Friday, 29 June 2018

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

If strawberries are synonymous with summer - than this dessert is literally the epidemy of summer.

The combination of salty and sweet are perfect together!  The use of a pretzel base is such an exciting change from a graham cracker crust.

First, start with the base.  You ARE going to have to turn on the oven for this part - I apologise in advance.

Pretty straightforward - butter, sugar, and pretzels.  I crushed the pretzels up in my mini chopper - not TOO fine - I still wanted there to be chunks of pretzel.

Combine in a large bowl the crushed up pretzels,

the sugar,

And melted butter.

Mix it all up and then spread into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Bake for 10 minutes and put it aside while you're putting together the rest.

Then - get some Jell-O.  Strawberry.

And bring some water to a boil - I like the kettle.

Measure the boiling water into a large bowl with the Jell-O powder.

Stir until combined and then stir in cold water.

Then put the Jell-O aside in the fridge so that it chills and starts to thicken.  Wait until its about the consistency of egg whites.

While the Jell-O is chilling, you need to make the cream cheese layer.

Combine the sugar and cream cheese.

Once the cream cheese and sugar are combined and smooth, fold in the Cool Whip.  Spread over the cooled pretzel base. And toss in the fridge.  You're still going to be waiting for the Jell-O to chill and thicken, so the cream cheese layer will have a chance to chill and set.

Then, slice up the strawberries.

And stir the slices into the chilled Jell-O.

Spread the strawberry mixture over the cream cheese layer.  Then refrigerate until its set - about three hours.  I left it overnight.

Then serve with a dollop of Cool Whip.

Or real whipped cream if you're feeling fancy.

The recipe has been around FOREVER, and with good reason.  It's impressive, delicious, light, sweet, salty, and just everything that summer should taste like!

I loved this recipe and I can't wait to make it again!

I would recommend this for your next summer BBQ, or if you get a miracle and can get delicious strawberries in Winter (it's been known to happen!).  But I hate to save wonderful recipes like this for a party - do it for yourself!

PS - you can also make this in a springform pan!  I like th

Enjoy!  xoxo - Heather

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Taco Rubbed Burgers

I have to be honest here - I love Tex Mex.  So any time that I get to incorporate it into something else that I love - like these burgers - I'm so happy.

And instead of incorporating the spice mix into the meat, we're going to coat the patties in the spice mix like a rub.  

You might worry that it won't work to flavour the meat - but I wouldn't be sharing this with you if I didn't think so.

The first thing you're going to do is combine five spices in a bowl, whisk it all together, and dump it into a vessel of your choosing.  Something flat bottomed and large enough to hold a burger patty.

I have a functional style breading station from Pampered Chef that I like - but I thought I'd class it up and use this pretty square dish.

I's so fancy.

Now - the original recipe just says to throw salt and pepper into the meat.  But I still prefer my method of hamburger patties - so I did that instead.  I also think that it would have been delightful to fine crush up tortillas and use them in place of the breadcrumbs.

Plus then there wouldn't be any leftover tortilla chips to stuff in my face after supper.  

So make the patties and then dredge them in the spice mix.  I tried to make sure I got all around the edges as well.

Then grill and top with Monterey Jack cheese slices.

Then assemble.

You're going to want some lovely, ripe, and creamy slices of avocado - sliced as thick or thin as you desire.

Put the patty on the avocado and top with salsa.

And maybe some salsa verde too.  Definitely salsa verde.

Then tortilla chips.  Jessica recommends blue tortilla chips - but I couldn't find any.  So regular chips had to suffice.

You could crush them up if you want.

But then you could eat these without making a huge mess. 

How boring.

You could absolutely add a teaspoon of the mix into the meat mixture.  I also highly suggest using crushed up tortilla chips instead of bread crumbs in the mixture too.

Truthfully - I'm not sure what is not to like about these burgers.  The spice rub has a ton of flavor that is offset by the creamy avocado.  And then factor in the salsa - the burgers are a variety of flavours that all happen at once.

Not to mention that they aren't wildly over-complicated - so the easy factor is high here.

If you need another Tex Mex burger in your rotation - this one is an EXCELLENT choice!

Stay classy - Heather

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Strawberries and Cream Pie

There is truly no fruit quite as wonderful and precarious as the strawberry.  Here in Northern Alberta, it's difficult to get good strawberries - even when they are in season. 

But when you can get GOOD strawberries?  How do you enjoy them?  Slightly macerated and with cream?  That was how my grandpa liked them (I think).  On angel food cake with whipped cream?  How about grilled?  (we'll talk about that one later!)  How about in a pie?

What if we combined the ubiquitous strawberries and cream and pie and topped it with a delicious brown sugar streusel?

I think that would be a lovely way to enjoy strawberries!

Start by making a single pie crust.

In a large bowl, combine the flour,

Add the sugar and salt,

Add the shortening (make sure it's very cold) and cut the shortening into the flour using a pastry blender or fork,

and finally, the egg and water (make sure both of these are very cold).

Normally, when you bake, everything is supposed to be at room temperature.  However, when you make pie crust, everything needs to be ICE COLD.  I believe it has something to do with the flour absorbing the fats or liquids?  Either way - it's a well established fact that lard, water, etc should be ice cold for the best pie dough.

Using a spatula, press and fold the flour/shortening into the water and egg.  Then turn out onto a lightly floured counter and press/fold until combined.

Shape into a disc and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  Then go sit on the deck or watch a movie!

Next, make the filling.

Combine the sugar and flour.

Add the eggs and combine.

Add the sour cream and the vanilla and combine.

Make the streusel.

Combine the granulated sugar and brown sugar,

Add the cinnamon.  Combine.

Add the melted butter.

Then stir in the flour.

Now - it's time to put it all together.

Roll out the pie crust and fit it into a pie plate.  Trim and flute the edges.

Add the sliced strawberries.

Pour the sour cream mixture over the strawberries.

The strawberries will kind of swim in the mixture.

Then top with the cinnamon streusel mixture.  I kind of tore it into chunks and covered the pie with it.

Then bake.  It kind of puffs up.  It actually is very cool!

Then serve.  I suggest with whipped cream!

Truth be told - I'm not an "a la mode" person.  I don't put ice cream on pie or cake.  I WILL eat it at the same time - but separately.  Ice cream in a bowl, pie or cake on a plate.  It's a texture issue. 

But if you'd like this with ice cream - you go right ahead.

This was the perfect summertime pie.  Sweet, but not cloying.  Light and fresh.  It was everything you could want on a warm summer evening.

Enjoy! - Heather