Tag: Summer

Shrub Two Ways

Strawberry Lemon Verbena Shrub | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Strawberry Lemon Verbena Shrub | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Strawberry Lemon Verbena Shrub | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Strawberry Lemon Verbena Shrub | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Rhubarb and Fennel Shrub | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Rhubarb and Fennel Shrub | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Rhubarb and Fennel Shrub | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

It’s inevitable. This time of year especially. You go to the farmers market and drool over the rainbows of produce. The rhubarb has that perfect blush that begs you to bag up more than you could ever use at once and cart it home. The ruby strawberries glimmer, covering tables, overflowing from their containers. You can just imagine how red they are on the inside, and you take one from the little sample bowl to confirm your suspicion. They taste almost as much like candy as they do like fruit, they are so sweet and perfect in every way.

So you haul it all to your car and then to your kitchen. And then reality strikes. It’s Monday again and no, you’re not going to get around to making that strawberry pistachio pie you’ve been pining after, or pickling that rhubarb to go with the pâté you brought home from the market. You feel guilty, seeing those sad fruits softening by the day every time you open the fridge.

When it comes to fruit that is beginning to turn, I used to turn to compote (the rhubarb) or freeze them smoothies (the strawberries), but this summer that all changes. I started making shrubs, aka drinking vinegars. It’s painfully simple, goes perfectly well with just sparkling water on those long warm days when you want something fruity and tangy and refreshing, and can welcome a taste of your favorite gin or tequila when those long summer days turn into warm evenings and you want a cocktail to sip while you light up the grill.

It seems shrubs are the fancier version of my dad’s old “it’s-too-hot-out” beverage: a Perrier with an entire lemon juiced in. Tart and bubbly and immediately cooling. They take a little forethought, yes, but in all they take about 15 minutes to make and your friends or guests or whomever is lucky enough to partake will be impressed and thankful. I promise.

Continue reading “Shrub Two Ways”

Weekend Finds 6:30:16 Summer Eats

Cannon Beach | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Y’all! It’s been a minute since I’ve written! But don’t you fret, I’ve still been cooking up a storm and eating all the good food. I promise. But there’s a lot of other stuff that’s been going on too!

  1. I’m moving! Where? Good question. In October, Jonah and I will be taking advantage of our ability to work remotely. First we’re heading to Thailand for a couple of months, then we’ll be in Germany for Christmas with Jonah’s extended family, and then we’ll be in Portugal, where we’ll hopefully stay for about 4 or 5 months, and traveling from there to visit friends in London, the Netherlands, and Morocco. Exciting? Of course! Terrifying? You bet!
  2. It’s summer, and summer in the PNW means spending all the time outside and on the beautiful Oregon coast. Last weekend was spent at our friend’s beloved beach house, and the week before that was spent at Cannon Beach at a mini family reunion. Which brings me to…
  3. We’re engaged! While we were in Cannon Beach Jonah popped the big ol’ question and I said yes (duh). If you have any wedding planning tips or tricks (especially for weddings that take place in Chicago) I’d love to hear them!

Ok, back to the good stuff. I’ve been doing my fair share of eating out these days too. Summers are perfect for happy hours outside, and putting on that cute new sundress to hit up that restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. All the incredible flavors and ingredients of summer are out in full force. Here’s what I’ve been eating lately:


P.D.T cocktail at Renata | Summer Eats |Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Jonah took me here to celebrate our engagement, and while I only took a picture of my cocktail (it was a phones-free-dinner after that), the meal was fantastic. The highlights were my cocktail (the P.D.T aka Peas Don’t Tell) and the albacore tuna conserva served with tomatoes and peaches.

Hat Yai

Braised Beef Cheek in Curry with Roti at Hat Yai | Summer Eats | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

You guys, Hat Yai is seriously at the top of my list as far as new openings in Portland go. They serve southern Thai food, and it is perfectly executed and complex and satisfying and just SO DAMN GOOD. Go eat here immediately and get the fried chicken, roti, and curry. You will not be sorry.


Blogger happy hour at Lincoln | Summer Eats | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Chef Jenn Louis hosted a very fun blogger happy hour for at her N Williams restaurant Lincoln, and it did not disappoint. How can you go wrong with a bunch of food-loving ladies, cocktails, and delicious food with influences from cuisines around the world? Highlights included asparagus hummus with labneh and flatbread, grilled dates with marcona almonds and lime, and the fried chicken with white barbecue sauce. This happy hour is fantastic, so make sure you check it out!

