Peach Yogurt Custard Pie

Peach Yogurt Custard Pie 3

Just in case anyone is thinking this might be a pie made with peach yogurt from the store, nope! This is a pie made with peaches and yogurt, as two separate and distinct things.

In summer, I often make this blueberry cream pie that is a wonderful family favorite. I’ve tried substituting raspberries and other berries successfully, and wondered about other fruits. I tried apricots once, and that didn’t work, but I still wanted to try peaches. I’ve been thinking about making a peaches and cream pie for YEARS.

Today I decided to make it. Was half way through, when I realized I didn’t have the right ingredients. Sent kiddo to two neighborhood stores, neither of which carried heavy cream. So, well, what do you do? Improvise!

There is a local dairy that sells their own yogurt in jugs, thicker than heavy cream, but more liquid than the yogurt sold in cups (no gelatin). I started with that … and improvised all over the place, so this recipe is less of a permutation of the blueberry cream pie, and more a completely new concept.


Step One: Peaches

1 – 10 inch pie crust (not graham cracker crust, real pie crust. Me, I use a gluten-free crust)
~3 cups fresh, ripe, juicy peaches, skinned, pitted, and diced large

You may wish to slightly precook the crust. Peel the peaches the usually way, by dipping first in boiling water. Remove the pits, and rather than slicing, dice almost cubeshaped and about an inch in size. Fill the cooled crust with the diced peaches, reserving the juice. I’d sliced the peaches, as you see in the picture, but the slices tend to stick together. I found that doesn’t leave a lot of room for the cream to get in between the pieces. Because the peaches were so fresh and tender, they made a lot of juice while I was handling them. I saved this to use in the cream portion of the recipe. (NOTE: Save the juice! I mean it!)

Peach Yogurt Custard Pie 1

Step Two: Cream

~1/4 cup peach juices, reserved
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup plain yogurt

Whisk sugar, salt, cornstarch, and cinnamon into the preserved peach juices. When smooth, beat in the 2 eggs, and last add and blend in the yogurt. Pour over the peaches. If needed, gently tease the peach cubes to allow the cream mixture to settle in.

Peach Yogurt Custard Pie 2

Step 3: Bake! Eat!

Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-50 minutes. Check at 30 minutes. If it is starting to get a much darker brown around the edges than in the middle (as shown in this picture, I recommend reducing the temp to 350 degrees for finishing. The pie is done when (as with any custard pie) a toothpick inserted halfway between the rim and the center comes out clean, and the center only jiggles very slightly.

I know, it smells heavenly, and looks delicious, but you MUST WAIT for it to cool before slicing.

Peach Yogurt Custard Pie 4

It was so good, I ate three pieces in two hours. I promise, I’ll eat something healthy for dinner. But wait! What’s not healthy about peaches and yogurt? Maybe I should ….

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Watermelon Shrub

Watermelon Shrub, Done

Ever cut a watermelon, with no room in the fridge, and can’t get people to eat it? Here’s a solution I just made up, and with which I’m quite happy. 🙂

I’ve been making all these infused vinegars, and had half a left over watermelon. Of course, I started thinking, watermelon infused vinegar! But watermelon has so much water in it compared to other fruits, I thought it might need special handling. Surely someone else has done this before, right? So I started searching. And I wasn’t finding anything, other than watermelon rind pickles, which are one of my other specialties, but not quite the same thing. Hmmm. If other folk are not doing this, there is probably a good reason why it isn’t working.

I started to think about it hard, came up with some ideas, and let the ideas marinate overnight. I wasn’t sure the watermelon could stand up well to the vinegar. I tried mixing a tiny bit together straight, and it was less than a joy to consume. Needed sweetener. I thought about making a shrub, but usually when I make shrubs, I add the sugar after the fruit steeps in the vinegar, and bring it to a boil. We boil watermelon when we make the pickles. Boiled watermelon neither smells nice nor tastes nice, so I wasn’t thrilled with that idea.

Then I thought, hmmm, if I boil the sugar before mixing it with the watermelon, that might work. So I made a simple syrup (1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water. Boil. Cool.). Off to experiment!

