Flaky Pie Dough

Hello from CA (and I mean Carboholics Anonymous, not the state)! I must admit, this Russian mom fell off the wagon again with a crazy week-long baking spree. Why? Because she finally nailed the perfect pie crust recipe. I know, disastrous  right?!   

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To top that, it’s rhubarb season in CA (the state). So, I think you can guess what I’ve been up to! There is a rhubarb pie bubbling in the oven right now… ohm… my 3rd this week. 

The rhubarb pie recipe (my new favorite, can’t you tell!?) is to follow in a later post (once my hands stop shaking from all that sugar, and I take some photos). Here is everything on how to make the flaky pie dough I’m so much in love with!

 

Flaky Pie Dough

From While Chasing Kids | Desserts | American

This doesn’t just make a fabulous crust; it also is very easy to remember. The flour to butter to water ratio is 3 to 2 to 1. Add a quarter of a teaspoon of salt for each 100 grams of flour and you got yourself The Perfect Dough! This recipe yields two 9 inch pie shells.

00:32
00:07
00:25

cal Calories 158kcal

fat Total Fat 10g

High sat-fat Saturated Fat 6g

chol Cholesterol 27mg

sodium Sodium 199mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 14g

Serving size 38g Calories from fat 93kcal Fiber 1g Protein 2g Sugar 0g
16 servings

Ingredients

  • 300 g all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 200 g butter
  • 100 ml water

Directions

  1. Measure water, dissolve salt in it, and place it in the fridge
  2. Cut butter into pea-sized cubes and place in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
  3. To make the dough combine cold butter and flour and pulse briefly until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. Slowly add cold water and pulse again for several seconds until the dough begins to come together in a ball but not completely smooth. There still will be butter chunks. If needed, finish kneading with your hands until the dough forms into a ball (try to handle the dough as little as possible).
  5. Separate the dough into disks, 1-inch thick. Wrap them in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  6. Roll disks on floured surface one at a time to 1/8 inch thick. Carefully line the baking dish with the dough, overlapping about ½ inch (the dough will shrink during baking)
  7. For recipes that call for uncooked shell, refrigerate until ready to use.
  8. For baked shells, preheat oven to 375⁰F/190⁰C. Line the shells with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (I use dry beans). For partially baked shells, bake for about 20 minutes, remove weights. Carefully poke with a fork the dough if it bubbled during the baking. Bake for another couple more minutes. For a fully baked shell, bake for about 25 minutes till light brown. Remove the weights, poke the dough, and bake for another 5 minutes till the dough is golden brown.
  9. Let the shells cool completely on wire racks before filling.

Tips

  • The dough could be made a day in advance and refrigerated. Cooked shells will keep for up to a week in the fridge, or for up to two weeks in the freezer.

Russian Friday – Buckwheat Breakfast

When I was a kid each serving of buckwheat was paired with a motivational speech from my parents: “Tolstoy ate this every day, and he lived to be 100 years old!” What they were probably thinking was “Tolstoy ate this every day, and he lived to write ‘War and Peace’!”

Well, I don’t know about 100 years old or even 82 (which is more accurate); but their aspirations came true! Look at me! I’m a blogger who writes in simple English with a heavy Russian accent about once a month, and 200 people liked me on Facebook! Tolstoy in the making!Buckwheat_Breakfast_WM-6

So, parents, tell your children, that there is this Russian mom, who ate buckwheat.. Wait, actually, I’d stick with the Tolstoy story, because this grain is really good for them, and “War and Peace” is one of the best books ever written!

Russian Friday – Buckwheat Breakfast

From While Chasing Kids | Breakfast and Brunch | Russian

This is an excellent make-ahead breakfast. Start it in a rice maker before you go to bed, or refrigerate freshly cooked buckwheat in an air-tight container. All you need to do is spoon some in a bowl and pour milk over it in the morning.

