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16 Jun

This month, we welcome back Marta Rivera for more of her meal plans. Marta is a trained chef, mom of twins, and wife to a newly-retired soldier!

I’m looking forward to spoiling my husband this week! He’s celebrating his birthday on Wednesday, so I’m starting the week with one of his favorite meals: fajitas! They’re easy to make on a sheet pan, and because they’re low in carbs (and neither of us are “low” in much of anything), I feel better about watching him indulge.

Throughout the week, I’m sticking with the meals that appeal to his love of contrasting flavors and comfort foods. Many of these dishes will be doubled and frozen for those lazy summer days ahead.

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15 Jun

To say that I love fried chicken is an understatement.

If it’s on a menu at a restaurant, I’ll probably order it. I make it at home way more often than I probably should, considering the fact that my kitchen doesn’t have a hood and it makes the apartment smell like a fast food joint.

I even made sure that a summer cross-country road trip I took a few years ago went through the southern part of the US, even though it was crazy hot…because I wanted Southern fried chicken.

Sweet tea brined fried chicken

SWEET TEA + FRIED CHICKEN = BFF

During my road trip, I didn’t expect to fall in love with sweet tea, a pre-sweetened iced tea that is served everywhere. In fact, it’s so common that if you want unsweetened iced tea or hot tea, you have to specify that!

I also noticed that Southerners seem to be using sweet tea as a brine for chicken, ranging from tailgate sweet-tea brined grilled chicken to James Beard Award-nominated chef John Fleer making the fried chicken version.

Despite the legendary nature of both fried chicken and sweet teas in Southern cooking, sweet tea as a brine doesn’t seem to have a long history. According to Virginia Willis, the James Beard Award-winning author of Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South, “Sweet tea fried chicken is a new South chef-driven dish.”

What is Sweet Tea?

Sweet tea (or just “tea” if you live in the South), is traditionally served as a black tea sweetened with cane sugar, though there are variations of it with honey, agave, and even artificial sweeteners. It’s typically served cold.

Tea has a long history in the South; South Carolina was the first place in the U.S. to commercially grow tea. And although there are tons of theories on why sweet tea became so popular in the South, the fact is most folks who live there drink sweet tea like it’s water.

Sweet tea brined fried chicken brine the chicken

Sweet tea brined fried chicken brine the chicken

Why Brine With Sweet Tea?

Sweet tea also happens to be the perfect brine for chicken—it infuses flavor into the meat, adds moisture, and makes a juicier finished product. This is why brining in general is recommended for Thanksgiving turkey, lean cuts of pork, and chicken, as it is an easy way to make the lean meat juicier and more tender.

The sugar in the sweet tea brings out the sweetness of the chicken meat, while the tannins in the black tea help tenderize the chicken, similar to the action of the tannins in wine. Don’t be too concerned about the brine turning the chicken into meat candy, though! It adds a subtle sweetness that works well with the salty skin.

I also add salt to the sweet tea brine, to help create an extra juicy fried chicken. Salt is important as it denatures the protein of the meat. Basically, this means the meat muscle unwinds and relaxes, allowing more water and liquid to penetrate. More water means more juicy meat after cooking!

Oven fried chicken fry the chickenOven fried chicken fry the chicken Fried sweet tea chicken transfer fried chicken to baking sheetFried sweet tea chicken transfer fried chicken to baking sheet

What’s the Best Tea to Use for a Brine?

Though Julia Child often is quoted as saying that you should cook with wine that you would drink out of hand, don’t bother using the fancy expensive tea for this recipe! The tea will have both sugar and salt added to it. Three things to keep in mind:

  1. Choose a classic: Lipton’s yellow label tea is what I opted for. You can substitute a generic grocery store orange pekoe or black tea in its place.
  2. Experiment: If you want to get fancy, you can certainly experiment with different flavored teas as well, as long as it’s green, black, or white!
  3. Avoid herbal teas: Herbal teas (i.e. not green, white, or black tea) don’t have the tannins that help tenderize the chicken. It will still be tasty, but the black tea helps tenderize the chicken in a similar way that mildly acidic buttermilk does by breaking down the protein, allowing for a juicier fried chicken.

The Best Chicken for Fried Chicken

I prefer to use dark meat (thighs and legs) for fried chicken. They tend to be cheaper cuts with more flavor and are inherently juicier. But you can make your fried chicken out of breasts or wings if you prefer, or a mix of all cuts.

