May 29, 2014

Spring Berry Syrup

Spring Berry Syrup

I swear for the last month every time I have gone to the grocery store I have bought a package of berries.  Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.  I have celebrated spring by eating my weight in berries.

Spring Berry Syrup made with Strawberries, Raspberries, and Blueberries

Because of the plethora of berries in my fridge and a desire for waffles on Monday morning I had to make a delicious spring berry syrup.  I used strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries in my syrup, but you can totally change up the berries based on what you have and what you want your syrup to taste like.

Berry Syrup with Vanilla Ice Cream

The berry syrup is infinitely changeable too!  More berries, different berries, throw in some lime zest--whatever you want.  You can also cook down the syrup to reach a more jam-like consistency, which is what I  did with about half of my syrup. I have awesome plans for the jam--mixed into yogurt for breakfast, on top of more waffles, and of course ICE CREAM!

Spring Berry Jam made with Strawberries, Blueberries, and Raspberries

Vanilla ice cream topped with spring berry syrup is about the best thing I've eaten lately; when I've taken a break from shoving handfuls of berries in my mouth.  The spring berry flavors pop and tang when mixed with the creamy vanilla ice cream.

Spring Berry Syrup

Spring Berry Syrup
author: Happy Food Happy Home
yields about 2 cups of berry syrup
4 cups mixed berries (2 cups strawberries, 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup raspberries)
¼-½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (from half a lemon)
  1. Stem the strawberries, and chop the strawberries down to roughly the size of the raspberries.
  2. Combine the strawberry pieces, raspberries, blueberries, ¼ cup sugar, water, and lemon juice in a medium sized saucepan.
  3. Cover the saucepan and heat over medium high heat until the water has started to boil.
  4. Remove lid and allow the syrup to simmer for 25-35 minutes.  The berries will burst, the mixture will get liquidy, and then start to cook down.  
  5. Taste your sauce.  If it is a little tart add extra sugar to taste.  Stir the extra sugar into the syrup and allow to dissolve. 
  6. If your syrup is too thick add some extra water, and if it is too thin allow to simmer until it is the consistency you are looking for. 
I can't stop thinking of other uses for the spring berry syrup: I want to use it as the base for Italian Sodas, I have a delicious brownie sundae in the works, and straight off a spoon mixed in with more ice cream. 

Spring Berry Syrup Over Ice Cream

Have you been buying berries buy the cart-ful?  What is your favorite way to use berries?

May 27, 2014

Burrata and Pesto BLT

Burrata Cheese and Pesto BLT

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend!  Thanks to everyone who has served our country--you are truly heroes.  We spent our weekend cleaning (not fun), and boating (very fun).  Though we had to come home to let Boomer outside, I always love a day spent on the lake.

Building a Burrata Cheese BLT

I got to water ski for the first time this year, and I only fell once.  It's always an accomplishment for me.  Mom got a stand-up paddle board, and it was so fun to learn how to do it.  I was terrified I was going to fall off, but it was actually pretty easy to get the hang of.  And now I want a paddle board of my own!

Burrata Cheese BLT Sandwich

Most of our weekend meals centered around the grill, but I was craving a BLT for lunch.  I had bacon and tomatoes, but no lettuce.  I thought I was out of luck until I started digging around in the fridge.  Out came pesto and some burrata, and my Burrata and Pesto BLT (with no L) was born.

Cutting the Burrata Cheese

Burrata is a delicious form of mozzarella cheese with an outer layer of mozzarella and the middle filled with cream and mozzarella pieces.  It's creamy, cheesy, and really delicious.  If you can find it I totally recommend using it, but if you can't you can substitute fresh mozzarella.

Delicious Stacked Burrata BLT

The burrata and pesto BLT is a delicious combination of salty bacon, juicy tomatoes, and creamy cheese.  The pesto ties the flavors together, and I can't get enough of the basil flavor with the tomatoes and burrata.  I used the last of the bacon making this sandwich, or I probably would have made another one today!

Burrata and Pesto BLT
author: Happy Food Happy Home
serves 4

8 pieces sourdough bread
4 tablespoons basil pesto
16 pieces of bacon
4 small balls of burrata
8 tomato slices
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil leaves for garnish
  1. Toast your sourdough bread.
  2. Spread 4 of the slices with 1 tablespoon of pesto each. 
  3. Top each of the pesto covered bread with 4 pieces of bacon, 2 tomato slices, and 1 ball of burrata.  Slice the ball of burrata in half over the top of the sandwich.
  4. If desired sprinkle the top of your sandwich fillings with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the second slice of bread to each of the sandwiches.  Garnish top of sandwich with a basil leaf. 
Cut Burrata Cheese on a BLT

What did you make over Memorial Day weekend?  Did you find any delicious new sandwich combinations?

