Saturday, December 27, 2008

4th Annual Portland Thanksgiving

Here it is boxing day and I have not yet posted about pies from Thanksgiving! Here they are, presented in rhyming couplets...

For the 4th year in a row to Portland I did go,
Well, let's get this straight, it is really SoPo.
Though it took 13 hours through great traffic trials,
It was well worth the trip to meet sweet baby Miles.

I opted to make apple cranberry pie,
The recipe for which Laura Dove won the Washington Post prize.
I used the ingenious apple core-cut-skin machine

cut out circles of crust and brushed on an egg sheen
After fire, singing, and dinner we set up our pie bar,
A dessert buffet of the highest par.
Talya's pie was the richest chocolate diner
The recipe from Mav's friend Martha (a fabulous cook, though a bit of a whiner)
Jamie made a pumpkin, with no use of can
Mav's dessert was one of ginger--the bread, not the man.
Along with the apple cran, I added a pie of maple,
Which may well become a Thanksgiving staple.

At this bar, Talya couldn't believe her sight

It fueled Saiyid's ocean swim on that cold November night
And made Mav want to just take a big bite!Oh, what fun times this crew does create,
And so much pie for one little plate!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Welcome to Maine Pie

A few days after Thanksgiving I visited Derek and Robyn at their lovely seaside Portland home for some Christmas decorating and welcome-pie making for Artie, who was moving to Portland that evening. We decided to go with a rustic tart-tart of Bosch pear and cranberries, with not too much sugar, a bit of cinnamon, and a whole wheat (pastry flour) crust.For the crust design, Derek used his fine cartographic skills to cut out an outline of the state of Maine--complete with islands and practically perfect lettering. While it was baking, we joined Robyn in the dining room to string cranberries for the tree and watch at the window for Artie.When he finally arrived in his new state, we whipped up some cream and entered the Pie Enjoyment ZoneDerek and Robyn in the PEZ
Maine pie: The Way Life Should Be

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cutie Pies

Check out this most beautiful, and I'm sure delicious, ginger and fruit pie made by a bunch of sweet NELPer ladies.
L to R: Maja, Helen, Kate, and Karey

You make me proud, girls!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Davis & Dewald Thanksgiving 2008

Four pies this year!

I made the first two, a vegan pumpkin pie and apple pie, both repeats from the Obama party. My brother cut out this amazing turkey - wow!

The barley crust on the apple pie turned out great. Here's the recipe, adapted from Angelica's Kitchen cookbook:

4 cups barley flour
2 T maple syrup
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t sea salt
3/4 cup walnut oil

This made a very hardy crust that would be amazing with a savory pie.

After a delicious gluten-free vegan Thanksgiving dinner (it was really good), we went over to Meghan and Gahlord's house, and then the two of them, plus JT and Rachel, came back over to our house for pie. Greg made maple whip to go with these beautiful pies that Meghan made.

The first is an apple-quince tart with sour cream - very original and rich with an amazing shortbread-like crust. The second is a Japanese squash pie that was as creamy as cheese cake and perfectly baked.

Greg about to enter the PEZ

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

From the kitchen of Andi Whitaker, my bff in Berea, Ohio:

Because I'm off of eggs and milk for a little while, I figured I just wasn't going to get any pie this Thanksgiving. That's a pretty unbearable thought, no? So I tested out this recipe last night: 

Vegan "Punkin" Pie 

Take 1 package (12 oz) of soft tofu. Blenderize it.
Add 1 small can (15 oz) of punkin. Re-blenderize.
Add 3/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of ginger and 1/4 tsp of clove. Tri-blenderize.

Pour into 9" graham cracker crust. (I guess you could make your own, but I had a toddler clinging to my leg, so I used a store-bought crust.)

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 min, then turn down to 350 and bake for 40 min. Let cool and resist the urge to add whipped cream.

The photo doesn't look like much, but it was extra tasty. I give it a big thumbs up. I'm going to do an apple crumble (with apples from our tree!) for Thanksgiving day. I hope it's as good!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Baltimore Pie Party (People)!

Last month we had a pie party at Jamie, Anna, and Dana's house in Baltimore. We decided to make an Apple-Rhubarb-Pear-Basil pie after viewing this post on feeding maybelle. We tweaked it a little and I wrote down our recipe, but now cannot find it, alas. Basically, I made the crust using the standard Nothing-in-the-House crust recipe. Then, Jamie cut the apples and pear (about 2 cups, and acquired at the Baltimore Farmers' Market):and picked the basil in the backyard: Anna cut the rhubarb (about 2 cups): and made the basil simple syrup with one leaf basil, sugar, and water: (I like how the filling bowl looks like fluted crust!)