The brine will help keep the breast from drying out. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time slightly, cooking the breasts an additional two minutes per side, while wings (which are smaller) will fry more quickly, so reduce the cook time by one minute.

Sweet tea brined fried chickenSweet tea brined fried chicken

How Long to Brine with Sweet Tea?

A buttermilk brine only needs an hour minimum to work, but sweet tea is a different situation.

You need to brine this chicken at least overnight (8 hours) for the flavor to come through, or up to 24 hours. The longer you brine the chicken, the sweeter and more “tea” flavor the chicken will have.

A 12-hour brine is optimal: It produces a noticeable sweetness and subtle tea flavor but nothing too strong. But your taste may vary.

The Best Pan for Deep Frying

Classic Southern fried chicken is cooked up in a cast iron skillet. But you don’t need that to make great fried chicken (though some would probably disagree). I used a nonstick, 11-inch wide sauté pan with straight sides but you can also use a Dutch oven.

I also only use a shallow amount of oil in the pan, about 1 1/2-inches deep. This allows me to use less oil (which means less oil to dispose of). I pan fry the chicken, making sure all the sides are crispy golden brown, then finish the chicken off in the oven. This also has the added bonus of making sure all the chicken parts are warmed through at the same time and don’t dry out.

MORE GREAT SOUTHERN RECIPES TO TRY!

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15 Jun

Here’s our weekly round-up of all good things, good advice, good feelings. Up this week: Monster cookies, trays for days, the cast iron skillet of your dreams, and more!

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Welcome to The Friday Buzz, our roundup of good things, good advice, good feelings. It’s the happy hour of blog posts! Up this week: Monster cookies, trays for days, the cast iron skillet of your dreams, and more! 

Are you melting yet? I AM! Portland hit record temps this week and we have a hard time surviving in anything over 87°F. Thankfully, this little heat wave is set to only last a few days, so I think I *might* be able to make it.

Also… it was the last day of school for my kids! We are adjusting to our new routine and have been taking it easy, but before we get too far into summer vacay, let’s do a little math. Record heat + 5 kids home all day = craziness. This isn’t my first time around the rodeo, so I stocked up on popsicles, fresh watermelon and strawberries, AND got a new slip ‘n’ slide. Watch out summer, I’m ready for ya!

In between all the little sticky fingers and endless amounts of towels draped around my house, I’ve been chatting with the Simply Recipes Team about their faves this week. Let’s see what they had to say:

OUR FAVORITES FROM THE WEEK

  • Cheers to Meli’s Cookies! Carrie basically turns into a cookie maniac when she tastes the sweet goodness of these MONSTER COOKIES from Meli’s Cookies.
  • Trays for days: Summer just revealed to us all her secrets about surviving road trips with kids: TRAYS. They’re handy for playing card games and coloring, but they’re the absolute best for SNACKS!
  • Air-Fryer LUV: I just bought an air fryer as part of my summer survival plan. I am smitten with the Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven and can’t wait to make these from our site, and these from our friend Gina over at Skinnytaste.
  • Let’s make eggs! Have you seen this Silicon Egg Bites Mold for the Instant Pot? A reader recommended them and I think they look pretty darn nifty.
  • Podcast fan club: Andy gets into the groove of editing photos while listening to this podcast. Are you a member of the podcast fan club yet? If so, spill the beans on what you recommend listening to!
  • Stargazer Skillets: It’s no secret that we love cast iron skillets, and Emma raves about this one. What makes it the best? Survey says: A super smooth surface and it’s aged so perfectly.
  • Kitchen gadgets for everyone! Did you know we have a Facebook group dedicated to Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners and what makes them possible? This week we chatted about our FAVE kitchen gadgets. Instant Pots, rice cookers, and mandolins are some our readers can’t live without!

MEANWHILE ON INSTAGRAM

We celebrated National Donut Day with these fabulous donuts and asked how you’d all celebrate this beloved holiday. Join the conversation here.

READER COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

This comment from Mellany came in late last night and I just KNEW I had to share it! She tried our No Fail, Sour Cream Pie Crust and this is what she said:

Ok… so, I’m a baker. I literally own and run a bakery. The ONE thing I’ve never been able to make exactly how I’d like is pie dough. Until this recipe. I made a double batch, made 2 huckleberry pies for a customer, and froze the remaining (roughly) 1/4. I didn’t get to eat any myself, but they RAVED about it! 2 weeks later I pulled the remainder out & baked mini huckleberry apple pies for my boys & myself. Holy smokes. It’s PERFECTION!!! No joke, hands down, the BEST (and easy, might I add..) pie crust I’ve ever eaten. THANK YOU PIE GODS!! Thaaaank you! Game changer!

