Monthly Archives: March 2009

Pie News: An Astro’s Guilty, Lots of People Don’t Have Jobs, Astronomers Had a Big Find in the Desert, & Shackling & Biting is No Way to Solve an Argument.

Javier Lopez’s former teammate, Miguel Tejada, was sentenced to probation and community service for lying to Congress about performance-enhancing drugs. As he prepares to return to spring training and ultimately talk to young people about his inspirational life story, I’d suggest — don’t hate me — Apple-Pear White Wine Pie. There’s a lot of juice (get it?), but he can also pair it with the Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc or other fruity white wine that he uses *in* the pie. Not only do I love pie/booze pairings, but it might take the edge off if he’s nervous about speaking in front of crowds. A nice (and legal!) bonus.

In other not-so-happy news, the total number of people claiming unemployment benefits is now 5.56 million — the highest ever (or at least in records dating back to 1967). Ken Haedrich calls the Coconut Cream Pie in his book “uncomplicated, delicious and simple” and that seems to me to be appropriate.

And…astronomers say they that for the first time they have matched a meteor (full of tiny diamonds!) in the remote Sudan desert with a specific asteroid — in other words, they caught the first shooting star ever. (Making Simply Red incredibly jealous?) That would make this the perfect time to indulge in some 5-Star Chocolate Delights, no? This Candy Bar Pie sounds a lot like Take 5, which was once my favorite candy bar of ALL TIME.

And in odder news, a Connecticut woman was arrested and charged with assault after handcuffing herself to her sleeping husband to resolve an argument and then biting him. Such a crazy, desperate act deserves a dramatic pie like a meringue. But since she’s out on $400 bond, I’m going to assume she has a lot on her mind, so I’d recommend Haedrich’s 10-Minute Lemon Meringue Icebox Pie. He says it’s a “embarrassingly good facsimile” and requires very little work. (The secret? Store-bought curd and graham cracker crust.) It might also do her image some good to “waltz in, the very picture of composure, carrying a fresh-from-the-oven lemon meringue pie.” Although I imagine her husband maybe won’t be one of the people at that dinner party.

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Pie News: Happy Birthday Gloria, God Save the Papers, Boom Goes the Mountain, Hello Space People & Bye Bye Denise.

In Pie News today…

Happy birthday, Gloria Steinem! I wish there was some sort of fish- or bicycle-themed pie…but, sadly a search for “bicycle pie” turns up this. “Fish pie” is a little more helpful: We get Jamie Oliver‘s Fantastic Fish Pie. But if I was Gloria, I’d want something a little sweeter to celebrate my 75th. So…this is where it maybe gets a little mawkish, but I’d say she’s a pretty strong lady, so I’d recommend Apple and Dried Apricot Pie. Haedrich says dried apricots have a strong flavor that can dominate the apples…but you can tinker with it by poaching the apricots in apple juice. However, should you *like* strong apricots, you can up the ante and poach ’em in apricot juice. The world’s your oyster!

And…as a quote-unquote journalist, I can’t not acknowledge Maryland Senator Benjamin Cardin introducing a bill that would allow newspapers to restructure themselves as nonprofits that would earn tax breaks. So…how about baking a pie from his home state — the Catoctin Mountain Apricot-Blueberry Pie? I have read that in the western part of the state, there is plenty of farmland and lots of orchards where you can pick up fruits for this pie..when you’re not reading the Baltimore Sun, that is.

And…waaay up north we have Alaska’s Mount Redoubt erupting (and then quieting down a bit). If you’re stuck inside (or just watching from afar), I’d go for the Mocha Turtle Baked Alaska Pie. Sure, the Alaska part is obvious…but there’s ice cream in it — because it’s so cold there for so much of the year! — and ALSO one of my favorite Alaskan restaurants is Fox, Alaska’s Turtle Club.

Back here in the Lower 48, we have Obama and Washington-area middle school students talking to astronauts. If they could shoot a pie into space, I’d recommend a Lemon Chiffon Pie. Not only is it light and fluffy, but it’s totally reminscent of Tang.

Finally, there’s poor Denise Richards. Not only did she not produce Charlie Sheen’s male heirs, but she was voted off Dancing with the Stars in only the second week (*and* before Woz). To lift her spirits, I say Denise roll up her sleeves and make Rice Krispies Marshmallow Mud Meringue Pies with her kids. The book says this recipe is kid-friendly as it does not have a traditional pie crust…but Ms. Richards should note she needs to be careful and supervise the browning of the meringue.

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Filed under Alaska, blueberries, feminism, fish, ice cream

Today in Pie News…

It wasn’t just a fluke, ladies and gentlemen! I am here — albeit not on camera — with another round of Pie News!

