Tag Archives: pie

I Can’t Do Technology Part 748

This post has been updated because Tina showed up in the comments! If you’ve already read it, I’m not sure how you will know this but read it again.

I have been meaning to write this post since my trip to California way back in March.

I think I’ve explained that while I like the idea of podcasts, I very rarely have time where I just want to sit and listen to things. I only drive about 50 miles a week which isn’t enough time in the car and when I’m on the bus, I usually read. For years I subscribed to EscapePod because I thought I’d eventually get into the habit of listening more.

Instead, I would log in a couple of times a year and pick a couple stories that I wanted to hear and delete the rest. I recently gave it up all together because even when I do get around to listening I rarely enjoy the stories enough that I wanted to keep up with this exercise.

Meanwhile, when I got my iPhone I started subscribing to Toasted Cake which is narrated by Tina Connolly. When I went to California in March, I listened to about 10 of them on the drive. These work for me because they are short, maybe 10-15 minutes, and I almost always like the stories.

I also love Tina’s narration. She recommends books or talks about what’s going on with her. I swear I wrote myself a note so I could link to the exact podcast but I couldn’t find it and I didn’t want to bug Tina because she’s having a baby any minute, not to mention she has a book that came out TODAY, and I didn’t want to be all, “Oh hey, can you remember some random podcast you did where you talked about precious cookware?”

It is Toasted Cake #74 Taking Care of Ma by Lee Hallison and it’s from June which means I’m mistaken about when I listened to it, but who cares? Tina talks about having a hand thrown mini-pie plate perfect for making a fruit crisp. The entire podcast is less than 10 minutes. The story is good and the fruit crisp recipe is a keeper, too.

Upon hearing Tina talk about her special pie plate I thought: I have got to tell the world about my dual pie plate that Kira gave me. You can use it to make two kinds of pie at the same time.

And while I’m here, let me pimp Tina’s new book, Copperhead that came out today. The timing of this post is a coincidence. Yesterday I realized I had that photo of my pie plate sitting on my desktop forever and it was time to do something about it. Here’s an interview where Tina talks about the book.

Meanwhile, in addition to Toasted Cake I did a bunch of searching and loaded a whole variety of podcasts onto my phone to listen to on the trip I took this month. I had an interview with Joss Whedon and an interview with George Saunders. I had a WGA panel on the best written tv shows. I had all kinds of stuff.

It worked great on the trip down except I didn’t know I had to do something to get them to play one after the other so I kept having to fiddle with my phone to get to the next podcast while I was driving. I know, safe.

I still have about 500 pages of tutorials relating to technology that I’m very sincerely trying to get to but then, I’ve got a lot of things I’m trying to get to. The minute I finish this I’m running to the backyard to do about 4 days worth of gardening in 2 hours.

When I got to Orleans, I plugged my phone into my laptop, thinking I’d delete what I already listened to and then set up a playlist with the podcasts I had left.

And my laptop was kind enough to sync up my phone with the podcasts on the laptop which were the 30 Escapepod stories that I decided I didn’t want to listen to and a bunch of Toasted Cakes I already listened to. All my cool interviews went away. I don’t have my laptop and desktop systems synced right now because I haven’t gotten to that tutorial yet. However, one of the stories was Flowing Shapes by my Clarion West classmate Rajan Khanna who just sold his first novel.

So it all worked out.

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If nothing else, I recommend spatchcocking because it’s fun to say.

I thought I was so clever putting plastic wrap over my keyboard. I needed my computer for my spatchcocking slideshow. It turns out it’s tough to work the trackpad. But not impossible. The plastic was all ooky by the time I finished.

Here’s that spatchcocked sucker.

Here’s an important piece of information: if you think that dinky pair of poultry shears that you got in that wooden knife block for your wedding however many years ago, 16? 17?, is going to snip the backbone out of your turkey, you are going to be in a world of hurt. By the time I realized how inadequate they were for the job, it was too late. I’d taken a big enough gouge out of poor Butterball that I was committed. It was pure brute strength, a lot of bad words and an adult beverage that made that happen.

And then when I was done mine didn’t look like the picture and for a second I thought, “Oh shit, I cut out the wrong backbone.”

I got it all figured out.

The other thing you should know is that you are going to be deep up in your bird’s business. I’m not especially squeamish and I had a few moments of doubt during the process.

The final result, which I failed to get a photo of due to a complication explained below, was fantastic. I’m going to buy a pair of industrial shears and try it on chickens, too.

The dinner turned out great. The only snafu was that I nicked the tip of my thumb during the last hour. If you’ve ever been near a kitchen during the last hour before serving Thanksgiving, you know that a lot has to happen at the same time. Having a thumb that wouldn’t stop bleeding made it extra challenging. There aren’t a lot of work arounds when you can’t use your thumb.

Bob helped and I developed a pattern of do something, blot, do something, blot. We had dinner on the table only 20 minutes later than planned.

I’m off to find my first piece of pie of the day.

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Pump It Up

This guy called. Strong accent. He had Bob’s name and tacked a Mrs. on it for me and then told me he was calling because of our Windows computer system. He sounded like he was phoning from a cafeteria in Outer Mongolia using a tin can and a long piece of string. I could barely understand him.

He said since we were authorized users and he could see that we’d being going online he knew we had a virus.

Normally I would have shut this call down before we even got this far except I was curious where he was going with this. I knew he wanted to rip me off but how was he going to do it?

But he just kept reading off his card with long pauses and this terrible connection. I finally asked him what exactly he was going to do and said he was going to walk me through a check for viruses.

I’m not filled with patience today and that was enough for me so I told him we don’t have even have a Windows machine in this house and buh-bye.

So I guess he wanted to get usernames and passwords? It’s hard to imagine this would be successful.

* * *

Last weekend I made a Sweet Potato Pie for Easter dessert. I haven’t made one in a long time and I thought I’d used this recipe before but maybe not. It’s from Cook’s Illustrated. As per always I was trying to do 1000 things at once and I started my pie late and then I had to hurry so rather than mashing my potatoes by hand, I tossed it all in the food processor so that filling was smooth.

When we ate it after dinner it was still warm and it was very good. But the next day after it was completely chilled it was AMAZING.

Ten stars for this recipe.

We’re going to see Elvis Costello. The last time we saw him was in 1996 in Seattle during our honeymoon. You can find the setlist here. (The Internet is so awesome when it isn’t awful.) I remember that. 4 encores. I was like, OMG, another encore?

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Pumpkin Baby

The amazing view outside my kitchen this morning when I got up (with cool retro effect added). It’s grey and rainy now.

Check out the dismal pumpkin result from my Baby Pam pumpkin. I had some other pumpkin in the freezer that I used so I didn’t have to process one of the giant ones Kent gave me.

Pie’s done and out of the oven. I’m going to make the rest of the meal as soon as I log off.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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See A Little Light

Here’s today’s Photoshop tutorial, before and after. It’s supposed to be a cool retro effect. I’d link to the original tutorial except the guy who wrote it might find his way here and then brain himself thinking that he wrote a poor tutorial or else lock up his site so that color-blind doofs like me don’t sully the world with their attempts at a cool retro effect. But I think if I practice it another 100 times I might get better.

For the past week I’ve been looking forward to reporting that I slept through the night except that it still hasn’t happened. The only night this month I slept through the night was the night I returned from San Diego and that barely counts because I was so sleep deprived I could hardly stand upright.

At least the coughing isn’t waking me up 3-4 times per night.

I’m at about 98% now. I still cough now and then and there’s a slug of extra phlegm in the system but I’m off the cough drops. I’m exercising. I’m not going through 57 tissues an hour. No one is afraid to sit next to me on the bus.

When I got home tonight I made a pie. For tonight. Because I can.

I only need one crust for my pumpkin pie tomorrow and my recipe makes enough for two crusts. Since my current pie crust recipe is working for me and I’m afraid to mess with it, I decided, what the hell, I’ll make an extra pie. And I randomly decided on cherry while I was at the market. I bought a can of dark cherries and a can of tart cherries. I put bunch of orange zest in. I just took it out of the oven and it looks great.

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First Time For Everything

Someone asked me if I’d ever heard of green tomato pie.

I had not.

It didn’t take long to pull up some recipes and yesterday I tried it.

It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t my favorite.

I think if it were the zombie apocalypse and there was no fruit to be had but someone managed to find a sack of green tomatoes, that this pie would be a welcome treat.

But if you’d spent the past few weeks eating peach and berry pies, it was just okay.