Wow! Talk about a comment that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside! Thank you Mellany!

Cheers to the beginning of lazy summer days!

This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Simply Recipes.
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Claudia Cash

Claudia is the Community Manager for Simply Recipes, and finds joy building relationships with our readers through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. As the mother of 5 girls, she is passionate about family dinner and having that time together every day to connect with those we love, even if it’s over toast and eggs.

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14 Jun

Do you know how to make a Classic Vodka Martini? Here’s a clue: it takes just three ingredients—vodka, vermouth, and lemon peel—and you should definitely NOT shake it.

Photography Credit:
Nancy Mitchell

Drinking a martini feels like a very grown-up thing to do: sophisticated, classy, in-the-know.

While we can’t promise you’ll feel all those things every time you drink one, you’ll definitely feel something after having one or two, because a martini has a ton of alcohol in it. You’ve been warned!

Classic Martini - stirred vodka martini with pitcherClassic Martini - stirred vodka martini with pitcher

THE PROPER WAY TO MAKE A MARTINI

Sorry, James Bond. “Shaken, not stirred” is not the proper way to make a martini. The proper way to make a martini is to stir it, and definitely not shake it.

Drinks that have juice in them, like lemon or lime, are meant to be shaken to thoroughly mix the ingredients. But a cocktail without any citrus, like a martini, which contains just two ingredients—vodka and vermouth—doesn’t require shaking.

In fact, the shaking makes the drink look cloudy and less visually appealing. A martini, then: always stirred, never shaken.

WHICH VODKA TO USE FOR A MARTINI

This is a very spirit-forward drink. You’ll definitely be tasting the alcohol, so it’s a good time to use a high-quality vodka. I like Ketel One, but any vodka you prefer will work.

Vodka Martini Shaken Recipe - clear martini on gold tray with lemon garnishVodka Martini Shaken Recipe - clear martini on gold tray with lemon garnish

A BIT ABOUT VERMOUTH

Vermouth is a fortified wine that’s been flavored with herbs and botanicals. (Try it on its own—it’s quite tasty!) Vermouth comes in a few different varieties, but the most common ones you’ll encounter are sweet (Italian) and dry (French).

For a martini, you’ll want a dry vermouth, which adds some herbal nuance to the smoothness of vodka. I recommend Dolin or Noilly Prat’s dry vermouth.

If you’re looking for a sweeter, gentler drink, try a blanc vermouth, like Dolin Blanc, which combines the sweetness of a red vermouth with the dryness of a white one.

THE BEST VODKA-TO-VERMOUTH RATIO

Vermouth has its own martini controversy, namely: how much should you add?

Opinions vary. Some say to mix 4 parts vodka with 1 part vermouth; others recommend just rinsing the glass with vermouth before pouring in the vodka, and some drinkers forgo the vermouth altogether! (That last one is not really a cocktail so much as a chilled glass of vodka, but hey, do what makes you happy!)

For my part, I think a ratio of roughly 3:1 vodka and vermouth is the way to go.

LOVE A GOOD COCKTAIL? TRY THESE RECIPES!

Classic Vodka Martini Recipe

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It should be noted that the other classic martini is a gin martini, so feel free to go in that direction if that’s more your style!

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 3/4 ounces dry vermouth
  • Lemon peel
  • Ice

Method

1 Mix the vodka and vermouth: Fill a mixing glass or pint glass with ice. Add the vodka and vermouth.

2 Stir: Stir for at least 30 seconds.

3 Prep your glass: Allow the drink to sit for a minute. Meanwhile, rub a lemon peel around the rim of a cocktail glass.

4 Strain: Strain the drink into the glass, and drop the lemon peel in. Sip and savor!

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Classic Vodka Martini on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

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Nancy Mitchell

Nancy is a writer and photographer living in New York, New York. She makes drinks with local and homegrown ingredients and writes about the New York cocktail scene on her Instagram feed Instagram and at her blog, The Backyard Bartender.

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13 Jun

Sweet, pink, creamy, and delicious, strawberry milk is a huge hit with the kids. It’s so easy to make, too! Just three ingredients and a quick whir in the blender.

Photography Credit:
Elise Bauer

Why buy strawberry milk from the store when you can easily make your own? Also this way you know exactly what goes into it.

