rhubarb pie (with a braided crust)

Oh hi there!  Sorry for the unexpected break, but I'm back!  (Read about the reason here...in case you missed the last blog post!  Hint: I bought my first place!)

Anyway, here is some pie for your viewing pleasure!  (And eating pleasure too if you make it......please make it!)

I really really love rhubarb, and I think rhubarb pie might be my favourite type of pie ever.  Rhubarb has such a unique, tart flavour, and paired with a flaky crust and a bit of ice cream...you've got yourself the perfect dessert.

I'm so spoiled since our rhubarb fields are still going strong, which means that I'll have fresh rhubarb for several more weeks. Yahoo!  Just another perk of being a farmgirl.

Also, if you're looking for more rhubarb recipes, check out my rhubarb juice & mojito recipes, my ultimate favourite rhubarb coffee cake,  rhubarb crisp, and my latest adventure...rhubarb scones!

 

In other pie news, I recently did a collaboration with Amy (from Constellation Inspiration) and Victor (our amazing photographer) and I cannot wait to share the photos!  I baked two pies and a couple galettes, and Amy brought the most divine brown butter apple cake, and we set up a huge spread in the middle of my apple orchard.  Dream come true right there folks!  So keep yours eyes peeled, as that shoot will be posted in the next couple f weeks!


Rhubarb Pie

Crust - 

Directions: 

1)  Mix together flour, salt, baking powder and brown sugar in a large bowl.

2)  Cut up lard and add to dry ingredients. 

3)  Using a pastry cutter (or a plain old fork works as well), cut in lard until your mixture is crumbly.

4)  Break your egg into a liquid measuring cup and beat well.

5)  Add vinegar to the measuring cup.

6)  Add very cold water to the measuring cup, until the mixture measures to 1 cup.

7)  Pour liquid mixture over flour mixture slowly, and stir.

8)  Use your hands to work the mixture together until it no longer crumbles apart.  This is where experience will come in, as you don't want to overmix the dough!  Once you make it a couple of times, you'll get the feel of it.

9)  Divide into 4 equal parts.  Each part will make one pie, so you can choose to use it all at once, store some of the dough in the fridge* for up to 2 weeks, or pop some of into the freezer for later!

*Your dough will need to chill for several hours before you can roll it out.  Otherwise it will be too warm and soft, and won't hold it's shape when baked or be as flakey!

*If you do refrigerate your dough overnight (or for a few days), be sure to take it out at least an hour before you roll out it.  Otherwise it will be too stiff!

Ingredients:

5 cups flour

2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 lb lard (or vegetable shortening)

1 egg

2 tbsp vinegar

Cold water

 


Directions:

1)  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

2)  Roll out dough to fit a 9-inch pie plate, and set aside.

2)  In a large mixing bowl, mix together rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon, and flour.

3)  Pour filling into the pie plate.

4)  Roll out another piece of dough for the top, or, cut rolled out dough into strips and braid them for a braided crust.  Brush a bit of water onto the edges of the braids and press them into the edges of the pie to help them stay in place.

5)  Beat an egg well and brush on top of the crust for a beautiful shine and browning.  Sprinkle with a bit of coarse sugar for an added touch.

6)  Bake pie at 425 degrees F for the first 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 and continue baking for 40-45 minutes, or until rhubarb is bubbling well.

Allow to cool and set for a while before serving.  Enjoy!

Filling:

6 cups rhubarb

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

6 tablespoons flour

 

1 beaten egg - to brush on top

Happy pie making!

-Kelsey

I bought my first place!

Oh hey friends!  Sorry it's been a little quiet here, but I had a good reason....I bought my first place!  Yahoo!

It was quite the ride with the housing market going a bit nuts in Vancouver, which has been pushing outwards to where I live in Abbotsford.  I started looking seriously at condos in January/February, and was instantly disappointed when my first offer fell through.  Everything was selling within a week of being listed, and it was a confusing, stressful time.  Seriously...ask my family.  I was STRESSED OUT!

