Blueberry Pie and a Giveaway

Because yesterday was my birthday

and because I made an amazing blueberry pie.

No really, I was pleased.  Who needs a birthday cake when you have blueberry pie.

I think the trick is to make it a few days in advance and freeze it then bake it when it’s still sorta frozen in order to keep the crust from shrinking.

And because Stonyfield sent me this super cool summer in a box gift package

The box is really what sold me.  The stuff inside was pretty cool too!

Included in the gift box:

  • Two coupons for Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Bars in two delicious flavors
  •  Badger After-Sun Balm
  • Dr. Hauschka Melissa Day Cream
  • Tom’s Toothpaste, Soap and Deodorant
  • Uncle Matt’s Organic Lemonade and Juices Coupon

We want to share one with you too.

So leave me a comment, link this post on your blog, or tweet at me (@karlapd) with a link to this post (or all of the above!) by Saturday, August 6th at 8:00pm PST and Stonyfield will give one lucky reader a Summer in a Box!

I’ll announce a winner by Sunday afternoon.

I would share the pie with you too

but that’s not as easy to mail.

Also my sister ate it.

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Fig-Honey Cornmeal Cake

I have something for you, and I’m pretty sure you’ll love it.  It’s simple and sweet, with a bit of a rough texture.  No, I’m not talking about your perfect man.  I’m talking about cake.

If you were here, I’d serve this to you with a cup of tea.  Better yet, I should plan a tea party around this cake.

Who wants to come?

The lovely thing about this cake, aside from the fact that it involves figs and honey, is how quick and easy it is.  You can make the whole thing in less than half an hour.  And that’s exactly what I did this morning.

Fig-Honey Cornmeal Cake

1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg
1/2 cup honey (plus more for drizzling)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6-7 fresh figs

Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.  Set aside.

Slice figs into wedges (about 6 wedges per fig).  Arrange figs onto prepared baking pan.  Set aside.

Combine egg, honey, and olive oil in a medium bowl.

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Combine with cornmeal.  Add dry ingredient mixture to wet ingredients.  Fold together until just combined.

Then pour the batter over the figs.

Gently spread the batter around.  It’ll just barely cover the figs.

Place in the oven and bake until golden brown.  In my oven it took about 13 minutes.  It cooks very quickly!  So check it after 10-12 minutes.

Once it’s out of the oven, allow to cool.  Turn over onto a plate and drizzle with additional honey

and serve any time of day!

Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini

Let’s take a break from the usual sweets I present to you on this blog.  Instead, I’ll show you some real food.  As in a real meal.  Are you pumped?

Thought so.

This weekend, I met my neighbors for the first time when I went across the street to ask if they could spare a wood pallet.  They could, more on that later…  But in addition to giving me a wood pallet, my neighbor showed me her vegetable garden and gave me two huge bags filled with tomatoes and an assortment of squash.

If you know me, you could only imagine how excited I was, especially after being cooped up in the vegetable desert that is my parents’ house.

So my first creation with these delightful vegetables:

Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
4 good sized zucchinis
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
5 tomatoes, diced
3 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
few ounces of queso fresco or queso cotija

In a sauce pan, combine quinoa and broth.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan, add onion and cook until translucent.  Add red pepper and carrots and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper.  Continue to cook until tomatoes have cooked down.  Then add the quinoa, turn off the heat and stir together.

If you choose to stop here, you can have a wonderfully delicious and healthy quinoa side dish that I’m guessing would be amazing served over some sauteed kale.

Or you can continue.  Slice the zucchinis in half, length-wise and spoon out the center (I actually diced up the stuff I spooned out and added it to the quinoa mixture.  No waste!).

Fill the zucchini with quinoa mixture and bake at 400F for about 30 minutes (depending on the size of your zucchini times may differ). I used the toaster oven, because it’s hot and who wants to turn the oven on when it’s 90F degrees out?

Take the zucchini out of the oven, sprinkle with cheese and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Serve and enjoy!

Oh but wait! One last thing… If you decide to put whipped cream on yesterday’s Lemon Blueberry Tartlets

It is divine.

Lemon Blueberry Tartlets

There are 8lbs of blueberries in the fridge.  No, I’m not kidding, nor am I exaggerating.

I love blueberries, and usually I am of the firm belief that they are so delicious that they should be eaten fresh on their own.  But I’m the only person in my household who eats blueberries and as much as I like them.  I don’t think I can eat 8lbs before they spoil.

So be prepared for some blueberry-related recipes.

This first one though should really be categorized as a lemon recipe.

If you don’t love lemon flavored desserts, we can’t be friends.

Okay, not really, I still love you.  But this recipe is so intensely lemony that it takes a true lemon fanatic (aka my sister and me) to truly appreciate its majestic qualities.

Truth be told.  It’s pretty easy.  All you do is make some lemon curd, put it in a graham cracker crust and top it with fresh blueberries.  Don’t let the simple preparation fool you.  This thing is intense, amazing and perfect for summer.

Lemon Blueberry Tartlets

1 package graham crackers
6 tbsp melted butter
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (about the juice of 2 lemons)
4 tbsp butter, softened
zest of 2 lemons
1-2 cups blueberries

Make your crust:

Crush the graham crackers, pour melted butter over graham cracker crumbs.  Toss to combine and press into one large tart pan or about 5 mini tartlet pans.  Refrigerate.

