueberry bagels were quite wet, so you'll want to use additional flour as you work in the fruit-the dough will be much softer than you'd expect, but once they are boiled and baked you won't know the difference. I suppose the word I'm looking for is "slack." The dough will be quite slack.

I just made one batch of dough and split it for two different fillings. I'll give the basic recipe and let you follow your own tastes. I do the prep work the evening before (about 2 hours of work) and then boil and bake them in the morning. The overnight rise in the fridge isn't absolutely necessary-you could rise them on the counter for a couple hours and bake, but i think the long, slow rise helps the flavour of the dough develop.

A word of caution-unless you own a commercial mixer, do this by hand. I killed the gears of my professional grade mixer on bagels, and I wasn't even close to the ten cups of flour it was supposed to handle, "with ease" (yeah, my foot!). The sponge is easier to incorporate by hand anyway.

You Will Need:


1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups bread (strong) flour
2 1/2 cups water

Mix together, cover and let stand 2 hours.


Add to the sponge:

1/2 teaspoon yeast
3 3/4 cups (about) bread flour
2 3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
Add the flour a cup at a time. You may not be able to incorporate all the flour-that's OK. Do as much as you can and knead it really well.

After kneading, divide into 12-15 balls (or more if you prefer small bagels). Set them on a board and cover with a damp cloth. let rest 20 minutes.

Remove cloth, shape balls and then punch a hole through the centre-proceed to shape into bagels. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet, and cover lightly with cling film. Let rise another 20 minutes, then transfer sheet to fridge overnight (you may need two sheets if they are small).

Next morning:

Make yourself a cup of coffee first (you won't get a chance later).

Bring a pot of water to a boil, and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

When water boils, add 1 tablespoon baking soda (bicarb). Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal. Place bagels, a few at a time, top-side down in the water and boil 30 seconds. Flip them with a slotted spoon and repeat. Remove with spoon letting excess water drip back into pot. Place on baking sheet. If you are using toppings like poppyseeds, add them now so they will stick. When the tray is filled, place in the oven for 5 minutes. After five minutes, rotate sheet, then reduce heat to 450 degrees F. and bake another 10 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove with a spatula (they can stick sometimes, so be patient) and cool on a rack.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Greetings From The Most Regressive State In The U.S.

Yeah, this last week was particularly awful to live in Nebraska, and I don't just mean because of the flooding. The flooding is pretty awful though. We were spared, but gee whiz-the rain was relentless. the stupidity we seem to keep outdoing on an almost hourly basis. (Racist legislation, science textbooks being pulled from curriculum over mention of global warming, parents outraged that students were taught anatomy in a sex-ed biology just goes on and on and on).

Anyway, during the really fierce storm last evening, I let Danny stay up late to watch television until the storm warning was canceled. The only channel to come in (thanks, DTV with your improved reception!) was PBS, and they had a documentary about William Kunstler, filmed by his daughters. Well, nothing cheers me up more than footage of Bill Kunstler pissing off the establishment, so we watched it. Danny was riveted.

Look, I'm from Chicago. No one ever needed to tell me to be wary of police and other assorted authorities with power-it was common knowledge, and shared cultural experience. Danny's had a different cultural environment to grow up in. When he saw Bobby Seal being tied to a chair in the courtroom, and gagged-he was visibly upset, and wanted to know if Chicago was part of the US. Even a five year old knows that's wrong. I let him watch Dan Berrigan being interviewed, before sending him off to bed. I could tell he was upset though-to a modern child, these things are unthinkable. People aren't bound and gagged in courtrooms for trying to exercise their rights, and we don't go into prisons and shoot to kill. Of course we did, and do, but to Danny this was new territory.

I suppose it was a good week to start talking about racism, and how he's always going to be biased just by being a white, American male. I hadn't planned to formally approach it quite so soon-but he got it. I mean, he really got it. I'm glad it was disturbing and upsetting to him-it should be. We talked about having unpopular opinions, and convictions, and how miserable people will try to make your life.

Little did I suspect watching cops bashing kids heads in Grant Park would have such an impact on Danny. I sort of feel obligated to go ahead and teach the '68 Democratic convention because it is still lingering in his attention. I should try to find a copy of Medium Cool. Having grown up there, I guess I just took it for granted that you couldn't get a fair trial if you were poor, or a minority, or had long hair. I wish there had been greater change over the last forty years, but I've yet to see anything compelling to convince me.

Anyway, it is worth watching if you get the opportunity, particularly if you happen to be living in the most regressive state in the US.

Raisin/Anise Ice Milk

This is closer to the ice milk we used to get when I was a child. I haven't seen it in years, and I sometimes wonder if the fat-free commercial ice creams dealt the death blow to less caloric treats that didn't rely on strange ingredients. There's nothing strange in this, and you could certainly make it with skim milk. The eggs aren't an absolute necessity either, though you get a more granular texture without them. You could try a teaspoon of anise flavoured liquor in place of the extract, which should help with texture. Or just go nuts, and buy a bottle of Pernod for making ice cream. What the hell, I won't judge you.

