Thursday, July 31, 2008

Skinny Berry Parfaits

skinny parfait 1 striped

It's hot. The kids are complaining they're bored. And you want something sweet and satisfying to eat, just to take the edge off. You're afraid, however, that if you eat even one more ice cream cone, the spandex in your bathing suit will fail. What should you do?

How about making some skinny berry parfaits?!

They're ridiculously simple to whip up, versatile, and guaranteed to make you, your little ones, and anyone you give them to, happy.

skinny parfait looking down
I made my skinny parfaits with fat free vanilla pudding, orange scented berries, and a crisp oat and almond mixture, but feel free to come up with your own favorite fillings.

Food Blogga Disclaimer: Food Blogga lives in comfortably-cool San Diego. For those of you living areas where the air is so thick with humidity that water actually condensates on your skin when outdoors, note that this homemade pudding requires standing over a stove for 12 minutes. Food Blogga is heretofore not responsible for any overheating or general irritability induced by simmering pudding.

I'm passing along my Skinny Parfaits to lovely Linda of Make Life Sweeter! who is hosting Got Milk?, an event in honor of World Breastfeeding Week. You don't have to be breastfeeding or even have a baby to participate. Just make a sweet dish featuring milk. Simple, huh?

skinny parfaits 2 half glass

Skinny Berry Parfaits

Makes 4 small or 2 large servings
Print recipe only here.


2 cups of mixed berries or fruit of your choice (I used blueberries, strawberries, & cherries)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 teaspoon orange zest

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and let macerate while you prepare the crisp mixture and pudding.

Crisp Mixture:

1 teaspoon Smart Balance butter substitute
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add oats, almonds, and cinnamon, and stir until well combined. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or just until the oats and nuts turn golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups skim milk (or milk of your choice)
pinch of salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium pot over medium heat. Add 1 cup of milk, whisking until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Add the second cup of milk and salt, and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Lower the heat, cooking pudding for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove pudding from heat for 2-3 minutes. Lightly whisk one egg with vanilla extract and slowly add to the pudding, whisking constantly. (Removing it from the heat will prevent the egg from cooking). Simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until thick, stirring several times. Remove from heat.

Assemble serving dishes. Start with some macerated berries on the bottom, then some pudding, then some crisp, and repeat. Top each serving dish with a dollop of pudding, and place a cherry or other fruit on top. Cover with Saran Wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

Don't forget! You have until Sunday 3 August to submit your Sugar High Friday posts to me.

You might also like these low-fat treats:

Grilled Watermelon Slices with a Honey-Lime Syrup

Date, Fennel, and Pistachio Scones (Heart Healthy & Low Fat!)

Pancakes with Fresh Raspberry-Strawberry Sauce

Summertime Strawberry Pie (if you skip the crust)

More pretty parfaits:

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Satisfying Super Salad #2 :Chipotle Barbecue Bean and Corn Salad

chipotle bean salad white chips

What do potato salad, corn-on-the-cob, watermelon, and bean salad all have in common? They're requisite summer cookout foods.

When I was a kid growing up in Rhode Island, it was usually Italian-style pickled bean salad made with green and yellow wax beans and dark red kidney bean. I always ate so much that I inevitably ended up with pickled gray vinegar lips.

Then sometime in the '90's my mom replaced the Italian bean salad with a rich, sweet baked bean dish made with crispy bacon. It was so sugary good, that one year I ate nearly half of it while I was making it for the cookout. Not a good idea.

When we lived in North Carolina, it was either a mushy green bean salad with diced ham (yech) or a crisp black-eyed pea salad similar to succotash (yum).

Now that we're in Southern California, I don't know what the appropriate bean salad is anymore. So I decided to go Southwest with the flavors. A trio of beans -- black, red kidney, and chickpeas -- and fresh sweet corn are happily drowned in a spicy, tangy chipotle barbecue sauce. Chipotle chilies in adobo sauce add that characteristic smoky flavor that contrasts pleasingly with the sweetness of the ketchup and brown sugar.

