#Baketogether Very Berry Bite Sized Pies

Today was an unusual day. The kitchen is my domain and I rarely give it up or share it. I don’t often ask for help in there. It’s kind of my personal retreat, my temple of contemplation where I clear my mind and think of nothing but the task at hand. So, today I took #Baketogether to a whole new level.

I ended up watching the grand nieces today for several hours as their mom was off teaching a class. After breakfast and a game of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus it was time to come up with another activity. Since our blueberry bush is actually producing and we had other fruit in the house these pies came to mind.

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For emergency purposes I had some prepared pie dough in the freezer and thawed it out. This probably wasn’t the wisest choice, but I was going for easy. Easy is necessary when kids are involved. I followed Abby’s recipe, making just a couple of changes. I changed the raspberries for strawberries and pecans for the almonds. Abby’s recipe is here. I won’t reprint it since I made so few changes. I also made them bite sized.

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Lilian and Stella helped my mix everything up, cut out the dough, put it in the mini tart pans, fill with filling and top with the streusel topping. As you can see in the picture at the top they bubbled up into a terrible mess. They stuck badly and the crusts weren’t that great, but they’re good. A bit too sweet for my taste, but the girls gobbled theirs!

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Potato, Leek & Spinach Soup

Yesterday we got a box of produce from a new service in the Bay Area, Full Circle. It’s all organic, delivered to your door. It arrived just in time for a Meatless Monday, which we don’t do often enough. In the box were, among other things, leeks, potatoes and spinach. I made this soup, which turned out nicely. It’s a bit subtle in flavor and you can certainly up the spices to your liking. Sorry for the crappy photo, but it’s all I took. Lazy me.

Potato, Leek & Spinach Soup with Indian Spices

1 pound leeks (about 2)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes diced (optionally peeled)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 pound spinach, well washed and roots trimmed, keep smaller stems
1 lemon
2 tablespoons of cream, half and half or whole milk (Optional)

Optional step: Slice the green tops off the leeks, wash them throughly and combine in a pot with the stock and water. Simmer for 10 – 20 minutes to flavor the stock. Strain and set aside. Discard leek tops.

Slice the leeks crosswise and wash very throughly. Using a big bowl of water changed at least a couple of times works well. Heat butter & olive oil in a large saucepan. Add leeks and sauté over medium low until they’re very soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Add the broth, potatoes and remaining spices. Bring to a boil and simmer covered until the potatoes are very tender, about 10 – 15 minutes. Add the spinach and cook an additional 3 or so minutes, until the spinach is completely wilted and the stems are very soft.

Puree in a blender in batches. As you do you can optionally strain the pureed soup through a fine sieve. I like a really smooth sauce and I usually do this, especially if I didn’t peel the potatoes. Reheat on medium heat. Stir in cream if using. You may also chill the soup at this point and serve it cold. I had it that way on day 2 and it was possibly even better.

Serve with a small drizzle of lemon juice to brighten the flavors.

Optional garnish: a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche, croutons, fried cubes of paneer might be nice too.