the end, which is actually a beginning is almost here! I have three days to finish the book, and I have to say that it’s so close to being wonderful I can almost taste it. I’m also pretty enthralled with the fact that the manuscript for my pie cookbook is due the day after Pi(e) Day! Not only do I get to write a book about pie, but I get to participate in this fantastic pie party the day before I turn it in:
Emily Hillard, of Nothing in the House fame, is hosting this Pi(e) Day event and I’m just so pleased to have been asked to be a part of it. Last year I was lucky enough to celebrate with the ladies of Petsi Pies, and I’m very excited to spend this year’s holiday with a new community of pie people. If you’re in the DC area, please come by… otherwise send me pictures of your Pi(e) Day pies and I’ll post them on the blog!
March! What a nutty month… but good things are happening. I promise a much more cohesive and lively post in a week, but for now, I have a book to finish. Wish me luck and have the happiest of Pi(e) Days!
The end of this month marks my sixth month in DC and as I’m slowly getting my wits about me, making friends and trying to figure out what the heck my life is going to look like when this manuscript is done, I’ve come to really appreciate how comforting making pie is. For the last year and a half my life has been wholly consumed with pie and pie baking and pie writing and pie eating and it’s a relief to still be in love with it.
There are, of course, those terrible baking days when nothing goes right, but the more knowledge I manage to gather through the participation of pie the less often those days come around. Slowly but surely, I’m making my way through the book and it’s actually starting to read like a book (which is just terrific when you’re commissioned to write a book and then it ends up that you’ve written a book.) But (as I’m just now realizing) finishing the book comes with it’s own set of fears, because what on earth will I do with myself when it’s done? I have move forward and I have no idea what that looks like. So, ninety-nine percent of me is exhilarated and I pretty much fist pump the air in my imagination ALL THE TIME (and at home while writing, because let’s be honest, I’m by myself all day) but there’s that pesky one percent that’s sort of like, “WHAT?! What’s next… and by what’s next I mean… what’sgoingtohappentomylifedoihavetobeagrownupnowandgetarealjoboropenapieshop. YAY. how thrilling.
I simply have to trust that because I’ve worked my tush off and put my heart and soul into this whole endeavor and the universe has been unexpectedly awesome with opening doors that everything is going to fall into place, and even if I don’t know what that is right this second, I’m going to be ok. I’m going to be more than ok! I’ll have written a book… I’m going to be way better than just ok. I’ll be supercalafragalisticexpealidocious? Probably… probably I’ll be just like that.
We had the loveliest of pie parties last night, and I think Aaron and I have almost convinced some people to be our real friends by bribing them with pie. Six months in, and we are doing supercalafragalisticexpealidociously.
Sometimes even the most patient of pie testers (read: aaron) put their foot down and refuse to eat mediocre pie. Which is fair. It makes me a little grumbly, only because I want the pies to be the best too, but at the same time, when you’ve been eating every single pie that I’ve made for the better part of two years, I suppose you’re allowed to raise your standards.
It’s been a tough week in the kitchen. I’ve only a few more pies to test and for whatever reason most of my pies this week have been very soupy (read: inedible … unless you’ve got a spoon). It could be the fact that I’ve reintroduced fruit and I forget just how much water fruit has, it could be that I’m just not using enough cornstarch, or it could just be that the recipes need a little more work. No matter what the reasoning, it’s been a frustrating process. Working on a pie all afternoon only to have to throw it away that evening is just the worst. It puts me in a mood. I suspect it puts aaron in a mood. We’ve been in a bad pie mood all week.
I started the weekend with an old favorite (sweeeeet potato), not only to appease the number one pie taster but also to wipe the slate clean. I think that to make something that I know will come out well is my way of resetting myself. It boosts my confidence and I have enough oomph to keep on keeping on. This whole process has been a lesson in patience and continued belief in myself.
I’ve worked since I was 15, so to take a break from the conventional way of working to be a self motivated writerly type where I accomplish something on my own timeline has been quite the change. I’m a superstar procrastinator so without a paycheck-imposed-schedule I occasionally find myself whiling away the day with too much buzzfeed.com and too little writing/baking. But I certainly have a strong hope that the end result is something that compels other people to not only bake pie but to do whatever they want to do because they love it, and that’s usually motivation enough to kick my butt into gear.
I’ve a few weeks left to get it right, and soupy pies just won’t cut it. Fingers crossed this week is a much more successful pie week than the last.
I’d say we’re off to a better start with this lovely little pie.
I apologize for being a day late with this post, but whenever I have a pie party I’m basically covered in flour for five or six straight hours and have no time to type about how well everything is going. This week’s pie party was a resounding success. How could it not be when the pies were beautiful (minus one vaguely soupy blueberry pie which still TASTED delicious) and each one of them was paired with a different beer, courtesy of new friend and pie party guest Ross (+ Leah, who made the signs)
Pie and beer at a party… I’m not sure that it gets any better than that. Each of the beers was chosen specifically to compliment each pie and it’s unique flavors. A rye beer to go with the reuben pie, a cider to go with the pork pie, a saison paired perfectly with the lemon blueberry pie… but I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s what the menu looked like.
