Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pie # 6 - Pacific Northwest Blackberry. Almost as good as my Mamo's.


Sick of looking at paused you tube videos when visiting my blog? Thinking- "hey Pie Lady- how about a fakking PIE?"

Yeah. I hear ya. It's time.

It's the height of blackberry season here and it's been a good'n this year. Last year's blackberries were kind of a bummer. I don't know why, but they were just sucky and flavorless. Which made for shitty blackberry pie. I was getting all down on myself, wondering why my Mamo's (my grandma) berry pies were so much better than mine.

I tried again this year and felt better about my skillz. Mamo's pie is still better than mine (could be the crack she puts in the pie filling?), but mine is a noble second place. It wasn't my recipe last year, but the crappo berries. This years beautiful pickings have resulted in beautiful pie. So, in short- use delicious berries or don't f'ing bother.

I hate to be a tooter of my own horn, but THAT looks goddamn DELICIOUS.
Just sayin.

Locally grown Lovelies

Britt's Blackberry Pie

2 1/2 # blackberries
3 Tb freshly sqwozen lemon juice
1 cup sugar (add a couple tablespoons if your berries are really tart)
2 1/4 oz cornstarch (about 7 Tb)
1/4 tsp salt
2 T unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Enough of your favorite pie dough for a double crust. Here is my all butter recipe if you want it.

I'm thinking recipe instructions with pictures would be a delight, don't you?
Toss berries with lemon juice, then gently, Gently! fold the dry ingredients into the berries.

Fill your pie shell and dot with butter. Mmmm Hmmm, But-tah!

Apply the top crust and fold the edges under.
Crimp the edge.

Slice in some steam vents, sprinkle with sugar, then bake: 375 for 45 minutes, turn down heat to 325 and bake 25 minutes more.

Slice and enjoy. Nom Nom Nom.

Don't forget a scoop of just-churned vanilla ice cream. I knew you wouldn't.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Music Meme!!

One one my favorite bloggers out there Emiline, who's blog sugar plum you should all be familiar with has taken my meme virginity. Yes, in almost a year of blogging, this is my first. And it's a really cool one because rather than answer mundane questions about my favorite snack and whether I'm a morning or night person, this one is about music. Many of you know that I both live in a very music-centric city and and am married to a musician. Needless to say, this is a topic I love dearly (possibly more than baking?). I was tickled to participate.
These are the rules:

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your summer (or whatever season). Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.

I have broken the rules only slightly. The first song is what I would consider my "summer song"- or the song I am really into right now. Natalie Portman's Shaved Head is a local (Seattle) band that I find to be loads of fun. They are not "big" yet- but they will be.

The last 6 I would consider to be my hands down all time favorite songs ever. Not only now, but until the end of time.


Sophisticated side ponytail by Natalie Portman's Shaved Head

Deep Red Bells by Neko Case

Strangers by The Kinks

Dancing in the Moonlight by King Harvest

Not Dark Yet by Bob Dylan

Corrina by Taj Majal

This must be the Place (Naive Melody) by The Talking Heads...cuz this is me and Trevor's "song"..yes, we have a song.

And now, I am tagging:

Brooke at The diet chronicles- cuz she's my sister beetches.

Brittany at Musings of a Barefoot Foodie- she has a beautiful name.

Mallow at Pietown- a fellow Seattle blogger who's sure to rock all of our worlds with her sweet tunes

Jenn at The Leftover queen

Matt at Wrightfood- another Seattleite whom I've memed before, so It will be fun to make him think I'm stalking him.

Jonny at Jonny loser- Also a friend of mine, one of my sister's old high school friends (they went to homecoming together)

Claudia at cookeatFRET

Monday, July 21, 2008

SHF# 45- Berries

Three weeks in heaven- buttermilk panna cotta, local berries, crispy phyllo, strawberry-balsamic reduction

First of all, thanks to all of you for your get better comments and for bearing with me during my silent period. I am starting to feel better, though I still seem to be drowning in phlegm (yeah, sorry thats disgusting. But sometimes you just gotta share).

If I haven't completely grossed you out, shall we talk about this month's Sugar High Friday? Susan at Food Blogga is hosting with the seasonally apt theme of berries.
I beam with pride when we get our first flat of local strawberries. As I have previously boasted, the Pacific Northwest is berry country. My neighbor to the south (Portland, to be exact- which is probably the coolest city on this planet) Heather pointed out that it's the volcanic soil. All I know is that with my first taste of the season, I renew my pact I have made with myself to never move from this glorious land.
My berry can kick your berrie's ass

This year, nature has been cruel to us. Our already short local strawberry season was almost a month late. Strawberries like a nice cozy 70-75 degree climate, which is why June and July here is perfect for them. But this year's weather has been all fucked up, resulting in a three week long season for our beloved strawberries. It ended on Saturday. I am still grieving.

