I haven’t mentioned Montreal! I went there. I ate at more vegetarian/vegan restaurants in a weekend than in the time I’ve been in New York. Thanks to Omar, Nana, Katie and Mitz for making it a great trip.
In big life-changing news, I became an Auntie this week! Marion Grace was born on August 25th at 4am PST. I will (try to) keep the baby gushing to a minimum, but isn’t she cute?! Congrats to my big bro Andrew and his wife Shannon for ushering this little lady into the world.
Last week I told someone I planned on making a Marionberry pie to celebrate my niece’s birth, but seeing as I have no clue where to find a proper marionberry, I settled for strawberry pie… and a blackberry (marionberries are actually a kind of blackberry, mostly found in Oregon) and blueberry pie, which is currently cooling on my windowsill.
As I may have mentioned, I’m not much of a baker. Until yesterday, I’d never made a pie before, which explains my limited success. I made the dough using a basic recipe, and sort of winged it with the filling.
Basic Pie Crust Recipe
1 1/2 all purpose flour
1 stick of cold butter, cubed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
4-5 tbls ice water
In a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar until mixed. Add cold butter and pulse until it forms small pea-size pieces. Add ice water a tablespoon at a time until you can pinch the dough and it holds together.
Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and put in the fridge for at least an hour.
Once it’s cold, dust your counter with flour and roll out until even thickness and about 10 inches across. Press into pie pan. Line the inside of the pie with parchment paper and use pie weights or dry beans to hold in place (if you’re making crust ahead of time.) Bake at 350 for 20 mins. Poke bottom of crust and bake until it’s no longer doughy.
2 containers fresh strawberries
1/2 cup (or more) granulated sugar
juice of 1 lemon (optional)
Chop one container of strawberries and heat in a pan with sugar and lemon juice. Add cornstarch (check directions) and boil until sauce thickens. I used some stalks of lemongrass, but removed before adding to the crust. Cool in the fridge. Chop remaining strawberries and add to the saucy mixture.
Add strawberries to pie crust. If you’re overly girly, you can cut out a strawberry from dough, bake it, and add to the top. Your friends will think you bought it at a store that sells strawberry-shaped cookies.
I brought this to a BBQ on Mat’s roof. Since I had neglected to bring veggie dogs, I cut into this early so that I would stop eating all of the guacamole. It was a bit (ok, a lot) runny, but tasted pretty nice. Sadly, I have no pie filling skills (yet.) Perhaps I should read up on my friend Kate Lebo’s blog, who is a pie baking expert and wins all sorts of pie-baking awards in Seattle. Show me your wise ways, dear Kate.
Look at these strawberries I picked up today!
Since I was up early for a ill-conceived McCarren run this morning, I figured I might as well make breakfast when I got home. I’ve made stuffed french toast in the past, most recently for last year’s Pre-Easter Brunch Dinner Party (what??) Usually I use cream cheese and jam, but I thought I’d experiment a bit this time. I had some leftover mint I’ve been needing to use, and with the discovery of some lovely strawberries, I came up with the following. Slaving over a hot stove in the summer is my specialty.
Lemon Ricotta Stuffed French Toast with Strawberry Mint Sauce
Lemon Ricotta Stuffing
1/2 container of skim ricotta (or you can make your own!)
1 1/2 lemons (juice and zest!)
Mix ricotta, zest and juice of lemon.
Strawberry Mint Sauce
2 cups of strawberries
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 mint, chopped
Chop up strawberries and pulse in food processor or blender. Add sugar and mint and pulse until smooth.
1 loaf good bread, sliced thick
1 tbls vanilla
1/2 cup milk
butter for pan
Whisk eggs, vanilla and milk together in a container (make sure it’s big enough to fit the bread!)
Take a slice of bread and spread lemon ricotta on one side. Make a sandwich! In a pan, melt butter. Dip stuffed bread in the egg mixture until well coated. Add to pan and cook until brown. Flip!
Remove from heat and top with several spoonfuls of strawberry mint sauce.
Make sure you’re prepare to be ridiculously full after eating this. The ricotta is a bit rich, but balances well with the fresh strawberry and mint.
Today is going to be a busy day. I’m headed over to Berry Park to watch the World Cup, and then to the park for a picnic prepared by Bergur, who generously offered to make lunch for everyone. I hear he’s an amazing cook, so I’m looking forward to it. Then tonight, I’m headed over to check out the Creators Project at Milk Studios. Whew!