Tag Archives: pie

My gleanings include rubbish and pies.

I guess I’ve had enough time and thinking power this week to read and ponder, but my activities didn’t result in anything of my own to posit or report, so I’ll just pass on some recent gleanings.

Women Priests?  I love it when a reviewer is bold enough to say “This book is rubbish.” Honesty and confidence! Although, if that’s all she can say, she won’t get a hearing; I want to hear reasons for her belief. I just read this blog post titled “Merlin Stone’s book is rubbish”, and though I had never heard the author’s name before I immediately wanted to read that article.

It’s a brief review of  When God Was a Woman, which the blogger first had to read in seminary years ago. She writes, “There is neither historical nor anthropological support for her thesis that the Hebrews suppressed goddess worship. She tries to prove that the Canaanites had a matriarchial and matrilineal structure. She is wrong on both counts.” Go to the blog Just Genesis to read the supporting details. The writer always has lots of fascinating historical and archeological knowledge to pass on.

Pies, pies, pies... Three women collaborated on a book, which as soon as I read about it I had to have sent as a birthday gift for my granddaughter. It may be a bit early for her, but I like to encourage little girls to start taking a creative role in the kitchen and to look to real grownups for inspiration.

The book is Pieography, written by Jo Packham, Food Styling by Anne Marie Klaske, Photography by Traci Thorson. All of these women have blogs; Jo and Traci feature photos of some pies, but I think you have to get the book if you want the recipes and stories.

I haven’t seen the book yet, but I’ve enjoyed Anne Marie’s blog in particular. The clean and elegant style is nice to surf around in and see snippets of the Klaske Family’s farm life. On Thursdays you can get inspired to bake pies!

Death of the Old Man:  Father Stephen Freeman shared a link to his daughter’s blog, on St. John of the Cross and the loss of identity, or the Dark Night of the Soul, or the “death of the old man.” Actually the subtitle of the post is “The Loss and Discovery of our Identity in God” (italics mine), so it ends on a very positive note, to be sure.

She writes, “If we had always thought of the death of our old man as purely symbolic, it may come as something of a shock to think of real pain being involved. But when our turn inevitably comes to go through pain or tragedy, then we may take comfort in knowing that many have travelled down this path before us.”

Icons and Images:  A book on the history of the use and theology of images in Jewish culture and in the church is the subject of this blog post on Orthodox-Reformed Bridge. Early Christian Attitudes Toward Images is written by Stephen Bigham, and a series of four blog posts is planned to review the book. This structure follows the organization of the book:

The book is divided into four chapters. Chapter 1 deals with the “hostility theory” which holds that the early Christians were hostile toward images. Chapter 2 deals with early Jewish attitudes toward images. Chapter 3 deals with the early Christian attitudes towards images, that is, the pre-Constantinian period. Chapter 4 deals with Eusebius of Caesarea who witnessed the beginning of Constantinian era.

The author is an Orthodox priest, and the blogger Robert Arakaki was Reformed in his theology before converting to Orthodoxy. I’m looking forward to reading all the reviews of what looks to be a thorough treatment of the subject.

Beethoven in Space:  Lastly, here’s a music video featuring Hubble images and beautiful music. A blessed weekend to you all!

 

Not Lazy Summer Days


To be precise, summer only began yesterday, so I shouldn’t be complaining about the lack of hours sitting on a patio with tea, or in the shade reading a book. I will likely yet have time before we get to the fall equinox for solitary early-morning weeding sessions in the garden while towhees splash in the birdbath nearby. But lately I’ve been doing so many fun and good things, I’ve been getting a bit depleted.

A week ago today, I was baking pies. It was a satisfyingly creative job, even if I did have a huge mess afterward.

Initially I wanted to bake an apple pie for the father of my children, for Father’s Day. And at church the ladies were bringing in pies for the agape meal, also in honor of the day. I made three for that contribution, using up some flaked coconut and other goodies in my pantry.

This one above left was named Million Dollar Pie where I found the recipe online, but as I improved it by cutting the sugar in half, I’ll make that Two Million Dollars. It must have tasted like a candy bar, what with the coconut, chocolate chips and walnuts it featured, but none was left over for me to try.