May 22, 2014

Barbecue Bacon Burgers with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Barbecue Bacon Burger with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Hamburgers are one of my favorite foods.  I have no idea why, but I find myself craving a burger probably once a week.  So gosh was I nervous to cook a hamburger at home.  I was worried about the burgers not living up to expectations, as well as just completely failing at cooking them.  Luckily the first few rounds have turned out pretty well, and I'm hoping to continue making burgers all summer!

Barbecue Bacon Burger

Playing with flavor combinations is one of my favorite parts of cooking at home.  Being able to put a little of this and a little of that, and making food to completely satisfy everything we want is my idea of perfect.  I wanted to make a grilled pineapple salsa; a little sweet, a little spicy, slightly warm, and a little smokey.   Grilling the pineapple brings out the sweetness and chars the edges just a little--adding a super awesome layer of flavor to the pineapple.  The onions, cilantro, and jalapeno round out the grilled pineapple to make a delicious salsa.

Barbecue Bacon Burger with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Adding barbecue sauce, cheese, and bacon to the burger just throws it over the top.  The burger is salty, cheesy, sweet, savory and spicy.  It is literally everything I want in a burger, shoved between two buns, and then devoured for dinner.  Try these barbecue bacon burgers topped with grilled pineapple salsa for dinner soon!  The pineapple salsa will be a great addition to a Memorial Day barbecue; put it on burgers, hot dogs, or eat it with chips!

Grilled Pineapple Salsa on a Burger

Barbecue Bacon Burgers with Grilled Pineapple Salsa
author: Happy Food Happy Home
serves 4

4 burger patties (beef, turkey, veggie, it's up to you!)
seasoned salt
salt and pepper
1/2 cup barbecue sauce

4 slices monterey jack cheese
4-8 slices bacon

1/2 a pineapple (you'll need 1 cup cubed pineapple pieces)
1/2 cup onion, diced
3-4 tablespoons jalapeno (more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat your grill to high heat.  Slice half of the pineapple into large slices.  Grill over medium heat for 3-5 minutes per side until grill marks are made and edges of the pineapple are slightly charred. Remove from grill and let cool. 
  2. Dice onion and jalapeno.  
  3. Cut the charred pineapple into bite size cubes.
  4. Stir together the pineapple, onions, jalapeno, and cilantro.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Season burger patties with seasoned salt, pepper, and kosher salt.
  6. Grill burgers over medium heat until cooked through.  Brush barbecue sauce on burgers.
  7. Turn off grill and add cheese to patties.  Let sit in the closed grill until the cheese has melted.
  8. Place the burgers on buns and top with bacon and pineapple salsa.  Slam the top on the bun and eat that burger!
  • Notes:  You can use any burger patty you'd like. 
  • Feel free to add or subtract any topping you see fit.  No bacon, more cheese, etc. 

The pineapple salsa on top of the barbecue burger provides a sweet and spicy contrast to the salty savory burger.  I also can't wait to try the salsa on top of chicken, and in fish tacos!  I have food ideas pouring out of my head right now, and I am definitely not complaining!

Barbecue Bacon Burger with Pineapple Salsa

What is your favorite thing to grill?  Are you ready to throw some fruit on your burger, or does it make you a little nervous? Let me know!

May 20, 2014

Lemon and Basil Grilled Chicken and Lemon Cream Pasta

Lemon and Basil Grilled Chicken

The end of the school year is coming!  Though we are wrapping everything up at school, the kids are just as crazy as normal, if not more so.  We have a field trip tomorrow, Memorial Day weekend, and then Water Day on the last day of school.  And as everything happens they get more and more excited about what's coming.

Lemon Cream Pasta

Their excitement is contagious, but I am pooped at the end of the day.  Thus easy and simple dinners are my favorite dinners to make right now.  I'm loving our grill because clean up is easy and cooking is fast!

Lemon Cream Pasta-the perfect spring side

And marinating is the best thing ever.  You throw lemon and oil and herbs in a bag the night before and the flavors sink into the meat--chicken in this case.  The marinating does all the work for you, and you're rewarded with flavorful and delicious lemon and basil grilled chicken.

