Apricot Pie

Apricot Pie

I roll out some pretty ugly pie crusts, but no matter. As you can see, at the time of this writing, my roommate and I have polished off half of this apricot pie, less than 24 hours after making it. It’s been dessert and breakfast and a snack. It goes very well with coffee and after lamb biryani and just on its own. It is a good way to send off summer, or what is left of it (summer has more or less dropped into a cool early spring here in Boston).

Apricot Pie Halved Apricots

If you have to work with a stone fruit, by the gods, apricots are some of the kindest. They have a natural seam in the outer skin that splits open easily just as soon as the tip of your knife touches it. The pits barely need a nudge with your finger before prying loose.

I have read about apricots being intense and flavorful in the Middle East, in certain orchards on the U.S. West Coast. Here in the U.S. Northeast, apricots are rather mild. They are lightly sweet, pleasant, but somewhat unremarkable. They do not betray a hint as to what they become when cooked in sugar and pastry. Which is to say that the first taste of the apricot pie yields an immediate tartness and tang on your tongue. Then a hint of that sweet, formerly mild apricot flavor bubbles up. It would almost be enough to sear off your taste buds, but then the buttery sweetness of the tender, flaky crust begins to cut through, balancing the flavors and creating this gorgeous harmony.

Apricot Pie

Breakfast. I barely kept myself in check to photograph it.

This is a pie that will be going on the “To Make Again, Preferably As Soon As Possible” list, possibly with a few changes (I pretty much did no adaptation this time since pie-making is my general Achilles Heel and I approach rolling out pie dough with a lot of trepidation) such as:

  • If using European butter as I did this time, consider eliminating or reducing the oil in the recipe, as the butter will have a large amount of fat it in already. The crust is tender, but very fragile and prone to tearing easily.
  • Swap out the flour in the filling for pectin or tapioca starch. There’s a lot of syrup in the final product, and while delicious (especially when scooped up by a spoon), it’s rather messy.
  • Experiment with maple sugar. I bet that would be pretty freakin’ amazing.
  • For a prettier crust: use an egg wash next time.


Sweet Corn Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream 1

Last week, two good friends of mine had a baby each, a girl and a boy. With such amazing parents as I have come to know them, these new creatures can’t not be primed for great things. They will have amazing taste in music, will be educated in great literature, and will both be progressive feminists.

So I am eating Snapea Crisps and drinking rose perhaps a little too early in the day and my mind is swirling around thoughts of having babies and getting married and being one of the few who remains of the Old Guard. And by ‘Old Guard’, I mean single and childless, but more importantly, very happy to be single and childless with no inclination to change either of those things anytime soon. I see everyone I know gradually pairing off and then eventually getting pregnant and conversations soon drift towards and stay unswervingly on kid-related matters and couples start only scheduling events and activities with other couples or play dates with the kids. All around you, people are changing and you are not. They are moving away from you and you are standing still.

So I am learning to gently cup every treasured relationship in the palm of my hands and, when I must, to gently let them go when as they begin to drift away. Their priorities are not your priorities. Yours are to have enough sleep, a glass of wine every night, and a good book. To make good food and eat good food. To challenge yourself in small ways if you can’t quite yet bring yourself to face larger ones.

Today’s soundtrack is: Anais Mitchell’s Hadestown, which is a concept album that tells the story of Orpheus and Eurydice via a folk opera featuring notable musicians such as Ani DiFranco, Justin Vernon (lead singer of Bon Iver), and Greg Brown.  Just a taste of how lovely this album is:

Today’s summer feat is a barely adapted homemade sweet corn ice cream recipe from the New York Times that is punched up with a tart raspberry swirl. I found the end result to be a sweet, summery treat with a light corn flavor but the ice cream itself was pretty mild and had a somewhat starchy mouthfeel. The raspberry really adds a great dimension, making this ice cream really sing.

Corn kernels and cobs are infused in a mixture of cream and whole milk. The cobs are removed while the kernels are pureed, simmered, and eventually turned into a custard that forms the base of this ice cream.

Infusing cream and milk with corn kernals and cobs Ready to strain

The corn custard gets strained through a fine mesh sieve for a smooth consistency, and the remaining cream mixture is thoroughly chilled in the fridge for at least four hours. After that, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker, follow your ice cream maker’s instructions, etcetera, you know how these ice cream recipes end.