I never expected this to come out so well on the first try (especially since I’d just tried making a watermelon smoothie that was a real flop), but I am delighted with the watermelon shrub. Tasty, lovely … I enjoyed it so much, I even took a spoon to taste some of the frothy solids I strained out. Yum. I wanted to start very plain and simple, but I have ideas of variations that sound appealing to my tastebuds. Cucumber. Mint. A curl of lemon or orange rind. Basil. Clean bright tastes. Perhaps make the simple syrup with a little spice in it?


3 cups puréed watermelon
1 cup simple sugar (instructions above)
1 cup white vinegar (alternatives: Japanese rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or similar clear light-coloured neutral-flavoured vinegar)

Make the simple syrup well beforehand, so it has a chance to cool to room temperature. Purée the watermelon in the blender or food processor. Add the other two ingredients, and blend again, briefly. Remove from blender, and strain through cheesecloth, as shown (although preferably into a nonreactive bowl instead of a metal bowl).

Watermelon Shrub In Progress

I served mixed half and half with water, but I like things tart. It would be lovely over shaved ice, or perhaps mixed with a bit of chilled white wine. I can also easily imagine this as a thirst quencher after a workout or run, mixed with a bit more water so you can guzzle it right down.

Watermelon Shrub

YIELD: After straining, the five cups of liquid shrink to one nice quart.

Watermelon Shrub

Doesn’t it just have the loveliest color?

Watermelon Shrub

Of course, AFTER I did all this, I realized that I hadn’t looked to see if anyone else had thought of making a watermelon shrub. Well, duh. Yes, they have. So here are a few other recipes for the same idea. The Garden Design recipe is most similar; Living the Frugal Life is a classic traditional shrub; and the Bring Me a Shrub recipe is most adventuresome, adding pepper and other spices. But mine is faster and easier. You can literally drink this within minutes of thinking of it.

Garden Design: Summer Cocktail: Watermelon Shrub:

Living the Frugal Life: Shrub:

Bring Me a Shrub: Shrub #9: “Kim”:

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Vinegars! Of Many Flavors …

Pic of the day - Vinegars & Pickles

Just because I haven’t had time to write, doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking. Oh, I am so busy! This will be known as the Vinegar Summer, I suspect.

Briefly, backstory. I went gluten free almost a year ago. In making this dietary switch one of the things I’ve found is that I’m really not using my jams, jellies, and fruit butters. Oh. So do I want to make lots of jams, jellies, and fruit butters? Probably not. Well, what ELSE am I going to make with all this fruit? I mean, I am still making some of the sweet spreadable things, and I use small amounts in unusual ways (something for a different post), but I found I am buying and craving unusually flavored condiments. Grapefruit infused vinegar, cilantro infused olive oil … The obvious next step was to start figuring out how to make my own. I made one last year – raspberry vinegar. It has been quite lovely, but I don’t remember what I did.

I’ve been exploring various recipes, and finding absolutely no consistency at all. Some use a ratio of 1 part fruit to 3 parts vinegar, others reverse that ratio. Some use soft vinegars (balsamic or rice vinegar), others use whatever is handy, or base the vinegar choice on color rather than taste. Some say to mash the fruit but don’t mash too much, others say chop it in chunks, others (for small fruits) say to use the whole fruit. Some say to wash and remove stems, others say to leave on stems and seeds to make the vinegar nuttier. Some add sweeteners, some add salt, some add spices, some add nothing. Some say let the flavors infuse for a few days, some for a few weeks, some say a year. Some say the infusion (sitting and waiting, really) should happen with the jar in the window for sunlight, others say it should happen in a cool dark space. Some say the vinegars must be used within a couple weeks and stored in the refrigerator, others say they can be stored in a cool dark place forever (and everything in between). And that is just for the vinegars infused with fruit! Once we get to the once infused with spices, it is a completely different matter.

I thought there would be a pattern — that vinegars made with a high fruit ratio would say they had a short shelf life, for example. Nope! None of the expected or logical patterns proved out in the recipes. Even more confusing, I have found all of these variants represented in various mixes for recipes making infused vinegar with the same fruit! So the rules aren’t dependent on even what fruit is being used. This is very perplexing.

So I am experimenting, rather like I did for my high school chemistry project. I am starting with a one-size-fits-all approach. I will test and see what happens, and then adjust and report out (I hope).

