And happy posthumous birthday to Albert Einstein.
It’s fall, and that means pumpkin season! Trader Joe’s falls in love with pumpkins, and Serious Eater Erin tried to eat all of them. The excellent blog The Awl chronicled all the pumpkin items featured in the advertisement.
The SE article was accompanied by this adorable chart (by Roboppy!):
Another article by Kathy YL Chan reviews a delicious-looking pumpkin custard at Cha-an in New York, which sadly I will never get to eat as I have no plans to be in NY this fall.
And, lest you think I devote my life to just reposting SE:
I am now ordering weekly veg boxes from Riverford Organic; last week I ordered a squash box as well, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Apparently if kept well, they last all winter.
I also had a birthday pie night this week, with a Lee’s Pie and a Lentil Shepherd’s Pie. I tried to make a gluten-free crust for the Lee’s Pie, but I don’t think I added enough water; it turned into a crumble. No worries! Still tasty!
Serious Eats is having their own Pie Night!!! Jealous I can’t be there. The first pie night this year will be Sunday the 14th (birthday pie night). It’s Pie Night’s second anniversary!
(Although theirs supports a charity and has an adorable illustration by Roboppy. Roboppy, will you illustrate my pie night???)
So, I have gone kind of vegan-in-the-home to see if it would help my cholesterol and allergies. My mom is overjoyed, and we’ve been making quinoa and lentils out the wazoo. Last week for her birthday I made a vegan shepherds pie that was actually delicious – it tasted exactly like it would with meat!!! And much healthier, too.
I adapted the recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Appetite for Reduction, but since I can never follow a recipe exactly, I’ll put it in as I made it and note the differences from the book.
First, mashed potatoes. My dad made these with his own mental recipe. Basically: peels and roughly chop 1 sweet and 4 white potatoes; parboil until squishy. Drain, let cool, mash. Then he added a bunch of herbs per my request and salt and pepper. Usually he adds Benecol, but the sweet potato was creamy enough to not need it.
Then the “meat”:
olive oil (for sautéing)
1 finely-chopped onion
2 zucchini (ICM calls for 1 zuch and 4 oz shiitake shrooms, but I don’t like those)
3 minced garlic cloves*
fresh tarragon (she uses dried)
fresh thyme (she uses dried… but I have in my garden!)
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper pinch
1 cup tiny-diced carrots
3/4 cup de Puy (French) lentils
3 c veg broth
1/2 c frozen peas (reheat them first!)
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
Sauté the onions and then the zucchini (and shrooms, if you have).** Add spices and herbs and cook for another 5 minutes. Add carrots, lentils, and broth; cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are squishy and have absorbed all the broth. If it’s boiled away and the lentils are still hard, add more broth (and lower the heat). Add Worcestershire and peas; let sit 10 minutes.
The recipe then calls for the serving of the lentils over the mashed potatoes (or, rather, caulipots – cauliflower mashed potatoes), but since it was a special birthday meal we decided to make it look more like a real shepherds pie and bake it for a bit. We half-filled a Corningware with the lentils and then covered them with a thick layer of mash. This was excellent, as it really crisped up the top and the sweet potato gave it all that orange color that usually comes from the fat (absent in this dish). It was missing just a little something, so we individually added ketchup. Wha-bam! Excellent. Next time I may add Pomi into the lentil mixture instead.
*I got to use my new OXO garlic press! So much easier than my old method (slicing and chopping).
**The recipe says to saute the onions for 4 minutes. However, onions taste best caramelized, which takes much longer. Please, by all means cook your onions half an hour or more, carefully watched. Longer on lower heat makes for more delicious.
Q: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter? A: Pumpkin Pi
(from Ellen Degeneres’ twitter)
Kathleen K recently posted this hint, which is to use cold vodka instead of water in the pie crust to make it flakier. Perhaps you could use it in this Serious Eats rhubarb pie? According to Kathleen, Alton Brown recommends using apple brandy for an apple pie crust, but I doubt there’s a suitable rhubarb liqueur replacement… suggestions welcome!
Here’s a cute poster of pies represented as pie charts. Sadly, I couldn’t insert a picture, so click through the link.
Will Gordon of Serious Eats beat me to it! Here’s his review of the chicken pot pie. The conclusion: excellence in a tin.
You can also watch the 70s-themed ad (I guess chicken pot pies are vintage-y?)
So, I am back from Sudan and working for a caterer in Atlanta. We’ll see if they require my pie skills in the future… they already made tons of delicious empanadas last week! In the meantime, here’s a quick update of the pies made for Pi Day posted on Neatorama.
However, some of those are repeats from last year, as is this Pi-rate ship pie, which really takes the cake!
It’s an apple pie, in case you were interested, but I think a more apt filling would be salted beef and potatoes in ale…
I wish I had actually remembered it was pi day before the evening, when I was reminded by Young Katie. Otherwise I could have posted this link from Illinois Science featuring Chicago restaurants with pie specials.
With the family on diet, it’s unlikely I’ll be baking pies in the near future. However, I saw an ad for KFC’s new chicken pot pies, and boy, if that isn’t a heart attack in a tin… must try nomnomnom. I rarely eat fast food, but if I can sneak away from dietland I will post a report.
