Homemade Cherry Pie

Homemade Cherry Pie.

On a recent visit to an awesome new grocery store that opened up near us called Fresh Thyme, I discovered they carried big 2.5 lb bags of red sour pie cherries.  I was so excited!  This is something hard to find where we live.  You can find dark sweet cherries everywhere, and they are delicious for eating, but to make a good old-fashioned homemade cherry pie, you have to have the sour cherries.

I snagged a couple bags and was excited to get to make a cherry pie for hubby for Valentine’s Day last week.

If you are lucky enough to find sour cherries, here is the simple, old-fashioned recipe I use to make a classic cherry pie.

Bake a little love!

Cherry Pie

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine cherries, sugar, tapioca, and almond extract.  Mix well, and let sit while preparing pie crust.

Prepare crust and place bottom layer in pie plate.  Fill with cherry mixture.  Top filling with dabs of butter followed by top crust, being sure to cut slits or a shape to allow bubbling and steam to escape.  Spread a small amount of milk or water on top crust, and sprinkle with an additional tablespoon of sugar if desired.

Place pie in oven.  Cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning.  Bake approximately one hour.  Remove foil and continue baking until filling bubbles out of top and crust is beautifully browned.

Allow to cool completely to set.  Serve with scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Homemade Apple Fritters

Homemade Apple Fritters.

Last Sunday, Hubby had to get up very early – really the middle of the night – to work during a winter weather event in our area.

Missing Sunday breakfast, I wanted to make him a special treat for when he returned home.

With some wonderful Misfits Market apples in the crisper, I thought I’d try my hand at homemade apple fritters.

Who can resist a fresh apple fritter??!!

A couple tips from a first-time apple fritter maker:

  • Don’t heat the oil too hot.  Be patient and use a medium heat.  Better to fry them a little longer and get a golden brown than to overcook the outside and undercook the inside with high heat.  (Which, by the way, is what I did with the first batch of three, resulting in us only having three total!)
  • Spread them a little flatter than I did so you get more icing in each bite as the dough itself only contains a small amount of sugar. (This was hubby’s suggestion!)
  • Use a sweeter, less firm apple for best results.  I would not recommend Granny Smith.  The recipe calls for 3 medium apples, but you could really add another apple, which I will do next time.

Let me know if you try and/or if you have made and have any of your own tips.  We sure enjoyed these on a cold, snowy, comfort food, stay-in kind of day.

Here is the recipe I very slightly adapted from I am Baker‘s blog.

Homemade Apple Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Canola or Vegetable Oil  for frying
  • Glaze
    • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • 4 tsp. water (or enough for best consistency)

Directions:

In a small bowl, drizzle lemon juice over diced apples.  Stir to coat.  Set aside.

In electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs on medium-high speed until combined.  Reduce speed to low, and add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix until combined.  Add milk, and mix until incorporated.  Fold in apples with spatula.

Fill a frying pan halfway full with oil.  Heat over medium heat to 375 degrees F.

Drop three 1/4-1/3 cup portions of batter into the oil.  Let fry for a few minutes until golden brown.  Flip and fry until other side is golden brown.  Test for doneness by inserting a small knife in center.  If uncooked batter remains, fry longer.

Remove fritters from oil with slotted spoon to wire rack layered with paper towels or napkins to drain.  Allow to cool.

Repeat with remaining three portions of batter.

Prepare glaze by combining powdered sugar, vanilla, and water.  Drizzle over cooled fritters on cooling rack.  When glaze has set, turn to coat other side with glaze that dripped through, if desired.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew.

The weather has turned blustery here, and we are “turkeyed” out from Thanksgiving, so the other day, I made a comforting pot of bubbling, thick, hearty, old-fashioned beef stew.

I finally made a trip to a local pantry I’ve been longing to visit in the quaint town of Zelienople, PA (not far from Mars) – Penn Pantry, where I purchased some local, organic grass-fed beef (amongst many other wonderful treasures) that seemed to be made just for stewing.

