Monthly Archives: September 2011

Life is Just a Bowl of Berries

This sweet cream cheese fruit tart is a berry simple dessert; I found this recipe among my mother’s clippings and was surprised how easy it is.  Of course, she made her pastry from scratch, but I took a short cut with the pre-made dough.

Sweet Cream Cheese Berry Tart

  • 8 oz package Philly cream cheese (my mother only used Philly – staying true to her roots)
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • pie crust dough (or 1 refrigerated pre-made pie crust)
  • 2 cups fruit (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat together: cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar, egg yolk, and almond extract.  In a separate bowl, mix fruit with 2 tablespoons of sugar and remaining tablespoon of cream of tartar.

If using refrigerated pie crust, roll it out a little and then cut into four or five pieces that will fit into large muffin slots.  My tin holds six, but I only had enough dough for 5, so I tried a little experiment. I added a little water to the empty spot before baking, and then filled a custard cup with the cream cheese mixture and fruit – it fit nicely into the slot – turned out tasty.

Fill bottom of each tart with cream cheese mixture and then top with fruit.  Fold the edges over slightly to look like a small pie.  Brush the edges with the egg white.  Bake about 30 minutes (until edges of the pie crust are lightly browned).  Cool and enjoy.

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How to Cut Up A Pineapple

Have you ever tasted a fresh pineapple? In season, they are sweet and juicy, and not as hard to cut up as they look.

  •  First, twist off the crown.
  •  Cut the pineapple in half, then in quarters.
  •  Trim off the ends to give yourself a flat      surface to work with.
  •  Cut out the core.
  •  Standing the end on a flat surface, cut  down the shell in strips.
  •  Finally, cut the fruit into bite-sized pieces.

Better than the canned version.

Book Store Tour

If you’ve ever thought of a literary tour to visit famous author’s homes – Robert Frost in New Hampshire,  Edith Wharton in the Berkshires, Hemingway’s Key West, you might add a tour of small bookstores to the list – a road trip, picking up good books along the way.  Here’s an itinerary of some of some of my favorites to consider, from West to East:

  • Book Soup in West Hollywood
  • Garcia Street Books – Sante F
  • Boswell Book Company in Milwauke
  • River Run in New Hampshire
  • The Strand in New York City
  • Penn Book Center in Philadelphia
  • Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.

Do you have any to add?

Even a Vegetarian Diet Can Be Unhealthy

Veggie burger with grated cheese

Are you feeling virtuous because you ordered the veggie burger and sweet potato fries?  Dawn Jackson, author of The Flexitarian Diet says you may be fooling yourself.  She warns of common mistakes made by vegetarians, trying to be good:

  • Eating usual meals – just without meat.  Oops, no protein.  Better to replace meat with plant proteins (beans and legumes).
  • Sticking to the “beige diet” – bread, rice, pasta – will not get you the vitamins missing from colorful, disease-fighting veggies and fruits.
  • Cheesing It: Using only cheese for protein (in sandwiches, on pasta, on crackers) can mean high calories and salt – and saturated fat.

And those veggie burgers?  If frozen fake meat is your only concession to good eating, you may be getting too much sodium for the convenience.

No easy fixes to good health; that magic pill isn’t here yet.