Make Lemon Filling:

Place a stainless steel or glass bowl over a pot of boiling water.  In the bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice.  Stir over the double boiler until thick.  This will take about 10 minutes.  Carefully remove from heat and stir in the butter and lemon zest.  Set aside and allow to cool completely.  You can make this a day or two in advance and just keep it refrigerated.

Assemble Tartlets:

Spoon lemon filling into prepared graham cracker crusts.  Arrange blueberries over the filling.  Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar to make it look extra special.

Serve immediately or refrigerate.  Makes 5 mini tartlets or 1 large tart.

If you love lemon and blueberries as much as I do, I can almost guarantee the end result will look like this:

Lastly, do you have any blueberry recipes or ideas to recommend?

Coconut Cream Pie but Better

I’m not completely sure what the difference is between a pie and a tart, other than the shape of the pan.  For all intents and purposes, what follows is a pie disguised as a tart.

Thus, it is a much fancier (almost French seeming, hey, it’s Bastille Day!) version of coconut cream pie.

Okay, let’s be honest.  I’ve never eaten coconut cream pie.  I don’t think I’ve ever even seen one in person.  That was until I made my version of what I think coconut cream pie should be like.

I have no idea if this is what coconut cream pie should taste like, but here’s my creation.  Karla’s new and improved version with rich chocolate whipped cream for topping.

I’m going to go ahead and call it a winner.

Coconut Cream Pie with Chocolate Whipped Cream

1 package of graham crackers
6 tbsp butter
3 cup finely shredded coconut
1 1/2 cup milk
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 cup corn starch
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 + 2 tbsp cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder

For the crust:

Crush graham crackers and combine with 1 cup of coconut.  Melt butter and pour over graham cracker mixture, toss to combine.  Press into a pie or tart pan.  Refrigerate.

For Custard Filling:

In a saucepan, combine the milk, sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, vanilla and salt.  Heat, stirring constantly, until nearly boiling.  Take some of the warm milk mixture and combine in a small bowl with the corn starch, stir until smooth.  Pour in the corn starch mixture and the 2 cups of coconut.  Continue to stir until thick (not too thick though!).  Put in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap.  Lay the plastic wrap directly on the custard.  Refrigerate until completely cooled, like so:

Once your custard is cool, fill the tart crust with the creamy filling.

Then make your whipped topping.

For the topping, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  Using a mixer start to whip cream, gradually add in cocoa powder and sugar.  Whip until the cream holds firm peaks.

Lay it on there, or nicely use a piping bag.

Either way, it doesn’t really matter.  Even the worst spreading will be covered up with some divine toasted coconut.  Lay your coconut on a baking sheet or on a piece of foil and stick it in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes.  Turn it every so often and watch out because it can easily burn.  Allow the toasted coconut to completely cool and sprinkle as much or as little as you’d like onto your beautiful tart!

Serve, enjoy and feel fancy while you eat it.

Summer Pie in a Jar

Ithaca made me a jar person.

At the risk of sounding totally hippie/granola, I will say I find jars to be very multifunctional.  Not only can you carry soups, beverages and meals in them, you can also make a pie in one…

Versatile.  I like it.  I also like blueberries and nectarines.  Let’s find a way to combine them all.

Doesn’t that look like summer?  I thought so.

Summer Blueberry-Nectarine Pie in a Jar

5 half pint mason jars
1 recipe for pate brisee (this is the crust, you can also use store bought)
2 nectarine, diced (optional to peel)
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

A quick note before starting: make your crust/pate brisee a few hours, or the night before, to prevent the dreaded shrinking crust. The longer it rests, the better!

Roll your crust on a well floured surface.  I suggest rolling it thinner than you would roll your average pie crust, if not your crust to filling ratio will be quite high, but keep it thick if that’s you’re style.  After rolling, line jars with pie crust.  This was a little tricky for me.  I bought the jars that were kinda narrow so I couldn’t fit my hand in it, so I suggest using the wider mouthed jars.  I had to piece to together and use a spoon to press it down.  Either way it should look somewhat like this by the end:

Place them in the fridge or freezer as soon as they’re ready.  You don’t want melted/soft crusts in your jar!

While your jars chill, dice (and peel, if you like) your nectarines and wash your blueberries.  In a bowl, combine nectarines, blueberries, sugar, flour and vanilla.  Toss to coat all the fruit in the sugar and flour.  Let sit for a few minutes.

In the meantime, make your pie lids.  Roll out some more pie dough then using the jar lid, cut out circles.

Next, quickly fill your pie jars with fruit filling.

Put on the lids and either press the edges using a fork, or your fingers.

Whichever you prefer is fine.  You can also get creative with cookie cutters and cut out different shapes to make the top, or use a crumble topping.

At this point you can either put them in a freezer and save them for a rainy day or you can bake them off!

Should you choose to bake them right away, pre-heat your oven to 400F.  Bake for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling on the top.

I used the toaster oven.  It’s summer after all.  Who wants to turn the oven on and heat up the whole house?

No thanks.  But I would say yes to this

After they’ve cooled, you can put a bow on them

and give it as a gift.

or serve it up on a plate.

Either way, this is a pretty fun way to use a jar!