Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm getting mawwied!

So it turns out I have a sneaky man in my life.  He orchestrated a secret trip to LA to enlist the assistance of my best friend in choosing a ring, chartered a sunset cruise on the sailboat my parents owned when I was growing up (skippered by my godfather), and planned a family party after the boat ride, all without me knowing!

Andrew, you were so romantic, it blew me away.  Thanks for a fantastic evening, and I'm looking forward to a wonderful future with you.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Birthday Dinner

Today is my 29th birthday, and my wonderful boyfriend is taking me out to that French restaurant I've been eying since it opened this spring.  The reservations are early, so I dressed for the occasion and for the office today.

Don't you love those shoes?  They're new.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Westport, MA: This Girl's Heaven

I'm just starting the second half of my mother-daughter holiday on the east coast.  We're currently in Westport, MA, on the cape not far from Rhode Island.  The house we're staying in is absolutely wonderful.  Above is a picture of the harbor, not far from the house.  Not bad, eh?

Pretty much all of the homes look like this:

And this is what the weather is like:

And this is what everyone eats:

I think I want to move here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy 4th, and One More Thing About Pie...

I'm off to Baltimore in about five hours.  Have a fun and safe holiday this weekend, and have a slice of rhubarb pie for me! (the kind without strawberries, of course)

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I've been obsessed with pies lately.  It happened when my talented baxtress friend Abby mentioned she hated making pies.  I happen to love baking pies and offered my services as an overflow option if she ever needed it.  I usually try not to do this because there are few things more annoying than someone trying to weasel her way into your culinary project.  In fact, I'm a firm believer in staying out of another cook's home kitchen entirely.  That being said, Abby is my PLP and I know she would feel comfortable saying, "Monica, stay the eff out of my biz," if she had to.  So I offered, and then stayed the eff out her biz, but I made pies anyway.  For myself.  Of course.

So Abby got pies back on my brain, but with a twist.  I'm usually an apple pie baker with a full top crust, but she got me thinking about galettes - rustic topless pies.  Pretty sexy, eh?  Indeed.  My first go was a mixed berry version, which Andrew still requests.  It was great.  I'm a big proponent of lemon in pies, so any pie I make will get the juice of at least 1/2 lemon.  It's just for some extra zing.  For me, a berry pie/tart with no hint of tart zing is a failure.  I hate failing.

Then, a couple weeks ago I got up at an ungodly early hour on a Sunday morning while spending the weekend at my friend Sabina's place in Gig Harbor.  I raided her kitchen for pie ingredients and threw together this:

Okay so it's not rustic, but it was delicious and simple to throw together - literally.  I put six eggs, some provolone, ham, zucchini, dill, and a shallot int a bowl, stirred it up, and threw it in a pie crust (which I half-baked ahead of time). We ate it like this:

While we ate, I had this in the oven:

This one is indeed a rustic pie, which just means I pay more attention to the way the fruit looks and forget the top crust altogether.  It was scrumptious.  We ate it like this:

The secret's in the crust.  I am fortunate enough to come from a long line of pie-baking women who have a tried and true crust.  I'm sure it dates back before Grandma Miller, but that's as far as I have ever bothered to ask.  That was four generations ago and out to the plains of Kansas, a generation before the Great Depression.  It's damn good crust and even if she didn't create the recipe, she gets a nod for keeping the pie tradition going, as does Gma Benton and Gma Shank, and especially my mama.

So I've been making these galettes since Memorial Day weekend and I just can't get enough.  It's a lazy way to make pie without compromising on any of the deliciousness or presentation.  Last night I made a recipe I saw on Smitten Kitchen for a zucchini ricotta galette with some of my own mods.  I plugged the recipe in HERE so I could calculate the nutrition info per serving too, because I like to do that.  We all loved last night's galette so much, I made it again this morning for lunch/dinner tonight, plus a peach one with lemon-scented ricotta.  My car was extremely fragrant.  Here they are in my back seat:

Happy July to you all!