Blueberry Pie

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I think we can all agree that one of the best parts of summer is the fabulous fresh berries that are available. Most berries, like strawberries and raspberries, I love eating plain from a bowl. Blueberries, on the other hand, I think are much better when cooked. I like plain blueberries, but when they are cooked and turned deliciously juicy and purple they are just so much more wonderful. So, when we had a ton of blueberries in our refrigerator last week, we knew that we wanted to bake with them.

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Finally it hit us- blueberry pie! Pies are delicious, but we rarely make them and had never tried making a blueberry one before. It was the right decision, let me tell you. This pie was magical- the crust was flaky, the filling was both sweet and tart at the same time, and it was really easy to make. I think the secret to making this pie so excellent was the lemon and cinnamon in the filling. These two flavorings were key to preventing a flat, blah filling. This pie is sure to become a summer baking staple!

One thing to note- while the pie tasted better warm, it is MUCH easier to slice when fully cooled in the fridge.

Blueberry Pie

Yields 1 pie

Pie filling from Annie’s Eats (originally from Williams Sonoma), crust adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook

Ingredients:

For the crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter

4-6 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

4 cups blueberries

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

¾ cup sugar

3 tbsp. cornstarch

½ tsp. finely grated lemon zest

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. cinnamon

1 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 egg

1 tbsp. water

Turbinado or granulated sugar, for sprinkling over the pie

Directions:

For the crust:

Mix the flour and salt together in a medium bowl. Cut in the shortening and butter using a pastry blender or two table knives until the largest pieces of butter or shortening are the size of small peas.

Sprinkle with the cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the flour is moistened and the dough almost leaves the sides of the bowl.

Gather the pastry into a ball and divide into two. Flatten each piece a bit an wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 45 minutes, or until the dough is firm and cold but slightly pliable.

Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface (rolling it on a piece of lightly floured parchment paper makes transfer easier). Make sure the circle is two inches larger than an upside-down 9-inch pie plate.

Gently press the pastry into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Take care not to stretch the pastry, which will cause shrinking.

For the filling:

Put the blueberries in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, salt and cinnamon. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the berries and stir to evenly coat the berries.

For assembly and baking:

Right after assembling the filling, transfer it to the dough-lined pan. Dot with small butter pieces. Place the second dough round that has been rolled out on top of the pie. Crimp the dough rounds together to seal the edges.Cut vents in the pie with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape during baking.

Refrigerate the pie for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 375 degrees F. Beat the egg with the water and brush over the pie. Sprinkle with turbinado or granulated sugar if desired. Place the pie on a foil-lined baking sheet (to catch any bubbling blueberries that escape).

Bake the pie for about 50-60 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Let cool before serving. Enjoy with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

Black Bean Tacos with Pico de Gallo and Avocado

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One of the best things about spending more time in the kitchen over the years is gaining a more expanded view of traditional meals. Growing up, our mom made regular ground beef tacos frequently, which are good, but there is a whole world of tacos out there to be explored. We’ve made a few different ones, but our favorite is this recipe for black bean tacos, served with pico de gallo and avocado. Not only is this meal really simple to make (calling for ingredients that are easily accessible and taking very little time to cook), but it’s delicious and filling as well. We’ve made these tacos at least four or five times and each time they are devoured. The pico de gallo recipe we like comes from a Mexican restaurant in New York City and it is wonderful- make a double batch and enjoy the leftovers with tortilla chips!

Black Bean Tacos with Pico de Gallo and Avocado

Serves 4-6

Recipe for the tacos from Annie’s Eats, and pico de gallo via Epicurious

Ingredients

For the pico de gallo:

3/4 pound tomatoes (about 2 medium), seeded and finely diced (1 1/2 cups)

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 small jalapeño or serrano chile, finely chopped (include seeds if you like your pico de gallo spicy)

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 teaspoon fine salt, or 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the tacos:

2 tsp. olive oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

¾ tsp. kosher salt

¾ tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. ground chipotle powder

Dash ground cayenne

2½-3 cups cooked black beans (about 2 cans, drained and rinsed)

1 cup veggie broth or water

Juice of 1 lime (be careful- if your lime is really juicy, don’t add all the juice)

Flour tortillas

Pico de gallo

Avocado slices

Directions

For the pico de gallo:

Stir together all the ingredients together in a bowl- you can make it up to a day in advance (make sure to drain off any extra liquid before serving if you make it ahead).

