Archive for the ‘pies’ Category

July 1.

New month. New job. New blog. Duh.

A year ago (almost to the day) I started a new job in a new town with new people. 365 days later I find myself in a shockingly similar boat but miles from where I started and going in a very different direction. Here is an abridged list of the things I’ve learned over the last year:

1. Oatmeal pecan cookies will help you get a job.Just make sure they’re really good oatmeal pecan cookies. These should do the trick.

also helpful when looking for a raise

2.  Some battles aren’t worth fighting, but some definitely are. It’s good to stand up for what you believe to be true, to expose injustice and hatred and bigotry for what they are. Just be ready for the fall-out and don’t waver. Stick to your guns. In the same vein, there are also people in our lives who are worth fighting for and people we need to let go of. It’s the ones who support us, who love us unconditionally, and who are willing to stand up for us as much as we are for them that we need to cling to. You can’t make people love you and in the end it’s their loss. Learning that one stung a little.

3.  As much as I’d like to be, I am just not a club-hopping-high-heel-wearing-down-town-sixth-street kinda girl. I’ve given it the ol’ college try more times than I can count now. It’s just not in the cards for me. And that’s okay.

4. Happiness is a choice. A good one. The right one.

5. Eating healthy is hard, but it’s worth it. This is one of those lessons that I’m still learning. I usually fail miserably, but I’m working on it.

you try turning your nose up at these lemon bars. it can’t be done.

6. Never live next to a pool. If you do, chances are there will be drunk strangers making lots of noise at all hours of the night. You’ll ask them to keep it down. They won’t. You’ll inevitably be forced into the role of “that girl.” You know, the one that calls the cops. All the time.

7. Always garnish your glass of champagne with a strawberry. It’ll make you feel fancy even when you’re not. And it’s delicious.

8. I can finally sleep with all the lights off again. I’m not even sure when it happened, but at some point this year I began turning off all the lights at night, instead of turning them on. It might take six years, but scars really do heal.

9. Comparison is a tool used by the enemy. It will rob you of your joy. When you’re tempted to compare your situation to that of someone else, don’t. Tell comparison to suck it.

10. You can chase your dreams, even if you’re not really sure how to. You can go back to school to be a nurse. You can move across the country on a whim. You can order business cards for a virtually non-existent business. Why not? I’d rather live big than just dream big.

And sometimes, when you’ve had a bad day or your friends are coming over and expect delicious treats because you’re a baker or even when your mind is all jumbled and the only way to make sense of it all is to put on your old chef’s coat and bake your thoughts into submission, the answer is a strawberry pie. With fresh whipped cream, of course. And don’t even think about using a store-bought crust. I won’t forgive you.


  • For the filling

    • 7 cups strawberries, coarsely chopped
    • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • For the crust (Pate Brisee)

    • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • Salt
    • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    • 1/3 to 2/3 cup ice water


  1. Pulse flour, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Drizzle 1/3 cup ice water evenly over mixture. Pulse until mixture holds together when pressed between 2 fingers (dough should not be wet or sticky). If dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse.
  2. Shape dough into 2 disks, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the filling: Mix together rhubarb, strawberries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, zest and juice, vanilla, and salt.
  4. Make the crust: Roll out 1 disk pate brisee to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Pour in filling; dot top with butter. Refrigerate while making top crust.
  5. Roll remaining disk pate brisee to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into at least 15 1/2-inch-wide strips using a fluted pastry cutter.
  6. Lay 8 strips across pie. Fold back every other strip, and lay a horizontal strip across the center of the pie. Unfold folded strips, then fold back remaining strips. Lay another horizontal strip across pie. Repeat folding and unfolding strips to weave a lattice pattern. Repeat on remaining side. (Here is a detailed how-to. Because I love Martha.)
  7. Alternately, you can use a full top crust (like me) and just punch a few cute polka-dots on top with round cutters for ventilation purposes.
  8. Trim bottom and top crusts to a 1-inch overhang using kitchen shears, and press together to seal around edges. Fold edges under, and crimp as desired. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  9. Brush crust with egg wash, and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. Bake pie on middle rack, with a foil-lined baking sheet on bottom rack to catch juices, until vigorously bubbling in center and bottom crust is golden, about 1 1/2 hours. (Loosely tent with foil after 1 hour if crust is browning too quickly.) Transfer pie to a wire rack, and let cool for at least 2 hours (preferably longer) before serving

be still my heart

Over the last year I’ve gained about 13 new friends. Not just acquaintances, but real honest-to-god-couldn’t-live-without-them friends. That’s gotta be a record. I’ve designed a dessert menu. I’ve moved. Twice. I finally got a web-cam and had my first skype session! Hello twenty-first century, it is SO nice to meet you. I’ve been heart sick and crazy happy and everything in between. I am nowhere near where I thought I would be or should be and that, my friends, is a huge blessing.

For a full year of photos featuring delicious treats, feel free to visit my new fb page:





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