Juicy Lemon and Basil Grilled Chicken

The lemon cream pasta is one of my favorite side dishes.  It's simple, easy and full of lemon flavors.  With the tang of parmesan cheese, delicious lemon juice, and topped with fresh herbs the lemon cream pasta is perfect as a side dish for grilled chicken, or anything really.

Easy Lemon Cream Pasta with Basil Garnish

Lemon and Basil Marinated Chicken
author: Happy Food Happy Home
makes 4 chicken breasts

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 large lemons or 2 small)
lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
a pinch of salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
fresh basil for garnish

  1. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, zest, basil, black pepper, and salt in a glass measuring cup.  
  2. Place the chicken and the marinade in a large zip-top bag.  Massage everything around to fully coat the chicken in the marinade.
  3. Place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight or for at least 2 hours.  The longer you marinate the yummier it will be.
  4. Heat your grill to medium heat.  Grill the chicken until it is cooked through.
  5. Remove from the grill and garnish with fresh basil leaves. 
Note- No grill?  Just cook the chicken over medium heat in a cast iron skillet or bake at 350 degrees until cooked through.  

Lemon Cream Pasta
author: Happy Food Happy Home
serves 4

1/2 a pound dry pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
black pepper to taste
fresh herbs for garnish
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Heat cream in a medium nonstick saucepan over medium low heat until warm but not boiling.
  3. Add the grated parmesan work in two batches.  Whisk together until the cheese dissolves.  
  4. Whisk in the pepper and lemon juice.  
  5. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water.
  6. Add the pasta to the sauce.  Stir to combine.  If the sauce is runny cook down for about 2 minutes until it sticks to the pasta.  If it is too thick add reserved pasta water to thin.  
  7. At this point you can either mix the herbs into the pasta and sauce, or use them as garnish on top. 
Notes-I used about 3 tablespoons of fresh basil in our pasta.  It was really good!

Easy Lemon and Basil Marinated Grilled Chicken

The lemon and basil grilled chicken and the lemon cream pasta are a delicious spring dinner.  And they're easy to throw together and fast to cook.  Because the marinade does all the work the grilled chicken comes out juicy and full of lemon flavors.  Make this dinner to enjoy the nice spring weather we are having!

May 16, 2014

How to Make Lattice Top Pie Crust

A lattice top pie looks very beautiful.  All the weaving, and the filling just poking through here and there. Normally it's golden brown and delicious looking.  But it can be a pain the butt.

Step By Step How to Make a Lattice Top Pie

The weaving is the trick--how do you get the pieces over and under each other without breaking?  The weaving itself might be tricky, but this step by step tutorial of how to make a lattice top pie shows that it's almost easy!  Just a little 'tricky'.

The trick to making a lattice top pie is not actually weaving the strips.  Taking the pie crust and placing and folding it in the weaving pattern makes everything simple, without every having to force one piece of pie crust under another one. 

First you need a delicious flaky pie crust.  Roll the pie crust into a large circle 2-3 inches bigger than your pie dish.  It's better to have strips too long than too short.

Pie Crust Rolled Out

Cut the pieces into 1 inch strips.  I used a ruler and a straight edge to help my pieces be evenly sized. You can use a fluted cutter or a straight one. A sharp knife will work just as well. 

Measuring and Strips

After all your pieces are cut take one of the longest pie crust strips and place it vertically (blue) down the middle of the pie.  Space your next vertical strip about 1 inch away.  Repeat with the remaining space on the pie; use shorter pieces as you get farther from the middle.

Vertical Pie Strips for Lattice Top

Now your going to fold your pie strips.  Starting with the middle strip, fold back every other strip across a little more than half the pie.  Place your first horizontal strip (red) across the middle of the pie, on top of the unfolded vertical strips.  

First Horizontal Layers

Unfold the vertical strips.  You have 'weaved' your first pie strip.

Fold the vertical pieces you did not fold before.  You should be folding back every other vertical strip over the first horizontal piece.

Second Horizontal Pie Strip

Place the next horizontal piece across the pie about 1 inch away from the first.  Place it on top of the unfolded vertical strips.  Unfold the vertical strips and repeat.  

Two Horizontal Pie Crust Lattice

Repeat with this half of the pie before turning it around and following the same steps with the other side.

Lattice Top How-To

How to Make a Lattice Top Pie Crust

Carefully trim the excess edges off of the strips, going around the pie.  Use a sharp knife to prevent pulling or tearing the pie dough.  Then gently press the edges to adhere, or you can crimp the edges.  Whatever you want!