First up, we have BIG news from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner yesterday about the plan to purchase up to $1 trillion in toxic assets…and firms like BlackRock and PIMCO enthusiastically lining up to do so. So! What better way to mark the occasion, I ask you, than with Grape and Fig Pie? As investors soak up devalued real estate loans and mortgage-backed securities *you* can steam figs that will then “soak up the copious juice that bakes out of the grapes,” Ken Haedrich writes. What’s more, the pie has a decidedly Mediterranean feel…and is that not the ancient home of the form of democracy we’re seeing at work right now?

But! It wasn’t all bland financial news! Late night king David Letterman made headlines this week when he revealed he tied the knot with long-time girlfriend Regina Lasko. And nuptials that were 23 years in the making are no small feat! So…I’d suggest Dave wow his new missus with a taste of home and some Indiana Butterscotch Pie with a Checkerboard Crust. What’s more, that pretty crust will be perfect for celebrating. OR…since Letterman reportedly got stuck in the mud on the way to the courthouse, he could always commemorate the occasion with Mud Pie. (PS: There’s coffee in it…which is apropos as he has to stay up so late.)

And Letterman wasn’t the only one in the news this week! Poor Matt Lauer must be feeling awfully banged up after his deer collision over the weekend. To lift his spirits after shoulder surgery — and to perhaps subtly reference him flying over his handlebars — I’d make a Floating Top Cherry-Vanilla Bean Pie. All you need is a circle of dough to place in the center of the filling…and voila! Floating crust. (Although I suppose the Black Bottom Peanut Butter Cloud Pie — which Haedrich says has a mousse-like consistency that is aerated by whipped cream and beaten egg whites — would also work.)

That’s it for now! But…stay tuned!

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She hated monkeys, pants and rock and roll…

And she also hated to cook.

That was my grandmother. And it’s totally true. In fact, some of her closest friends owned a Chinese restaurant up the street from her house in San Francisco and she ate there virtually every night of the week. But…she had one specialty and would inevitably make it when I visited as a kid because I could sort of get her to do anything. (But every other night we had chicken chow mein at the Wongs’.)

I seem to remember this recipe having some sort of secret — the cream? — which may be gross and disgusting by today’s standards…but I have fond memories of it. And I feel like there was an interesting story about how she came to acquire the recipe — from one of her neighbors? — but I can’t remember what it is exactly.

*I* only just got it from my mother — I inherited all my grandmother’s recipe books, etc., etc…but they’re mostly meal plans and budget notes…which were actually really fun to look through. Want to know what the Lacys had for dinner exactly 50 years ago tonight? I can tell you. Care to wager how much it cost? I’ve got that info, too.

I was thinking of it recently and asked and my mom sent it, so…without further ado…here’s how to make Helen Lacy’s spaghetti:

Add 1/2 lb ground round and 2 T olive oil to a skillet. Brown meat.
Add 1 clove garlic and lightly brown together further.
Add 2 T whipping cream, cook down 5 mins then add 2 T more (or less).
Grate 1/2 onion, 1 small carrot and celery, add to meat mixture and let cook 5 mins.
Add 1 t Italian seasoning.
Add 3 (small) cans tomato sauce, one at a time. Let each can heat before adding another.
Add some Parmesan cheese if you wish.
Cook for 1/2 hour (more or less). Serve with elbow macaroni.
She always made spinach or squash with this. Aww…

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Q2 = Baking Bidding

It’s hard to believe that *March* will be over in a week…and then it’s the beginning of the second quarter! (Hooray for financial journo?) So…should we survive the onslaught of April Fool’s pranks (funny — I recall getting braces on April Fool’s Day many, many years ago)…April 3 will be the silent auction for Social Media for Social Change and yours truly is donating a “private baking lesson” and you should totally come/bid!

I realize this sounds funny to anyone who has actually read my blog for any period of time as I have crises all the damn time…and I worry that a random stranger will bid and then you’ll read about my fate on the cover of the New York Post…but I have been told that if a stranger wins, I will be provided some sort of chaperon. (So…there. Relief is *not* spelled R-O-L-A-I-D-S this time.) I would still prefer to just bake something for someone. I don’t think I really *have* any tricks up my sleeve….other than maybe ice water for pie crust? And is that really worth bidding on?

I suppose I can wait and see who actually bids (that is, provided someone *actually* *bids* — another source of agita) and take it from there.

At the end of the day, it’s for a good cause…and, despite my worries, I’m happy to help.

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Breaking Pie News: Liddy Eats Humble Pie…And So Can You.

So…a friend suggested a good feature for the ol’ blog here would be to do a segment on Pie News. Which is really quite brilliant. Like, for example, I could totally talk about AIG’s Edward Liddy last week and how he had to eat some humble pie in front of the House Financial Services Committee (that was it, right? I could just say, “Congress,” but “House Financial Services Committee” is so much more interesting. Plus, I – heart – Barney Frank a little.)