This is the most ridiculously adorable thing ever.
It’s a pumpkin pie baked into its own miniature pumpkin. I wish I had more time before Sudan, otherwise I’d totally make this. And imagine other ones… you could bake things inside gourds! You could mix and match squashes! However, it might be a bit difficult to eat, as I fear the crust would separate from the skin upon slicing.
I didn’t know such a mixture of awesome and disgusting existed (and I study diseases for fun). The Cherpumple is a giant cake with three layers, each of which is a pie (cherry, pumpkin, and apple). Comedian Charles Phoenix invented it and posted the recipe on his website, inspiring numerous lesser imitations, or “fanpumples”, I guess.
He declares it to be the turducken of desserts.
It doesn’t appear to be that difficult, as the recipe calls for frozen pies and box cakes; the key difficulty seems to be keeping it solid enough to survive slicing and serving. If anyone is really good at cakes and sweet pies, this might be your thing.
The editor of Serious Eats has made an all-pie Thanksgiving, including a turkey-and-stuffing pie, mashed potato pie, turkey pot pie, and green bean casserole pie.
All-Pie Thanksgiving (video)
All-Pie Thanksgiving (article)
I am actually not making a pie for Thanksgiving, but will be making an Ottolenghi roast vegetable platter and sweet potato souffles.
This article in the NYT explains why small foods – mini pies, people! – are so very satisfying.
After reading the NYT Magazine today and doing some follow-up research, I have discovered that Mark Bittman, noted food blogger, hates pies. This article, titled “Bye, Bye American Pie”, has the tagline “You could just bake fruit in a crust. Or you could let the season’s bounty really shine.” This is a intensification of his minimalist pie, the recipe for which was given in 2009′s “Another Way to Elude the Pie Crust” . That recipe, which I used at TPS at one point, was actually delicious. I don’t agree that a pie without a bottom is a minimalist pie, but just a much easier way to make one. I mean, your pie is going to spill all over the place when you serve it whether it has a bottom or not, so why bother? Unless it’s a mini pie, it’s a big messy affair.
Moving back in time to 2008, Bittman’s How to Cook Everything featured this recipe for flaky pie crust, which he states is “flavorful-delicious in its own right, no matter what the filling”; he follows it with recipes for blueberry pie and pecan pie. Now he has moved away from crusts towards interiors. Read in fearmongering journalist voice: Does this signal the end of the pie’s spot in the sun?
I’m not convinced. Although my excavation and thesis-writing have kept me away from pie blogging, they seem to be as popular as ever, at least in London. Pieminster, the market pie chain, now produces pies in boxes for sale at Waitrose. All the flavors one can enjoy at their restaurant locations and market stalls can be enjoyed in the home after only 20 minutes of oven re-heating. Keep watching the trend, and keep me informed if you see any more pies in the news.
I have written before about Greeks and their pies. I am now in the land of the ancients and have been eating cheeeeese like crazy. HListen: when I was at the Athens airport (which is now actually connected to the city by the metro) there was literally not a single food sold that did not have cheese in it. The best? Feta tiropita.
A tiropita is fillo dough stuffed with some mixture of Greek cheeses. It is sort of like a pasty, but more delicious (if that’s even possible). They make them with other stuffings sometimes, like spinach (technically a spanakopita), but cheese is the best. Sometimes we have them for lunch.
However, I have yet to have a gyros on this island because the gyros place only opens in the evening and it’s 2.5km uphill. Considering I walk 5km every day anyway, I am reluctant to go another 5km for a gyros, particularly as this island does not actually know when anything opens or if it’s open every day or what. Stores are only open from 10-12 (on certain days) and 6-midnight (theoretically), but lord help you if you show up for dinner at 6, since the usual eating time is 9:30 or later.
We are also getting tons and tons of feta in our Greek salads. I saw the bucket the feta comes in: it’s the kind one uses to transport live fish. Every meal is served with Greek salad. Breakfast is the only meal missing cheese, but there are like 30 cups of Greek yogurt on the table each morning. Oh, and the tzatziki I make every week and share with my three roommates.
Tzatziki, island style
The stuff: 1 pint Greek yogurt, 1 cucumber, 1 head of garlic
The method: Remove about three big scoops of yogurt – you’ll need the space. (We don’t have tupperware.) Peel the cucumber, scoop out the seeds, and chop it really, really small. (We don’t have a grater.) Crush the garlic with the spoon and then cut it up really small. Mix these into the yogurt. Let sit overnight so the garlic soaks in. Breathe deeply, but not deep enough to smell your neighbor’s breath, as they’ll definitely have their face in the garlic as well. I’m pretty sure all four of us go to sleep with the worst garlic breath EVER.
Gah, no posts! I was lazy, then busy, then I got shingles and pretty much every activity left me exhausted. I’m working on some things now, but in the meantime I have TWO Londontopias and one OW for you.
Orientalist Whore: First Travels
Also, the NYT Magazine had a review of a Connecticut pie shop, but it was only about sweet pies! The shame! Anyway, if you’re in Connecticut apparently you should head to Flour Garden Bakery this summer.