My real thought is, you could probably saute kitchen sponges in butter, season with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and sugar and bake in a fatty crust and come out with something halfway decent.

Earlier in the week I did a writing retreat at Edgefield. Lots of good photos here, but make sure you’re looking at the Oregon one.

How the whole thing came about is a long story that I don’t want to go into.

But I had some work leave and I wanted to set aside some time to concentrate on a writing project and I did a little homework and found out that Edgefield has a twin room for $50 a night. So I booked it.

Overall, it was awesome. I was really happy while I was out there.

I’m the eternal over-achiever so naturally I didn’t finish everything that I wanted to do and every second I wasn’t working I felt guilty. But I did get a lot of work done and was happy with my progress.

I would do a retreat again, but I’d probably shop around and try a different place.

There were lots of great things about Edgefield. Excellent food. Great places to walk around. The soaking pool.

They have a movie theater onsite and since I never go to the movies anymore, I thought I’d treat myself to Captain America with my pizza and beer after my long day of work.

Turns out the movie was cancelled and it was a history thing: 13,000 years of Salmon in the Columbia River.

At first I was bummed but then I realized this is exactly the sort of dork thing my husband would drag me to that I would end up loving and I could still have my pizza and beer.

And it was good. And also, packed. Yes, there are tons of people who will leave their house on a Tuesday night to go to Edgefield and listen to a talk about salmon bones.

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Peach Berry Pie!

I have a lot of stuff I intend to accomplish today so this will be quick.

Peach! Berry! Pie!

I tried Kenji’s Easy Pie Dough recipe and I think this is going to be my permanent go-to recipe from now on. I did the replacement with 6 T of shortening.

I’m going to go find my file of 10,000 pie crust recipes and tips and burn it. Too bad I finally started a tag for pie crust disasters. Hopefully, I can watch it gather spider webs.

Here’s the filling: Two baskets of strawberries, sliced; one basket of blackberries, two large peaches, sliced. The peaches were firm and I was too lazy to peel them. Didn’t matter!

Half cup regular sugar, quarter cup brown sugar, quarter teaspoon nutmeg, about a teaspoon of lemon zest and a good squish of lemon juice. Maybe 1 1/2 teaspoon worth.

I used three tablespoons of tapioca. This is the next step in my pie baking is messing with the thickeners. Three tablespoons didn’t do squat but I’m afraid of over-thickening my pies, which when I think about it, has never happened.

I put into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes and then turned the heat to 350 and baked for another 30-40. Reminder: put a cookie sheet or foil on the underneath shelf to catch drips or you will be sorry. Unless you love burning mess in your oven. Then ignore that tip.

This pie gets an A+.

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Worth Eating

I thought I scanned a really old, like 60’s era, Thanksgiving photo earlier this year but I can’t find it so I’m posting a picture from the Orleans post office instead.

So far all the cooking I did in advance is having problems. Except the pumpkin pie which I didn’t really make for dinner today, more like an ongoing snack all weekend. We already cut into it.

Several years ago we were at a party where they served the best chocolate mousse on 9 planets. It was the kind of thing you thought about for days after. The taste, texture and tiny flecks of chocolate. It was a spectacular dessert and I’ve wanted to make it myself ever since.

I used the Cooks Illustrated recipe and it did not go well.

Perhaps I should back up and confess that I was über-multi-tasking yesterday. I had Star Wars IV, special edition on the tube, I made the pie from my own pumpkins (photos sometime this weekend) so I had to process those and make the pie (also crust disaster as per usual) I made the salad, the mousse, our Wednesday night dinner plus I intended to bake some breadsticks which I ended up passing on but I did do step one of the no knead bread recipe.

The mousse was a large pain in the ass and involved melting things in a double boiler, separating eggs and whipping this and that or the other thing into soft peaks and gently folding this into that and everything needs to be smooth. I was also fretting about the not really cooked 2 eggs thing. Is stirring egg yolks into melted chocolate enough? Is the food safety industry overly paranoid and do we not really need to worry as much as they seem to want us to?

By this point dinner was ready and the season finale of Weeds queued up (aside- tiny spoiler: Kevin Nealon, banjo, awesome.) I folded everything as best I could and reminded myself about Julie and Julia and I’m not the first cook to curse at a cooking project that’s not going well. There was no graceful way to get it into the serving cups. My attempt at gentle spooning turned into violent glopping.