Sadly, a literal search for “humble pie” in my pie books is, um, fruitless…but there are a few on the Internet. Like, say, this one: Humble Pie.

But if I wasn’t going to do a literal humble pie, I might go with something simple…like even the new state pie of Indiana: sugar cream. I didn’t actually get a chance to try this one on Pi(e) Day (which went quite well! MUCH different than January 23. Calmer. More space. More food. I owe a big thank you to AG & Choice Kitchen!)…but I’d say it’s a good candidate for a humble offering if that’s what you’re going for.

I still have the video camera from the Dia del Pole-Dancing (that I haven’t even used yet!)…but I am not sure I would be the most dynamic on-air presence. Which is not to say I won’t *ever* do it…but I have to let things percolate for awhile.

PS: In my Pie book, I caught sight of a Tar Heel Pie…which will be very fun to make if UNC emerges victorious in this March Madness business. Ken Haedrich says it is essentially a brownie in a crust!

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Donut Pies? Or Pie Donuts?

I’ve already tweeted (still hate that word, Twitterverse) about this, but think it’s totally worth another mention here: CakeSpy’s Donut Pies. Yes, you heard it right. No need to rub your eyes.

I can only imagine what something like this must be like! And they look SO MUCH like plain old donuts. Think of the surprise if *that* was what you were expecting!

If only I had a real job! I would totally make these suckers and bring them in for my coworkers…What a lovely breakfast. And then we would all be in happy little food comas for the rest of the day.

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Let’s Pole-Dance, Bake and Tell Stories

So…I recently went to a launch celebration for a line of lip gloss with an appetite suppressant (I had to hold back a bit in my review on The Luxury Spot as the folks who read that particular blog don’t likely care what was going through my head during the pole-dancing segment), but…I’m hoping another Web site will publish something soon, so I can’t divulge too much here. (Besides, there wasn’t a lot of food-stuff. Except lychee martinis. Which totally makes me think of the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. But I digress.) In the meantime, I came home from this experience with a great big bag full of goodies…including a pocket video camera. So…I can now shoot two hours of video and easily upload it all to YouTube…and I’m thinking that this is the perfect opportunity for me to make myself even *more* Internet famous. But how?? What would I shoot?

Then…a friend suggested I take a page from this guy’s book and put my own spin on it with some of my new pole-dancing moves and, naturally, baking: Let’s Paint, Exercise & Blend Drinks TV.

I think he may be on to something.

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Mrs. Fields’ Big Secret?

So…I really, really wanted to make cookies the other night…and the last time I felt this compulsion, I had no eggs, so there was absolutely no way I could go through with it and it was a sad day. This time, however, I discovered I had no butter…but I *did* have one stick of margarine left over from my vegan baking escapades. But…I’m awfully partial to butter, so I wasn’t sure if I could actually go through with it. In the end, I cracked (obv). And…here’s the thing: they turned out to be really stout cookies that didn’t spread out much…and when they were right out of the oven, they were pretty fantastic. (I also went overboard with the chocolate chips as I was afraid they would taste weird…so that may also have something to do with it.) But the texture is what really got me — it was almost a Debbie Fields-type thickness. So…I wonder: is that one of her secrets? The margarine?

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Pre-Pi(e) Day Plans

After the roaring success of National Pie Day on January 23 at Greenwich Village Bistro, I decided I had to celebrate pies again on March 14 (as in, 3.14). But…since March 14 is a Saturday and weekends are sacred turf, I decided it would be best to gather for pie the day before the official holiday this time, creating – in effect — a Pre-Pi(e) Day party.

So…the agenda has officially been set. On March 13 at 7:00, we will gather at Choice Kitchen and Cocktails at 380 Third Avenue (between 27th & 28th).

The menu is still in the works. I am very much sick of making apple pies by now, so was thinking I’d do something with berries — boysenberry pie was one of my favorites growing up — until I realized that it is definitely not berry season now. I could use frozen berries…but that seems like it could be asking for trouble…and my aunt’s generic fruit pie recipe also calls for spices “to taste” and I really screwed up a blueberry pie once and am still sort of reeling. (I am most definitely a baker at heart in that I like exact measurements. Without them, I can feel lost.)

But then I read that sugar cream pie was just declared the official state pie of Indiana, so it sort of feels like I have to make one of those now. And from there a cream-ish pie menu started to take shape: lemon meringue (at the request of a friend); key lime (as a nod to my “Southern” roots); chocolate cream (which was a hit on National Pie Day); grasshopper (because I have a ton of crème de menthe and crème de cacao left over from the first one I made); and banoffee (because it’s good and creative and fun).

This is, of course, subject to change…but only a little over a week yet! So not much time!

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