Fine Fixin's

Strawberry Chiffon Pie

Westervin's Fine Fixin's: Strawberry Chiffon Pie Recipe

Summer is in full swing here in Arkansas! The sun is shining, and the humidity is through the roof. Stepping outside is like stepping into a sauna. A sauna with mosquitos… The plus side, however, is that summer fruits are plentiful! And while fruit is great on it’s own, sometimes the old sweet tooth takes over and you start craving a decadent fruit dessert. On a recent occasion, we turned to Cook’s Country for a recipe for Strawberry Chiffon Pie. It was amazing. Light and sweet, it’s perfect for summer, plus you only need to bake the crust (or buy one if you’re into shortcuts), which means you don’t have to heat up the whole house.

A Slice of Strawberry Chiffon Pie - Recipe from Westervin



1 (5.3-ounce) box shortbread cookies, broken into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

2 tablespoons water

12 ounces strawberries, hulled (2 1/2 cups), plus 8 ounces strawberries, hulled, halved, and sliced thin (1 1/3 cups)

3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 large egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled

Light and Refreshing Strawberry Chiffon Pie - Recipe on the Westervin blog


  1. FOR THE CRUST: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 9-inch pie plate. Process cookies, sugar, and salt in food processor until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add almonds and pulse until coarsely chopped, about 8 pulses. Add melted butter and pulse until combined, about 10 pulses. Transfer crumb mixture to pie plate. Using bottom of dry measuring cup, press crumbs evenly into bottom and up sides of plate. Bake until crust is golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Let crust cool completely on wire rack, about 30 minutes. (Crust can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours.)
  1. FOR THE FILLING: Sprinkle gelatin over water in small bowl and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Process hulled whole strawberries in food processor until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl and press on solids to extract 1 cup of juice; discard solids. Whisk 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and strawberry juice together in small saucepan.
  1. Bring juice mixture to simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, whisk in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Transfer to large bowl, stir in lemon juice, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  1. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip whites to soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whip until glossy, stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk one-third of meringue into cooled strawberry mixture until smooth. Fold remaining meringue into strawberry mixture until only few white streaks remain.
  1. In now-empty mixer bowl, whip cream on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Gently fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture until no white streaks remain. Fold in sliced strawberries. Spoon filling into crust and spread into even layer using back of spoon. Refrigerate pie for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. Serve.

from Cook’s Country, August/September 2014

Westervin Blog: Recipe for Strawberry Chiffon Pie

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Fine Fixin's

Grilled Salmon with Tomato & Watermelon Salsa

Grilled Salmon with Tomato & Watermelon Salsa

Before the weather totally sets its mind on fall, it might be time to sneak in a final summery recipe. Here’s a tasty one that we’ve made a few times. The original recipe calls for bass and green tomatoes, but we used salmon and yellow tomaters since that’s what we had on hand.

Grilled Salmon with Tomato Watermelon Salsa

  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped green tomatoes (1/2 lb)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped red watermelon
  • 2/3 cup minced red onion
  • 1 (2 1/2- to 3-inch) fresh red or green chile such as Thai or serrano, minced (including seeds)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 (6-oz) center-cut pieces salmon (or striped bass or mahi mahi) fillet with skin (1 inch thick)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Get your grill or grill pan heated up.

Toss together tomatoes, watermelon, onion, chile, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. (Do not make salsa more than 1 hour ahead or it will become watery.)

Pat fish dry, then brush with oil and season with salt. Grill fish, starting with skin sides down, on lightly oiled grill, turning over once until just cooked through, 8 to 9 minutes total.
Serve fish topped with salsa. Easy!

Serves 6. Adapted from Gourmet

Tomato & Watermelon Salsa

Westervin Wishlist

26 Years

Pie from Bang Bang

It’s my birthday, y’all! Well, it will be tomorrow, and I’m gettin’ pumped. I have what I think is the perfect weekend-long birthday celebration ahead: Friday off from work (did someone say shopping); a trip with some frands to Six Flags on Saturday; and a joint-birthday potluck brunch in our backyard on Sunday (our pal LB is turning 24 that day). It will make for the most perfectest combination of relaxation, excitement, socializing, sunshine, and a little alcohol (Brian will be making fresh OJ for mimosas and tomato juice for bloody marys at the brunch)! Do I have it made or what?!

Because the anticipation is killing me, I thought I’d kill some time with a birthday wishlist, which includes some of these things I’m looking forward to and some things I’m still pining for.

The first is an entire pie from Bang Bang (see above). Preferably a chilled pie, like key lime or banana cream. Mmmmmm……. We’ll be picking up my pie order on Sunday for the brunch!

Six Flags roller coaster

Roller coasters via Six Flags. I need the thrill, baby!

edible arrangement

{ image from The Beautiful Thrifty Life }

An edible arrangement. Not kidding. I really want this. I’m literally so excited about one of these bad boys being delivered to my office tomorrow that I’ve probably spent 6 hours on their website looking at all the different fruit combinations and arrangements and asking Brian 50 times what time it’s gonna arrive!

Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me

More reading material! These are just two of the titles on my list of books to read before classes start again in September.  Here’s hoping I can keep it up through the fall semester! (Who am I kidding?)

handmade bracelets

Bracelets! All the bracelets!

Clockwise: Ice Blue, River, Two-Toned, Amazonite, Maidenhair Fern, Coral & Cobalt

gray and white cat

A companion for Fitzgerald. This kitteh’s name is Prince, and he wants me to give him a forever home. I can tell by the look in his eyes.

cat temporary tattoos

Or at least temporary cat tattoos. But preferably both.

A Sunday Ritual

Apricot Pie

Apricot Pie from Debbie Carlos

Like any other place that is cold for most of the year, the midwest truly appreciates the summer months. We spend as much time outside as possible, and we eat really well. We’ve got corn, zucchinis, tomatoes, melons, and berries out the wazoo… but stone fruits! Stone fruits are the jewels of summer. For me, absolutely nothing beats biting into a ripe peach that’s so juicy you need to eat it with a bib or a bowl or, if you can’t wait to take any of those things out, you just eat it over the sink.

One stone fruit that took me awhile to take a liking to has been the apricot. Peaches have always been #1 in my book, so I usually opt to purchase those over their smaller, bright orange cousins. Recently, apricots and I have had a breakthrough, and I can’t seem to get enough of them. I love how they veer a little more tart than peaches do, and they are just so cute to look at in your hand. When not in season, I’m pretty much snacking on the dried version constantly.

Ever since seeing Ruth Reichl make her super simple apricot pie on this episode of Diary of a Foodie a few years ago, it has never left my mind. Another recent trip to the farmers market yielded a large bunch of apricots, and I went home to make her recipe. I love that there are minimal ingredients, not too much prep work (even less if you use a pre-made, frozen pie crust), and it makes the most delicious sweet/tart, crunchy-topped pie that really lets the fruit shine. Best decision so far of my apricot-loving career.

Ruth Reichl’s Apricot Pie

pie dough
2 lbs ripe apricots
1 stick butter
¾ Cup flour
¾ Cup sugar
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
egg white from 1 egg for brushing (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Pull apart the apricots into halves, discarding the pits. No need to peel. Set aside.

2. Sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface and roll out pie dough with a lightly floured rolling pin to fit a 9” pie dish with about ½” overhang. Fold overhang under and crimp decoratively (I don’t do this sometimes, because I like how rustic/rough it looks. Also, I’m lazy). Place in freezer for 15 minutes.

3. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Stir in flour, sugar, and nutmeg and mix until it looks like a paste. Set aside for 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle.

3. Take pie dough out of the freezer. If using egg wash, brush the dough with the egg white. This is just to ensure that the bottom crust doesn’t get soggy.

4. Spread the apricots on the crust and crumble the butter/flour paste over the fruit. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 50 minutes to an hour.

Let cool before serving. Obviously, fantastic with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Editor’s Note: this post is part of the series “A Sunday Ritual” by guest blogger Debbie Carlos.

Fine Fixin's

Citrus Mahi Mahi with Avocado Salsa

Citrus Mahi Mahi with Avocado Salsa and Asparagus

Here’s a simple fish dish that’s great for summer because of it’s citrus avocado salsa. The original recipe calls for salmon, but we used Mahi Mahi, which turned out swimmingly! The citrus salsa also goes pretty well with grilled vegetables — we had asparagus on hand. Overall, it’s a nice, light dish that comes together quickly and is perfect for a weekday.