Le Pantry

Deviled Eggs with Trout at Le Pantry | Summer Eats | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Perhaps the fanciest food cart around, Le Pantry is relatively new to Pod 28 (on SE 28th and Ankeny). The menu is very sweet, and I can’t wait to go back to try more of their dishes. We enjoyed the deviled eggs with trout, and the salad with fried calamari was filled with bright flavors like nectarines, corn, and some crispy potatoes.


Happy Hour at Lechon | Summer Eats | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Jonah and I stopped into Lechon for happy hour before heading to the Waterfront Blues Fest to see Chubby Carrier. I had been hearing great things from both my roommate and blogger friends, plus it’s just across the street from the waterfront, so it worked out perfectly. The prices were great (as were the cocktails) and we seriously enjoyed a small salad, the ceviche, and clams with chorizo.

Where have you been eating lately? Any place I have to check out before hitting the road in October? Let me know! I hope you’re enjoying these beautiful PNW summer days!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie | Serious Crust by Annie FasslerStrawberry Rhubarb Pie | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

My sister recently made me aware that my strawberry rhubarb pie recipe – the one that really inspired me to start this blog in the first place – wasn’t on this website. How could that be?! The time is right to tell you the story behind it, seeing as this weekend is Father’s Day and it’s rhubarb season.

Growing up, my father was a produce aficionado. He snacked on radishes like they were popcorn, and his perfect dessert was a bowl of the ripest berries. My dad’s love of fresh ingredients got me excited about food at a young age, and cooking became a pillar in our relationship. It still is – every time we talk we brag about dishes we’ve made, the latest cookbooks we’re itching to buy, and restaurants we’ve tried lately.

When I was in high school, we decided to spend a summer on a quest for the perfect strawberry rhubarb pie. We read probably a hundred recipes, and baked a pie a week. For the crust we experimented with vodka and leaf lard. To perfect the filling we adjusted our rhubarb to strawberry ratios and tried different spices like ground ginger and orange zest. We refined our technique for rolling out the dough, and watched through the oven door as juices bubbled through cracks in the crust. After cooling on the counter for hours, the first bite was always exhilarating. When we finally landed on the recipe, it was obvious as soon as we tasted it – the crust was tender and flaky, the filling was a soft rosy pink dotted with strawberry seeds, and there was a perfect balance between sweet and tart.

Five years later, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. We went through a trying year of chemotherapy and surgery. It was hard to see someone who loves food barely able to eat, much less enjoy eating. I’ll always remember when I was with him while he was getting a blood transfusion, and I went to the vending machine for a snack. I came back with a bag of Wheat Thins. He tried one and said it tasted good, so I gathered up all of my loose change and bought every bag in the vending machine so he could eat them. His recovery took place mostly in the late spring – the beginning of rhubarb season. The day he asked me to make him our strawberry-rhubarb pie, I knew he was back.

These days, I like to think that strawberry-rhubarb pie is my specialty. I’ve found a new dough recipe (the one you see below) that I like even better than the one my dad and I decided on twelve years ago. Making this pie is relaxing, almost therapeutic. Slicing up the fruit, rolling out the dough – all of it is a ritual that I treasure returning to each summer. Not only do I love making this pie, but it’s representative of my relationship with my dad and the things we both value: sharing delicious food with the people we love the most. It will always remind me of him, and the time we spent on the hunt for the perfect pie. Happy Father’s Day, dad. Here’s to many more rhubarb seasons.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Note: As is often the case with pastry type dough, the colder it is and the less you handle it, the better. I like to keep my shortening in the freezer so it is very cold, and the butter in the fridge.

Another Note: This pie is JUICY. It tastes delicious as ever, but I have never made a strawberry rhubarb pie that actually firmed up without tasting too much like flour or corn starch. I’d rather have a juicy pie that packs a punch rather than being muted by various starchy ingredients. The amount of cornstarch you add will be based on how juicy your fruit is – for example, if you bought your strawberries at the farmer’s market in the height of strawberry season, you’ll want to add more, whereas if you bought them at a big box grocery store in December, you won’t need as much.