You Will Need:

2 cups whole milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped raisins(again, you could soak these in booze first, but be sure to drain them well)
1/2 teaspoon anise extract

Heat the milk to steaming. Whisk together the eggs and sugar. Whisk in the milk slowly. Return to pan and cook to 170 degrees F. Remove from heat, stir in extract and cool in an ice bath, whisking.

Freeze in a glass or metal tray in the freezer whisking every twenty minutes until it is too thick to move-then switch to a fork. At the last, stir in the raisins. Store in a dedicated container (the anise will leave an odour).

Blueberry Buckle Ice Cream

This was an experiment that had excellent results. I made a really delicious blueberry syrup-and then went looking for things to do with it. Ice cream is always appreciated around here. The "buckle" part is actually chopped-up butter cookies I had leftover from making the tall ships cookies. I suspect vanilla wafers would be a nice substitute, if you didn't feel like baking-or skip it altogether.

Make the syrup ahead, and save some to pour into a pitcher of lemonade.

For the syrup:

1 pint blueberries, washed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Toss it in a pot, bring it to a boil, then reduce heat-cook, mashing occasionally with a potato masher, or wooden spoon for about five minutes. Strain and force through a very fine sieve into a bowl. You don't want to use the food mill for this job as it will not catch the tiny seeds. Be patient, and use the sieve-the results are worth the effort.

Chop up some cookies and place them in the freezer to be added later-this helps keep the ice cream from melting.

For the custard:

3 egg yolks
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Half the blueberry syrup from above

In a saucepan, heat the cream and milk until it is steaming but not boiling. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. In a large heat-proof bowl with a strainer set over it, pour half the blueberry syrup in.

Whisk the hot milk into the egg yolks slowly, tempering it a few drops at a time initially. Return to pan and cook until it reaches 170 degrees F. (use a thermometer. The old, "When it coats a spoon" isn't really a good way to ensure food safety). Strain it into the bowl with the blueberry syrup, and discard any solid bits in the sieve.

Place in an an ice bath, and whisk in the vanilla extract. When cool, transfer to a freezer tray and whisk every twenty minutes until it is too thick, then break-up with a fork. When it is frozen to your tastes, fold in the cookies, and if you like (I did this, and the look was lovely) swirl-in a bit more of the reserved syrup. Transfer to a container, and freeze several hours until set. Makes about 1 pint.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Red Potato Curry

Another very simple dish that can be prepared quickly.

2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons cooking oil (or ghee)
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 1/2 lbs. red potatoes, diced
1/2 cup water

Heat the mustard seeds in a dry pan until they pop.

In a large pot, heat the cooking oil. Add the mustard seeds, onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook until onion is soft. add the spices and potatoes. Stir until potatoes are well coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, covered for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Stir to keep it from sticking (just keep an eye on it, you need not continually stir).

When potatoes are soft, and most of the liquid has evaporated, serve. This re-heats well. It can also be made ahead, and kept warm, covered in a low oven (170 degrees F.) which I did.

Tofu Carrot Coconut Curry

This really is, "curry in a hurry." If you fry the tofu ahead, the entire thing can be tossed together in ten minutes.

For the curry:

1 block extra firm tofu, pressed dry, cut into cubes and fried in a lightly greased pan until golden.
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
5-6 carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
a generous squirt of hot red chili sauce
a tin of coconut milk

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the pepper, garlic, ginger, and carrots. Cook over medium/high heat until softened-about 5 minutes. Add the cooked tofu, lime juice, soy sauce, chili sauce and coconut milk. Simmer gently until it thickens-about five minutes. Serve over coconut rice (see below)

Coconut/Spice Rice:

1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed well and drained
1 3/4 cup water
1/4 cup raisins
2 whole cloves
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup flaked coconut

Boil the water, add the rice and everything else. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook fifteen minutes. Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mushroom and Cheese Blintzes

We took Danny for his five year check-up today. Mr. ETB took the day off work, which he has done for all of Danny's regular check-ups, so we made a day of it. I really am thankful to have a husband that is involved in his child's life. I know how lucky we are. Everything went great (though Danny was less than pleased with getting a series of jabs) and we need not return until Danny is nine.

After an entire day enjoying the sights in Omaha (well, LaVista, and Millard, mostly) we arrived home at dinner time. I know mushroom blintzes sound incredibly fussy, but they were quick, and simple to throw together.

No trip to "the city" would be complete without purchasing large quantities of books, and this haul was particularly impressive. I'll have another 1950's vintage Homes and Gardens cookbook to share later in the week. There's a burnt sugar chiffon cake calling me.
Yep, that's how you grow a kid into the 90th percentile for height, and the 50th for weight. I'm going to buy him a basketball, maybe it will pay for university. The doctor actually sighed when he said, "He's tall and thin...and lucky." I credit the blintzes, but I guess his 6'4 Papa might have something to do with it.

For the blintzes:

3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups water
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons potato starch. Blend really well until it looks like thick cream. Don't over-do it if you use an electric mixer as it has a tendency to foam-up. Before each crepe, you should give the mixture in the bowl a stir as it tends to settle.

