Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Avocado + Grapefruit Salad

Let me tell you about something wonderful


It's juicy and pink pink pink and lusty and sweet and bitter and sour and ZANGY.

This is a salad featuring avocado, and grapefruit.

You begin by peeling a grapefruit.
Then you section it and get rid of all the thick, pale, membraneous skin, just because.
You peel and slice a whole avocado. Yes a whole avocado. Just for you.

This is a very luxerious salad.

Arrange the grapefruit and the avocado on a sprightely bed of winter lettuce.
Spread delicate webs of your finest prociutto over the top.
Toss gently with a simple vinaigrette.
For the clueless, here is how you make a vinaigrette. It's 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Or Three teaspoons olive oil to 1 teaspoon vinegar. Add pepper and salt to taste.
Douse salad with vinaigrette.
But not too much.
Toss salad gently.
Tossing is the most important part.


p.s. you can add blueberries, if you're feeling fancy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blueberry Dream Cream Pie

Awards shows are bullshit. I watched Miss America for the first time. The judging process is ridiculous, the 2nd place winner girl was a ventriloquist yodler. You think I'm kidding:

And then there's the Golden Globes, which is basically a glorified dinner party, only with some of the most beautiful people alive. It's not really about the awards, it's about the clothes. Which is fine with me:
Though January Jones apparently didn't get the memo that sometimes more really is more, this one wins the Ugh Contest:

My favorite ensemble was that of Helena Bonham Carter, because she DIDN'T WANT to look like all the other Hollywood princesses. I LOVE everything about her, the crazy hair, the sunglasses, the poufy dress, the SHOES THAT DON'T MATCH. She is what we call Utter Fabulous.
I want to be like Helena Bonham Carter, or at least have some of that "devil may care" sensibility. Life is too short to wear shoes that match. It's glourious when risktakers triumph.

I took a risk yesterday. I made up a new pie.
Generally I am not a make up my own recipes kind of gal. I go out of my way to find new recipes, but rarely do I invent my own. I wear shoes that match.
This is my first step towards a Helena Bonham Carter-esque freedom and liberation from expected norms.

I call it Blueberry Dream Cream Pie.

Blueberries in a dreamy creamy custard. It is heaven. It is freedom. It is new and unusual. It is beautiful. It is my invention. We ate the whole pie in less than 24 hours. I dedicate it to Helena Bonham Carter and the other free spirits, who liberate themselves from expected norms and embrace their eccentric glamour.

I'm going to wear shoes that don't match tomorrow.

Blueberry Dream Cream Pie

One half recipe Best Pie Crust

5 eggs
1 scant c. sugar
4 T. melted butter
½ t. vanilla
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 pints blueberries

1 t. sugar
¹/8 t. cinnamon

Position an oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°.

Lightly butter a 9-inch pie plate. On a well-floured surface, roll pie dough into a circle large enough to cover the pie plate and hang 1 inch over the sides. Fit the dough into the pie plate, crimp the crust and place it in the refrigerator to chill while preparing the filling.

Beat the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla and cinnamon in a mixer, or with a whisk, until completely combined and pale yellow. Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator, arrange blueberries in an even layer in the shell. Pour filling over the blueberries.

Combine sugar and cinnamon for topping and sprinkle over entire pie. Place pie on baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the filling has set and the crust is light brown. Allow the pie to cool. Eat.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Peace Through Pie

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said many great things. He was a great man. Truly a great man.
His thoughts and actions deserve to be celebrated and continued in style. This is the idea behind Peace Through Pie, a grassroot peace movement based in Austin which promotes pie socials as an expression of Dr. King's dream of a "Beloved Community."
Pies represent love and community and comfort and home and peace. When you make a pie and share it with others, you're helping to build a more beautiful world, a world dedicated to the creation of peace through simple acts. You become a Pie-o-neer for peace.

So go forth.

Bake a pie. Share a pie. Live the Dream.

For more information go to www.peacethroughpie.org or become a friend of peacethroughpie on Facebook.

