6 Months

Six months ago today, I started this blog. I know six months isn’t much of a milestone, but it’s been a lot of fun so far, and I’d like to take a moment to reflect. Since Thanksgiving is about being grateful for what you’ve got, I’m grateful that I have this medium to express my thoughts (no matter how inane sometimes). And I’m grateful that it’s brought me to you, dear readers.

Six months ago, I never would have suspected that people I’ve never met before would write to tell me what they have in common with me or how much they enjoyed a recipe. Occasionally, I hear from old friends who have read my blog and want to catch up. And occasionally I post pictures of my cats and get made fun of. These moments make our big world seem small and give me the motivation to keep writing. So thank you.

Six months ago, this was just an experiment. Now, it’s something I look forward to. I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. And for anyone wondering what this vegetarian is having for “Turkey Day,” I’m making vegetable lasagna and eating as much pumpkin pie and Reddi-wip as I can.

The Best Pie Crust Ever

While some people say you should do everything in moderation, there are also those who believe you can’t get too much of a good thing. I fall more in the former category except when it comes to pie (as you can probably tell by the fact that this is my second pie post in the last few weeks).

Since I didn’t have dinner or cake on my birthday, I treated myself tonight with a special homemade meal and extra special dessert. I’m getting back into my workout routine, so I didn’t feel as guilty about all of this I should have. Besides, it’s my birthday week! I can have a week right?

I’ll share my dinner recipe in another post. Right now, it’s all about the pie.

Strawberry Pie

It isn’t really rhubarb season anymore, which is sad because strawberry rhubarb pie is my favorite. So instead, I opted for strawberry peach. The filling was a little more runny than I would have liked, but it was still pretty tasty. The crust, however, was a home run. It’s flaky and sweet and melt-in-your-mouth buttery. I’m talking Paula Dean buttery. And I’m talking Paris Hilton flaky.

So… back to the crust…here’s the recipe (courtesy of Food Network).

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for rolling surface
1/2 cup cake flour
3 teaspoons sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
1/4 cup salted butter (softened at room temp)
Pinch salt
1 egg
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/4 cup ice cold water

Sift together the flours and powdered sugar. Using a pastry cutter, blend in the butter and the shortening. Add the salt. In a separate container, whisk together the vinegar, water and egg. Pour over the dry ingredients. Split into two balls and refrigerate.

When it comes time to bake your pie, you can pick the filling of your preference. Use one rolled out dough ball for the bottom of the pie and the other for the top. Brush the top crust with an egg white wash. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes and then decrease heat to 375 for the remainder of time the pie is in the oven.

Showdown with Must Be Heaven

I tend to shy away from competition, but recently, I found myself talking a big game with a friend of mine. The conversation went something like this.

Matt: Must Be Heaven makes the best apple pie ever.
Me: I bet I can make a better one.
Matt: Oh yeah? Prove it.
Me: It’s on!

I’m paraphrasing, of course. But I had talked the talk, so once challenged, I had to walk the walk.

The truth was, though, that I hadn’t ever tried Must Be Heaven apple pie. So I went by there for lunch one day to see what all the hype was about. Their pies have a delicious crumb topping that I knew would be hard to beat. I started to waver. It wasn’t the best pie I’d ever had, but it was definitely tasty. Could I really do this? I hadn’t baked a pie in months. And here’s the cold, hard truth: I had never made an apple pie by myself. I had already made a big deal about it; there was no backing down now.

I got to baking. I put my heart and soul into that pie. I combined three different recipes to concoct what I hoped would be the perfect crust, the most balanced filling, and a topping with bark AND bite. But with baking, so much is left to chance, and I could only hope for good results.

My Pie

My Pie

My friends came over, we ate dinner and then it was time for the showdown. We blindfolded Matt. Since he couldn’t see the food in front of him, Jovita fed him a bite of A and then a bite of B.

Jovita feeding Matt

Jovita feeding Matt

Everyone else (except me) also had to select their favorite and write their choice down on a piece of paper. There were five voters in all. When the votes came in, it was split fifty/fifty: 2 votes A, 2 votes B. It was all down to Matt. Jovita opened the sheet of paper and read the result: TIE. A complete cop out.

So I didn’t win the bet. But I didn’t lose either. In the opinion of my friends, my pie is as good as Must Be Heaven’s. It’s a decision I can live with. Plus, I got to have pie for breakfast which is pretty much the definition of victory.