Sunday, June 24, 2012

That Blueberry Pie

Sometimes the best things come from the worst circumstances.

Summer Saturdays this year are spent having dinner parties with my baby brother and his gorgeous wife.
We take turns as hosts, the boys aspiring pit masters and my sister in law and I both Martha Stewart's of our generation.
From pulled pork cooked all day long to last night's filet mignon and lobsters, I'm sure you can imagine the degree of deliciousness and the beautiful ambiance these nights are simply chock full of.
Surf and Turf night was to be at our home, and what could be a more grand finale for a meal like that then a fresh blueberry pie?

I have a go to recipe I use from the Williams Sonoma Collection of cookbooks. It's in the Pie & Tart book and has never let me down.
I bought 8 pints of blueberries earlier in the week and was eager to make them into something spectacular.
I mixed up the filling;

4 cups of blueberries
1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice, strained
3/4 cup of sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp of cold butter cut into small pieces (to top the filling once in the crust)

I reached into the fridge for a ready made boxed pie crust I had pulled from the garage freezer the night before. 
As I tried to unroll the crust, it was not cooperating. 
Sticky, gooey....I was dumbstruck as these crusts have never failed me and I use them constantly.
I looked at the box and discovered that it had expired thus the sticky consistency.
I threw it in the garbage and stood there at the counter dumbstruck for a few minutes.
I always keep frozen pie crusts in the freezer for quick desserts and quiches, but they don't have the top crust, so maybe I could just make a crumb topped pie?
Googling the "best crumb top blueberry pies" turned up a bevvy of results, but alarmingly, the fillings all required different ingredients then what I had prepared.
Undeterred, I nicked a crumb topping recipe from yet another Williams Sonoma pie and just gave it a try.

3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup of light brown sugar
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon 
1/8 tsp of salt
1 stick of butter cut into 3/4 inch pieces

Using my pastry blender, I mixed the topping then spread it evenly over the filling.
It cooked in the lower third of a 375 degree oven for about an hour.
It looked promising when it came out....but warmed up later in the evening and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream?
My brother said it was the best pie he has ever tasted and declared it will be his requested birthday dessert from here on out.
I must say, it was the best pie I have ever made.

Try it....I promise you won't be disappointed!

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Waiting Game

image from Pottery Barn

image from Pottery barn

As I was tidying up the house this morning, I was thinking about people who "wait" to do things that they say they want and desire.
"We'll get nice furniture when the kids are grown."
"I'll go on a nice vacation someday"
"Someday I'll......"
(I'm not referring to postponing due to financial restraints ~ I'm talking about the choice to put off)
What's with the waiting game?

I love to be surrounded by beautiful things and I want to enjoy and experience the desires of my heart for my whole life...not part of it.
Call me a naysayer, but what if tomorrow never comes?

Some tread water lightly, me? I'm impulsive.
Once I make up my mind about something, I just do it with 100% confidence that it is right.
I know that frustrates some people, as I seem to throw care to the wind and proceed without caution, but that's just who I am.
In the end, it all seems to always work out for the best anyway.
I'm sure there are people out there who could and would criticize me, but in my mind, I struggle to understand people who hem and haw and why people postpone things that could enhance their lives or bring them pleasure and satisfaction.

So which are you?
Are you impulsive and live in the minute, or do you proceed with caution and find yourself making "waiting lists"?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

One Crazy Summer

My whole summer is pretty much booked according to my planner.

This is the first week this month that I am not away for a few days traveling for work and I am enjoying sleeping in my own bed.

Next week I am off to Boston and New York for a night each. The following week I am home. The week after that I am in New York again for three nights. The week after that New York again for two nights. Then  July winds down with a family beach getaway.
August is not looking any slower. In fact, according to my planner, I can probably take a deep breath come.... October. Crazy, right?

 I am thrilled because I was recently chosen to be a Hope Coach who will motivate the Northeast division of the company I work for with our annual St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign. I even get to go to Memphis in August to visit St. Jude hospital! It is a charity near and dear to my heart as we watched my son's 4 year old cousin battle terminal brain cancer when the boys were just little tots. It was a devastating experience and I am overjoyed to have a chance to motivate and inspire people to help this great cause. I will also be part of the St. Jude walk in November in the New York area, so any of you that are close by and interested in meeting up and walking for a great cause let me know and I will share the details as they unfold.

By the way...I've missed you guys.
A lot.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Comfort Zone

Cooking grounds me.
Standing at the kitchen counter for hours on end chopping, dicing, seasoning and mixing provides a form of therapy no human contact could deliver.
Selecting gorgeous, fresh ingredients is one of my favorite past times.
Sharing the fruits of my labor with people who fill my life with joy and contentment provides an unequivocal satisfaction that nothing else on earth can rival.

While things have been quiet over here, I have been cooking.
Filling my stomach with goodness and my soul with joy.
Laughing, loving and most of all living.

What brings you comfort?