Heat a small skillet with a few drops of oil (you don;t need much). The heat should be medium-high. Pour in a few tablespoons of batter, tilt to distribute, then cook until top is dry, Flip, cook other side for a minute and transfer to a plate. When all crepes are cooked, fill with recipe below (which can be made ahead)

Mushroom/cheese filling:

1 lb. mushrooms, trimmed and finely chopped
1 cup chopped onion
5 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4-1/2 cup red wine (to your taste)
1 cup full-fat cottage cheese
1 cup grated Swiss cheese

In a heavy pot, melt the butter and add the mushrooms, and onion. Cook a few minutes over medium heat, then add spices. Increase heat to high and add wine. Cook until most of it has burned off. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until mushrooms are quite soft. Remove lid and again turn to high and burn off any excess liquid, stirring constantly. Set aside to cool slightly, them mix in cheese.

Fill crepes, fold, and fry in a pan over medium heat until nicely browned on both sides. Makes 8-10 blintzes.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Rhubarb Victoria Sauce

This is really a nice way to use up a glut of rhubarb. We tried a bit on some crackers, and it was difficult to resist, "Just another dab". I imagine it would be good basted on poultry, or pork as it cooks.

From the Ball Blue Book
(makes about 4 pints -I got 3)

You Will Need:

2 quarts chopped rhubarb
1 1/2 cups chopped raisins
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup vinegar (it didn't specify, but I used cider)
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Combine rhubarb, raisins, onion, sugar, and vinegar in a large, non-reactive stock pot. Simmer, string frequently until thick. Add spices and salt, and cook five minutes longer.

Pour into sterilised, hot jars and leave 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe threads with a damp cloth and place a heated lid on. Adjust band, and return to canner. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner, with a five minute cool down uncovered in the turned-off canner. Be sure to adjust times for altitude.

Let jars stand undisturbed for 12-24 hours before checking seals.

Father's Day

No, we didn't really get Mr. ETB a copy of Eraserhead, but I stand by my assertion that it is a terrific Father's Day movie.

Danny made a beautiful card, and we baked Papa a double batch of his favourite caramel corn. That, along with a Park Pass (you need one to enter the State parks in Nebraska) and a trip to the fishing shop will round out this Father's Day. Can't go fishing today, as there's a pretty spectacular thunderstorm at the moment, but we can get the park pass anyway.

The two great anglers are in the living room at the moment stringing line through their fishing poles and getting in some "practice" casting.

Danny's Reaction To The Cake

Danny: Oh! Oh my! Oh! Mama? How did you do that? Oh my! The Victory. You Baked the Victory! Oh! And cookies! Mama made cookies too! Papa look! Mama baked the Victory!

Yeah, that was worth it. The look of amazement on his face, and the smile-completely worth it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

HMS Victory-In Cake

Yes, the sails are all wrong-please don't write in to tell me.

So hey, this was a fun little project. The cookies are nice too, don't you think? My hands are hopelessly stained with food colouring, but wee Danny Dumpling will get the half-Birthday cake he wants.

The cake is a very simple yellow cake that I know from experience cuts neatly when cold. That was helpful fashioning the pieces to construct the ship. Tooth picks help too.

I'll try to post more photographs in the light tomorrow morning. I really hope he likes it.

Movies For Father's Day

All I could come up with was, Eraserhead.

Fried Peas Pudding

As promised, here's the peas pudding three days old. I took the cold peas, shaped them, floured them lightly, and fried in butter.

Caramel/Peach Ice Cream

The recipe for the caramel makes more than you need for the ice cream. Save the extra in a jar in the fridge, and warm the jar in hot water before serving (it will become quite firm). You do want to have the caramel freshly made when making the ice cream, as it will still be soft enough to dissolve in the custard.

For the caramel sauce:

1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, syrup and salt. Stirring constantly, bring to the boiling point over medium heat. Cook five minutes longer (still stirring). Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and set aside while you make the custard.

For the custard:

3 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. In a saucepan, heat the cream and milk until steaming. Whisk the milk into the eggs slowly, then return it all to a pan and cook, whisking to prevent scorching until you reach 170 degrees F. Remove from heat.

Place about half of the caramel mixture in the bottom of a heat-proof mixing bowl. Set a fine strainer over it, and strain the custard in. Remove strainer, and place entire bowl into an ice bath. Whisk to dissolve the caramel into the custard. When cool, freeze in a tray in the freezer, breaking up the crystals every twenty minutes, or process in a machine. At the end, mix in 1-2 large, ripe peaches that have been mashed with a few drops of lemon juice to preserve the colour. Freeze in a container until set. Serve with hot caramel sauce.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bad Weather Coming In

I got inside just as the wind, rain, and lightning began. I thought these clouds looked interesting-almost as though up-side down.

Keep your fingers crossed we don't get hail-my tomato plants have flowers on them.

Now I Can't Kill The Spiders Either?

There was a large hatching of Daddy Long Legs near the house, and we're inundated.

"Oh no Mama, you don't want to kill those, they're beneficial."

I'm quite used to this from Danny, but he did get a strange look this morning at the small grocer in town when he asked the cashier to see the large bug she'd just squashed.

"I have a field guide out in the car, if you want me to get it while you take the bug out of the garbage...I can have a look, if you want to know what it is."