The recipe I found for Coconut Pineapple Pie made two pies from a 14-oz. bag of flaked coconut and a large can of crushed pineapple, with some eggs and butter, etc. in the mix. I did get a taste of that concoction, and I wonder if it might have had more zing if I’d used a name brand of pineapple. Even with its sugar cut in half it was a little too blandly sweet for me, but people liked it.

My newest favorite kitchen gadget got used that day: silicone pie crust shields. In the past I used aluminum foil to keep my crusts from getting too brown, but foil is not nearly as handy.

The day after Father’s Day grandson “Pat” flew to California all by his lonesome from D.C.’s Ronald Reagan Airport, mostly to spend a while with Pippin’s family, but we grandparents had the happy task of meeting him at the Oakland airport. Oakland is next door to Berkeley, where year by year I as a child visited my own grandparents, so we stopped in that old neighborhood of Indian Rock and Indian Rock Park in the Berkeley Hills.

Indian Rock

My sisters and I used to play here, just down the block from my grandma’s house, and even my father had his picture taken on the Rock when he was a small boy. It’s such a lovely thing that the houses were built all around this cluster of craggy boulders that seem more likely to be found in the Sierra Nevada. Pat climbed “cross country” on them, while we older people used the flights of steps long ago cut in the rock.

My father in 1927

From the top you can see far and wide, both the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, and at the bottom, where the hill slopes into the town of Albany, it’s possible to walk down to Solano Avenue by way of stairs passing between houses. It takes only a few minutes to go this way, descending to shops and in my grandma’s time, her beauty parlor and the ice cream parlor that she let us visit by ourselves. Those were the days when children were safe.

After a couple of days having Pat all to ourselves, I drove him north to have adventures with the Professor and fun little cousins.; we listened to most of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader on the way up, with me interrupting frequently to say, “Would you look at all those sunflowers!” (There were a couple of thousand acres, I think, visible from I-5.) and “Those are tomatoes in that field, and this is alfalfa….” Sadly, we couldn’t get one of those faraway views of Mt. Shasta because of clouds.

I had a few sweet hours with Scout and Ivy before I wore myself out driving back the very next day. I needed to come home and get ready for multiple house guests, and for events such as the much anticipated Feast of Pentecost.

Friday morning when I was back watering the garden I discovered that more of my unusually colored California poppies had bloomed, like this one.

A brief look-around at my flowers didn’t seem to be enough R&R, though, so I asked Mr. Glad to take me to the coast where I could “just sit and stare at the ocean.” He was happy to comply.


The weather wasn’t as summery and calm as the predictors had led us to expect, but the fog hung around only thinly so that we mostly noticed the sunshine. I tied a bandana around my head so that the wind wouldn’t make a total tangle of my hair, and we sat in the lee of a sand dune where I could rake my fingers through the warm sand for an hour.

I don’t know how long I may have to wait to experience even a short string of rejuvenating days, but for now I think my half of a lazy afternoon will do nicely.

If you need a vegan pie crust…

Pineapple-Coconut Pie

In the course of telling about various pies over the years, I’ve mentioned this versatile pie crust recipe which can easily be made vegan, and is mixed up right in the pie plate.

I thought I had never given the recipe for it, but just today I saw that it was featured in the second post I ever wrote, in which I report on my experiment with sweet potato pie. I’ve now put it conveniently where it ought to have been all along, on the page titled “Recipes and Vague Instructions.”

In the Orthodox Church we have a good many days all throughout the year when we fast from dairy and eggs, those go-to ingredients for many desserts, so I’ve made use of this recipe on special occasions that also happen to be fast days.

Sweet Potato Pie with Black Bean Crust

An example is the pineapple-coconut pie which I mention on a rambling post that offers vague instructions indeed. But the crust recipe comes originally from the Amish, who aren’t known for fasting or eating vegan, and it’s a wonderfully quick shell to throw together even for a rich pie, like the colorful first one I ever blogged upon.

Since my last detailed pie recipe here, I have acquired a convection oven, and I want you to know that I no longer have to do the foil collar thing to keep my crusts from over-browning. Now it is easier (what?) than ever to whip up a pie, any day of the year.

