Pie Weekend

Yes, I'm talking about food again. I should be writing a post about Kate's birthday and how we enjoyed copious amounts of alcohol on Tuesday night plus watched some of them do karaoke, but I'll save that because there is video- which I've not uploaded yet. On to the pie...

Something about my family never allows us to do things in a small, normal way in regards to cooking. Perhaps the Irish genes embedded deep inside of us remind us of the famine and thusly cause us to make more food than is possible to consume. I have memories growing up of my mom making enough cookies to keep a family of 6 fed for months, pies were not made by the single or even double rather 5 to 6 pies at a time. Granted we do like to eat, but mostly things ended up in the freezer for later. Nothing like having a randomly shitty Wednesday and your mom being able to pull one of her amazing homemade pies from the freezer. An hour or so later things didn't look so awful because really, pie makes everything better.

Of course I am the exact same way, just a few months ago I was making cooking for my nephew. Why double a recipe when you can quadruple it? Yeah, 7+lbs of cookies is overkill but I didn't hear any complaining.

This week my mom sent me a box of crack apples from a Sage's farm in my hometown. There are no apples that can compare to these, they are spicy and tart and perfect. There is a different apple farm in the area, do not be fooled by them. Their apples suck, their pies aren't homemade (they tell the people in the bakery to lie to you- trust me I worked there), and they pay poor teenagers crap wages. So anyways, heroine apples- my mom didn't take her usual precautions with packaging and they arrived slightly bruised and battered needing to be consumed quickly. I can totally put away 4 or more apples a day, but there were way more than I could eat before spoilage set in.

That's right, it is apple pie time. Oh, and because I've been craving french silk pie I decided to make that too. What? Too much pie for a single person. Yes. Who cares. If you are already in the pie making mode, make a lot. Ahem, which is why I ended up with 3 batches of 2 crust pie doughs. Hell yeah.

First up, Saturday's apple pie. Spicy and good, although a little soft about the middle considering the apples weren't as firm as Mom recommends.

Then on Sunday I made the French Silk pie, my brother's favorite. I've briefly considered sending him a photo via email, but that seems a bit torturous considering he's in Afghanistan and won't be getting pie like this for a loooong time. I'm not cruel. I used a stabilized whipped cream frosting on top because nothing spoils a pie like a weepy whipped cream frosting ruining all that delicious crust.

Tomorrow I suspect my office mates will be quite happy, I plan on taking the leftovers in. Because I've had several slices of each at this point and am about to enter a pie coma.

*I am massively annoyed that I can only do one photo in the middle at a time, sorry for it looking a little long and janky.

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Give me a passle-load and I'll be a happy girl

I've not done a food post in a while and lately I've become obsessed with dumplings. Of the pan fried Chinese variety.

I can sit down and tear through them, their soft pillowy goodness offset by the seared and crunchy bottoms. Honestly, there are times when I think I could just go face down into a giant plate of them and die a happy woman. But rather than be shamed at ordering a large number of them at one of the various restaurants that serve them I've opted to make them at home, so when I do eventually consume all 25 dumplings I've cooked up there is no one to shame me with their eyes or comments.

Let me digress a moment, there was a Chinese restaurant next door to the wine shop. They happen to make spectacular Szechuan vegetables, delicious and perfectly steamed. So last week I ordered two orders of them and asked them to hold the rice. For a couple of reasons, one being that I try to avoid white rice being that it is pretty nutritionally void and just filler. I don't need filler. I've got plenty of filler already perched on my belly, thank you. So when I ask her to hold the rice she cackles into the phone "What! Are you on a diet?! HAHAHA!" I don't know how to take this, is she saying I need to diet or that I don't? WTF? Maybe she is just making small talk, whatever. Just give me my damn vegetables.

So anyways, my friend Yumi gave me a good jumping off point for making my own dumplings at home. Here is the humble recipe I've come up with that I like most, and everyone should be impressed that I wrote down actual measurements rather than generalities. If you can get your hands on some garlic chives then use those rather than straight chives, but sometimes they are hard to find.

Also, you may have trouble finding a ground un-seasoned pork. Generally I grab a pork shoulder or pork roast and just have them grind that up for me since most ground pork is seasoned or "sausage". Also I found the pot-sticker wrappers at my local Asian market in the frozen food section. I believe one could substitute wonton wrappers in a pinch though.

Pot Stickers

1/2 pound of ground pork
1/2 pound ground chuck
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Worcester
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sesame oil
5 tablespoons of chives
2 minced cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
1 package of pot sticker wrappers

Mix all the ingredients together except for pot sticker wrappers. Work the meat and seasonings as little as possible to get the ingredients combined though, don't overwork the meat (haha, why does that make me laugh. Oh, right because I've got the dirty mind of a 13 year old boy).