After my 3rd offer was rejected, I was feeling quite discouraged, and ready to take a mini break and hope that the market would cool off a bit.  That same week, the listing for what would eventually become my condo went up.  

I did not want to go see it.  

The photos were kind of weird and dark, the kitchen didn't have a window in it (which was one of my initial requirements....hello food blogger here!!!), and I was just not feeling "into it".  My dear mother encouraged me to go because "you never know!".  

We walked in, and it was like you could hear angels singing.  Despite it being a gloomy, overcast day, light poured in through tall, beautiful windows, reaching all the way back to the kitchen (ahem..).  My interest was piqued, but I wasn't convinced.  Then we walked through the rest of the condo.  Huge master bedroom and ensuite.  Double walk-in closet.  Very generous sized laundry room.  And, shockingly, a giant deck.  Oh, and it's on the top floor.  That counts for a lot too!  

I was sold.  

It may not have been exactly what I had in mind, but I soon fell in love with the vaulted ceiling, gorgeous windows, and the beautiful, green view of a ravine off my deck.  I put an offer in that night, and voila, it was mine!

So, here are a few before photos from the realtor, and I can't wait to share my progress and a few diy projects in the coming months!

And, as always, feel free to tag along on instagram for more sneak peeks of my home adventures!

-Kelsey, a new & happy homeowner

strawberry tart (with puff pastry crust!)

So I have some exciting news....I'm moving!  I've been living with my parents on our farm since moving home from university, but a few weeks ago (after months of looking and rejected offers!) I had an offer accepted on a condo, and I'll be getting the keys THIS FRIDAY!  Yahoo!  I'll be doing a few little renos before fully moving in, and I'll likely be sharing a few diy projects here on the blog in the coming months.

Anyway....back to food!  Today I'm bringing you a ridiculously simple dessert that you can whip up in no time at all!  Puff pastry is the key, and nearly steals the show with its flaky deliciousness!  Add in whipped cream and fresh strawberries (you could easily swap in other fresh fruit you have on hand!) and you have ridiculously easy and good-looking dessert!

And, if you're feeling adventurous, you can take it one step further and make some pastry cream to layer under the strawberries for added sweetness and creaminess!

Now I'm determined to make my own homemade laminated dough one day soon....I just have to wait until butter goes on sale, haha!  Seriously though, I have danishes on my mind, and of course....croissants!  This puff pastry has sparked a host of recipe ideas, and I can't wait to experiment.


Strawberry Tart

recipe: slightly adapted from Camille at Pop Sugar

Ingredients:

1 square of puff pastry

2-3 cups strawberries, sliced

1 cup whipping cream

1 tsp icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Optional: Pastry Cream - here's a good recipe to use (cut in half)

 

Directions:

*Optional: If you want pastry cream on your tart, make it first thing. (The tart doesn't need it, but it does take it to the next level.)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut up your strawberries, and set aside as you work with the puff pastry.

Roll out your square of puff pastry into a rough rectangle, about 1/4 of an inch thick.  Spread pastry cream overtop - if using - and leave a 1/4 to 1/2-inch border around the tart.  Arrange the strawberry slices on top, having them slightly overlap each other (see picture below).

Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown, and strawberries start to bubble a little.

Set aside to allow to cool, and prepare whipped cream.  Whip heavy cream with icing sugar and vanilla until firm peaks form.

Serve tart with whipped cream (and or ice cream!).  Enjoy!

*Note:  This dessert is best eaten the best day, but will keep for a day or two in the fridge in a sealed container (without whipped cream on top).


Happy tart baking friends!

-Kels

strawberry mint pavlova

I can't believe that Strawberry season has already come and gone!  If I had it my way, it would last ALL year.  Come on local strawberries, I need you 365 days a year. 

This is especially true since strawberries are one of the only berries that I enjoy eating fresh.  I know, I know!  I'm a little crazy.  I like most other berries as long as they're baked into something sweet, or blended up into a smoothie.  

Anyway, today we're talking about pavlova.  Aka: delicious meringue with whipped cream and strawberries on top!