I could tell by the horrified look on her face exactly what she'd just killed, and why she wouldn't care to be displaying it for shoppers. It probably was an outdoor wood roach, and the male ones are really huge. I mean, gigantic-and they fly. It is because of the wings that you see them indoors, flying in by accident, but to the uninitiated, they look like the biggest bloody cockroach on Earth. They very nearly look prehistoric. Anyway, she declined Danny's generous offer to let her know whether or not he bug was beneficial.

He spent a good hour this morning watching spiders crawl across the outside of his bedroom window. I can honestly say, I've never given spider behaviour much thought, though I suspect that I'll soon be expert on the subject.

The best story though-I mean, it is my fault for buying him the book, but really, I can't get over this, happened yesterday. I was washing up dishes and Danny came into the kitchen.

"Mama? Mama? I need a caterpillar, and I need you to cut it into three parts and put each part in a jar, but they need to be different sized hunks of caterpillar. OK? Mama?"


(Pulls out his insect book with experiments from the 1950's)

"It says you can attract ants to the jar, like a trap. The different sizes are a test, to see if more caterpillar will attract more ants. I saw a caterpillar in the mudroom...can I have a butter knife? Mama? Mama?"


Yeah, I should look through those science books more carefully before buying them at Library sales. There was this whole thing about cutting the wings off dragonflies, and fashioning prosthetic ones from balls of clay and fabric to see how long they could stay aloft. Great to know, if I run across any injured dragonflies.

I was going to say, There's one in every family", but actually, we already have an entomologist, so I guess this makes two.

My butter knives!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Peas Pudding-Meatless

If you think it looks inviting tonight, wait until it solidifies in the fridge overnight...then I can bread, and fry it for breakfast. I probably won't serve it between a couple slices of bread, but I've seen it done.

Right, so obviously I skipped the ham hock. I used a tablespoon of imitation bacon bits in the cooking water, and that seemed to do the trick. This is so far removed from traditional peas pudding, I really hesitated to post it as such. Traditionally, people stuck the peas in a cheesecloth bundle, and cooked it in the water with the ham hock. You can cook it slowly in a casserole in the oven to absorb the liquid, boil the hell out of it, or do as I did, which is a combination of both. You get the idea.

The dish received praise from the boys, and there's hardly enough left for frying in the morning (don't despair, I'll turn it into a proper breakfast).

You can make as much, or as little as you like-adjusting accordingly with the amount of sauce. The recipe makes more than you need anyway, so it would be safe to double the amount of peas leaving all else the same.

You Will Need:

3 cups dried, split green peas (you can also use yellow) soaked at least overnight, but better 12-15 hours with a change of water.

1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
1 carrot
2 large sprigs parsley
1 large bay leaf
1-2 tablespoons imitation bacon bits
Water to cover

For the sauce:

2 cups reserved cooking water from peas
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons AP flour

Rinse the peas very well, then soak several hours changing water at least once. Drain, and place in a large stockpot. Add everything else (except sauce ingredients) and bring to a boil. Skim any foam that accumulates. Cover, leaving room for steam to escape and simmer 1-2 hours, or until peas are quite soft. With a slotted spoon, remove the onion, garlic, carrot, parsley, bay leaf. Strain out the peas through a sieve over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place peas in a casserole dish. Prepare the sauce.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture begins to brown and foam (about three minutes. Slowly whisk in the two cups of reserved cooking liquid. Whisk until thickened. Mix as much as needed into peas (this will largely be a matter of taste-use less if you like them thicker, keeping in mind it will firm up as it cooks). Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 200 degrees F. and continue cooking until you get the texture and dryness you like. Serve hot, or cold.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thanks, Janice

About time someone laughed at the War On Christmas blog.

Your email really cheered me on a day when I needed cheering. I pretty much write these things for my own amusement, but it is so much more satisfying when someone else gets the joke.

Of course, I don't post half the things that pop into my head, which I think is probably merciful for everyone concerned.

Thanks again.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Well...It Isn't Like We Knew Him...

The recipe for lemon/arugula potato salad comes from Susan at Food Blogga. I made a few changes like using preserved lemon peel, but this is pretty true to the spirit of her recipe.

Mind you, my child is convinced that Susan is the adopted human daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Potatohead. You know, like the human cousin on The Munsters. Funny, I don't know where he gets all these crazy ideas from? These kids today. Anyway, he was slightly concerned that she was cooking up potato salad. I told him it wasn't for us to judge...and the Yukon Golds aren't relatives because they're from Alaska, not Rhode Island.

Don't judge.

Cherry Granita

You can make this using bottled cherry juice, but since the fruit is in season, I decided to use fresh.

You Will Need:

2 cups cherry juice (directions for extracting juice follow below)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
A generous squeeze of lemon juice (optional)

To extract juice from cherries:

Place pitted and lightly crushed cherries in a large pot. For each quart of cherries, add 1/4 cup water. Cover, and simmer until quite soft (about 30 minutes). Strain through a jelly bag, or a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth into a bowl.

Combine sugar and water in a pan and whisk over heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir into juice. Add lemon juice if using. Pour into a large glass or metal tray (mine is 9x13) and place in the freezer. Every 20 minutes, use a whisk to give it a stir, and break up the ice. When it can no longer be whisked, use a fork and continue until you get the texture you like (about 2 hours).

It keeps surprisingly well in a plastic container.

