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Category: Recipe (page 2 of 2)

One Community: May 2014

Connecting with One Community to share unique perspectives on the same words. For May, the words are FIVE | MOTHER | RECIPE | REMEMBER

In the Artisan family, May has always been “Mom” month. In addition to celebrating our Mom through Mother’s Day, her birthday is later in the month. So each year we do our best to appropriately spoil her during the month for all that she does for us every day of the year.

When I saw the One Community words for this month, I had a slight lightbulb moment for capturing the majority of them. Now that spring is here and “good” strawberries are once again in the store it is the perfect time to make Mom’s Strawberry Pie. When I think of this recipe, it is Mom through and through. On Mother’s Day morning, I went through the steps to make a delicious pie that had me remembering Mom from afar.

Making the base

Making the base

REMEMBER…I’ve mentioned that Grandma’s house in California included fabulous gardens…in those gardens were the most delicious strawberries ever…strawberries always make us think of Grandma’s place (in fact, for Christmas my sister gave me a strawberry ‘bead’ for my memory bracelet to remember Grandma)

Assembled & ready to chill

Assembled & ready to chill

RECIPE…this recipe is simple in it’s preparation and stunning in it’s ruby presentation…among the things that Mom has taught throughout the years is that you can’t go wrong with simple, good food.

Ready to enjoy with homemade whipped cream

Ready to enjoy with homemade whipped cream

MOM…as with many Mom recipes, we use it as a guide versus a precise instruction…in making this yesterday, the pie didn’t setup nicely once I added the strawberries…in texting with Mom about it, she commented that as she also adds more berries than called for she has decided that we need to up the cornstarch in the base. So much of my approach to the kitchen is based on what I learned (& continue to learn) from her.

Here is our simple recipe…in FIVE easy steps:

  1. Crush 1 pint of strawberries.
  2. Combine them in a saucepan with 1 c. sugar, 4 T cornstarch and 2 T lemon juice. Stir constantly until thickened and clear.
  3. Cool the mixture.
  4. Slice another pint (or more) of strawberries and fold into the cooled mixture.
  5. Transfer to a graham cracker crust and chill until serving. (Excellent when served with whipped cream!)

It turns out that Mom made Strawberry Pie at home yesterday…while the best scenario would have been to be at home enjoying pie with her, it was almost like being with her to have us both enjoying Strawberry Pie across the miles…

What are some of your favorite Mom Recipe Remembrances?




Of Cranberries & Pie

Earlier this fall, I had a business trip up to Massachusetts for a week. At the end of the week, instead of driving straight back to PA I decided to do a weekend of exploring and settled on the Plymouth, MA area. In addition to exploring the early Pilgrim settlement I also sought out a visit to a cranberry farm. (In all my time in Wisconsin, I never made it to a cranberry farm and have long been fascinated by these edible ruby gems.) On that Saturday afternoon, I visited Flax Pond Farms for a tour and to learn all about cranberries.

Flax Pond Farms - September 2013

Flax Pond Farms – September 2013

First, I drove down to the bogs that were currently being harvested. They dry harvest at Flax Pond – the berries that I saw being “vacuumed up” would end up in the bags of Ocean Spray cranberries we stock up on in the grocery store in November. After visiting the bog, I spent some time in the farm store – I did a bit of berry sorting on the antique sorter and learned all sorts of fascinating facts about cranberries in general and the farm in particular. Did you know, the wet harvest we associate with cranberry bogs means that the berries cannot be sold as fresh produce? The vines in these bogs are over 100 years old. When my time there was finished, I picked up a few cranberry items – including honey from the bees that pollinate the bogs – and had placed an order to have a couple of pounds of fresh cranberries delivered to me in November.
My delivery of Flax Pond cranberries in a hand crafted crate

My delivery of Flax Pond cranberries in a hand crafted crate

It was a treat to receive my replica cranberry crate in the mail several weekends ago & begin planning what cranberry goodness would be made during the Thanksgiving holiday. I hosted the Artisan family for Thanksgiving and knew that they would enjoy the cranberry fun.
Pinterest actually led me to 2 of my recipe choices – both turned out delicious & will be part of my ongoing cooking repertoire. For my leftover turkey, I popped a couple of cranberries into the basil mayo that I was making – sandwiches & simple salad of turkey/cranberries/pecans were transformed with this zingy mayo. For Thanksgiving dessert, I turned to a recipe that I first made last November, on recommendation from a friend: Nantucket Cranberry Pie.
Thankful for pie on Thanksgiving evening!

Thankful for pie on Thanksgiving evening!

As I set about to make it on Thanksgiving morning, I realized that I had definitely modified the recipe enough to “make it mine” and share it with you. So, I present my version of the Nantucket Cranberry Pie – An Amy Artisan Remix
Making the pie on Thanksgiving morning

Making the pie on Thanksgiving morning

Nantucket Cranberry Pie – An Amy Artisan Remix


  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt* (reduce salt by half if using salted butter)
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Sugar for topping – I use Chicago Old Town Sugar 

My Prep Tips

  • If you’re using frozen cranberries, either let them thaw a bit after chopping; or add a couple of minutes to the cake’s baking time.
  • I used a Zhylis chopper – not all the berries in a batch would be chopped – that didn’t impact the outcome – a few whole berries in the mix are just fine
  • Since I used a glass pie plate, I put the butter slices in the plate & then into the microwave – one less bowl to clean
  • Any sugar can be used for the topper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 10″ pie plate. Melt 1 tablespoon butter, and drizzle it into the bottom of the pan.
  2. Spread the chopped cranberries and nuts in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the 1/2 cup brown sugar.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, 3/4 cup melted butter, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract.
  4. Spread the thick batter over the cranberries and nuts in the pan, using a spatula or your wet fingers.
  5. Sprinkle coarse white sparkling sugar atop the batter.
  6. Bake the pie for 40 to 45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean of batter or crumbs. (Mine was pulled from the oven at right about 40 minutes.)
  7. Remove the pie from the oven. Serve warm, or at room temperature; just as it is, or with whipped cream or ice cream.

Yield: one 10″ “pie” – you could also use a 9″ square pan.

P.S. As I read through this entry, it kind of sounds like one of those sponsored posts (“this trip was provided & this recipe created…”). My “disclosure” – the trip was my own adventure & the recipe was my own modifications to create a new Artisan family favorite. 🙂

A Taste of Capri

Caprese salad has long been a favorite of mine – as a starter to a meal or sometimes as the main part of a meal. It captures summertime on a plate. Five years ago, it was an ultimate summer meal as Rebecca & I enjoyed it on a Saturday afternoon on Capri.

Since eating out for 3 meals a day each week when I’m on assignment up north can get very old (especially in a smaller town with limited options), I try to pack a few meals to take with me each week. In the winter months, soups were a frequent part of my cooler bag. Now that it’s summertime the bag is filled with salads. In addition to my regular “green salad fixin’s” the cooler bag this week will include a taste of Capri with a bit more substance: Quinoa Caprese with Basil Vinaigrette.

As I grab bites of this salad for lunch this week amidst the meetings & document review that fills my work week, I will fondly recall favorite moments from Italy.

Quinoa Caprese with Basil Vinaigrette

1 cup dried quinoa

1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped

3/4 cup fresh mozzarella, chopped

6-10 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Basil Vinaigrette (1 small shallot, chopped; 1 c. loosely packed basil leaves , torn; 2T balsamic vinegar; 1T water; 2 cranks fresh ground pepper; 2 cranks ground sea salt; 6T extra virgin olive oil)

Salt & Pepper to taste, fresh ground

  1. Cook the quinoa & let cool.
  2. Prepare the Basil Vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in the blender & blend until smooth.
  3. Assemble the salad: Combine the quinoa & vinaigrette – mix thoroughly. Add tomatoes, mozzarella & basil – toss until well mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Enjoy immediately or chill until serving.

