Apple Chickpea Flan w/ Raspberry Sauce

There’s a whole chickpea world out there beyond hummus. From crunchy, spicy snacks to main ingredients in baking and cooking. This is a wonderful ingredient that can adapt extremely well with herbs and spices.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, grow in hot parts of the world so they are naturally a key ingredient in the cuisine of countries such as India, Mexico, Egypt and the southern part of Italy. Despite their origins, chickpeas are available everywhere, usually in either canned or dried form. There is very little difference in nutritional value between precooked, canned chickpeas and the dried variety you cook yourself.

In our part of the country, I remember these peas/beans first appearing in the restaurant salad bars. Chickpeas were one of several choices set out in bowls to add to salad greens. Then a few years later they became better known when ‘Mediterranean hummus’ became trendy. Then the notion came up to use them in baking. Legumes in cake? Remember the big debate when ‘someone’ decided to put carrots and zucchini in cakes etc. (not to mention tomato soup).

Chocolate chickpea cake has been a success for quite a while now so I decided to try a different take on the idea of the flourless cake.

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Apple Chickpea Flan w/ Raspberry Sauce
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 4 custard baking cups or a 9 X 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. In a food processor, place applesauce, rinsed chickpeas & eggs; blend until almost smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Place in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture & stir to combine. Pour into baking dishes & bake for about 50 minutes OR until it tests done with an inserted toothpick.
  4. To make raspberry sauce: In a small saucepan, combine cornstarch, sugar & salt. Add water & raspberries; cook until clear & bubbling. Remove from heat & add margarine & lemon juice & zest. Cool & serve over chickpea flan.
Recipe Notes
  • In place of one of the eggs I used 1 Tbsp ground flax seed plus 3 Tbsp water. 

Apple Cinnamon Candy Cakes

It’s that time of year when apples (& pumpkins) seem to be everywhere. I think sometimes we get caught up in the abundance of fresh fruit choices over summer that we overlook these precious little gems. I have heard it said that apples are only second to bananas as one of the most eaten fruits.

The fact that they are so versatile, relatively inexpensive, easy to find, available all year round and keep for a long time, what more could we want!

If you plan to bake with them, keep in mind, not all apples are designed for baking. The texture is uppermost important. A good baking apple needs to have a balance of intense sweet-tart flavor as well as not fall apart when baked. Even though some apples are better suited for certain kinds of recipes than others, don’t limit yourself to using just one kind of apple. Using a mixture of apples will result in more complex flavors and textures.

I wanted to make some upside-down cakes with poaching the apple slices in a cinnamon candy syrup. Hopefully it works the way I think it should.

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Apple Cinnamon Candy Cakes
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Course Brunch, dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Candied Apples/Raisins
Course Brunch, dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Candied Apples/Raisins
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Instructions
Candied Apples/Raisins
  1. In a saucepan, combine water, sugar, cinnamon candies & heat until sugar & candy dissolve. Add apple slices & raisins to the pan & bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes; drain & return the syrup to the pan. Bring syrup to a boil until it thickens slightly; remove from heat. Divide the apples & raisins between 4 mini bundt pans.
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a bowl, combine all cake ingredients & beat until smooth. Divide mixture over fruit in mini bundt pans. Place pans on a baking sheet & bake for 15-20 minutes or until cakes have risen & are firm to the touch in center.
  2. Remove from oven & allow them to cool in pans for a few minutes. Carefully turn cakes out onto serving plates Top with a dollop of whipped topping & drizzle with cinnamon candy syrup.

Chili Mostaccioli

Mostaccioli, known in Italy as ‘penne lisce’, are a specialty of the Campania Region in Southern Italy, which includes the cities of Naples, Capri and Sorrento. This pasta is smooth in texture, tube-shaped with angled ends cut to resemble a quill or pen point.

Without realizing it, the pasta shape we choose plays an important role in the outcome of the dish. Long or short, smooth or ridged, thick or thin, with or without curves and crevices, different shapes of pasta capture sauce differently.

Shaped pastas pair well with sauces that have some texture. The crevices and twists will give pieces of meat and veggies a place to nestle into.

