Rhubarb Banana Custard Pie

Making Rhubarb Banana Custard Pie

When I was young, my mother always made strawberry rhubarb freezer jam. I loved it. It tasted like fresh strawberries. Wonderful. But strawberry rhubarb pie was always, always, always a huge taste disappointment for me. Because the strawberries were cooked, and didn’t taste right anymore. Strawberry jam was also something bleagh for me. Ugh. And then I discovered that, in France, rhubarb banana jam is “a thing,” as in really rather popular. Recipes for it range from the simple to more complex confections. The next time I started to make a rhubarb custard pie and didn’t have enough rhubarb (end of season, plants dying back, and all out), the lightbulb went off. Why not banana? Banana custard is great! Rhubarb custard is great! Together? Fantastic! And it was! I posted it to Facebook, and people wanted to recipe. I said it would have to wait until I found more rhubarb next season, and it turned out a friend still had some in their yard! So, the recipe is here now, and people don’t have to wait six months to get it. You should tell Dan thanks. :)


Prepare single piecrust for 10-inch pie plate. (I used a gluten-free crust, nothing fancy.) Then start with the rhubarb.

Making Rhubarb Banana Custard Pie

2 cups chopped rhubarb (chopped cross-wise, in thin slices no more than 1/4 inch)
1 cup sugar (if you don’t like sweets, reduce to 3/4 cup, but no further)

Mix. Let sit at least one hour, until juice has formed.

Mix in well:

4 medium to large eggs
1/8 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (or cinnamon, both are optional)

Slice, and fold in gently:

3 slightly green or barely just-ripe bananas, medium size (if large, use only 2)

Making Rhubarb Banana Custard Pie

Pour entire mixture into the pie crust. Preheat oven to 425F. As soon as You’ve put the filled pieplate in the oven, reduce heat to 340F or 350F (depending on how hot your oven runs). Bake for 50 minutes until pie puffs up slightly and has browned edges. Test readiness by inserting a toothpick halfway between the edge and the center. If toothpick comes out clean, pie is ready.

Making Rhubarb Banana Custard Pie

Remove from oven and cool to eat. Mine was fine when still slightly warm. I, personally, think it’s best served slightly warm. However, it is also pretty good at room temperature. We haven’t had it last long enough to serve cold.

Making Rhubarb Banana Custard Pie

UPDATED October 19, 2015. (This is what I get for rushing writing when I’m half asleep. I left out several important words, like “cup” and “teaspoon.” Sigh.)

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Coffee Pudding

Coffee Pudding

Since my son and I turned out to both be celiac, there are a few old favorites for which we haven’t found an equivalent available in a gluten-free form. One was coffee ice cream. We both missed that flavor, and since I can’t have caffeine, that made it even more difficult! Those store-bought expresso ice creams? Yeah, well, that’s made with REAL coffee, the caffeinated high-test variety. So it was time to figure out how to meet that mouth craving with something easier to make at home. Thus, this.



4 cups of double-strength coffee *
1 cup sugar
1 cup cream or milk
1/2 cup cornstarch
whipped cream (optional)

* NOTE: I made this by using our usual coffeemaker set to make six “cups” of coffee, understanding that the normal size cup of coffee is only 3/4s of a proper measuring cup. Normally, I would use 6-7 scoops of dry grounds, depending on the variety and grind of the coffee. For this, I used 12 scoops. Of course, being this was made for my family, we used decaf.


1. Brew coffee. You can let it cool and finish later, or you can continue immediately.

2. Transfer coffee to a saucepan. Add sugar, and bring to a light simmer, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved.

3. Put the cornstarch in a separate small bowl. Add a small amount of the hot sweet coffee to the cornstarch, and stir with a fork until smooth. Add more liquid if needed. This should not be thick like a paste, but slightly syrupy.

4. Add the cream (or milk) and the cornstarch to the hot coffee at the same time. keep on low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture starts to thicken and persists in bubbling even while stirring.
NOTE: To help minimize clumps and lumps, I used a whisk for the stirring.

5. Transfer the pudding to another container (one with a lid), and put in the refrigerator to chill.

6. Dish to serve in small bowls (I used ramkins). You may wish to garnish with a twist of candied orange peel, a cinnamon stick, or top with sweetened whipped cream.

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Tuna Coconut Summer Sauce


I’ve been getting requests for this since I made it last year, and I made it again this year. It’s a summer thing. SO TASTY! I changed it up a little bit between the two years, so I’ll give you the various options, and you do what you want.

Tuna Coconut Summer Sauce


1 medium tuna steak (1/4 to 1/3 pound) (fresh or frozen, NOT canned!)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small hot (banana) pepper (or ~1 t tabasco), sliced
2 T olive oil
1 14-ounce coconut milk
1 8-ounce jar tomato lime cilantro sauce*
salt and/or pepper to taste

Serve on:
Rice, quinoa, or noodles cooked and ready to serve.