We started with a pear and goat cheese tart which, in it’s simplicity, totally surprised me. I think it may have been my favorite “sweet pie” in the bunch and it was certainly the easiest thing to assemble at the party. Pears are the one winter fruit that I sort of forget about and them am always pleasantly surprised when I remember to put them in a pie.
After the tart we had the savory pies, and this week there were two savories on the docket. With the book deadline looming there are a few pies that I have to test in order to get them just right, so a lot of the pies I made last night were a first try. The first of the savories was a pork pie with sage and apples. It was a breeze to throw together and I was actually quite pleased with how it turned out. It was a really nice combination of spicy and sweet, with the earthy flavor of the sage enveloping the whole thing.
The second savory was a reuben pot pie and I think the clear winner of the night. I’d tried to make a reuben pot pie once before without much success. My proportions were all wrong and Aaron and I had a hard time trying to slog our way through a single slice. So this time, I simply halved all of the ingredients (I was going off of a recipe for reuben mac and cheese that Aaron’s mom gave me so I had to make a few adjustments anyway) and instead of trying to make one big pie I made individual pot pies. THEY. WERE. SO. GOOD. Like I said, the clear winner of the evening.
We also had three dessert pies. Shoefly pie, blueberry lemon pie and peanut butter brownie pie in a pretzel crust. And they were all very tasty in their own ways. The blueberry pie was similar to blueberry soup, but the flavor was pretty incredible. I’d say after a few minor adjustments it’ll be good to go. I think at this point in the late winter, earliest of early spring months I get so antsy to start baking fruit pies again, I’m convinced any and all fruit pies taste like they’ve fallen straight from heaven… and blueberry pie isn’t even my favorite. The other two were just as good. The pretzel crust needed a little more butter but the peanut butter brownie was delicious.. and the shoefly pie was surprisingly nice. I’m not really one for molasses, but it wasn’t overpowering and the cakey texture was kind of fun. I will say, though, it’s one of the strangest pies to make. Boiling water and baking soda, too weird.
And that was our pie party. I’m going to try and ask Ross what his pairings were and I’ll type up the menu with the beers they go best with. Once the book comes out, everyone can throw their own pie paired with beer parties.
I’m off to make a strawberry pie with a lime glaze… wish me luck!*
(the winner of the evening, reuben pot pie with a rye crumble)
*I suppose I don’t actually need luck, it has berries… you know I’m going to eat it regardless
Wow. Ok, no big deal, but it’s February and that may or may not mean that I have mere weeks to finish this wild crazy part of my vagabond pie adventure called: THE BOOK. weeks?! weeks! But the lucky thing is, there are a lot of hours involved when dealing with weeks, and when you’ve been writing for a lot of previous weeks and you’re fairly close to finishing then weeks don’t seem so bad actually. It’s, in fact, pretty exciting when you stop and think about it. The culmination of the last year and a half will manifest itself in a lovely, lighthearted, occasionally silly, definitely sincere, filled from front to back with recipes kind of book.
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a little obsessed with books. It all started when I was little and reading was so much easier than making friends… and I was just. so. good. at. it. Reading, that is… not so great at happily and easily making friends (which has since changed, thank goodness, I HAVE FRIENDS) So the thought of there being a book out there with my name on it, with words inside that I have written that other people (maybe even a few young girls who prefer to read and bake rather than talk to other people) will read, has me giddy with delight.
I remember reading the whole Anne of Green Gables series over one summer and truly truly falling in love with the characters, so much so that when they came out with an Anne of Green Gables cookbook I insisted on buying it, baking all of the tea time cookies in it and hosting my very own tea parties (by then I had some book reading friends who were willing to go to tea parties despite being in middle school) And now I’ve come full circle. reading. writing. baking. the whole deal.
All of this excitement is a little premature… it will be another full year before the book is out, but as my deadline looms it’s so nice to feel excited and energized about the whole thing, rather than panicked. I’ve a few more pie parties coming up. The last one was a roaring success! I promise to do better with pictures for the next one… time definitely got away from me, and I was more interested in getting pie into people’s bellies than taking pictures of them! I will be better next time around. But all in all, everything’s going so well!
It promises to be a very chilly week here in DC so I feel no remorse spending all my time in the kitchen filling the apartment with warm smells and lining the counter with test pies. If you’re in the area and in need of warmth and sustenance you know where to find me…. in my hibernation cave full of pies.
Ok, so maybe I forgot that wednesday was National Pie Day, I was slightly preoccupied… and maybe I was already planning on having a pie tasting party this evening, but how great that those two wonderful things have coincided with each other!
I hope everyone had a fantastic Pie Day filled with (what else?) ooodles of pie. I’m very excited because tonight I’m hosting my very first pie tasting party, where there will be oodles of pie. I’ve a month and a half left to test and taste all of the recipes that are going to be in the book so it’s time to have some new taste-testers in the apartment. Aaron is an absolute heroic daily pie taster of epic proportions, but even he would have a hard time trying all of the pie that will grace our kitchen over the next few weeks. Plus, we’ve got some newly acquired DC friends that need their introduction to teeny pies which means I’ve got some new taste buds to try and please. A bi-weekly party is pretty much a win win situation for everyone involved.