Short tubular pastas are great for sauces that are thick and chunky.

Long, thin, dried pasta need lots of lubrication. Olive-oil based sauces will coat, but not drown the pasta. The thicker pasta, like fettuccine can stand up to cream sauces and ragus. If your adding vegetables or herbs, cut them string-like rather than in cubes for ease in blending them.

This is a quick, low-cost meal but has good flavor.

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Chili Mostaccioli
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Course Main Dish
Servings
Course Main Dish
Servings
Votes: 1
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Instructions
  1. In a bowl, combine meat, milk, crumbs, garlic, onion & seasonings; shape into 4-5 oblong patties. In a skillet, brown patties in hot oil. Remove to drain on paper towel.
  2. Drain any liquid from skillet & wipe with paper towel. In the skillet, combine soup with water & bring to a simmer. Add meat patties; gently simmer, covered for about 10 minutes then add drained & rinsed kidney beans. Simmer 5 more minutes until beans are hot.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Place on a large warm serving platter. Arrange patties over mostaccioli pasta. Pour sauce over meat & pasta; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese & serve.

Seed Encrusted Ham Cordon Bleu

Many variations exist to the basic idea of the French ‘cordon bleu’ dish. It would seem that its one of those recipes that has evolved over time, starting in the late 1840’s. Veal cordon bleu was created in Paris, France to later be swapped out for chicken in Moscow.

Chicken Kiev, stuffed with an herb butter was likely the meal that inspired chicken cordon bleu. In North America, the first mention of this upscale dish was in 1967. It consists of chicken breast, pounded thin, stuffed with a slice of ham and Swiss cheese then breaded and baked or fried.

Today, a lot of interesting versions are being made using everything from bacon, avocado, spinach, onions, cheese varieties as well as numerous ways in which to prepare them.

I have chosen to kind of reverse the basic idea by using ham slices and stuffing them with turkey, stuffing and cheese. The sunflower seeds in the breading added a nice flavor dimension.

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Seed Encrusted Ham Cordon Bleu
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, French
Servings
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, French
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Filling
  1. In a saucepan, saute mushrooms, onions & seasonings in butter until tender. Add water & bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add stove top stuffing & allow to stand, covered for about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; cool slightly. Grate cheese.
Breading
  1. In a food processor, pulse sunflower seeds for a few seconds ONLY. In a bowl, combine seeds, Panko crumbs, grated Parmesan & melted butter.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9 X 13-inch baking pan. Set aside.
  2. On a work surface, lay out the ham slices & spread with mustard. Divide stuffing mixture evenly between ham slices. Top each with a turkey slice then divide the Swiss cheese between the 8 'cordon bleu'. Wrap each by laying one side over the other, securing with toothpicks. Carefully transfer each roll to the baking pan. Using your fingers, place some beaten egg on all exposed ham slices. With a spoon, sprinkle breading mixture over ham rolls, covering evenly.
  3. Place a pan of water on the bottom shelf of oven. Position the pan with ham rolls directly over your water bath. This will help to 'steam' the rolls as opposed to drying & over baking them since all ingredients are already cooked. The flavors come together nicely as a result. Bake for about 15- 20 minutes.
Mushroom Sauce
  1. In a saucepan, saute sliced mushrooms in melted butter. Whisk in flour & continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth, continuing to simmer mixture until sauce is thickened & bubbly. If you are using cream, whisk it in now.
  2. Top baked ham cordon bleu with mushroom sauce. Serve with mashed potatoes & a hot veggie of choice.

Slow Roasted Baby Back Ribs

HAPPY LABOR DAY!

This is crazy! Where did those summer months go?? I remember as a kid, once we arrived at the Labor Day week-end all those ‘lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer were gone’. Back to school for another year.

One of my fondest memories from childhood summers was my mom’s ‘lunchtime’ family picnics. In the early 1950’s my father was able to purchase another piece of land about four miles (about 6.5 km) from our home place. Between the two farms it became the equivalent of a ‘section’. Before this time, the cattle had to be moved to a community pasture in the foothills where they would have enough grass to graze on over the summer. At that time to transport them, you had no choice but to herd them down the road allowance, to get to their ‘summer’ home, for approximately 20-30 miles (roughly 30-50 km) on foot. To say the least, it was a long grueling event for both the cattle and family members.