Blueberry/Cherry Kugel (Noodle Pudding)

Quite a bit of work, but look at it. What a thing of beauty.

For the noodles:

3 large egg yolks plus 1 whole egg
3 tablespoons cold water
1 cup semolina flour
(about) 1 cup AP flour
3/4 teaspoon salt

In a bowl, beat the eggs until light. Beat in the water and salt. Add the semolina and mix well. Add the AP flour by hand until you have a very stiff dough. Knead a few minutes, then wrap in cling film and let rest 30 minutes.

Roll out thin (A pasta maker helps, but a rolling pin will work fine) and cut into short, wide strips. Dry briefly (about 1 hour) on racks before cooking. Cook in boiling water until tender-about 10 minutes. Drain, and use immediately.

For The Kugel:

The cooked noodles from above
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup 4% cottage cheese
1/2 cup cherry preserves
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup raisins
1 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup sugar

Combine everything, and pour into a well-buttered, large casserole dish. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 1 hour. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and bake another 20 minutes or more until most of the liquid at the top has evaporated and noodles are browned. Cool in casserole dish, then unmould to serve. We serve ours cold around here, but it also makes a wonderful warmed dessert.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rejected Blog Names





Bonus points to the first person that photoshops a picture of me noodling a catfish with one hand, and reading Moby Dick with the other.

Extra Bonus points if you know what noodling is.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Watching Backyard Farmer With A Five Year Old

Last night, on Backyard Farmer, they ate ants. Some sort of giant ant from Colombia that gets fried as a snack food. OK, I'm an anthropologist-I've eaten worse. Danny was horrified. I mean, really, really revolted.

Danny: That's not dignified.
Me: Don't be so narrow minded.
Danny: Wilson (E.O.) wouldn't eat ants.
Me: How do you know?
Danny: He studied fire ants.

Challah With Fresh Cherries, Raisins, and Cinnamon Sugar

This bread should make some terrific French toast tomorrow.


Instead of kneading the cherries and raisins through the dough (which would streak the dough red) I flattened each rope and then filled them with raisins, cherries and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Once braided, you can't tell the fruit is in there until you cut a slice. If you prefer an all-over distribution of fruit, just knead it in after the first rise.

Beer Battered Chips

I mean, why not? Right?

I gave the chips a pass through the oil without coating, drained them, then battered and fried them at a higher temperature. The result was a lovely coating with a very creamy-textured potato inside. I can't believe I never tried this before.

Here's the batter recipe:

1 cup flour
1 cup beer
1 teaspoon bicarb
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1 large egg

Beat all together until smooth. Cover, and let sit at room temperature for at least an hour (two is better).

Here's A Nice Refreshing Cheese, and Fruit Platter For Your Enjoyment

Are you enjoying it?

The cherries were really nice. I might have over-bought cherries. I made a batch of jam, and I'll probably make chutney. Summer is so short, I really feel obligated to binge on as much fresh fruit as possible. I have a pile of plums on the counter destined for a batch of plum sauce, but I might sneak a few away for dessert tonight.

Rice Souffle With Arugula/Rocket

This souffle can wait to be served as it doesn't really puff, and rise like an ordinary one. I adapted it from a recipe in Food and Wine from 1993. That one called for parsley. I have a garden full of rocket. You get the idea.

You Will Need:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 small onion, finely minced
3/4 cup rice (I used jasmine)
3 cups stock (I used vegetable stock)
1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using a heavily salted broth)
1/2 cup finely minced Arugula/rocket (or parsley)
2 large eggs
1 cup milk (I used whole milk)

Use one tablespoon of the butter to generously grease a 2 quart souffle dish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a pan, melt the remaining butter over moderate heat. Add the onions and cook until soft-about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains. Add the stock and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until rice is very tender-about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the arugula/rocket, and let cool for 5 minutes. beat in the eggs, one at a time and then stir in the milk. Mix well.

Pour into prepared souffle dish and bake about 50 minutes until set, and lightly browned on top.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A Trip Down Suppressed Memory Lane

doe-c-doe has some images from my youth posted today. That first photo-my mother made matching ones for pink and white angora. I don't think my sister ever wore hers. She was older, and had better fashion sense. Sometimes.

I asked Mr. ETB if his company had anything specific in the dress code about too-tight granny square vests, He reckons they don't. They probably will by the time I put down the crochet needles.

Wonder if I could get my hands on some pink angora?

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Unlike the recipes in the previous post, this cake comes from the same book and is delicious. I don't know that a cantaloupe seafoam pie isn't delicious, but I'll go out on a limb and assume it is vile.

The frosting is a Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook standby, which I will include at the end.

For the cake:

1/2 cup butter
2 cups cake flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup water, divided
4 ounces melted and cooled unsweetened chocolate
2 large eggs

Grease and lightly flour 2 9 inch baking pans. Set aside. preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place butter in a large mixing bowl. Sift in the flour, sugar, soda and salt. Add sour cream, vanilla, and 2/3 cup of the water. Mix until flour is wet, then beat on high for two minutes. Add chocolate, eggs, and remaining water. beat again for two minutes. Pour into prepared pans and bake 25-30 minutes or until cakes test done. Cool ten minutes in pans on rack, then remove to rack and cool completely.

