Strawberry pie…as sweet as can be!

Monica says:

Oh how we love strawberry season! It’s time to pick the juiciest berries that we can find!

Do you think we did just that?

Our sweet girl, Emily, and my sister Maria (her granny), and I went to a little farm to find the best berries we could. This time we were smart and each wore disposable gloves….boy, they made all the difference!

Highly recommend this move!

Anyway, after about an hour, we had filled our vessels to capacity….here was my personal stash!

When we got home, I researched the best way to keep these beauties fresh and long lasting. Well, I found advice from a blog, Momables and I can say it was the best advice ever!

Following her instructions below, even today, after 8 days, my strawberries are still fresh and plump like they were just picked!

Washing Fresh Strawberries

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • Drop dish detergent
  1. Place above in salad spinner
  2. Clean strawberries in batches if too many
  3. Swish them around in liquid and then rinse
  4. Place on towel lined cookie sheets to dry
  5. Store them in sealed container lined with paper towels when completely dry
  6. Leave a smidge open on container so they don’t get too much moisture!

NOTE: I used 9 x 13 glass dishes with paper towels and only covered top layer with paper toweling; stayed perfect! And depending on the amount of strawberries you pick, you may have to do this several times.

I also decided to make my own strawberry filling for the pies since I wanted to eliminate some of the sugar content, so I followed this recipe!

Fresh Strawberry Filling

Note: This recipe is for ONE pie

  • 1 quart fresh, organic strawberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ tablespoon  cornstarch

To make the filling:

  1. In a sauce pan, put 1 cup sliced berries, ½ cup sugar, salt, and ¼ cup water. Bring to boil.
  2. Cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Mix cornstarch and remaining water. Add to sauce pan.
  4.  Return to heat. Stir until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile my official pie crust maker and our biggest gluten free lifestyle supporter, my hubby, began to make the crust. We decided to try a gluten free blend and chose King Arthur’s Measure for Measure blend with my mother’s pie crust recipe!

Mom’s Water Whip Pie Crust

Note: This recipe makes 2 crusts (either a top and bottom, or two bottoms)

  • ¾ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • 2 ¼ cups gluten free flour (a blend of your own or any commercial blend)
  • 1 T milk (Lactaid if needed)
  • 1 tsp salt

Whip shortening and water with a fork until smooth and creamy. Add milk, flour and salt. Work into a nice dough ball.

 

Perfection!

Since you have to bake these pastry shells without filling, I cut a round of parchment

for each and filled with uncooked rice.

Baked the crusts at 375 degrees for 20 minutes and then took them out of the oven, removed the rice with parchment, and then pricked small tine marks with a fork in the bottom of the crusts.

Then I placed the crusts back in the oven for 20 minutes.

Look at these babies!

While letting everything cool (filling and crusts), I removed the stems from the strawberries.

And now the best part…..filling them up with the sweet strawberries!

Once I liked the arrangement, I began pouring the filling over the strawberries. It was so thick and lovely!

Daria told me that I could have taken the filling and placed the strawberries in it to get better coverage,

but honestly, that didn’t occur to me.

That’s why she’s a pastry chef, and I’m not!!

Anyway, here is picture of our completed strawberry pies!

And the “pie maker” and “official gluten free taste tester” finally gets to dig in!

Y*U*M!

Wishing you fun picking strawberries…

…but most of all, eating strawberry pie!

Enjoy!

 

© 2017, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

 

 

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Mmm, mmm, good….gluten free Maine!

Monica says:

Last Christmas when the family was all gathered for the holidays, we started tossing around places that we would like to vacation in the summer. After a lively discussion, we settled on Maine.

Yes, Maine.

The only state with one syllable…Maine was the winner!

January came and I started to scope out prospective places to stay for what would be our “Junebabies Birthday Celebration!”  Daria, Claudia and I were all born under the sign of Gemini and we always loved celebrating our birthdays together! It’s more fun and honestly, we get to celebrate all month long since we are 10 days apart from the beginning of the month to the end! (How did we manage that??)

Anyway, we chose the coastal town of Ogunquit which means “beautiful place by the sea” and it fully lived up to its name!

With 90% of its coast open to visitors and a gorgeous white beach, who could complain? The weather was a bit rainy in the beginning of the week, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. We were lucky to have some 70+ degree weather in no time and it was just lovely.

And now let’s talk about food…..gluten free food!

The majority of our meals was eaten out and about, but after an unfortunate incident where both Daria and I got “glutened,” Daria’s boyfriend, Andy, (a trained chef), came to our aid and cooked dinner for us a few nights.

We were so lucky to have both his skills and willingness to help us and our gastrointestinal tracts that soon we were ready to take the plunge again into the restaurant scene!

Here we enjoyed some ribs and gluten free mac ‘n cheese from BeachFire Bar & Grille 

Breakfast made by Chef Andy and Chef Daria included her famous gluten free pancakes from Batter (her business) and his specialty of bacon and sausage. They prepared breakfast more than a few times, but I was so busy eating, I forgot to photograph all of the wonderful treats!!

Next we enjoyed a home-cooked meal of grilled pork chops with Andy’s special rub, grilled asparagus, and mashed potatoes that I am still dreaming about!

