August 29, 2010

I haven’t mentioned Montreal!  I went there.  I ate at more vegetarian/vegan restaurants in a weekend than in the time I’ve been in New York.  Thanks to Omar, Nana, Katie and Mitz for making it a great trip. 

In big life-changing news, I became an Auntie this week!  Marion Grace was born on August 25th at 4am PST.  I will (try to) keep the baby gushing to a minimum, but isn’t she cute?!  Congrats to my big bro Andrew and his wife Shannon for ushering this little lady into the world.

Last week I told someone I planned on making a Marionberry pie to celebrate my niece’s birth, but seeing as I have no clue where to find a proper marionberry, I settled for strawberry pie… and a blackberry (marionberries are actually a kind of blackberry, mostly found in Oregon) and blueberry pie, which is currently cooling on my windowsill.
As I may have mentioned, I’m not much of a baker.  Until yesterday, I’d never made a pie before, which explains my limited success.  I made the dough using a basic recipe, and sort of winged it with the filling. 

Basic Pie Crust Recipe1 1/2 all purpose flour1 stick of cold butter, cubed1 tsp salt1 tsp granulated sugar4-5 tbls ice waterIn a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar until mixed.  Add cold butter and pulse until it forms small pea-size pieces.  Add ice water a tablespoon at a time until you can pinch the dough and it holds together. 
Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and put in the fridge for at least an hour.
Once it’s cold, dust your counter with flour and roll out until even thickness and about 10 inches across.  Press into pie pan.  Line the inside of the pie with parchment paper and use pie weights or dry beans to hold in place (if you’re making crust ahead of time.)  Bake at 350 for 20 mins. Poke bottom of crust and bake until it’s no longer doughy.

Strawberry Filling
2 containers fresh strawberries1/2 cup (or more) granulated sugarcornstarchjuice of 1 lemon (optional)lemongrass (optional)Chop one container of strawberries and heat in a pan with sugar and lemon juice.  Add cornstarch (check directions) and boil until sauce thickens.  I used some stalks of lemongrass, but removed before adding to the crust.  Cool in the fridge.  Chop remaining strawberries and add to the saucy mixture.  Add strawberries to pie crust.  If you’re overly girly, you can cut out a strawberry from dough, bake it, and add to the top.  Your friends will think you bought it at a store that sells strawberry-shaped cookies.

I brought this to a BBQ on Mat’s roof.  Since I had neglected to bring veggie dogs, I cut into this early so that I would stop eating all of the guacamole.  It was a bit (ok, a lot) runny, but tasted pretty nice.  Sadly, I have no pie filling skills (yet.)  Perhaps I should read up on my friend Kate Lebo’s blog, who is a pie baking expert and wins all sorts of pie-baking awards in Seattle.  Show me your wise ways, dear Kate.

July 13, 2010

Cooking is at a slow crawl at the moment, just like everything else in this city.  I postponed my Things You Can Eat with Your Hands dinner party, but I hope that the next few weeks will inspire some new recipes – I’m taking The Bored Vegetarian on the road! 
I leave next Thursday for Washington State, and then on to Atlanta.  A few weeks later, I’ll be in Philly, and if my new passport arrives by the end of next month, hopefully to Montreal. 
Speaking of Canada, I’m currently waiting for my newest houseguests to arrive.  Can I use them as an excuse to make poutine? 
Apologies for a scatterbrained post.  Here is a picture of me eating cotton candy outside Kenka on Saturday.