Trim Pie Dough

You pie is ready to bake.  Just cook it to your recipe's specifications.  I love the look of a lattice top pie.  For the longest time I was terrified of trying because I thought it would be too hard.  With this simple method of making a lattice top pie you can totally do it for your next pie!

What's your favorite way to top a pie?  I'm super excited to try new ways soon!

May 15, 2014

Classic Peach Pie Recipe

Classic Peach Pie

This past weekend was my dad's birthday, my grandpa's birthday, and it was Mother's Day.  We had a busy weekend as I'm sure you can imagine!

Classic Peach Pie Recipe

On Saturday Mom and Dad came to our house for dinner.  We were celebrating Mother's Day and Dad's birthday.  Mom brought steaks, and Dad requested I make peach pie. I couldn't say no to such a delicious sounding request.

Classic Peach Pie Recipe with Cinnamon and Vanilla

Dustin cooked the steaks with Mom's supervisions--it was the first time he's ever cooked steaks on our grill!  And I made twice baked potatoes and grilled asparagus.  And we all salivated over the peach pie that was sitting on the counter just waiting to be eaten.

Peach Pie with a Lattice Top

The peach pie did not disappoint.  It was flavorful and peachy, with a perfect flaky crust from my favorite recipe.  With just a hit of cinnamon and vanilla the peach flavor really came through.  It is a classic peach pie, no updates, no crazy combinations, just peaches and a tiny bit of seasonings to make all the flavors pop.  Truthfully I'm already thinking of when I can make another peach pie.  Memorial Day Weekend anyone?

Classic Peach Pie
author: Happy Food Happy Home
filling adapted from Smitten Kitchen
makes 1 pie

3 1/2 pounds peaches (you'll need about 6 cups peeled and cut)
1 tablespoon lemon juice, (about ½ a lemon)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 whole unbaked pie crusts
2 tablespoons cream
2-3 teaspoons turbinado sugar
  1. Peel your peaches
    1. make a small x on the bottom of the peaches.  Boil for 2 minutes and then place in an ice bath for 1 minute. The peaches should peel easily.
    2. if your peaches are firm it might be easier to peel with a vegetable peel just like you'd peel an apple.*
  2. Cut the peaches into 1/3 inch pieces.**
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine the peaches, lemon juice, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and corn starch. Set aside and prepare your crust.
  4. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  5. Lay a ¼ inch thick round of dough in the bottom of your pie pan. *** Trim to fit the pie plate.
  6. Pour your filling and all the accumulated juices into the pie crust. 
  7. Top with the top crust or make a lattice crust.
    1. To make a lattice crust cut strips into 1 inch pieces.  Gently weave the pieces into a lattice top.  (Check back Friday for an easy lattice tutorial!)
    2. You can just put a full top on the pie. Make sure to vent the crust with 2 or 3 holes.
  8. Gently brush the cream over the top crust.  Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the crust.
  9. Place the pie in the oven with a foil lined baking sheet underneath it to catch drips.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.
  11. After 20 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 375 and bake for 30-40 more minutes until the crust is lightly golden brown and the filling is bubbling all over.  If at any point the crust gets too brown on top tent the pie with foil for the rest of the baking time.
  12. When pie is cooked remove from oven.  Let the pie sit for at least 3 hours to allow the filling to set completely.  If you cut the pie before it has set your filling will run everywhere.  But it will still taste delicious. 

*I boiled my firm peaches and the skin didn't come off. Frustrating, but we peeled them with a vegetable peeler, and that worked fine.  Thank you Dustin for helping!
**Or mangle them into lots of pieces while attempting to cut them and use those pieces.
***I didn't butter my pie pan because my pie crust uses so much butter that it wouldn't dream of sticking to a pie dish. 

This peach pie was great.  I'm still hoarding one piece that I'll probably have when I get home this afternoon.  Right before I head off to the grocery store to stock up on everything.  

Classic Peachy Peachy Pie

Do you love pie? I can'tstopwon'tstop, but Dustin doesn't really like it.  I still have some cherries in the freezer from last year that are calling my name.  Cherry pie is my grandpa's favorite, and mine too.  What is your favorite kind of pie?

May 13, 2014

Flaky Pie Crust Recipe

Step by Step Flaky Pie Crust Tutorial

Flaky pie crusts are like my holy grail.  Flaky pie crusts are flavorful, delicious, and the perfect contrast to warm sweet pie filling.  But (and oh is this a big but) they can be tricky to get right.  Overworking the dough, too wet, too dry, butter or shortening, etcetc; lots of things can go wrong on your quest to make a flaky pie crust.