The ‘other farm’ as we referred to it, had originally been a slaughter house for the town meat market. It consisted of one large building, corals and a few other buildings. There was a slough on the land which dad had converted to a ‘dug out’ where the cattle could go and drink freely. The land was used for grain crops where in turn the cattle could be pastured on in the summer.

In the summer when dad would be working on the land, instead of my mom just packing a lunch for him that he could take in the morning, she would fix a wonderful ‘picnic lunch’. At about 11:30, mom (with our help) would pack up lunch, complete with plates, silverware, a tablecloth etc., and we would head for the ‘other farm’. There was just the right amount of space between two grain buildings to set up a make-shift table and stools. We would put the table cloth down and spread out our little picnic ‘feast’. Dad would be so surprised and we would all enjoy our lunch immensely. Mom always knew how to make the most simple things fun for us.

Okay, so now that I’ve taken you on a little side trip down memory lane, here are some nice ribs for your Labor Day picnic.

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Slow Roasted Baby Back Ribs
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, German
Servings
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, German
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
  1. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, water, garlic, green onions, sesame oil & seasonings, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  2. Place ribs in a large resealable plastic freezer bag. Pour marinade over the ribs, squeeze out all the air & refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  3. When ready to cook the ribs, preheat oven to 250-275 F. On the bottom of a large roasting tray place a wire rack. Over the rack, place a large sheet of foil paper. Lay marinated ribs ON foil, do not cover with foil. Instead 'crinkle' the foil close to the ribs leaving them open to SLOW roast. Pour any marinade left in the bag over them. Roast in this very slow oven for about 3 hours. You will find at this temperature your kitchen does not get hot, the ribs look after themselves & they are incredibly tender.

Tropical Rice Crispy Cheesecake Squares

For most of us our taste in desserts has evolved from our childhood days. I really don’t recall my mother ever making the classic rice krispie treats — you know the one — chewy, crunchy, marshmallowy! Since she was someone who loved to bake and cook, desserts were the ‘norm’. My dad loved meat, potatoes and sweets, which was all fine being a hard working farmer. It all balanced out, but for us kids, inheriting that love of sweets hasn’t always been a good thing. Nevertheless, like I mentioned, our tastes do evolve.

Quite a few years back, I made a version of rice krispie bars which were called ‘sinless snack bars’. They not only used rice krispies and marshmallows but some more ‘healthy’ ingredients such as flax and pumpkin seeds along with some dried cranberries.

We all know, it wouldn’t be summer without having cheesecake so I’m thinking why not incorporate these two favorites into one. Then take it just a step further and top it with a tropical flavor. I think, this version bridges the gap between a nostalgic childhood treat to an adult indulgence. You be the judge!

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Tropical Rice Crispy Cheesecakes
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Rice Krispie Base
Cheesecake
Guava Glaze/ Pistachios
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Rice Krispie Base
Cheesecake
Guava Glaze/ Pistachios
Votes: 1
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Instructions
Rice Krispie Base
  1. Line a 9 X 9-inch square pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Lightly butter foil & a wooden spoon. In a large bowl, combine rice krispies, flax flakes, pumpkin seeds,flax seeds & salt. In a large pot, melt butter; add marshmallows & stir with wooden spoon until marshmallows have completely melted. Stir in vanilla then add rice krispie mixture & QUICKLY combine well.
  2. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan; press into an even layer while warm. Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes until firm. MAKE GUAVA GLAZE AT THIS TIME then continue with cheesecake layer.
Cheesecake
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine gelatin with 2 Tbsp water; set aside to soften, about 5 minutes. Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed with a hand mixer until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of bowl. Add sour cream, sugar, lemon juice & vanilla. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute.
  2. Microwave the gelatin in 10 second increments, stirring as needed, until it dissolves, 30-50 seconds. Pour the gelatin into cream cheese mixture; beat on medium-high speed until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  3. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cooled rice krispie layer. Spread out evenly with an offset spatula. Spoon small amounts of guava glaze to be swirled in a random pattern onto cheesecake batter. With the tip of a knife, swirl glaze to form a pretty pattern. Sprinkle with chopped pistachio nuts.
  4. Wrap the pan loosely with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight until set. Remove from refrigerator & cut into squares.
Guava Glaze
  1. In a small saucepan, combine guava paste & water. Place over low heat only until warm to the touch. Transfer the mixture to a food processor & pulse until smooth. Stir in fresh lemon juice.
Recipe Notes
  • Don't hesitate to make these in any shape you choose.

