Friday, November 18, 2011

Grilled Romaine with a Soft Boiled Egg

Lettuce?  Grilled?  Hot?  You may be skeptical.  Maybe even afraid.  But fear not, your world may change forever.

For something that you're so used to having only one way, at only one temperature, with only one texture, it can be scary to do something different with it.  But let me tell you that although high heat and a crisp, fresh head of lettuce seem to be instinctively incompatable, they create something on your plate that is texturally and flavorfully delectable.  

This dish shines with simplicity, and has a list of ingredients that you can count on one hand;  romaine lettuce, an egg, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and olive oil (salt and pepper too...but these are mainstay seasonings, not ingredients).  And with recipes as simple as this, the quality of each ingredient is tremendously important.  

Use a fresh, sturdy head of lettuce, and fresh eggs.  Buy a piece of parmesan cut from a certified wheel of parmesan cheese from Parma, Italy, from your local store's cheesemonger (dear god, not from the green can please).  And for the olive oil - the one you are drizzling on top with the lemon juice - make it extra virgin;  one that actually contains flavor profiles of earthiness and hints of fruit, that finishes with a bite of pepper in the back of your throat.  If you have never tried an olive oil like this before, please do.  It will change your view of what olive oil actually can, and should, taste like.  

From the seared, caramelized marks on the outer leaves, to the steamed, leafy center, to the nutty salty parmesan, the richness and natural sauce of the egg yolk,  the grassiness of the olive oil, and the brightness of the lemon, your taste buds will be blown away with every bite, all the way from the first bite until the last (or until you're licking your plate....not that I'm speaking from experience).  

In fact, get a good loaf of crusty bread to take care of that.  All together you'll have a full and satisfying meal that beats a regular old chopped romaine salad any day.  

Grilled Romaine with a Soft Boiled Egg 


1 head of Romaine Lettuce (Romaine Hearts work best for this since they are sturdier and not as 'leafy' as regular romaine.  It helps maintain texture and structure against the high heat of the grill or skillet)
1 egg, soft boiled (instructions below)
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to taste
1-2 tablespoons quality Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 tablespoon other oil; either canola, vegetable, or other less-flavorful and high-heat tolerant oil
Juice of a quarter to half of a lemon


Start your method for preparing your soft boiled egg(s) as described below.

In the meantime, heat a grill, grill pan, or saute pan over medium high heat.  Rub the Romaine heart with the high-heat tolerant oil and season all around with salt and pepper.  Have your grated cheese, lemon wedge, and extra virgin olive oil ready next to your plate to assemble the dish easily once the other components are ready.

Once your egg is done cooking in the water, drain the hot water and let the egg sit in cold water to cool down.  Now put your romaine heart on the heat, rotating it with tongs to sear it on all sides.  Remove the lettuce when it has slightly wilted but still holds shape when you pick it up - about 1-2 minutes.

Remove the lettuce to your plate and sprinkle with a generous snowfall of freshly grated parmesan, big squeeze of lemon juice, and healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Peel your soft boiled egg and place it on top, repeating with another layer of cheese, lemon, oil, s&p.

Break the yolk with your fork.  Cut your first bite of wilted-yet-still-crunchy-and-caramelized lettuce, swirl it within the river of cheesy, yolky, olive-oily, lemony heaven, and taste the salad revolution you've been waiting for.  Repeat.

Soft Boiled Eggs

Heat water with a pinch of salt in a saucepot over medium high heat (the right size pot and amount of water for the number of eggs you are cooking to be fully submerged in the water once placed inside.)

Once the water just barely begins to show signs of boiling - beyond a simmer but not at a rolling boil - gently place the egg(s) inside the water, using a spoon to lower them to the bottom of the pan.

Let the eggs cook for 5-6 minutes while never letting the water come to a rolling boil.  Exact timing will depend on elevation, which takes a bit longer the higher up you are, and on desired doneness of the yolk.   It takes a few rounds of cooking soft boiled eggs to learn your stovetop and your water temperatures and your eggs to know your exact rules to make your own perfect soft boiled egg.

