Friday, March 27, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

pies and recipes

I believe last week I said something about sharing recipes for some of the pies I made for the pie day party. It's difficult for me to write about recipes because I rarely use them and if I do I tend to only vaguely follow them. But I did actually use several so here's what worked for me. 
First, the most popular, the key lime pie. I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I didn't change anything (other than using my own gf crumb crust) because it was perfect and boy did it turn out great.
The apple pie was just my standard go to, the filling is pretty much apples plus lemon juice plus a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon. The berry pie was similar except, you know, berries in place of apples. For both fruit pies I used an olive oil crust recipe my mother. 

2 cups flour
1/2 cup oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
I use ice water for more traditional pie crusts, and then I stored the crust in the freezer for two days before the party. This appeared to help it to hold together better, since I often struggle with gluten free crusts being difficult and crumbly. 

The lemon blackberry pie was another big winner (people really responded to the tart citrus pies-good to know) and while it used the same oil crust as the apple and berry pies, I did work from a recipe for the filling. This is what I ended up with (adapted from better homes and gardens) I ended up using less sugar and more lemon peel because I wanted the filling to be super lemon-y.

2 eggs
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup shredded lemon peel
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup blackberries  
I combine the eggs and egg whites with the lemon juice with an electric mixer (I just have a small hand mixer but it works quite well) and then added the butter and lemon peel before pouring it over the blackberries in a prebaked pie crust. I believe I baked it for about 20 minutes at 350 as I was working with very small pies, but I imagine with a full sized pie 30 would be better. I just took them out when the lemon filling was no longer liquid.

I can't seem to find my notes from the coconut chocolate creme pie but I will keep trying to locate those because it was fantastic. Until then, lets talk about Banoffee pie. Banoffee seems to be a British thing? It's bananas and toffee and frankly I made it mostly cause I wanted to say Banoffee over and over again. However it was also excellent and super easy. 
First, take one can of sweet condensed milk with the label peeled off and place it in boiling water for 2.5 hours. When you take it out, it will be caramel. This is like magic! After that it was as simple as slicing a bunch of banana into a crumb crust and pouring the caramel/toffee over the top. I suggest setting it a bit in the fridge before serving though as it is a bit gooey. In a good way.

Monday, March 23, 2015

let there be light

Do you ever get a hankering to make something specific and you just have to make it right now? This happens to me frequently. I think it's partly to see if my idea will work, partly so I can try it before I forget the idea, partly just plain old impatience.
So I kept seeing this candle holder everywhere in house tours and on pinterest. And it is beautiful but also many many dollars out of my budget. But I had a lightbulb idea where I remembered something I had seen in the hardware store and thought maybe I could make one of my own. Obviously not as nice but worth a shot. So off to the hardware store I went and then it went a little bit like this:

The finished product is very cute, and I think it will be a fun little addition to my table setting next time I have people over. I did learn a lot though and think I could make it way better next time. And of course, since I think the bigger eight candle cube is even better, I figure I will be making another version soon. 

I feel I should note that yes, this is a blatant copy of something beautiful and fancy and wonderful. I would never sell something that's such an obvious, for lack of a better word, rip off, but for my own home, when my budget doesn't grant me access to the original, I think it's fun to make my own if possible. I think someone said something once about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, so I always hope that projects such as this can be seen as just that. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

oversized card

I've been making some extra large cards recently. There's just something super fun about unexpectedly over or undersized things and especially when it's for someone who I cannot celebrate in person, I thought it would be fun to send a card that really feels like a big festive party!
This one was made with a recycled old lino embossed print for the outside (I like the all white texture) and I had to come up with a bit of a closure because it's so thick inside it liked to pop open and I didn't want to ruin the surprise within. I used mini paper fasteners and ribbon.
The inside is just layers of crepe paper fringe and a little hand lettered quote. Pretty simple to make and actually very quick for how fun I think it looks, but has a lot of impact. I of course have had to make custom giant envelopes for each card. I can't get enough of this and might just have to make it a thing I do for a while. I'm thinking how fun it would be to leave one on a desk or doorstep, maybe attached to a balloon? So many ideas!

Monday, March 16, 2015

pi(e) day party

I took a little break form work this weekend to have a party for pi(e) day. In case you don't know pi or pie day is a holiday celebrated on March 14th (3.14 get it?) and this year it was called epic pi day by some as it was 3.1415, and I rarely need an excuse to bake so I made some pies and some pizza pies and had a party. It was a great opportunity to try out some new recipes (several from Smitten kitchen all of which turned out great, and a olive oil pie crust from the Tassahara bread book that was excellent as well) and clean and decorate my house, and then in the end I got to have leftovers to eat for the next few days.
I made apple pie, blueberry raspberry, key lime, banoffee ( this crazy British concoction with banana and toffee made with sweet condensed milk) coconut chocolate creme pie and a lemon blackberry custard. They were all pretty good though I think that the key lime was probably the overall winner as far as what went fastest.
I did some urban foraging the night before (otherwise known as wandering around my neighborhood snipping flower and greenery) which I tucked into an oversize paper wreath I had lying around, and made into several arrangements around the apartment. There was also a sangria station set up at the bar and a big pie day sign but I was more intent on eating pie than taking photographs unfortunately so I don't have much documentation of the night. I will try to come back with the modified recipes I used later this week, all of them were augmented to be gluten free, and most of them were dairy free as well. 

Oh and I updated my kitchen chalkboard to commemorate the occasion as well!