Monday, August 31, 2009

Mexican Chili Corn Pie

Hi all! My name is Michelle and I recently stumbled upon your delectable pie blog. I don't know who you are but I'm in love. I am also a pie enthusiast (although I clearly can't touch most of you with your pie passions). I'm here in Dallas, TX (where nothing of pie-like-ness exists on a delicious level unfortunately. No cute pie shops. No gardens can exist without great toil in this heat) but I was raised by my family to appreciate the goodness of pah. We grew up on my Aunt Pat's homemade apple pie (I think I can rival her now), home-made pumpkin pie, Grandma Pi's strawberry pie (yes, I have a grandma named Pi!) and in recent years my favorite apple strudel pie that I make for every holiday occasion. I will share the apple strudel miracle with you some other time closer to Christmas when you can warm up a mug of cider and put on Bing Crosby :) For now, just a little bit about me and my cooking. I'm a vegetarian going on my 1 year anniversary now. My husband and I decided to try it and it makes cooking a bit more interesting. In the old days I used real butter and eggs and I have tried most of my pies with the fake egg replacer (Ener-G can be purchased at Whole Foods) and even Earth Balance vegan buttery spread. I will say I can hardly taste a difference but I doubt I will continue my pie adventures without turning back to my old ways of real eggs and cholesterol laden butter from time to time. YUM!

For dinner last week we made this delicious Mexican Chili Corn Pie out of one of our vegetarian cookbooks.
You essentially prepare a bake of garlic, bell pepper, celery, kidney bean and corn mixture flavored with chile and fresh cilantro (if you're a fan of cilantro which I'm not). Place the mixture into a pie dish and top with a delicious crispy CHEESE cornbread. (no, I am NOT vegan. I doubt I can ever give up cheese).


1 tbsp corn oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 celery stalk, diced
1 tsp hot chili powder
14 oz/400 g canned chopped tomatoes (or go fresh if you can!)
1 1/2 cups corn
3/4 cup kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
cilantro sprigs, to garnish

(can serve with a tomato and avocado salad)

2/3 cup cornmeal (i used white)
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten (or try the egg replacer, turned out just fine)
6 tbsp milk

1 tbsp corn oil (i just used vegetable oil)
generous 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Heat the oil in a large skillet and gently cook the garlic, bell peppers, and celery for 5-6 minutes, until just softened.

Stir in the chili powder, tomatoes, corn, beans, and seasoning. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and spoon into ovenproof pie dish (deep dish is best). To make the topping, mix together the cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder. Make a well in the center, then add the egg, milk, and oil and beat until a smooth batter is formed.

Spoon over the bell pepper and corn mixture and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake in a preheated oven, at 425 for 25-30 minutes, until golden and firm. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and serve immediately.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

3 Nights of Blackberry Desserts

During my last week at Rokeby, Howie discovered a plentiful blackberry bramble behind the white house. It was probably the most fruitful berry patch I have ever foraged from, and the fruits of our labor yielded 3 nights of blackberry desserts. First we enjoyed a blackberry-ginger cobbler.
For the biscuit topping I used a recipe for "Yankee Biscuits" I got from Clara. It is as follows:
Yankee Biscuits
3 c. flour
2 Tblsp. sugar
2 Tblsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter
1 1/2 c. cold milk

Combine dry, cut in butter until consistency of cornmeal & peas. Add milk, stir gently. Place on floured board and knead 14 times. Roll out into 1-inch. Cut and bake for 15 minutes in 425 degree oven.

I just rolled out the biscuit topping, and placed it on top of the blackberry filling, which I had poured into a cake pan. We enjoyed it a la mode, after Louis' delicious fish stew. The second night, I made a blackberry rustic tart, topped with Sam Comfort's honey from Anarchy Apiaries. It was basically a pie with a thrown-together/less-artful crust. And for the last night and a Big House-Yellow House Cookout with guest Diane Cook, I made a blackberry-ginger pie, washed with a brilliant orange egg from the hens of Shoving Leopard farm. The fillings of all three were riffs on the recipe used here, with ginger or honey added. Eggwashed and baked, with a poem...
Blackberry Pie
by Jennifer Rae Vernon

is kernels of juice
blue, mom makes it do
magic heat to vanilla ice cream
purple dream

there were many nice things,
the corduroy pinafore
the daily notes in lunch sack
of a smiley face and curly cue hair
your mama loves you, and do great
with a thermos of homemade soup

dad too, he rocked me on front porch
after seven yellow jacket stings
i howled through the valley
in baking soda paste
while he sang, in the big rock candy mountain...