I also had an abundance of fresh vegetables from my latest Misfit Market shipment that I knew would work perfectly in a stew – potatoes in sweet, red and white, carrots, parsnips, and onions.

So a stewing I did, and oh how we enjoyed!

Here is how I made ours.  Shake it up with your favorite ingredients, but feel the warmth and comfort in this great classic recipe.

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. beef, trimmed and cut into one-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (or your favorite)
  • 1 tsp. coarsly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh sage, finely minced
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into chunks
  • 4 cups chopped potatoes, sweet potatoes, and/or parsnips
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery

Directions:

Combine flour, seasoned salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.  Add beef cubes, and toss to coat.

Heat oil in a large pot.  Add coated beef cubes and brown on all sides.

Remove beef from pot, and add vinegar and wine to oil and beef drippings in pot.  Stir and scrape browned bits from bottom of pan until all combined and boiling.  Add beef back in, followed by beef broth, tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and sage.  Bring back to a boil, then reduce to simmer for about a half hour to an hour – until beef is tender.  (Timing will depend on the cut and quality of beef.)

Add onions, potatoes, carrots, and celery, and continue simmering until vegetables are tender and broth thickens – approximately one hour.

Ladle into bowls and serve with fresh, crusty bread to soak up every bit of gravy goodness to comfort your appetite and warm you from the inside out.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Fresh Red Raspberry Pie

Fresh Red Raspberry Pie.

Before we fully embrace all things pumpkin and apple and cinnamon and spice for Fall, I decided to slide in one  last “Summery” pie for the season a week or so ago when my youngest son and his wife came over for dinner (knowing this is one of his faves).

Fresh red raspberries are such a treat all by themselves, but baked to overflowing  with a bit of tapioca inside a tender flaky pastry crust is pretty close to heaven.

Fresh red raspberries used to be a rare find in our part of the world, but they are quite prolific in the grocery stores year-round now.  Buying enough for a pie can be a bit pricey, but worth it for a treat every once in a while.

Grandma always said the only way to know when a berry pie is done is when it bubbles over into the oven, so that is how I gauge the time too!

Here is my simple, old-fashioned recipe.

Fresh Red Raspberry Pie

Ingredients:

Pie Crust:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • Heaping 2/3 cup Crisco shortening
  • 2 dashes of salt (12 shakes)
  • Approx. 1 cup cold water

Filling:

  • 5 cups fresh red raspberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 Tbsp tapioca
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 dash salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Prepare filling by blending raspberries, sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl.  Let sit while you prepare crust.

Prepare crust by blending flour, Crisco, and salt in a large bowl with a pastry blender until crumbly.  Add cold water and gently mix just until able to form a ball.  Divide dough in half, and put one half on floured surface to roll out.

IMPORTANT:  Do not overwork the dough.  It is not bread dough that needs kneaded.  The more you “work” pie crust, the tougher it will become.  The less you play with it, the more tender and flaky it will be.

Roll out first half using heavy floured marble rolling pin into a circle large enough to fill 9″ pie pan.  Lift it from the surface to your pie pan by folding it into quarters, then unfold it in the pan letting it hang over edges.

Roll out other half of dough into rectangle and cut into 8 strips to weave into a lattice topping.

Pour filling into bottom crust.  Top with 4 strips going same direction.  Weave by lifting two alternating and place one the opposite direction, the lifting the other two, and repeating.  Pinch top to bottom doughs together all around edges.

A nice finishing tough is to brush crust with some water and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Cover edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil or a pie crust shield (the most GENIUS invention ever in my baking opinion!)

Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375 degrees F, and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes more.

Serve warm or cold topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Old-Fashioned Classic Stuffed Peppers

Old-Fashioned Classic Stuffed Peppers.

People stuff peppers with a lot of different things and prepare them many different ways.

