Busy Kitchen

Currently happening in our kitchen:

Soon this will be soup

I made some kinda-sausage to go into my favorite fall soup. It’s ground extra lean turkey, seasoned to an approximation of a spicy Italian sausage. It’s an entirely experimental undertaking. Wish me luck.

Also happening: I am having a little trouble getting back into my bread-making groove. I made some cinnamon rolls last week, but I cheated a little and used the dough setting on my bread machine. Yay, inherited bread machine! I can make pie dough in my sleep, but my bread-by-hand skills are a little rusty.

Beer actively fermenting

And! The Mister was busy this weekend! He made a new batch of ginger ale, which smelled amazing, and then we took a grand motorcycle adventure to the homebrew store. (And I do mean adventure: we got trapped on the wrong side of a football game, with some seriously unwieldy cargo. A story for another time.) To my great surprise, Mr. Pie had never made beer at home before! This weekend we have set about remedying that.

There are so many things fermenting in my kitchen right now! I’m having a really hard time leaving the carboy of beer alone. I know it’s not really doing anything, just bubbling, but I want to look at it! Fermenting continues to be a valuable exercise in patience, it seems.

Not pictured: Pie Crust! Wednesday I’ll be out and around town, bringing pie to your face. And then again on Friday! Pie faces for everyone! There will be Plum Basil! Also, Old School Apple! It’s that time!

Look out for art!

I’m making pie, but it’s at the ‘really boring to look at’ stage right now. Let’s talk about something more interesting, shall we?

Art (and craft) never exists in a vacuum, and the art of Grumpy Pie is no exception. While I spend my creative energy throwing fruit at spices and seeing what sticks, the very talented gentlemen of my household tend to be a little more traditionally ‘artistic.’

At New Year’s, Mr. Pie & I made the same resolution: Make More Things. Turns out, I made a lot of pie, and some knits for babies, and a lot of mess in my kitchen, all without any particular sense of schedule (except the pie). He took a different approach, and has endeavored to produce something tangible every month. This month’s undertaking: The 30 Day Art Challenge.

The challenge? Thirty days, thirty pieces of art. At the end of 30 days, the finished canvasses are returned to T-K Artist’s Lofts, and hung in a group show. Mr. Pie and my brother are both doing it, which means that my house is a big old mess of canvasses and paints, and every day I’m worried that the dog is going to cause a disaster by taking out someone’s easel.

The show opens December 1, during Seattle’s First Thursday Pioneer Square Art Walk. Put it on your calendars! This year has seen a huge number of participants, and every piece of art they produce will be available for a flat price ($40, I think). Please come out and support your local artists!

Cake v Pie – The Rematch!

Hey everybody!

Remember yesterday, when I was all “I don’t like competing, wah wah”? Well, I did my part. I made this pie! We decided to call it “Baker Street Plum,” because of the children’s series “Basil of Baker Street, about a mouse who lives in Sherlock Holmes’ basement and solves mouse crimes!

basil plum pie in a window

Mmmm, Plum with basil and honey. I like it.

You’ll notice that it looks like most of my pies, which is to say, rustic. This is generally intentional! Pie is a home food, and one that anyone can make. It doesn’t need to look fancy to be good.

That being said, I may have spent a little time in the bathroom at the venue having a panic attack after seeing some other entries.

There were some really pretty pies there! I did feel rather inadequate, like I had brought the wrong pie.

(at this point, I may be obsessing about the pies again. forgive me.)

Anyway… There were 12 pies entered (and 12 cakes!). Once the judges had a chance to assess each one, it became a pie social (also, cake social, but whatever). Competitors were encouraged to maintain control of serving their own pie, but most people seemed to cut a few slices and then wander. Luckily for me, Mr. Pie did the wandering-and-getting-more-pie part, and so I was dishing up my pie when a volunteer came to get a second slice so the judges could retaste my pie! And yes, that is a good sign.

That right there, folks, is your third place pie! Interestingly, coming in 3rd of 12 against lots of really pretty pies felt a lot more like a triumph than that time I came in 1st of 3.

it's redundant and decorative!

Last year’s winner Kate Lebo was there. She came in second, with a Whiskey Apple pie. She also entirely convinced me not to run away, AND had this wisdom: “I never trust a too-pretty pie crust. I’m afraid they’ll be tough.” So, yeah, Kate Lebo: definitely a fan of her. (also, fan of Mr. Pie for starting a conversation with her while I was busy freaking out in the bathroom.)

I didn’t get a picture of the winning pie alone, though it was the one right next to mine. It was apple pear. It was still warm. I think that might be some kind of cheating. Regardless, she had the flakiest crust I tasted there. Congratulations to her as well!

Many thanks to Jenise Silva at Seattlest for organizing this fun event! And in case you’re wondering, yes, Pie did emerge triumphant over cake again this year!

fuseproject: LOCAL

Despite the frequency with which I talk about bicycling here, (and on Facebook, and on Twitter, and on the Amtrak, and pretty much everywhere) I have come to riding a bike through a sense of necessity. I need to be able to get around on my on volition, and sometimes, in the cold and rain and wet, walking just doesn’t cut it. So, kicking and screaming, I got on a bike.

And it turns out I love it. What I don’t particularly love is packing all of my earthly belongings on to my back and slogging sweatily up Seattle’s many hills. Thankfully I can haul a lot more stuff on the Vespa, but still I dream little dreams of fuseproject: LOCAL. Maybe I’m biased because of all the orange, but that’s a cargo bike I could ride with pride. I can’t wait to see one in the wild!

h/t to tingilinde for so much good bike p0rn.

Cooking Improves Nutrition (duh)

Let’s file this under “well, of course:”

New research shows that cooking and gardening are good for kids’ diet and nutrition.

I love science!

a gardening, nutrition, and cooking intervention is a promising approach to improve dietary intake and attenuate weight gain in Latino children, particularly in those who are overweight.

This research is particularly cool because it indicates that not only does cooking (and gardening, at which I am terrible) lead kids to eat better food, but it can also lead to improvements in weight management. As far as I’m concerned, teaching kids to feed themselves should be a goal worthy of working toward in it own right, and it’s awesome to see that research backs up its worth.

Science! It’s awesome!

Hat tip to Urban Farm Hub for turning me on to this!

Shiny and New!

Hi there!

You may notice that things look a little different around here today. We’re so excited!

You know I love making you pie, right? It’s fun! You love pie! I love pie! This job is awesome!

If you’ve been following the adventures over here for a while, though, you probably realize that pie is not my only love. And the best thing about love is sharing it, right? So I’m happy to announce that Grumpy Pie is going to start bringing you more of the things that I love, in more ways.

In addition to our existing Custom Pie Delivery service, Grumpy Pie will now be providing home instruction in a variety of skills.

Want to learn to bake a great pie? Maybe you love pickles and want to try your hand at making your own sauerkraut! Or perhaps you’re ready to start knitting?

I love the richness that these skills bring into my life, and I want to share them with you. Let’s make some stuff!

Let's get to work!

Vonny Pie Carrier – I wants it.

You know what the hardest part about making pie all the time is? Other than the fact that 98% of the pie I make isn’t for me, I mean? Because, let’s be honest, some days that’s just brutal.

The thing I’m thinking, though? Carrying pies is not always the easiest proposition. I know that cakes suffer from a similar problem (compounded by frosting and layers), but I don’t care about cake’s problems. I have pies that I need to take places! I can’t always be balancing them precariously on one hand; I’m a busy lady! I want a handle, and a lid that actually closes (I’m looking at you, Longaberger pie carrier!), preferably one that is not made of plastic.

You’ll understand, then, the covetousness I am feeling, having discovered pie carriers from Vonny Bags. They’re insulated! And non-skid! And designed so it’s easy to get the pie in & out! And that particular one is both pink AND yellow!

It’s like she looked into my very soul. And the soul of many other bakers, judging from the backorder status. Oh well, a pie maker can dream…

Thanks to The Kitchn for the find!

Culture Kitchen SF – pure awesome

Probably nobody will be surprised to learn that I am totally jealous of the people of San Francisco. Just generally, actually. All that fog, you know…

But specifically, today I am jealous of Culture Kitchen, a program that teaches regional cuisine by, guess what, employing people who grew up cooking in that tradition as instructors.

I want to go to there, so bad. I can cook my way around some decent (enough for my border palate) Mexican food, and Indian, meh. But dudes. Vietnamese? Yes. UKRAINIAN?! I don’t know why I need to yell that, but yes please. I know not one thing about Ukrainian food. Sign. Me. UP!

Bay Area people, have you heard of this yet? Will you please, please go take a class and tell me all about it?