For the tacos:

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, salt, cumin, chipotle powder and cayenne and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the beans and then the veggie broth.  Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for about 8-10 minutes until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and the beans are tender.  Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.

Assemble tacos with tortillas, pico de gallo and sliced avocado. Enjoy!

Ultimate Birthday Cake

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Remember that decadent dessert we promised? Well, here it is! We don’t really make big layer cakes all that frequently because when we do, we like to go all out. A few weeks ago, I ordered The Sweetapolita Bakebook, and the first time I flipped through the book, I almost passed over this cake. Based on the outside, I assumed it was simply a vanilla cake with sprinkle-filled vanilla icing; pretty, but nothing too special. However, having followed the Sweetapolita blog for a few years now, I should’ve known better. What really makes this cake fabulous is the filling. A portion of frosting is mixed with eggless sugar cookie dough cubes and sprinkles, and then crumbled colorful cupcakes are sprinkled between the layers.

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Man, is that filling fantastic. It’s such a fun surprise, and the sugar cookie dough bites are definitely the best ones! We’re definitely going to try the eggless cookie dough method for other cakes (chocolate chip cookie dough, anyone?).

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It’s also so fun to have the sprinkles stirred into the frosting. While it made it a little bit harder to frost the cake neatly, it was a really cool effect that I will definitely be using on other cakes in the future.

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We followed the recipe from the book exactly, and since it’s a brand-new book we have chosen against posting it here. You can find the recipe in the book, or find a 3-layer version of the recipe on Sweetapolita’s blog. It was one of our brother’s favorite cakes of all time, and I’m sure we will make it again for a special occasion.

Roasted Tomato, Kale and Feta Pizza

kalepizza1 Freshman year of college is officially over! We moved back home this Tuesday. It feels good to be home, but we’re going to miss school and our friends who live throughout the country this summer- it’s certainly an adjustment going from being surrounded by thousands of other people your age to being with your family again (wonderful people as they are!). One plus, though, is we will have time to get back to blogging. In honor of coming home, we made a very decadent cake this past Wednesday which we’ll be sharing soon, but first, something a bit healthier- kale pizza!

Even if you’re not a fan of kale, I would really encourage you to give it a try here. Anything is improved by cheese and carbs, right? Especially when the cheese is feta and the carb component is homemade pizza crust! Roasted tomatoes add a nice touch, as does the garlic oil that serves as the sauce base. As we approach summer and tomatoes get better, they’re best fresh, but the ones around here aren’t quite there yet and roasting brings out their flavor. Give this pizza a try!

P.S. We made an Instagram for our blog! Follow @weliketwocook if you’d like!

kalepizza2 Roasted Tomato, Kale and Feta Pizza

Recipe from Annie’s Eats

Makes 1 medium-sized pizza

Ingredients

For the tomatoes:
4-5 medium tomatoes
Olive oil
Pinch of sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the pizza:
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3-4 cups kale leaves, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 ball pizza dough
2 ounces mozzarella, shredded
3-4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Directions
For the tomatoes:
Preheat the oven to 300˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Slice the tomatoes into slices that are about ½-inch thick.  Lay the slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.  Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch of sugar, and season with salt and pepper.  Bake 50-60 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through baking, until roasted and lightly browned.  Transfer tomatoes to a plate lined with paper towel and refrigerate for several hours until excess liquid is drained.
For the pizza:
In a small skillet, combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the garlic and red pepper flakes.  Warm over low heat for about 10-15 minutes and then remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat.  Add the kale to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the leaves are wilted.  Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat the oven to 500˚ F and preheat a pizza stone for at least 30 minutes (the longer you heat your pizza stone, the better your crust will be!).  Roll out or press the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch round.  Brush the dough with the garlic-red pepper oil.  Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella over the dough. Top with the wilted kale, roasted tomato slices, and feta.
Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 11-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, then slice and serve. Enjoy!