Monday, June 4, 2012

Best Pie - Ever or So Far?

According to those around me, this is the best pie I've ever made.  Behold!  Rhubarb custard pie!

I was inspired by Posie Gets Cozy; she is a baking and crafting maniac.  I love her blog although often I find myself asking, "Why can't I just whip up a quilt?" (or finish the shawl I started weeks ago or set the table).  Is there something in the air in Portland that makes it less frenetic?*  I mean, I'm not teaching right now so I should have time to garden, craft, cook, etc., but somehow my days get sucked up into other things (granted, last month my job was to go to yoga).  I have the sneaking suspicion that the fact that she gets up wicked early contributes to her zen-like homemaking.  I may have to be content with producing an amazing pie every once in awhile.
 I used the same recipe she did but cut the sugar down a half cup and used a crust from Alice Waters's The Art of Simple Food.  Crust has really been the weakest link in my pie-making abilities, but Alice's worked perfectly.  I think the procedural aspects, especially the chilling of the dough after rolling it out, made a major difference.  I also followed the suggestion by Leslie Land (recipe originator) of using a pizza stone under the pie while baking.

I've always been a strawberry-rhubarb pie gal; it's nice to have another pie featuring rhubarb.

*Note:  I think my natural inclination to go off on tangents, as demonstrated here, is probably one factor in the difference between my and Alice Paulson's lives.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Other Side of A 30-Day Challenge

Sometimes it's better to talk about the challenge after you've completed it. 

I first tried to do the 30-day challenge in January 2010.   I didn't manage to complete my 30 classes in 30 days that time, and there were multiple reasons for that.  But when I saw that there was a 30-day challenge beginning on May 2nd, I knew the time was right.  I'd just finished teaching (as well as a pretty brutal academic year overall), and I was ready to get back to really taking care of myself as well as taking myself seriously (not always the same thing).

I fastidiously scheduled every class for the month, taking into consideration other appointments or plans, and since I knew when I was going to be out of town, I was also able to schedule my make-up classes, which relieved the anxiety of missing them in the first place.  I think that step really made a huge difference.  I had four days where I went to the studio twice in one day.  In a certain way, it became my job for May (I know, my life is so hard), but it also became a lifesaver because May was not an easy month for me.