February 20, 2011

Needing a Spring Break

Sometimes on a dreary winter day...
...when the wind is blowing and the smell of more snow is in the air...
...I just feel the need for a Spring Break! And on days like that, the best way to get a Spring break in a hurry is to make one!
And in addition to needing a little taste of Spring, I wanted to make Malcolm something special for Valentine's day, even though it was several days after. My husband loves strawberry-rhubarb pie! 
We don't have that in Tennessee, where I grew up, so I've spent the last couple years taste testing some recipes, trying to find one that we like. I think I might have finally found a decent one. And it was so easy!

So today I thought I'd torture you a little with some mouth watering pictures, and then you'll have to run to the store to get the ingredients to make one for yourself and have your own little Spring break!

First you'll need to clean and cap the strawberries.
You can do it with a knife, but I like to use my Pampered Chef capper thing. I can't remember the name, and it might look a little different now (mine's 8 years old) but they work great for getting that nasty little hard white core out without wasting yummy red berry. See!
It also works really well on tomatoes for the same purpose!

Next step is to slice the strawberries up. For some reason I am not good at chopping and slicing things into small, even pieces, yet I like evenness. So I have gotten into the habbit of skipping the knife and cutting board on a lot of items and reaching for other tools. For nice even slices I like my Egg Slicer.

It does a marvelous job and makes them so pretty and even!

For the pie, we need 2 cups of rhubarb cut into 1 inch pieces, and 2 cups of sliced strawberries.

Put those in a bowl together with 1 cup of sugar, 3 TBS of quick-cooking tapioca, and 1/4 cup of strawberry Jello mix. Stir...and take lots of deep breaths to absorb as much of the delicious aroma as you can. Feel free to stick your nose as close to in the bowl as you dare. It smells better and better the closer you get.
Now we need a crust. I know they make the ones you buy in the freezer, or you can even buy the dough rolled up in a box, and I go that route sometimes. But mostly I've been making my own dough, because it just seems silly to buy something that's got lots of preservatives and stuff in it, when I can make one that's cheaper and better tasting. So, I mix up a batch of my Momma's Perfect Pie Crust, and it IS perfect!!! Roll it out to fit your pie plate...

...and then, after you've got the dough in the pie plate, add the strawberry-rhubarb filling. You'll also need a second dough rolled out to top the pie, but Momma's Perfect Pie Crust recipe makes enough for two pie shells so that's perfect...as the name indicates! Flute edges and vent the top and its ready for a 375 degree oven where it will bake for 40 minutes or till browned and bubbly!
And since mine was for my Valentine, I decorated the top a little, brushed it with water and sprinkled sugar on the top crust, just cause I like that sweetness on my crusts!

They say "great minds think alike" and that is SO true! Here I thought I was surprising my hubby with a Valentine pie, and he walks in the door with a dozen roses and a gift too! This all took place 4 days after the real Valentine's day. How neat that we were both thinking along the same lines on the same day.

So we pause from our baking project to trim stems...
...and gush over my flowers and Prince Charming for doing such a good job!
the box contained three Pandora charms for my bracelet...had to add that cause I know the curiosity is driving you nuts
Back to the kitchen, where I have a wad of left over pie dough. Can't let that go to waste!

I got these for free when I was a Pampered Chef consultant years ago. Never would have bought them, and never dreamed I'd use them. But I do...all the time for all sorts of things! In fact sometimes I just get them out to look at them cause they are so darn cute! 
They are perfect for making the girls cookies, and I've found lots of other uses for them. They are now my favorite little set of cookie cutters!

Left over pie dough + cinnamon sugar = afternoon snack for the chef (and a few shared with Prince Charming since he's the one who had the idea in the first place)!

After 40 minutes or so the pie is done and sitting on the counter tempting both me and Prince Charming, but we make ourselves be good and wait till after dinner, because we know it will taste lots better without burnt and scalded tastebuds.

A quick clean up, thanks to my rolling mat which keeps the bulk of the flour and pie dough off of my counter...
...and also due to my excellent kitchen helpers who are always willing to get involved in the clean up!
We did manage to wait till after dinner, and it was very much worth the wait! This was the perfect little Spring break that I had been needing!
If you can come up with an excuse to make this, I say go for it. And really, who needs an excuse? But if your weather is anything like mine is right now, that's all the excuse you need. I made that pie on a gloomy Friday afternoon. And we'll be having the final pieces of it this evening as we look out our window at a white world.

Yep, it snowed over night, about 2 inches, and its been coming down ever since. The tips of the grass blades are slowly dissappearing in my yard. So if ever there was a need for a taste of Spring, its today!

While making my pie, I used a lot of my Pampered Chef toys! They just make cooking that much more fun for me! I love cooking tools! Don't forget about our Blogger Pampered Chef party! Your all invited and so are your friends, and their friends, and friends of the friend's friends! Just forward it along to everyone!

I see the birds have returned to my empty feeders. They are fluttering past my window wondering why I havn't resupplied them yet. So I better get to it! Hope the week ahead is a snuggly warm and blessed one for you!


Sharon Tachenko said...

An enchanting & mouthwatering read . . . I just have one question! WHERE did you get rhubarb this time of year!?!

It sounds like it's been a wonderful break and home-time! I'm glad! Long deserved for you both! Enjoy what's left :)

Meagan said...

OMG! I am so jealous and so proud to be your sister!!!! :-) You need to win the lottery (slpit it with me) and just stay home and do all the cool stuff you do when you are home! :-) LOVE the looks of that pie! Mmmmmmmmmm. Wish I was there!

Anonymous said...

YUM YUM YUM.... drooling

Farmgirl_dk: said...

What a lovely Valentine's Day you had! And call me crazy, but I'm totally lusting over your little set of cookie cutters. I'm off to your PC link to see if I can find them on the site - do they have a special name for me to query on?
Your pie looks incredible!!!