Rhubarb Raisin Pie

a rhubarb rasin pie with slice taken out
Rhubarb Raisin Pie

(From rhubarb-central.com)
2 (pre-made or purchased) pastry pie shells (one for the top, one for the bottom)
1 1/3 cups raisins (I use golden raisins)
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
4 tbsp. minute tapioca
1 1/2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
4 3/4 cups chopped rhubarb (1/2″ – 1″ pieces)
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice (bottled)
1 1/2 tbsp. butter or margarine, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar, optional
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, the tapioca, flour and salt. Add the chopped rhubarb to the bowl and toss to coat the rhubarb. Add the raisins to the mixture and stir in. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the rhubarb mixture. Allow mixture to stand for 15 or 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep rhubarb coated. (If filling becomes very dry, add 1/2 to 1 tbsp. water).

Pre-heat oven to 450° F. Remove the two pie shells from the fridge or freezer and allow to come to room temperature — insert one into pie pan if not already done and pre-bake it for about 5 minutes just so it is about half done. This will make for a better bottom crust when finished. You will need to mound the filling high in a 9-inch pie pan with pre-made crust but you can do it. You could also use a deep dish pie pan.

Mound the rhubarb filling evenly into the bottom of the first pie crust in the pie pan. Dot the top of the pie filling with the pieces of butter or margarine. Add the second pie crust on top of the filling. Using a fork, seal the edges of the pie crust. Cut out about 4 vents in the top crust to allow excess steam to escape.

If desired, sprinkle the top crust with about 1/2 tsp. of sugar (optional). Bake pie in the bottom/middle of the oven at 450° F for 10 minutes. Then, reduce oven heat to 350° F and continue to bake for about 50 minutes to one hour, or until done.

I add a pie crust shield after the pie has been baking for about 25 – 30 minutes to help prevent the edges from burning or becoming too dark.

Pie is done when the pastry crust has become golden brown, and the pie juices have been bubbling out of the top crust vents. Remove pie from oven and allow to cool on a rack. Serve warm or cooled, plain, or with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream!


Cucumber and Red Bell Pepper Refrigerator Salad

Cucumber and Red Bell Pepper Refrigerator Salad
Cucumber and Red Bell Pepper Refrigerator Salad

7 large dills, pickling cucumbers unpeeled sliced thin
1-1/2 cup sliced onions
1-1/2 cup sliced red peppers
1 T salt
1 c white vinegar
½ c sugar
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp mustard seed
2-3 fresh (or dried) bay leaves
¼ to 1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes

Mix cucumbers, onions, peppers and salt in one bowl and let sit for about an hour, then pack lightly into a 2-quart mason jar.

Put vinegar, sugar, celery seed, bay leaves and mustard seed in a cooking pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature before pouring over cucumber mixture.

Store in refrigerator, shaking to distribute brine once or twice the first day. Ready in 24 hours. Will keep for up to 2 months.

Use as is or spoon over lettuce or tomatoes in a bowl.

No bell pepper on hand? Use carrots, halved crosswise and cut into slices, blanched/cooked only until barely al dente’. You can use this up and add more cucumbers to the remaining brine and get a second life out of the jar.