This week, Thursday, the day the NPR story ran, more than 7,000 of you came by for a visit. It’s more than overwhelming. And I’m more than grateful. I’m doing what I love. Cooking, tinkering in the kitchen, putting up food, and writing about it. I’m feeling pretty lucky. I have a chance to set off on a new path, now – at age 53? Why ever not.
I was standing in line this morning, waiting to enter a Pie Contest sponsored by the Bethesda Central Farm Market. (A fundraiser for Manna Food Center.) It was a great day, the first fall breezes blew through the market in the morning, the end of summer sun warmed everything by noon. There were nearly thirty pies entered.
There were beautiful heirloom tomato pies, pecan pies (one chocolate pecan that I would have eaten by myself), an apple pie that smelled deliciously of cinnamon and sugar. A grasshopper pie – haven’t had one of those in years! And many a peach, nectarine, blueberry and mixed fruit. There were double crusts, single crusts, crumbles crusts, lattice crusts, and mine, a sour cherry pie, covered with stars. I used the filling I canned with the Food52’ers last month.
Bonnie Benwick from The Washington Post and Carole Sugarman from Bethesda Magazine were the judges and a crowd gathered to watch them sample. I stood with some friends, and some competitors and we watched. My friend’s daughter Leah whispered sotto voce “They’re trying your star pie, now!” and we all laughed. It was such a nice convivial group gathered waiting for the results.
And guess what? I won! The Grand Prize – a $100 gift certificate to one of our favorite Bethesda restaurants, Raku and a pretty blue ribbon. I’m a sucker for a blue ribbon.
Here’s what I’ve learned in the last few months. It’s never too late to do anything that brings joy to your life.
This couldn’t have come on a better day. It’s our 11th Wedding Anniversary.
Best Pie Crust
(from my mother, Jan, and my grandmother, Bea, and very likely Madeline Kamman)
8 T unsalted butter, ice cold and cut in cubes
1-1/3 c flour
1/4 c ice water
In a food processor, pulse the butter and flour until it’s sandy and in pea sized lumps.
Dump in all the cold water and run the processor until the crust comes together in a ball.
Form into a disk and chill for 4 hours, or overnight (better.)
No food processor? No problem. Blend the butter and flour with your fingertips (if your hands are naturally warm, cool them under the faucet before you start.) When the flour and butter are sandy and in pea sized lumps, add the ice water and blend with your fingers until it comes together.
Turn out on a countertop and press the ball out with the heel of your hand, pushing away from you. Gather the dough, push away again, gather and STOP FUSSING.
Form into a disk, even if you think it’s not very homogenous. Chill for 4 hours or overnight.
I’m trying to blog my way to the AARP Orlando@50 conference. This blog post is an entry in their competition to find the official blogger to travel to and cover the event. Find out more about the conference here.