1. In a sauce pan, sauté the onion and pepper in the olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the tuna steak, cut into roughly one inch cubes. Include any juices if the tuna steak was frozen. Continue to sauté until the onion is transparent.

2. Add the coconut milk and tomato sauce. Taste, and add salt, pepper, or other spices to taste. A whisper of cinnamon might be nice. Simmer, and reduce to the consistency of heavy cream.

3. Ladle over rice, quinoa, or noodles to serve. I’ve tried this served on plain basmati rice, sushi rice, a mild pilaf or risotto, a variety of quinoas cooked to light and fluffy, cajun yellow rice, and vermicelli rice noodles. They were all good, and most were delicious. I prefer this served hot, but I’ve also enjoyed it served chilled as a light lunch.

* I’ve been using homemade tomato lime cilantro sauce, but if you don’t want to make any, you can substitute canned as follows.

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
juice of 1-2 limes
1/2 bunch cilantro (approximately 1/2 C minced)

For the homemade sauce, I blended tomatoes, lime, cilantro, and salt, and then heated the mix and canned it in jars. Haven’t written it down yet, still working out exactly what proportions I like best.


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Blueberry Custard Pie

Blueberry Custard Pie in progress

One of my lifelong summer favorites is Blueberry Cream Pie. It is incredibly delicious and impressive, but given that it is based on whipping cream, it is also awfully rich and sweet, and doesn’t store well. I wanted something a little more nutritious and sturdy, but the blueberry cream pie is so incredibly fast to make, and I wanted something that was equally fast and simple to throw together.

So, I thought, what about blueberry custard pie? There probably is a recipe somewhere, but I didn’t even look. I just started throwing things together, and was awfully happy with how it turned out. For the record, one person absolutely CAN eat an entire pie by themselves in one day before it spoils. No problem. Ahem. Anyway, on to the recipe.

BLUEBERRY CUSTARD PIE (by Patricia F Anderson)


1 piecrust, prebaked
blueberries (approximately 2 pounds)


1/4 cup cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar (up to 3/4 cup, if you like things sweet)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or nutmeg)
1 teaspoon amchur (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)


3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk (or almond milk, or coconut milk)


Blueberry Custard Pie in progress
Step One

Fill the piecrust with berries up to almost the top level. Do NOT mound! Really, it’s that simple.

Step Two

Sift the dry ingredients together, or take a fork or whisk and beat them together in a small-ish mixing bowl (about 2 cups to one quart size).

NOTE: I use the amchur to add a bit of tartness because I like that. Amchur is powdered dried mango, with a delightful nutty tart flavor. If you don’t have easy access to this, a common ingredient at Hindu and Indian groceries, you could instead either simply leave it out, or add a bit of lemon or lime juice in as the very last step (so that it doesn’t curdle the milk, which of course has to be reduced by however much lemon juice you add).

Step Three

In the same bowl, slowly beat or whisk in the eggs, ONE AT A TIME. The mixture should shift from powdery to crumbly to gluey. Beat/whisk in the milk or milk equivalent.

Step Four

Blueberry Custard Pie in progress

You’re not going to believe how easy this is. Drizzle (as in POUR) the liquid mixture over the berries, and bake. I baked it like this:

Preheat to 425*F. Put the pie in. Reduce heat to 350*F. Bake for 50 minutes. Eh voilà! Done!

Blueberry Custard Pie in progress

Serve. With or without whipped cream. Your choice.

Blueberry Custard Pie in progress

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Pickled Buddha’s Hand

Making pickled Buddha's Hand

I haven’t been posting here much, partly because of time and partly because my shoulder’s not working right and my hand’s in a splint (and this has been going on in various forms for about six months now). Slows me down. However, I promised my daughter I’d explain how I do this, and it is easiest to do so here, then send her the link. But it’s going to be SHORT.

Last year I tried buddha’s hands in both sweet and salty brine, and found I really loved the salty, and the sweet was ok but not that exciting. The sweet basically tasted like candied citron, which is fine, but I’ve never been a big fan of citron. So I’m giving the instructions for the salty, and for the sweet just replace the salty brine with simple syrup (1 cup water, 2 cups sugar).

What I like to do with these is nibble, put them in sandwiches, but mostly use them in salads and sauces where I want a bit of citrus. The buddha’s hand smells like lemon, but without the tartness or sourness. You get that citrus flavor and scent without the acidity of lemons. The pickles are fun by themselves, but the brine is fabulous in cooking and salad dressings.


Pull apart the ‘fingers’ of the ‘hand’ and slice crosswise. This time I had about 8 ounces, by weight, from one small buddha’s hand.