Blackberry-Peach Hand Pies

Hand pies are just perfect for this time of year. No fork or plate required —a variety of fresh seasonal fruit available — picnics and barbecues happening. Another great thing is that you can make up a big bunch on a cooler day and freeze them. Personally, I would bake them before freezing so they are ready on short notice but nothing says you have to.

Years ago, hand pies were primarily made with reconstituted dried fruit since fresh fruit is often to juicy to encase it with delicate pastry. Now, a blend of dried and fresh fruit with the help of thickeners can yield a balanced mixture of flavors and textures.

There seems to be various successful ways to go with your pastry from the traditional pie crust to a more biscuit-type pastry. One thing I found that helps to avoid having a ‘gummy’ inside is rolling your dough fairly thin.

When it comes to the filling, I always have the urge to overfill pies, be it full or hand size. Getting it right sure helps to keep them from splitting and leaking.

Hand pies have primarily been deep fried in past but my preference is to bake them. I guess I’ll just never be a deep fried lover of anything. These makes such a nice seasonal combo!

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Blackberry-Peach Hand Pies
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Course dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Pastry
Blackberry/Peach Filling
Topping
Course dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Pastry
Blackberry/Peach Filling
Topping
Votes: 1
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt. With fingertips, cut in cold butter until mixture resembles small peas. In a measuring cup, whisk together water, egg & vinegar. Make a well in dry mixture & pour wet mixture into it all at once. With hands, mix until JUST combined. Roll out pastry & cut 8 - 6-inch circles with a pastry cutter. Lay pastry circles on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until ready to fill.
Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon & salt. Stir in blackberries & peaches. Cook over medium heat until mixture has thicken, about 6-8 minutes. Add vanilla & allow to cool COMPLETELY. In a cup, beat egg with water for the egg wash topping. Set aside
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. When fruit has cooled, remove pastry from fridge & divide filling between pastry circles. Try to keep the filling in the center, away from the outer edges. Brush a line of egg wash over pastry edge then fold hand pie in half. Use a fork to press the pastry layers together forming a seal to keep fruit from leaking. With a sharp knife, cut 3 vents in each pie.
  2. Brush the tops with egg wash & sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
Recipe Notes
  • Frozen puff pastry can easily be substituted for regular pastry if you wish.
  • If you wish, use a hand pie cutter for easy assembly.

Rhubarb Almond Lattice Cake

There are few food combinations as heavenly as strawberries and rhubarb. This is food for the soul! The juicy sweetness of one balances out the almost inedible tartness of the other. Then there is that gorgeous color that strawberries bring to make rhubarb look so good. It’s a classic pairing that’s hard to get enough of if you enjoy this seasonal treat.

Since rhubarb appears quite frequently on my summer blogs, I wanted to give it a different look today. As usual I’m trying to meld a few ideas together into one dessert. The lattice top, made from tender summer rhubarb is weaved over a layer of almond cake. Then strawberry/vanilla filling comes next with the bottom consisting of a second layer of the almond cake. It may require a little more time than some desserts but well worth the effort.

