Elderberry Pie cont.

Well the pie was a huge success. According to Sue even better than her Mom’s. Now I just have to get more berries to make more pies!!!!

Elderberry Pie

I was gifted yesterday with a beautiful bag full of Elderberries- thanks Carl! Since Sue’s birthday is today and she loves elderberry pie it seemed natural to bake one for her. If you never cooked with elderberries before the real work is in the cleaning. Elderberries are really tiny- supported in large clusters on thin stems. You just have to be patient and pull them off as best you can. I found it was more fun while listening to music. Wash the berries and be sure to look for little stem pieces.  You’ll need four cups of prepared berries for the pie. I had extra so I am making Carl a jar of elderberry jam with the rest. In the past I have had luck finding elderberries for sale at local and Amish markets. They grow in the wild, too. But don’t pick or consume any berries unless you know for sure what they are.

Here is the recipe I used.

Elderberry Pie


2 c. flour

1 t. salt

3/4 c. chilled shortening or lard

2 T. cider vinegar

about 1/3-1/2 c. ice water

Mix together  flour and salt. Cut in shortening to resemble coarse crumbs. Sprinkle with the vinegar and then slowly start to add the water, tossing with a fork as you go. Stop adding water when dough holds together. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for a couple of hours.


4 c. elderberries, washed and stemmed

1 c. sugar

3 T. cornstarch

3 T. lemon juice

1 T. butter

Place berries and sugar in saucepan. Combine cornstarch with the lemon juice and stir until smooth. Add to the berry mixture and cook- stirring constantly until mixture is thickened and bubbly. remove from heat. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out half of the chilled crust to fit a 9-inch pie pan- not deep dish. Pour filling into crust.  Dot with the butter. Roll out remaining dough to fit over the top of the pie- or you can cut into strips and do a lattice. Crimp edges and place pie pan on a cookie sheet to catch any drips. Bake for 45 minutes- crust should be golden brown all around. Yummy.


Tomato Relish and Corn Saute

It’s that time of year. Fresh fruits and vegetables are all around us. Eat a bunch- freeze can and dry what  you can’t eat fresh. Remember to support your local growers. I had the best time at Blue Pike Farm tonight- did the first food preservation workshop on Pickling. There is a repeat performance on Saturday and noon at Blue Pike. There is still time to register by going to TheCharmedKitchen.com and clicking on Events. I will also be back at Blue Pike on Thursday for their weekly farm market from 4-7 pm.

Tomorrow I will be at the farm market in Peninsula at Heritage farms.  It runs from 3:30-7 pm. It is a great time with fun vendors. Go to  www.peninsulafarmersmarket.com

To celebrate the bounty of the season here are a couple of recipes I just love. I think you will love them, too.

Tomato Relish

12 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 cup diced celery

3‑4 medium onions, peeled and sliced thin

2 green sweet peppers, seeded and chopped

2 red or yellow sweet pepper, seeded and chopped

3 T. canning salt (or non‑iodized)

1‑2 T. prepared horseradish

1 1/4 c. sugar

1‑2 T. whole mustard seed

1 t. ground cinnamon

1/2 t. fresh grated ginger

1/2 t. fresh ground pepper

1/4 t. ground cloves

1 c. cider or white vinegar

Combine vegetables with salt and horseradish in a stainless steel or ceramic container. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from fridge and drain off all liquids in a colander. Discard juices. Return tomato mixture to bowl and add remaining ingredients, stirring to dissolve sugar. Chill several hours before serving. Adjust seasonings to suit your taste. Re package in sterile canning jars for easier storage in refrigerator, or for gift giving. Keeps, refrigerated, for weeks and weeks.

Quick Corn and Zucchini Sauté

2 red peppers, seeded and cut into strips

2 medium zucchini, sliced


2 c. corn kernels, cut from cobs, about 4 ears

1 t. garlic salt

½ t. Italian seasoning

In oil cook peppers and zucchini until crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook 4 more minutes, or until heated through. Serves 6-8.


Blue Pike Farm

If you haven’t been there please stop by to see what an urban farm is all about. The market is on Thursdays from 4-7. This week they’ll have eggplant, peppers, onions and garlic, blackberries, sweet corn and much more. Blue Pike Farm is located at 900 E. 72nd street in Cleveland- just a little south of the Shoreway.