Luckily I have found the answer!  With normal pantry ingredients, a large mixing bowl, a wooden spoon, and your hands being the only tools you need.  This pie crust is easy to throw together a couple of days before you need it, and then you freeze it.  The freezing helps with the flakiness.  Don't ask me why, I just know that I've tried the pie crust both ways and the frozen crusts are always flakier.

To start making your crust mix together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Then chop the slightly softened butter into little pieces and toss it into the flour.  Using your hands mush the butter into the flour.  Really work the flour into the butter to create small pieces of butter throughout the flour.
Butter and Flour for Pie Crust

It should look like a craggy mess when you're finished.

Butter Incorporated into Pie Dough

Lightly beat the egg and pour it over your dough.  Mix it around a bit with the wooden spoon (so your not pouring the vinegar directly on the egg) and then add in the vinegar.  Gently stir it in.

Egg and Vinegar in Pie Dough

Add 3 tablespoons of the cold water and stir with the wooden spoon. If your dough is dry add more water 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together. Just mix until it all comes together.  Be careful not to over mix, or you'll create a tough dough.

Gently Mixed Pie Crust Dough

Pull the dough into two chunks and then place inside the ziplock bags.  Flatten the dough to make it easier to roll out later, and place the dough in the freezer.  Freeze for at least 30 minutes.  The dough can be made and frozen up to two weeks in advance.

Freeze Pie Crust in Bags for extra Flakiness

When you're ready to make your pie remove the dough from the freezer about 30 minutes in advance.  Generously flour your counter and the pie dough.

Generously Flour Pie Dough

Use a rolling pin to gently roll out the dough.  Rotate the dough a quarter turn every few rolls.  Roll gently and patiently and the dough will tear less!

Rolled Out Pie Dough

Fold the dough gently into quarters and place into the pie pan.

Fold Pie into Quarters to Move

Gently unfold the dough and work it into dough into the corners of the pan.  Try not to pull, stretch, or tear the dough.  To work the dough into the corners lift and guide the dough into the edges.

Gently guide dough into corners

Trim the edges with a sharp knife.  Then you're ready for whatever filling you desire for your pie!

Trim the Pie Crust

Flaky Buttery Pie Crust
author: Happy Food Happy Home
adapted from The Pioneer Woman
makes 2 large pie crusts

1 ½ cups butter, slightly softened
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3-5 tablespoons cold water
  1. In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour and the salt.
  2. Cut the butter into small cubes and toss into the flour.
  3. Using your hands mush the butter into the flour.  Work the butter to create some small and some large pieces of butter.  All of the butter should be incorporated into the flour.
  4. Slightly beat the egg and add to the bowl.  Mix around a few times with the wooden spoon. 
  5. Add the vinegar and mix in.
  6. Add 3 tablespoons of water and mix with the spoon until everything the dough just comes together. If your dough seems dry add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time.  At this point be careful not to over mix the dough.
  7. Pull the dough into two pieces and place each piece in a ziplock bag.  Flatten the pieces inside the bag, zip the tops, and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. 
  8. Take the dough out of the freezer and allow it to soften if it is frozen solid.
  9. Flour your work surface and rolling pin.  Place the dough on the work surface and dust generously with flour.
  10. Gently roll out the dough.  Rotate the dough a quarter turn every few rolls. Roll until about 2 inches wider than your pie plate and it's approximately ¼ inch thick. 
  11. Fold into quarters and gently transfer to your pie dish.  Unfold the quarters over the pie dish and gently work the dough into the corners of the pan.  Try not to pull or stretch the dough, just gently push it down into the corners.
  12. Trim the excess on the edges of the pie crust with a sharp knife.  You can then crimp the edges. 
  13. Your pie crust is ready for whatever you need it for!

  • Once you add water to the dough you can overwork the dough and make it tough.  Try to just mix enough to get everything to stick together.
  • The dough can be made and frozen up to two weeks in advance.  Allow dough to soften for about 30 minutes if frozen solid.
I love pie! And making this pie crust has only increased my love.  Now I totally have faith that my pie crusts will be flaky and delicious.  I just need to start giving these pies away and stop eating them myself.  

Check back tomorrow for my peach pie recipe, and on Friday for a super awesome and easy tutorial for making a lattice crust!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...