nectarine blueberry galette

this is one I've been wanting to make for awhile. last summer I'd seen a blackberry nectarine galette somewhere and for the life of me, could not find the recipe when it came to making this one. so, I kind of just... went with it and made up my own recipe. it turned out better than expected. it was amazing, and sweet and tart, and buttery and oh so good. incredible to the last bite.

Nectarine Blueberry Galette

:: for crust ::

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4-5 tablespoons (or more) ice water
3/4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

• blend flour and salt in processor.
• add butter; using on/off turns, process until coarse meal forms.
• add 4 tablespoons ice water and cider vinegar; blend until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry.
• gather dough together. turn dough out onto work surface. form into ball and flatten into disk. wrap disk in plastic; refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
• after refrigerated, roll out onto a floured surface and trim edges to create about a 10" round circle.

:: for galette ::
3 medium sized nectarines
1/2 cup blueberries
1 3oz package of cream cheese at room temperature
4 tbsp of butter, room temperature
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

• preheat oven to 400 degrees.
• slice nectarines lengthwise and remove pit. continue slicing to create circular pieces of fruit.
• blend cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together with an electric mixer until well blended and creamy.
• spread cream cheese mixture over center of dough, leaving about a 1 inch border.
• layer nectarines in concentric circles in the middle of the dough.
• sprinkle blueberries over top of nectarines.
• crimp the edges of the dough lightly around the nectarines to create a rustic looking crust.
• bake for 30-40 minutes.

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strawberry rhubarb pie

words can't really describe my love for this pie. I mean, ok... I admit I did originally say to myself, "wow, this is tart. it needs more sugar." but now that it's gone, I keep saying to myself "wow, that pie was amazing."
growing up in Florida I don't ever remember rhubarb being a big deal at the markets. I'm not sure I'd ever even seen it before I moved out to Oregon. when preparing this pie I couldn't help but think that it was going to be like having a bunch of celery mixed with berries and sugar. I guess I was a little intimidated by it. but with each taste, my love for that bright red stalk grew. as did my satisfied belly.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
from Bon Appetit

:: for crust ::
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 tablespoons (or more) ice water
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

• blend flour and salt in processor.
• add butter; using on/off turns, process until coarse meal forms.
• add 8 tablespoons ice water and cider vinegar; blend until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry.
• gather dough together. turn dough out onto work surface; divide dough in half. form each half into ball and flatten into disk. wrap disks separately in plastic; refrigerate at least 45 minutes.

:: for filling ::
3 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch slices (about 1 1/2 pounds untrimmed)
1 16 oz container of strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar {or 1/2 cup white sugar}
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp water for glaze

• preheat oven to 400°F.
• combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl. toss gently to blend.
• roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 13-inch round. transfer to 9-inch-diameter pie dish. trim excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang.
• roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips.
• spoon filling into crust, leaving behind any excess liquid.
• arrange dough strips atop filling, spacing evenly. form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling. trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. crimp edges decoratively.
• brush glaze over crust.
• transfer pie to baking sheet. bake 20 minutes. reduce oven temperature to 350°F. bake pie until golden and filling thickens, about 25 to 30 minutes more.
• transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

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maitake mushroom ravioli

dlb said to me this morning that he felt like we've been eating gourmet this weekend. and yes indeed, I feel that way too. it's so easy to feel gourmet with just a little time and the right recipes. and the freshest food of course. the Portland Farmers Market opened for the season yesterday and I can't begin to express how much I love being able to buy food that's locally grown and produced. we came home with a bundle of food ready to be whipped in to delightful meals.
ravioli always seemed like something that was too difficult to make and waaaaay too time comsuming. and it probably could be if I had my own pasta maker and really got in to making dough... which I hope to do one day. but for now all it took was a quick trip to the pasta market in town for some sheets of fresh pasta and we were set to make our own ravioli.