As the Nativity Fast is soon upon us, any pie I make will likely be a vegan one using this recipe, which I am giving in the original Amish version with my notes. Finally, what you’ve all been waiting for… back for a second appearance… TA DA!

Pat-in-Pan Pie Crust
Single-crust 8-9” pie
Quick, crisp, but tender
(can’t be rolled)

1 ½ cups plus 3 tablespoons flour (does not have to be wheat)
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable oil (you might even try a little butter!)
3 tablespoons cold milk (dairy, soy, nut, etc.)

Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a pie pan and mix with your fingers until blended. In a measuring cup beat the oil and milk with a fork until creamy. Pour liquid all at once over the flour mixture. Mix with the fork until completely moistened. Pat the dough with your fingers, first up the sides of the plate, then across the bottom. Flute the edges.

Shell is now ready to be filled. If you are preparing a shell to fill later, or your recipe requires a pre-baked crust, preheat oven to 425°. Prick the surface of the pastry with a fork and bake 15 minutes, checking often, and pricking more if needed.


For a 10” shell I used:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup oil
3 tablespoons milk

Philosophy of Pie and Picnics

Vegan Coconut Pie

Between tonight and tomorrow this subject must become theoretical, as Monday my church begins fasting in preparation for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Though I admit to making vegan desserts, like this coconut pie for Father L.’s birthday, usually I’d rather just wait until a fast-free day to enjoy the butter and cream. Hey, by then I’m happy to pour cream in my coffee and call it dessert.

But that’s not festive enough for a picnic, or for a tea party. I think both of those events demand some cake, if they are going to be traditional (in addition to the scones, if you want those). Sadly, our family is generally lacking in cakes, with the major exception of Pearl, who learned on her own and makes lovely ones. I don’t think her household lacks cake; I don’t know anything about their picnics.

The rest of us, going back a couple of generations and on both sides of the family, eat pie. One of us even declared, “Cakes are for looking at.”

I can’t grant that much myself, because my very few attempts at cake decorating beyond the sprinkling of some coarse sugar did not draw any comments about prettiness. My favorite topping for children’s birthday cakes of long ago was an array of gumdrops — but with that we start slipping into the candy category.

It may have been Big Sister Pearl who baked this birthday cake for Soldier, using plenty of that ingredient that is so important. I can see something in his expression that hints at what he would do 20 years down the road: leave cake out of his wedding altogether, in preference for pie.

I blame bloggers for giving me the feeling that something is missing. Have you noticed how many blog posts have been written about this or that recipe for cake, which comes out of the oven in the late morning or afternoon just in time to have a slice with some tea, at the kitchen table with the children just home from school, or just taking a break from homeschool?

Proof that I baked a cake

It’s not clear how I would work that tradition into my lifestyle at this point. My husband would be alarmed and reluctant, to put a good spin on it, and might not eat any cake. I’m considering reviving my Girlfriends Tea Parties just so I can make a cake or two. When I did this before it was a great way to try out a few of the hundreds of dessert recipes I have in my collection. After we sampled them together, all the ladies took home most of the leftovers to share with their sweeter-toothed husbands.

One huge advantage to packing the cake into a basket instead, to be eaten on a blanket spread under a tree, is that I wouldn’t have to clean the house beforehand. But the Old English style of picnicking has also not caught on in the Glad Tribe. Our group has favored throwing handfuls of trail mix into their mouths so that they can get to the mountain peak and back before dark. None of this leisurely sitting around eating and fattening up.

But I have a new desire to broaden our style in that regard, too, probably from reading too many blog posts about Wind in the Willows and grown-up girls taking their Toad and Mole dolls on outings with yummy noshables.

It’s good that I will have a few weeks to think about these important questions — or rather, not to think about them. And by then I’ll be too busy getting ready for a new grandchild, and getting ready for a trip…Then there will be another fast, and then another new grandchild. All these ideas for events that require a Lot of Planning really don’t fit in this summer.

But it won’t take long to throw together a pie to set before my dear husband, a blackberry or cherry would suit just fine, and leftovers won’t be a problem.