I split into 4 layers and spread with strawberry jam.

For The Frosting:

1/2 cup butter
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
3 cups sifted confectioner's/icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from heat and whisk in the flour and salt. Return to heat and slowly whisk in the milk. bring to a boil and boil 1 minute longer. Remove from heat. Stir in the chocolate and vanilla. With an electric mixer, add the sifted sugar and beat until cooled and of a spreading consistency.

Decorate as desired.

Better Homes and Gardens Pies and Cakes, 1958

Here's some of the pies I've promised never to bake.


To make these, you'll need 3 inch flan rings or round cookie cutters that are open on both sides. In the old days, you could use tuna tins, but now it is impossible to cut the bottoms off, and even if you could, they are lined with some sort of material I wouldn't want to heat. I made these in my cast iron frying pan, three at a time. If you have a griddle, you could do them at once.

I started the batter when I got up, and by the time I was out of the shower they were ready to bake.

Makes 6 good sized crumpets

From Sunset Breads, Step by Step Techniques

2 1/4 teaspoons granulated dry yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup whole milk at room temperature
1 large egg
4 tablespoons melted butter (divided)
1 cup AP flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, proof the yeast in water with sugar. Let stand 15 minutes. Blend in milk, egg, and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add flour and salt and beat until smooth. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled-about 45 minutes.

Brush a pan or griddle with butter and brush the insides of your flan rings as well. Place them in the pan and heat them over medium-low heat. Pour about 3-4 tablespoons of batter into each and bake until bubbles appear and the tops are dry-about 7 minutes. Remove rings, turn crumpets and bake another couple minutes until lightly browned. Cool on racks. Serve toasted, with plenty of butter and if you live at our house, golden syrup.

Wheat Bread Icebox Risen

This bread worked wonderfully. By 9 AM I had fresh bread from the oven, without baking during the heat of the day.

You Will Need:

2 1/4 teaspoons granulated dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups milk, scalded
1 tablespoon butter (melted in milk)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
2-3 cups bread flour

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water and a pinch of the sugar. When milk is warmed just to the point of butter melting, pour over yeast and add remaining sugar and salt. Stir in the whole wheat flour. Add the bread flour a cup at a time until you have a dough that is no longer too sticky to knead. Knead until smooth. Let rise until doubled in a greased and covered bowl-about 2 hours.

Punch dough down and fit into well-buttered baking pans. Brush the tops lightly with melted butter and cover loosely with cling film. Set in the fridge overnight. In the morning, heat the oven to 375 degrees F. While oven heats, let bread warm to room temperature for 20 minutes. Bake 30 minutes, remove from oven and brush with melted butter (or just run a stick over it) and return to the oven to bake another 10-15 minutes until done. Loaves will be dark, should sound hollow and have an internal temperature of around 200 degrees F. Cool on racks.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Half Birthday

Danny's half birthday is coming up. He's still obsessed with tall ships, and British naval battles so...

You know how sometimes you're sitting around at home and thinking:
"Damn, I wonder if you could reproduce the HMS Victory in cake, and sugar paste?"

Really, that doesn't happen to you, eh? What can I say. So yeah, the more I thought about it, the more I thought:
"Why just make the ship from cake when you can do the whole battle...?"

But then of course, I came to my senses because who the hell wants to bake the whole French and Spanish fleet? I mean, I love my little Danny Dumpling, but you have to draw the line somewhere. I draw it at the French and Spanish.

I have just under two weeks to pull this off. The sugar cookie decorations will be the worst of it, I'm sure. Period dress, and all those damned brass buttons. If you told me years ago that sitting in Western Civ. class would be helpful someday I might have scoffed. Little did I know I'd be depicting the death of Nelson in cake, and decorated cookies. God, don't tell anyone-the university might request my degree back.

Ice Cream Without A Machine

I've essentially stopped using my electric ice cream maker. Between the space required to store the compartment in the freezer, to the fluffy, too-much-air results, I decided to use a freezer tray instead. This turned out to be an excellent decision. Not only is it faster, but not giving up half my small freezer to an odd shaped bowl that requires at least two days of pre-freezing is a nice bonus. I can make ice cream on a whim now, and the results are denser-more like a premium ice cream.

Here's a good standard recipe, and the technique I use.

3 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons sifted cocoa powder, if desired

In a medium, heat-proof bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar. Meanwhile, combine the cream and milk in a pan and heat until steaming but not boiling. Remove from heat and slowly at first, whisk a bit of the cream mixture into the egg yolks to temper it. Then, add the rest in a thin stream. Immediately return it to the pan and over medium heat, whisking constantly, bring it to a temperature of 170 degrees F. This is hot enough to kill bacteria, but not so hot that you scramble the egg.