I had never tried baking pavlova before, and man does it take a lot of patience!  Honestly, I would be tempted to make it way more often if it wasn't such a time commitment.  In fact, I left this guy cooling in the oven while my family and I rushed off to go see Captain America (finally!!).  It took my mind of having to wait for the darn meringue to cool, so that was a win win situation.

I love the contrasting crunch of the pavlova, the fluffiness of the whipped cream, and the sweet juiciness of the strawberries.  So many wonderful textures going on in this dessert.  Oh and I can't forget about the mint!  I diced some fresh mint to sprinkle on over top, and I think it is the loveliest complement to the strawberries. 


Strawberry Mint Pavlova

recipe: Shiran - Pretty.Simple.Sweet
yields: one 9-inch pavlova

ingredients:

Meringue:

4 large egg whites

1 cup sugar

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tsp lemon juice (or white wine vinegar)

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract


Fresh fruit for topping

(Optional: mint leaves, diced)


Whipping cream:

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon of icing sugar (or to taste)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

directions:

Preheat oven to 325F.  Trace a 9-inch circle (I traced a cake pan) onto a sheet of parchment paper, and use that to line a baking sheet.

Place egg whites into a large bowl, and beat on high until they start to foam and soft peaks start to form.  Reduce speed slightly, and slowly add in sugar.  Increase speed once all the sugar has been added, and beat until stiff peaks form.  

Add in cornstarch, vinegar, salt, and vanilla, and gently fold in by hand with a spatula until just combined. (You don't want to deflate the meringue too much!)

Carefully spread the meringue onto the parchment paper, and shape into a circle.  The edges should be slightly higher than the center.

Place the meringue into the oven, reduce temperature to 230F, and bake for 75-90 minutes.  The outside will have a hint of colour and look dry.  Turn off oven and let the meringue dry completely inside.  It will crack as it dries, and that's totally normal!

Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream with icing sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.

Wash and prepare strawberries.  I left mine whole, but it's a little more practical to cut them up properly before serving.

Spread whipped cream over cooled meringue, top with strawberries (or other fresh fruit), and sprinkle with a bit of diced mint leaves.  Serve!

*Meringue is best the first day, but will keep in the fridge for a day or two.


Happy pavlova making!  And may your patience be never-ending.

-Kelsey

tacos al pastor

Hello tacos!

It's no secret to anyone that knows me well (or even not that well...haha) that I love tacos.  My whole family does, and fish taco friday was a consistent thing in our household until we realized how expensive and how much work it was!  We still have them often though, and I thought it was time we mixed things up! 

So....let me introduce tacos al pastor!  There's pork!  And grilled pineapple!  And spiciness!  

I love how all of the flavours come together, from the smokiness of the pork marinade and sauce, to the sweetness of the grilled pineapple.  Of course it'd be remiss of me to leave out the guacamole or homemade pico de gallo we made!

I'm so excited to be working with Le Creuset again for this post! I used their rectangular dish for marinating my pork, and the lid doubles as a serving platter. I love pieces that are multi-functional, and the fact that these are gorgeous and excellent quality make me a very happy girl. Also spotted in this post is their cute little sauce jar which was great for serving as well.

Also, may I recommend you make my simple lime daiquiris to serve with these tacos?  Easy and refreshing!


tacos al pastor

 

directions:

For the sauce, place 3/4 of the onion, 1/2 of the entire pineapple, vinegar, chile powder, garlic, salt, oregano, cumin, chipotle chiles, and adobo sauce in a blender and blend the mixture until it's nice and smooth. *Set aside 1/4 cup of sauce to serve with the tacos.

Cut your pork roast into 1/2-inch thick slices, and layer in a casserole dish, alternating with sauce so that the pork is all covered by sauce.

Allow the pork to marinate for 2-4 hours.  

While the pork is marinating, I suggest making your pico de gallo and guacamole if you're doing those from scratch!

Cook the pork in a frying pan on medium-high heat for 2-4 minutes per side.  (Use a meat thermometer to check their doneness if you'd like!)