Citrus Mahi Mahi with Avocado Salsa and Asparagus

Citrus-glazed Mahi Mahi with Avocado Salsa

Four 6-ounce Mahi Mahi salmon filets
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 large avocado, diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 orange, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, ribs removed, and diced OR 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

In a baking dish, combine the olive oil and the orange juice.  Lay Mahi Mahi in it and turn to coat.  In a small bowl, combine the salt, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, allspice, and cayenne pepper.  Sprinkle over each side of Mahi Mahi filets.  Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl combine the avocado, red onion, orange, jalapeno, and cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and chill.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high and lightly coat with olive oil or vegetable cooking spray.  Add the Mahi Mahi and cook for 4-5 minutes; turn and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes or until fish flakes easily.  Serve with chilled avocado salsa.  Makes 4  servings.

from Eating Well Living Thinner

Citrus Mahi Mahi with Avocado Salsa and Asparagus

Faire Play

The Vintage Bazaar

The Vintage Bazaar in Chicago's Aragon Ballroom

In addition to our Dose Market outing, we recently visited the The Vintage Bazaar with our beloved summer brunch club. This monthly market occupies Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom and spills over into a nearby lot with many vintage and antique vendors, as well as a few food trucks and stands.

a vintage camper at the Vintage Bazaar

We started our adventure in the lot, where we were greeted by a cute, retro camper and a plethora of vintage clothing. I found a beautiful blue floral dress on the cheap (maybe I’ll show you later…), and Caitlin snagged a cool pair of tan woven shoes for a pretty good deal. I think our other partner in crime, LB, made out with a sweet vintage slip for a few bucks. I’d say were were fairly happy with our finds!

a crowd at The Vintage Bazaar

There was a good sized crowd — not too busy, but not dead.

a vintage ethiopian dress at The Vintage Bazaar

This is my favorite thing I didn’t buy — a magnificently embroidered, vintage Ethiopian dress. It was, very sadly, a tad too small and more than a tad out of my price range.

antique elegance: chandelier and ceiling at The Aragon Ballroom

One of my favorite things about the Vintage Bazaar is the setting. The exquisite details of the historic Aragon — the intricately adorned ceilings, the mosaic tiled floors, the chandeliers — were quite distracting in the best possible way.

the "Ladies Lounge" at the Aragon Ballroom

I saw several other attendees stop to take pictures of the space.The entrance to the women’s bathroom (aka the Ladies Lounge) appeared to present the most popular photo-op. I think I’m going to start using the term ‘Ladies Lounge’ to refer to all restrooms. “Pardon me… I need to powder my nose in the ladies lounge.”

a travelling barbershop at The Vintage Bazaar in Chicago's Aragon Ballroom

And fitting with the old-timeyness was a traveling barbershop, complete with a retro “tiled” floor mat. I tried to get Brian to sit down for a shave, but he wasn’t havin’ it. I don’t think he trusts anyone else with his prized beard hairs…

Laura Bock, Sarah West Ervin, and Caitlin O'Meara at The Vintage Bazaar in Chicago

After snapping a few ridiculous photos at the Smilebooth (who is that dude?!), it was time for our summer afternoon naps…

If you’re in the area and want to experience The Vintage Bazaar for yourself, the next one will be Sunday, August 12th!

Fine Fixin's

Tomato & Mozzarella Potato Salad with Lemon-Buttermilk Dressing

Here’s a nice summery side dish that’s pretty darn easy to put together. We cooked our potatoes until they were very tender, which meant we got more of a smashed potato salad. If you prefer a firmer potato for your salad, make sure you check on them frequently so you can take them out before they get so tender.

Tomato & Mozzarella Potato Salad with Lemon-Buttermilk Dressing

serves 8

3 pounds petite red or Yellow Yukon potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice, from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey, warmed
8 ounces tiny mozzarella balls
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ounces basil, roughly chopped

Heat a large pot of water to boiling and salt it generously with at least 1 tablespoon salt. When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are very tender but not yet falling apart. Drain cooked potatoes and return them to the pot.

While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the buttermilk, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour this dressing over the warm potatoes and toss to coat.

Toss with the mozzarella balls, halved cherry tomatoes, and basil. Season generously with salt and fresh pepper (the salad will need more salt than you expect). Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve at room temperature.

from The Kitchn