Making pickled Buddha's Hand: sliced

I made a ‘salty brine’ by pouring over 2 cups of water, mixing with 3 to 4 tablespoons of salt (depending on how salty you like it). Yes, this is WAY more liquid than you need, but for me the biggest pleasure in the final goodies is as much in the brine as in the ‘pickles’. Then I the whole mess to a boil, and bottled it following usual canning process.

Making pickled Buddha's Hand: boiled

When bottling, I ladle the solids into the jars first and fill with the liquid. I then have enough liquid (lemony salty brine) left for most of another jar.

Making pickled Buddha's Hand: bottles

UPDATED January 11, 2014.

When I made this last year, the brine was a lot saltier, and I liked that. This year, I couldn’t remember what I did, so I searched for salt brines online and modified what I found. It was less salty, but I know I like salt way more than most folk, so I thought I better err on the side of less salt. However, the pickled buddha’s hand jaw started to ferment, so I am back to adding more salt, and doubled what was listed above.

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Quinoa Casserole (Base Recipe, with Variations)

This is one of those experiments where I throw together a bunch of leftovers, and liked it, so I want to remember what I did. It’s also very adaptable, and can easily be modified. I’m giving a couple of examples.

Quinoa Casserole (Base Recipe)


Start by cooking the quinoa.

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup + 2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt

This should make approximately 1 cup of cooked quinoa. Then you mix it with the “color” and “flavor” ingredients.

1 cup chopped cooked potatoes (or double the quinoa)
1/2 cup sauce
2-1/2 cup vegetables
3/4 cup cheese
4 eggs, beaten
spices (salt, pepper, other)

Scoop into a greased baking dish. This is what it looks like going into the oven.

Quinoa Casserole (Base Recipe)

Bake at 450*F for 15 minutes, 350*F for another 20-30 minutes (depending on whether the baking dish is deep or shallow). This is what it looks like coming out of the oven.

Quinoa Casserole (Base Recipe)

Remove from oven, cover with additional grated cheese of an appropriate flavor, heat or reheat at 350*F for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Serves 4.

So, here are some examples of how to mix it up.


1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup chopped cooked potatoes
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup chopped sweet peppers
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1 stalk fresh basil
salt, pepper to taste

Sauté the onion in the olive oil until limp. Add peppers and tomato. Mix all ingredients together with the quinoa.

Bake at 450*F for 15 minutes, 350*F for another 20-30 minutes (depending on whether the baking dish is deep or shallow). Remove from oven, cover with an additional half cup of grated cheese, heat or reheat at 350*F for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted.


1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup chopped cooked potatoes
1/2 cup green salsa (made with tomatillos)
1/2 cup chopped poblano peppers
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup grated Mexican cheeses (melting blend)
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
salt, pepper to taste
optional 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Follow assembly methods above.


1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup chopped andouille sausage
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
salt, pepper to taste

Follow assembly methods above.


I could definitely see doing this in a French version with apples, onions, and swiss cheese. Or a version with broccoli. And so forth. This is a recipe made for experimenting. What do you want to try?

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ZuCaLe Bread

I’ve been asked for this recipe. Finding the recipe is a challenge. ZuCaLe (pronounced zoo-kale) used to be my favorite spice bread … until I discovered I was allergic to zucchini. That was about 35 years ago, and I haven’t made it since. So, I went back and dug through my old cookbooks and recipe files, and sorted and cleaned and organized my old recipes. But I couldn’t find it. So, what I’ve done here is to try to reconstruct the recipe based on what I remember, and knowing my own patterns for how I tend to adapt recipes. I remember the first time I made this up, I was trying to follow a recipe for carrot bread, and didn’t have enough carrots, so substituted zucchini, and threw in the lemon because I love lemon. I found that including the lemon rind made the whole thing so zesty and bubbly it was just sparkling in my mouth. A confession — sometimes I didn’t chop the nuts, but just tossed in whole walnut halves.

Now, I can’t actually test this out now to make sure this works, since now I am gluten-free, and I am not sure this recipe would survive the translation. It was a dense flavorful bread, rather moist. Also, it would take me so long to test it multiple times to get it right that I don’t think folk want to wait that long.

NOTE: I think this might work well as a bundt cake or muffins.


Makes 2 loaves

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup soy flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each allspice & nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups total of a mix of grated zucchini and grated carrot
1 small or medium lemon, grated, complete with rind (remove seeds)
1 cup chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease and flour two 8 x 5 inch pans.
3. Sift together all flours, salt, baking powder, soda, allspice, and cinnamon.
4. Beat eggs, oil, and sugar together in a large bowl.
5. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well.
6. Stir in grated zucchini, carrots and lemons until well combined.
7. Add nuts. Fold in gently.
8. Pour batter into prepared pans. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes before placing in oven.
9. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted an inch away from the center comes out with only crumbs or clean (and no streaks of raw batter).
10. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

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