Tag Archives: sugar

As easy as (blackberry) pie!

I know my faithful readers have been waiting with great anticipation for the results of my second effort at making a blackberry pie. I took another shot at it this past weekend, and the results were outstanding, if I do say so myself.

Blackberry Pie

Here is a recipe. As with anything I cook, it’s real easy.

What you’ll need.

  • One quart of blackberries (fresh or frozen*)
  • ½ to one cup sugar (depending on taste)
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ cup of flour
  • A tablespoon of lemon or lime juice
  • One package (two pieces) pre-made pie crust dough
  • One tablespoon of butter

*The produce stand was out of fresh blackberries, so I used two 12 oz packages of frozen blackberries for my most recent pie. Thaw and drain well. If using fresh blackberries, rinse and also allow to drain well.

–Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

–Spray butter-based Pam on one pie pan.

–Press one of the dough pieces into the pan.

–Mix the blackberries, sugar, salt, lemon-juice and salt in a large mixing bowl.

–Spoon the mixture into the pie pan.

— Dot the top of the pie with small pieces of the butter.

–Cut the second piece of pie dough into narrow (1/2 inch) strips and create lattice topping. (See below.)

–Use a fork to press the top and bottom pieces together around the edge of the pan. Trim off an overhang with a knife.

–Bake at 450 degrees for ten minutes and then reduce heat to 350. Continue cooking for 30 additional minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the blackberry mixture is bubbling.

–Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Notes:

1.) Helpful hint to create a better lattice work topping than shown in the photo above. Lay out the pie all the strips going in one direction, but do not attach them to the edge of the pan. Then starting with the middle and working out to the sides, place the intersecting strips on the pie. Create the lattice effect by weaving the second layer over and under the stips of the original layer.

2.) The filling can easily spill over and make a mess in the bottom of your oven. When I turn the oven down to 350, I usually, place a piece of aluminum foil under the pie pan, on the rack below the one the pie sits on. If you do this, it will extend the baking time. Adjust accordingly.

Six-Pack Chili

The weather is cooling off a little, so it’s time to pull out some of the dishes we haven’t cooked since last spring.

One of the first meals I leaned to cook was chili. As a matter of fact, this is what I fixed for Mrs. Poolman when we first started dating and I invited her for dinner. (It’s not very romantic. I don’t know why she came back for seconds, but she did.) When I cooked it in college, it acquired the name “Six-Pack Chili,” because if you spice it up, you need a six pack of beer to wash it down. The trick is to make it tasty enough that you want to keep eating it, even though it has a kick to it. Of course, you don’t have to make hot. That is an individual preference.

Chili Web

Chili with some chopped onion and grated cheddar cheese

This recipe is very easy, which is why it’s a good beginner dish.

The key is in the chili powder and sugar, and cooking it long enough that it all melds together. We like to cook it down long enough so that it thickens and you can practically eat it with a fork. If you overdo it, just add some water. This amount will serve 2-4 people. Double the recipe for a larger crowd.

What you’ll need:

  • One large can of tomatoes
  • Two small, or one large can of kidney beans.
  • App. 1.5 lbs of ground beef.
  • A bunch of chopped onion.
  • Chili powder
  • Crushed red pepper.
  • A few spoons of sugar to taste

1. Brown the ground beef.

2. Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and smash them with your hands.  (Lot’s of fun, but watch out, they squirt.) Alternate plan – puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor.

3.Drain the ground beef.  Add the tomatoes, onions, and beans.  Pour a liberal amount of chili powder to the mixture and begin to cook.

4. Add a small amount of crushed red pepper. You can add more later as per your taste.

5.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered, but you might want to put a lid half-on just to keep down the splatter. It will start out very soupy. We like to cook it down until it is fairly thick.

6. Continue tasting and adding chili powder and pepper. With a little practice, you can tell the right amount by the color of the brew.  It should be a rusty brown, not red.

7. Check for bitterness. Add sugar to reduce the bite and bring out the flavor. (Sugar in chili? Sure! I know people who actually use chocolate. The idea is to diminish the tang created by the tomatoes and allow the base flavor to be the beef, beans and spices.)

You can serve as-is or with chopped onions, grated cheese and/or hot sauce to spice it more.