This salad is also the second salad of my Satisfying Super Salad series. (The first was Asian Noodle Salad with Tofu and Mango.) You'll feel satiated well after you eat this salad because beans are a super food -- they're high-protein, high-fiber, slow-digesting food which helps keep your blood sugar steady. Feel free to add grilled tofu, pork, or shrimp for added protein.

Of course, if you're not watching your calories, then Jeff would like me to tell you that, "It's awesome with hamburgers and barbecued ribs." Two more requisite foods for a cookout.

chipotle bean salad chip

The really cool thing is that this salad transforms into a dip when eaten with chips! That's right. It's like a two-fer. And don't worry, those are baked, not fried chips. So I'm sending my super salad/dip to sweet Dhanggit of Dhanggit's Kitchen who's on the prowl for some Perfect Party Dishes! And since there's so much of it, I'm also sharing it with the lovely The Well Seasoned Cook, Susan, for her Legume Love Affair Second Helping.

Chipotle Barbecue Bean and Corn Salad:
Makes 4-6 servings
Print recipe only here.

1 cup ketchup, preferably Heinz
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 1-2 tablespoons of adobo sauce**

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 ears sweet corn, kernels removed from the cob
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can of black beans, rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can of red kidney beans, rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can of chick peas, rinsed
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano

To make the sauce, whisk together all ingredients in a medium bowl, and set aside.

To make the salad, heat olive in a large skillet over medium heat. Add green onion and corn kernels. Saute until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, and add to a large bowl. Add raw bell pepper, rinsed beans, and bbq sauce; stir until well combined. Gently stir in the fresh herbs. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled, though it tastes better if allowed to rest for a couple of hours.

**Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be found in Mexican markets as well as in the Mexican section of most major supermarkets.

You might also like these cookout-friendly dishes:

Farmers' Market Veggies with a Cumin-Chile Vinaigrette

Patriotic Potato Salad

Lamb Kebabs

Grilled Watermelon Slices with a Honey-Lime Syrup

More bean salads you might enjoy:

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Remembering Sher of What Did You Eat? Pasta with Arugula Pesto and Tomatoes

arugula pesto pasta with tomatoes

Last weekend, the food blogging community was saddened to learn that a dear food blogger and friend, Sher of What Did You Eat?, had suddenly passed away.

In her memory, bloggers are making and posting one of Sher's recipes today, and her close friend, Glenna from A Fridge Full of Food, is collecting the links at her site so that Sher's family can read all of the tributes.

My heartfelt sympathies are with Sher's family and friends during this difficult time. Sher will be missed.

I chose this pasta dish because it's indicative of the type of recipes Sher posted: it's simple to make and simply delicious.

Pasta with Arugula Pesto and Tomatoes
from Williams Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Italy
Serves 4-6
Print recipe only here.

6 oz. arugula, tough stems removed (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup walnuts
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for garnish
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved, or chopped large tomatoes
1 pound pasta

In a food processor, combine the arugula, parsley, walnuts and garlic. Process using short rapid on-off pulses until the mixture is finely chopped, 15 to 20 times. Add the grated cheese, salt and pepper. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil in a steady stream and process until smooth. (Add additional water or olive if necessary.) Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Salt generously and add the pasta. Cook, stirring frequently, until al dente (tender but firm to the bite). Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Place the pasta in a large warmed serving bowl along with the pesto. Toss well, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to thin the sauce. Add the tomatoes and toss again. Garnish with cheese and serve immediately.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

BlogHer 08 Conference and Some Awards

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting several food bloggers while attending the BlogHer conference in San Fransisco. The conversation was engaging, the food delicious, and the weather freezing. I seriously considered buying a winter coat at Macy's Pre- Winter sale, but then I'd never wear it again in San Diego. I now understand why Mark Twain said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Fransisco."

I missed the food bloggers' dinner with Elise from Simply Recipes on Friday night, but I did run into her on Saturday. Quite literally -- I tripped over an AV cord and flew into her arms -- she has remarkably fast reflexes for a food blogger. She also gave a terrific talk on building blog traffic where Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen snapped this pic.

I also got to meet the following fantastic food bloggers at the conference:
I only wish I could have gotten to talk to some of them more. Hey, I know, we should do it again next weekend (How about San Diego this time? No winter coats are needed.).