But there is one classic, old-fashioned way I sometimes crave.
The way Grandma used to make them.

Simple.
Hearty.
Lots of tomato sauce.
And served with a side of mashed pototoes.

Last Sunday, I made them for dinner.

Here is my recipe – like Grandma made.

Old-Fashioned Classic Stuffed Peppers

  • Servings: 4 stuffed peppers
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 large red or green peppers (best if you use the one with 4 lobes – or bumps – on the bottom as opposed to those with 3, so they stand nicer)
  • 1 lb. “Meatloaf Mix” (a mixture of ground beef, pork, and lamb)
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 large can tomato sauce
  • 1 large can condensed tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine ground meat, cooked rice, onion, salt, and pepper.  Combine with your hands until evenly incorporated.

In another large mixing bowl, combine tomato sauce, tomato soup, and water.  Whisk until evenly incorporated.

Add 1 cup of sauce to meat mixture.  Combine well.

Cut tops from peppers and remove seeds.  Stand pepper “cups” in a deep roasting pan.  Stuff peppers with handfuls of meat packed and mounded.  Pour remaining sauce over all.

Cover and roast peppers for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until meat is cooked, sauce reduces, and peppers have softened.

Serve with mashed pototoes and ladle additional sauce over all.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Sour Cream Pecan Coffee Cake

Sour Cream Pecan Coffee Cake.

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe for quite some time.  It is my most favorite coffee cake recipe to date.

I can pass on a brownie or a chocolate chip cookie, but put a piece of coffee cake in front of me………. and forget it!  I can’t resist.

This recipe was shared with me from a super sweet guy I used to work with.   His aunt makes it for him every year for his birthday – at his request – and he was always kind enough to bring it to the office to share.

The recipe card Steve copied to share with me is dated March, 1969.  Almost as old as me!

It’s a classic, and it’s definitely a keeper!

The crunchy ribbon of cinnamony pecans that runs through the middle of this buttery, tender cake seals the deal!

Here is the recipe Steve shared with me that I slightly adjusted:

Sour Cream Pecan Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 2 cups + 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease and flour 9″ tube pan.

Cream butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Fold in vanilla and sour cream.  Fold in baking powder, salt, and flour.

Combine remaining 4 Tbsp sugar, with chopped pecans and cinnamon.

Place half of batter in tube pan.  Sprinkle with nut mixture.  Top with remaining batter.

Bake 50-60 minutes.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Grandma’s Old Fashioned Poppy Seed Cake

Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Poppy Seed Cake.

One of the things I love to do around my birthday is bake Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Poppy Seed Cake.

Having a birthday so close after Christmas, when everyone is really “over” sweets, Grandma made this simple cake for my birthday every year for as long as I can remember until she passed away.

May sound kind of strange that I like to bake my own cake these days, but I really do.  For me, it’s more than baking.  It’s reminiscing.  It’s sweet, loving memories.  It’s kind of a tribute to my Stella Star.

I use Grandma’s old tin measuring cup as I measure out the flour and sugar.  I grease and flour the pan – a square tube pan – because that is the way Grandma did it.   I crack eggs and stir and think of conversations Grandma and I had in the kitchen while she cooked and baked.  I put it in the oven and wait for the smell…. That smell that takes me right there to her kitchen.  Right back to that feeling of comfort and peace and unconditional love.

So yep – baking my cake gives me almost as much joy as eating it!

I love the way the outside is crisp and crunchy, and the inside is tender and moist and just a little sweet, but packed full of flavor.

This is a very basic cake.  A cake likely made in times when ingredients were simple, money was tight, and everything was made from scratch with love.  And I love it!

Do you have a recipe like this that is just as much of a memory as it is something to eat?  Something that is a ritual of love?

