Monthly Archives: July 2012

Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

Homemade Meatballs with Marinara and Fettucini

With the “almost in-laws” arriving at the cottage this weekend, I decided to go with a simple comfort style menu that would feed a crowd. I asked Bryan if it was OK to serve spaghetti and meatballs (homemade, of course); the answer: absolutely! Well, I couldn’t just limit myself to that, so I decided to do a pasta bar type dinner. So, in addition to homemade spaghetti and meatballs, I served a chicken and basil cream sauce which is just a simplified version of my previous blog My meatball recipe is a combination of my college friend’s recipe and my grandmother’s recipe. The most important component of my college friend Cheryl’s recipe was milk – she claimed you added milk to the meat mixture until it literally couldn’t handle anymore. My grandmother, however, always used egg as a binder; so, I’ve combined them. And, while I’m usually a purist when it comes to ingredients, I used garlic powder rather than fresh garlic in this recipe. A couple of other things to consider…if you use Italian seasoned bread crumbs (which I’ve done when that’s all I have on hand), reduce your other spices – including salt, herbs, and garlic. Despite Bryan’s request for little meatballs, I made my average golf ball sized meatballs (everything always comes back to golf). You can make any size you want. At 1:00 AM, at which time my helper meatball maker friend was asleep on the couch, I was done with the whole meatball making endeavor and decided to make rather large meatballs, of which I still had a ton (I quadrupled this recipe). I made homemade marinara sauce, but let’s not fool ourselves, there are great marinara sauces available in the jar – so, spend your time making the meatballs and skip the homemade marinara if that saves you time. (I will say that I got a shout out for my homemade marinara). The meatballs freeze well, and you can also use the meat mixture for unbelievable meatloaf. (Serves 6-8). You can easily increase the recipe (as I did) and reserve the prepared meatballs in the freezer.

INGREDIENTS FOR MEATBALLS: (for Marinara, see below)

  • 1 Lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 Lb. Ground Pork
  • 4 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped (or substitute 1-2 TBS. Garlic Powder)
  • 1/2 tsp. each dried: Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried Basil
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • 1/4+ Cup Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 3/4+ Cup Bread Crumbs (if using Italian seasoned crumbs, reduce herbs and salt by 1/2)
  • 2-3 TBS. Olive Oil


In a large mixing bowl, combine meat and seasoning and mix until well combined. Add egg and 1/4 cup of milk. Combine well – mixture should be very soft and should easily squeeze through your fingers; if not, add more milk (the more milk, the more tender the meatballs). Add breadcrumbs – mixture should “firm up” and be able to be worked into meatballs; if not, add more bread crumbs. Work mixture into balls (ranging from very small to very large). In a large saute pan, heat olive oil. Add meatballs to hot oil (in one layer only) and brown on all sides. The size of your meatballs will determine how well they are cooked through. If you are serving meatballs with sauce, finish cooking the meatballs in the hot tomato sauce if necessary. If using meatballs plain (for meatball sandwiches or as an appetizer) finish cooking on a baking tray in an oven heated to 350 degrees .


INGREDIENTS: (for homemade Marinara Sauce)

  • 1 28 oz. can of Crushed or Chopped Tomatoes (San Marzano if available)
  • 1 28 oz. can of Tomato Sauce
  • 1 6 oz. can of Tomato Paste
  • 1/3 Cup Red Wine
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic – finely chopped
  • 2 TBS. Onion – finely chopped
  • 2 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 2 TBS. Fresh Chopped Oregano (or 1 TBS. dried)*
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Chopped Thyme (or 1/2 TBS. dried)*
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Chopped Rosemary (or 1/2 TBS. dried)*
  • 2 TBS. Fresh Chopped Basil (or 1 TBS. dried)*
  • 2 TBS. Fresh Chopped Parsley (or 1 TBS. dried)*
  • 3 TBS. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper (Optional)

* You can substitute 3-4 TBS. dried “Italian Herbs”


Heat olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until until transparent. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for at least 30 minutes, but up to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. This sauce freezes well.

Lake Huron

Sunrise on Lake Huron

It’s not that I haven’t been cooking since our arrival at Lake Huron just over a week ago, it’s just hard to tear oneself away from the beautiful lake. We’ve had some great meals with friends and family and my waistline is paying the price. Internet service has also been sporadic even with the handy little 4G MiFi device. On one of our first nights at the cottage we enjoyed a dinner of London Broil, grilled potatoes, and salad with lettuce I harvested from the garden before I left. We had, literally, a houseful this weekend. We had homemade meatballs and marinara, (the meatballs served as lunch the next day as a meatball sandwich with melted provolone) chicken with creamy pesto sauce, (I had to make the pesto sauce in the smoothie maker which was the closest thing I had to a blender or food processor) and more fresh salad. We also grilled two boneless legs of lamb (see my Easter post for Alton Brown’s lamb recipe), scalloped potatoes, and caprese salad, and of course, grilled bread. Breakfast has included breakfast sandwiches with egg, swiss, avocado, and tomato. For the less healthy conscious, I served homemade buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy. As a farewell to our guests leaving this morning, I sent them off with “loaded” blueberry muffins. Now that the house has cleared out, I will focus on clearing out the leftovers and catching up on the blog. Currently 92 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, and the lake is breathtaking. Back to the beach!

Midsummer Tomato Update

Our Crazy New Tomato Garden

So, here it is midsummer (according to a teacher’s calendar), and the tomatoes are just working hard to make us happy. Bryan watered everyone last night after neglecting them for one night, and he told me they were not happy with him. Today, they are happy – and they may be flaunting their happiness a little too much, because they attracted the attention of critter, who I have no respect for because he only ate half of the tiny unripe tomato – wasting food irritates me more than anything. I guess it’s bound to happen; I probably just need to let the hound dog out in the yard more often. The crop, however is thriving. We have a lot of fruit, some of which is actually ripening already, and the plants just look happy. As for size, well let’s just say that most of them are big enough to ride the big roller coasters at the amusement park, and one of them is almost as tall as me (5’7″). I am obsessed with tomato recipes, but what I really can’t wait for is just the good old standby Caprese salad with tomatoes and basil from the garden, and the freshest mozzerella from the market (I keep saying I’m going to make my own one of these days). Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the local critters have decided they “don’t care for tomatoes” – all the more for us.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (Sopa de Tortilla)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup is a favorite with our family and friends. We have a tradition that everyone chooses what they would like for their birthday dinner. Last night we had a birthday dinner for Hannah, who is, for all practical purposes, family, and she chose Chicken tortilla soup. This recipe is a very traditional version; it’s not a thick soup, but it is certainly hearty. The soup, despite the fact that it’s served hot, is a great summertime soup. I think it’s the fresh flavors of the avocado, cilantro and lime that make the soup seem almost refreshing. It’s also a great soup if you’re feeding a crowd. I served it several years ago at a Cinco de Mayo party and everyone loved that they could add their own garnishes adding additional flavor to their soup. The soup is not difficult to make, but it does take a fair amount of time to assemble. I often cook the chicken the night before so I don’t have as much to do at one time.  If serving for dinner, I usually make simple cheese quesadillas to accompany the soup. Serves 8-10.

Hannah’s Birthday Dinner


  • 2 Large Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (can substitute with boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
  • 12-14 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 TBS. Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 2 cloves Garlic- chopped
  • 2 Cups Corn Oil*
  • 1/2 Large Sweet or White Onion – chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper- chopped
  • 2  4 oz. Cans of Green Chilis
  • 1 1/2 Cups Chopped Fresh Tomato (I use Romas or Cherry tomatoes)
  • 4 TBS. Fresh Cilantro – finely chopped
  • 6 Fresh Limes
  • 2 Avocados – thinly sliced
  • 4 Cups Tortilla Strips or Crushed Tortilla Chips
  • 2 -3 Cups Shredded Mexican 4 Cheese Blend (or a combination of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese)
  • Jalapeno slices (from a can or jar – unless you really like heat) – optional

* If you are using store bought tortilla strips or chips, you only need 1-2 TBS. Corn Oil.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add about 2 Cups of chicken broth to an oven proof baking dish (large enough to hold 2 chicken breasts). Add chicken breasts. Season each chicken breast with the ground cumin and chili powder and top with chopped garlic. Cover with foil and bake in the oven until cooked through (about 30-35 minutes depending on thickness of chicken). Allow chicken to cool, and shred with a fork.

Add 1-2 TBS. corn oil to a large stockpot and heat over medium. Add chopped onion and red pepper and saute until onion is translucent and pepper is soft. Add 10-12 cups of chicken broth, shredded cooked chicken, green chilis, chopped tomatoes, and about 1 1/2 TBS. chopped cilantro to the pot. Add 6-8 TBS. freshly squeezed lime juice to the soup. (I think the lime juice is key to the fantastic flavor of this soup, so I am generous with it, but I also set out sliced limes so people can add their own lime juice). Heat thoroughly and then simmer until ready to serve.

To make homemade tortilla strips:

Slice 10 small corn tortillas into 1/2 inch strips.* In a medium stockpot, heat about 2 Cups of corn oil (you need about 1 1/2 – 2 inches of oil in the bottom of the pot) to 350 degrees. Working in batches, add tortilla strips and fry (tossing occasionally so they don’t stick together) until golden brown. Transfer fried tortilla strips to a baking tray lined with paper towel, season generously with salt and allow to drain. * This is the same method for making homemade tortilla chips, just cut the tortillas into triangles ( I also use sea salt when making chips because I like them a little saltier).

Set out garnishes of sliced avocado, lime wedges, tortilla strips or chips, shredded cheese, and remaining chopped cilantro. Add soup to bowls and encourage guests to add their own garnishes (the tortillas are a must since it is called tortilla soup, but I let people decide how many tortillas they want).

Pork Belly Risotto Topped with a Fried Egg

Pork Belly Risotto (with a Sunny Side Up Egg and Grilled Bread)

While in Chicago for my Dad’s Memorial Celebration, we stumbled upon a random Italian restaurant. One of the specials was pork belly risotto served with a fried egg on top. To my surprise, my kids were all intrigued by the risotto, so we asked if it would be “weird” if we ordered one as an appetizer. Our waiter was thrilled, and said “absolutely no weirdness at all.”  The egg was sunny side up, atop the risotto, so I was responsible for breaking it up and dishing out the risotto. We all agreed, the risotto was amazing. Pork belly is essentially just uncured and unsliced bacon, it has a lot of fat, but cooked properly, it’s delicious. Pork belly can be challenging to find, but if you have a farmer’s market or know of a pork farmer, they will likely have it, but you may have to special order it. I have also seen it in my local Asian grocery stores. So, I decided I had to try to recreate the dish once we returned home. I had a couple packages of pork belly (sometimes called pork side) in the freezer (from our great local pork farmers at Melo Farms) and I always have arborio rice on hand. What I noticed about the risotto in Chicago was that it was really tender, almost mushy. I’ve always been taught that risotto should be “al dente” with a little bite (crunch), but I would have to say, I embraced the well cooked risotto in this recipe and it was perfect.  Cooking time for the pork belly is 2 1/2 hrs. but it basically cooks on its own – you just have to flip it once. The risotto takes anywhere from 25-40 minutes – this is active cooking time as you have stir almost constantly. We had the risotto as a main course; it serves 4, but you could serve about 8-10 appetizer portions (just serve with a couple of eggs).


  • 1/2 Lb. Pork Belly
  • 1  Cup Arborio Rice
  • 3-5 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 5 Cloves of Garlic – Chopped
  • 1/4 Medium Sized Sweet Onion (about 3 TBS.- Finely Chopped)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Seasoned Pepper (you could use regular)
  • 3 TBS. Italian Herbs (Dried)
  • 1/4 Cup Wine (I used red, but white would be fine – as would chicken broth)
  • 1 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 1 TBS. Butter
  • 3-4 TBS. Canola Oil
  • 4 Large Eggs (1 per person unless serving as an appetizer)


Preheat oven to 450 Degrees. Place pork belly in a medium baking dish.Use a sharp knife to “score” the skin of the pork belly, being sure to get all the way through the tough skin but not cutting very far into the meat. Season both sides of the pork belly liberally with salt and seasoned pepper, add chopped garlic and Italian herbs to the meat side (not the skin side) of the pork. Finish with pork belly skin side up. Cover tightly with aluminium foil and put in the 450 Degree oven. Cook for 30 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 350 Degrees. After one hour, remove pork belly from the oven and flip it so skin side is down – the meat side should be nicely browned – if not, leave meat side down for a little longer. If bottom of baking dish has become browned, add about 1/2 of the wine or chicken broth to deglaze. Re-cover with aluminium foil and return to oven for another hour – checking occasionally to see if you need more wine. You could make this without the wine or chicken stock, but I think it adds a nice flavor (would make a good sauce) and it makes cleaning the baking dish easier. After an hour, remove from oven, but keep covered until ready to use.