Saturday night we attended a cocktail party at Macy's where we talked to several interesting bloggers, namely Michelle of Scribbit. That was one of the highlights of my weekend. She is even warmer and funnier in person than she is on her blog, and that's saying something.

blogher sunday

On Sunday several San Fransisco food bloggers joined us for a lovely get-together organized by Amy and Kalyn. Pictured from left to right are me, Simona from Briciole, Anna from Cookie Madness, Christine from Christine Cooks, Amy from Cooking with Amy, Biggie from Lunch in a Box, Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen (who has more pics on her site), and Claire from Cookthink.

Others who joined us but are not pictured include:
And now it's awards time!

Dear Alka from Sidhi Rasoi has honored me with the Blogging with a Purpose Award. This is a special award that I take great pleasure in passing on to the following deserving bloggers:
  1. Mary Ann of Finding La Dolce Vita who bestows kindness upon as many people as possible.
  2. Karina of Karina's Kitchen for making gluten-free eating doable and delicious.
  3. Peter of Kalofagas for deliciously coaxing out the Greek in all of us.
  4. Simona of Briciole for generously sharing her Italian language and culinary skills.
  5. Susan of Wild Yeast for teaching us how to bake darned good bread.

One of the most delicious awards you can receive is the Yummy Blog Award, and lovely Burcu of Almost Turkish Recipes has flattered me with it. Here are some blogs I have already said are yummy, and here are a couple more:
  1. Jaime of Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats for her super close-up shots of super yummy treats.
  2. Marianna of Swirl and Scramble for her alluring desserts.

Judy of Judy's Gross Eats has flattered me with the E Award. Thank you, my dear. Please see the 15 fabulous bloggers I have already nominated for the E Award. And here are a couple more for good measure:

1. Everything about Joey's blog 80 Breakfasts is excellent.
2. Peter of Souvlaki for the Soul, whose photos are mouth-wateringly irresistible.

Two of the sweetest bloggers I know, Ames of Yay! Pie and Pip of Zenzerro and Cannella have made my day a whole lot brighter by sending me the I Love You This Much Award. Now I'm awarding it to all of you!

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Peach and Blueberry Galette and Facing Addiction

blueberry peach galette

This past weekend I hung out with some remarkably talented bloggers at the BlogHer conference in San Fransisco.

I was gone for two whole days, Saturday and Sunday. Monday, when I got home, I went to two supermarkets, Costco, and a farmers' market. When I pulled into my parking space and opened my back door, I realized that I needed a cart to bring all my groceries up. Suddenly it hit me, like a ton of bananas. I stood staring at my back seat and open trunk, every inch covered with bags. "Wow, that's a lot of food," I mumbled to myself. I had just gone shopping before we left, and it's only Jeff and me.

I couldn't move. Standing alone in my parking garage with the car doors open, I was ready to admit it: "My name is Susan, and I'm a food shopaholic."

Ignoring reality, I got all the groceries upstairs and consoled myself the only way I know how. I started cooking.

With two pounds of fresh fragrant yellow peaches and three pints of plump, juicy blueberries beckoning me, I called up my San Diego girlfriend, Miss C, to see if she wanted to hang out for a while. (She never says no.) You remember her, don't you? Our friendship had gotten off to a rocky start, but then my mom helped smooth things over between us. And now? We're real tight.

My girl Miss C. and I got right down to business and whipped up a remarkably easy and flavorful cornmeal dough from Cooking Light for a galette. I used coarse cornmeal so each bite has a wonderfully crunchy texture and rich corn flavor. It's light and flaky, not too rich and not too sweet -- the perfect vessel for a cinnamon and vanilla laced peach and blueberry fruit filling.

I thought I would bring it to my first FSA (Food Shopaholics Anonymous) meeting. So far, only Miss C. and I are signed up, but I am sure there are lots of you out there. You know who you are.

blueberry peach galette on checkered mat

Peach and Blueberry Galette

Serves 8
Print recipe only here.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup fat-free buttermilk

Fruit Filling:
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
3 cups thinly sliced peaches (about 3 large)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 egg white
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

To make the dough, combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, and salt in a processor; pulse 2-3 times. Add butter and pulse 4-5 times, or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With the processor running, slowing pour the buttermilk through the chute, processing until the dough forms a ball. Remove the dough ball and adhere any remaining pieces of dough to it, then wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30-35 minutes.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

To make the fruit filling, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss gently, making sure that the cornstarch is coating the fruit. (This will prevent too much juice from leaking out while the galette bakes.)