Pie Dough

2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
12 Tbps (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks
½ cup vegetable shortening, cold, cut into chunks
3-8 Tbsp ice water

Strawberry Rhubarb Filling

4 cups rhubarb, sliced into ½ inch pieces
3 cups strawberries, stemmed and quartered
1 cup sugar
3-5 Tbl cornstarch


Pie Dough

Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor, pulse to distribute. Add the butter, pulse until evenly combined. Add the vegetable shortening, and do the same, pulsing until evenly combined. Your dough will start to clump together, but you will still have loose flour. Add 3 tablespoons of ice water and pulse. If your dough isn’t coming together quite yet, add more ice water a tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition. You want the dough to just start to come together. Dump the dough out onto floured surface and form a ball, cut it in half, and form two discs (roughly 1-1 ½ inch thick). Wrap discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. You can also freeze the dough for later use.

Strawberry Rhubarb Filling

Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and cornstarch in a large bowl.

Preheat your oven to 450° F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie dish with butter and dust with flour. Roll out your pie dough until it’s a circle about 12 inches wide. I like to set the plastic wrap that the dough was wrapped in underneath when I roll it out, as it helps lift it into the pie dish. Transfer your dough to the pie dish and ease it into the corners of the dish. Fill with the strawberry-rhubarb filling. Roll out the second disc of dough, and cover the pie. Trim off excess dough, pinch together the edges, and cut vents in the top of the pie. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, and then into the oven.

Bake for 10 minutes at 450°F, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 50-70 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 3 hours.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Italian Plum Galette

Italian Plum Galette | Serious Crust
Italian Plum Galette | Serious Crust
Italian Plum Galette | Serious Crust
Italian Plum Galette | Serious Crust

There is a tree outside of our house. Technically it’s in our neighbor’s yard, but much of it hangs over the winding pathway that leads to our front door. It’s a plum tree. Or a prune tree. You see, I’m not totally sure what the difference is. I think all prunes are plums, but not all plums are prunes. So maybe they’re prune plums. Right?

It’s funny actually, because when I was growing up outside of Seattle, my neighbors had a plum tree. And they told us we could pick as many plums as we wanted, I think mostly because they felt bad that the plums would fall and rot in our driveway. But my sisters and I used to go out in the driveway and fill up bowls and bowls of plums. We’d snack on them, bake with them, and make plum chutney. So I think I have a soft spot for plum trees in neighbors’ yards.

Either way, there’s a plum tree, and the plums are small and oblong, and when you cut them open, they still look kind of green even when they’re ripe. And all summer, I waited. I waited until their skins turned from green to purple, for their flesh to soften. And then I waited for Jonah to be home so that he (and his 6’6″ self) could pick them for me. I don’t do ladders.

I planned a plum galette. Simple, rustic, pretty even. I made a whole wheat crust, I ground almonds to spread in the bottom, and I even spread the plum slices in those lovely concentric circles. It was nice. It was summery. And it tasted pretty darn good.

Italian Plum Galette


Galette Dough

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
4 tbsp vegetable shortening, preferably cold, cut into chunks
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/4 cup ice water (plus more if needed)

Plum Filling

1/4 cup almonds (or 1/4 cup ground almonds)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp AP flour
14-18 Italian plums OR 6-7 regular plums cut into 1/2 inch slices
zest of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp brown sugar


Galette Dough

To make the dough, mix the AP flour, whole wheat pastry flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and shortening, and mix until the biggest pieces of butter are no larger than a pea. In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of ice water. Drizzle this mixture over the flour and butter mixture by the tablespoon. Mix until combined and the dough comes together. If the dough is too dry and doesn’t come together, add more ice water by the tablespoon. Collect the dough, form it into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to two days.

Plum Filling

Preheat your oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet, preferably rimmed, with parchment paper. In a food processor, combine the almonds, granulated sugar, and AP flour and process until you’ve got a coarse meal. If you’re using ground almonds, simply combine it with the granulated sugar and flour in a bowl. Set almond mixture aside.

In a bowl, combine the sliced plums, lemon zest, and brown sugar, tossing to coat evenly. Set aside.

Remove your dough from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to a 14-16 inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the rolled out dough to the parchment lined baking sheet. Spread almond mixture in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch edge all the way around. Pile your plums and their juices on top of the almond mixture (or gently arrange them in concentric circles), and then gently fold up the edge of the dough over the plums. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the plum filling is bubbling and the edges of the galette crust are golden brown.

Allow to cool for at least an hour before digging in. I recommend topping with ice cream (I think cardamom would be good if you can get your hands on it) or fresh whipped cream. Enjoy!