I’m a Spice Girl!

Let me begin by saying that I don’t see myself as a spice snob but I do appreciate layers of flavor when cooking, those layers become so much more magical when you know how to pair spices within your dish.  One of my favorite spices that I always have mixed in my cupboard is apple pie spice.  I use it in everything from cocktails to toast, desserts to smoked meat, it adds so much depth and warmth and it’s super easy to keep on hand.

I am fortunate to have a bulk spice store within driving distance, I am typically in the area every few weeks so I tend to stock up seasonally to keep my stash fresh.  I use this blend when a recipe calls for cinnamon, I like to think of the allspice, nutmeg and cardamom as supporting actors.  Cinnamon is a great spice and all but with a little help from his friends he’s a damn star!   This little concoction really makes cinnamon sugar toast to the next level, friends.  You can try it and thank me later.

Apple Pie Spice

Warm cinnamon and smooth cardamom are a perfect balance to bring depth to your favorite recipes.

Keyword allspice, apple pie, apple pie spice, cardamom, cinnamon, spices
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tbsp cardamom

Instructions

  1. Place measured ingredients in bowl or jar and blend.  Store in airtight container to keep fresh.

 

Chicken pox, summer break and strawberries – OH MY!

To this day I still get teased about an incident that happened when I was 5(-ish).   Now that I have two five year old little girls that love strawberries as much as I ever have, I can see exactly how it all went down!  They are like the Forest Gump of strawberries.  They love strawberry pie, strawberry cobbler, strawberry ice cream, strawberry gumbo….. You see where I’m going here.

I’m certain it was a day much like today, but it was the mid-eighties.  My grandmother had brought strawberries home from the local Amish to make jam, shortcake and pie.  She left them set on the kitchen counter while she visited with my parents outside while snuck in for a small snack.  Several hours later, after returning home, I broke out with a spotted rash from head-to-toe.  My family assumed I had been in contact with chicken pox, the rash was later determine that it was an allergic reaction to eating so many berries!!

Today I took my kids to Amish country to find berries to create out own summer berry memories.  We hit the jackpot with strawberries AND rhubarb, returned home and quickly whipped up this delicious cobbler.  The recipe began as a strawberry cobbler but I like it for all kinds of fruit cobblers with just a bit of modification.  I chose to use the following recipe today;

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler


Course Dessert
Keyword cobbler, rhubarb, strawberry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cup fresh strawberries stemmed and washed
  • 1 cup rhubarb chunked and washed
  • 1-1/2 cup granulated sugar divided
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • juice of one lemon (optional)
  • 1 tbsp flour (see directions)

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in bottom of 9x13 baking dish.  

  2. Combine washed strawberries and rhubarb in bowl. Coat even with lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar and flour, if you choose to use it. The flour is used to thicken the filling, if you are using super juicy fruit you will want to include the flour but if your fruit seems a bit less ripe or not so juicy then omit. 

  3. Pour fruit mixture over butter. In clean bowl add the one cup of remaining sugar, one cup of flour, baking powder and milk. Stir ingredients gently to combine, batter will resemble pancake batter, pour over fruit in the pan. 

  4. Place in preheated over at 375* for 50 minutes, bake until golden brown.

 

Some ways I like to modify this recipe is by adding spices.  If I were using peaches for the filling I would include some cinnamon.  If I were using apples I would add some of my apple pie spice blend.  The cobbler topping is a bit reminiscent of a chewy butter cake, it is delicious with just a bit of sugar dusted over top before baking also.  The sugar adds a nice crunch on top.