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Starting at the center of the dough, roll out, forming a 14-15-inch wide circle. Place the dough with parchment paper on a baking sheet. Add the fruit mixture to the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the border over the filling, overlapping where necessary and pressing gently to adhere the folds.

Lightly whisk the egg white and milk in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg wash, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 1 hour, or until crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. (Cutting it too quickly will cause the dough to crack). It's best served at room temperature or slightly warm. Optional garnishes include vanilla ice cream, a dollop of creme fraiche, or freshly whipped cream.

Speaking of berries, they are the featured theme for this month's Sugar High Friday hosted by me. Want to participate? Great! Send me a berry-licious dessert by August 3rd, and check out the details here.

You might also like:

Fresh Apricot and Cherry Cobbler with Buttermilk Biscuit Crust

Fresh Blackberry, Oatmeal, and Cashew Cake

Fresh Pineapple, Banana, and Pistachio Cake with Rum Icing

Here are more stone fruit and berry recipes:

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Satisfying Super Salad: Asian Noodle Salad with Tofu and Mango

Asian noodle salad with tofu and mango

Sal ' ad [sal-uh d]: 1. A plate of wimpy greens, topped with a dry carrot stick, a cold cucumber slice, and tasteless non-fat dressing. Guaranteed to leave you hypoglycemic an hour later. 2. A plate of pure fat and carbs on lettuce, considerably worse for you than a burrito supremo.

This is why I hate trying to order a salad. Too often they are either bad for you or just plain bad. Check these out:

Panera Bread
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad:
560 calories, 34 grams of fat, 1,270 mg sodium

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad (a nice, light summer choice, no?):
890 calories, 47 grams of fat, 1,660 mg sodium

Corner Bakery
Harvest Salad (sounds natural enough) with Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1,100 calories, 81 gm of fat, 2,260 mg of sodium

How about this from the popular Baja Fresh here in SoCal:
Chipotle Glazed Charbroiled Chicken Salad:
590 calories, 22 grams of fat, and 1,110 mg of sodium

So what's a girl to do? Fear not, dear readers, FoodBlogga is actually a Hero: a normal girl with superhuman salad making abilities -- to save humanity (Notice: an NBC series featuring myself creating salads to save people's lives while living an otherwise normal life as a food writer is currently in development. All rights are reserved.)

Here are my secret weapons:
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables packed with vitamins and evil-fighting antioxidants.
  • Vitamin, calcium, and fiber-rich whole grains contain complex carbohydrates, keeping you satiated longer.
  • Lean protein helps build and maintain muscle. It's digested more slowly than carbs, keeping your blood sugar levels steady and your belly full.
  • Fat-fighting fiber is known to aid both digestion and weight loss.
  • "Good" fats in avocados, olive oil, and nuts are high in monounsaturated fat, which can lower your LDL or "bad" cholesterol.
Now for the salad. Asian Noodle Salad with Tofu and Mango is high in protein and fiber yet low in fat and sodium. With chewy noodles, crispy tofu, creamy mango, and a zesty lime, soy, and ginger vinaigrette, you'll be truly satisfied for approximately 450 calories per serving. Plus you'll get an impressive 20 grams of protein, and a mere 5 grams of fat and 500 mg of sodium.

Since a hero's work is never done, look for a weekly installment of these satisfying super salads. Currently, I have 8 episodes ready to air, then I'll have to see if NBC picks me up for a second season.

Asian noodle salad with tofu and mango

Asian Noodle Salad with Tofu and Mango
Makes 4 servings
Print recipe only here.

2 teaspoons sesame oil
12 ounces tofu, thinly sliced

2 large carrots, peeled and julienned**
4 celery stalks, julienned
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned
4 green onions, thinly sliced into long strips
2 small mangoes, thinly sliced into strips

8 ounces rice or soba noodles
2 tablespoons dry roasted, unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped

6 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 minced jalapeno chili, or to taste (the more the seeds, the hotter the flavor)

1-2 tablespoons fresh mint, thinly sliced, for garnish

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Once hot, add tofu and saute until browned and crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place all other salad ingredients (except noodles and peanuts) in a medium bowl and toss gently. Set aside.

