Just Beachy

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Beach Time Painting - 600.jpgCharlotte and I have been spending a little time at the beach this summer and enjoying every minute of it. This is what our beach hangout looks like to me when I get nuclear-strength Bullfrog SPF 50 suntan lotion in my eyes. Here's what the beach wildlife looks like under the same influence...

...now just don't ask me to walk a straight line!

Heron Painting-650.jpg 

 

Pingates

Guest Room: 4-Ingredient Beer Can Chicken

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By Arthur Aguirre, author America's Best Barbeque Beer can chicken is probably the easiest of recipes, but turns out great flavors every time. The key to beer can chicken is to make sure that the skin turns out crispy.... ...Read More

Just Desserts: Prize-Winning Blueberry-Raspberry Pie

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With berries in season, Bob and I keep our fridge filled with fresh blueberries. Besides tasting great, they're loaded with antioxidants and fiber, are belly friendly (1 cup has only about 85 calories) and can even help keep your memory sharp. Bonus!

Bob mixes them with Greek yogurt for breakfast. I munch on 'em at lunch. And we both enjoy blueberry sweets like this prize-winning pie after dinner.

Want to bake like a champ? It's simple with this berry-licious recipe from America's Best Harvest Pies (Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., Oct. 1, 2013, $11.95). This two-crust treat puts a tart-but-sweet blueberry-raspberry filling with eight cups fruit in a made-from-scratch crust that cries "HOMEMADE" with every bite.

This two-crust treat features eight cups of fruit surrounded by an oh-so-flakey homemade crust.

Pie - Best One - 600.jpgAlthough it's not difficult, you do need to think ahead when making this family-pleasing dessert. For me, it was a three-day dance because you do a little, wait and then do a little more.

Day 1 - Chill out. Put 1 stick unsalted butter and 1/2 stick plus 2 tablespoons Crisco shortening in the freezer.

Day 2 - Make some dough. This is where it really helps to have a stand mixer with a pastry attachment because you can walk away while it does the work. Once you have a ball of dough, separate it into two disks, wrap each in wax paper and chill them in the fridge for an hour or overnight. Just remember, longer is better.

Chill the made-from-scratch dough in the fridge for an hour or overnight.

Dough-600.jpgDay 3 - Roll, fill and bake. All that cooling time makes it easy to handle the dough. Simply dust a little flour on some wax paper and your rolling pin to prevent any sticking. Then roll out the crusts, line a pie plate with one, and return both the pie plate and the second crust to the fridge for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix up the berry filling and make an egg glaze by stirring an egg white with a tablespoon of water.

The delicious mixed-berry filling features fresh or canned blueberries, frozen blueberries and frozen raspberries.

Berries-600.jpg

Then layer goodies on the bottom crust in this order:

  • Egg glaze; it helps keep the bottom crust from getting soggy.
  • Blueberry preserves
  • Mixed-berry filling
  • Unsalted butter
  • Top crust
  • Egg glaze
  • Sprinkling of sugar
Spread an egg glaze on the bottom crust and top it with blueberry preserves. Then pour in the double-berry filling and add bits of unsalted butter. 

Jam in Crust - 600.jpgButter in Filing - 600.jpgNext, bake your creation for a total of about 1 hour and 10 minutes starting at 425 degrees then lowering the heat to 350 as described below. Once done, cool it on a wire rack for two hours or longer to allow it to firm up and become easier to dish out.

This fruit-filled gem is delightful served warm or cold.

Finished Pie - 600.jpgSince we're big on warm desserts, I like heating our slices in the microwave briefly before serving. But this must-try is also wonderful cold. Either way, one taste of this double-berry filling in the oh-so-flakey homemade crust will have you thinking "Masterpiece!" The only problem is, it's so good you may find it difficult returning to the little red box!!


Blueberry-Raspberry Pie

Serves 8

Raquel Hammond, St. Cloud, FL 2005 APC Crisco National Pie Championships
Amateur Division 1st Place Fruit/Berry
Pie - Best One - 600.jpgCrust:
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) frozen unsalted butter, cut up
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons frozen
  • Crisco shortening, cut up
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water, or as needed
  • 1/4 cup crushed cornflakes
Egg Glaze:

1 large egg white with 1 tablespoon water added

1/2 cup blueberry preserves

Filling:
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries or 2 (15-ounce) cans blueberries, drained (plump only)
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries, partially thawed
  • 4 cups frozen raspberries, partially thawed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
  • Big pinch of salt
  • 3/4 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up
For the crust:

Blend together dry ingredients in large bowl. Add the butter and shortening. Using a pastry blender, cut in fat until mixture resembles dry rice. Add egg yolk, vinegar and a minimum amount of water. Lightly toss until mixture just begins to clump together. If dough looks too dry, sprinkle on a little more water. Dough should cling together and feel pliable, but not sticky.

