July 8, 2010
It’s true that I’ve been yapping about preserving the harvest, blah, blah, blah, but sometimes you just want to eat the stuff. Berries are in season now and, yes, it’s good to put some away for the winter when you’ll really miss them, but we shouldn’t forget to stuff some in our mouths now while they’re fresh and at their prime.
Every year my friends have a huge party on Independence Day. They live atop a hill which overlooks Great America and therefore have an amazing (and free!) fireworks display for the holiday. Why not host a huge party? Last year was our first time to go and I knew my friends were into food so I stayed up all night the night before making cupcakes and decorating them in red, white and blue. Then, I arranged then on a baking sheet so that they looked like an American Flag. I thought I was brilliant. Until I got there, that is. They had a spread that would impress even a cruise ship catering staff! Homemade ribs, chicken, corn, casseroles, pies, cakes, you name it! My cupcakes were delicious, but they paled in comparison.
This year I had to go big. I really had to impress these guys and I knew that I didn’t have three generations of ribs-mastering chefs in my family history so I went on a hunt for a pie recipe. You’d be amazed to find that I had trouble finding exactly what I was looking for. In the end, I used Alice Waters’ pie crust (which is my stand-by because it even converted my mom, who thinks crust is just an innovative pie-holder, into a crust-eater), the basic idea from a strawberry pie filling I found on all recipes with some significant flavoring adjustments because my strawberries didn’t need help, and an ad hoc blueberry mixture.
The real success was in the assembly, though, as evidenced by the photo. It was beautiful. In the end, we didn’t make it to the party in Vallejo. But we did eat pie!