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Rhubarb Almond Lattice Cake
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Course Brunch, dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Almond Cake
Rhubarb Lattice Topping
Course Brunch, dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Almond Cake
Rhubarb Lattice Topping
Votes: 1
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Instructions
Almond cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line TWO 9-inch round baking pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda & salt. In a large bowl, beat butter & sugar with a mixer until light & fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, scraping sides of bowl after each addition. Beat in almond extract.
  3. Beat in flour mixture on low in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk, until just combined.
  4. Divide batter evenly between cake pans & bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack.
Rhubarb Lattice Topping
  1. Peel thin slices off the rhubarb with a knife or vegetable peeler. Use the outer skins as they are the pinkest & save the leftover stalks to make the filling.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the water & sugar until sugar is dissolved & the mixture is just simmering. Over low heat, add a few rhubarb strips at a time & poach until soft, about a minute. Remove to a plate to cool. Repeat with remaining rhubarb strips. Place a piece of plastic wrap on a plate & form the lattice top for your cake. Set aside the poaching syrup & allow to cool.
Strawberry/Rhubarb Filling
  1. Combine diced rhubarb & strawberry gelatin in a large microwave-safe glass bowl. Cover bowl & cook for a couple of minutes until rhubarb is soft. Let mixture cool. Stir milk & vanilla pudding mix in a bowl until moistened. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until thickened, about 2 minutes; stir cooled strawberry/rhubarb mixture into pudding mixture.
Assembly
  1. Once cakes have cooled, place one on top of rhubarb lattice. Spread the strawberry/rhubarb filling on top of this before placing second cake on top of that. Carefully place a light serving dish over cake & turn over so that the rhubarb lattice is on the top. Neaten up the edges of the lattice work by cutting with a pair of scissors if necessary. Drizzle over any remaining syrup (if you wish). Slice & serve.
Recipe Notes
  • If you wish, place a layer of fresh sliced strawberries on the cake after you have topped the first layer with filling.

Saskatoon Berry Tarts

Saskatoon berries are very high on my list of nostalgic memories from my childhood. How these little berries can evoke such a flood of treasured thoughts is amazing. Our family farm was located in Southern Alberta, (Canada). If you were to stand on our farmhouse, west veranda, the sight of the ‘foothills’ came into view (foothills are an upland area that flank the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains).

How wonderful it was to be able to pack a picnic lunch on a Sunday afternoon and be able to drive there. It was like a whole different world. A landscape of long ridges and rolling hills covered in native lodgepole pine, aspens and spruce trees. The small streams wound their way through meadows of dwarf birch, willow and prairie grasses. You could easily come across some of the beautiful wildlife such as elk, moose or deer that lived there.

This is where our family would go to pick saskatoon berries. Very often we were accompanied by family friends or relatives. It was such a great time, everyone picking berries together, eating Mom’s fabulous fried chicken and potato salad (etc. etc.) for our picnic lunch. I was looking at some pictures from those times. We must have had some hot dogs on one occasion and I burnt my mouth it seems. What priceless memories!

With ‘saskatoon season’ in full swing, Brion and I thought it would be great to pick our own this year. It certainly can’t get any fresher than that. We chose the U-Pick farm called GROVE BERRY PATCH. This is a family owned and operated farm with 20 acres of saskatoon berries and 1 acre of raspberries, black currants, highbush cranberries and vegetables. They are located 1.5 km south off Highway 16A on Spruce Valley Road, Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada.

It was such a nice little adventure. The morning was beautiful and the atmosphere of the berry farm and its family owners was very enjoyable. We picked a pail full of gorgeous saskatoons in a short space of time. I had originally started out with thinking I would post one recipe but of course, its turns out to be three. They consist of some Saskatoon Rhubarb Tarts, Saskatoon Butter Tarts and some Saskatoon Cream Cheese Tarts. Yum!

We are adding a few pics, not only of the tarts but some from the berry farm as well as a couple from my childhood days. Hope you enjoy the blog.