Strawberry milk is a quick and easy treat for kids and adults alike. All you need is a handful of strawberries, some honey, and milk. It also works just as well with almond milk (unsweetened) if that’s what you prefer or if you are going dairy-free.

It’s so easy to put together even a 4-year-old can do it. (See my goddaughter Piper with the blender? She couldn’t wait to make it!)

young boy putting strawberries in blender for strawberry milk

young boy putting strawberries in blender for strawberry milk

THE BEST STRAWBERRIES TO USE

This recipe is best with summer strawberries that are at the very peak of ripeness. This is how you’ll get a naturally sweet drink without needing to add a lot of additional honey.

This is also a great way to use up berries that are slightly past their prime, or you can use frozen strawberries. Frozen strawberries are strawberries that are picked at the peak of the season, so usually they are really good.

CAN YOU USE A DIFFERENT SWEETENER?

Sure! We liked honey in our strawberry milk, but you could make it with maple syrup, agave nectar, or any sweetener you prefer. Just start with a little bit at first, and then taste and add more as needed.

Strawberry Milk in glass

Strawberry Milk in glass

MORE FAVORITE SUMMER RECIPES WITH STRAWBERRIES

Updated June 13, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

Strawberry Milk Recipe

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You can also use frozen strawberries to make strawberry milk!

Ingredients

  • 1-2 cups milk or almond milk
  • A handful of strawberries, rinsed, stems removed
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons honey

Method

1 Combine: Put milk, strawberries, and 1 tablespoon of honey into a blender.

2 Blend: Blend until thoroughly smooth.

3 Taste and serve: Taste and add more honey if you wish your strawberry milk to be a little sweeter. Serve immediately.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Strawberry Milk on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

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This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Simply Recipes.
Read more about our affiliate linking policy.

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family’s recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

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12 Jun

Food on a stick is a winner for both kids and adults! Chicken and pineapple are a perfect match for the grill. Top with lemony yogurt sauce for an easy summer meal.

Photography Credit:
Nick Evans

Kids are so easy to wow when they are young. My kids are actually impressed by how fast I can put my shoes on, and I’m not even trying. They are also very impressed when I put food on sticks for them. Hot dog on a stick? Amazing!

Kabobs are always a fun choice and a great way to celebrate grilling season. These Chicken and Pineapple Kabobs are not only kid friendly, but adults will love them, too. The combo of marinated chicken and charred sweet pineapple is an instant classic, so add these to your repertoire ASAP!

Kabobs with Chicken and PineappleKabobs with Chicken and Pineapple

WHAT KIND OF CHICKEN WORKS FOR KABOBS?

I used chicken breasts for my kabobs, but you could use chicken thighs if you like a little more richness. Or you could use a mix if you wanted to.

Just try to chop the pieces into similar sizes, so they cook evenly. That’s more important than the exact cut of chicken you use.

SAUCE OPTIONS FOR CHICKEN PINEAPPLE KABOBS

  • You could go with barbecue sauce (maybe this Pepper Sauce) for these kabobs if you were so inclined, but I decided to keep it a bit lighter with a lemon yogurt sauce.
  • You could also brush them with some teriyaki sauce while they are on the grill. Teriyaki sauce enhances the savory elements of the chicken and the sweetness of the pineapple, so it’s a perfect pairing.

Chicken Pineapple Kabobs Recipe

Chicken Pineapple Kabobs Recipe

How to Keep the Kabobs Moist

There are four things to keep in mind when cooking kabobs.

  1. Marinate the chicken. It adds some fat to the kabobs and infuses flavor. The fat helps keep the chicken from drying out. I like to keep my marinade simple with olive oil, garlic, pineapple juice, and a little soy sauce.
  2. Place a pineapple piece next to a chicken piece on the skewers. This is because the pineapple keeps the chicken from drying out.
  3. Don’t overcook the kabobs. Many people completely zap their kabobs of flavor and moisture by grilling them for way too long. Fifteen minutes over medium-high heat should be plenty of time to cook the chicken through.
  4. Use a digital thermometer to test the chicken, or cut into a larger piece to make sure it’s done. Don’t let them just sit on the grill until they are dry hunks. Pull the kabobs off when they are done!

STORING AND REHEATING KABOBS

Kabobs store really well in the fridge for a few days, and you can reheat them by tossing them back on the grill until warmed through, or you can reheat them in a 350˚F oven until they are warm, about five minutes.

Chicken Pineapple Kebabs Teriyaki make the dad add sauce

Chicken Pineapple Kebabs Teriyaki make the dad add sauce

The DAD ADD: Spicy Yogurt Sauce!