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Low cal Calories 97kcal

Low fat Total Fat 1g

sat-fat Free Saturated Fat 0g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

sodium Sodium 197mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 20g

Serving size 108g Calories from fat 9kcal Fiber 3g Protein 4g Sugar 0g
6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup buckwheat, uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Pick and rinse buckwheat. Place all ingredients in a rice maker and cook on a white rice setting.

Tips

  • Serve with cold or warm milk for breakfast

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 If you liked this recipe, you may enjoy:

Gifts From My Kitchen – Smoky Ketchup

I bake about 4-5 loafs of bread every week. You are probably thinking, “How does she still fit in those jeans?”  Well, she doesn’t!

The truth of the matter is – my family barely finishes one loaf.  The rest goes to our friends and neighbors. I love offering gifts from my kitchen.

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Today’s gift is a collaboration project with the awesomest neighbor and his lovely wife.  They own a smoker, which is responsible for the exceptional flavor of our ketchup.

 

/The recipe was adopted from one of my absolute favorites, “Gifts Cooks Love” by Diane Morgan/

Smoky Ketchup

From While Chasing Kids | Condiments and Sauces | American

Say goodbye to Heinz! This homemade ketchup is a parade of flavors and is a great present for any kitchen: carnivore or vegetarian.
It could be stored in a fridge for up to 1 month.
Yields: 3 8-oz bottles

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00:10
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Low cal Calories 42kcal

fat Free Total Fat 0g

sat-fat Free Saturated Fat 0g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

sodium Sodium 419mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 11g

Serving size 64g Calories from fat 0kcal Fiber 1g Protein 0g Sugar 9g
16 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion, smoked
  • 2 x 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbs capers, drained
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 orange, strained
  • Juice of 1/2 grapefruit, strained
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, strained
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground paprika

Directions

  1. Process tomatoes in a blender on high speed for about 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour processed tomatoes into a dutch oven.
  2. Process onion, garlic and capers in a blender until smooth for about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar, and process to incorporate for about 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients, and process one more time for about 30 seconds.
  3. Pour the onion blend over the tomatoes and mix with a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to boil on medium heat. Lower, the heat, and let steam for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until it reaches ketchup consistency; stirring occasionally.
  4. In the meantime, sterilize the bottles or let them go through a full dishwasher cycle.
  5. Using a funnel, ladle the ketchup into the bottles, leaving ½ inch headspace. Wipe the rims and secure the lids. Label, and refrigerate.

Tips

  • Could be refrigerated for up to 2 months.

For free canning labels and gift notes go here.

Special tools:

Skinny Parade

I’m so excited to present the beautiful entries of all the amazing food bloggers that decided to participate in our parade!  If you are anything like me (a pathological baker and a dessert addict), you would appreciate these guilt-free showpieces! Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Truffles by Shift Ctrl ART

 

I recently found Katja’s blog and I’m infatuated! Her recipes are wonderful. She is also a very talented artist, a terrific photographer; and I think her home-improvement projects are simply brilliant.

Alcoholic Pears and Chocolate Sauce by The Healthy Epicurean

Fiona’s page is also one of my most recent discoveries.  I was blown away by her gorgeous photographs,  healthy approach to eating, and nutritious recipes. Check out her blog and get inspired! 

Turkish Coffee Meringues by Butter, Sugar, Flowers

Moriah’s love for crafts results in charming desserts and a beautiful blog. She also has her own jewelry shop!

Yogurt and Granola Parfait by de la casa

I asked Christina to display one of her posts, because I’m a huge fan.  I actually abuse her blog as my own cookbook – her recipes are so simple and delicious!   Coincidentally, this one is the only chocolate-less delight today!

Profiteroles by Diane’s Kitchen Table

Diane has been my virtual friend for a very long time (in blog years).  She is an excellent cook and a brilliant story teller.  Read one of my favorites and you’ll know why I love her blog so much.

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Brownies by In Pursuit Of More

If you are looking for healthy vegetarian recipes, you don’t need to go far – just visit Shira’s blog.  Delicious looking photos and moving stories are awaiting!

 Thank you, ladies!