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Saskatoon Berry Tarts
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Course dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Pastry
Filling for SASKATOON RHUBARB TARTS
Filling for SASKATOON BUTTER TARTS
Filling for CREAM CHEESE SASKATOON TARTS
Course dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Pastry
Filling for SASKATOON RHUBARB TARTS
Filling for SASKATOON BUTTER TARTS
Filling for CREAM CHEESE SASKATOON TARTS
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder & salt until completely combined. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or fork.
  2. Measure the vinegar into a liquid measuring cup, then add enough ice cold water to make 1/2 cup. Pour over flour mixture, gently stir with a fork ONLY until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap & place in refrigerator for a minimum of an hour so it can chill well. When ready to use, Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface. Using a 3 1/2" cookie cutter, cut out tart shells & place them in tart pans.
Saskatoon Rhubarb Filling & Streusel
  1. In a small saucepan, combine saskatoons, diced rhubarb, sugar & cardamom. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine water, lemon juice & cornstarch. Whisk together to make a slurry. Add to to saucepan & cook on medium heat, stirring until mixture becomes thickened. Remove from heat; add vanilla & allow to cool before using.
  2. FOR STREUSAL: Place all streusal ingredients in a small dish & combine with finger tips until crumbly. Spoon berry filling into tart shells & top with streusal. Bake at 375 F. until pastry is golden.
Saskatoon Butter Tart Filling
  1. FOR BERRY TOPPING: In a small saucepan, mix together berries & water; simmer for 10 minutes over low-medium heat. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar & cornstarch then add to the berries & combine. Stir in lemon juice; simmer until mixture slightly thickens. Set aside to cool.
  2. FOR BUTTER TART LAYER: First beat together eggs. In a saucepan, melt the butter then add sugar, vanilla, cream, raisins & beaten eggs. Bring to a boil over medium heat & boil for 3 minutes. Set aside to cool. TO ASSEMBLE: Place a heaping Tbsp of butter tart mixture into each shell, then fill remainder of the tart shell with the berry topping mixture. DO NOT MIX. Bake at 375 F. for 15-18 minutes or until pastry is golden. Cool before removing from tart pans.
Cream Cheese Saskatoon Tart Filling
  1. FOR BERRY TOPPING: Crush 1 cup of saskatoon berries & place in a small saucepan with 1 cup of water. Simmer about 2 minutes. Strain & return berry juice only to saucepan. Combine sugar & cornstarch; add to sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture is thick & clear. Remove from heat & stir in remaining 2 cups of saskatoons to glaze & stir gently. Pre-bake tart shells.
  2. FOR CREAM CHEESE LAYER: In a small bowl, blend together cream cheese, lemon zest, sugar & heavy cream. Divide cream cheese mixture between baked tart shells. Top with generous portions of berry topping & serve.
Recipe Notes
  • The pastry recipe will yield about 48 mini tarts. I had doubled the pastry recipe because I wanted to make all 3 kinds. It's so nice to have some in the freezer for future use.
  • If you make the pastry in 2 separate batches it seems to be nicer for some reason.
  • If you happen to have any filling left over, it freezes well for another time.

 

Couscous Shrimp Paella

When it comes to the traditional flavor of paella, it all comes down to location. If you live by the sea, its common to use shellfish. For people living inland, other proteins are used that are readily available.

Confirmed as Spain’s best loved contribution to world cuisine, paella is typically prepared with rice, saffron, seafood, chicken and Spanish chorizo sausage.

In regards to the rice used, bomba rice absorbs the flavors of the oil, stock and other ingredients. Arborio will get a bit creamy, whereas jasmine and basmati add flavor instead of soaking others up. Long grain just doesn’t have the right texture for paella.

To put a little different spin on my paella today, I’m preparing it with Israeli couscous. Israeli or pearl couscous is a small, round pasta-like granule made from semolina and wheat flour. It should not be confused with the tiny, yellow North African couscous. Israeli couscous is twice as large and is toasted rather than dried, which gives it a nutty flavor and a hearty texture.It easily absorbs flavors, making it very versatile as a base for chicken and fish or in soups, salads, pilafs, etc.

I’ve made couscous with rice as well as the short vermicelli noodles. Today is the first time with couscous and we really enjoyed it.

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Couscous Shrimp Paella
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy saucepan, heat oil. Add onion, garlic & sweet peppers; cook until tender-crisp, about 8 minutes. Add all of the spices; cook 1 minute more, remove to a dish & set aside.
  2. In the saucepan, scramble-fry sausage meat. Add broth, water & couscous; simmer, covered 10 minutes. Stir in peas & shrimp; simmer another 5 minutes or only until shrimp is cooked. Add seasoned vegetables, gently stir to combine. Serve, garnished with olives.