baking · breakfast · brunch · comfort food · Dating · dessert · easy · Fruit · jam · pie · snacks · Tarts · travel · vacation · vegetarian

Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts

I texted Cortney today, “I miss you. I want to come visit and drink iced coffee in the rocking chairs. Then we can go for a swim at our beach.” She responded with, “I’m ready. Let’s do it.”

Don’t have a lid for your sauce pan? Just cover with another pan! Lids are for rich people.

The rocking chairs are special for us. They’re all along the front porch of the Moana Hotel in Waikiki. Cortney took me there on my first trip to Oahu 2 years ago because it’s a great spot for people watching. I had ordered iced coffee from the coffee shop attached to the hotel and impulsed a few macaroons as well. We settled into our chairs with our fancy cookies and proceeded to check out all the hot people that walked by, having one of our many epic conversations. That experience stuck out to me. It’s silly, because we also went snorkeling and hiking and touring and did a million other amazing Hawaiian things. This was just one random morning. But for some reason, every time I think about visiting her again, I imagine those rocking chairs.

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During my most recent visit we recreated it. It was the morning after my second date with the guy. I refused to tell her anything about it until we were comfortably seated in our chairs with iced coffee and macaroons. She was dying. Keep in mind, Cortney has never met the guy. He is merely a friend of a friend. She didn’t actually have a clue how our dates were going to go, or if he was going to be a crazy person that sends unsolicited dick pics. For all she knew, he could have been a fucking murderer. Honestly, it’s mostly just dumb luck that I’m not dead right now. Okay, I’m being dramatic, but after my Tinder experiences I have become a little (understandably) guarded. So we sat down in our beautiful wooden rocking chairs, taking bites of our tropical flavored macaroons, and I finally launched into the story about the night before, when I discovered that I had found someone incredible. And we did what Cortney and I do best… we talked it all out. She let me gush, and then offered up her thoughts/feelings/encouragement. She allowed me to be unapologetically myself, just like she always does (and what I try to always do for her), and encouraged me to feel all my feelings. While I skipped zero details with Cortney (often starting statements with, “This is a little TMI, but….”), I will skip almost all of the details with you, dear readers. Just know that this person made me feel like I was enough, just as I am… in all of my very human glory.

(Side note: He’s coming to visit me next week. “Excited” is an understatement.)

When Cortney visited last fall, we made hand pies. This is a variation of that, but better (in my opinion). The only annoying part is the fucking dough. All the freezing of shit and the waiting. I’m not great at waiting (duh). It turns out that it’s worth the wait, and it’s easy as fuck to make. Get on it, y’all. You won’t be sorry.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts (inspired by Smitten Kitchen)

1 1/2 pounds rhubarbs stalks (or approx. 6-10 stalks depending on size), cleaned and trimmed of leaves/dirty ends

1 cup dark brown sugar

a splash of vanilla

2ish tablespoons strawberry jam (Thanks, Stacy!)

Slice rhubarb in half, length-wise, and then chop in approximately 3/4″ pieces. You should have about 4 1/2 cups, but it doesn’t have to be exact. Set aside 1 1/2 cups. Combine 3 cups of the chopped rhubarb with the brown sugar and vanilla in a sauce pan on the stove over medium-low heat. Cover and let sit for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should become pretty saucy. Uncover and increase heat to medium, cooking for another 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and causes the spoon to leave a trail at the bottom of the pan. Once finished, stir in the strawberry jam, letting it melt in. Finally, add in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of rhubarb. Pour into a bowl and set in refrigerator until cool.

For the crust: follow instructions from Fruit Hand Pies. Except you’ll just put a scoop of the filling in the center of a piece of dough and mush the sides up around it. It’s like a little bowl for jam… that you can eat!

Place them on a greased cookie sheet (or cake pan!) and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. This should make about 8-10 tarts. I only had enough rhubarb for 4 tarts. Then I ate one before the final photo, which is why there are only 3 finished tarts. Fuck it. I’m human, and I was hungry/had a craving. My only regret is that I didn’t make more.

apple · baking · breakfast · brunch · comfort food · Cookies · Dating · dessert · easy · Fruit · jam · pie · vegetarian

Fruit Hand Pies

Okay, the online dating continues… errr… it was continuing. Then I decided that I hated everyone and deleted it. Okay, so here’s the thing… the guys I was meeting on Bumble would start out being very nice, but almost 100% of them would think it is okay to say something sexual to me before we even met. And then they’d get pissed and tell me to loosen up when I would fucking call them out on it. When we’re in the middle of talking about how we both like cooking, it is not appropriate for you to say, “It’s fun to cook with another person, but it turns me on when a woman cooks, so that’s a problem.” I’m sorry, what? Are you telling me that you can’t get through cooking with someone because you’ll get too horny? I don’t even know you. Gross. This shit is not okay. And when I called him out on it, he went on to say how he jokes like that with his friends all the time, and that it’s not a big deal because he’s just joking around. I think he was forgetting the fact that (again)…. I DON’T FUCKING KNOW HIM. How the fuck am I supposed to take a comment like that? We’re not friends… I don’t know his personality yet. We’d been chatting on a dating app for all of 10 minutes. Fuck. Get it together. Needless to say, he “unmatched” me for calling him out on his douche bag behavior.

