Sunday, March 27, 2011

Our "Revolution is Round" in Zenchilada!

A few months ago, Ronni Lundy, author of Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken and Southern Foodways Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award winner, asked if my friend Lora and I would contribute an article on Pi(e) Day to Zenchilada, the online culinary magazine Lundy edits with Patricia West-Barker. We wrote the piece as two friends in conversation and used pie as a lens to discuss our ideas of female friendship, tradition, and the domestic arts, all topics we often talk about when we are baking and cooking together in real life.

Zenchilada also used three of the recipes we used in last year's Pi(e) Day-- lemon goat cheese tart with blackberry preserves, avocado pie, and pimento cheese and tomato pie-- as featured recipes in the journal. Wow, they look good when made and photographed by their professional chefs, food stylists, and photographers!

We are so honored to have our words and photos featured in the Winter 2011 issue of Zenchilada. You can read the entire article and photographs here and see our recipe pages starting here. And while your at it, read the rest of the issue. It's excellent and delicious!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Friends of Hoosier Mama

Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Chicago, where our friend Abra works and where Heather and I stopped in for a visit on New Years Day 2010, listed us as a friend/"pie fanatic" on their website, and tweeted about us. Sweetness!

Chicagoans and Chicago visitors, don't miss Hoosier Mama for a delicious (not to mention massive) slice of fresh pie and cup of coffee in this adorable little West Town pie shop.

Baltimore Birthday Pies

My friend Justin in Baltimore send in these birthday pie photos from our friend Anna's 30th birthday party. He said,

Here is some pie porn for you. I think Anna sent you a picture from this same occasion, her 30th birthday dinner in Baltimore. Needless to say, your pie day put us to shame, but here we have two delicious pies that are sorely missed, my savory vegetable with the birthday engraving, chickpeas, green beans, potatoes, carrots, onions, and assorted spices including fresh oregano and thyme...

as well as Bob's take on shepherd's pie featuring sweet potatoes, bleu cheese, peas, and I believe the meat was from a turkey.

Wish I could have been there! He also asked if I had a recipe for a vegan pecan pie. Anyone have a good one?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Piedmont Pi(e) Day Photobooth

Here's Emily O and Alex being silly in the Pi(e) Day photobooth (Pie Enjoyment Zone), set up and run by Ashley Melzer. You can see some photos from it in the Pi(e) Day post below, and the rest here. Also check out the Pi(e) Day write-up in Chapel Hill food blog Victus Populi.

Friday, March 18, 2011

2nd Annual Pi(e) Day on the Piedmont

We celebrated the 2nd Annual Pi(e) Day on the Piedmont (see last year's here) at Johnny's in Carrboro, NC. It was a crisp, but sunny evening, the rain holding off until later in the night. Pies started arriving around 5:00, with eaters (many of whom I didn't know), champing at the bit, ready to eat at 5:30 sharp! Altogether we had a spread of 24 pies, plus several mini- and hand-pies, all made by our incredible 18 member Pi(e) Day Baking Team. Some were sweet, some were savory, some vegan, some gluten-free. Some had meringue, some were double crust, some had beautiful dollops of whipped cream (like Nicole's chocolate chess pie (below, left), but all were delicious. Here are a few highlights: Shannon's chocolate lavender (perhaps my favorite of the day) pie & my vegan avocado-coconut. Shannon said she used Smitten Kitchen's recipe for chocolate pudding pie then added about 1 tbsp more cornstarch to make it a touch less pudding-ish. To introduce the lavender flavor, she warmed the milk and added 2-3 tbsp dried lavender flowers and then let them soak for about half an hour before straining them out, then followed the Smitten Kitchen recipe. You could do the same thing using cardamom pods for a cardamom chocolate pie.
Ari's double banana bubble cream pies
My date butter pie. I used the recipe from the New York Times' featured date butter tart, but used the nothing -in-the-house crust recipe instead of pate sucre. I will write it out since I know the Times is moving to paid subscriptions... Ingredients:
35 to 40 deglet noor dates (can use another variety)

½ vanilla bean (I used 2 tsp. vanilla, for economy)
9 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 extra-large eggs