We are going to start the evening off with pickled beet and goat cheese tarts, inspired by my very dear friend Matthew. He introduced me to this recipe almost exactly a year ago, and I’m very excited to be able to make a few tweaks to it and include it in the book. The the appetizer… or maybe the ap-pie-tizer (ooooooooh, the pie puns)
I’ve conned Aaron into making his famous chicken and kale filling for the main course pot pies which will be teeny sized. Aaron’s one and only condition to my putting this recipe in the book is that I call it Aaron’s chicken pot pie, which is only fair because I make him slave over the hot stove to make it every single time.
Then we are moving onto dessert pies! S’mores pie and honey cream pie with (fingers crossed) crispy ginger are on the list, and I’ve not made either before. I’ll be using my newly tried and tested chocolate cream recipe, which I’m in love with and I’m going to try my hand at homemade marshmallow fluff, which should be fun. I bought a candy thermometer just for the occasion (I don’t know how I’ve gotten away with not having one for so long… but ahem, problem solved) I’m especially excited to try and bake some crispy-ness into freshly grated ginger. I think the idea of having something a little crispy atop a honey cream pie would be a dream! I hope it works…. otherwise we’ll just have honey with freshly grated, un-crispy ginger, which will be just as delicious, I’m sure.
Pie party planning is fun. I’ve blocked out what needs to happen and what order so that by 6 everyone will have some sort of pie in their hands. So, I’d like to make a pre-pie-party toast…
To National Pie Day, without pie I wouldn’t have found this bliss that’s led me on quite an adventure.
To making new friends by bribing them with pie, I’m shy and pie has helped pave the way to new and wonderful people.
To following your dreams no matter how scary or strange they may seem, being a pie vagabond has helped me find my way in life.
I was midway through this week when I realized I hadn’t posted a single thing last Sunday. Whoops! so sorry.
I’ve made it safely back to DC and since I had the week off the cushy writingbaking lifestyle that I’d grown so fond of in Colorado didn’t have to end quite so abruptly as I’d envisioned it having to… which I don’t mind at all, BECAUSE I HAVE A BOOK TO FINISH.
It’s true. The end is near, and in a few short months I owe my publishers a manuscript. yikesI’mdyingImayjustpeemypantsorthrowupcan’tdecide. And other than the occasional moment of panic, I’m actually doing quite nicely. I’ve thirty five recipes typed up, complete with cute, hilarious, and only occasionally mind numbingly corny and sweet stories of how each pie came to be. Maybe none of them are too too sweet (fingers crossed) and I’ve just read them too many times to think they’re great anymore, but I’ve tried to keep it under control. And I’m very close to having made each and every pie that I want to include in the book. There are a few kinks to work out *cough cough GRAPEFRUIT* and I have to spend the next few weeks really focusing on savory pies, but I’m pretty sure aaron won’t be complaining and soon enough, I’ll have all fifty recipes ready to go.
We’ve a few friends coming and going over the next few weeks, which is excellent news for me… I’ll have some new people to force pie upon. I also think it’s time to start some sort of bi-weekly pie party where friends come to try several different pies, savory and sweet, of course.
In other news… I’ve made a successful whole wheat crust. yay! cue the fireworks. It’s truly been an honor working alongside science with this one, I couldn’t have done it without it.
check out those three smiley faces and counter water violently crossed out… good riddance.
Yesterday was Sunday, and I completely forgot that I owe you all a post! To say that I’ve been a little busy and lost track of all sense of what day it is is probably a little bit of an understatement. I’ve been baking and writing my little tush off, with only a few minor pie disasters to slow me down. The days of the week seem to be blending together, because what’s a Saturday or Sunday matter when you’re making at least three pies a day to meet some sort of crazy quota you’ve put upon yourself.
Two days ago, nothing was baking the way I wanted it to be. I was a mess, trying to accomplish a bunch of new recipes and not really succeeding at any of them until I finally had to tell myself to take a step back and finish the baking the following day. I actually had to take off my apron, clean up all of my disastrous missteps, and step out of the kitchen and the pies were much better the next day because of it.
I’m trying to get this overwhelming panic that tends to creep up on me in the evenings when I feel as though I haven’t accomplished quite enough to quiet down long enough for me to rally behind my successes! I’ve been lucky enough to have the time and energy to get a large majority of the writing done, and on a day to day basis more of my finished pies are wonderful as opposed to wrecks. And to be honest, when I’m not panicking I’m actually very pleased with myself. I’ve gotten to the point where, even most of my first time, experimental pies turn out really really well. I finally feel as though I really understand flavors and the specific dynamics of most pies so when I imagine something in my head it’s not that difficult to bring it to life in pie form. So, while my panic is probably not going to disappear until I actually hand in a manuscript, I actually do have a lot to be excited about. I’m an official pie baker, don’t ya know.
So, one week left to accomplish some big things, and as long as I remember to breathe in and out, every single day I should do just fine.