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Quinoa salad

In Russia we say that the way to man’s heart goes through his stomach.  If that is true, the road to my husband’s heart is paved with vegetarian burritos, pizza, and this quinoa salad.

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It’s perfect for winters when all you see at the farmers markets are chard and kale.  It’s so hearty, it could be served as your main dish.  We use whatever there is in the fridge – I chop up fresh vegetables that we like to eat raw and top them with cooked ones (doesn’t matter hot or cold). Voilà!

If only I had Dave’s taste buds and didn’t crave a dessert after this….

A very healthy dinner or lunch idea – this salad is a meal on its own

00:55
00:15
00:40

cal Calories 276kcal

High fat Total Fat 14g

Low sat-fat Saturated Fat 2g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

Low sodium Sodium 54mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 34g

Serving size 362g Calories from fat 126kcal Fiber 5g Protein 7g Sugar 7g
6 servings

Ingredients

  • salad
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rainbow quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 bunch kale
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 2 strings green onion
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 handful bean sprouts
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus
  • 2 tbs pine seeds
  • dressing
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Wash brown rice and quinoa. Place the grains in the rice cooker, cover with water, and cook until done.
  2. Chop all the vegetables and cilantro.
  3. Saute or steam the vegetables you want cooked until tender
  4. Once the rice-quinoa mixture is ready, open the lid of the rice cooker and let it cool for just about 5 minutes.
  5. Make the dressing. Whisk all the ingredients together.
  6. Combine all salad ingredients and toss with the dressing.

Tips

  • This salad has no limits! Don’t waste anything in your fridge. You can use your favorite veggies and fruit, sprinkle nuts or seeds over it, and dress with your favorite salad dressing!

Chocolate Berry Cake

The berry season has arrived to California!  Eager to part with everything citrus I’m presenting this simple berry creation.  The chocolate ribbon, even though a bit messy, is super easy to make. 

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/Chocolate cake recipe adopted from Martha Stewart’s Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake/

Print this recipe

CHOCOLATE BERRY CAKE

INGREDIENTS:

Cake

  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

  • Assorted berries
  • 4 tbs powdered sugar

Chocolate ribbon

  • 200 g of your favorite chocolate, chopped into pea-size chips

 

Yields: 8 small cakes

DIRECTIONS:

Make cakes: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat eight 6-ounce (3.5 inch diameter) ramekins and place them on a rimmed baking sheet.

Stir flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix with a paddle attachment. Add egg, milk, oil, vanilla, and 1/4 cup water. Mix on medium speed until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes.

 

Divide batter evenly among prepared ramekins. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into a center of a cake comes out clean. Place the ramekins on a wire rack.  Let cool completely before unmolding.  To unmold run a knife around sides of the cakes.

Wrap cooled cakes in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to 1 day.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place cooled cakes on it.

Make chocolate ribbons.  Measure the circumference and height of the cakes.  Cut out 8 parchment paper ribbons, making sure, their length is about 7 mm (1/4 inch)  longer than the circumference and height is about 2 cm (3/4 inch) higher.

Line a table with a large sheet of parchment paper – this is your working surface.  Have a wet towel handy, as working with melted chocolate could be a messy ordeal.

Microwave the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl for about 2 minutes (or until the chocolate starts to melt).  Mix the chips with a spoon to a smooth consistency.  Working with each parchment paper ribbon individually: place a ribbon on your working surface and, using a large spoon, spread a thin layer of chocolate over it, completely covering the ribbon.

Let the chocolate cool to a jelly-like consistency (about 30 seconds). Carefully lift the ribbon, using a knife to help you separate it from the work surface, and wrap it around a prepared cake, chocolate side facing the cake, overlapping the ends.  Make sure the bottom of the ribbon is lined with the bottom of your cake, the ribbon should be taller than the cake (creating a cup for the berries).

Repeat with the rest of the cakes.  Immediately place them in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Assemble: After the chocolate is hardened, carefully peel each paper ribbon off, gently breaking the piece of chocolate where the ribbon overlapped.

Fill the cups with seasonal fruit and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

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