Monthly Archives: August 2013

Free Form Fruit Tart


free form fruit tart

Free Form Fruit Tart

Serves 4 to 8 (depending on sizes served)

 Easy as can be to make and delicious—that’s what this desert is.  Heavens, it takes no time what so ever to make (45 minutes at the most) and to bake;  everyone will for sure think that it took you all day and will ouuu and ahhhh and probably, you won’t have any left over’s—so you’ll have to make another the next day just to satisfy yourself.

Pre-Heat oven to 425F

Ingredients for the free-form pie crust:

  1. 1 ¼  C. flour
  2. 1/2 Tsp. salt
  3. 3 Tblsp. sugar
  4. 1 stick butter= 8 Tblsp. (room temp is the best, but if not, cut into small pieces)
  5. 3 Tblsp. very cold water (plus more if necessary)

Directions for making the pie crust:

  1. Whisk flour, salt and sugar in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Cut in the butter in the dry ingredients till mixture is well blended and looks like cornmeal. You can use two knives, forks or a pastry blender, but if you have a processor, do the following:  For the first 2 steps process the dry ingredients with a quick one, two pulse; then add the butter and process until blended and mixture looks like cornmeal.
  3. If you’ve used a processor, place your ingredients in a bowl. Add the water and mold with hands in order to make into a ball. Try to handle as little as possible so that the crust remains very light and flaky and will not become “heavy”.
  4. Place ball on a large piece of saran wrap; then place another sheet of saran wrap on top and flatten ball.
  5. Take a rolling pin and roll the top saran wrap sheet till your dough ball becomes a rough round of 9 or 10 inches (the dough should be about 1/4 inch thick).
  6. Remove your top saran wrap sheet, pick up the bottom saran sheet with the dough and quickly flip it out on a cookie sheet or pizza pan that has been lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Remove that saran sheet so that your dough is all by its lonesome on the prepared baking sheet. Now you are ready to place your desired filling in the middle of the dough.

Filling Ingredients for the free-form pie crust:

  1. Pitted, peeled, sliced soft fruit; thinly sliced apples, pears; crushed almonds, walnuts, raisins, currents  are all good filling choices.
  2. With fruit, you can toss them with crystallized ginger bits, cinnamon and/or sugar, honey and melted butter, lemon rind and whatever else you like.
  3. 2 Tblsp. melted butter

Final directions:

  1. Place fruit, whatever in the middle of the dough leaving a good 1 ½ inch free border all around.
  2. Fold up the edges of the crust up and around the fruit, pinching the outer edge dough together.
  3. Brush the dough with 2 Tblsp. melted butter and save some melted butter for brushing on the fruit itself.
  4. I also place a bit more sugar on the top of all.
  5. Place the free-form pie which is on the lined cookie sheet or pizza pan in your pre-heated oven until the dough is nice and brown and the fruit is bubbling (about 30 minutes but start checking after 20 minutes).
  6. Remove from oven, cool on a rack and serve warm dusted with confectioner sugar and ice cream or crème fraiche or whipped cream.

Whole Chicken Fryer Casserole (for the busy cook)


chicken fryer casseroleplated chicken fryer casserole

Whole Chicken Fryer Casserole

4 servings

 Here’s another easy, financially economical and healthy chicken veggie dish for a busy mom or dad to make. It’s also easy for a single person who comes home to weary to really cook and also wants some good left over’s for the rest of the week.  The 3.5 lb. fryer coast under $7 at Atkinsons’ and the veggies I used didn’t cost that much and actually were what I already had in the frig.  I used a large round deep Pyrex casserole dish and it baked at 375F in an hour and a half.  It was delicious and will easily feed 4.  It’s a breeze to assemble and I warrant that the kids will like it as well.