but just like grandma vernon always said
don't bother doing anything nice for your children
they'll only remember the bad things, anyway
like when she tethered my dad
to the front yard tree
so he could play when she was at work

was that bad? a ruined childhood?
bless her heart
and pie too, is sometimes

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pie for Breakfast by HOME ITEMS

There once was a band-turned-creative collective called HOME ITEMS composed of 7 gal-pals in Burlington, Vermont. We like to make noise and music with domestic items and write and sing songs about food, the kitchen, and various other feminine/feminist topics. A while back, we wrote a song (lyrics by Michelle) called 'Pie For Breakfast,' (original post with lyrics here) about invigorating the New England tradition of enjoying pie in the morning. We recently re-recorded it and made this video so we could post it here.


Please enjoy and help us bring back the tradition!

P.S. I'd like to give a shout-out to our new fan/pie friend Michelle who posted about Nothing-In-The-House on her awesome "Blah Blah Blah Blog" here!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Blueberry Pie on the 4th of July

The 4th of July kicked off my summer month of farming, baking, berries, and friends at Rokeby. Matt arrived by train from the city the night before, and after a morning of weeding in the garden and burritos at Bubby's, the 4 of us headed to Grieg's to pick a bucketfull bounty of blueberries for the evening's pies and the buckles and ice cream to be made later.

After a few rounds of bags, a few rounds of beers, and lying in the grass, we set to make the pies before the fireworks started. Matt wanted to try his hand at the crust (using the recipe at right) and I tackled the filling.

Here's the approximate recipe I used, for 1 pie: 

 Combine the following:
At least 6 cups fresh berries, washed and de-stemmed
3 Tblsp. corn starch or arrowroot
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. lemon zest

1/4 tsp. salt
Splash of lemon juice

Pour into bottom crust, and cut a lattice top (HINT: use a ruler or some other guide so your strips are approx. the same width), wash with a fresh and golden Shoving Leopard Farm egg! Bake for 10 min. at 425, then reduce heat to 350 and bake 35-40 min. longer until crust is golden and flaky, and filling is bubbly. 

We put them in the oven, and went up the dark spiral staircase to the tower, to watch the fireworks from various towns across the Hudson. We all saw a ghost on our descent.

Then we celebrated the birthday of Marina, France, and the USA in the PEZ.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A new farm and cherry pie.

This is a story of two friends, a whole lotta manual labor,
and a dream of growing delicious, organic goodness.

Abra and Jess have started their dream and oh my, how they are succeeding. They are currently growing multitudes of produce and selling it both at local farm markets and to various restaurants in Chicago. Bare Knuckle Farm is on its way!

The last weekend in July, Bare Knuckle Farm hosted its first annual work weekend--a gathering of various friends and ne'er-do-wells who rolled up their sleeves to paint a barn, build a permanent herb bed, weed (and weed and weed and weed), feed chickens and geese, haul rocks from Lake Michigan to be built into an outdoor oven. Despite a few rain clouds and the necessary breaks for fun, a lot of work was accomplished--really!

But let's remember that this is a pie blog, and as such, we must eventually bring this story around to pie. Well, the produce itself is situated on an old farm that houses lots of other deliciousness--like these beautiful cherry trees.

One resident pie baker insisted that we pick a few to make a pie. Twist our arms! We got busy picking, then Jess sat down to pit them all.

That man is a cherry-pitting machine! After that, Jill worked her magic. Flour flew and fingers kneaded, and after sitting a spell in the oven, those babies were baked to perfection.

Of course, we had to wait for them to cool a bit--oh, the torture! That gave us time to play the! (Tie breaking round to be held at the Bare Knuckle Farm's second annual work weekend in 2010.) Despite the intensity of the game, the smell drove us to indulge in pie before too long. Jill was so kind as to dish it up with some vanilla ice cream. The perfect combination of sweet and tart, with a wonderfully crumbly crust.

Abra, Jill, Mary, Sara, Anika, Jess, and Erik in the Pie Enjoyment Zone (PEZ).

In our pie-induced stupor, we decided we needed to show the PEZ from another angle.

But really, there's no better indication of the success of a pie than the Breakfast Test.

And it passed that one with flying colors.

Thank you for two delicious cherry pies, Jill!
And thank you, Abra and Jess, for starting a great new tradition.

Cranberry Chess Pie

Fig Pistachio Tarte Tatin

Peppermint Pattie Tart

Whiskey & Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake

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