Don’t forget I’ll be doing a series of food preservation workshops at the farm starting Tuesdays and Saturdays in August. The first week’s classes will be on making pickles. I’ve been making crock pickles and bread and butter pickles tonight for the event. For more info go to my website TheCharmedKitchen.com  and look under events. You can register online. We will be looking forward to seeing you there.

Easy Desserts

I’ll be teaching cooking to kids this week in Mentor. I thought it would be fun to share some of the recipes we’ll be doing. Hey, we all like desserts and what could be bad about easy? Here are a couple of recipes that you can bring along to your next party or picnic.

Mini Cheesecakes

12 vanilla wafers

2 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. sugar

1 t. vanilla

2 eggs

Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 wafer in each. Beat together remaining ingredients for 1 minute with electric mixer. Divide this mixture in the muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake 25 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool and decorate with fruit topping, if desired. Makes 12.

Note: I like to use blueberry pie filling to top them. I also sometimes get a couple extra from a recipe- 15 or so.

Cheeseburger Desserts

1 package vanilla wafer cookies

1 package Keebler Grasshopper cookies or mint patty candies

2 c. powdered sugar

1- 2 T. milk

few drops of yellow and red food coloring

1 c. coconut

several drops of green food coloring

1/4 c. powder sugar

1 T. milk

sesame seeds

Combine 2 cups of powder sugar with the milk and red and yellow food coloring. This should be the color of cheese. Place the coconut in a small bag and add a few drops of green food coloring. Close the bag and shake well to evenly color. This will be the ‘lettuce’.

To assemble cookies use 2 vanilla wafers (the bun) and one Keebler cookie or mint patty (the burger). The orange frosting works as the cheese and glue. The coconut is the lettuce. Place a vanilla wafer flat side up on work surface. Place a little dab of “cheese” on the cookie and then a  cookie or candy. Sprinkle a little coconut on the burger, then some more cheese and the top bun, flat side down. Combine the remaining powder sugar and milk. You should have a thin glaze. Brush this lightly on the top of the finished “burgers” and sprinkle with a few sesame seeds. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Farm Markets

It’s that time of year. Farm markets are sprouting up everywhere- pun intended. I am happy to be participating in a couple this week. On Wednesday June 15, I will be at the Peninsula Farmer’s Market at Heritage Farms at 6050 Riverview Road. The market runs from  3:30-7pm.

I will also be at Blue Pike Farm at 900 E. 72 Street in Cleveland. That market is on Thursday June 16 and will run from 4-7 pm. Both markets offer a wonderful experience and a chance to support local farms and businesses.

I will have food samples and will be doing cooking demos in future events. I hope to see some of you there.

Frozen Delights

As the temperatures climb I really get a hankering for something cold. I doesn’t help that the ice cream truck rides up and down my street all the time. I really do crave a sweet frozen treat. Here are some easy ways to beat the heat- and you don’t need an ice cream maker to enjoy them. Chill!


8 oz. cream cheese

1 c. corn syrup

1 c. milk

1 c. macaroons, broken

½ c. chopped nuts

1 t. vanilla

¼ t. almond extract

Mix all ingredients until smooth. Freeze until firm enough to scoop. Spoon into paper baking cups set in muffin tins and freeze until firm. Garnish with maraschino cherries, if desired when serving.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet or sorbet

Cookies, store bought or homemade

Chopped nuts, sprinkles, coconut, or even shaved chocolate, optional

Melted chocolate, optional

Place one cookie on work surface, upside down and place a scoop of slightly softened ice cream or other frozen confection. Place another cookie on top, bottom side down on the ice cream. Press a little until ice cream comes to edge of cookie. Smooth edge with knife or spatula and freeze until firm. For variation, you can roll the edge of the ice cream in chopped nuts, sprinkles, etc., or you can dip cookie in melted chocolate to cover half way. Freeze until firm and wrap until ready to eat.

S’Mores Ice Cream Sandwiches

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

2/3 c. chocolate syrup

1 c. coarsely crushed graham crackers

1 c. mini marshmallows

2 c. whipping cream, whipped

72 graham cracker square halves

In large mixing bowl combine sweetened condensed milk and syrup. Fold in crackers, marshmallows and whipping cream. Pour in foil lined 9×5-inch loaf pan and freeze until firm, about 6 hours, or longer. Remove from pan and peel off foil. Slice loaf in half lengthwise and then each half into 18 (½ inch) slices. Place one slice between two crackers and repeat with rest. Wrap and freeze until ready to eat. Makes 36.