Place a sheet pan off to the side with a damp towel on top. Also have a damp paper towel to cover the stack of pot sticker wrappers so they don't dry out. Place a small amount of meat in the center of the wrapper, using your fingers moisten the edges of the wrapper with water so they will pinch shut. Try not to leave any pockets of air in the dumpling. Fold in half and crimp closed.
Place on sheet pan and cover with damp cloth.

I practiced with different ways of pinching them shut, but that was just my inner Martha coming out. I ended up leaving one side flat and then fold/crimping the other side. It's hard to explain and I suck at writing down what is clearly a visual process that I'm unable to photograph because I don't have a spare set of hands. Once you get a sheet pan filled you can stick them into the freezer for a couple of hours to harden up. Then transfer to a plastic bag and you are ready next time you need a quick go-to meal.

To cook, take frozen dumplings and put in a hot pan that has been coated with a little oil. Sear the bottoms till they get crispy. Then dump in some water (and I add a little soy sauce) and put a lid on. Steam away for a few minutes until done. Voila! Dinner in 7 minutes.

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Forget your self control and Rock and Roll!*

This last week I was shooting on location in a warehouse and to add some levity to the image they wanted someone in the background rocking out on a guitar. In an unusual twist, because I'm always behind the camera, I got to stand in while we were testing lights. Now, this is a blurry blowup (since they wanted the dude to be out of focus) but I rocked it none the lesS.

Today, before the evil winds of hell starting ripping crap apart in backyard (also known as the remnants of Hurricane Ike) I took a solo drive in Bernard. It was hot and sunny and perfect, that perfection was added to by the lunch of pulled pork, cole slaw and sweet potato fries (passable by my high Texas BBQ standards).

*This was the saying this evening on the underside of the bottle cap of my Magic Hat #9, which- if you've not had you need to go out and find. NOW. Awesome with popcorn and a football game (Go Browns! Kick Pittsburg ass!). Equally awesome any other time.

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Mondays can go to hell.

Today was one of those days that started off in a total shit manner- not that it would get better as things went along but I did manage to ruin one the few nice work tops I own by splashing bleach on it. Awesome, pink shirt with semi white spots- just on the right side of the waist though. Eff.

Yet I didn't lose my shit, I just changed my shirt and walked out the door. This is a improvement, because at various points last week had that happened I probably would have lit the damn shirt on fire while standing in only bra in the yard thus giving all the construction workers an eye full of my very pale half naked self. Then I would have grabbed a bottle of whiskey and called off work since clearly no one wants a motherfucking crazy employee.

And holy shit people, I did laundry this weekend and put it away! This is progress.

I also ran nearly 2 miles today, little legs pumping away. Not bad considering it's been a week and half since I'd done any sort of running. It felt good and I've stopped trying to hide the fact that I occasionally play the air drums while running. I'm sure I look like a total douchebag but I've found I don't care anymore. It feels good, man, to play the air drums.

Of note: I'm tired of people looking down their noses about people who spend time on the internet. It does not make you special or better than me, just makes you sound like a wanker.

A post in which I even bore myself

I have been entirely meaning to write more but I just cannot seem to get my ass in gear at all. Everything lately seems to move very slowly and it's all I can do to get my laundry put away. Or not. I've had a bunch of it sitting in basket for 2 weeks now. Crappity crap crap.

Instead, I seem to be practicing the sort of things that would make a person you'd want to be married to in case of an apocalypse. I spent the whole of the Labor day weekend knitting, canning and refinishing furniture. Really, come on over once all hell breaks loose- I'll have whiskey and vodka and knit you things while preparing a meal from homemade canned goods.

Granted, I only canned one jar of tomatoes this weekend...I thought for sure I'd get two out what I brought home from the farmer's market. This weekend I plan on buying a boatload more, since I'd like to think that my homemade canned tomatoes will be better than what I get from the store. I might try to oven roast some of them to concentrate their flavor and make it deeper.

I also canned up a couple more jars of pickled okra. Because one can never have too much pickled okra- delicious for eating straight from the jar or in your Bloody Mary.

When I moved my parents brought me a table from my grandparents basement. A table that my grandfather had randomly drilled holes into and splashed a million different types of paint on. It was a dingy green color and in need of some serious loving care. After scraping off the layers and layers of paint, removing a few random nails and filling all the holes I was ready to paint.



Oh my, this is boring isn't it? Fuck, it really is. I'm sitting here reading my own crap and drifting off.

So whatever. I painted, knitted a bunch and canned some food.

Really, I think whatever I write will not compare to the drama surrounding the Republican VP nominee. It's like the best lifetime movie ever. I can't get enough of it.

As usual the best commentary is coming from The Daily Show:

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