Strain it through a fine sieve into a heat proof bowl. You will probably catch a few strands of cooked egg, so don't skip this step. Whisk in the vanilla and/or chocolate powder. Set the bowl in an ice bath and stir until cooled. Transfer to a large, shallow baking dish. I use a 9x13 glass baking dish and it works great. It is thin enough that it slides into the freezer over what I already have in there. Set your timer for 40 minutes, then give it a stir with a fork to break up the ice crystals. At this point, it is typically forming a ring around the perimeter-so just break it up with a fork. Then, repeat every thirty minutes until it is firm. At this point, you can stir-in shaved chocolate, or chopped up fruit-whatever. If you prefer a lighter ice cream, run it through a blender quickly before mixing in additional items. Then, stir in what you like and transfer to a plastic container to freeze solid. In a couple hours you should have really excellent ice cream that didn't require you to plan ahead, or sacrifice precious freezer space.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

French Breakfast Puffs-Betty Crocker, 1950

These are really reminiscent of something we used to get with school lunches. I baked mine in paper cups, and only dipped the tops in the butter/sugar mix. The directions suggest rolling the whole thing, which is more doughnut-like. I think it would be too sweet (and messy).

The muffins made a wonderful breakfast, and we took the remainder with us for a post-book sale treat. They held up well.

You Will Need:

1/3 cup soft shortening (I used butter)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup whole milk

Grease a 12 piece muffin tin, or use papers if you prefer. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together the butter, sugar and egg until light. Sift dry ingredients together and add, alternating with the milk. Pour into muffin tins (about 2/3 full) and bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, make the topping:

6 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place the butter in one bowl and the sugar in the other. Remove hot muffins from tins (carefully) and dip quickly in butter, then roll in sugar mixture. Serve warm or cold. Makes 12.

Book Sale, Cont.

We went back for the special Sunday hours at the library book sale-the place was empty. I guess people hadn't heard about the extra day. This worked out really well, as many of the tables were marked down to .50 and .25 per book. Music and movies as well.

I went ahead and bought a copy of my favourite feel-good movie, Dogville because I'm too embarrassed to keep renting it from the local store. Now, I can watch the last ten minutes, over and over and over anytime I like-without being smirked at for renting it, again. I bought Farewell to Arms, and Diabolique as well. Those probably wouldn't merit a smirk.

Oh. My. God. Did we ever buy books! It looks like a big old book orgy in the centre of my living room floor, piles of books tumbling over each other. I'd better not hear:
"Ma, there's nothing to do-I'm bored."

Yep, I have the cure for that.

I'll try to post some of the more interesting purchases later on. I scored a couple of Depression-Era cookbooks, and McCall's cookery magazines from the late 50's. My husband looked suitably worried I might try to make the ever-so-lovely looking pie with tinned fruit cocktail, and an extra jar of maraschino cherries. He didn't make me sign a waiver promising never to bake it if he purchased the I guess we could....OK, maybe just a photograph.

Yesterday, we went to Wahoo, Nebraska to check the on-going book sale, and came home with a number of antiquarian books on ships, and sailing. Those were donated, I'd guess-they didn't have library stamps. If you're a local, it really is worth a trip over there to check the sale room as they have the most oddball collection of books, magazines and movies.

Three library book sales, in three days. I know my mother would roll in the grave to hear me say it (she was a little obsessive about used books (and antiques) being dirty) but there's something magical about arriving home, car boot filled to capacity with books, and being hit with a whiff of dust, and must, and old paper. Not mildew, because that would be bad-but the "old book smell". My goal in life is to have my house look, and smell like the Brattle Book Shop. If I never leave the house, I can forget that I live on a damn mud-farm in rural Nebraska. And I can watch the last ten minutes of Dogville as many times as I like.

Every weekend should be this much fun.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Strawberry/Peach Cobbler

I should have taken a photograph, but it was late, dark, and we were hungry. Don't let the lack of a photo discourage you from making this excellent cobbler. Quick, easy, and not overly rich-just the way cobbler used to be (before Martha Stewart, and her ilk got hold of the fruit and biscuits).

I made a few changes, but they are minor. The recipe is based on the one in my 1950 edition of the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook. I used peaches and strawberries because that was what I had-you could use any fruit you like. Fresh cherry cobbler can be pretty fantastic, you know.

You Will Need:

For the Dough:

2 cups AP flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup milk

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. Add the milk. Drop by tablespoons atop the fruit (see below)

For the Fruit:

3/4 cup sugar (use more or less depending on what fruit you have)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
3 cups cut-up fruit plus any juice from cutting
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon ginger (or cinnamon, etc.)

In a saucepan combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add the boiling water and and bring to a boil. Cook, boiling for one minute. Remove from heat, and add the fruit. Pour into a large baking dish. Dot with butter and sprinkle with ginger. Top with biscuit dough. Bake in a preheated 400 degree F. oven for 30-35 minutes. Serve warm (but it is pretty darn good cold for breakfast the next day).

At The Quarterly Library Sale

No one told me I should, "Read to my child" this time. I did however get an angry snarl from an elderly volunteer:

(Looking at our books as we checked out) "You homeschool, don't you?"

Which on the surface sounds somewhat amusing. Really, what gave it away? The book on the Spanish Civil War?

(Still snarling) "I can't believe you don't need to be certified."