Weekend Brunch

When I was younger, I remember brunches on the weekend being a special thing. Since moving to Chicago, a weekend brunch with friends is a pretty regular happening. Many great restaurants in the city have delicious menus with so many options – do you pick a savory item, a sweet item, go with the buffet line. Near my church there are so many tasty places to enjoy brunch. With so many choices, it’s easy to take it for granted that brunch is a weekend meal option. When I was working in Chattanooga I remember asking co-workers for brunch suggestions when my parents would be visiting on a Sunday – the question “where to go for brunch” was met with head scratching & comments about there not being many brunch options. In the end, we enjoyed a delicious brunch while driving through the mountains.

As much as I enjoy going out for brunch, I find brunch to be a fun menu to prepare. My recipe books and recipe box are filled with many options – some are family favorites that I grew up with and some are new discoveries. This past Sunday was a chance to create a menu and share brunch with friends. (And also a chance to do some Project Spectrum III creativity with fire by cooking.)

For starters, a new variation of my winter favorite – Sunshine Salad. I peeled & segmented 2 oranges & 2 ruby red grapefruit. I dressed them in a spiced honey lemon sauce (equal parts honey & lemon juice, a dash of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, a dash of cardamon – stir over low heat till simmering). Right before serving, I topped the salad with pomegranate seeds for extra color and a bit of crunch. The other side dish was Chicken Sausage with Apples – when heating up a package of chicken breakfast sausage, I added a sliced apple to the skillet & a sprinkling of my Gateway to the North Maple Sugar seasoning from The Spice House.

The menu was completed with Blueberry French Toast Casserole. I came across the recipe several years ago & thought it sounded delicious. The first time I made it was for brunch after a breast cancer walk – I turned it on before I left for the walk & when we returned after the walk the house was filled with the delicious smell of french toast ready to eat. This time, I assembled it in the morning and then let the crock pot do it’s job while I finished getting the house ready.

Blueberry French Toast Casserole – adapted  from The Everyday Low-Carb Slow-Cooker Cookbook

1 T butter

1/2 c. soft  cream cheese (from a tub)

8 slices of stale bread, crusts removed

1 1/2 c. wild blueberries

8 eggs, beaten

2 cups light cream

1 cup Splenda

pinch salt

2 t vanilla

3/4 t cinnamon

– Grease the crock pot with the butter & leave the excess in the crock

– Spread cream cheese onto one side of the bread slices. Place the bread, cream cheese side down, into the crock.

– Sprinkle the blueberries over the bread.

– Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

– Pour mixture over the bread and berries in the crock. The bread will start to float up. Gently press the bread down into the egg mixture. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes and then press the bread down again.

– Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. The casserole will be “poofed” and slightly browned on the edges when done.

My extras & prep notes:

– I sprinkled a bit of Chicago Old Town Premium Spiced Sugar on top of the cream cheese.

– I toasted the bread in the toaster oven to make it stale.

– I didn’t have light cream on hand so I used half heavy cream and half skim milk.

– I topped it all off with more cinnamon before putting the lid on the crock.

– I served this with lemon curd and maple syrup as possible toppers.

– Artisan Mom has baked this in the oven (assemble it in a baking dish the night before & refrigerate overnight; bake at 350 for about 45-50 minutes).

It was a gray and rainy day – which of course wasn’t condusive for taking pictures of the meal. (And really, the blueberry french toast – while extremely tasty wasn’t really being photogenic…) However, the warmth and flavor of the menu combined with the warmth of conversation and fellowship with friends was an excellent way to fight the winter dreariness.

Brunch Flowers

These flowers decorated the table for our meal and have added cheer to the house all week long.  

I associate brunch with a leisurely meal time – speed is not the object. It’s a time to linger over the coffee when you have reached your fill of tasty treats. It is a time to slow down and enjoy…the time with family and friends and the food. What brunch memories do you have? What are your favorite brunch menu items?

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