Eat Your Food - Dad Add

Eat Your Food - Dad Add

I really wanted to add some spice to my kabobs but needed to keep them kid friendly, so this spicy yogurt sauce was my answer. It’s just sriracha and yogurt stirred together, but I use it liberally when I serve these kabobs to adults who like spicy food.

Chicken Pineapple Kabobs Recipe

Chicken Pineapple Kabobs Recipe

REPORT CARD

Eat Your Food - Kid Report v2

Eat Your Food - Kid Report v2

My full kabobs were a bit too big for my children, so I actually split one kabob between them. I made mini kabobs for them by chopping the ingredients into smaller pieces and re-skewering them on tinier bamboo skewers. If you don’t have smaller skewers you could just break a larger bamboo skewer in half for the kiddos.

My kids had a blast eating these, and both of them pretty much finished a whole kabob. We served them with rice. Also, my two-year old ate about four servings of the lemon yogurt sauce. “More yogurt, please!” Go for it, kid!

Food on sticks is a win for kids!

LOVE FOOD ON A STICK? HERE ARE MORE RECIPES TO TRY!

Chicken and Pineapple Kabobs Recipe

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If you are using bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them in water before assembling the ingredients on the skewers. Alternately, you can also buy metal skewers, such as these.

Ingredients

For the lemon yogurt sauce:

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

DAD ADD: Spicy Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha chili sauce

For the kabobs:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken (breast or thighs), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pineapple, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • Couscous or rice, for serving

Method

1 Make the sauces: In two separate small bowls, stir together the ingredients for the lemon yogurt and spicy yogurt sauces. If you aren’t using the spicy yogurt sauce, you might want to double the lemon yogurt sauce recipe.

Chicken Pineapple Kebabs Teriyaki make the dad add sauce

2 Marinate the chicken: Whisk together olive oil, pineapple juice, garlic, soy sauce, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add chicken to bowl and stir to coat with the marinade. Let marinate for 20 to 30 minutes, or overnight.

Teriyaki Chicken Kebabs with Pineapple marinate the chicken

3 Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat.

4 Assemble the kabobs: Add the pineapple, peppers, and chicken to the skewers in any order you like, alternating between chicken, veg, and fruit. I like to have one piece of pineapple touching each piece of chicken to keep it moist.

Try to divide the ingredients evenly among the eight skewers.

Grilled Pineapple Chicken Kabobs divide the ingredientsGrilled Chicken Kababs prep the skewers

4 Grill the kabobs: Right before you add your kabobs to the grill, rub the grates with some oil to make sure the kabobs don’t stick.

Add the kabobs and let them cook for 5 to 6 minutes per side, until they get a nice char on them. Flip a few times until total grilling time reaches the 15-18 minute range.

Test a larger piece of chicken to ensure doneness. You can use an instant thermometer to make sure the chicken reaches 165˚F, or just cut into the piece a bit to check that it’s cooked through.

Grilled Pineapple Chicken Kabobs grill the kabobs

5 Serve the kabobs: Remove from the grill immediately (so they don’t dry out). Serve grilled kabobs with yogurt sauce and either rice or couscous.

Leftover kabobs will keep great for a few days in the fridge, and you can reheat them on a medium-low grill or in a 350˚F oven until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Chicken and Pineapple Kabobs on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

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This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Simply Recipes.
Read more about our affiliate linking policy.

Nick Evans

Nick has been writing delicious recipes for the home cook for almost a decade. He lives in Denver, CO and embraces a delicate balance of diaper changing, trail running and beer drinking. His website is Macheesmo and his first book is Love Your Leftovers.

More from Nick

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11 Jun

What’s your favorite pie? Mine is strawberry rhubarb, without a question. When it’s the season (usually mid- to late-spring), and both strawberries and rhubarb are available in the market, it’s the one pie that we must make.

WHAT IS RHUBARB?

Do you cook with rhubarb? It looks like pinkish red celery, or the stems of really fat swiss chard.

In the store you’ll only find the stems, as the green leaves are poisonous. The stems however, are tart and delicious, especially when cooked into a pie or cobbler.

I know, it’s weird. Rhubarb is a vegetable that behaves like a fruit.

Rhubarb grows wild in many parts of the U.S. (not here in Sacramento unfortunately). My father remembers when he was a kid in Minnesota, picking it from the back yard and dipping the raw stems in sugar to eat, like nature’s version of a Jolly Rancher candy.

raw rhubarb for strawberry rhubarb pie, don't use the leaves, they're toxic!