Pie Events in Austin, TX

January 11-14 Toni Tipton-Martin, Founder of the SANDE Youth Project, a non-profit organization that teaches underprivileged families how to eat well, will give a pie-making demo and teach families how to make desserts part of a healthy diet during her after school gardening and cooking program.

Thursday, January 13, 5:30 pm. Peace Through Pie Proclamation at Austin City Hall

Austin City Council will issue the 1st Proclamation, sponsored by Council member Randi Shade, in support of PEACE THROUGH PIE. A pie social will follow immediately after the reading in the Board and Commission Room, with pies donated by Austin area pie chefs, served by students from Travis High School Culinary Arts program. Austin City Hall, City Council Chambers, 301 West 2nd Street, Austin. Contact: Luanne Stovall, Founder, Peace Through PIe (617) 816-0270.

Thursday, January 13, 12 noon-1:30 pm. Spring Terrace Peace Through Pie Social

Residents from Spring Terrace Apartments and from Foundation Communitiesʼ other SRO (Single Room Occupancy) Skyline Terrace and Garden Terrace are invited to share pie and favorite pie stories. A “How to make the perfect pie crust” demonstration will be offered so anyone can learn! Community partners are Foundation Communities and Texas Pie Kitchen.

Spring Terrace Apartments, 7101 I-35 N (St. Johns & I-35), Austin, 78752 Contact: Jen Biddle, Spring Terrace Community Manager, (512)492-8980 x501.

Saturday, January 15, 2-4 pm. Sweet Home Baptist Church Peace Through Pie Social

Join us for the 3rd Annual Peace Through Pie Social at this historic landmark church, cornerstone of PTP. CALLING ALL PIE BAKERS!!! -- Bring two homemade pies to share (and a pie story) -- one to be enjoyed by guests; the other may be entered in the Peace Through Pie Contest (or donated to the Silent Pie Auction. Head Judge Toni Tipton-Martin with a panel of esteemed judges. Contest and auction pies will be received between 1 & 2 pm in the Fellowship Hall. Program in the Sanctuary starts at 2 pm. Music by Sweet Home Choir, Bells of Joy, recitation of I Have a Dream speech, “Dream” exhibition by Mathews Elementary students. Proceeds support Sweet Home Restoration Fund. 1725 West 11th Street, Clarksville. Contact: Shirley Collins,, Sweet Home Choir Director, (512) 496-4032.Saturday, January 15, 10-1 pm. Peace Through Pie at Victory Grill. 10am-11am: Join us at the historic Victory Grill to celebrate Dr. King’s Legacy with pie, conversation, and fellowship. Come by for a few minutes or enjoy pie and conversation until 11am. 11am-1 pm: A Peacemaking Circle, facilitated by Randy Langford will take place. To propose a topic for consideration, contact Pastor Landon Shultz, Ph.D, Email: Lshultz@austin.rr.com, (512) 263-5368, Sponsors include Bluebonnet Hills Christian Church, Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Ujamaa Community Foundation of Austin, and the Neighborhood Restoration Team of APDʼs Weed & Seed Committee. 1104 E. 11th Street, Austin.

Sunday January 16, 1-2 pm.

St. Jamesʼ Phenomenal Womenʼs Peace Through Pie Auction & Social.

You are welcome to celebrate the King holiday at St. James Episcopal Church through the sharing of pies, pie stories, and fellowship. Proceeds from the live pie auction and silent pie auction will benefit the Summer 2011 mission trip of the St. James Youth Group. St. James Episcopal Church, 1941 Webberville Road, Austin. www.stjamesaustin.org Contact: Colleen Waller, cwaller@austin.rr.com, (512) 401-3085.

Monday, January 17, 11am-3pm. Art Institute of Austin Peace Through Pie Social

Come to the Open House, tour the facilities, meet students and faculty, and enjoy a peace of pie in celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Fresh pies will be baked for the occasion by students in the Culinary Arts Program. This is an opportunity to find out more about how to cultivate your creativity and live your dream. Presentations at 9:30 am, 11am & 1pm. 101 W. Louis Henna Blvd., Suite 100, Austin, TX 78728. ph (512) 691-1707.