I had a delightful dessert on the menu to showcase the lovelies this year. I am boycotting strawberry shortcake, due to the fact that I just need a break from it- and it's a somewhat tired (delicious, but tired) dessert. Instead, I turned to Claudia Fleming's buttermilk panna cotta. I have found many of Fleming's recipes to be hit or miss. Many of them are excellent ideas, but need some tweaking. Her buttermilk panna cotta, however, is stellar as is. All I did was replace the plain sugar with vanilla bean sugar. I firmly believe that the sight of vanilla beans makes people happy. And I am in the business of making people happy.
Next to the panna cotta and sliced, sugared berries are a a couple of triangles of crispy phyllo and a squiggle of strawberry balsamic reduction- which is equal parts strawberry puree, balsamic vinegar, and a little sugar reduced until it gets kind of jammy. This concoction is also amazing when brushed onto a roasted pork tenderloin. I would eat this dessert over shortcake (which I still love) any day. It almost feels..oh god.. "light" ..eek!

Buttermilk panna cotta
adapted from Claudia Fleming

1 1/4 cup heavy cream
4 oz sugar
1 1/2 tsp gelatin
1 3/4 cup buttermilk

Place the gelatin in a small bowl and sprinkle with 1 T cold water. Let soften for 5 minutes. Spray 6 large (or 10 very small- thats what I do) ramekins with pan release. Combine the sugar and cream in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved and cream is hot. Add the softened gelatin and continue stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved- do not let mixture boil. Remove from heat and stir in buttermilk. Strain into a measuring pitcher and pour into prepared ramekins. Let chill until set- at least 3 hours. Invert onto a serving plate and top with sliced, sugared berries.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Has it really been over a month?

First in the archive of neglected recipes I've been meaning to blog- Fresh blueberry tart

Woah- sorry faithful readers (all 3 of you)! Between my last post bemoaning the shitty weather and now, summer actually decided to happen for us here. I guess sitting at home in front of the computer was pretty low on my priority list. My apologies. Lucky for you all, I am trapped indoors with a narsty cold.

Usually when I'm sick, I choose to lie on the couch and watch all the crappy girl movies that Trevor will never watch with me. Here's the problem though. Trevor is like, REALLY good about chick flicks- just as long as they're decent movies. He loves Working girl and Steel Magnolias as much as I do. So on sick days, I rent the "no chance in hell" movies. Today's titles were The Notebook and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. I don't know why I do this to myself. Those are two of the shittiest movies I have ever seen in my life. Well- The Notebook has Ryan Gosling going for it (especially towards the end with his hot little beard), but that aside, it was a crapfest. I would say live and learn, but I know I'll just repeat my errors next time I'm sick.

After some sufficient loafing time, It occurred to me that I haven't posted in ages and there are piles of recipes and pictures I've been meaning to share with you all. Here is one of my favorite uses for the blueberries that are in season and lovely right now- Fresh blueberry tart. It's on my menu right now with a dollop of barely sweetened greek yogurt (I whisk in a teaspoon or two of vanilla bean sugar) and lemon-lavender creme anglaise. It's a recipe that I vaguely remember jacking from Martha Stewart, but when I went to her book to confirm that, I couldn't find the recipe. So I dunno. Maybe it's hers, maybe it's not. Now it's yours.

**By the way- my little sister, who is totally not even fat, has started a blog of her own to chronicle her way through a diet her and her boyfriend are on. The recipes are actually really awesome and not "diet-y", but they do happen to be good for you. Unlike my recipes. I highly recommend clicking here to check it out.**

Fresh blueberry tart

1 10" pre-baked pate sucree tart shell, or 10 individual shells

2# fresh blueberries
6 oz water
2 T fresh lemon juice, strained
7 oz sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 T cornstarch
1 tsp ground ginger
Greek yogurt- the new whipped cream. Vastly superior in every way.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, cornstarch, and ginger.
Pick through the blueberries and remove any stems. measure out two cups, then set the rest aside in a large bowl. In a saucepan, bring the water and lemon juice to a boil. Add the 2 cups of berries and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to burst (takes a minute or two). Add the dry ingredients and cook, whisking constantly until sauce is thickened and translucent. Remove from heat and fold in the remaining fresh berries. Spoon filling into prebaked tart
shell(s) and chill.


Thanks Norm!