Maitake Mushroom Ravioli
makes 2 large servings

:: for filling ::
2 tbsp butter
1 small shallot, diced
1 lb of fresh maitake mushrooms, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp vegetable stock
1/4 cup grated gruyere cheese

• heat butter on a large skillet over medium heat. add shallots and saute until almost translucent.
• add mushrooms and toss to coat. cook until juices have been released, about 8 minutes.
• add thyme and vegetable stock and cook for 1 more minute.
• transfer mushroom mixture to a food processor. mix in gruyere cheese and blend until a consistency of a thick hummus. set aside.

:: for ravioli ::
2 sheets of pasta, about 12" x 8" wide.
1 egg

• coat both sheets of pasta with egg.
• spoon mushroom mixture into little balls on sheets, making 16 evenly spaced ravioli.
• brush egg along "trim lines" before applying the second sheet to the top. once the second sheet has been put onto the top of the first sheet, run your fingers along the seams to seal the two and form ravioli. if you have a ravioli cutter, use this to trim the squares. if not, simply a knife will work too. {I used a pizza cutter} if seams have split open, use your fingers to seal them shut.

• heat water to boiling in a large pot.
• ravioli only take about a minute or so to cook, so when they begin to float to the top, they are probably done. remove from water with a slotted spoon.

:: for olive oil sauce ::
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp fresh ground green pepper
finishing salt like fleur de sel or truffel salt.

• heat oil in a small sauce pan with pepper flakes, oregano and pepper over medium low heat.
• after ravioli is cooked, toss to coat, adding finishing salt to taste.
• grate a small bit of gruyere cheese on top per taste.

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vanilla cardamom pear pie

would you be upset if I told you that this was the second time that I've baked this pie? and you knew that I'd been indulging in it's amazing goodness without sharing it with you? I know. I would be too. it's truly one of the most incredible pies that I've ever baked. the flavors blend so wonderfully together with the aromatic scent of cardamom and the sweetness of split vanilla bean. and the crust is so perfectly flaky and buttery, you'll want to make it over and over again. I'm sure of it. just make sure you have someone to share it with so you don't feel guilty when you end up eating the entire pie yourself because it's so darn good.

oh and did I mention it's sugar free? yea... incredible is the word you're looking for.

Vanilla Cardamom Pear Pie

:: for crust ::
3 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 sticks chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 tablespoons (or more) ice water
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

• blend flour and salt in processor.
• add butter; using on/off turns, process until coarse meal forms.
• add 8 tablespoons ice water and cider vinegar; blend until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry.
• gather dough together. turn dough out onto work surface; divide dough in half. form each half into ball and flatten into disk. wrap disks separately in plastic; refrigerate at least 1 hour {I only did about 40 minutes and it seemed fine}.

:: for filling ::
about 5 or 6 medium sized organic d'anjou pears, sliced thinly
1/3 cup of agave nectar*
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cardamom
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

* if agave nectar isn't your thing or you don't have any in the house or simply forgot to buy it, you can use 1/4 cup of natural cane sugar.

• combine pears, agave nectar, vanilla extract, cardamom and flour in large bowl.
• scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; discard bean.
• toss to blend well. let stand until dry ingredients are moistened, about 30 minutes.

:: for pie ::
• preheat oven to 400°F.
• after dough has chilled, roll out 1 pie crust disk on lightly floured surface to 13 1/2-inch round. transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. trim overhang to 1 inch.
• line another baking sheet with parchment paper. roll out second pie crust disk on floured surface to 13 1/2-inch round. cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips.
• arrange 6 dough strips in 1 direction across top of pie, spacing apart. working with 1 strip at a time, arrange 6 more strips in opposite direction atop first, lifting strips and weaving over and under, forming lattice. gently press ends of strips to edge of baked bottom crust to adhere. trim overhang.
• bake pie 35 minutes. tent pie loosely with foil to prevent overbrowning. continue to bake pie until filling bubbles thickly and lattice is golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. cool pie on rack.