We combined the fruit, simple syrup (added no additional sugar), spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & cloves), put it in the filling, topped with a crust, designed with basil leafs cut out and in relief:
Then we invited friends. and pies. Bob made a delicious vegan savory pie, topped with mashed potatoes and filled with TVP, and an assortment of fresh veggies. He's seen happily cutting it here: Justin and Becca also brought a gourmet vegan savory pie, my favorite of the night. With a gravy and all sorts of yummy veggies. It's pictured here on the left, with Bob's pie on the right, and a can of National Bohemian (NattyBo, Baltimore's beer) in the corner: For dessert we had the rubapple pear basil pie, which turned out great, with the tang of the rhubarb, sweet of the syrup, and a pleasantly subtle basil flavor, and a scrumptious pumpkin pie brought by Katie and Katie from their excursion to a nearby orchard.
Here's Justin and Becca in the post-Pie Enjoyment Zone:and Jamie, who Nothing-in-the-House photographers caught licking his plate: We ate 4 pies, listened to Fleetwood Mac, and made lots of jokes. Baltimore Pie Party, People! (who want to know what kind of pie you are making for the biggest pie party of all, Thanksgiving)!?!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Strawn's Strawberry Pie

On a recent road trip from Dallas to the border town of Shreveport, Louisiana, I had the opportunity to sample a strawberry pie. Strawn's Eat Shop has been serving hamburgers, fried chicken, and fresh ice-box strawberry pies since 1944.

I had never experienced a strawberry pie, and was expecting something syrupy and mushy. But the strawberries were fresh, flavorful and firm. The heavy topping of homemade whipped cream made the pie double dang good.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Made Two Pies... For Obama

The night before the election
With nerves running high
While my peeps worked the phone banks

I made these two pies:

The first is a pumpkin
Which was lacking in flavor
Not enough maple syrup
or spices to savor

The second looked sloppy
But tasted appley and sweet
An American classic
That like Obama, can't be beat.

We ate them together
On Tuesday night
We are all one people
One nation, that's right!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Obamastication: A President Who Loves Pie!

What a week for Americans--pie-loving and otherwise. There is much to say on this historic occasion, but we'll leave it to other publications, for this humble (get it?) blog is one with an eye on the pie. We asked Nothing-in-the-House readers and contributors to make and document their own Obama pies, and so far have had just 3 (and one is a cake) take us up on the offer. Send in those pres-pie-pics, folks, it's not too late!

Here is an Obama sweet potato pie I made on election night, in an attempt to keep my hands busy and think positive thoughts as I anxiously waited for the returns to come in. Here's the recipe I used:

Sweet Potato Pie

2 ounces butter, softened
2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes (from Eastern Market)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
5 ounces (about 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Nothing-in-the-House pie crust

1. Prepare Nothing-in-the-House pie crust as per the directions.

2. Mix butter, potatoes, sugar and evaporated milk until well blended. Add vanilla, eggs, and spices; mix well. Pour into the bottom crust. Top, and bake 45 min. in a 350° oven.

Though it was hard to resist, we eyed it nervously, anticipating the official announcement before we could have our pie and eat it too. When the west coast polls closed and CNN made their projection, we finally got a piece of the pie... and entered the Pie Enjoyment Zone with the rest of roaring D.C.

Over at APT, Ward was cooking up his first pies EVER for Obama volunteers at the Portland, Maine office. Here's some pics, and check out the whole story here.

And though it is cake, not pie, this is too good to not post. In Obama's home city of Chicago, Heather was baking this BEAUTIFUL Obama sunrise cake, and then headed over to Grant Park to share with Oprah, Jesse Jackson and the rest of the city.
Obama: A lot of people have been saying they can make sweet potato pie.
Us: Yes, we DID.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Announcing the Nothing-in-The-House Great Obama Sweet Potato Pie (Presidential) Contest!

Obama: "A lot of people have been saying they can make sweet potato pie"

At a recent rally in Philly, we learned that Obama LOVES pie (and loves saying the word 'pie'), especially sweet potato.

In celebration of this exciting news, the pie-lovers at Nothing-In-The-House are sponsoring the Great Obama Sweet Potato Pie (Presidential) Contest!

We encourage you to host an Obama Sweet Potato Pie Party in your respective city, sometime between now and the election! Bake a sweet potato pie (with an Obama crust design preferred!), eat some pie, and get out the vote by calling/knocking on voters' doors in your area (for lists of folks to call and ways to volunteer, check out the Obama website). You could also hold a bake sale for Obama! Take some pictures of your event, and we'll put together an Obama sweet potato pie collage on the pie blog.