Straining corn kernals from custard

My raspberry sauce was made by simply cooking down a pint of raspberries, a little lemon juice, and a 1/8 cup of granulated sugar. I then strained the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and put the sauce in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

Making raspberry sauce

To get my raspberry swirl, I poured my ice cream from my ice cream maker into a storage container that is more shallow than deep and poured my raspberry sauce on top. I then took a butter knife and cut swirls into the ice cream. I do not have a very elegant hand in doing this.

Swirling in raspberry sauce

Put the whole thing into the freezer and let it freeze overnight or so.

Ready to scoop

Sweet Corn Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream 2

Breakfast pizza, baking steel style

This guy:

Afternoons and Arturo

Thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to wake up his minions at 4:30 in the morning in order to amuse him. That power cords are ideal for chewing. That carpets are excellent claw sharpeners. I’m starting to suspect all cat owners suffer some feline version of Stockholm Syndrome.

My second pizza-making adventure took a decidedly breakfast angle as breakfast foods, are my most favorite foods, and the preferred foods at every meal when made available. So, let us turn on some beautiful, melancholy music and eat. I am totally digging this band right now.

Somehow, I managed to dig the ingredients out of my rapidly emptying refrigerator for this.

Breakfast Pizza - before, after

Leftover pizza dough that is lightly brushed with extra virgin olive oil mixed with minced garlic and salt, layered with a bed of kale that has been massaged to tenderness, garnished with one leaf of fresh sage shredded merely by my fingers and layered into the kale. Crack two eggs on top, douse in freshly grated sheep’s milk Romero Parmesan.

I like to place my Baking Steel at the top rack of my oven and turn my broiler on high for an hour before putting my pizza into the oven. It cooks in less than five minutes and is glorious.

Crust of breakfast pizza

The Best Pizza Ever (says I)

Homemade Pizza

I used to think I was an incurable sweet tooth, but lately I’ve been finding that the thing I most crave on cheat days is pizza. Not that greasy, two-dimensional slab of New York-style pizza, or the seemingly perfectly uniform discs that one orders from any chain pizza restaurant, but the thick, imperfectly made, bready pizza. The bread to cheese to topping ratio has to be just so, y’know? After trying many a local restaurant’s pizza, and even more desperately, picking up something frozen from the corner store, I finally decided that if I wanted it done right, I’d just have to do it myself.

Reader, let me tell you, I think I’ve discovered heaven. In a possibly constipation-inducing form.

Me being me, I had to go off the deep end and buy myself not any old pizza stone, but a heavy slab of baking steel. Pricy, and takes a bit of muscle to heft it in and out of the oven, but seriously worth every penny, I have come to learn. Because of this:

Homemade Pizza

A perfectly cooked crust to make the gods weep.


Make this pizza crust. You’ll have enough dough to save for later pizzas. Glorious.

Instead of your typical tomato sauce, mince 4-6 garlic cloves (or as much or as little as you can possibly stand) and let them sit in a bowl of maybe 4 Tbs of extra virgin olive oil. I adopted an olive tree from Nudo Italia and get olive oil deliveries quarterly. It’s totally worth it if you love good olive oil. Brush on to the surface of your pie-formed pizza dough. Sprinkle your dough with a pinch of salt.

Add some thin slices of smoked mozzarella, caramelized yellow onion, cherry tomatoes, and baby spinach. This is a genius combination, and worth the time and effort it takes to caramelize those onions. Trust me.

Remember to be sparing in your use of toppings. Less is more, a little goes a long way, etcetera.

Follow the recommended usage for your pizza stone/baking sheet/baking steel. Times and temperatures and rack placement differ, but can I make one last plea to get some baking steel? Your mouth will thank you.

I’ve never actually been sent into a nirvana-like bliss by pizza before, but all of this did the trick.


Arturo, looking very Godfather-esque here, agrees, because he’s just a cat and I can project human emotions onto him whenever I want.

One day I’ll stop being lazy and get back to using my SLR again. Today is not that day.

Sunday Afternoons

They’re my favorite. I don’t know why. Maybe because I know the regular grind of the work week–where your time and self are not your own, bought and paid for, for 9+ hours of the day–is imminent. Now is precious. I get most of my inspiration and motivation on Sunday afternoons.