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chocolate cream cheese cupcakes

did I mention I got muffin pans for Christmas? yea. expect to see lots of muffin/cupcake creations in the next few posts. at least until I get them all out of my system.
I've been wanting to make cupcakes for some time now. I knew the first recipe I wanted to attempt was a chocolate cupcake and I simply could not have asked for a better one. cream cheese and chocolate were meant to be together. these cupcakes are outstanding. they are moist and sweet and oh so delicious, I guarantee you'll be making more.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes

:: for cupcakes ::
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups water
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

• preheat oven to 350 degrees F. line muffin cups with paper liners.
• in a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda. stir in butter, water, vinegar and vanilla until blended. pour mixture into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

:: for cream cheese filling ::
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

• in a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, apple sauce, agave nectar and salt until light and fluffy. stir in chocolate chips. drop a heaping teaspoonful of the cream cheese mixture into each cupcake. bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. allow to cool completely before icing.

:: for cream cheese frosting ::
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

• using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in large bowl until smooth. add powdered sugar, beating until smooth.

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sunrise carrot muffins

well hello there. I've been a bad food blogger. I've baked and cooked and prepared many dishes that I've photographed then just not had the time to post on here. I know I know, it's like I'm hiding something for you. but these were so good I had to make time after my Sunday morning breakfast to share them with you.
for Christmas, dlb got me this amazing cookbook, Baking with Agave Nectar. ever since I read about it on 101 Cookbooks, I've been coveting it. I'm always on a mission to use less sugar and usually cut the amount of sugar in recipes, so the idea of baking with an alternative to sugar was so appealing to me. you can find agave nectar in the baking section near maple syrup and sugars in a natural foods store. I love it as an alternative to maple syrup on waffles or in place of honey in my oatmeal.
one of the main reasons I love this recipe is because of all of the nutritious things in it. fruits, nuts, veggies and spices, all packed into a wonderful vegan recipe that's just the right amount of sweet. you'll find them disappearing before the day is over.
Sunrise Carrot Muffins
adapted from Baking with Agave Nectar by Ania Catalano
makes 16 muffins

:: for muffins ::
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
1/2 cup dried mango, chopped into small pieces*
12 ounces firm silken tofu
1/4 cup canola oil
2/3 cup agave nectar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup grated carrots {about 3 small carrots or one giant carrot}
1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

* the original recipe called for raisins, but I have some amazing dried mangos that I brought back from a recent trip to the Philippines. so unless you can find really soft, plump dried mangos, I'd suggest using golden raisins or dried apricots.

• preheat the over to 350 degrees. line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
• stir together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. mix in the flaxseeds and dried fruit.
• place tofu, canola oil, agave nectar and vanilla in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes.
• add the tofu mixture to the flour mixture and combine well.
• fold in carrots, apple and walnuts.
• spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
• remove from muffin pan and cool on a rack.

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butternut squash pie with spiced whipped cream

October is officially my favorite month. I love everything about it. the crisp morning air, the leaves turning colors, and most importantly, fall produce rolling into the supermarkets. I went to the grocery store on the 1st and was so happy to see piles and piles of pumpkins, gourds, colorful corn, and squash. I've told you before about my love for butternut squash, so I've been hunting for new ways to cook with it. I'd heard stories about using butternut squash in place of pumpkin in my favorite seasonal pie and decided to go with it. I dressed up the recipe a tad and friends, let me tell you.... I think it's better than the original. so give it a try at your next holiday meal or for a weekend treat.

Butternut Squash Pie

:: for pie ::
1 unbaked and chilled 9-inch pie shell
1 15oz can of butternut squash
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 large eggs
3/4 cup condensed milk
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

• preheat oven to 350° F. I
• beat the squash with the brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer.
• add eggs, condensed milk, spices, salt, flour, butter, and vanilla. beat until well blended.
• pour the filling into the chilled pie and place on the center oven rack.
• bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until set.
• when the filling is set, transfer the pie to a rack to cool.

:: for whipped cream ::
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves

• beat whipping cream, sugar, and spices in bowl until peaks form.
• spoon large dollops around edge of warm pie and serve.

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