I am starting with a standard ratio of 2 cups of pureed fruit to 2 cups of standard white vinegar. For a couple fruits, I am making extra batches with the same ratio but different vinegars, to compare. I am, to start with, not adding anything else. What I have going right now:

sweet cherry
black raspberry

I just bottled the pansy yesterday, but that should be a separate post. I’m also on a kick this year of pickling onion things. I made pickled garlic scapes, and leeks, and am planning to pickle some garlic cloves and various onions. We’ll see what happens. 🙂 So far, having a blend of mistakes and wonders. Let me tell you, just taking peaches and blending them with vinegar makes for an absolutely heavenly frothy tasty mix. I took some, mixed it with a little of last year’s raspberry vinegar, and some of last week’s basil infused olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Heavenly!

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Inspired by Ceviche

Inspired by ceviche …

1 T olive oil
1 C onion, diced
1-1/2 t sea salt
2 T green olive tapenade
1/2 C home canned tomatoes
1/4 preserved Moroccan lemon, chopped fine
6 oz scallops
6 oz ham, chopped

Served on rice or quinoa.

Sauté onions in olive oil. Add salt, tomatoes, tapenade, lemon. Simmer on low for ten minutes. Add ham and scallops just before rice or quinoa is finished.

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Making Garlic Mustard Pesto (as inspired by @Wildcrafting)

Linda Diane Feldt is someone I know both in real life and online. A long time ago she and I were tweeting back and forth about ways to use the invasive weed garlic mustard.

Pic of the day - Garlic Mustard, Maybe?
Garlic Mustard

Pesto was one of the ideas I found online, and there were a lot of recipes for garlic mustard pesto. I noticed last week that the garlic mustard was going again in my yard, and thought, “It’s time. I need to do this.” I am one of the subscribers to Linda Diane’s serialized cookbook on foraging and cooking with foods from nature. I planned to do this over the weekend, and when I saw her at an A2B3 lunch meeting last week, I picked her brains a little before I started. She said it’s perfectly fine to use any regular pesto recipe, just cut back a bit on the garlic to make up for the extra garlic flavor from the herb.

Wildcrafting Recipes:

Since it is a weed and very invasive, I have no problem with just pulling it up by the roots, so I yanked a bunch out and brought them in. (I quick wished I’d broken off the stems outside and left the dirt there. I’m new at this, and didn’t think it through. I’ve done little bits of foraging since I was in middle school, but I’ve never actually pulled something out by the roots before, I always tried to protect the original plant.) Like everything you bring in from outdoors, rinse it off before using it.

Pesto 1
Garlic Mustard, Ready to Go

I pinched the leaves off the stems, and discarded the flowers. I don’t know if you need to discard the flowers, Linda Diane would know.

Pesto 3 Pesto 4

Here are the leaves!

Pesto 2

In addition to the leaves, of course, there were a few other ingredients. I saw a recipe for pesto that used walnuts, and I adore black olive-walnut paste, so thought I’d try that instead of pine nuts.

Pesto 5

4 C garlic mustard leaves
1 C grated romano
1/2 C chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 & 1/2 cups olive oil

Blend all ingredients together. Do NOT skimp on the olive oil. I tried. It went to an unmanageable gluey paste in the bottom of the blender.

I haven’t tried this yet, but it smells delicious. In the meantime, I am freezing one icecube tray of pesto, and had enough left over for 2-3 servings.

Pesto 6

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Simple Ham Soup

Simple Ham Soup

This was so easy I don’t feel right even thinking of it as a recipe.

I’d been boiling the ham hock since Easter. I’d put it in the smallest pan it would fit in, covered it with water, brought it to a boil each night, put the lid on, and simmered it until bedtime. Then I’d repeat the whole scenario each night.

Of course, we’d carved the ham so that there was a generous amount of meat left on the bone. Last night the meat started to come loose, so I knew tonight would be soup night.

Came home (HOURS late!), transferred the ham hock and liquid to a larger pan, probably one that holds about two quarts. Cleaned all the meat off the bone, cleaned the marrow out of the bone, threw both into the soup liquid and threw the bone into the trash. Then I turned the heat on medium under the pot.

Believe it or not, that was the hard part. Next, I drained the liquid from a 15-oz can of kidney beans, put the beans in the soup. I chopped a large leek, keeping the white and green separate. The white went in the pot right away.

While that came to a simmer, I went hunting in the freezer for mushrooms. I often will buy lots of mushrooms at once, sautée them right away in a bit of butter, put the lid on for the end, and then freeze the mushrooms and juice until I need them. The pack I grabbed would have been about four ounces of mushrooms before cooking.

