Category Archives: diner pie

Not-Pie and OHMIGOURD SECTIONAL

Chapter One, in which Wink makes an experimental pie:

Yeah. Well. They’re not all winners. If they were, I’d have to blog more often. This is shoesandpie, after all. This pie is still a good idea, but the experimental crust requires [secret ingredient] and as that’s not something I often have access to, it may be a loooong time before I get a chance to make a second, improved attempt. Actually, the crust looks okay. It’s the straight-off-the-tapioca-box-label filling that didn’t impress me. I’ve never had luck with tapioca-thickened fruit fillings, but for some reason I keep trying them. Anyway, I’ll cut into the pie-soup tonight. I’m sure it will be a tasty dessert, just not a good pie. There are still plenty of cherries left over.

Chapter Two, in which OHMIGOURD THIS LIVING ROOM SET YES PLEASE.

Kroehler sofa ad, from the May, 1948 issue of Woman’s Home Companion

Not only is one of the suggested configurations exactly what I’ve been wanting to do with my own sectional, but OH MY THAT UPHOLSTERY. And look! It’s CUSHIONIZED! I have no idea what that means, but I’m sold! My own sectional will continue to work just fine, but I really do need a sofa-seat-height corner table. So if anyone spies a Heywood-Wakefield jobbie just, you know, in a Dumpster somewhere, do let me know.

Chapter Three, in which Wink is still quabbling with Facebook:

I AM NOT TRUSTWORTHY. I AM FULL OF SPAM®. (I prefer Taylor Pork Roll, of course. I’m from New Jersey, after all.)

As best as I can tell—and this is from digging through the Help documentation on their site, not from any communication from them, because they haven’t sent me any—my account has raised some vague suspicion and needs to be verified. As I dig deeper to try to find some way to avoid giving them my personal cell number (they already have my email address and business phone number, why do they need my cell as well?), I find that I can work around that only by sharing either my Drivers License or Passport, or two other forms of photo ID. Given the trouble that Facebook has had in the past with actually deleting information that they claim has been deleted, I’m going to answer that request with a HUGE RED NO. A wonderful friend set up a temporary, disposable phone number so I can log back in, but I’m not comfortable with that. Not only does it just feed the beast more information, but it only proves that the information they’re requesting doesn’t do anything to verify that I’m actually me. The number isn’t mine, isn’t connected to anything of mine, and has nothing to do with me. So it verifies…what, exactly? In the interim, the page is still in a coma. It looks healthy to the naked eye, but there’s nobody behind the curtain. How long after the last post until somebody says, “Hmmm, I guess this shop very suddenly went out of business?”

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CAKE!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thank you for (likely) clicking through on a Pinterest link! As I write this (at the close of 2015), the below post is now four years old and the site has been abandoned relocated for nearly two of those. I invite you to join me instead at the Shoes & Pie blog section of tiddleywink.com. The photos (including the one with the actual recipe you came here for) even load properly over there.

 

Cake, I love cake, rahhhlly I do.

I’m also picky about cake. That is to say; even shitty supermarket cake is still CAKE, but I swoon over GOOD cake. The kind of cake I grew up with, which was sweet but not cloying, dense but not heavy, and frosted with REAL buttercream. Made with copious amounts of butter.

For someone who likes to cook, and who is so picky about what makes a good cake, you’d think that I’d be baking cakes all of the time. And you’d be wrong. I bake a lousy cake. I blame a certain lack of patience, and the altitude. I was a much better baker at sea level, and try as sporadically as I do, I’ve had a tough time properly adapting recipes to 5,000 feet.

My cakes are so consistently bad that when I decided to bake my own birthday cake last summer, I ran out at the last minute and bought a back-up cake in case mine didn’t turn out. And mine didn’t turn out. The flaws with my cakes can apparently be attributed to over-mixing, so for my next cake I was going to be excessively attentive to how long I mixed the batter.

My regular readers know that I collect vintage cookbooks, and one of my recent acquisitions is a 1957 copy of Mile-High Cakes, put out by Colorado State University. Hey, rather than adapt a sea-level recipe to altitude, why not start with a recipe that was developed here in the first place? And so: let’s bake a cake!