Tea Party Class

The tea party class scheduled for Tuesday night in Mentor is sold out but we have enough people to schedule a second class on Tuesday May 24. If you want to take the second class please call the Mentor Recreation Department at Wildwood at 440 974 5735

Homemade Tortillas for Cinco De Mayo

If you are planning a party or special dinner for Cinco De Mayo  you will likely be having something made with tortillas. While they are available everywhere you might want to get a little more ambitious and make your own.  I have three recipes I’d like to share with you for corn, wheat and whole wheat tortillas. I think you’ll like them. Yes, they are a bit of work but if you’ve never tasted a freshly made tortilla you are in for a real treat. I will be posting more recipes for Cinco De Mayo in the next couple of days.

Corn Tortillas

1 3/4 cups masa harina

1 1/8 cups hot water

In a medium bowl, mix together masa harina and hot water until thoroughly combined. Turn dough onto a clean surface and knead until pliable and smooth. If dough is too sticky, add more masa harina; if it begins to dry out, sprinkle with water. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 30 minutes.Preheat a cast iron skillet or griddle to medium-high. Divide dough into 15 equal-size balls. Using a tortilla press, a rolling pin, or your hands, press each ball of dough flat between two sheets of plastic wrap. Immediately place tortilla in preheated pan and allow to cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until brownedand slightly puffy. Turn tortilla over to brown on second side for approximately 30 seconds more, then transfer to a plate. Repeat process with each ball of dough. Keep tortillas covered with a towel to stay warm and moist until ready to serve.

Flour Tortillas

2 c. flour

1/4 c. shortening

1 t. salt

2/3 c. warm water

Combine flour and shortening by cutting in to resemble coarse crumbs. Dissolve salt in water and stir into flour mixture. Form into a ball and knead on a lightly floured surface 2-3 minutes or until it is smooth. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap. Allow dough to rest 30 – 60 minutes. On lightly floured surface roll out a piece of dough into a 7-inch circle. Cook dough on griddle or in a skillet over medium high heat until puffy and golden on both sides, 1-2 minutes. Wrap in a kitchen towel and repeat process with remaining dough, stacking and wrapping as you go. Makes 12.

Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup shortening

2 tablespoons salt

1 1/2 cups boiling water

flour for rolling

In a large bowl, stir together 1- cup all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt. Rub in the shortening by hand until the mixture is the texture of oatmeal. Make a well in the center, and pour in the boiling water. Mix with a fork until all of the water is evenly incorporated. Sprinkle with a bit of additional flour, and knead until the dough does not stick to your fingers. The dough should be smooth. Make balls the size of golf balls, about 2 oz. each. Place them on a tray, and cover with a cloth. Let stand for at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours. Heat a griddle or large frying pan over high heat. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a tortilla to preferred thinness. Fry one at a time. Place on the griddle for 10 seconds, as soon as you see a bubble on the top, flip the tortilla over. Let it cook for about 30 seconds, then flip and cook the other side for another 30 seconds. Roll out the next tortilla while you wait for that one to cook. Tortillas can be refrigerated or frozen. Makes 18.

Cooking With Tortillas

On Monday evening I’ll be at The Wellness Center on Wooster Road in Rocky River cooking with tortillas. I love tortillas because they are so versatile. You can use them like bread, pasta and even in place of egg roll wrappers and crepes. One of the favorite recipes in class is for blintzes made from tortillas. They are really easy and tasty. The recipe uses a ricotta and cream cheese filling but you can also use fruit pie fillings.  If you want to learn more about cooking with tortillas come and join us on Monday night. You can call 440 356 0670 to register.

Tortilla Blintzes

15 oz. ricotta cheese

3 oz. cream cheese

1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar

1/2 t. grated orange peel

pinch of salt

4 large tortillas

1/4 c. milk

2 T. butter

Assorted preserves and sour cream

Combine cheeses with sugar and peel and set aside. Soften tortillas in milk for 1 minute. Place tortillas on wax paper and place 1/2 c. ricotta mixture on bottom third of the tortilla. Fold in sides and roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a non-stick skillet and cook 2 rolls at a time. Cook 2 minutes per side and until heated through. Set aside and keep warm. Place remaining butter in skillet and repeat with the remaining rolls. Serve with the preserves and sour cream on the side. Makes 4.

Note: For fruit blintzes I use fruit pie fillings. Instead of the ricotta filling just spoon some pie filling in the middle of the softened tortilla and roll up as if you were using the ricotta. I like to dust fruit blintzes with powdered sugar.

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