Sunday Afternoons

When I adopted a mostly paleo diet, I had to give up a lot of treasured foods. Rosemary Breakfast Potatoes. Man, I made some mean breakfast potatoes. Now, I try to not eat potatoes at all. Though I admit that if I find a stray potato among any vegetable side dish I pick up from a cafe for lunch, that potato gets eaten with relish.

Fortunately, my saving grace has been the reluctantly paleo-friendly sweet potato. I have a new found appreciation for them, having only previously encountered them as sugary treats during holiday meals. Savory sweet potatoes are a wonder. These are what I make for breakfast on lazy Sunday afternoons now.

(Yes, I eat my breakfasts in the afternoon on Sundays.)

Breakfast Sweet Potatoes

Savory Breakfast Sweet Potatoes for Two: 2 sweet potatoes, washed, cubed, but please leave the skins on. Texture and taste are important here. In a non-stick frying pan, slowly saute sweet potatoes over medium heat with ghee (or your fat of choice). Season with salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. I don’t stir these too often in order to let them cook and caramelize a bit on each side. Toss in one chopped yellow onion when the sweet potatoes are about three quarters of the way to how you like them done. Cook it all until your onions are tender and semi-translucent or until done.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

Sunday Afternoons 2

This is definitely how it is

Roasting Brussel Sprouts

After many, many permutations, I think I’ve perfected roasted brussel sprouts. For me, at least.

In a mixing bowl, combine halved brussel sprouts with generous amounts of extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Spread the brussel sprouts over a baking sheet. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper for a kick. Roast at 400 F for 15-18 minutes.

Remove from oven. If you’re lucky, there will be all sorts of browned, crispy bits.

Add even more grated cheese.

Throw on a poached egg or two.

This is a simple, utterly wonderful, summer dinner.

Arturo Portrait

This is a cat. My cat, to be precise. He may look innocent, but don’t let that fool you. He understands deeply what it means to hunger.

Endings, Beginnings, Cats, and all

Uh, so, it’s been awhile, huh?

In my defense, a lot of things in my life have changed between my last post and this one. I was inexplicably laid off from the job that was making me miserable, which was quite possibly the best thing that could have happened for my mental well-being and overall life happiness.

So I spent the three months debating my options, contemplated a move across the country, caught up on all four seasons of Arrested Development, visited loved ones. Then I got another job. It is exponentially better than my previous one. I’ve been very busy, and very happy, ever since.

Strange thing, this life.

I made a few things. Not many things, but some. I’ve also relied far too heavily on my cell phone camera.

My first galette des rois.

Galette des Rois side view Galette des Rois

These crispy, thin cookies with mini chocolate chips, pecans, and cardamom. They were terribly perfect with coffee, tea, ice cream, and hot chocolate.

3M Cookies 3M Cookies
3M Cookies

I also got a cat. A very lovely, acrobatic cat. He has a most delightful tail.




No Knead Einkorn Bread

No Knead Einkorn Bread 5

Homemade bread is one of those things that is incredibly awesome, incredibly rewarding, and yet seems to be rarely done for unfathomable reasons. I don’t know why I haven’t made it until now. I bought a cast iron dutch oven nearly six months ago with some intention of trying out a no knead bread recipe.

And yet, and yet….

Well, no matter. It was time now. It’s dreadfully cold and dreary out. What could be more rewarding than some hot soup with some good, crusty bread? More importantly, baking bread would be a very good use of my Einkorn flour, given that Einkorn flour has a ton of protein in it and is much, much healthier for you than modern wheat flours. It also happens to make for really, really delicious bread.

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Stollen, boys, etc.

Stollen 1

After a year and a half of intentionally not speaking to each other, a boy who I went on a few dates with tries to re-establish contact.

It’s been awhile since we’ve talked. Do you want to go out for coffee some time after work to catch up?

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Year of the Pie

This is admittedly a whole bunch of stuff I had never gotten around to posting, the only time to take photos was with my iPhone before dashing off to the party or to work or to catch the plane. In 2013, I vow to use my swanky and very expensive new camera a lot better and a lot more.

2012 seems to have been the year of pies, of various types and flavors.

New Year’s Eve: Cubano Puff Pastry Pie(ish)


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