To make the dressing, in a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together sugar, vinegar, and salt until sugar dissolves. Turn off heat, and whisk in remaining ingredients. Set aside.

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, and add to the bowl of vegetables. Add cooked tofu and dressing, and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and sliced mint. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

**I use an OXO Julienne peeler which makes this a breeze. If you don't have one, then just slice all the ingredients very thinly or use a mandolin.

You might also like:

Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas, Cranberries, and Toasted Almonds

Warm Bulgur Salad with Beets, Fennel, and Oranges

String Beans and Tofu with Thai Peanut Butter Sauce

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summer, Summer, Summertime. Time for Strawberry Pie

strawberry pie half white

Summer, summer, summertime
Time to sit back and unwind
(Will Smith)

School is out and it's a sort of a buzz
But back then I didn't really know what it was

But now I see what have of this
The way that people respond to summer madness...

Back in Philly we be out in the park
A place called the plateau is where everybody go...

And with a pen and pad I compose this rhyme
To hit you and get you equipped for the summertime

Do you ever sit and think about summers as a kid?

Summer back in Rhode Island for me was hot, muggy afternoons playing wiffel ball, sunburns at Scarborough Beach, cannonballs into our backyard pool, and nights being eaten alive by mosquitoes while playing miniature golf.

Summer was also my mom's Strawberry Pie. Like an American flag, it was part of the 4th of July every year. As a kid, I LOVED strawberries. When I discovered that my cousin Anthony was allergic to them, I thought it was the saddest thing I had ever heard (of course, I was 6, so Darfur wasn't really on my radar).

To this day, strawberry pie is one of my favorite desserts. Not just because fresh strawberries are slathered with a tangy-sweet apricot sauce, and not just because all of that lusciousness is perched atop a flaky, melt-in-your-mouth pie crust.

Nope. It's because strawberry pie still reminds me of sticky summers as a kid. And my mom.

Every year, Mom's strawberry pie marked summertime in our house. It's easy to make and so delicious that kids and adults will squabble over who gets the last piece. Really. It happens every time.

I made mine with a homemade pie crust, but if you're pinched for time, a store-bought crust or graham cracker crust would work too. Eat it as is, or top it with a dollop of whipped cream, some chocolate sauce, or Jeff's favorite, mascarpone cheese. Any way you slice it, it's simply summertime scrumptious.

strawberry pie slice
Strawberry Pie with Mascarpone Cheese

Summertime Strawberry Pie
Makes one 9 inch pie
Print recipe only here.

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ stick unsalted butter (very chilled)
1 large or extra large egg
1-2 tablespoons ice water, or as much as needed

1/2 cup finely chopped, ripe strawberries
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 (10-ounce) jar apricot preserves (reserve 1-2 tablespoons for spreading on the baked crust)
3 pints of medium sized fresh strawberries (though you may need slightly more or less depending on the size of the berries)

Place rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Use a 9-inch pie plate (preferably glass) coated with cooking spray.

Making the crust with a processor: Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and pulse about 10 times until the dough becomes pebbly in texture. Add the egg and pulse repeatedly until the dough begins to stick together. Slowly add the ice water by the tablespoonful, while using a few long pulses. Add more drops of ice water, as necessary, until the dough holds together well and forms a ball. Invert the dough onto a floured work surface. Roll the dough into a circle one inch larger than your pie plate.

Making the crust by hand: In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add chunks of chilled butter, and using a pastry blender or two forks, chop the butter until it resembles little pebbles. At this point, add the egg and ice water, and stir with a spoon until the dough begins to form. Using your hands and working the dough as little as possible, transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Knead until the dough holds together. Roll the dough into a circle one inch larger than your pie plate.

Fit the dough snugly inside the plate. Pinching the dough between your index finger and thumb, make a fluted edge around the crust. Prick the crust all over with the top of a fork since the crust will be blind-baked. Refrigerate the pie crust while preparing the filling (you can even refrigerate the crust overnight, which makes a super crispy crust that won't get soggy from the strawberry sauce).

