09/9/13

Design Wall Monday – Eureka!

Native of California where the state motto is “Eureka! I have found it!”, and graduate of The College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California, it stands to reason that I might like just about anything that has the word Eureka in it! Today I’m heading out on another trip – this time to Eureka Springs, AR and The Writer’s Colony, where I will be staying for a week. While there I will be working primarily on my “pie project”. The plan is to write and bake pies – I’m booked in a special culinary suite where cookbook authors can recipe test while in residence as a writer. Amidst the pies and computer work I will enjoy one quilt-y day as I’ve been invited to present a workshop on back basting applique’ while “on location”. Click here to see more.

No matter how committed I am to writing and baking during the course of the week, I know myself well enough to know that I will need some handwork for down time. So, although my design wall is empty, my suitcase is packed – with a bed sized quilt in need of hand stitching on the binding, (I’ll sleep under it while away from home -even with an unfinished binding!) and I’m taking along this hand applique’ project:

054

It’s the center of “Tree of Life Medallion” by Reproduction Quilts. I started it way back in the 2005 or 2006; the tree was stitched with back basting applique’. Now I’m adding the cut out flowers with needle turned edges – they were already all basted in place when I re-discovered this project while cleaning up my sewing room. It was not exactly a Eureka! moment – it was more like an “Ugg, really? I never finished that?” moment.

While in Eureka Springs. I’ll be busy looking for a way to tie my pie story together. Check back later to find out if  “I found it!” in Eureka Springs!

In the meantime, click here to go to Judy Laquidara’s Patchwork Times and see what others have on their design walls (or in their suitcases!).

06/9/13

Beat by a kid!

The city of Basehor, KS celebrated their community on June 1st with their annual Dairy Days. Rows of tents lined the sidewalk where organizations and individuals promoted their products and programs. My favorite booth was sponsored by The Friends of the Basehor Library. To raise funds for the library they were hosting their very first Pie Baking Contest. I attend the weekly Writer’s Group at the Basehor Library and since a lot of what I write about has to do with learning to make pies I thought I better support the library and enter a pie. Right? After all, my entire writing group was watching!

On Friday afternoon I made my pie – Old Fashioned Apple Pie. I used the traditional Crisco crust recipe and a mix of Gala and Yellow Delicious apples – if you have never made an apple pie with Gala and Yellow Delicious apples you have to try it sometime. And I made a second pie because I really couldn’t  have the house smelling like pie when Dale came in from work unless I could offer him a wedge.

 apple pie Basehor Friends of the Library contest

On Sat morning we decided to make a day of it and stay for the Dairy Days activities after dropping my pie off at the designated tent. Dale was ready to head to the park but I was still fiddling around. I saw him look at my entry form thinking he was looking for the directions to the park, but he was actually looking at the time. I thought my pie was due by 10:30. Nope. It was due by 10 am. Oh darn! We were going to have to hurry in order to get there in time!

Dale pulled into the park and stopped  in the middle of the road near the first sidewalk. It was 9:54. I hopped out of the car with my pie and hurried off to find the pie tent hoping it was nearby. (It was, whew!) As I placed my entry on the table the library ladies, decked out in aprons, exclaimed, “Oh! Look! Here is ANOTHER one!” This being their first event they didn’t know how many pies to expect. I was happy they were happy but I was especially happy that it was not yet 10 am. And I was also happy that another pie (Georgia Peach) was turned in AFTER my pie. I told Dale later, “I wasn’t late and I wasn’t last!”

Taking a look at the competition I thought, “Well now, there are some very pretty pies in this competition but how do they taste?” I knew my pie tasted good (we ate some of pie #2 for breakfast!) There were 14 entries. One was decorated with cut out stars, there was a chocolate chip cookie pie and lots of pies with crumb topping, some with nuts, some without nuts. For years, if I even bothered to make pie, I always covered it crumb topping  because I didn’t know how to roll out pie crust. My strategy was this: buy a frozen pie crust. While it was still frozen remove it from the aluminum tin and transfer it to a pretty pie plate. Let it come to room temperature then re-crimp the edge. Fill with the filling of choice (usually apple) and top with a crumb topping. So when I looked at all those crumb toppings I thought to myself, “Humm, that pie baker doesn’t know how to roll out a top crust so she resorted to a crumb topping.”

Friends of the library contest pies cropped

We left the judges to their task and wandered about the event. Later, when we saw other visitors carrying plates with slices of pie (all entries were sold for $2 a slice) we knew the judging had ended and winners would soon be announced so we returned to the pie booth.

Friends of the library pie judges

And the winners were: Third place: Georgia Peach Pie, with a crumb topping (the last pie to arrive!). Second Place: Mock Apple pie, with crumb topping, made by a little girl and her grandmother. And First Place, drum roll please, Apple Pecan Pie with a crumb topping  made by another little girl and her grandmother. I didn’t win. The judges liked nuts and crumbs and little girls and grandmothers.

I checked the table of plated slices and saw my pie. Perfect wedges, just the right amount of apple ooze, the crust flaky, the triangle holding its shape perfectly. It wasn’t a winner today but I knew that whoever bought those slices would enjoy eating that pie!

On the way home Dale reached over and taking my hand said, “I’m sorry your pie didn’t win”. I told him, “It’s okay, I’m glad a little girl won. I like knowing that little girls are learning to make pie. That means there will be pie when I am old.”

eat dessert first