WHAT DOES STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE TASTE LIKE?

Rhubarb loves to be paired with strawberries, and in a pie, they’re BFFs. The tartness of the rhubarb just intensifies the sweet flavor of the strawberries. The overall flavor isn’t overly sweet or overly tart; it’s just right.

HOW TO PREPARE THE RHUBARB

If your rhubarb stalks have any leaves, or pieces of leaves, still attached, trim those away (rhubarb leaves are poisonous and should never be eaten.) Sometimes later-season rhubarb can be a bit tough and stringy on the outside. You can peel those outside stringy parts if you want, otherwise usually you don’t need to peel rhubarb. Slice the stalks into 1/2 inch pieces, just like you would celery.

A perfect slice of the best Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

A perfect slice of the best Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

HOW IS THE FILLING THICKENED?

I use quick cooking, or “minute” tapioca to thicken the filling for this recipe. Quick cooking tapioca has good gelling power and does an excellent job of absorbing the juice from even the juiciest fruit so that you can still get a fairly clean slice. Once cooked, tapioca becomes clear, so the beautiful pink hue of the pie is unmarred.

Tapioca also works best if you allow it to sit with the fruit for a few minutes to soften and begin absorbing juices before filling the pie or baking, which is why we suggest letting the strawberry and rhubarb filling sit for 10 minutes.

If you don’t have access to quick tapioca, you can use cornstarch as a substitute, the same amount.

Strawberry Rhubarb PieStrawberry Rhubarb Pie

HOW TO STORE STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE

It’s hard to be patient, but try to let the pie cool before slicing. The closer it is to room temperature, the more it will have set and you can get a cleaner slice.

Fruit pies like this strawberry-rhubarb pie can be stored at room temperature for about 2 days, or longer if refrigerated. Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap or an overturned mixing bowl. Let refrigerated pie come up to room temperature before serving.

LOVE FRUIT PIES? TRY THESE RECIPES!

Watch the video for how to make the best strawberry rhubarb pie!

Updated June 11, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe

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Quick cooking tapioca works well as a thickener for pies, especially strawberry rhubarb. Though if the pie is still warm when you cut it, it will be a little runny. If you don’t have access to quick tapioca, you can use cornstarch as a substitute, same amount.

If making a 10 inch pie, or just want more filling, use 4 cups of rhubarb, 2 1/2 cups strawberries, and up to 1 1/4 cup of sugar

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups rhubarb stalks cut into 1/2 inch pieces (Trim away and discard the leaves which are poisonous; trim ends.)
  • 2 cups stemmed and sliced strawberries
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar (depending on how tart/sweet you like your pie)
  • 4 tablespoons of quick cooking (“minute”) tapioca
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of orange zest
  • 1 double-crust 9-inch pie dough recipe, like this one or your favorite pie crust recipe

Method

1 Preheat oven to 400°F. 

2 Assemble the pie filling: In a large bowl, gently combine the rhubarb and the strawberries with the sugar, tapioca, salt, and orange zest. Let sit for 10 minutes.

3 Roll out the bottom crust and fill the pie: Roll out one disk of pastry dough and line the bottom of a pie dish with it. Trim to 1/2 inch from the edge. Transfer the filling into the crust and spread out evenly.

4 Top the pie: Roll out the second disk of pastry dough and place over the pie. Trim the edges to an inch from the edge of the pie dish. Tuck the top crust edges over the bottom crust edges and use your fingers or a fork to crimp the top and bottom edges together. Cut slits in the top for the steam to escape.

(If you want, for a nice glaze on your pie, use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of egg white or cream over the top of the pie.)

5 Bake: Place pie on the middle rack of the 400°F oven with a baking sheet on a lower rack to catch any juices that might spill over.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400°F, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake an additional 40-50 minutes longer (50 to 60 minutes longer if doing a 10-inch pie). The pie is done when the crust is nicely browned and the filling (that you can see through the venting holes) thick and bubbly.

6 Cool and serve: Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

Serve warm or cold. If you do cool to room temperature, the juices will have more time to thicken. Pie can also be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerated for 5 days.

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11 Jun

For the most part, fancy sea salts and artisan salts are used as “finishing salts.” This just means that instead of measuring them into cakes or stirring them into soups like we do with table salt or kosher salt, we sprinkle them over our finished dishes for one last burst of salty goodness before digging in. They add a crunchy texture and a zing of salty flavor with every bite.