And barbequed chicken made the menu, too….yum!

Our “Junebabies Birthday Celebration” included our baking Funfetti vanilla cupcakes and we celebrated by eating them with ice cream….we were having so much fun, that we didn’t photograph the food as much as the singing and wish making!

Happy birthday, girls!

And I am so happy to be with my favorite Junebabies for our birthdays!

We ventured up to Portland (about 45 minutes north of Ogunquit) a few times and found some wonderful things to eat there.

The best place, by far, was Bam Bam Bakery!

A gluten free bakery in the heart of Portland, it had just about everything we could ask for. From goodies to savory items, where everything is made from scratch, this little gem had it all!

Take a look!

 

Daria and I were in gluten free heaven!

And right across the street was Browne Trading Market which had fresh fish, caviar, and smoked seafood as well as cheeses, jams, vinegars, etc., and of course, wine!

For lunch, one trip into Portland, Lewie and I stopped in The Lobster Company and I ordered a lobster salad as you can see! The problem was that upon ordering, the girl never said that there would be a 45 minute wait for our food!!

Yikes….for a salad?

Only saving grace was that the lobster-shaped table pager, which we couldn’t wait for to vibrate, was adorable!

Daria and Andy headed to El Rayo Taqueria for some much talked about tacos…they love Mexican and were super excited! Most (notice I said most) Mexican food is gluten free, so it’s good choice!

Al Carbon taco with char grilled chicken with pico de gallo salsa, cotija cheese, shredded lettuce & radish on the left and Carne Asada taco with char grilled steak with rajas, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce & lime on the right. Both delicious and gluten free, of course!

Elevation Burger was another choice for a change of pace and it did not disappoint!

100% organic, grass-fed, free range burgers make all the difference….so fresh and tasty. All that was missing was a gluten free bun, but they had a lettuce wrap, so that’s what I got!

NO fries, of course!

Dessert was a scrumptious cup of gelato from Gorgeous Gelato.  Making a selection was tough but I decided on pistachio….oh dear! So smooth and delightful! The owners are from Milan, Italy, and this gelato is true Italian gelato!

Wish I had a bigger stomach!

Maine, which supplies almost 90% of the nation’s lobsters, is teeming with places sporting the best lobster rolls and lobster tails. Back in Ogunquit, we decided to go to The Lobster Shack in Perkins Cove, the local fishing community, to check out their “full Maine experience.”

What a great little place!

All of the live lobsters are caught by local lobstermen and are held in ocean water tanks before steaming.

This had to be the sweetest lobster we ever ate!

And the “Maine experience” included shelling the whole lobster and even though it took us a while (we are complete novices), it was very enjoyable. Thank goodness for the “lobster bibs”…they proved to be so necessary!

Before our lobster dinners arrived, we decided to try the homemade New England clam chowder. It is a family recipe that doesn’t have any thickening flour which worked with our gluten free diet!

Full of clams, haddock, potatoes, onions, spices, milk and cream….oh what a delicious way to start the meal!

And I can’t forget the steamers!

We were a very happy table with happy bellies!

Even though it wasn’t planned, we seemed to save the best restaurant for last!

With so many gluten free options, we were thrilled to find and experience Roost Café and Bistro in Ogunquit.

Their homemade gluten free products are made on site by their chefs and the proof is in the taste!

We had gone to this wonderful eatery on Friday evening (our last night of vacation) and wish that we had discovered it sooner!

Of course we wanted to try everything but settled on two gluten free appetizers. The first was the Pan Fried Crab Cakes with red pepper aioli and dressed greens. They were amazing!

Next, was the Calamari with roasted garlic, pineapple and sweet chili sauce. This breaded and fried delight was the best ever!

My entrée was the Seared Scallops, pan roasted with creamy sweet pea risotto, and house veggies. Full of flavor and so delicious! All gluten free!

Daria chose the Fish and Chips, baked haddock with lime-cilantro slaw, and fries (made in a dedicated fryer!). She was so happy with this entrée….fried but gluten free! When does this happen in a restaurant? Almost never!

We were so full at dessert time that we declined, even though the gluten free offerings sounded incredible. A few hours later, we realized that I had gotten a piece of Tiramisu from Bam Bam Bakery and we found it in the refrigerator!

Here we are devouring it!

After eating our dessert, Daria and Andy suggested that we go to Roost before leaving for home for their breakfast/brunch. And since it was Daria’s birthday, we couldn’t resist!

As we sat down, we all were feeling the same way….we just didn’t want our vacation to come to an end. But once we ordered our breakfast food, we knew it would end on a high note!

The birthday girl ordered Brioche French Toast stuffed with mascarpone, fresh berries, and whipped cream….just what she wanted!

I chose the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes….which were so amazing! They were the fluffiest gluten free pancakes that I have ever eaten!

OmG! Take a look at these beauties!

I had a little help, but I would say I did good, yes?

And since our puppy daughter, Molly, wasn’t able to come with us to the beautiful state of Maine, she had to have some lobster, too….okay, it’s not edible, but cute, huh?

Some day we hope to return to Maine…..such a gorgeous place with some great gluten free food!

And next time, we hope to see a moose!

But for now, we brought home the next best thing!

© 2017, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk