felt like recycling

anne wrote this in the late evening:

caladium06_19

it’s been quite rainy here for the last few days; some parts of our region are experiencing heavy flooding, in fact. thankfully for us, it translates only to more mowing and weeding time as the garden sucks up all that water and turns it into something green.

gardenWet06_19

i can’t get over how fast everything is growing out there.

gardenSeedBed06_19

you can see all my rows of seeds germinating and the tomatoes getting very bushy. but it’s been too muddy to get out and prune—that’s going on the list for this weekend.

gardenWetA06_19

i am really grateful for those planting mounds that david created—all this water would be laying close to the plants if it couldn’t drain off.

speaking of floods, i think we are about to experience one of a different kind

zucchiniGreen06_19

our squash plants seem incredibly happy at last (knock wood). and in the “what the heck was i thinking” department, i planted enough to offset any losses from the kinds of problems we’ve gotten used to seeing in our squash section.

so we will soon have an ocean tide of summer squash, heh.

from left to right above, we have yellow zucchini, yellow zephyr (which is a yellow squash that is half green, really pretty!), and tiny butternut squash already, too. the vines are beginning to spread outward across the lawn the way i was hoping; they add a cheerful note to our side yard and a nice garden border. if i didn’t have to rotate each year, i’d always plant some there.

and i noticed while looking up those links that wow, we are getting squash—as wells tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant—a LOT earlier this year than the usual first week of july. after such a late start, looks like we will be harvesting table eats this weekend. yay!

oculusProgress06_19

with the solstice just around the corner, it gets light here a lot earlier too, which i’ve been looking forward to since december, haha. i’ve been getting up early every day, which gives me a little time to knit in the morning over coffee. not a lot, but enough to see some steady progress on my oculus scarf, which i’m designing in sweet georgia cash silk lace. the woodland colorway is straight out of the garden. i just love working with feather light brushed mohair—it’s very fine, but so pretty knit up.

cottonSwatchPBC06_19

i’ve also been swatching with various cotton yarns to prepare for our summer cotton KAL that sarah is heading up in our ravelry mothership group. we’ve ordered in scads of organic, color grown cotton—every shade available and every weight. it arrived today and we are now trying to organize all the photography and store listings so we can open sales on it next week. what i’m swatching with above is a new-to-me brand—pura bella fingering weight, a silky ten-ply organic color grown cotton. it’s lovely and we’re thinking of bringing this in as well; i’ll expand on working with it in sunday’s post.

craftsyPrep06_19

another thing that i’ve been attending to are preparations for my trip to denver next week, where i will film another class for craftsy. i KNOW, thrilling, right? this one is wonderful, too; i couldn’t be more excited. i think it’s going to be one of those ones that everyone will find most useful—a survey of finishing techniques; everything you need to know to get almost any project to the winner’s circle. all those techniques you’ve been wishing would be compiled into one class—now they will be; how about that?

it’s a lot of work though—we’ve had several production meetings that ran all afternoon, there are tons of stepouts to be constructed, samples to be pulled and organized, and (as you can see) lots of graphics to be sketched so the craftsy staff can draw them professionally. fortunately, i can re-use some of the stepouts and swatches from other classes, but the biggest lifesaver is that our friend cherie agreed to help me by knitting the new ones we need from scratch (haha, i just love her latest ravater, don’t you?).

but it’s all good; we are very excited about this new opportunity and i’m looking forward to my trip. i’ll get to visit with my cousin once again, as well as my friend anne merrow, and also with our dear friends luci and scott—luci was here a few years ago to visit; you might remember that she is my friend who makes the super-cool one-minute films that she posts weekly on her moving postcard site (seriously, i could spend hours there watching films from berlin, my old brooklyn neighborhood, and now, colorado). and if you enjoy her work as much as i do, please consider using the paypal button in the right hand column to make a small donation that will help out with production costs.

which reminds me—i received my travel itinerary yesterday and i need to let all of those people know, so we can make plans. one thing i noticed is that there is a race in luck’s town on fourth of july—i should enter it, right? it will be fun.

wheaten06_19

as for the here and now, guess what? we are finally ready to release the wheaten cap and mitts pattern. it will go on sale tomorrow (friday the 20th); david, emily, and erica are organizing a kit listing with our fingering yarns. sarah and i are scheming about which cotton yarn we’ll knit our next wheaten hats with (well sarah may actually ask her mom to knit hers).

i don’t know if i mentioned it but the hot weather has arrived here—and since it’s also very rainy, it’s pretty humid, too. iced drinks are a must whenever possible and for me that means iced coffee, mmm. i’ve taken a shine to these cold cups that beckie introduced me to last year—you put them in the freezer and the gel inside the walls turns to ice. i love them.

feltColdCollar06_19

anyway, i bought a few new ones this spring, but they don’t have the usual collar to help with the grip. once the weather got humid, this became annoying, so i solved the problem by cutting the leg off of a clean, slightly felted, but worn out sock. it’s one that i used handspun coopworth yarn to knit; these socks wore like iron, but eventually one gave up the ghost. david was saving this one and we came across it when he was sorting out his closet the other day, so i grabbed it for this use. much better than having all that handspun loveliness sit unused in the closet, i think.

and it has the added bonus of working a treat as a cold cup collar; it absorbs all that excess moisture, evaporates it into the air, yet it never feels soggy or even damp. and as you know, the wool adds an extra layer of insulation; you can’t ask for more!

feltHats06_19

anyway that got me thinking about other handspun handknits that were hiding around the place and what what helpful items i could make out of those. i went through a pret-ty big felted bag and hat period before you and i ever met—and many of the castoffs from that time have been aging in the attic closet (lots of not-so-successful experimenting). i discovered this yesterday when sarah and i went up there to look for something else.

not that i needed to take a crafty break in my day right now, but we have been desperate in our house for some really decent coasters that handle moisture well and i’ve been thinking that old felted fabric could work. when i saw that bin of old felted things, the spirit hit me and i went with it—and limited myself to just a half hour’s worth.

feltCoastersBig06_19

the first thing i did was make a straight cut from brim to crown and then cut out the flat top with its little rim—these i will use as coasters for pitchers of ice water or wine; they can double as hot pads too.

feltCoastersTools06_19

seriously, this project takes just a few simple tools and about a half hour—if you’re trying to keep kids busy, you might be able to stretch that out by making fancier shapes or something, haha.

you’ll need scissors, something to trace for a shape (anything circular or large cookie cutters will work; four to five inches is a good size). and then something to draw with—this marking pencil was not a good choice; i tried a few other things and finally settled on a good old sharpie marker. that worked best.

feltCoastersPattern06_19

trace your shapes and then cut them out. what did i tell you—stupid simple, right?

feltCoastersCut06_19

each of my hats made six coasters, which are totally washable, i might add.

feltCoastersFinishing06_19

they were a little puffy and wobbly so i fired up the steam iron and gave everything a good pressing to finish them off.

feltCoastersPressed06_19

lovely; now they are evenly thick and flat, so drinks will have a steady base to sit on.

feltCoastersDone06_19

i love them. i am SO making more of these—they’ll be great stocking stuffers for christmas and i’ll get rid of another box of unused stuff.  total crafting time: about 30 minutes from start to finish (including time spent digging out the felted things from the attic).

ok, i think that’s all i have for tonight and it’s time for me to put together the wheaten release for tomorrow morning. have a great weekend; see you on sunday.

feltCoastersScraps06_19

everything’s comin’ up veggies

anne wrote this mid-afternoon:

marigold06_15

well, maybe there’s room for a flower or two as well; why not?

what a week for gardening, eh? at the beginning of last week i was stressing just a little because i hadn’t gotten my seeds in over the weekend. so monday morning i got up bright and early, put on my garden clothes and headed outside to dig in the dirt instead of running.

seedBedGreens06_15

there was rain in the forecast for late in the day and i wanted to get some seeds in to take advantage of the free water. it actually ended up taking two separate mornings to get everything squared away, but i finally did it. the first day i got my greens planted in the small bed—five or six types of chard, pak choy, zen greens, and beets.

squashMarigolds06_15

and the second day i put on all the final touches—seeding in radishes everywhere to help with insect control and planting marigolds to help with the same. we also plan out the garden so that we can take advantage of good companion planting between the foods we harvest. this seems to work a treat where we live and our garden, which used to be a gravel parking lot, can use all the help we can give it.

squashRadish06_15

temperate, alternating days of brilliant sun and showers combined in a perfect recipe of success—within a couple of days everything ha sprouted and what was already in the ground was going gangbusters by this past weekend.

squashMarigoldsA06_15

i can’t get over how big everything gets in just a week at this time of year!

zucchini06_15

the squash plants are already putting our tiny zucchini and yellow squash.

tomato06_15

and the tomatoes won’t be shown up so out came some tiny fruits on those

i had seen some tiny fruits not the pepper plants but was amazed at the size they’d achieved the next time i looked (about two days later)

these beans have been in the ground just seven days—funny thing though, the same type seeds are germinating at one end of the row but not the other, haha. my fingers are crossed that the back end beans will catch up.

eggplantFlower06_15

and then this beauty popped aug the other day—fiore di melanzana; how pretty is that.

tomatoTrellis06_15

i did not get out there to prune the tomatoes over the weekend as i’d planned, darn it. i’ve got it on the calendar for tomorrow because i don’t want the vines to run away with themselves; it will be extremely difficult to prune them later.

carrotSprouts06_15

i’m so pleased that everything—even the parsnips and carrots—germinated on the first try. we’ve had issues in the past with certain things. i do think the consistently alternating rain/sun pattern of the last couple weeks has worked like magic; i don’t think we’d have been able to provide that same consistency with watering.

bunny06_15

the other day i was out there snapping some photos, when our bunny friend bounded straight toward me from the backyard and over the strawberry patch.

bunnyFar06_15

he settled in the middle of the grassy area to eat clover and allowed me to come quite near, snapping photos.

bunnyClose06_15

i think i was only about eight feet away when i got this one. i don’t think he minded at all; he seemed mostly uninterested in me. then someone slammed a car door on the street and he hopped away.

strawberries06_15

speaking of the strawberry patch, we have had a bumper crop this year. our berry plants are finally producing well; i think i’ve picked three or four quarts in the last week.

strawberryPicking06_15

though very pretty, they are not so sweet and not really full-flavored, but the taste is delicate and interesting, with hint of lavender in it. i pick them every other day and wash them up for us to use however we please; david has been eating his with ice cream at night, i think.

strawberryBreakfast06_15

the very first batch i cut up and ate with yogurt (here, paired with key lime, mmm).

but by yesterday we really had quite a lot on hand and they don’t last but a day, so i decided we should have strawberry shortcake at least once. and since i did my long run yesterday morning, i felt i’d earned it, haha.

glutenFreeCookBook06_15

david and i heard about this gluten free cookbook on NPR about a month ago and we ordered a copy. america’s test kitchen is one of our favorite shows; we love knowing the science behind the cookery. i figured if anyone had a chance of making a great gluten free cookbook, it would be them.

i’ve only had it a couple of weeks but i am really pleased with this book so far. while there are a few ingredients i needed to buy that i did not have in my pantry, once these were purchased i have been able to use the recipes without finding myself lacking of another exotic ingredient. the book offers a recipe for their flour blend which is recommended for each recipe (and requires a bunch of ingredients you might have to send away for), but they also make recommendations for purchasing gluten free flour, which is what i did. i may invest in making the flour blend at some point, but we don’t bake enough right now to warrant that.

the book focuses on recipes that would normally be made with wheat—lots of baked goods, both sweet and savory, but also any food that requires a starchy component. the main thing is the educational material that allows me to take the same concepts and apply them to familiar recipes that might not be in the book.

strawberryKitchen06_15

anyway, for strawberry shortcake dessert, we usually like a sweet biscuit to soak up the strawberry juice. i have a couple of good recipes, but not gluten free. so i took a stab at their biscuit recipe.

strawberryBiscuits06_15

as with my regular recipe, it was very simple to make with a short list of ingredients. there were some clever hints included to contribute to the success of the outcome. now, i like to play with recipes, usually giving myself free rein to change things. but even i know that baking is a delicate balance of chemistry and gluten free baking even more so. that being the case, i stuck exactly to what the recipe said. i loved the way the finished dough felt, handled, and tasted; i had a good feeling about the final result.

strawberryBiscuitsA06_15

and i wasn’t wrong—these biscuits were absolutely scrumptious, maybe even as good as my regular recipe. they were soft and light with crispy outsides and a light, sweet flavor. david is pretty critical of our new baked goods and these passed his palate with flying colors. i am so trying more of these recipes . . .

ETA: ooops!! speaking of baking, i forgot to announce the winner of the pies and tarts book giveaway yesterday, darn it. the winner is . . . cherie w. congratulations cherie!

and thank you again to our friend nathalie for both the review copy and the giveaway copy; i love this book.

sarahFreshYarn06_15

in other news, our new shades of stone soup are beginning to arrive from the mill—we love the boxes that they arrived in; you couldn’t say it better, haha.

SSriverRock06_15

our darkest shade, which we are naming river rock. and holy cow is this batch sooooffft! we’re also expecting a new brown, which hopefully will be the start of a second line of shades. as soon as david has these loaded in the shop, we’ll let you know.

i’ve mostly been knitting on a secret project i have going but guess what?

in my little bit of spare knitting time just before bed, i have apparently been getting lots done because suddenly, my comfy pedal pusher cardigan is almost done!

pedalPusherA06_15

i’m working on the collar and after that i have to add button bands and sew up the underarm seams. then i have to knit a couple of pockets. hopefully not more than a week of work left (i only work on this piece late at night while watching TV).

pedalPusherB06_15

this knit up in no time using our confection worsted in the dark chocolate shade (david picked it out for me). i knit the 40-ish inch chest and it will most likely be done with just under five skeins of yarn. of course it isn’t blocked yet or anything but i just love the way it’s turned out. it’s comfy, but not baggy; that’s really important to me. the fabric feels smooth and velvety; it’s going to be a winter favorite for me; i can tell. i’m going to knit it again in a dyed yarn, in fact.

anneSarahBlanket06_15

speaking of confection, look what anne C and sarah knit for a friend’s recent wedding—is that not gorgeous?? just two skeins of each shade for all that yumminess. wow.

this is a pattern we will publish near the end of the summer or early fall. we got some knockout photos of it the other day with our favorite kids modeling.

blanketKidsA06_15

yeah, kids and handknits just go together like strawberries and shortcake.

the new kid in town

anne wrote this mid-afternoon:

cabecouLabels06_11

a brand new limited-edition yarn has landed in our online shop—the third installment in our mohair series. this is one spun with the kid fiber we purchased from john frett at pinxterbloom farm, along with the yearling for our chebris blends. cabécou means “little goat” and is the name of a tiny goat cheese from the midi-pyrénées region of southern France.

cabecouLabelsB06_11

we named our delicious version cabécou brilliant (or bright little goat) to celebrate its beautiful bounce and sheen, the result of blending three lustre fibers—romney, kid mohair, and silk.

cabecouSkeinsA06_11

this yarn is a true silver gray and honestly, no photo can accurately record how shiny it is. not garishly at all, but instead a bright, burnished reflection of its own depths—which seem bottomless. sigh.

cabecouSwatch06_06

cabécou brillant has a lot of the same character as our chèvre worsted which sold out so quickly last year, but this one is softer, brighter, lighter, and has more sheen.

it’s so new that we haven’t got any finished samples yet to show it off, but we will at our next popup shop—the michigan fiber festival (if it lasts that long). in the meantime, i’ve swatched up several types of stitch patterns to put it through its paces so i can give you a quick report.

cabecouLuminosity06_11
(wow, look at it glow—doesn’t that just beat the band?)

cabecouSwatchesA06_11

the first thing i tried was a straight stockinette swatch on size 5US (3.75 mm) needles, just to get a beat on how big or small i’d need to go to achieve the optimum fabric. and i would say that for stockinette, it will perform well on a range of needles from 4US (3.5 mm) to 6US (4.0 mm).

cabecouSwatchProgress06_11

the fabric will be soft, airy, and relaxed with beautiful drape; a light allover haze will provide enough body and structure to support it so that it won’t stretch or sag from regular wear.

cabecouSwatchCrocus06_11

nice as the stockinette fabric is, i really think this yarn comes into its own in a patterned fabric that has a mix of knits and purls. in the brocade swatch above, the foreground gleams in knit stitches while the background recedes in soft matte purl, giving the composition tons of depth and shadowing (swatch is worked in the motif from my crocus patch blanket, which will soon be available as a standalone pattern—in fact, we should do a kit!)

below i swatched the obstacles pattern, which has a more integrated mix of knits and purls, creating deeply textured hills and valleys that are well supported by the network of fuzzy fiber in the yarn as well as its natural springiness. the higher elevations in the fabric are further accented by a soft sheen that is almost shameless in the way it grabs one’s attention.

cabecouSwatchObstaclesA06_11

david and i came up with a whole list of patterns we thought would suit this yarn well. most of our favorites fall into the categories of shawls, wraps, and blankets, but there’s no reason not to consider this yarn for a slouchy hat or lush cowl.

cabecouSkeins06_11

with a generous 375 yards per four ounce skein, a couple of these will make a wonderfully sized wrap or small blanket; it would be a treasure as cradle me or hillflowers (and so easy, too). light as it is, it would be an absolute showstopper as a full-sized coverlet for the bed—maybe wheaten, hourglass throw, or sky ladder?

cabecouHaze06_11

(wow, look at those fibers catch the light; they are on fire)

cabecouSkeinsB06_11

this batch is a limited edition produced from the small supply of kid mohair we were able to buy in late fall; while we are anxious to put it in our regular lineup, that will depend on if and when we can obtain the same quality fiber. we’ve been trying to catch up with john to talk about getting more but he’s a guy on the go.

in the meantime, everything we have is now listed in the shop—i hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do. now the question is, what will i be knitting with my cabécou??

 

berry fine

anne wrote this around lunchtime:

postingClubYarn06_08

wow, another weekend just whooshed by, gone in what feels like an instant; good thing we made the most of it. we ended our week with our usual friday afternoon date—bike errands (we really enjoy this getaway, hee-hee!). first stop: the post office, our saddlebags loaded high with the international mailing of our june BNK club club shipment (the USA shipment goes by car—too big for the bikes!). after that we biked to the grocery stores, bank, and library to complete our weekly errands and food shopping.

then, after a quick supper, it was off to the races—literally

gloRunStart06_08

i participated in my first glow run, a nighttime 5K race that started at 9:30 pm to raise funds in support of our local domestic violence project.

gloRunStars06_08

it was still just a little light at the start line, but the stars were beginning to pop out; everyone was enjoying the evening weather which couldn’t have been lovelier. we are all seriously still awed by nice weather; i don’t know if we’ll ever get over the winter we had, haha.

gloRunStartA06_08

what a lot of fun this was! i had already signed up for the next one and so glad i did.

after the race, i got myself home to bed because i had to get up early the next day to run another one, this time a 10K . i didn’t take any pictures at that event, unfortunately; i got to the race just before start time and had to leave right after. i ran well in both events, however, which made me feel like i am finally getting used to doing these shorter runs. after all that training for the long races in april, i was out of practice for the short ones.

almost as soon as i crossed the finish line, i headed for my saturday yoga class which i hate to miss—it’s a great way follow up on the busy work week and at the same time, launch the weekend with some peaceful centering. back home i took a much needed nap to get ready for the rest of my weekend agenda.

i did a lot of knitting and pattern work this weekend, but all focused on a secret project, so i can’t share that with you, but hang on—i think you’ll enjoy what is coming.

ciambottaPrep06_08

i had a big afternoon of cooking planned because i’d invited a few friends over for sunday supper. i had a boatload of vegetables to cut up for the ciambotta i mentioned the oner day. never fear—you do NOT need to prep this much food for your ciambotta; this is just me cooking for an army as usual. i cannot help myself; i love having leftovers, preferably enough to freeze for another meal (or two).

ciambottaStart06_08

and, cooking a big amount gave me a chance to finally use the big enameled pot my mom gave  us for christmas a few years ago. it was stored in the basement for a long while because we didn’t have room in our old kitchen cabinet for it. we finally unpacked it a couple of weeks ago and i’ve been itching to use it.

ciambottaStew06_08

ciambotta is a wonderfully summery dish to cook with seasonal vegetables. though it’s not quite time to be picking those from our own garden, they are starting to come into the stores from the south and west. i think every mediterranean cuisine has a version of this dish—it is related to ratatouille, pistou, and possibly even some tanginess.

the essential ingredients are summer squashes, peppers, potatoes, onions, celery, garlic, and basil; carrots and eggplant are also used by some cooks (i like everything in mine, haha). it’s both light and satisfying; the root vegetables make a hearty base and all the rest create a fresh, summery flavor. it’s a great main dish or side dish; i served it with chunks of bread and a piece of fish atop for one-dish meal.

pieBerries06_08

once the ciambotta was bubbling in its pot, i turned my attention to preparing for a dessert. it’s a little before our local berry season just now, but again, there are wonderful strawberries from the south available in the market and the price is good. i bought two boxes on friday to put together with this

pieRhubarb06_08

to make my favorite early summer pie—strawberry rhubarb (every time i say strawberry rhubarb my mouth waters). i used the same recipe i made last year because it turned out so well—i especially liked the filling.

once you string the rhubarb, cut it into chunks and steam it in a syrup made from juice and sugar—just long enough to make the rhubarb tender

pieSauce06_08

lift it out and thicken the syrup with some cornstarch.

pieFilling06_08

blend the cooked rhubarb with the berries and syrup; add some butter and liqueur. at this point, i refrigerated the filling so i could bake the pie closer to our dinner time. i prepared the crust and put that in the fridge to chill as well.

by the end of the evening, i had everything cooked except to sauté the fish and put the pie together.

pieDone06_08

on sunday afternoon i put the pie together and got it in the oven. still trying to get there perfect gluten free crust, i tried a tip sent by a reader for adding extra water. i’m not sure i love the resulting texture, but it did make the crust easier to handle; food for thought in my next experiments. another note—while i like the flavor of a very fresh-baked pie, this one was very runny, so it might have been batter to bake it in the morning, chill it for a bit once it cooled, then warm it up for dinner. another thing to experiment with . . .

speaking of pie experiments and the impending berry season, have i got a book for you, thanks to our friend nathalie.

pieBookA_cov06_08

another winner from the culinary institute of america (or CIA), pies and tarts. i received this book about two months back and have been saving it for this very moment. i love the CIA cookbooks because they provide so much focused and practical information to read, as well as many options for beautifying my cooking and baking.

pieBookB_tools06_08

the book starts off with an introduction to equipment and tools—not that you need all this to make pie, but so that you’ll know what they are and whether you need them.

following that is a discussion of ingredients, both those you’ll want in your pantry and those you might want to shop for as needed. thereat e pages of discussion about flours, filling ingredients, and garnishes.

the next chapter is extremely important and a great read. while the recipe for the pie crust i learned to make at home is embedded in my soul and (fortunately) also pretty terrific in taste and texture, i have lately had detour from using wheat in my pie crust so i am once again a student of all things dough related.

pieBookB_toolsC06_08

while this book does not contain recipes or information specifically for gluten free users, it does contain excellent dough-making and baking information, which i’m sure will be useful to me in my quest for good gluten-free dough (not to mention the absolutely drool-worthy fillings and garnishes to come later in the book).

pieBookC_crusts06_08

the way that you handle pie dough is really important, so i was very happy to see process demonstrated in step-by-step illustrations over several pages

with treatments for the edging at the end, which included photos of some i had not seen before, but will definitely be trying.

pieBookC_crustsD06_08

i was one of those kids that would, whenever my mom suggested baking a pie as a way to keep me busy, pore over the cookbook for ideas, finally settling on the most elaborately trimmed crust and beg to make THAT. naturally my mom, envisioning a whole day of messy, tedious futzing with too many tools, resulting in a less than artful finish, would suggest that we just do a regular fluted crust. later i would come to understand her reluctance for woven top crusts and rims of cutout leaves (can you spell T-I-M-E S-U-C-K?), but would continue to admire prettier trims in cookbook photographs.

and finally, i have a book that offers the best of both worlds—clever new-to-me ideas for trimming pie rims that don’t require special tools or lots of time. love.

pieBookD_fruit06_08

once the subject of pie crust is exhausted, it is on to the recipes and what a parade it is, starting—naturally—with the fruits. oh my. i had to chuckle when i saw that the last recipe in this chapter is concord grape pie, over which we have shamed ourselves several times at nathalie’s table. hey, go US.

see what i mean? the crust in that last photo of the blueberry pie is just brilliant—both festive and so easy; perfect for fourth of july. i could do that (and so could my mom, even in the heyday of our household capacity).

pieBookE_custard06_08

after the fruits there are chapters on cream and custard pies—everything from pumpkin (my favorite) to coconut and so many more i never thought of.

that apple cider custard pie is SO going on my list. this is one of the best things about this book—getting new ideas for future baking. while david tends to like repeating recipes he knows he likes, i love variety, so i compromise by trying new  variations of old favorites (yes, sometimes it “backfires” and i’m “stuck” with a whole pie or cake that only i like, haha).

and then there are the chapters on nuts and chocolate—well of course they require their own space; they might even require their own kingdom, but you can’t do that in a book.

pieBookF_nut06_08

i never really thought about it much, but was surprised to learn that there actually IS such a thing as goober pie; i guess i thought that was just a silly food in a song . . .

in fact, these chapters are rich with recipes for nut and chocolate pies that i had not even considered, but which i’m sure will make david (and our dear kimkimkim) weak at the knees. time to start planning her next visit . . .

pieBookG_savory06_08

i was extremely happy to see a chapter devoted to savory pies. much as i talk about sweet pies and love to bake them, we really are not much for eating desserts when we’re alone. but savory pies are a favorite for us, especially when looking for ideas to use garden offerings. and i know for you and many other friends, a great chicken pot pie is never a thing to turn down.

but savory pies do not just include quiche (though there are several yummy recipes included for that)—featured also are empanadas, galettes, and tarts made with all manner of vegetables and legumes. definitely a chapter that deserves more exploration on my part.

pieBookH_finishes06_08

the book finishes with a roundup of garnishes, toppings, serving ideas, and storage advice. this is not to be missed—many pies fail at the very last by being served too hot or too cold, wrapped too tightly, or with a less than edible meringue on top.  included here is plenty of great information to make the perfect presentation and do the right thing with leftovers.

as usual, many illustrations are provided so you can see what they are talking about and make your own choices accordingly. i love that photo comparing the various washes; i’ve never seen them displayed side by side and now i can really see the differences between them.

pies and tarts is a terrific book, just one of the many i’ve read from the CIA collection. if you don’t know anything about baking pie but would like to, this would be a wonderful volume to obtain; there is great reading AND great recipes.

now, here’s the real dessert—nathalie has graciously offered a free copy of pies and tarts for a blog giveaway—yay!! if you’d like a chance to win it, leave a comment at the end of this post by 9 pm EDST on friday june 13th, naming your favorite pie (don’t paste in a link or it will go to the SPAM folder).  we will announce the winner soon after.

pieEaten06_08

as for our own strawberry rhubarb piece of heaven, it was very well received despite its appearance; the flavor was divine, if i might say so myself (i mean let’s face it, the berries and rhubarb did all the work!). and now i know that next time, a bit of chilling will help contain that little problem of runnyness.

 

ok, i gotta dash to an appointment; i won’t even proofread for now; please forgive any typos in advance!