In a medium saucepan, heat chicken broth. In another medium saucepan, heat olive oil and butter, add chopped onion and saute until transparent. Add the risotto and saute – stirring to incorporate oil and butter-for a minute or two. Add one cup of the hot chicken stock, and stir constantly until almost all broth is incorporated. Repeat this process until risotto is soft and creamy. Remove risotto from heat, cover, and set aside.

Remove pork belly from baking dish and place on a cutting board. separate the meat and fat from the skin of the pork belly (and discard some of the fat if you want), cut into pieces about 3/4 of an inch. Cover the cut pork belly to keep warm.

Add canola oil (should cover bottom of pan by about an 1/8 of an inch) to a medium sized saute pan. Heat oil over medium flame and crack eggs into pan with hot oil. Use a large spoon to spoon hot oil over the white part of the eggs only (if you want pretty sunny-side up, do not “baste” the yolks). Cook until whites of eggs are completely cooked.

Place risotto on a plate or shallow bowl. (If risotto has dried up a bit, add a touch more broth). Add pork belly to the risotto and top each plate with an egg. Serve immediately.

Fourth of July Dinner

Fourth of July Dinner

Amidst major thunderstorms, Bryan and I, and a few old and new friends, managed to pull off a great Fourth of July dinner. The town of “Mayberry” is the place to be on the fourth of July. Humphrey and I enjoyed the parade (in 100 degree heat) and then a bunch of random (great random) guests gathered at our house for dinner. Bryan grilled the chicken, ribs, sausages, kabobs, vegetables, and corn in a literal downpour – there was large hail at one point (it reminded me of an episode of  Extreme Chef). Our neighbor and dear friend Walt served as the umbrella valet. In addition to the grilled items, we enjoyed jalapeno pork poppers, deviled eggs,  potato salad, Caprese salad, three bean salad, broccoli rice casserole, and a fabulous dessert of strawberry shortcake. And, of course, the cocktails were flowing. While the concert in the park was cancelled – it was raining cats and dogs, and the back-up Recreation Center had no power, the fireworks prevailed, and we ran to catch the finale.

I was only responsible for the deviled eggs, the jalapeno pork poppers, the Caprese salad, and the potato salad; Bryan handled the barbequed ribs and chicken. I would have to say that all of the other dishes were great, and I will ask  the preparers to share their recipes as guest bloggers. I can’t take credit for the jalapeno popper recipe because it came from Bryan’s sister, and I don’t know from where she acquired it. The difficulty with cooking for a party is that it’s not conducive to taking photos for a food blog.  So, I will share the jalapeno pork popper recipe along with Bryan’s recipe for barbequed ribs (though he won’t yet give up his secret barbeque sauce recipe). I’ve already shared my potato salad recipe (although I used more eggs in this batch, and liked it better). I have also blogged my recipe for deviled eggs

For the Barbequed Ribs:

Bryan’s Barbequed Ribs


  • 2 Slabs Baby Back Pork Ribs
  • 2-3 Cups Barbeque Sauce (your favorite prepared – because Bryan won’t reveal his recipe)
  • 8-10 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 4 TBS. Mixed-up Salt
  • 3 TBS. Seasoned Pepper
  • 4 TBS. Italian Herbs (dried)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice ribs into 2-3 bone sections. Place 1 slab cut ribs in a 10 x 12 deep dish aluminium pan. Smother with half of the chopped garlic, and sprinkle with 1/2 of the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Place a second layer of cut ribs on top of first layer and smother/ sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Cover tightly (make sure it is tightly sealed) with aluminium foil and place in oven. Cook for 1  1/2 hours, remove foil and rotate layers of ribs. Re-cover and cook for an additional 1 1/2 hours. Repeat rotating process and cook for an additional 3o minutes. Heat a grill to 350-400 degrees. Pour barbeque sauce into a large saucepan and heat over medium until bubbling- stirring occasionally. Move barbeque sauce and ribs to grilling area. Dunk ribs in barbeque sauce and place on grill meat side down, grill to desured crispiness. Flip ribs, re-baste and cook until bottom side reaches desired crispiness.