Tossed the frozen mushrooms into the soup, and brought it all to bubbling again. When it was bubbling, I finally tossed in the chopped leek greens. I put the lid on right away, reduced the heat to low, and set the timer to five minutes.

I canned two pints, and ate one pint for dinner. You might be thinking, but what about spices? Well, that was what I thought, until I tasted it. It didn’t need a thing. I’d have put potato in if I had some. I thought about a bit of rice. Someone suggested a pinch of cumin, and some one else suggested dill. As things turned out, I ate it just the way it was.


1 ham hock with ham
1 leek, large, chopped
1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained
4-oz mushrooms, sliced & sautéed

That’s it! It was ready for eating an hour after I got home.

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Gluten Free Cranberry Pudding

Way back when I worked in a library in Iowa, a colleague made this cranberry pudding recipe that I absolutely LOVED. She gave me a copy of the recipe, and I've been playing with it ever since. I started out modifying it to make in a bundt pan, which is lovely and festive. That doesn't work too well in my little countertop oven, though, so this time I had to make the amount for the 8×8 pan. With all the changes I've made, I don't think the original recipe is recognizable anymore! Especially after this year. So this is pretty much all mine, inspired by others.


Cream together:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar

Mix liquid ingredients:

3/4 cup whole milk or cream
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract

Sift together:

1-1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill gluten free all-purpose flour mix
1/2 cup teff flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix together all three groups of ingredients. At last, gently fold in:

2 cups whole cranberries

Bake in an 8"x8" greased and floured pan (round or square, can line bottom with pastry paper instead of greasing pan) for 50 minutes at 340F (convection oven) or 350F (conventional oven.

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Leftover Oatmeal Custard

I am always ending up with leftover oatmeal when my kid decides he just can’t face eating it after all. I hate throwing it out, but I also am not a huge fan of eating it cold. I keep coming up with recipes to use it up.

I used to love these oatmeal cinnamon muffins, but since I’ve gone gluten free I haven’t gotten competent enough at the new rules for baking to trust myself to adapt a recipe I struggled to get right in the first place. Also because of the gluten free change, I’m now using steelcut oats instead of rolled oats. Hiller’s grocery carries Irish oatmeal (which is gluten free and uncontaminated) but not as rolled oats, only as steelcut. So now my leftover oatmeal is a completely different kind that I’m not used to working with. Here is what I’ve come up with that I like.


1 cup cooked steelcut oatmeal with raisins
1/4 cup raisins
1 large tart apple, chopped medium
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
Pinch salt

40 minutes at 350F in a 8-inch cake pan that was pre-buttered.


Sent from my iPhone

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Pic of the Day – Quinoa Coconut Milk Custard

Yesterday, as part of cleaning out the basement more, I found in the pantry a box of coconut milk beverage that had just expired. I was looking for a way to use it up fast, and after a surprising amount of time spent on research, this is what I came up with. It tastes a lit like rice pudding, at least when warm, and I like rice pudding.



3 cups coconut milk beverage
6 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar

Beat together with whisk. Add:

1 white quinoa, cooked in
2 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

I used a rice cooker for the quinoa while I was mixing the other ingredients. This made way too much, 12-14 portions, so this is what I did. I put two pints of the UNCOOKED liquid custard in two jars and froze them. The idea is that after I thaw them, I’ll beat them with the whisk again and then bake them. I’ll let you know if it works. Meanwhile, with what was left, I filled 6 ramekins and baked them at 325F in a convection oven for 50 minutes. Before baking, The ramekins were placed in a cake pan with an inch of water. I ate one for breakfast, and a second one for lunch. 😉
Sent from my iPhone

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Broccoli Salad

The result of a trip to the Farmers Market with my friend Cathy combined with hunger and pure inspiration. It was absolutely delicious. I had to write it down and take notes, so I can share. Enjoy!



1 sm-med head broccoli, chopped into florets
2 apples, chopped
1/2 onion, minced
1/3 C sunflower seeds


1/3 c mayo
1T ume vinegar
1T cider vinegar
Pinch cinnamon
1/4 t allspice 2 t honey

Toss, and serve. Chilling is optional, unless there are leftovers. Makes four servings. If you want this as a main dish, you might add cubes of ham or snippets of prosciutto, perhaps some hard boiled egg or cheese cubes?

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