Mile-High Cakes, 1957

I read the intro of the book, where the chemistry of ingredients is discussed. I grease and parchment-line my pans. I read through the recipe three times. I measure out all of my ingredients precisely. And then: I set up my kitchen timer, so I can time my mixing.

High-altitude recipe

Following instructions to a T, I mix that batter for far longer than I have mixed any batter ever before. A combined 12 minutes?! I cringe when I think about what all of this mixing is doing to my historically over-mixed batter. But I am determined to follow every instruction as written. Will it be dry? Crumbly? Will it tunnel? Fall? All of the above? I whip up a quick meringue frosting because I don’t want to waste perfectly good butter on this potential disaster.

Cake. Cake that is real cake.

Over-mixed? Nope. It’s the best cake I’ve made yet. It turns out I’ve been UNDER-mixing my batter all this time. Thank you, ladies of the Home Economics Section, Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station. I could hug you. And/or bake you a cake.

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Ah, Bucket

I don’t read Maggie Mason. Do you hear that, Universe? Here is a crafty, educated, independent, liberal woman who DOESN’T READ MIGHTY GIRL. I have nothing against Maggie, it’s just that, in an ever-increasing world of Well-Written Blogs, I can’t read everyone. And, since I don’t have a 2-year-old or live in San Francisco, Mighty Girl is not always relevant to my life.

Why the preamble? Because I only stumbled upon Maggie’s list of 100 Things To Do a freaking year after she’d written it. And I thought about making a list for myself, but Item Number One would have to be “Make list of 100 things to do before I die” and I’d probably never get around to crossing that one off. Besides, I’ve already been feeling a bit “what’s my point” lately, so I’ve decided to come about this from the opposite direction:

25 Things I Would Already Have Crossed Off My List If I’d Bothered With A List In The First Place (in no particular order, other than the order I remembered them in, and some of them happened more by chance than desire, but we can’t always pick our good fortune.)

1. Live in NYC
2. Get tattooed
3. Visit Europe (I can now cross through that three times, and I promise I’m not done)
4. Pick up and move halfway (actually, more) across the country with no friends, family, or job waiting for me
5. Buy a new car, like NEW new, not new-to-me new
6a. Go to art school
6b. Actually make my living at it
7. Own a computer, and a COLOR monitor (I am old enough for this to have been, at one time, pure science fiction)
8. Fly in a Cessna
9. Eat a crêpe in Paris
10. Watch the sun set at Cape May
11. Visit the Statue of Liberty
12. Go to the observation deck at the World Trade Center
13. Learn to play an instrument (I never claimed to play it well)
14. Stand underneath the Eiffel Tower
15. Drink a beer at a sidewalk cafe in Amsterdam
16. Take a Duck tour through Boston
17. Buy Sky Sox season tickets
18. Make a decent pie crust from scratch
19. Watch the vintage car races at Lime Rock
20. Zoom through Harriman State Park in a Mercedes 190SL with the top down (bonus points to the cop who pulled us over for NOT ticketing us, although we were very much speeding, and the FAIRLY EXPENSIVE car was not registered in either of our names)
21. Dip my toes in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans
22. Shop at Harrod’s
23. Tour a real castle (I’ve done this a few times, actually)
24. Eat a slice of Black Forest cake IN the Black Forest
25. Watch a ballgame at Fenway Park

In keeping with the theme of the anti-meme, you are hereby not allowed to post your own list. Ha! But I encourage everyone to think about all the things you’ve accomplished that other people may only dream of.

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Bulbs and Rhizomes

My daffodils (early Spring) and tulips (mid Spring) have poked their leafy greens out of the ground. In fact, the daffodils have gone so far as to bud, but my little flower bed gets slightly less sun than my next door neighbors’ does, so I’m a bit behind. For bulbs that seem to be surviving without struggle every year, I am surprised at their complete lack of naturalizing themselves. Split! Spread! TAKE OVER THAT TINY PATCH! The Siberian irises (late Spring) will, I’m sure, not fail to disappoint me once again. If they come up at all.

The lone hyacinth that a helpful squirrel planted a few years ago is once again coming up through my gravel walk, because I once again forgot to relocate it.