Jalapeno Pork Poppers:


  • 18-20 Large Jalapeno Peppers – cut in half lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed
  • 1 Lb. Pork Sausage (medium or hot)
  • 12 Oz. 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese – softened
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Mexican Cheese (not Taco cheese)
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro – finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 TBS. Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Freshly Ground Pepper


Preheat Broiler or Grill. In a large skillet, cook pork (crumbling as you go) over medium heat until cooked thoroughly. Set pork aside to cool. In a medium non-reactive (glass or plastic) bowl, combine softened cream cheese, cilantro, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. Add cooled pork to cream cheese mixture and mix until well combined. Generously fill each jalapeno pepper. Grill over medium heat, or place on an aluminium foil lined baking sheet an place under broiler. Broil or grill until peppers start to brown and stuffing is warmed (12-15 minutes(. Serve immediately.

Summer Berry Pie for the Fourth of July

So, tomorrow is the fourth of July, and our little one square mile city puts on quite the production. There is a parade, and a concert in the park, which is followed by fireworks over the golf course. The highlight, for me anyway, is the Old Fashioned Bake Off. I’m not a baker, but I’ve always been a pie maker. I’ve placed second every year I’ve entered. Since Bryan came onto the scene, he, too has had bake off entries. The first year I dropped my pie as it came out of the oven and had to re-do the entire top crust (which had my signature star cut-outs). He made a spectacular looking lemon merangue pie, but made a critical error and refrigerated it (NEVER refrigerate merangue). He didn’t place – probably because his merangue had the consistency of Silly Putty. My dropped pie placed second. We had both had a few cocktails on the “baking eve.” We’ve since had a long running joke that I can win even after dropping the pie – our friends and neighbors recognize that this competition brings out the worst in each of us. It has occurred to some that there might be some “sabotaging” taking place: (Bryan making my drink extra strong on the baking eve – me failing to mention that you NEVER refrigerate merangue). This year, I will be the only contestant from our household. Bryan is the rib/barbeque sauce master, so he’s decided to stick with that. He will still probably put a little “extra” in my cocktail, just for fun. I’m trying a new berry combination for this year’s pie, and I’m going to hopefully sway the judges with some whipped cream spiked with Creme de Cassis – hoping that catapults me into 1st place range. I will keep you posted, but for now, here’s the recipe for this year’s pie.


  • 3 Cups Fresh Blueberries
  • 3 Cups Fresh Strawberries – sliced
  • 1 Cup Sugar + extra for sprinkling
  • 1/3 Cup Flour
  • 3  TBS. Corn Starch
  • 1 TBS. Butter
  • 1 Package Prepared Pie Crust *
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 TBS. Cream

* I  “cheat” and use Pillsbury Pie Crust (found in the refrigerator section). If you’re a purist and want to make your own crust (which I have done many times, but I’m just getting too old for that) see my blog on Strawberry Rhubarb Pie for a tried and true Pate Brisee recipe. If you want to add star cut-outs to the top of the pie, you’ll need an extra box of pie crust. Use the remainder to make quiche or extra individual pies.


Gently combine fruit, sugar, flour, and corn starch in a non-reactive (glass or plastic) bowl. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Mold one pie crust into a deep dish pie pan. Add fruit filling to pie pan. Add small dots of butter evenly on top of pie.Using a knife or pastry wheel, cut second crust into 1/2 inch strips. Lay the shortest lattice strip vertically at one edge of pie, continue adding lattice strips of appropriate lengths about 1/2 inch apart until you reach the other side. Beginning at the top of the pie, “weave” the shortest remaining lattice strip into the vertical strip. Repeat this process until you reach the bottom edge. Using your thumb and forefinger of one hand, and your thumb from the other, go around the edge of the pie and “crimp” the lattice to the bottom crust (if you have excessive overhang in any one area, trim it). If you want to use star cut-outs, cut them from the additional pie crust and place on top of lattice top (you can use a little water to “glue” the cut-outs down). Combine egg and cream and whisk until well blended. Brush the top of the pie (but not the outer crust – because it will darken too much) with egg/milk mixture, and sprinkle with sugar (if desired). Place the pie on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees fro 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes. Allow pie to cool thoroughly before serving or covering. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream; garnish with a mint leaf if desired.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

  • There’s a bit of dissension in my family about whether rhubarb pie should be made with or without strawberries. I happen to like it both ways. I grew up with just regular rhubarb pie; it was a tradition at our family cabins in Indian River, Michigan. I don’t find the plain rhubarb pie to be too tart (but I do use extra sugar when making it – see note below), but some people do. I like to make the pie with a lattice crust, but you could certainly use a plain top crust which is well vented. I also use store bought refrigerated pie crust (Pillsbury has a great one) – don’t buy the frozen pie shells, because you won’t have a top. My logic for “cheating” and using store bought crust is that I’m simply more likely to make a pie if I don’t have to fuss with a crust – particularly in the summer when the crusts are more temperamental. However, I do have a tried and true pie crust recipe which I have included for those of you who are purists and have the time and patience to make you own.


  • 2 1/2 Cups Chopped Rhubarb (not totally peeled, but remove any stringy sections that become evident after you chop it) *
  • 2 1/2 Cups Sliced Fresh Strawberries (do not substitute frozen strawberries)*
  • 1 Cup Sugar + 1-2 tsp. extra for sprinkling on crust
  • 1/4 Cup Flour + extra for work surface
  • 2 TBS. Corn Starch
  • 1 TBS. Butter
  • Approx. 2 tsp. Milk (for browning the crust)
  • Prepared Pie Crust (two sheets)- found in refrigerated section *for homemade crust, see recipe that follows*


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. To a medium non-reactive bowl (glass or plastic), add all ingredients except butter, milk and pie crust. Gently combine ingredients until well coated. Allow mixture to sit for 15 minutes (fruit will release some of its juices). (This would be a good time to make the crust if you’re making homemade). Remove crust from package and allow to sit for about 5 minutes, so that it is workable, but not warm.  Unroll the crust and place one sheet in a deep dish pie plate and form base crust (do not remove extra crust from overhang, as you will use it to “crimp”). Sprinkle a work surface with flour and place the other crust on the floured surface. Using a pastry wheel/cutter, or just a knife, cut crust into strips (about 1/2 – 3/4 inch wide). Add fruit mixture to bottom crust. Cut butter into small pieces and place evenly atop the filling. Lay the shortest lattice strip vertically at one edge of pie, continue adding lattice strips of appropriate lengths about 1/2 inch apart until you reach the other side. Beginning at the top of the pie, “weave” the shortest remaining lattice strip into the vertical strip. Repeat this process until you reach the bottom edge. Using your thumb and forefinger of one hand, and your thumb from the other, go around the edge of the pie and “crimp” the lattice to the bottom crust (if you have excessive overhang in any one area, trim it). Brush the top of the pie (but not the outer crust – because it will darken too much) with milk, and sprinkle with sugar (if desired). Place pie plate on a baking tray (I cover mine in aluminium foil because the pie will bubble over and it is messy to clean off the baking sheet). Place pie in oven and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook for another 35-40 minutes. Allow pie to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving, and longer if you plan to cover it. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and garnish with a mint leaf if desired.

* For plain rhubarb pie, use 4 1/2 Cups Chopped Rhubarb and use 1 1/2- 2 Cups Sugar (depending on how sweet or tart you like your pie).

Pate Brise (Pie Crust):

  • 2 1/2 Cups All Purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Sticks ( 1 Cup) Unsalted Butter – well chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Ice Water

The key to a good flaky crust is to use very cold ingredients and don’t overwork the dough.

Add flour, salt and sugar to a food processor and mix until combined. Add butter and pulse for 7-10 seconds until flour mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add water in a steady stream through processor tube, pulsing while adding. Continue pulsing and adding water just until dough holds together. Dough should not be wet or mushy, but must hold together enough to roll out – if it doesn’t hold together to form a ball, slowly add a little more water until it does. Divide dough into two equal parts and form into balls, slightly flatten balls (they will chill faster and be easier to roll out). Cover in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour. Remove 1 dough disc from refrigerator and place on a floured work surface. Flour a rolling pin, and roll dough out to desired thickness or size necessary to fit in pie plate. Repeat process for top crust after filling bottom crust.