Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cherry Tarts from Fresh Bing Cherries

Hubby was having a potluck at work today. He wanted me to bake bread, instead he decided to try making cherry tarts from fresh Bing cherries. I have NEVER made a cherry pie filling before, this is the one type of filling that we always buy in a can from the grocery store. In principal I knew how it should be done & so we experimented.

4 pounds fresh cherries
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2T corn starch mix in 1/4 cup cold water

Bing cherries are $1.99 a pound right now at our local Kroger, we bought about 4 lbs of fresh cherries. Hubby, Morgan & Maggie cut the cherries in half & pitted them. Then we put about 3 cups of chopped cherries into a double boiler saucepan on the stove. We added 1/2 cup water, 2 cups sugar & 1/4 cup lemon juice. We brought the mixture to a boil & cooked it down until the cherry meat separated from the skins. We skimmed out the skins & continued to cook the cherries. We smashed up the pulp. The cherry mash wouldn't come to a rolling boil in the double boiler, so we transferred it into a medium size Pyrex bowl. We put it in the microwave & cooked it in 3 minute increments until it boiled, then we added the corn starch mixture. We boiled it again until it was almost ready to overflow from the bowl, stirred it & then boiled it again. We let it sit to cool for about half an hour, then mixed it into the rest of the pitted cherries.

Pie Crust
2 cups Flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Crisco butter flavored shortening
5 to 10 tablespoons ice cold water

We made a double batch of my pie crust & pressed ping pong ball size balls of crust into our silicon muffin pan. This is the first time I've really use the silicon pan & it worked GREAT!! We have a new tool we bought from Pampered Chef that works great for spreading the crust evenly.

Fill the tart crusts about 2/3 full with the cherry mixture & bake @400 for 20 minutes or until crust is golden. It's a good idea to have a cookie sheet or foil under the muffin pan to catch any drips. Remove from oven & let cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes. I had to use a butter knife to gently loosen up the tart before popping it out of the pan. The more cool they are, the easier it is to get them out of the pan without having them fall apart.

This filling had wonderful flavor & was enough for 3 dozen tarts with enough filling left over for an 8 inch pie.

For more Tempt my Tummy Tuesday visit Blessed with Grace.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Well, that didn't work out so well

Last week was the first time in a long while I had planned a menu. When I planned, I thought all the kids would be home all week & I hadn't finished all my grocery shopping.

So here is what we actually ate:

Monday...hot dogs on the grill w/chips & fresh strawberries
Tuesday...BBQ Beef Ribs
Wednesday....Chicken breasts
Thursday...Pulled BBQ pork
Saturday...Hamburger & Rice

I'm thinking about making steaks on the grill tonight. I got some pretty good deals on meat last week & my freezer is currently almost overflowing. I'll be doing a lot of cooking this coming week. Maybe I'll even manage to post some new foods here, it's been FOREVER.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

It's been FOREVER since I've written down a plan for our weekly menu. The kids have been out of school for 6 weeks & we've been winging it every night....it was FUN, but sometimes makes for a really hectic night, so here I am, planning again. I'm trying to buy & eat as much fresh produce as possible. This is easier said than done here in Tennessee...it is a very green place but very little food seems to be grown here. We were spoiled living in the California Central Valley. It just seems so wrong to be eating fruits & veggies grown in South America in the middle of Summer.

Monday...Hot Dogs, corn on the cob, watermelon & chips (on the grill if the weather cooperates)
Tuesday...hamburgers, corn on the cob, fruit salad (grill again if the weather cooperates)
Wednesday...spaghetti & meatballs (one of the kids keeps asking for it)
Thursday...Grilled chicken, baked beans & salad
Friday...Tacos w/refried beans
Saturday...Smoked sausage & Fried potatoes & Fruit
Sunday...Chicken stir-fry w/LOTS of veggies