Grease the pan between each batch of pork to keep the sauce from sticking too badly.  I liked to clean out any extra sauce or fat out of the pan between batches as well to keep them from burning onto the pan. (This would also be great grilled on a bbq!  I was out of propane, otherwise I would have!)

Once the pork has been cooked through, cut each slice into smaller strips for serving in tacos. (*It's easier to work with and cook larger pieces of meat, and easier to cut once they're cooked).  Toss all of the pork back into the frying pan to warm up right before serving.

Meanwhile, cut the other half of the pineapple into 1/2-inch strips, and use a grill pan to cook them for about 1 minute per side on medium-high heat, or until they have grill marks! 

Warm up corn tortilla shells right before serving!

I loaded up the tacos with guacamole, pico de gallo, diced onions, pork, cilantro, pineapple, and a bit of the marinade that I had kept separate.  Enjoy!

 

recipe adapted from: Emily - Bound by Food

ingredients:

1 large white onion, divided (3/4 in sauce, 1/4 for plating [optional])

1 large fresh pineapple, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick long strips

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon chile powder

4 garlic cloves

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp oregano

2 tsp cumin

2-4 canned chipotle chiles (these are spicy, adjust according to your taste buds!)

1-2 tablespoons adobo sauce (*this is what the canned chiles are in)

3 lbs pork roast (I used a butt roast)

corn tortillas

cilantro

cotija (not picture, but recommended)

lime wedges

guacamole

pico de gallo


There you have it...tacos al pastor!  Perfect for Summer, or for whenever you want the taste of Summer!

-Kelsey

orange pistachio doughnuts

Well hellooooo and happy national doughnut day!  

As if any of us need another excuse to eat doughnuts....right?  Ha!  But, today is as good a day as any to stuff your face with some delicious doughnut-y goodness.

Now, this flavour combo was inspired by a doughnut I ate from Lucky's Doughnuts in Vancouver on a breakfast date with the ever lovely Amy of Constellation Inspiration!  It was orange and pistachio heaven.  There was crunch, sweetness, and a fresh, subtle citrus twist.  I was in love.

That was also the morning after the very traumatic cake chaos of 2016, where you can read more about here.  We were running on less than three hours of sleep, and the thought of doughnuts had kept us going all night.  (Not even kidding!)  Running late, we rushed into 49th Parallel, ordered drinks and doughnuts, CHUGGED our drinks (mostly me...Amy was much more ladylike), and then hustled over to her parents house to meet with Victor and take photos of our cake!  (Our cake that could have been a disaster, but was miraculously....not a disaster).

SO, long story short, these doughnuts are incredibly delicious and also bring up hilarious (and fond) memories of my second baking date with Amy.


Orange Pistachio Doughnuts

recipe by: Kelsey Siemens

Ingredients:

1/4 cup hot water (not boiling)

1/2 tsp sugar

2 1/4 tsp yeast

2/3 cup milk

1/4 cup white sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1 egg

3 Tbsp shortening

1 tablespoon orange zest

2 1/2 cups flour

Glaze:

2.5 icing sugar

1/4 cup cream 

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp orange zest

 

*chopped pistachios for topping

Directions:

1)  In a small bowl, mix together hot water, sugar, and yeast.  Set aside for about 10 minutes until nice and frothy.

2)  In a large bowl, whisk together yeast mixture, milk, sugar, salt, egg, shortening, and orange zest.

3)  Slowly whisk in 1 cup of flour.

4)  Gradually add in remaining flour (1 1/2 cups), half a cup at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon (or you can use your mixer and a dough hook) until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. *You may not need to use all of your flour!

5)  Knead by hand for about 5 minutes, or until your dough is nice and smooth.

6)  Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a clean dish towel, and place somewhere warm to rise until it has doubled in size (about half an hour).

7)  Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and use a rolling pin to gently roll it out to about 1/2" thickness.

8)  Cut with a doughnut cutter (or you can use two round cookie cutters, one large and one small).  Cover all doughnuts with the towel again, and let rise until doubled.