Drain the hot water and run cool water over the cooked eggs.  Gently peel off the shells and devour.  Dont forget a sprinkle of salt and pepper on top.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake

I am in love with what happens to apples when they're baked.  In it's natural state, an apple is firm, true to it's shape, solid and crisp throughout.  Once baked, however, this persona slowly surrenders to a more mellow and tender self.  It gives away easily under your bite, soft and sweet, instead of fighting back with a crisp crunch.  Its sugars condense and an intense apple flavor remains, that is eager to pair with warm fall flavors like cinnamon, ginger, and molasses.

Still in the spirit of fall, I wanted to use my orchard-picked apples in a different way than in a crisp or in the muffins that I had just written about.  I wanted something more festive, more complex in flavor.  Gingerbread has always been a favorite of mine because of these reasons, and to pair it with baked-in apples made it a dish that I could not pass by.  
It's an easy cake.  It bodes a festive look, yes, but that only equates to its greatness of the flavor, not the level of difficulty to make it.  And, with all gingerbreads, especially this one, whipped cream (homemade, please!) is an absolute must.  It's practically begging to be on your Holiday Table, so go make one and share it with your loved ones who deserve it most.  

Happy Festive Fall!

Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake

Adapted from Karen Bates at the Philo Apple Farm via the New York Times
Also on

Serves 12

4 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing pan
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
4 apples (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges

1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup dark molasses
1/3 cup honey
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Very softly whipped cream

Make the topping: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 10-inch cake pan. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, four minutes, then swirl in salt. Remove from heat and pour into the bottom of your cake pan. Make circles of overlapping apple slices on top of the caramel. Chop any remaining slices and place them in the gaps.

Make the batter: Using a mixer, blend 1/2 cup butter and the sugar on medium-low speed. Increase the speed to high and cream until light and fluffy.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, molasses, honey and buttermilk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Alternate mixing the flour and molasses mixtures into the butter mixture, adding the next once the last has been incorporated.

Pour the batter into the pan. Bake at least 45 to 50 minutes (thanks to commenter klp for reminding me this took a bit longer) or until a wooden tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a platter (one that will catch spills, unlike what you see in the pictures above).

Serve warm or cool with very softly whipped cream.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Apple-Banana Bran Muffins

I wish I could tell you that this recipe came from some free-willed creative vision I had.  That it came to me while standing on top of a snow-capped mountain looking over a breathtaking vista, or while meditating in a peaceful buddhist sanctuary, and suddenly a vision of Apple-Banana Bran Muffins manifested in my third eye and my destiny was found to create them.

No, not so much.  But that sure sounds nice.

In actuality, this recipe came up because of two very common predicaments that home cooks encounter all the time.
The first is this: you bought an ingredient for a certain recipe and have more leftover after you're done that you'll need to use up; What the heck to do with it besides the make the same recipe again?
The second:  There's something in your fridge or on your countertop that has Father Time working against it, and you've gotta use it up.  Or else into the garbage it goes, unused and unloved.  So sad.  Too sad.  So something has to be done.

So this recipe, you could say, came from necessity.  And don't they say that Necessity is the Mother of Invention? (you know, they)  And if I do say, it is very true in this case.  The two culprits in this case were the end of a quart of buttermilk and some very brown bananas.  And we're talking brown bananas, people.  Every day I would come home from work and I would see the bananas hanging sadly from the banana hook in our kitchen.  I would reluctantly glance at them out of the corner of my eye, blocking out their pleas that sounded something like: "Eat me! Use me! Do SOMETHING!  I can barely hold on anymore!"  It got ugly.  So, like I said with what happens in these situations, something had to be done.

And hence the birth of this recipe.  It makes one fantastic batch of muffins, and one of the reasons I enjoy it so much is that is actually makes a hearty, tasty muffin, not a cupcake disguised as a muffin, as so many muffins are these days.  There are not pounds of sugar in it, nor cups of oil - only 3 tablespoons! - so a majority of the sweetness and the moist crumb come from the ripe bananas, with a fun addition of the sweet studs of apples amidst the batter.  The buttermilk adds great flavor and tenderness, and with nutrition-rich additions of whole wheat flour, wheat or oat bran (use either!), and walnuts if you dig 'em, you can eat these muffins and feel super powered.  Breakfast on the go?  No problem.  Do it and rock it.  In fact, make a bunch and throw em in your freezer.  Then they'll be ready for you whenever you need them.

How's that for turning a sour situation into a sweet success?  

Apple-Banana Bran Muffins
Use any level of overripe banana here, from brown speckled to deep, dark doom.  The latter may look ugly, perhaps even dangerous, but these intensely overripe bananas are disguised pieces of gold, with even more flavor from their developed sugars than a just slightly overripe banana.  Waste not want not! 

Also, I found myself without wheat bran in the middle of making this batter - oops - so I improvised and blended some old-fashioned oats into a fine powder and it worked perfectly.  So wheat bran, oat bran, or a Macgyver-ed, on-the-fly oat bran of blended oats will do just fine.  


  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas, (2-3 naners)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup unprocessed wheat bran or oat bran 
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil or melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup small diced apple
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
  • Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in bananas, buttermilk, wheat (or oat) bran, oil and vanilla.
  • Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Stir in apples. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups (they’ll be quite full). Sprinkle with walnuts, if using.
  • Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly, 15 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

  • Adapted from EatingWell Magazine

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Summer Gems

    As I've continued on this summer with my involvement in the Boulder Country Farmers' Markets, there have been lists of recipes that I have been wanting to share with you.  With every Saturday there are tablefuls of overflowing produce from different farmers' that are just screaming "eat me! cook with me! get creative with me! pleaaaase!"  And to these pleas we must respond.

    So, for now, I have two recipes for you that have been very popular with market-goers when we have sampled them at our table this summer.  Plus, they involve Summer's two ultimate gifts from the soil; sweet corn and heirloom tomatoes.  These two ingredients are of course amazing by themselves, but are also star team players in a mixed dish.  

    What I love about these two recipes - a Salsa Cruda and Herbed Corn and Zucchini Succotash -  is that they can be served like a dip, a condiment, a salsa, a side dish, AND be a great base for any other addition your mind could wander to - beans, rice, quinoa, lettuce mixes, soups, etc.  So get shoppin' and choppin'!  These garden gifts will only be available to us for a short time longer... 

    Salsa Cruda

    2         med.     tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (1 3/4 cups)
    1         cup       loosely packed chopped cilantro leaves
    1          med.    onion, peeled and chopped (3/4 cup)
    1          small   cucumber,  peeled, seeded and chopped (3/4 cup)
    4          ea.       scallions,  washed, trimmed and sliced (1/2 cup)
    ¼         cup      red wine vinegar
    5-6       cloves garlic, peeled crushed and finely chopped (1Tbs.)
    1           ea.       jalapeno pepper, seeded (if desired) and chopped (1Tbs.))
    ½         tsp.      salt
    ¼         tsp.      black pepper

    1. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients. 
    2. For a smooth salsa puree the ingredients in a food processor or blender.
    3. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  

    Herbed Corn and Zucchini Succotash
    (Here we used summer squash!)

    6                   Ears of corn
    2 Tbsp.          Extra virgin olive oil
    2                   Large cloves of garlic, minced
    1                   Red pepper, diced
    1                   Medium red or yellow onion, diced
    1                   Medium zucchini (or summer squash), diced
    2 Tbsp.          Cream (optional)
    2 Tbsp.          Flash leaf parsley, chopped
    2 Tbsp.          Fresh basil or cilantro or mint    chopped
    Kosher salt and pepper to taste

    1. Using a knife remove the corn from the cob and set aside.
    2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add peppers and onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add fresh corn and sauté an additional 3 to 5mintues. Add garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes.
    3. Add zucchini to skillet and cook until vegetable begins to turn soft, about 2-3 minutes.
    4. Add cream, herbs and heat through. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

    Saturday, August 27, 2011

    Ms. Meg's Mint-Chocolate Cupcakes

    Once Upon a Plate is pleased to announce it's first guest author; my cousin Meg!  She is a 15 year old spitfire who is not only a talented student, athlete, and kind-hearted lady, but man can she make an incredible cupcake!  Her story and recipe are below...and dont wait too long to make these, they will soon become your staple dessert-  Enjoy!


    I love cupcakes. They are definitely the most adorable and delicious kind of cake! So, when Aunt Jane invited us over for dinner in Maine, I decided to make some to bring. After thinking about lots of different flavors, I chose mint and dark chocolate because they would look pretty and taste really good together! So off to Hannaford’s we went to get cupcake materials for some minty Maine madness. 

    The night before, I made the cake part of the cupcakes and left them covered overnight. They were really moist and yummy and it was interesting to use dark chocolate instead of regular chocolate. The next day was frosting day, the best part. The peppermint extract smelled bad by itself but when it got mixed in with everything else it tasted really good…so we ate tons of it while frosting the cupcakes! 

    Lizzy appeared on her kayak just in time to help out with piping the frosting and making chocolate curls with a dark chocolate bar. In the end, they were a success! The frosting and the cake went really well together, and of course there is no better time to eat a cupcake than after a delicious lobster dinner on a beautiful summer night in Maine!

    Mint-Chocolate Cupcakes

    Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
    2 cups sugar
    1 ¾  cups all-purpose flour
    ¾ cup Hershey’s dark chocolate cocoa
    1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 eggs
    1 cup milk
    ½ cup vegetable oil
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup boiling water

    Line muffin cups with paper baking cups. Heat oven to 350º.
    Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Fill cups 2/3 full with batter.
    Bake 22-25 minutes.
    Makes 30.

    Mint Buttercream Frosting
    2 sticks butter
    4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
    ¼ cup milk
    1/8 teaspoon all natural peppermint extract

    Beat butter until creamy, scrape bowl.

    Add 4 cups of powdered sugar, the milk, and the peppermint extract. Beat until combined. 

    Friday, July 29, 2011

    Gimme mah Pancakes!

    One day, a few weeks ago, I was blindsided by a craving.  You know, one of those cravings you don't even see coming, and then BAM, suddenly you cannot be satisfied until you find something like bread and butter pickles or honey mustard pretzels.  No, you don't have to be a pregnant woman to want a certain food, and to want it made right...and right now.

    For me, it was pancakes.  There was something in me that needed that fluffy texture, a buttery edge, and a healthy dousing of that good 'ol Vermont Maple Syrup in my life.  When the feeling never subsided, I knew nothing else would do.

    After much wait and anticipation, last weekend I was finally able to make this Pancake Daydream a reality.  While perusing new recipes for inspiration, I found this recipe on one of my favorite go-to Inspriation Food Blogs; Smitten Kitchen.  Recently, the author had made these pancakes and I knew I had to have them.  Then, the Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones recipe caught my eye, and, surprise surprise, I had to have and make those too (and added lemon zest to boot).  The recipe is so simple it's silly, and only requires one bowl, one fork, and one sheet pan.

    It was a breakfast of champions, a feast for the eyes, and a craving satisfier like you wouldn't believe.  Go take advantage of Blueberry/berry season and make these for yourself and the people you care about!  And add the freshly whipped cream and breakfast sausage to the wont regret it.

    Blueberry Yogurt Multigrain Pancakes

    Makes 12 to 14 4-inch pancakes

    2 large eggs
    1 cup plain, full-fat yogurt
    2 to 4 tablespoons milk
    3 tablespoons butter, plus extra for buttering skillet
    1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup (62 grams) whole wheat flour
    1/2 cup (68 grams) all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup (32 grams) barley or rye flour
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon table salt
    1 cup blueberries, rinsed and dried

    Melt half of butter. Remove from heat and stir in second tablespoon of butter until melted. This keeps your butter from being too hot when you next want to add it to the wet ingredients.

    Whisk egg and yogurt together in the bottom of a medium/large bowl. If you’re using a thin yogurt, no need to add any milk. If you’re using regular yogurt, stir in 2 tablespoons milk. If you’re using a thick/strained or Greek-style yogurt, add 3 to 4 tablespoons milk. Whisk in melted butter, zest and vanilla extract. In a separate, small bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir dry ingredients into wet only until dry ingredients are moistened. A few remaining lumps is fine.

    Preheat your oven to 200°F and have a baking sheet ready (to keep pancakes warm). Heat your skillet or saute pan to medium. If you’ve got a cast-iron skillet, this is my favorite for pancakes. Melt a pat of butter in the bottom and ladle a scant 1/4 cup (about 3 tablespoons) batter at a time, leaving at space between each pancake. Press a few berries into the top of each pancake. The batter is on the thick side, so you will want to use your spoon or spatula to gently nudge it flat, or you may find that pressing down on the berries does enough to spread the batter. When the pancakes are dry around the edges and you can see bubbles forming on the top, about 3 to 4 minutes, flip them and cook for another 3 minutes, until golden underneath. (If you listen closely, after a minute you’ll hear you blueberries pop and sizzle deliciously against the pan.) If pancakes begin cooking too quickly, lower the heat. Transfer pancakes to warm oven as they are done cooking, where you can leave them there until you’re ready to serve them.

    Serve in a big stack, with fixings of your choice. Do not anticipate leftovers.

    Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones

    The trickiest thing about these is the dampness of the dough. Yet that same trickiness is they bake into something that seems impossibly moist for a scone, and especially a whole wheat one. Keep your counter and your hands well floured and you won’t have any trouble getting them from bowl to counter to oven to belly, which, after all, is the whole point.

    1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
    1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
    1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
    1/2 teaspoon table salt
    6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold unsalted butter
    1 cup (136 grams or 4 3/4 ounces) fresh raspberries
    3/4 cup (189 grams) whole milk ricotta
    1/3 cup (79 ml) heavy cream

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bottom of a large, wide-ish bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, sugar and salt together.

    With a pastry blender: Add the butter (no need to chop it first) and use the blender to both cut the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas. Toss in raspberries and use the blender again to break them into halves and quarter berry sized chunks.

    Without a pastry blender: Cut the butter into small pieces with a knife and work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Roughly chop the raspberries on a cutting board and stir them into the butter-flour mixture.

    Both methods: Add the ricotta and heavy cream together and stir them in to form a dough with a flexible spatula.Using your hands, gently knead dough into an even mass, right in the bottom of the bowl. Don’t fret if the raspberries get muddled and smudge up the dough. This is a pretty thing.

    With as few movements as possible, transfer the dough to a well-floured counter, flour the top of the dough and pat it into a 7-inch square about 1-inch tall. With a large knife, divide the dough into 9 even squares. Transfer the scones to prepared baking sheet with a spatula. Bake the scones for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges. Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack. It’s best to cool them about halfway before eating them, so they can set a bit more. I know, way to be a big meanie, right?

    Do ahead: Scones are always best the day they are baked. However, if you wish to get a lead on them, you can make them, arrange them on your parchment-lined sheet and freeze them. If you’re prepping just one day in advance, cover the tray with plastic wrap and bake them the day you need them. If you’re preparing them more than one day in advance, once they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container. Bring them back to a parchment-lined sheet when you’re ready to bake them. No need to defrost the froze, unbaked scones, just add 2 to 3 minutes to your baking time.

    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    Strawberry Pie with Rosemary-Orange Crust

    Do you know one of the main reasons I love food?
    I know.... it sounds stupidly simple. But, here's the thing;
    Flavors are why we eat (well, besides the whole maintaining life thing). Flavors entertain us, they please us, they add variety to our lives. Without flavors, why would we love food?

    Let's say you have a base flavor that you love. Say...strawberries.
    You love the flavor of strawberries. It is a unique taste only owned by a strawberry, and it is delicious and pure in its natural, untouched form.

    Then, one day you have an experience where your familiar strawberry flavor meets another, and transforms into an experience.
    Say, you were in Spain. An Ecuadorian woman, who is married to a Frenchman, just served you a dessert of the finest french cheeses paired with a strawberry and rosemary salad on the side.
    Let's just say.
    At that moment, two separate but familiar flavors come together and completely transform each other into more than the sum of their parts. A new flavor is born.

    Because of flavor experiences like this (combining familiar yet uncommonly paired tastes together like rosemary and strawberry), you find yourself in a constant search to discover more of them. Not only that, but once these combinations are discovered, it also becomes an on-going challenge to apply them in even more unexpected places.

    Like in a pie.

    In a series of fortunate events, I found myself at the doorstep of creating this recipe. First, it started in Spain (okay, maybe the hypothetical Ecuadorian woman story a was a true, personal story); A flavor combination was born. Then, a friend moved into a new house; A pie had to be made. After, a conversation was held with a dear friend, coworker, and Baking Empress; Creative genius was piqued. Then, multiple flavor combinations formed into one big harmonious new flavor, in a completely foreign dessert setting; A recipe was born.
    Strawberries and rosemary...rosemary and and fig balsamic vinegar...fig balsamic vinegar and strawberries...

    Yes, it had to be done. And yes, it is good. A homerun, high-fivin', 'no way!', 'what the...', 'this is cool', head back, eyes closed, rockin' good pie. And a one-way ticket to Flavor Town.

    Strawberry Pie with Rosemary-Orange Crust


    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (you can use all AP flour)
    3 tablespoons sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 ½ teaspoons orange zest
    1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
    1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut up into ½” cubes and thoroughly chilled
    ½ cup ice cold water


    2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered
    2/3 cup sugar (or less depending on sweetness of strawberries)
    4 tablespoons cornstarch
    1 1/2 tablespoons flour
    2 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar (you can use regular balsamic, but the fig is just that much more sweet and unique)
    1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

    1 egg, slightly beaten with a splash of water or milk
    Coarse sugar

    To make the crust:

    Pulse flours, sugar, salt, orange zest, and rosemary in a food processor until combined. Add cold cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the ice water, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough just comes together and you can squeeze it in your hand to form a mold without it falling apart. The amount of water needed will depend on the day.

    Turn the dough out onto the counter and press down with your palm, smearing the dough out in a few different directions before bringing it together and forming a loose ball.

    Divide the ball in two and form each piece into a flattened dish about 1” thick. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

    To make the pie:

    Preheat your oven to 425 degrees 10 minutes before taking out your first dough disk. Once chilled, take one dough disk out of the fridge and roll it out with a rolling pin - …or, if you’re me…a wine bottle… - to 1” beyond the edge of your pie pan. Press the dough into the pie pan, making sure it is an even thickness and height all around the pan. Trim any excess dough, leaving a bit on the rim for the top crust to eventually adhere to.

    Place a piece of tinfoil over the crust and fill with pie weights, uncooked beans,
    - or…if you’re me…rocks that you’ve gathered (and washed and dried) from the patio outside. This is to prevent your crust from puffing up too much and to maintain its shape.

    Blind bake (that is what it’s called when you bake your bottom crust before adding a filling) your bottom crust for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 375 degrees.

    Meanwhile, combine all of the ingredients for the filling and roll out your second pie disk, making sure to keep it cold if there is a time gap. Pour filling into the bottom crust and brush exposed edge with egg wash. Cover with the top rolled out crust. Crimp edges to form crust rim.

    Brush egg wash all over top crust and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cut small slits in middle of pie with a sharp paring knife.
    Place the pie back in the oven at reduced temperature of 375 degrees. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 40 minutes longer. If the outer crust gets too brown in the middle of baking, cover just the edge with thin strips of foil and continue baking.

    Let cool almost completely before diving in. This is the most difficult part of the recipe.