Form dough into a cohesive ball on a piece of waxed paper by lifting opposite corners of paper and pressing them together. Flatten into 6-inch disk for single shell, or divide in half and make two discs for double-crust pie. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or even overnight (the longer the better). Soften dough at room temperature for a few minutes before rolling out. When ready, roll out bottom crust and line 9-inch pie plate. Roll out top crust. Refrigerate both for 15 minutes.

For the filling:

Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, combine berries. In another bowl, combine sugar, tapioca, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle over berries, add lemon juice and gently stir together. Brush egg glaze on bottom of pastry shell, then spread 1/4 cup of blueberry preserves on bottom as well. Pour filling into pie shell and dot with butter. Attach top crust either as a whole or in pastry cutouts. If using a whole top crust, poke holes for steam to vent. Brush with egg glaze and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 425°F in lower third of oven for 15 minutes. Raise rack to center, lower temperature to 350°F, and then bake an additional 50 to 55 minutes. Half-way through baking time, cover with foil if browning too much. Transfer to wire rack and cool for at least 2 hours or longer. Slice and serve. Refrigerate leftovers covered with loosely tented foil.

Recipe* from America's Best Harvest Pies

Author: The American Pie Council with Linda Hoskins

Other Works: American Pie Council executive director Linda Hoskins is the author of America's Best Pies. She's also been a judge for the Food Network and the Travel Channel, andAmerica's Best Harvest Pies 9781626362598 350.jpg was named to Baking Management's Influential 20 in both 2009 and 2011.

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

Penned: Oct. 1, 2013

What's Inside: Almost 80 award-winning recipes from the National Pie Championships. Arranged by harvest crop, these two-crust, one-crust and crumb-topped creations include apple, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, peach, sweet potato, pumpkin and other delights. You'll find everything from classics like Splendid Apple Pie to innovations like Double Strawberry Malt Shop Pie. Complete with simple instructions for making crusts, fillings and toppings from scratch, these family-pleasing ideas are great for anyone who enjoys baking.

Time Out: 176 pages

Available: $11.95 at Amazon and other book retailers

* Courtesy America's Best Harvest Pies by The American Pie Council with Linda Hoskins © 2013 Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. Reprinted with publisher permission.

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You Could Go Grill Crazy with this Hot Freebee from T-Fal

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Grilling can mean you need two cooks. Around our house, Bob takes charge of the chicken, steak or other entree-of-the-day in the backyard while I fuss over sides and sweets in the kitchen.

But wouldn't it be nice to have a simple way to get grilled goodness indoors? The folks at T-Fal want to give one lucky reader a chance to do just that.  They've joined us to give away their new, portable grilling sensation, OptiGrill. It automatically grills food to the desired degree of doneness, from rare to well-done, so you get perfect results every time. (Check the end of this post for details on how to enter the contest.)

You can close the lid on this steak and not check it again until T-Fal's Opti-Grill indicates the beef has reached the desired degree of doneness. Make mine well done, please!

Steak Ready to Cook-600.jpgWe tried this countertop hero along with T-Fal's recipe for Montreal Grilled Steak and Potatoes last week. But before we talk about that Texas perfect-pairing, I've got to tell you more about our Boomer-licious prize.

Stainless steel with two black, die-cast aluminum grilling plates, Optigrill is large enough to cook about four sandwiches at once. I know I promised you steak but I normally save my indoor grill for grilled cheese, Paninis and other bread-based delights so that's important.


OptiGrill New Image 350.jpgYou could go grill crazy with T-Fal's new Opti-Grill. This smart indoor grilling sensation automatically cooks food to the desired degree of doneness, from rare to well done, so you get perfect results every time.

Click "Read More" for details on how you can win this hot freebee ($179.99 value). Contest* ends Sept. 11.


 

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Love FREE stuff? We've teamed up with Stubb's Legendary Bar-B-Q to give away a $30-value coupon bundle good for an assortment of their fast, smokehouse-flavored favorites. Click here for details on how to enter. Contest ends Aug. 21, 2014.

Know someone battling cancer? Baylor Health Care System's Sammons Says... cancer blog is a great place to go for help. Here, you'll find information, resources, physicians, support groups and just about everything you need to help you navigate your way through this illness.

  


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