On the front stoop, one pot of dwarf lilies has reawakened nicely, but the pot that faltered last year seems now to have died out entirely. It joins its dead bigger brother, the lavender pot. I have never, ever been able to keep a pot of lavender or rosemary alive for more than a few weeks. My plan now is to transfer the living lilies to the bigger pot that USED to hold the lavender, and try something else in the smaller, matching pots. What will climb nicely, and quickly, around the posts? Clematis? Some kind of morning glory? I have to go to the post office today (to ship lovely items to people who won my ebay auctions; hooray people who bought stuff!) which will take me right past the neighborhood nursery. Maybe I’ll stop in and talk with the ladies there about that, as well as what I can do to help out my patch of bulbs.

As Summer rounds the bend, I’d like to try tomatoes again, now that the neighbor kids are a bit older and less likely to steal the fruits of my labors to use as slingshot ammo. The EarthBox that VivaMaryFoley graciously gave me is still sitting, unused, in my back yard. I know that I have a TopsyTurvy planter somewhere, probably in the basement. And a big ol’ hook near my front door. I just might get the 8-10 hours of full sun that tomatoes require.

And all of this Spring-iness is written with the full knowledge that every year, we get hit with a dump of a snowfall as soon as my fruit tree is in full bloom, and I can’t really plant anything until then. So, aside from a trip to the nursery for talking and maybe fertilizing purposes, today will actually be about shipping packages and attempting a bacon-apple pie. Or perhaps it’s an apple-bacon pie. We shall see…

__________________

It may be a bit late in the season (Marge) but I know that last summer (Marge) I had mentioned that I would be holding on to the old windows I had replaced (or maybe Fruitlady) in case anyone wanted to build a cold frame or something. (They’re single-pane glass, so salvage yards won’t take them.) They’re still in my back yard, free for the taking. All I require of you is enough of a heads up that I can put on the tea kettle. And bulldoze all the stalled craftyness from the dining room table.

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Another pie.

If you weren’t aware: Friday was National Pie Day. Yeah, I know, you probably had to go to the office anyway. It’s not FEDERAL HOLIDAY Pie Day.

Anyway, me being me and all, I figured that I’d better make a pie.

Someone I follow on Twitter wished that it was INTERnational Pie Day, so I thought it would be a good time to attempt the cà phê sữa đá pie that I’ve been kicking around in my head. Cà phê sữa đá is a Vietnamese espresso drink, made with condensed milk and served over ice.

Sweetened, condensed milk. Mmmmmmm. Doesn’t that just beg to be a pie?

The recipe was easy to figure out. The crust had me baffled for a bit, until I decided to go with a chocolate cookie crumb. Sort of a mocha sữa đá. :)

Okay, preheat the oven to 425° while I mix up the pie filling. Fill the pie crust, and pop it in the oven. 20 minutes in, decide that it’s smelling awfully near-done-ishy, and check my notes for my planned cook time. No, 40 minutes. Hmmm. 30 minutes in, decide that it’s really smelling done, and then realize that I’ve heated the oven to 425°. Yeah, that’s exactly what I set it to. 425°. Except, that’s not my PIE temperature, that’s my Puffy Pancake temperature! I bake PIE at 350°! Yikes! I pull the coffee-colored pie from the oven, but it’s a coffee-friggin’-pie in the first place, so I really have no idea how browned it is or isn’t. I whip up the merigue, top the pie, and put it back in the oven (at 350°) to finish it off.

Verdict: It’s not burned, but it is very caramelized. There is a LOT of sugar in condensed milk (44%) so this is now a sticky pie. Not corn syrup sticky, but sticky toffee pudding sticky. The flavor is pretty darn good, though. A pleasant espresso top note which quickly fades to the caramelized bottom end, but the caramel tastes neither burned nor “too” sweet. I couldn’t taste the chocolate cookie crust at all. When this one is polished off, I’ll try again, with the proper temperature. I think the recipe shows great promise!

Amy asked for pie photos, but here’s the deal. Most of my pies lately have been topped with meringue, so they all look the same. Here’s a random photo of one of my pies, and you can pretend it’s a photo of whichever one you wanted to see:

img_0257

(Yeah, yeah, I know. I still need to redo the Creamsicle pie, too. I haven’t forgotten.)

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A few pies.

I interrupt this ghastly silence to bring back to Shoes & Pie: Pie!

I tried to make a Creamsicle®-inspired pie. The consistency was more sauce-like than pie-like, but it has potential. I’ll go back to that one. Any volunteer tasters?

Banana Cream Pie. Friggin’ perfect. Not my recipe, but the one I found online needs no changes whatsoever. It is, all by itself, A Perfect Pie.

Buttermilk Custard Apple Pie. This one needs a different name, because hey, is it buttermilk custard, or custard apples? In this case, it’s buttermilk custard. And apples. And a gingersnap cookie-crumb crust. And way too sweet. This one will be tweaked, with CONSIDERABLY less sugar. The entire thing caramelized from all the sugar.

Sour Cream Dried Tart Cherry Pie. What’s with all the multi-word pie names? At least this one is a bit more straightforward. Again, I started with a recipe I found online, and tweaked. Again, it would benefit from less sugar. However, there is little in the world that tastes as good as sour cream mixed with vanilla and sugar, so this pie can’t really go wrong. I will make it again, less sweet, and I will also see if I can thicken the custard up a bit (although I haven’t checked on it since refrigerating it overnight; it may have solidified nicely).

Coming soon to a blog near you: Shoes!

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Gravy fries and diner pie!

I may have perhaps possibly mentioned that I’ve been slightly dreading this trip to New Jersey. While I very much look forward to catching up with family, I don’t much enjoy slipping into my role of “mediator” trying to keep the peace between, well, my mom and anyone my mom is mad at.

And I hate flying Continental. Which once again, failed to fail to disappoint. Trapped in the plane, with the seatbelt light on, for TWO HOURS before finally taking off this morning… ugh. No place (that I could find) on their web site where I could request a vegetarian snack, though my mom pointed out that the “beef and swiss” sandwich sure didn’t taste like beef…

But okay, my point is this: what I’d forgotten, in my tenseness, about New Jersey. That it is filled WITH DINERS.

Let me say that again, out loud: DINERS.

Say it with me: DINERS.

DINERS!

We sat in our booth, surrounded by chrome and rockface a la Garden State Brickface (And Stucco), and I stared, wide-eyed, at the menu so full of choices (meatloaf! stuffed grape leaves! monte cristo!) plus all of the “specials” tucked into their pocketed sleeves (THREE sleeves!) and finally chose a Happy Waitress with GRAVY fries. Nomnomnom. Mom had a patty melt, Jahn had a pastrami reuben, little Troy had chicken fingers. All with creamy cole slaw and a pickle. We split a slice of chocolate cream pie for dessert. Shortbread crust. Approximately four feet of whipped cream on top, coated in a melted-then-cooled chocolate armor. Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.

I have been promised bagels and lox for brekkie tomorrow, and TAYLOR FRIGGIN’ HAM for brekkie on another day. Ooooh, maybe I can buy Jahn and Cindy’s leftover Taylor ham from them, and bring it home. Unless we have time to stop at a ShopRite or PathMark on the way to the airport. Which would seem slightly less crazy than me shopping out of my cousin’s fridge. Oh, right, and there’s the whole “I’m vegetarianish” thing. But it’s TAYLOR HAM!!! Some vegetarians are done in by bacon… I’m done in by pork roll.

Also: The first photo I took on this trip was of the rust hole on my cousin’s truck’s running board. Rust! I remember rust! Jahn thought it was an odd subject for a photo, then remembered who he was dealing with.

And as for family… My mom has not yet been exposed to the potentially threatening family members. My cousin is a hoot. His wife is sweet, too, though I’ve barely gotten to know her over the years. Today was the first time I met their kids, who definitely have mixed feelings about me. I just don’t exude “kid friendly” even when I try. Also, my aunt is here, whom I don’t believe I’ve seen in probably 25 (or more) years. Oddly, she looks exactly the same. I, on the other hand, am taller. :) At some point tomorrow, I’ll have to point out to her that one of the rings I’m wearing, which I wear every single day and even sleep and shower in, was a gift from her nearly 30 years ago. (Have I ever mentioned my freakishly small hands? Like a child’s?) Anyway, she says that the only part of me she recognizes is my smile. I bet if I put my hair in pigtails, and brush my bangs to the side… and maybe put on a velour shirt and start singing, “My brother threw up on my stuffed toy bunny, now you may laugh but it really isn’t funny” … then it would all fall into place for her.

A fresh report, and photos, after the weekend is over.

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