9)  Heat oil in a deep-fryer or a large electric skillet to 350 degrees (you can use a large, deep skillet on your stove, but it's harder to control the temperature of your oil safely).

10)  Very carefully, place your doughnuts into the hot oil.  Fry doughnuts on each side until they are a light brown.

11)  Remove doughnuts from hot oil, and place on a cookie sheet lined with paper towel.

12)  Repeat until all the dough has been used, including the leftover doughnut holes from the middle of the doughnuts!

For the Glaze:

Mix together icing sugar, cream, vanilla, and orange zest until combined.  Dip doughnuts into glaze once cooled and top with chopped pistachios.

*I suggest testing one doughnuts with the glaze and then adjusting the thickness of the glaze until you're happy with it!

These doughnuts are best served the same day, but we found that they freeze very well when unglazed!


Happy National Doughnut Day!  Now go on and eat some doughnuts!

-Kelsey

homemade granola

Oh my word.  THIS GRANOLA!!!

So, it's become a tradition for my sister, Jordyn, to make a batch of granola every Sunday night, and I swear it doesn't ever make it through the week.  It is so stinking delicious!  I suppose the only downside to it is that we all apparently lose any self control around it....but at least it's pretty healthy!

Homemade granola is just the best.  I love seeing exactly what goes into it, and you can tweak it each week according to your mood.  Plus, it makes your house smell divine!

Another thing I love about this recipe is that you get some nice big chunks of granola....because come on, the chunks are the best parts!  Just be sure to let it cool completely before digging in to ensure maximum chunks!

A huge thanks to Jordyn for writing out her methods below!  (And for continuing to make this week after week...so good!)


homemade granola

adapted by Jordyn from: cookie + kate
yields: about 6 cups

Ingredients:

4 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup chopped raw pecans

3/4 cup chopped raw almonds

1/2 cup large flake coconut

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl mix the oats, pecans, almonds, coconut, cinnamon and salt. Add the coconut oil, honey, and vanilla, blend well.

Press the mixture firmly and evenly into a large cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake for a total of 20-22 minutes. Stir or flip halfway through, and firmly press back down.

Once the granola has turned golden brown, take it out of the oven and let it cool completely on the pan before breaking apart. This should ensure large chunks!

Store in an air-tight container and try and make it last more than a week! 


Happy granola making friends!

-Kelsey

Pecan Pie

Well now....this pecan pie is embarrassingly overdue since I made this pie for pi day.  Which was in March.  Oops?

At the time, I wanted to try something different than your average fruit pie, and my mom suggested a caramely pecan pie!  Now...since I'm new to this whole "liking pie" business (long story...don't judge me), I had never actually tried pecan pie.  

Let me tell you, my eyes were opened!  

It's rich, caramely, stuffed full of pecans, and just so heavenly.  I think it's worth noting that this recipe doesn't have corn syrup in it, like a lot of pecan pies tend to have.  It also creates almost a souffle type crunchy top, and then the middle is ooey-gooey pecan-y goodness.


Pecan Pie

adapted from: Elaine Helms

Ingredients:

1 unbaked 9" pie crust (find my favourite recipe here)

2 large eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 tablespoon milk

1 tablespoon flour

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

*extra whole pecans for decorating the to

Directions:

1)  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2)  In a large bowl, beat the eggs until they get nice and frothy, and then stir in melted butter (make sure butter has cooled before adding it so that it doesn't cook the eggs).

3)  Add in the brown sugar, white sugar, and flour, and mix it all together well.

4)  Finally, mix in the milk, vanilla, and chopped pecans.

5)  Pour mixture into your unbaked pie shell.  Gently press pecans into the top of the pie for an optional decoration (don't worry, they won't burn!)

6)  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, and then reduce oven to 300 and bake for an additional 50-60 minutes (until the top just starts to crack, or an inserted knife comes out clean).

7)  Cool slightly and enjoy!


There you have it!  Now go on and bake some pie!

-Kelsey