I smiled, and paid for my books. I came to understand years ago that I do not owe anyone, let alone strangers, an explanation for my parenting decisions. Once you start taking unsolicited advice to heart, you're doomed. Whether it is the busy-body who thinks it is appropriate to publicly berate you for formula feeding, or the person who thinks vegetarianism will stunt your child's growth-ignore them. Stick in your imaginary ear plugs, give them a confident smile, and let it go. The latest version of this seems to happen when I'm re-filling water bottles at the supermarket. People feel free to inform me that I shouldn't be purchasing water. I could explain that I live on a farm with well water that isn't potable. I could explain that home filtration systems while safe, wouldn't make it taste better. I could mention the lack of flouride. I could...but I don't. I do not owe intrusive strangers explanations. Full stop.

Surly volunteers aside, we did have a lovely time searching the stacks for books. Danny came home with yet another atlas, and a book on tall ships. We struck out on British History as Danny wanted a biography of Nelson (much to the amusement of the fellow looking for books next to us) but we came home, loaded up his toy boats with plastic soldiers, and re-enacted some sea-battles. I suppose it is better than having a child obsessed with Star Wars. We watched Master and Commander last weekend, and Danny really loved it. I thought he'd find it dull after twenty minutes, but he watched the entire movie.

The book sale runs all weekend (with a special Sunday opening) and I'd like to go back to have another pass through. Posting may be light over the next few days.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Today's Best Reason To Homeschool

-Your child won't be subjected to Orwellian "Safe Seats", "Think Sheets", and trips to a psychologist for being a bossy first grader.

Living as we do in a state where parents of genuinely suffering children have to beg, borrow, and give up custody to get them adequate services, it strikes me as especially outrageous to be carting disobedient first graders off to a child shrink. Bear in mind, thanks to electronic medical record keeping, whatever diagnosis de jour they settle on labeling the child with, will follow her for the rest of her life, accurate or not. Nice work, you just condemned your seven year old to a lifetime of having zero credibility in the eyes of anyone that has access to her records. Insurance companies, pharmacies, doctors, police, Facebook-who knows where that information will go over the years. It won't matter though, you've labeled her defective. Actually, as this appeared in a newspaper, using her real name (and the mother's by-line) her privacy is already effectively ruined, though future employers Googling her name may be impressed by her early management skills as a bossy seven year old.

I'm not terribly surprised that "incentive programs" for good behaviour don't work after a couple weeks. Bribery is rarely effective long term. Discipline is pretty effective, but that's been abandoned in favour of "safe seats", and "think sheets." Rewarding children for doing what is expected of them, teaches them to only behave when a reward is forthcoming. Children tend to figure this out quickly. You don't promise a child a treat or toy for behaving at the grocery store. You teach them to behave at the grocery store. "Time Outs", and "Safe Seats", turn discipline into a game. Children figure this out rather quickly as well. Yeah, those whippersnappers know how to manipulate-if you let them. Given the opportunity, any child will resort to the whine of "I didn't know I wasn't supposed to_____". By letting children know exactly what is expected of them, you eliminate their single best excuse. No warnings, no negotiations, they do what is expected of them, or there is a consequence. They know, and understand this because you have been consistent from the outset. A punishment. Not a Safe Seat and a Learning Sheet. Dear God, who are these school administrators that dream this stuff up?

It is difficult to tell from the article if the behaviour is more than simple bossiness, and talking back to adults. If the child is being violent, or disrupting the classroom to the point where the teacher is unable to conduct class, there may well be a genuine need for an evaluation. The individual child aside, the techniques public schools are employing for dealing with misbehaviour seem ineffective at best, and laughable at worst.

"You! You are not in compliance! Get in the Safe Seat, and study your Think Sheet!"

I wonder when they find time to teach composition and maths?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Blueberry/Blackberry Pie in All-Butter Crust

This is a very moist pie. I prefer that to a gloppy, cornstarch pie filling. If you prefer, use tapioca, or cornstarch, or even more flour to thicken the filling. Mind, I still think you should learn to enjoy pie the way I think you should, but I'm not your mother, so I won't insist. This makes a pretty spectacular pie.

For The Crust:

2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 cup very cold butter cut into small bits
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
(about) 6 teaspoons ice water
2 tablespoons butter to dot berries
Milk and sugar for topping

Combine dry ingredients. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or if you're suffering poor circulation like me-your fingertips (Ha! I knew this stupid disease would pay off. I can make pastry, in summer, with my bare hands). Add the ice water a tablespoon at a time by sprinkling it lightly over the dough. Gather it together in a ball, divide in two and flatten into disks. Wrap in cling film and chill several hours.

Roll out pie crust.

For the Pie:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine 6 tablespoons flour, and 1 cup cinnamon sugar (use cinnamon to your taste-mine was about 1/2 teaspoon). In another large bowl, combine about a quart (more or less) of fresh berries-I used a combination of blackberries and blueberries. Lightly toss berries with sugar/flour combination. Pour into lined pie plate. Dot with butter and place on top crust. Cut vents. Brush lightly with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place pie plate on a baking sheet (just to be careful) and bake about 40 minutes or until done. Cool on a rack. I served mine still slightly warm...and oh my gosh was it ever good. I say that as someone who bakes nice pies, but rarely eats them. This one is really special. I'd probably never be able to reproduce it in a million years, but I'm publishing the recipe here in case I decide to try. Really, if you bake a pie this summer, it should be this one. It is completely worth the hours you'll spend picking blackberry seeds out of your teeth.