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Archive for May 11, 2017

RECIPE: Strawberry Balsamic Pie

Strawberry Balsamic Pie

Balsamic Vinegar

[1] Strawberry balamic pie. [2] Balsamic vinegar (photo Pompeian | Facebook).

 

In Italy, strawberries are often served for dessert with balsamic vinegar. Some of the most expensive, aged balsamics are served this way, with a few precious droplets bringing more excitement between the two ingredients (the whole is greater than the sum of its parts).

Fine balsamic is also served with aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, so sophisticated foodies should consider some crumbles as a plate garnish (crumble your own from a wedge-don’t buy crumbled parmesan).

One of our favorite bakers, Audra, The Baker Chick, sent us this recipe for If you like to bake, or simply look at beautiful cakes and pies, sign up for her emails.

“The original recipe for this beauty comes from Four and Twenty Blackbirds, a wonderful pie shop in Brooklyn that I used to get to enjoy back in the day. I didn’t follow it exactly, partly because of what I had on hand and partly because of my own pie-making experience; but it was pretty darn amazing either way.

“When it comes to thickening berry pies, I’m an instant tapioca girl. I really believe nothing works better. I love a juicy pie, but not a soupy one and tapioca really is the best. Happy Spring—now go make this lovely pie!”

It’s lovely for Mother’s Day, and all through the summer.
 
RECIPE: STRAWBERRY BALSAMIC PIE

Ingredients

  • 2 layers pie crust
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 lb fresh strawberries, quartered
  • 1 small baking apple, peeled and grated
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant tapioca
  • 2 grinds fresh black pepper
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 tsp water and a pinch of salt)
  • Coarse sugar for sprinkling (it gives a nice crunch.)
  • Optional for serving: vanilla or strawberry ice cream…or a bit of each
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    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust with your favorite recipe. Audra added ¼ cup cider vinegar to the ice water and thinks it made the crust extra flaky. While the crust is chilling, prepare the filling.

    2. PLACE the strawberries in a large bowl, sprinkle with the sugar and toss gently. Let sit for about 20 minutes; then stir in the apple, balsamic, brown sugar, tapioca, pepper and salt. Toss to combine and allow flavors to sit and get juicy.

    3. ROLL out one of the chilled pie crusts and drape it over the bottom of the pie pan. Pop it into the freezer for a few minutes while you roll out the second crust. If you want to try a lattice crust, use a straight edge to cut the strips.

    4. POUR the filling into the chilled crust and add the top crust. Trim and crimp the edges of the crust and pop it into the fridge or freezer while you preheat the oven to 425°F, with a rack positioned in the middle. When oven is ready…

    5. BRUSH the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle it with sugar. Line a cookie sheet with foil and place the pie on top. Place the cookie sheet on the middle rack.

    6. BAKE for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is beginning to turn golden. Then, reduce the heat to 375°F and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the pie is juicy and bubbly.

     
      

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    TRIVIA: National Egg Month

    May is National Egg Month, a time for some consciousness-raising.

    We look for Certified Humane eggs and don’t mind paying the premium for them. You’ve no doubt heard the horror stories of mass egg production.

    We buy from Pete and Gerry’s whenever we can: eggs produced on small family farms with a commitment to the humane treatment of the chickens.

    Pete & Gerry’s eggs are also USDA Organic, OU kosher and B-Corporation Certified: committed to sustainability.

    They shared these fowl facts with us:

  • There’s no nutritional difference between brown and white eggs. The color of the egg is actually determined by the color of the hen!
  • Young hens produce smaller eggs. The medium-size eggs come from pullets, hens that are less than a year old.
  • The smaller the egg, the thicker the shell. This makes them easier to crack (no fragments to fish out) and, for hard-boiled eggs, easier to peel.
  • What creates a double yolk? In a young hen that is just learning how to lay eggs, two eggs merged before the shell was formed.
  • All eggs aren’t equally flavorful. Aside from freshness (e.g., farmers market eggs), the tastiest eggs come from free-range hens they have real access to grass, where they can peck for worms and other insects that contribute to the flavor.
  • Fresh water, the space to roost and access to earth so they can dust-bathe are also essential. Cage-free and conventional hens spend their lives crammed together indoors. Cage-free hens aren’t confined to sit in a tiny cage, but are crammed onto the floor of a building with no room to move.
  • What’s the deal with cholesterol? In the 1980s, news warned against the consumption of eggs for people with high cholesterol. But the new news is, research has returned to the side of egg consumption. Don’t steer clear of eggs because of cholesterol. (If you have an issue, consult with your healthcare provider).
  •  
    That’s good news, because…

  • The egg is a nutritional powerhouse, with 7 grams of high-quality protein, iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids, including the disease-fighting antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin and the macro-ingredient choline. Yes, there are 5 grams of fat, but only 1.6 grams are saturated fat (types of fat). And all for just 75-78 calories per large egg.
  •  
    Now for the fun trivia:

     

    Natural Hens' Eggs Colors

    Tufted Araucana Chicken

    These eggs are all natural in color. The colors come from different breeds of hens. Those breeds don’t produce eggs as economically as breeds that produce white and brown eggs, so they are not sold commercially, except by some farmstands (photo courtesy The Egg Farm). [2] This tufted arcauna chicken, originally from South America, lays pale blue eggs (photo courtesy Awesome Araucana.

  • Why are eggs sold by the dozen? In England and other European countries from as early as the 700s and continuing until around 1960, the Imperial Unit System was used. There were twelve pennies to a shilling, which meant that an egg could be sold for a penny, or a dozen eggs could be sold for a shilling, with no change-making required.
  • By the Elizabethan period (1550-1600), selling eggs by the dozen was the standard practice. The English who emigrated to North America brought the system with them. Other countries have their own standards.
  •  
    TIPS

  • To crack an egg: The best technique is to tap it on the counter, not on the rim of the bowl. You’ll avoid fragments, splinters, or whatever you call those exasperating little pieces that drop into the bowl.
  • To check if an egg is fresh or stale, raw or hard boiled: Just spin the egg on the counter. If it wobbles, it’s raw. If it spins easily, it’s hard boiled. A fresh egg will sink in water, a stale one will float.
  • Egg sandwiches: A fried egg sandwich with bacon was popular in our youth. These days, one of our go-to quick meals for breakfast, lunch or light dinner is a sliced hard-boiled egg sandwich on rye toast. We buy the eggs pre-boiled and peeled (a great time saver!) and use an ever-changing variety of seasonal fixings (a favorite: roasted red pepper (pimento) with baby arugula) and mayo flavors. For weekend brunch: a slice of smoked salmon.
  •  
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EGGS

    If you think of eggs as either white or brown, check out the different types of eggs in our Egg Glossary. There are 10 choices in chicken eggs alone!
     
    SOME EGG-CELLENT LINKS

  • Egg Salad Recipes & The History Of Egg Salad
  • How To Make The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg
  • Egg Nutrition
  • Quail Egg Recipes
  •   

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