Punch and Pie

Notice anything… different?

I freakin’ hope so! I spent the better part of last week customizing my page with some original artwork. It being the first time I’ve experimented with manipulating my drawings through Photoshop, I have to say I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.

I know what you’re thinking, “I was under the impression there would be punch and pie?”… I kind of lied. Look, there will be pie, it’s a big deal and we’ll get to that in a minute, but there is no punch. It was more of a play on words really, the ‘punch’ was supposed to be you opening this page and being like, “Woah- things look different.” That is assuming that you are a frequent reader… so I guess only about seven of you actually get the ‘punch’ and all you new readers only get pie… still a good deal.

“Why is it such a big deal?” you ask, “And why should we believe anything you say after the punch incident?”

Okay… fair point. It’s a big deal because I’m starting something new!

“Like that other time you started something new with Magnet Mondays, and then you just totally stopped doing it after like two months?”

Woah… you really cut to the core, don’t you? Magnet Monday will be back next week with May and June’s magnets, and I’m making the ones for July and August this week to avoid any future fiasco. Let’s get to the good stuff now!

I’m so excited to introduce a new blogger, my beautiful, smart, funny and talented, older sister, Katie! She will be writing her own food segments, dubbed “Katie’s Kitchen”, a few times a month. You’ll see after today that she’s got some killer recipes to share, so stay tuned guys!

lizzeh

Now, before I turn over the wheel, I’m assuming you’d like to get to know a little bit about Katie. Since both she and I have access to this post, I’ll take this time to ask her a few questions about herself, so you can learn a little bit about who she is.

Can you state your full name for the court record please?

(Glances around nervously) I was told this was an informal meeting, and that I wouldn’t need my attorney….well, since my name is already in the title….I guess I can confirm that my name is Katie. Nice to meet ya.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

I love outdoor activities; gardening, beach days, hiking, camping, kayaking. I love reading, baking and cooking, and spending time with my family. Oh, and karaoke.

Tell us more about your family…

Pat (my husband) and I share many of the same interests (duh). Family hikes and camping trips are a must each spring, summer and fall. Our 2 kids are now old enough (Leanora, 4½ and Quinton, 2½) to really participate and appreciate nature. They love all the different plants and animals we see, and are always full of questions. They always want to ‘help’ us with whatever projects we are working on, in fact I just got back from a local greenhouse and the kids can’t wait to get out and help me plant the flowers and veggies I picked up. Pat designs and builds rustic furniture, as well as some watercolor painting. We have recently expanded our business to include re-purposing and up-cycling old furniture, picked from places like old factories/mills or even side of the road piles…yup, we’re garbage pickers. It’s been really fun and exciting adding this new dimension to our business, which also includes house painting and small carpentry repairs.

How do you manage to still have time to bake and cook all of these great things with two young kids?

Well….if I decide to devote a day to baking, which is almost always done with the kids help, I know I am going to fall behind on things like laundry, dishes, etc. But I love baking and experimenting with new recipes, so you just have to balance things out. I’ll take the day before, or the day after, and devote that to housework, or the kids activities, or working on a new piece of furniture. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it because its something I truly enjoy. Plus I love the fact that my kids always want to help out, instilling a love and appreciation of baking (plus gardening, hiking, ‘fixing’ furniture-they always have their toy toolbox handy) in them this early in life is a wonderful thing.

What about your sister, Elizabeth, why is she your favorite sibling? Remember, you are under oath.

(Clear throat….check watch, realize I’m not wearing a watch) Wow, would you look at the time! I’d better get those veggies in the ground before they wilt…..but seriously, EB and I have always been close. We have the same sense of humor and love of creating. I stick to cooking and baking mostly, and EB, as you know, has a unique artistic ability that allows her to craft and create beautiful meals, home decor, gifts, invitations, etc. I am very honored to be a part of her ever-growing blog. Thanks again, EB for the opportunity! Love you!

Alright, let’s see…
Hobbies… check
Family… check
Obligatory compliments about me… check

That’s about everything!
Thanks for taking the time to introduce yourself, and thanks for taking part in the blog! I expect we’ll be learning more
and more with every post, and I’m so happy and excited to have you here!

And now, without further ado, the first edition of Katie’s Kitchen!