To make the filling, place all filling ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and let cool.

Wash and pat dry 3 pints of fresh strawberries and cut off the tops. Cut into quarters and set aside.

For blind-baking the crust, use pie weights or cover the pie with parchment paper and fill with dried beans to prevent the crust from shrinking. Bake the crust for 20-25 minutes, or until it is golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven, remove pie weights, and let cool.

Spread 1-2 tablespoons of apricot preserves on the bottom of the pie crust (this helps keeps it crispy). Pile the sliced strawberries inside the crust (3 pints is usually just right, but you may use more or less depending on the size of the berries). Pour the cooled strawberry-apricot sauce over the strawberries until well covered, leaving about 1/2 inch space between the sauce and the fluted edge.

If there is leftover sauce, then save it to spread on your morning toast or toss into a smoothie!

Have you heard? I'm hosting Sugar High Friday this month, and if you hadn't guessed it already, the theme is berries! The deadline is Sunday, August 3rd, and full details can be found here. Thanks to those of you who have already sent in berry-licious desserts!

You might also like:

Fresh Strawberry, Almond, and Coconut Muffins

Fresh Apricot and Cherry Cobbler with Buttermilk Biscuit Crust

Quick Chocolate-Cinnamon Mousse with Cherries

Strawberry-Rhubarb Sponge Pudding

I'm sending my berry red pie to Zorra of Kochtopf who is celebrating Switzerland's National Day. Want to participate? Send Zorra something red, white, or Swiss.

And if you haven't seen it yet, then check out Susan's Pancake Parade Round-Up with lots of delicious sweet and savory pancake recipes.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Announcing SHF #45: Berries!

fresh strawberries in bowl

July is a berry-licious month. From the humble strawberry to the playful olallieberry, there is a berry out there for everyone.

Yup, if you look around this month, you'll find blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries, red and black currants, gooseberries, juneberries, loganberries, marionberries, mulberries, olallieberries, raspberries, strawberries, and tayberries.

So here's what you have to do: Make a dessert featuring berries, and send it to me by Sunday, August 3rd. Because of a scheduling snafu, Jennifer, the creator of the SHF, asked me to be the emergency hostess this month. Since we're already in mid-July, I've extended the deadline to Sunday, August 3rd, to give you a little more time to submit.

The ideas are virtually endless:
  • You could cool off with some berry refreshing pudding, parfait, mousse, ice cream, or sorbet.
  • You could get all warm and fuzzy with some homemade berry cupcakes, muffins, cakes, scones, or cookie bars.
  • You could show your saucy side with tarts, pies, pavlovas, meringues, pastries, and sauces.
  • You can get all nostalgic with old-fashioned cobblers, crisps, and crumbles.
  • You can also go simple yet chic with desserts like galettes and crostatas, berries in wine, berries and cream, or berries with balsamic reduction.

If you’d like to participate, then kindly follow these steps:
  1. Post a dessert recipe featuring berries on your blog any time between today, July 13th and Sunday, August 3rd. (Please no back dating or late entries.)
  2. Please include a link to this announcement and to Jennifer at the Domestic Goddess, the creator of SHF.
  3. Please attach a resized 200 pixel image with your blog name as your picture file name.
  4. Email the following information to foodblogga [at] yahoo [dot] com, and mention SHF Berries in the subject line.
  • Your preferred name
  • Blog name
  • Post URL
  • Recipe name
No blog? No problem. Just email your preferred name, location, name of the recipe, and a 200 pixel image to foodblogga [at] yahoo [dot] com, and mention SHF Berries in the subject line.

I will let you know when I receive your entry, so if you don't hear from me in more than a couple of days, feel free to drop me a line.

I have resized two different logos for you. Including a logo is optional but always appreciated.

Here are some berry recipes I've posted, and I've got a few more in the works:

Fresh Blackberry, Oatmeal, and Cashew Cake

Mini Custards with Limoncello-Spiked Raspberry Sauce

Strawberry-Rhubarb Sponge Pudding

Ginger-y Cranberry Walnut Scones (Heart Healthy & Low Fat!)

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