2⁄3cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1. Make the crust using nothing-in-the-house crust recipe at right (halve it as you only need a bottom crust). After refrigerating, roll out crust and place into greased and floured pie dish. Trim and flute edges.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and line the tart shell with a few coffee filters, or with a piece of parchment paper. Fill the lined tart shell with beans or pie weights and bake 15 minutes, until set. Take the tart out of the oven and gently lift out the paper and beans. Return to the oven and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is an even golden brown. Set aside on a rack to cool.
3. Make a vertical slit in each date and remove the pit. Use your fingers to press the dates back into their natural shape (I didn't need to do this as mine were pitted). Place the dates, slit side down, in concentric circles in the tart shell, leaving ½ inch between each date.
4. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use a paring knife to scrape the seeds and pulp onto the butter. To make sure not to lose any of the seeds, run your vanilla-coated knife through the butter. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the vanilla-streaked butter and the vanilla pod to the pan and cook 6 to 8 minutes, until the butter browns and smells nutty. Discard the vanilla pod. (I just used 2 tsp. vanilla extract instead of a bean)
5. Whisk the eggs and ⅔ cup sugar together in a bowl. Whisk in the flour and salt and stir in the warm butter to incorporate.
6. Pour the batter over the dates in the tart shell. Sprinkle the top with the remaining tbsp. sugar. Bake 30 minutes, until the filling puffs, browns and is set. Cool the tart at least 20 min. before serving.
Andrew's bourbon chocolate pecan pie and my Shaker lemon pie (with pi to 13 places)
Emily O's pear-walnut tart (unfortunately didn't get to try this one, but it looks beautiful)
In addition to the ones pictured, the other pies were: swiss potato & cheese pie; mushroom, greens & leek quiche; key lime pie; crack pie; pecan sorghum pie; Mayan chocolate pie; apple mini pies; leek, nettle & ricotta pie; rhubarb cream pie with meringue; Jefferson Davis pie, strawberry-rhubarb pie, apple pie, purple sweet potato pie, spinach-feta quiche and apple hand pies.
Ashley set up a Pi(e) Day photo booth and snapped a few pie portraits (Stokes w/ pie lurker Zeke, Talula, and Emily & Alex, with more to be posted in a separate entry shortly)... The Wildegeeses (Charlie, Will, Zeke, and me) played... And we had a Pi(e) Walk, where the winner won a homemade maple pie. In the end we raised $400 for CEFS to develop a statewide youth food council, and celebrated pie, spring, and mathematics (pushes up invisible nerd glasses) with about 75 friends, new and old. Check out our flickr for more photos and don't miss this sweet, sweet video that Ashley made, perfectly capturing the lovely evening.

Special thanks to our baking team: Emily O' Sullivan, Alix Blair, Shannon Harvey, Ashley Melzer, Whitney Brown, Nicole Bogas, Sarah Schwartz Sax, Neale Stokes, Aaron Smithers, Emily Hilliard, Kelly Smith, Ari Berenbaum, Rachel & Nate Lerner, Carla Norwood, Janie Woodbridge, Andrew Aghapour, & Kim Tungate
Photographer/documentarian Ashley Melzer
And other helpers: Lora Smith, Emily Wallace, Alex Chassanoff, Kavanah Anderson, Lindsay Perry, Tes Thraves/CEFS, The Wildegeeses, Johnny's, and MATH! Plus all who attended, ate, and donated. THANK YOU!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pi(e) Day in Big Sky

Sadly Lora wasn't able to attend Pi(e) Day on the Piedmont this year, because she was off on a family ski trip in Big Sky, Montana. But have no fear! They are still celebrating pie there, with "Pie In the Sky."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pi(e) Day in Ontario

A former Nelper and friend Kara sent in these photos of her family's Pi(e) Day celebration in London Ontario. She says,

We had our pie baking day on Friday, during which we cooked five pies--apple, blueberry, cherry, chocolate raspberry torte and a sweet pinto bean pie-- in addition to two dozen butter tarts (a Canadian treasure, our recipe for which is top secret!). Your nothing-in-the-house pie crust recipe has been a real hit with my relatives over the last few months. It made a lovely addition to my spinach and tomato quiche and the last two pies I made Friday.

We took some pictures of the pie enjoyment zone while we ate the chocolate raspberry torte.

The first picture is of my grandma looking skeptical before eating the pie and then her smiling afterwards.

Thanks for the recipes for the tart and the pinto bean pie! DELICIOUS!

Also, March 14th is Albert Einstein's birthday! The picture I've included is one of my favorites of him; I imagine this is what his PEZ would look like!


Thanks to Kara for these sweet words and photos. For another Canadian pie story, check out this radio piece on PRX. Stay tuned for more Pi(e) Day documentation coming soon...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pi(e) Day in Ithaca

My friends Angela & Ben celebrated Pi(e) Day in Ithaca yesterday with chicken 'n' kale hand pies with a cheddar crust and a heart...

I'll be posting some pics of friends' Pi(e) Day celebrations as I receive them and stay tuned for a re-cap of last night's lovely Piedmont Pi(e) Day celebration at Johnny's in Carrboro, NC. I also got news last night that my friend's Stacy and Chris had their own little cutie pi(e) baby yesterday!

Beware the pi(e)des of March today...a.k.a. pi(e) day food coma...

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Piedmont Pi(e) Day in the Independent!

The spread at last year's Pi(e) Day on the Piedmont, held at Celebrity Dairy in Siler City, NC

Check it out! This year's upcoming Pi(e) Day party (5 days away!) is featured in the Independent Weekly! Link to the article, by Emily Wallace, here.

The celebration will be held at Johnny's in Carrboro, NC from 5:30-8:30 pm. There will be live music, a pi(e) walk, and a pi(e) photobooth. Check out our flyer here and Facebook invite here.

See you there, nerds!

Marina's Famous Pigeon Pot Pie

Illustration via State Library of Queensland

From guest blogger Marina Michahelles of Shoving Leopard Farm in Barrytown, NY...

You'll be asking for seconds.

I had an idea of what I wanted to eat but didn't have a recipe for it. This is what I did, and it was scrumptious.

Marina's Famous Pigeon Pot Pie
2 pigeons (ONLY country pigeons will do, well-fed on farmer's corn, etc.)
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Pomegranate molasses (regular molasses will do)
Meat broth
Sprinkle of zatar and oregano
Bay leaf
1-2 c. red wine
3 onions, diced into chunks
2 carrots, cut into rounds
Celariac, diced
5-6 potatoes cut into rounds
Cheddar cheese, grated

Meat portion of the filling:
 Clean pigeons, remove the breast meat (which is red like a duck's) and marinate in oil, vinegar, garlic, pepper, and pomegranate molasses overnight. The following morning, put the meat and its marinade in the crock pot along with meat broth (I used pig broth I had previously made), a healthy sprinkle of zatar, a bay leaf, oregano, red wine. Set the crock pot on high for a few hours, then on low. Total crock time, 8 hours.

Veggie portion of the filling:
In a heavy cast iron skillet, glazed onions with butter and olive oil. Add carrots, and a big piece of celeriac cut into small bits. When vegetables are soft, add potatoes (I used one Mila, a Magic Molly, a Troll, a Red Norland, a Red Maria...). Cover the skillet and keep flame on low. Flip the veggies regularly, checking for dryness, and add either butter or liquid from the meat to keep them moist. Total veggie time, 4.5 hours.

Blind-baked a bottom crust using the Nothing-in-the House pie crust recipe in a deep 9" pie mold.

Putting it all together:
When the crust is blind-baking, combine the strained meat and the veggies in a bowl and add grated cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper. Fill the crust, covering it with a top crust and cut out a pigeon (or crust design of your choice). Bake the pie another 25-30 minutes to melt the cheese and bake the top crust.

Meanwhile,use the remaining broth and marinade from the meat to make a roux in the same cast iron skillet the veggies were cooked in.

The pie was served with roasted cherry tomatoes and Brussels sprouts. Mega-yum.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Painting

My aunt Michelle did this lovely painting of a pumpkin pie slice with a dollop of whipped cream, and a few crusty crumbs. Yum!

P.S. 6 days 'til Pi(e) Day!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Countdown To Pi(e) Day...

Here's how we'll be celebrating Pi(e) Day (3.14) on the Piedmont...

No baby goats this year, but there will be a wide array of sweet and savory pies baked by the Pi(e) Day Baking Team; a Pi(e) Walk, walked in circumference 2pi(e)(r), live music by the Wildegeeses, and even a pie photobooth. We will be contributing our donations to CEFS in their efforts to develop a statewide youth food council.

What are your Pi(e) Day plans?

Cranberry Chess Pie

Fig Pistachio Tarte Tatin

Peppermint Pattie Tart

Whiskey & Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake

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