And if you've got a sweet potato pie recipe that could rival Michelle Obama's mama's, please share it here!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Priscilla's Pies


There we were, a small group of New England Literary scholars, packed tight in a Dodge Caravan, with all the essential tools of transcendentalist tourist-explorateurs: Sarah Orne Jewett novels (at least one copy per person of Country of the Pointed Firs) favorite poetry collections, plenty of pens, journals full of pages (some full of words, some waiting to be filled), headlamps (for optimum reading time, and investigating) and 1 novelty item each: a cowboy hat for Iris, pulp fiction for Dana, a Maine mug for Torrey, striped lobster apron for Jessie, and 3 squirt guns...and a sand castle bucket...and a a badminton set... for me. These items had been recently acquired on a sidetrip to Maine's everything store, Renny's, in an attempt to experience some of the local flavor.

We had just hit a low point in the drive, after everyone had shared their respective tales of tragic romances, star-crossed lovers, or the (at least) equally tragic, lack-thereof. We turned to Mrs. Todd and Cap'n Jameson for solace, but were rather in need of something to lift our spirits.

When, there, on the side of Rte. 1, just out of Bucksport, we spotted an omen which indicated an easing of our woes... 'PIES,' the sign read, "Homemade, Strawberry, Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Pecan..." and the clincher... "OPEN". I made a sharp right turn into the driveway, simultaneously asking if the rest of our voyageurs were game..."YES! was of course the resounding answer."

The fortuitous omen

We emerged from the van, pens, journals, polaroid camera in hand, but it was unclear where said homemade pies could be acquired. There was a house with an 'hours' sign, though, so I marched up to the door and knocked.

No answer.

I opened the door and tried a timid "hello?" in I walked, posse behind me, through a sunroom until we arrived at the threshold of what appeared to be a kitchen. There we spotted 3 pies on a rack....and a tall and solid older man (we were later to learn his name was Stanley) standing before them, eating fried clams.

Before any business dealings, he shoved his lunch plate in my face, making me try a fried clam, "Evah had clahms befah?" he asked. I then noticed that he was wearing an oversized sweatshirt with a large deer depicted in American flag print, reading "America's Favorite Pastime." I said I wasn't sure if I'd ever tried them or not, which certainly struck him as out of the ordinary.

"Ah you from away?" We said yes, that we were from Michigan. "Michigan! whatcha doin' aht here fah?" he responded.

"Well, we're reading New England Literature..."

"Lit-ra-cha? What is it, pohnography ah somethin'? Gotta come aht here and read it in the woods?" We told him that no, though Thoreau could perhaps benefit from some saucier passages, it was indeed not X-rated. We claimed that we wanted to immerse ourselves in the places we were reading about. "Whatcha gotta do that fah? I thought lit-ra-cha was supposed to transport ya to where ya s'pposed ta be." Uh...oh...yeah...with that, he had us cornered with a hit to NELP's jugular.

We suddenly realized our urgency to set off on our way toward the cliffs of Acadia, and got down to business. We opted for a raspberry pie, which we learned, was made by his wife Priscilla, who had been baking for at least 55 years. She was unfortunately not at home. We scampered out the door, thanking him for the pie and fried clam, grabbed a business card on the way out, took some polaroids by the pie sign and were off.

Team of pie-loving lit-ra-cha scholars: Jessie, Dana, Iris & Torrey

Pie-eating in a mini-van full of literary equipment and sans the proper-pie eating tools proved difficult, so we dug in, literally, by the handful. Singing and eating and sullying our faces all the way to Mt. Desert (Dessert?) Island.

Moving Pie Enjoyment Zone

Delicious pies, Priscilla.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dangerously Delicious Pies

Is this pie dangerous?! (Please excuse the quality of these phonephotos)
I was visiting Jamie in Baltimore today, and for lunch we decided to take a jaunt to Hampden (taking the "p" out of 'ronunciation) to visit Dangerously Delicious' Savory House (a business garnering lots of pie press) for lunch. Inside we found a simply decorated red-walled cafe, with lots of customers (including the cutest baby pie eater) and today's pies (quiche, savory AND sweet) posted on a huge chalkboard on the wall.

Roasted Veggie Savory Pie

Jamie ordered a slice of the steak and mushroom and I went for the one vegetarian option, roasted vegetable. The heaping slices were served warm and delicious, with a side of spinach salad. The roasted veggie featured a well-matched medley of vegetables--potatoes, onions, mushrooms and peppers, cooked to perfection with subtle seasonings. The crust was a little dry for my liking, but perhaps that's par for the course with restaurant pie baking. I forgot to ask if they use a shortening or butter crust, but I got hints of both, so perhaps it is a mix?
Roasted Veggie side view

For dessert we split a slice of the Belgian Chocolate Chess Pie (after hearing Abra sing the praises of Chess Pie, it was time to try it--if not make it-- for ourselves), which was delicate and delicious (Abra was right...though when has she been wrong about food?). I think I favor fruit pies, though, so next time it is berries or apples or peaches for me...though the White Trash Creme Brulée is pretty tempting.

Though you can't beat fresh homemade pies, Dangerously Delicious comes pretty darned close. and I most definitely will return. Looks like Jamie will too:
"But you don't have to take my word for it!"