Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Berry Bounty Pie

Summer berries are perfect right now which is why I'm about to drag my girls out of bed to go berry picking this morning. Nothing says family fun better than two girls complaining that the grocery store sells fruit and that it's too hot, buggy, etc. to be bothered. Nevermind that they are exhausted from a sleepover gone wrong. But I'm going to bother because I think it's important for them to understand how hard people work to farm, harvest and produce food and for my girls to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Literally. They don't know it yet but the blueberries and black raspberries we gather today will be used to make this pie. The cornmeal in the crust gives this pie a nice texture and boy, does it looks like summer on a plate. And the best part is that you don't need to roll out pie dough! Life is too short to bother rolling pie dough - in my humble opinion.

Berry Bounty Pie

For crust:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cornmeal (the finer ground the better)
1 stick softened butter

Mix together and press into 9-in. pie pan. Chill for one hour.

Filling:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 cups of berries - any kind - I've used strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, any combination would be good. Just don't use all strawberries because it will get too soggy.

Topping:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter - cold and but into small pieces

Mix together to form a crumble. Work fast so that the butter doesn't softened too much. Gently mix together berries with sugar and flour and add to chilled crust. Add crumble topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes then reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake one hour. I know it sounds crazy long but trust me on this. Let cool on rack and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sweet Pea and Avocado Vichyssoise

A neighbor of mine declared that she's never had a cold soup and the thought of slurping down a cold mix of veggies was not very appealing. Hmmm...maybe she's never had to cook dinner or entertain when 97 degree heat and the air conditioning is out. Summer soups are a quick, healthy and sophisticated summer staple. I've never posted something I've not yet made but many I know have made this with resounding success. Try it and let me know what you think. Maybe you can convince my neighbor to give these peas a whirl!

Sweet Pea and Avocado Vichyssoise

1 large, avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 2 inch-pieces
(If you cannot find large avocados, use 2 medium for this recipe)
1 ½ cups thawed frozen peas
2 ½ cups homemade chicken broth
3 finely sliced, white and light green parts only, sliced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup sour cream
sour cream store-bought fresh tomato salsa
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste



In a food processor fitted with the metal blade combine the avocado and peas and process until smooth. Add the broth, scallions, lemon juice, sour cream and 3 tablespoons of the salsa and blend until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.