Join us in celebration and become a Pie-O-neer for Peace, one piece at a time! Visit our PEACE THROUGH PIE Facebook page, or www.peacethroughpie.org

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Chocolate-Dipped Fruit Nut Balls


I've missed you.

It's been a while.

Don't worry. I still love you. The holidaze have flown by, and here I am. January 1st. A fresh start. A new year.
A clean year. 2010 was so full, hard, and insanely busy. I'm not complaing, but I'm glad it's over. I'm ready for 2011.

So many good things are going to happen. I can just feel it.

I don't know where I'll be a year from now, and I'm starting to be okay with that. Being young and preparing for college or the next stage of your life or whatever is coming next, is strange. You feel like you're living in a sort of netherworld limbo. Which is unpleasant, sometimes, but it's also okay.
Lately, when I've looked at myself in the mirror I think, "I look different than I did last year." Perhaps it's only my imagination, supposing that my face looks different, but I really do feel that I've changed. Or something in me has changed. And that is very good.

I've decided that 2011 is the year of the prune.

Prunes. I love prunes. LOVE. Ordinary people make faces when you say "prune" they screw up their eyes and make retching noises. And that's because most people only experience prunes as prune juice, which is totally disgusting, and which normal people only drink when constipated. I too hate prune juice, but I especially hate it, because it has nothing to do with the wonderful reality of prunes. Prunes can be blissful. You should not eat prunes that are completely dry and leathery, you should only eat prunes that are plump and moist and sticky.

Prunes are in these strange fruit/chocolate/alien/nut/tasty/cookies. The recipe calls them Chocolate-Dipped Fruit Nut Balls, which is an apt, but rather grody name. You should make these and eat them and dream up some brilliant name in the middle of the night and then have me over, and I can polish off the rest of the fruit/chocolate/alien/nut/tasty/cookies.

They are also VEGAN and HEALTY, because they are simply DRIED FRUITS (i.e. prunes) and NUTS and CHOCOLATE. They are light and sophisticated and rich and luxerious. Did I mention there are prunes in them?

Happy New Year!

Chocolate-Dipped Fruit-Nut Balls
from Orangette.blogspot.com who was inspired by
Gourmet, March 1986

Also, they improve with time. They are so devine.

1 cup walnuts
½ lb dried cherries
½ lb dried Turkish figs
½ lb dried apricots
½ lb dried pitted prunes
1-2 Tbs fruit juice, such as good apple cider, or fruit-flavored liqueur
Powdered sugar, for dredging
8 ounces good-quality semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Place the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and process them to chop finely. Remove the walnuts to a large mixing bowl.

Rinse the bowl of food processor, wipe it dry, and fill it with the dried fruit. Pulse the machine to chop the fruit finely. You don’t want to turn the fruit into a gummy purée, but you do want it to be chopped finely enough that there are no pieces larger than a pea. Remove the fruit to the bowl with the walnuts, and stir them to mix. Add 1 Tbs fruit juice or liqueur, and stir to combine. Pinch off a smallish wad of the fruit-nut mixture: when you roll it between your palms, does it hold together in a tight ball? If not, add a bit more juice or liqueur until it does.

Pour about ½ cup of powdered sugar into a small bowl; you can add more later, if needed. Pinching off little mounds of the fruit-nut mixture, shape them into 1-inch balls, roll each ball lightly in powdered sugar to coat, and place them on a baking sheet. Let the balls stand at room temperature, uncovered, for 24 hours.

Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, and keep it close at hand. In the top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove it from the heat. Using a teaspoon, plop and dab and shake chocolate onto half of each ball; you may want to do this over the sink, wasteful though it may be, rather than over the bowl of chocolate—otherwise your melted chocolate may be contaminated by sprinkles of powdered sugar. Place the balls on the lined baking sheet, and place them in the refrigerator until the chocolate has hardened. Tuck each ball into a small candy or cupcake cup, and store them in an airtight container, chilled, for up to 2 weeks.

Yield: About 50 balls.