Meanwhile, husband and hot food wait at table.

Then I tried to carefully wipe the mess off the rims of the serving cups and it smeared unprettily. At this point I said ferk-it and covered each dish as instructed then threw them in the fridge.

Dinner went fine. We cut the pumpkin pie which was delicious. I finished making the salad without incident and hit the sack without causing harm to myself or anyone else. I worried about the mousse all night and came up with the idea to transfer them into new, clean serving cups.

The mousse transfer is a wonderful idea that totally didn’t work. I only did one cup and it looks like someone dropped it and then scraped it into the dish with a tree branch. I tasted it. Fantastic. I left the rest as they are. Not pretty but taste good, dammit!

Meanwhile, my bread dough came out like bread batter. I’m not sure if I spaced and didn’t put enough flour (probably) or spaced and added too much water. I shaped it the best I could and it’s rising now but I don’t think it’s going to work. I dug out the bread stick recipe from last night because it only needs 45 minutes to rise. Let’s just hope I can turn out decent risotto or we’re going to be eating pizza tonight.

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Industrious Woman

Good Freaking God, what happened to today?

I was up early and super industrious. Working on all these loose ends that I’ve been procrastinating on forever. I did a bunch of online things that necessitated my opening at least 6 new user accounts with usernames and passwords — I only have about 10 trillion of those right now. Yay, isn’t the Internet making life easier? And how about having to click a half million times to buy my 6 items? Yeah, only a teeny bit easier than actually going to the store. (If the store was close by and had a competent person standing there just waiting to help me.)

I was doing all this stuff and suddenly it was 4:30pm so ran to the kitchen to make peach pie (which turned out godhead, by the way. I used Cook’s Illustrated, except I didn’t like the spices or the sugar ratio, so I read the Betty Crocker recipe, except I didn’t want the flour in the filling. I used less brown sugar and more white sugar plus 2 t. lemon and 1 t. lemon zest and 1/4 t. cinnamon and tapioca for my thickener. I’ve never made a peach pie before but this is going in the rotation. I guess I’d better write down what I did while I’m thinking about it.) (I mean write it on a recipe card. I’m never going to remember to look here for my peach pie tips.)

After the pie I made this baked chicken recipe which was easy but had lots of steps including “browning” it on the stove top in a pan which means “get oil splattered everywhere” so I figured while I was there I’d just disembowel the entire stove top and clean it all.

And after that was done I had to get started on the watering. What a fantastic day. I never turned on the air. I just had the windows open and the breeze felt great. Watering still needed to be done. I’ve modified my watering routine to do intensive watering every other day rather than half-assed watering every day. But intensive watering takes forever so while I was out there I did yard work and by the time I finished it was almost 9pm. Then I had to eat my chicken and pie.

I’m completely filthy and smell like a stinky hippy but it’s too late to bathe now. (I’m sure 90% of you are appalled. Yes, I’m fastidious but I will go to bed stinky and dirty with barely a second thought.) I’m also sort of wound up. Sitting here at the computer typing is not helping.

Point being: I still don’t have your train pictures – I did start working on them this morning. And I don’t have my Charlie and the Chocolate Factory story or any of the other stuff I have jotted on scraps of paper that are scattered all over this room. Maybe later this week.

Meanwhile. I’d just like to point out that something I didn’t do this weekend is go to the Willamette Writers conference. I think I’ve attended at least part of it every year but one for the last 4 or 5. Wow, and I’m not feeling totally humilated or like I wasted my money. Coincidence? I think not.

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Do You Think This Is True?

I have a yahoo account and everytime I log in my ad is for diet products. Today they tell me I can lose 20 pounds by October 29. Do you think this is true? If I lost 20 pounds I’d be awfully skinny. What would I have to do? I mean, if I ate nothing but celery and V8 juice, it might be possible, but how healthy would I be?

So has anyone been following the shark attack thing in Florida? Every time I log in there is another person who has been half eaten off the same beach where like, 9 people have been attacked in the last week. C’mon people, if you knew all these people had been attacked by sharks, why would you go swimming? I can barely swim in ocean waters where no sharks have attacked ever. What are people thinking?

But then, I just made a pie while wearing a dry clean only shirt. What was I thinking?

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