Read on for more details sea salt and artisan salt, and a few examples of each!

Jars and bowls of kosher salt, Himalyan salt, and smoked salt

What is Sea Salt?

What we think of as sea salt is typically evaporated from seawater. The crystals can be fine or coarse, moist or dry. They can also range in color from translucent white to grey!

Below are some of the most common kinds of sea salts:

Fleur de Sel

Fleur de Sel is a category of sea salt, not a salt from any one location. Fleur de sel is French for “Flower of Salt” referring to the fine, irregular crystals that form on the surface of pans of salt water evaporating in the sun. Producers use rakes to collect those crystals, which often contain some residual moisture.

The varied size of fleur de sel crystals means some dissolve faster than others in the mouth, offering overlapping layers of saltiness when you eat. For this reason, it’s ideal for sprinkling over food just before serving.

Flaky sea salt in bowl with small wooden spoonFlaky sea salt in bowl with small wooden spoon

Flake salt

Flake salt forms on solar or fire evaporated saline bodies. It has flaky or pyramidal structures that are among the most delicate of fancy salts. Its saltiness is crisp and fleeting. It’s great on salads, fresh vegetables, and fish. Maldon sea salt is one of the best-known flake salts.

Sel Gris

Sel Gris is collected from the bottom of pools of solar evaporated saline water. It is coarser than fleur de sel, but likewise moist. Its burlier crystals are better suited for robust foods, like steaks and sturdy vegetables. Ground, it makes a good all-purpose seasoning salt.

Fine Sea Salt

These days, you can often find something called “fine sea salt” sold in stores. This is sea salt that has been ground to the fineness of regular table salt. It can be used just like table salt for all baking and cooking purposes.

Himalayan sea salt in jar spilled on counter tip with copper lid

Himalayan sea salt in jar spilled on counter tip with copper lid

What is an Artisan Salt?

We have a few notable salts that don’t come from coastal saltwater. We’re including them because if you’re interested in sea salt, you’re likely curious about these, too. This category we’ll call “artisan salts.”

Rock Salt

Rock salt is mined, then ground. Its coarseness can vary greatly, and unlike many evaporated salts, it has no moisture. A fine example is Himalayan pink salt, used to make those groovy decorative salt lamps as well as polished blocks to use as cooking surfaces.

You can also get finely ground Himalayan pink salt. It’s mined in northern Pakistan from rocks that are up to 500 million years old. The blushing pink tint comes from naturally occurring traces of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and iron. It, too, is a fine all-purpose seasoning salt.

Jars of salt sel de gris, smoked salt, pink himalyan sea salt and white flaky sea saltJars of salt sel de gris, smoked salt, pink himalyan sea salt and white flaky sea salt

Smoked salt

This is salt that’s been smoked over hardwood. It’s great to use as a finishing salt any time you’d like a smoky taste, or to season soups or vegetables you’d like to have a touch of smoke (I add it to braised greens for a vegetarian-friendly bacon vibe).

Seasoned or Infused Salts

Seasoned or infused salts are salts blended with other spices, herbs, or aromatics to create a convenient seasoning. This can be as mainstream as Lawry’s and as out-there as truffle salt (great on French fries!) or matcha green tea salt.

Put Your Salt to Work!

Try sprinkling some sea salt or artisan salt over any of these recipes for a salty crunch:

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10 Jun

1 Prepare the tofu: Line a sheet pan with paper towels. Spread the tofu in an even layer on the paper towel, then place another paper towel on top, lightly press to soak up excess moisture.

After 15 minutes and when the cubes feel dry on the surface, transfer the tofu to a bowl and toss with 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/8 teaspoon white pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.

2 Make the cauliflower rice: Use a knife to remove the outer leaves and cut the cauliflower florets from the stem. Cut florets into 1- to 1 1/2-inch sized pieces.

Add half of the florets to a food processor. Pulse 5 times in 1-second increments until pieces the size of cooked rice are formed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Transfer to a large bowl. Remove any large floret pieces that do not get processed and process them with the next batch.

Repeat with processing the remaining cauliflower florets. When finished with both batches, you should have about 5 to 6 cups of cauliflower rice.

Low Carb Cauliflower Fried Rice - cauliflower florets in food processor Low Carb Cauliflower Fried Rice - creating cauliflower rice in food processor

3 Cook the tofu: Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Carefully add the seasoned tofu in a single layer, cook for 3 minutes, stirring every minute. The tofu should be lightly browned on the surface. Transfer tofu to a plate.

Low Carb Cauliflower Fried Rice - cooking cubes of white tofu in wok

4 Scramble the eggs: Add the whisked eggs to the wok, use a quick stirring motion to cook and break the eggs into small scrambled pieces. Transfer eggs to the plate with the tofu.

Riced Cauliflower Fried Rice - cooking eggs in wok

5 Stir-fry the vegetables: Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil to the wok. Add the garlic, ginger, and onions. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the carrots and bell peppers, stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 1 minute.

Riced Cauliflower Fried Rice - cooking onions and garlic in wok Riced Cauliflower Fried Rice - cooking vegetables in wok

6 Stir-fry the cauliflower rice: Add the cauliflower rice to the wok with the vegetables, stir to combine. Spread into an even layer and allow to cook for 2 minutes without moving. Stir and cook until cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes.

7 Add the seasonings: Add the soy sauce and 1/8 teaspoon white pepper, stir to combine. Save a few green onions to garnish the dish and add the remaining green onions to the wok, along with the tofu and scrambled eggs. Stir to combine.

Taste the cauliflower fried rice and adjust seasonings as desired. Top with reserved green onions and serve hot.

How to Make Cauliflower Fried Rice - adding brown sauce to - vegetable fried rice in wok How to Make Cauliflower Fried Rice - vegetable fried rice in wok

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10 Jun

Enjoy this bright, cheery kale salad with sweet strawberries, creamy goat cheese, and crunchy pecans all spring and summer long! It keeps well, so it’s perfect for a picnic or backyard cook-out.

This post is brought to you in partnership with Well-Pict Berries.

Spring is here and that means strawberries are bursting from their vines and appearing in the stores!

Though most folks will agree that the best way to eat strawberries is to just eat them out of hand, unadorned, there are myriad ways to enjoy them. Strawberries appear in everything fruit desserts like shortcake, pies, and crisps, as well as beverages like strawberry sangria and daiquiris.

And they are also a great addition to salads like this kale salad with strawberries, goat cheese, and pecans!

The delicate sweet strawberries are a great counterpoint to the bitter kale and the creamy goat cheese. Dressed in a balsamic honey vinaigrette, this is going to be your new go-to salad for spring and summer.

A SALAD FOR A PARTY!

This salad is great for a party, picnic, or potluck. Kale is a hearty green that stands up well to salad dressing, even when sitting out on a buffet table for a few hours. You can easily double this recipe, as well.

BUYING AND STORING FRESH STRAWBERRIES

When buying strawberries, look for ripe red strawberries without any bruises or blemishes, and that have fresh green leaves without any signs of yellowing or browning.

Store strawberries in their clamshell packaging in the refrigerator. Ideally, strawberries should be eaten within 2 or 3 days of purchasing them — Well-Pict strawberries are picked at their prime and shipped immediately, so they don’t keep for long in storage. Don’t wash or remove the green cap until right before using them.

MAKE AHEAD SALAD TIPS

You can assemble and dress the salad without the strawberries up to 24 hours ahead of serving and store it in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap. Just hold off on adding the strawberries until immediately before serving the salad as the berries are delicate and taste best when fresh.

After adding the strawberries, gently toss the ingredients to make sure any dressing that settled in the bottom is mixed in and coats the berries.

LOVE STRAWBERRIES?! CHECK OUT THESE RECIPES!

Kale Salad with Strawberries, Goat Cheese, and Pecans Recipe

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You may find that you don’t use all the leftover dressing for the salad. The vinaigrette keeps in a clean jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. You can even make the vinaigrette ahead of time if you’d like.

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches Lacinato kale (about 12 ounces total)
  • 1 1/2 cups Well-Pict Strawberries
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup pecans

Method

1 Prep the salad ingredients: Wash and then de-stem the kale grabbing the end of the stem, squeezing the leaves between your fingers, and pulling the stem through your fingers. The leaves should “zipper” off easily. Stack the kale leaves together and cut them into thin strips.

Remove the green tops of the strawberries and cut the strawberries in half, or quarters if large. Thinly slice the red onion.

Place kale, strawberries, and red onions in a large salad bowl.

2 Make the dressing: Make the dressing by placing the oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk with a fork or whisk until vinaigrette comes together and looks well-combined.

3 Dress the salad: Drizzle half the dressing over the salad and gently toss to coat. Sample a little bit of the salad and add more dressing to taste.

4 Serve: Sprinkle goat cheese and pecans over the salad and serve immediately.

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