Ahh strawberry rhubarb pie, a summer staple and one of my personal favorites.

I have been growing my own rhubarb for about 4 years now, and there is a definite sense of satisfaction gained (and money saved! Yup, I’m cheap) from baking with your own homegrown ingredients. Anyway, strawb-rhub, as I ridiculously like to call it, is not only my fav, but the favorite of several of my brothers-in-law, and therefore a much requested, and fought over, dessert when they come to visit. A couple years ago, I started experimenting with mini pies. The single serving size, easy to eat treats have become quite popular with my family, so popular in fact that Liz and Tyler had me make several dozen as the desserts for their wedding. The process is a bit more time consuming, but the end result is well worth the effort. First I will start off with the ingredients and tools needed...

Pie Crust

1¾ c  all purpose flour
¼ c sugar
pinch of salt
12 tbsp unsalted butter
ice water

Filling

1¼ c sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch (if you don’t have cornstarch, substitute 6 tbsp all purpose flour)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
pint container of strawberries
3 c chopped rhubarb

Tools

mixing bowls
chef’s knife
cutting board
measuring cups/spoons
pastry cutter, or 2 butter knives
rolling pin
cupcake tins
circular cookie cutter, glass, plate bottom, etc…something to cut dough circles about 3-4 inches across
small cookie cutters, various shapes

Ok, lets get started.  Preheat the oven to 400°F and make sure the oven rack is in the middle. Dice up (you want small pieces of each to evenly fill each mini pie) the rinsed strawberries and rhubarb. Measure and add to the bowl the cornstarch, sugar, salt and nutmeg. Mix well. This is what the filling should look like when you’re done.

I like to make the dough right before I use it, rather than letting it chill in the fridge. I know a lot of people like to let the dough chill before rolling, so if that’s your thing, go ahead and make the dough first and prepare the filling while you wait. First I measure out the flour, sugar and salt, and whisk it together. Then I chop but the butter a bit and add it to the flour. Using a pastry cutter, (or the 2 butter knifes, but this is a real pain..trust me….you should invest in a pastry cutter), cut the butter into the flour until the pieces of butter are about pea sized. Start adding ice water, a few tablespoons at a time, gently folding or mixing with a rubber spatula. Continue this process until the dough comes together, and remember, if it gets too wet, you an always add a little more flour.

Dust your work surface with some flour and dump the dough onto it. Knead it around slightly, adding more flour if necessary. I work with about half or a third of the dough at a time..so separate the dough into 2 or 3 pieces, and get ready to roll. Dust the rolling pin, and probably the work surface again, with some flour, and roll the dough out pretty thin. I don’t have an exact measurement here, it’s not crucial to get it perfect. You want it thin enough to be able to crisp up, but not so thin it will burn or break.  Using your cookie cutter, cup, plate bottom, whatever, cut out your 3-4 inch circles, and place them in your cupcake tins. To be safe, I usually spray the tins with non-stick spray. Repeat until you have about 18 mini pie crusts. Then roll out your remaining dough (re-roll the scraps if necessary) for the top crust. Small cookie cutter shapes like leaves, hearts and stars are cute, small strips for a lattice top, or rolled up strips to make roses are some ideas for top crust, you can really do anything you’d like.

Brush the tops with milk, then sprinkle with sugar if you want, totally up to you. Bake these puppies in the oven for about 25 minutes, this may vary slightly. Check them after about 20 to make sure they aren’t too dark…then again they might need 30 minutes to become golden brown, it just varies from oven to oven. One they look crispy and golden, remove them from the oven and place on a cooling rack. I let them cool a few minutes before removing them from the tins, to cool completely on the rack. Or, eat them before they can cool at all. Once cooled, they can be stored in an airtight container for 5-7 days. No need to refrigerate unless its super hot out.

Enjoy!

k80

Linking up to The Summer Dessert and Goodies Challenge!

At The CSI Project.

csi project

We made the cut!

There was only a top 6 this weekend and we made it! Thanks to everyone at The CSI Project and everyone else who came to check out our post!

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5 thoughts on “Punch and Pie

  1. Katie will be a wonderful contributor to your blog Liz, only one problem I can see here, I don’t have any of those little pies at my house!!! I am also included with those that love strawberry rhubarb pie.

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