Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Fever!

While there is part of me that is deeply concerned about the mild (very mild!) winter we've had, the sun worshiper in me is thrilled with the early spring. Don't get me wrong, there's something wondrous about a peaceful snowfall and snuggly winter nights, homemade soup in the crock pot and the smell of freshly baked bread permeating my home. But since I'm given to mood swings, winter can be a difficult time of year. The shorter periods of daylight and days spent trapped inside due to freezing temps take their toll so I've thrown myself into the warm weather with all my might.

    I've been shopping for spring and summer fashions, started my salsa garden and painted my toenails because I'll be sporting some peep-toes this weekend. I pulled the sundresses from the back of my closet and filled my window boxes with tulip bulbs. I've even cleaned the house top to bottom and set the clocks forward. Spring is a time of rebirth and I can't wait to emerge from my cocoon!

    How about you? How do you spring into spring? Leave a comment between now and Wednesday for the chance to win a copy of my latest release, ANOTHER MAN'S WIFE. I can't wait to read your responses.

And as a bonus, here's one of my favorite spring recipes:

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, well chilled
3-5 tablespoons water, ice cold

Combine flour and salt. Cut butter into 1/2 cubes, toss into flour. Take out your pastry cutter and throw it away. It is an evil, evil device that will overwork your pastry. For an exceptionally flaky crust you gotta get your hands in there. Using your hands, quickly pinch the butter cubes into pieces about the size and thickness of dimes and nickels. Stir in cold water with fork until incorporated, then give the dough 2 or 3 more quick stirs. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest in fridge while you prepare the filling.

3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced or quartered
3 cups rhubarb, peeled and chopped
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon lime zest, minced
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Toss all ingredients together evenly.

Handful of flour
9" pie pan
Pie crust dough
2 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4" cubes
small bowl of water
1 egg white
2 tablespoons sugar

Dust work surface with flour and divide pie crust dough in to halves. Working quickly, roll out one half of dough on floured work surface to 1/8" thickness for bottom of pie. Gently fold into quarters, lift and place into pie pan. Unfold bottom crust, allow excess to hang over edge of pan. Roll out crust for top of pie to 1/8" thickness. Put pie filling into pie pan. Dot filling with butter. Brush lip of bottom crust with water. Fold top crust into quarters, lift and place on top of filled pie pan, sealing around edges by pressing gently. Trim excess and flute edges. Cut vents in top pie crust. Brush top of pie with egg white, sprinkle with sugar.

Place pie onto baking sheet to catch any overflow. Put into 425 degree (F) preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn heat down to 350 degrees (F) and bake for at least another 30 minutes. When crust is golden and pie has bubbled over a little, remove from oven. Allow to cool on wire rack at least 1 hour prior to serving.

--Don't panic if pie looks soupy when you first take it out of the oven. Once it cools it will gel nicely.
--Pair this pie with french vanilla ice cream for a delicious dessert!


angel said...

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. *drools* It's been so long. My Grandma used to make the bestest one. Put it next to a chocolate pie (my favorite) and I'll take the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.

That's what I love about spring.

Cindy Jacks said...

I agree, Angel! Pecan pie is my absolute favorite, but Strawberry Rhubarb is such a rare treat, I love it :)

Janice Seagraves said...

I live in the middle of an almond orchard. What I love about the early spring is when the blooms open, which they have already done, and the air smells like honey.