Monthly Archives: July 2007

{insert Plum cliche}

Off and on for the last week, as I was gearing up for the plum extravaganza, I wondered what great plum cliche would I use as the title for my post. Plum crazy was my intention but I knew I could find something well not so cliche. Such as…

Cliché: Bubble shy of plumb, A  
 

Cliché: Bubble shy of plumb, A

However there just aren’t as many plum cliches as I imagined. So I move on because this really isn’t a blog about cliches, rather about cooking, baking, and the activities of my kitchen. So here we go sans cliche!

A co-worker had recently blessed me with a plethora of plums (I said I’d avoid cliches not alliterations) that sat silently in my fridge for a week. I scoured my favorite cooking sites online to find just the perfect use for these gorgeous plums. I found several recipes, many for yummy looking plum butters, but I didn’t find THE ONE until I spied this recipe. With the 4th soon upon us, I needed plans for the Wednesday holiday and talked my mother in law into hosting a make shift celebration. It was as if the plums had aligned. But the cosmic energies were not done yet! My MIL had also just received my latest birthday gift (my birthday is in April and she’s a tad late for various amazon.com reasons), The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. And within the pages was a recipe for plum ice cream. So the magical combination of Red, White, and Blueberry Cheesecake Tart and Plum Ice Cream was born and eaten (rather quickly).

I’m not a large fan of cheesecake, but I think I should rephrase or recant that statement after I gorged myself on two large slices of this one. It was light on the light cream cheese and had a nice tang from the sour cream. But when topped with the plum glaze and blueberries it was beyond worldly. With such stiff competition it would be hard for any ice cream to stand up, but the plum ice cream did a fine job of complimenting the creaminess of the cheesecake and softening the bite of the intense plum jelly. It was a fine end to a great meal and a nice way for my many plums to meet their recipe. And the fact I didn’t end this in another cliche is plum amazing!

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Everyday Gourmet

I’m more of a back seat cook, I tend to either give Husband the recipe and watch/comment from my perch by the sink while he’s in the flames of it by the stove or I’m outside all of it and lounging in the kitchen waiting to eat. Something about the addition of meat or the category of “meal” unnerves me and makes me question myself. I fearlessly stare down pastry, cakes, brownies, ice creams and the like but put a piece of poultry in front of me and I turn chicken.

I regret that this hasn’t changed, and the lovely dishes pictured were lovingly created by Husband while I nagged/commented on ways to improve the recipe or upcoming steps to anticipate. I fool myself into thinking I’m helping but most likely I’m in the way and questioning him unnecessarily. While I impede his progress with a barage of comments and questions, he simply moves forward and somehow we always eat on time and he never appears worse for wear.

Husband is like the unsung hero of the kitchen, while I get accolades and praise for my many baking endeavors, he’s at the stove most nights making wonderful dishes. So perhaps, that’s why I’ve decided to “help” him and started looking for nightly recipes at Cooking Light.com. CL has a special category of recipes labeled “Dinner Tonight” and they are wonderful for these weekday meals. I know my pantry quite well and can tell you the state and supply of my sugar, flour, and unsweetened chocolate with a little give or take. Apparently Husband is the same way about the meat in the freezer, which is why he’d tell me what meat we were having and I’d spend my time searching for a meal online that he could make that night. It’s been a rather nice, since instead of resorting to the same rotation of meals, we’re spicing it up and trying something new. In my eyes, this variety makes the kitchen seem more like a restaurant and Husband is really starting to look more and more like a cute English chef. It’s a win-win except for the nagging backseat wife in the kitchen.

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This Pie is a Handful

Summer is the season of pie. While pie is popular all year long, inevitably the abundance of fresh fruit in the summer dictates one or two pies must be made. Pies are a great dessert to use up extra fruit and nothing is more forgiving to slightly bruised fruit than pie.

This summer I was struck by the want to make a pie from scratch long before I had the means to fill it thanks to the movie, Waitress. This movie not only carved a need in me to make pie, eat pie and covet pie, but also a desire to create my own recipes. There’s something how Jenna, the lead character, mirrors her feelings and emotions in her pies that really drew me in. While I don’t want to ever be in the same situation as Jenna, I certainly envy her ability to be so in touch with her feelings and use baking (not eating) pie as a means of therapy.

Making these hand pies wasn’t therapeutic for me but it was certainly enjoyable. I used a new pie crust recipe, Pate Brisee, from Martha Stewart and I’m overjoyed to finally have a flaky, tender pie crust recipe to call my own. I’ve struggled with pie crust before and while I still want to try out this Pate Brisee recipe in a traditional pie pan, I’m encouraged by these tender, flaky hand pies.

Between the crust, I opted to use a pre-made pie filling even though there’s a shopping bag full of plums in the fridge. Husband’s mother had come into a few extra jars of pie filling through a friend from the Internet and I’ve been eager to try them ever since she stocked her pantry. Being able to simply spoon in the prepared pie filling made preparation so easy and while in the end the blueberry filling was lacking for sweetness, I wouldn’t rule out using a different pie filling the next time.

What I liked most about these hand pies is they really are perfect for holding in your hand. This alone makes them perfect for social situations since they can be held, easily portioned, and don’t require the hostess to dirty any additional plates or cutlery. It’s always a good idea to consider the social situation and menu when bringing a dish and in the summer when every other weekend is an opportunity to grill and eat outdoors with friends, these handpies make a quick and easy way to sweeten the season.

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