  1. One 3.5 whole fryer chicken
  2. One 8-oz pre-packaged fresh  brown or white sliced mushrooms
  3. 1 Zucchini cut in half and then cut the halves in half so you have 4 long pieces
  4. 2 peeled carrots cut in huge chunks
  5. 2 celery ribs cut in huge chunks
  6. 4 Green onions—cut in chunks
  7. Fresh basil—place some in the chicken cavity and more within the veggies and if you wish a bay leaf to put in the veggies.
  8. 4-8 cloves of garlic—unpeeled or peeled—left whole—put one or two in the chicken’s cavity
  9. 1 large tomato cut in chunks
  10. Any other veggie you have and think might go well including parsley, etc.
  11. S&P to taste
  12. Up to 3/4 C. olive oil


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
  2. Smear or spray some olive oil all over the inside of your dish.
  3. Place the veggies in the dish and mix well with some S&P to taste and some olive oil as well.
  4. Place whole rinsed and pat dried chicken which has some basil and garlic cloves in the cavity on top of the veggies and pour more olive oil on it.  Then S&P it to your taste.
  5. Place in oven and bake for about 1.5 hours.

I served this with rice and if you wish, a green salad on the side.  Desert? I had some of my homemade no-churn Mango Ice Cream only I had put fresh blue berries in it which turned out very yummy.  I  now am almost never without some sort of version of this ice cream in my freezer.  Enjoy!!!!

An Italian Inspired Dinner Catered by Margot for Milt and Pat for 8 guests


antipasto platters

Milt’s and Pat’s Menu For An Italian Inspired Dinner on Friday, August 9, 2013


Antipasto Platter featuring Hard Sonoma Jack, Almonds,  Dry Uncured Salami, Prosciutto, Hot Capocollo, Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella Balls, Assorted Olives, Pickled Asparagus, Pickled Artichoke Hears, Pickled Mushrooms, Fresh Cherries, Toasted Garlic French Bread Slices and Bread Sticks


Manicotti featuring Pat’s Home Made Crepes and Margot’s Homemade Marinara Sauce and Manicotti Filling

Melange of Oven Baked Vegetables with Basil


Fresh Blueberry and Strawberry Cup with Homemade No-Churn Blueberry Ice Cream

Thumb Print Short Bread Cookies with Margot’s Homemade Raspberry, Chocolate and Lavender Jam

Catered by Margot Van Horn

“From My Table to Yours”

Offering Special B&B Styled Menus

Creamless Creamed Corn with Shitakes and Lemon


Creamless Creamed Corn with Shitakes and Lemon

creamless creamed corn

Serves 6

I love our wonderful Hagerman white corn.  So, while it lasts and is so well priced, here’s a recipe that I thought was easy to make and very good to eat.  Hope you enjoy it as well.


  1. 6 medium sized shitake mushrooms (I used the fresh but if you wish use the dry and dehydrate them in boiling water for 15 minutes before using.)
  2. 10 ears white corn, shucked
  3. 2 Tblsp. olive oil
  4. 2 medium shallots, minced
  5. 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  6. 1 Tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  7. 1 Tblsp. lemon juice
  8. Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Place a grater, the box or ladder kind, in a large deep bowl.  I put the bowl in my sink to keep the splattering to a minimum because the following process can be a bit messy.  
  2. On the coarse side of the grater, grate 5 ears of the corn all the way to the cob.  With the other 5 ears, take a serrated knife and cut off the kernels.  Then coarse grate the empty cobs to release all of their juices.  If you wish to have fewer whole kernels, totally grate more of the ears and leave fewer for the larger kernel selection.  (You can also release the cob juices with the dull side of a knife; however, I found that grating them on the coarse side of my grater did the trick very nicely.) 
  3. Mince the shitake mushrooms.
  4. Over medium high heat, place your oil and when it is hot, add the mushrooms, shallots and garlic.  Turn the heat to medium low and cook them, stirring every now and then, till softened—about 10 minutes.
  5. Increase the heat to high and when the oil sizzles (you may want to add more oil if you feel there isn’t enough), add the corn and its juices.
  6. Cook the mixture over medium high heat, till corn is thick and shiny—about 3 minutes.
  7. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and S&P. 
  8. Serve and enjoy!!!!

For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog  Call Margot for personal cooking help or hosting

 @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.