So... today, over a week after Easter, I finally find this cookbook "Pie."
I had been looking and looking for it!
Today I was not looking for it. Easter being behind me I was doing my other work. But while I was looking for certain documents I saw this big book. Even before I could see what it was, I thought: That is it!
That is "Pie"!
After I got through Easter without it!
"Pie" is by Ken Haedrich whom I have never heard of although I admire that German name. He has an, ahem, online community called The Pie Academy. It is dedicated to the idea that anyone can make a pie from scratch.
It is a funny thing when family occasions approach. There is the battle between cooking and cleaning. This year I learned a lesson. Cleaning takes a back seat. You need your house to be not disgusting, but beyond that, don't sweat the cleaning. Cook.
With which, here is what I did this year.
In our family we cannot decide between ham and lamb and so it is fun to have both. That is what I did. The lamb came from Tops. Yay, Tops! Best price in town, $5.99 a pound. The ham came from Aldi. This was a spiral ham. I am never not doing a spiral ham ever again. So much easier, and I doused it liberally with Spirit Glaze For Ham out of my ancient Joy of Cooking. It gave it a taste of bourbon and of orange.
I thought about scalloped potatoes but you know what? Baked potatoes. With sour cream and butter. The potatoes slid into the oven beneath the meat.
My sister brought a beautiful salad incorporating cucumbers and beets and Herb Gerard.
And for dessert.... here is where my 1980s Betty Crocker cookbook, the classic edition pictured at left, came into play.
I had in mind chocolate cream pie and some kind of lemon pie. Haha... opening up this old Pie cookbook I have, I saw that was my plan last year, too! There was a chocolate pie I had made and a lemon pie I had made. I had written notes. The chocolate pie had turned out to be more like a big cookie -- good, and Howard had liked it, but it was not exactly a pie. The lemon pie had been a nice twist. Not a lemon meringue pie, but very good.
This is why you write notes! Thank you, last year's self!
So I did the Chocolate Cream Pie out of Betty Crocker. The Lemon Meringue Pie was on the next page and so, no muss no fuss, I did that.
I love Betty Crocker and here is one reason why. Both pies asked for pre-baked crusts. Normally I try to avoid those because you need pie weights, or dried beans, to fill up the crust when you bake it. I don't have pie weights. I did have dried beans dedicated to this purpose but at some point, disgusted with my overflowing kitchen, I tossed them.
Betty Crocker just had you pop the crusts in the oven!! No pie weights! No hill of beans!
Is that the greatest or what??
Both the pies were a great success. I learned a new art, of making custard. And with a few leftover egg whites I made something else new, a meringue crust. Betty Crocker made it sound easy and, sure enough, it was.
Betty Crocker suggested two uses for the meringue crust -- Divine Lime Pie or Chocolate Angel Pie. I went with the Divine Lime, in honor of Christ's divinity.
The Divine Lime Pie was the hit of the dessert table along with Apple and Elderberry Pie, made by my brother-in-law David. Even now I remember my slice of that pie with pleasure. It had just a haunting taste, perfect fruit, beautiful spice.
It was fun, at work I got to talk to our food critic, Andrew Galarneau, about our Easter table. When I mentioned the Apple and Elderberry Pie, he went, "Whoa. Whoa!"
He has as great sense for food. Because that was my thought exactly. Whoa!!
You know me, always obsessing over what I eat. But there comes a time to indulge.
This evening bishop's weed stands in for spinach in Deborah Madison's mushroom and spinach stew. This is just a simple dish you throw together with a lot of butter, which of course is the secret to its deliciousness. Piously, this being Holy Week, I cut back on the butter somewhat. But it is still yummy.
To my shock, the latest issue of Eating Well sings the praises of the bishop's weed. It says to discard stems. When they are this small though it does not seem to matter. The tiny stems add a kind of texture. Harvesting the bishop's weed is very easy otherwise. You just wade into the field and grab huge handfuls! Then next day you have a fresh crop of young tender bishop's weed leaves. And the problem with this is what?
I am sort of collecting different names for bishop's weed such as Giersch (the German name), snow on the mountain, ground elder, and goutweed (because it is good for many ailments including gout). Today I found one I do not recall seeing before, Herb Gerard.
That is like a name! "Hi, I'm Herb Gerard, and you're sure looking good this evening."
It was Dorothy's birthday recently at St. Anthony's. She is 94.
Remember Dorothy? As in Driving Miss Dorothy? I am not driving Miss Dorothy at the moment. My friend Lizzie is driving Miss Dorothy because I am doing the baking for the coffee hour and because Lizzie is just a cool person.
As it happened Dorothy had two (2) birthday cakes. One for each of her 47 years which together makes 94. I made one covered in birthday sprinkles. I love making birthday cakes and the icing on the cake is when you get to use those rainbow sprinkles! Remember, I did that last year for Dorothy's birthday. This year Lizzie stepped in and in addition to my cake made something fancier. She made her famous carrot cake! To cakes are better than one! I am not complaining, I will tell you that right now.
Dorothy cannot claim, as Leonard Pennario could, to have been baptized at St. Anthony's. She is an immigrant! She remembers being a tiny girl and seeing the Statue of Liberty. That was literally 90 years ago.
Dorothy blew out the candles which means she will get her wish. I know that her wish must be wonderful.
I am getting back on my feet after not keeping up with this Web log so I will be sharing some memories going forward. Recent memories, not distant ones.
A closeup of my cake. Hey, with candles it looked really cool!