Here is our recipe:

Grandma's Easy Poppy Seed Cake

  • Servings: One Yummy Cake
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INGREDIENTS:
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup vegetable oil
1 can evaporated milk
1/4 cup poppy seeds
DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour 10 inch tube or bundt pan.
In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients.
Make a well in the center and add eggs, vanilla, oil, and milk.  Mix well.
Fold in poppy seeds.
Pour into prepared pan, and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes in pan, then turn onto rack to cool.

When cool, sprinkle generously with sifted powdered sugar.

Enjoy!
Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles.

It’s the most pumpkiny time of the year…….. (are you singing with me to the tune of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?”)

Seems we just can’t get enough of it.

I know I’m having fun trying new things with pumpkin…. Like my recent Pumpkin Chili recipe!  YUM!

How about a new twist on old-fashioned snickerdoodles by pumpkin’in them up?

Oooo Laaa Laaaa!

They just taste like Autumn!

Hope you’ll give them a try.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles*

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 3 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • For rolling:  1/4 cup sugar + 2 tsp ground cinnamon, combined

Directions:

Cream together butter and sugars with electric mixer.  Add egg yolk, vanilla and pumpkin, and combine.

Add next 8 ingredients, followed by the flour, and mix until combined.

Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll and shape dough into golf ball sized balls.  Roll balls in sugar-cinnamon mixture.  Place on baking stone or sheet and bake approximately 12 minutes until tops begin to crack.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking stone/sheet for an additional 10 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Recipe tweaked very slightly from Cooking Classy

 

Old-Fashioned Tomato Pie

Old-Fashioned Tomato Pie.

Looking for something to do with the abundance of fresh, juicy, sweet, beautiful tomatoes in your garden or available this time of year?

How about an old-fashioned tomato pie?!

It’s like a deep dish pizza  in an old-fashioned crust….

Layers of tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil and parsley… topped with cheesy yumminess.

Make one, and enjoy it hot, warm, room temperature, or even cold.  It is a wonderful treat to celebrate the end of summer’s bounty and the delight of vine-ripened tomatoes.

Old-Fashioned Tomato Pie

Ingredients

  • Single Pie Crust
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1/3 cup Crisco shortening
    • Dash of salt (6 shakes)
    • 1/3 cup cold water
  • Filling
    • 2-3 lbs tomatoes, thinly sliced (I used a variety of red and yellow heirloom tomatoes)
    • 1 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil and parsley
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
    • 1/2 cup freshly shredded Gruyere cheese
    • 1/8-1/4 cup cup mayonnaise

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Prepare pie crust by blending flour, shortening and salt with a pastry blender to create coarse crumbs.  Add cold water, and mix until just combined.   Do not overwork (this is the secret to flaky pie crust).  Roll out dough on floured surface and line a 9″ pie plate with dough – folding overhanging dough under itself along rim to create rustic edge.

Line piecrust with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans (or pie weights) to keep crust in place.  Bake for 20 mins.  Cool completely.

To prepare filling, place thinly sliced tomatoes on paper towels, and sprinkle with salt.  Let stand 10 mins.  Pat dry with another layer of paper towels.

While tomatoes are resting, saute onion and garlic, sprinkled with salt and pepper, in olive oil for 3-4 minutes until tender.

Layer tomatoes, then onion/garlic mixture, and a sprinkle of freshly chopped herbs into pie crust.  Continue layering until all tomatoes, onions, and herbs are used.

Combine shredded cheese and mayonnaise.  Spread over top of tomato pie.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until lightly browned, shielding edges with foil or pie shield (the GREATEST invention ever for pie bakers!) to prevent excessive browning.

Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, whichever you prefer. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Recipe adapted slightly from Myrecipes.com.

Old-Fashioned Homemade Chicken Soup for Beginners

When I have a head cold, nothing makes me feel better than the smell and taste of good old-fashioned chicken noodle soup.

So when my throat started aching, nose started running, cough began croaking, ears felt like they were stuffed with cotton, and head began pounding this week, I knew I had to get a pot of soup on.