So I decided that I’m done. I was getting really stressed out trying to fit dates into my schedule anyway. And the guys on the app were so aggressive about meeting immediately. I just don’t have time for that shit. I have 3 jobs, plus all the yoga classes to attend, and some amazing friends that I’d rather be spending time with than strangers that may or may not offend me within moments of meeting. I’m taking a break.

Last Sunday I decided to spend the entire day doing yoga, which is something I used to do every Sunday, but haven’t been able to in the last 2ish months. It felt so amazing to just spend the whole day doing exactly what I wanted to be doing, and not having any responsibilities. And I got to do Acro for several hours at the park! This is me in my happy place…

I made these hand pies when Cortney was visiting. My amazing friend (and Acro teacher!) Alyssa gave me the recipe. She wrote it down for me, but didn’t know specifics about timing/measurements for a lot of it. I made 3 batches, but one of them ended up more like cookie dough (I added too much sugar), which was actually awesome (according to Cortney), so I’ll share that mistake in the recipe below as an option. This recipe could easily be made into savory pies, too… just leave out the sugar.

Fruit Hand Pies

For the crust:

1 cup flour (optional: substitute 1/4 of the flour for 1/4 cup sugar)

1 stick butter, frozen

2 tablespoons sugar

Ice cold water

For the filling:

Follow the filling instructions from the apple pie blog post (found here), but cut it down to about 1/4 of the recipe. Once mixed, refrigerate until cool.

For the raspberry filling, it is just equal parts raspberries to sugar (start with 1 cup of each). Boil that until it’s a thickish sauce. You’ll also want to add a few fresh berries to the filling, so make sure to save a little! Refrigerate until cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grate the butter with a cheese grater. Throw the grated butter into a bowl, and stick it in the freezer for an hour. After the hour, mix the flour and sugar with the butter, then slowly add ice water until it reaches a dough-like consistency (about 1/4 cup). Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and freeze for another hour.

Flour a surface and roll dough out pretty thin (thinner than regular pie dough… use your best judgement). Cut into squares, circles, rectangles, or any shape that speaks to you. Scoop some (cold) filling onto half of the square of dough, and fold it over, pressing a fork into the edges to seal it. Sprinkle with a little more sugar, and bake on a greased cookie sheet for about 40-50 minutes (until they are golden brown). Bring them to your local Acro jam (don’t know what that is? Check out AcroYoga Minneapolis)!

Also, serve this warm with ice cream. I didn’t do that, and I’m sad about it every day.

 

apple · comfort food · pie · vegetarian

Apple Pie

20151125_083824I always bring the apple pie for Thanksgiving – or I have for the last 3 years. I’m the baker – it’s my job. However, I’ve been cheating. I’ve been buying frozen pie crust, because I was scared to make it from scratch. It’s not my fault – my mom repeatedly told me it was too much work to make pie crust, and often doesn’t taste as good as store bought.

She’s a liar.

It was so fucking easy. Sorry, Mom. Maybe you just didn’t have a good recipe… or maybe it was because you were using shortening instead of butter. Shortening isn’t food! I made a butter crust, and it turned out great! Well, we haven’t actually eaten it yet… but it looks great. I’m sure it’ll be fine.

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I’m also a big fan of a crumble topping – because, I mean, duh. It’s literally half butter. And I get to use my hands to mush it all together. Win, win.

20151125_093256Back when I didn’t actually know how to cook or bake, I would bring stuff to share anyway. Or, even worse, I’d invite my mom and sister over for dinner. My sister often didn’t eat much. Mom was a little bit better at hiding the fact that it tasted horrible. The first time I brought apple pie to Thanksgiving a few years ago, my sister whispered, in shock, to her husband, “It’s good.” It was so validating.

So, cross your fingers for me that this pie tastes as good as it looks.

20151125_092631Pie Crust

1 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick cold butter, chopped into cubes

Approx. 6 tablespoons ice water

Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add butter, and mash it in with a fork until it forms coarse crumbs. You want there to be plenty of butter clumps remaining, so don’t mix it too well. Slowly mix in water, one tablespoon at a time, until it holds together. Roll it up into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for as least 2 hours (I left it overnight). When you’re ready to bake your pie, roll out the dough onto a floured surface, and press into pie pan.

20151125_103726Apple Pie with Crumb Topping

Topping:

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 stick cold butter, chopped into cubes

Filling:

5-7 large apples, or 8-10 small apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and place oven rack on lowest position. Mix the dry filling ingredients in a small bowl. Toss apple slices with lemon juice in a large bowl, then mix in the dry ingredients. Toss everything together, and layer apples in the pie pan, mounding them more in the middle. Mix all topping ingredients together, and mash the cold butter in with your hands until it forms course crumbs. Again, you want some chunks of butter to remain, so don’t be overzealous. Pat topping evenly over apples. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 and bake for another 45 minutes. If the top browns too quickly, loosely drape a sheet of tinfoil over the top.

Top with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream, and eat the whole thing right out of the pan. I won’t judge you.