Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Family Day Weekend : Mini Blueberry Pies in Mini Mason Jars

We spent Family Day Weekend in Haliburton. 
It was sunny and cold and so winter beautiful. Lots of snow!
I spent my weekend with my family...cross country skiing, tobogganing, knitting and cooking...total bliss!

On Sunday night we had a big family dinner and I decided to replicate a recipe that I had seen on Pinterest. Mini Blueberry Pies in Mini Mason Jars!!! So cute!
The recipe that I used called for not cooking the berries and just tossing them with some citrus zest, cinnamon, flour, topping with a little butter, and then covering with puff pastry. The little pies did not turn out as well as I had anticipated, they were good, but not amazing...so I changed things up and came up with this much better recipe!!!

Recipe for Mini Mason Jar Blueberry Pies
12 Mason Jars 125ml
2 bags of frozen wild blueberries ( approx. 5 cups )
zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
2 tablespoons of butter
Frozen Puff Pastry
melted butter and brown sugar sprinkles for topping
 1. Combine 1/2 the blueberries with the brown sugar in a pot.
2. Simmer on low heat for a few mins. until sugar is melted.
3. Add the cornstarch mixed with a little water and add it to the pot. Cook for a few minutes on medium heat.
4. Fold in remaining berries,lemon zest, cinnamon and butter, and let cool for a few minutes.
5. Lay out the mini jars onto a cookie sheet.
 6. Carefully pour the blueberry filling into the jars.
7. Follow the instructions on the frozen puff pastry box and then roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface until it's an 1/8 of an inch thick.
 8.Cut out circles that are a wee bit larger than the rim of the jars.
9. Place a pastry lid on each jar, press down to lightly seal the edges, poke steam holes and baste with a little butter and a sprinkling of brown sugar.
10. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 35-40 mins. until bubbly and golden brown.

Here are some pics from the first batch that I made on Sunday.....

Tip: Make sure you fill the jars up to the top. While they are baking, the pastry will puff up and will then settle back down...my first batch could've used a little more filling. :)
Serve with some vanilla ice cream, or a dollop of whipped cream.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Warmest Winter Veggie and Herb Soup

Happy February....It's snowing!!! AGAIN!!!
Today is a good day, for going to the fridge and pulling out all those veggies that I bought at the beginning of the week with the best of intentions ("Gonna eat so GREEN this week!!"....ya, well not as much as I  had planned !!!)....
 My veggie drawer was pretty full... spinach, zucchini, leeks, carrots, celery...Time to make soup.

This recipe is my own. It's basically a use whatever you have on hand in your fridge, add an assortment of herbs, simmer blend and serve. Quick. Easy. Yummy.

Recipe for Veggie Soup w/ Herbs

This is what I had on hand, so I used....
2 zucchini, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 large leek, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 med onion, diced
1 medium potato, diced
1 big bunch of spinach, julienned
2 tbl spoons of olive oil

Saute the leeks, onion, celery and carrots in the the olive oil for 5 mins.

Then, add whatever herbs you'd like...For this soup, I used dried herbs, and I added 1 tsp each of the following;
Marjoram, Dill, Summer Savoury, Tarragon, Thyme and then seasoned with S and P.

Add the zucchini and potato, saute for a few minutes to blend the herbs.

Finally, add the spinach and 6-8 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 mins.

Once the veggies are softened and the soup is smelling good, use a hand blender (Love my GREEN Cuisinart Smart Stick!!) to blend your veggies into a creamy (sans cream!...the potato gives it its fullness), delicious, healthy, herbed winter soup. 

And voila! This soup is so perfect to have after an hour spent shoveling the driveway! I love this soup because it's really healthy and it tastes great. Hope you LOVE it too. 
If you don't have homemade stock on hand (not many of us do!), be sure to use a great flavour base like BETTER THAN BOULLION for your stock. It's got NO MSG and is super handy. I keep a jar of  beef  base and chicken base in the fridge at all times.

How many more weeks of winter????