Not only does the smell comfort me and remind me of Grandma’s house and love, but the steam clears up the stuffed nose and the warm broth soothes my sore throat.

When other foods lose their flavor when your head is congested, nothing tastes as good as homemade chicken soup.

If you are a beginner cook, I hope you will find this recipe easy to follow.  It is made from staple ingredients I almost always have in my kitchen, and though it takes a couple hours to simmer,  you can throw it together quickly and forget about it during that time – enjoying the aroma and anticipation of comfort.

Here is how I make it.

Old-Fashioned Homemade Chicken Soup for Beginners

  • Servings: approx. 12
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (I like to use Trader Joe’s Frozen Organic Boneless & Skinless Chicken Breasts)
  • 12 cups water
  • 6 sticks celery cut into 4-5 inch pieces
  • 1 cup shortcut carrots
  • 5-6 tsp. chicken soup base (I like Bell-View)
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 2 large sweet onions, halved
  • 1/4  cup fresh chopped parsley (or 1 Tbsp dried parsley)
  • 1 Tbsp ground pepper
  • 12 oz. pkg Kluski egg noodles (I like Pennsylvania Dutch brand)

Directions:

Place frozen chicken breasts in large soup pot.  Cover with 12 cups cold water.  Add celery, carrots, chicken base, whole garlic cloves, onions, parsley, and pepper.  Cover and bring to a rolling boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer with lid tilted slightly so it is not tight fitting, but allows steam to escape.  Simmer for approximately 2 hours or until broth level reduces 1/2 – 1 inch.  You can tell this by looking at the side of the pot where a line will be formed where soup started.  This will allow the broth to build depth of flavor.

When soup is almost done, boil noodles in a separate pot, cooking 2-3 minutes less than directions.  Drain and rinse well with cold water.  Set aside.

When soup broth is done, pour through strainer into a larger pot.  The broth will go into the pot, and the chicken and vegetables will remain in the strainer.

When cool enough to handle, chop chicken and vegetables into bite-sized pieces.  Add back to broth, then add drained and rinsed noodles.   Stir to incorporate all.

Your soup is now ready to enjoy.  This soup keeps well for up to a week in the refrigerator and also freezes well.

Beginner’s sidenotes/tips:  You can certainly use a whole chicken or chicken parts, but it is a lot more work to clean the chicken from the bone, and remove the skin and fat after cooking to cut up for the soup.  Using chicken breasts also eliminated the need to allow the broth to cool and fat to rise to top to skim off as there is little to no fat in the chicken breasts.  Chicken breasts also allow for a heartier soup with big chunks of tender chicken.  Buying a better grade and organic chicken will give you better flavor and better food value.  I’ve found with cheaper brands of chicken, there is fat and gristle that needs removed as well as ligaments that need cut out.

You can certainly use whole raw carrots, but the convenient short-cut carrots save the need for peeling and cutting down carrots into manageable pieces.

While dried herbs are always good to have on hand in a pinch, nothing will make your recipes better than using fresh herbs.  Fresh parsley as opposed to dried will really add a whole new sophisticated level to your soup.

Always cook your noodles separately, and drain and rinse well in cold water.  This will remove the starch that cooks off the pasta from being in your soup and “muddying up” the broth’s texture and flavor.  Rinsing in cold water will stop the “cooking” that still continues in food like pasta while it is still hot.

Cook noodles 2-3 minutes less than directions say to avoid soggy, mushy noodles in your soup.  As they sit in the soup, they will soften and plump even more, so no need to over-cook.

Do not add oil or salt to the noodles when boiling.  There is plenty of salt in the soup base that will make the broth.  It is almost impossible to “unsalt” soup, but additional salt can always be added for individual taste or preference.  If you over-salt, add more water to broth or consider boiling a whole peeled potato in the broth.  The potato will absorb some of the salt.  You can then throw the potato out, hopefully salvaging your broth.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi