Thanksgiving Throwback Thursday: Mom’s Famous Berry Pie

11 Dec

I assume you all fondly remember those monstrous slices of pie you indulged in a few weeks ago during Thanksgiving? I most certainly do.  So much so that today’s post features the best, yes I SAID BEST, pie of all time.  It is my mother’s famous mixed berry pie recipe! Bursting with raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries, contained only by a marvelously golden crunchy topping…. it does not get much better.  My sister and I clamor for her to make this pie at every opportunity, and Thanksgiving was certainly no exception.  It’s a masterpiece.

Recipe (serves 8)


  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 6 tablespoons ice water


  • 6 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons whole almonds
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons old fashioned oats
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 5 cups total assorted fresh  berries (i.e. raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawbs), about 8 oz. each

For crust: Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening: using on/off turns, cut in until mixture resembles course meal.  Add 5 Tbsps ice water and process until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if mixture is dry.  Gather dough into ball, flatten into disk, wrap in plastic and chill at least an hour.

For filling: Mix sugar, tapioca, and lemon juice in large bowl.  Add berries and toss gently to combine.  Let stand until tapioca softens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

Mixed Berry Pie!

For topping: Combine all ingredients in processor.  Process until moist clumps form (both dough and topping can be made up to 1 day ahead.  Cover topping and chill, keep dough chilled.  Soften dough slightly at room temperature before rolling out).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Roll out the dough on lightly floured surface to 15 inch round.  Transfer to 9 inch diameter glass pie dish.  Trim dough overhang to 1 inch.  Fold overhang under and crimp decoratively, forming high-standing rim (important to keep in all dem berries).  Freeze crust for 20 minutes.

Mixed Berry Pie!

Spoon filling into crust.  Crumble topping evenly over filling.  Bake pie until crust and topping are golden brown and filling is bubbling (about 55 minutes).

Mixed Berry Pie! Mixed Berry Pie!

Transfer to rack and cool at least 3 hours.  Then slice and serve!!

Mixed Berry Pie! Mixed Berry Pie!

I forgot a mound of ice cream; don’t make the same mistake.  See comments below for tips from the baker herself!


Guest Post! Baked Sweet Potato with Kale & Goat Cheese

1 Dec

Happy post-Thanksgiving!!  I don’t know about you all, but I am a solid five lbs heavier from all the deliciousness, and don’t regret it for a second.  However, my aging metabolism dictates that I should probably relax on the extra creamy garlic mashed potatoes for at least these next few days.  Good thing we have today’s Guest Post! You know who you are :). They are super quick, healthy, and only three cheap ingredients.  I give you, baked sweet potato bites with kale and goat cheese!

Sweet Potatoes with Kale and Goat Cheese

Check out the recipe here and enjoy!


Friendsgiving Appetizers from Food & Wine Magazine

20 Nov

It’s almost Thanksgiving… you know what that means?! It means the occurrence of the equally important tradition known among many friend clans as Friendsgiving.  For several years now, my group of close friends have made it a point to feast together before everyone departs to home for the holidays.  We all imbibe on some red wine and eat to our hearts content in comfy (and definitely stretchy) pants, undoubtedly reminiscing on a funny story from years past and being grateful for one another in our own ways.  Each clan member is responsible for bringing a delicious Thanksgiving-esq dish for this gluttony marathon, and the gracious host is always responsible for dealing with the bird.  I was late to the email chain laying claim to side dishes, but after devouring Food and Wine Magazine’s Thanksgiving issue, I knew I didn’t have a problem.  Enter: Friendsgiving Appetizers!

Exhibit A: Kale Salad with Root Vegetables and Lemony Vinaigrette

I took a few liberties with the recipe to give it more of my own flare, but the basics are the same.

You’ll need:

  • 2 lbs curly kale (I got two full heads)
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (my personal addition to the dressing)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, roughly diced
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 scallions (thinly sliced)
  • Parmesan cheese (grated)

In a large bowl, massage one of the kale heads with  apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  This makes the kale more tender and extra-sweet. In a baking pan, tear apart the second kale head into large pieces and toss light with some olive oil.  Bake kale for 20-25 minutes or until crispy.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, soy sauce, agave nectar, and a 1/4 cup olive oil.  This was a bit sweet for my taste, so I added a tablespoon on red wine vinegar.  Whisk together and set aside.  Use a peeler to strip the carrots into thin ribbons.  Add carrots, chopped apple, scallions and Parmesan cheese to the kale salad in the large bowl, and mix in crispy kale when ready.   Toss entire mixture with vinaigrette for a super healthy, vibrant Turkey day salad!

Kale Salad with Root Vegetables

Kale Salad with Root Vegetables

Exhibit B: Roasted Eggplant & Garlic Dip

This is one of several appetizer dips featured in the magazine, and it turned out to be a marvelous idea.  Think about how much time your loved ones sit around waiting for the gravy to finish or someone to arrive with the mashed potatoes.  This dip is the perfect solution! Pair with blue tortilla chips or pita chips.

You’ll need

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 2 8oz. containers of plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp each of minced parsley, cilantro and mint

Slice the eggplant vertically into 1 inch pieces. Lay flat on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Broil in the oven for 5 minutes, or until slightly charred and softened.  Turn the oven down to 375 degrees.  Add chopped garlic cloves and scallions to the eggplant, and bake for an additional 35 minutes.  Make sure eggplant is super soft before removing from oven, and allow to cool completely.  Scrape the “meat” out of the skins and put in a colander for 15 minutes, or until totally drained.  Mince eggplant, scallions, and garlic; transfer to a bowl and add in the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and herbs.  Mix thoroughly together, and serve at room temperature with some dipping chips.

Roasted Eggplant Dip

Roasted Eggplant Dip

Did any of you participate in a Friendsgiving??

Smoked Salmon Toast Snack

13 Nov

Happy Wednesday and a belated Happy Veterans Day! How many of you fellow DCers made it to The Concert for Valor on the Mall last night? Thousands of people packed themselves in front of our nation’s capitol to celebrate all veterans, active duty service members, and their families in honor of their monumental courage and sacrifice.  In between performances by Jennifer Hudson, Jessie J, The Black Keys, Dave Grohl, The Zac Brown Band, Carrie Underwood, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Rihanna and Eminem, the jumbotrons broadcast awe-inspiring stories about these veterans, about what they have achieved, and the incredible obstacles they have overcome.  These veterans were in the audience, getting the standing ovation that they deserve.  It was almost surreal to witness this directly in front of the Capitol building, and no one could have asked for a more beautiful November night.  My friend and I, both lucky to have the day off, parked ourselves on the Mall very early in the afternoon to secure a great viewing spot and enjoy what was undoubtedly one of our last 70 degree days in DC.  I doubt you’re surprised at this point that I made sure to bring snacks.  What I decided upon is a recipe idea I stole from a great friend at my August birthday gathering, and all you need is four ingredients!  Stop by Trader Joe’s and pick up:

  • Sliced loaf of Whole Wheat bread
  • One avocado
  • Small package of herb goat cheese
  • Small package of smoked salmon ($7.99 and the most expensive item)

Goat Cheese, Smoked Salmon, and Avocado Toast on Whole Wheat Bread

Toast the bread and spread on the goodness! The goat cheese adds an awesome zing under the smoothness of the salmon, and it’s a snack full of protein and good-for-you fat so it will tide you over (even while you wait for five hours on the National Mall).  Tried and true success!

Nommin’ Out: Medium Rare

6 Nov

My carnivorous people, pay attention. Medium Rare restaurant, originally started in the Cleveland Park metro area of DC, has expanded to Barracks Row in Eastern Market! My coworker, a staunch Arlington-dweller, mentioned that I need to make it a priority on my restaurant list, and a DC recommendation from him is a big deal.  I shared my desire with a fellow steak lover, and made it a dinner stop this week.  Let me break it down for ya: they serve one thing for dinner only.  Its a $19.75 pre-fixed menu of rustic bread, garden salad, and special-sauce covered steak with hand-cut fries cooked to perfection just the way you like it.  The best part? They serve the steak and fries to you TWICE. Your dinner comes in two parts to ensure the steak and fries stay warm and amazing, #thoughtful.  Paired with a $30 bottle of red wine and I was a happy camper!

Medium RareDC

Nommin’ Out: Blind Dog Cafe

29 Oct

Let me introduce you to Baxter.  Baxter is an affable, adorable dog living in Shaw.  Baxter has an owner named Jonas Singer, both of whom enjoy strolls around the neighborhood and the grassy Le Droit Park.  Baxter is also blind.  Story has it that one fine day while the two were romping around good ol’ Shaw, Singer had an idea.  He and some friends approached Darnell of Darnell’s Bar, located on the quiet corner of 9th St and Florida Avenue, which opened at 5pm.  The ingenious idea was to create a pop-up  restaurant during the day that would cater to neighborhood residents and foster community, providing breakfast and lunch meals made exclusively from fresh and local produce from the surrounding area and aptly naming it the Blind Dog Cafe.  Nestled on a colorfully-clothed bench, one can enjoy good coffee, a better sandwich, and free WiFi (appropriately, the password is BAXTERCANTSEE).  On any given day, the place is full of locals grabbing a quick bite, or young professionals typing away on a Mac laptop next to a plate full of crumbs.  And per the nomming on a budget blog motif, salads and sandwiches are only $9 and $10 respectively!

Blind Dog Cafe

I chose the famed Roasted Chorizo sandwich with a side salad.  It boasts chorizo sausage, cherry tomatoes, and an absolutely delectable sriracha aioli.  I ate it in five minutes.  To wash it all down, I chose one of the in-house sodas in the Lime flavor.  I am an enormous fan of effervescent beverages, and this limey delight was no let down.

Chorizo Sandwich


Snag a table this weekend and enjoy!

Mango, Apple and Raspberry Burst Smoothie

21 Oct

Power up your breakfast kids! It is after all the most important meal of the day.  After a Sunday stop at my neighborhood Trader Joe’s, I made this scrumptious smoothie for breakfast on Monday.  Each element of this mix is super good for you; I basically overdosed on Vitamin C , calcium and magnesium.  It was ideal for a Monday morning, when, let’s face it, most of us are feeling subpar. Bonus: TJ’s is known for their cheap produce and the smoothie was so filling I barely needed lunch.

You’ll need:

  • Trader Joe’s 100% mango juice (if mangoes aren’t your thing, substitute orange juice)
  • Yogurt (I went with raspberry for a flavor compliment, but feel free to use vanilla or something more neutral)
  • One large apple (sliced)
  • Container of raspberries

Blend together for perfection. Throw in ice cubes if you want some chill.  Or what if you threw in your protein powder?!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset


Fresh to death.  Enjoy!


So close to wine


By Amy Purfield-Clark

Discovering new Foodventures with each bite

Madison Sheffer

a creative communicator

%d bloggers like this: