Here are some other things I spotted at the paper fair in Glendale that I didn't buy. Sorry about the terrible photos!
28 September, 2009
22 September, 2009
18 September, 2009
16 September, 2009
This summer has been fantastic for stone fruits (especially peaches- mmm!) here in California, and one of my favorites that my father grows is the pluot. If you don't know, a pluot is a PLUm-apricOT hybrid that comes in many varieties that range from golden yellow to black-purple. Ever since I read Ruth Ozeki's All Over Creation, and subsequently a biography of Luther Burbank, I've been interested in the developement of new fruits. Last week, I started reading a book about the origins of the pluot- The Perfect Fruit by Chip Brantley- and it inspired me to try all the different varieties that are available at my market. It's the end of the season, so this is just the tip of the iceberg, but I've been impressed by the differences in flavor. So far I have tried:
The Flavor King is generally considered to have the most complex flavor and I have to agree. I wish I had bought dozens of them when they had them at the market! For now I will have to gorge myself on the Flavor Treats and Flavor Grenades that remain.
14 September, 2009
11 September, 2009
For the last couple of months I've been making a serious effort to go out and do more things, and when I found out that Omnivore Books (a fantastic shop that specializes in food-oriented books, antique and new) was hosting a pie bake off, I decided I would go check it out. Then about two days before the event, I figured that if I was going to go, I may as well bring a pie. There was no entry fee, and no guidelines, and I really had no idea what to expect. I decided to make a banana cream pie, which I'd never made before (although I had made banana pudding a zillion times, and figured it would be very similar), but I thought might stand out against the many seasonal fruit pies I expected to be my competition.
I didn't start working on my recipe until yesterday (the morning of). My first custard burnt while I was busy making the crust, and I was worried that my second custard might be too runny, so I assembled a pie and brought it up to my friends Richard and David's shop for a tasting around noon. Everyone agreed that the pie was great, but the custard could be more firm, so at 1:30 I raced home (I had to leave my house at 4:30 to get to the bake off in time), whipped up a thicker custard (with extra cornstarch), somehow managed to chill it in time, threw the second pie together, and drove to San Francisco.
When I got to Omnivore, there were only a few entries on display, including a delicious-looking huckleberry-apple pie by the lovely Jessica Appelgren, who won the pie competition at the San Mateo County Fair this summer AND the Mission Pie contest last year! (She was sweet enough to put me on her blog- you can check it out here.) But slowly and surely, more and more pies kept coming in, and a crowd began to form, and soon enough there were 47 pies and well over a hundred tasters eagerly waiting to eat. I stayed outside during the tasting, as the shop became very crowded, so I didn't get to see or hear what people thought of my pie. After all the pies had been devoured, Celia (owner of the shop) came outside to announce the winner... me!!!!!! I was completely shocked, but so proud!
Thank you so much to everyone who voted for my pie!
*Update! You can see me (and my lovely escorts, Erik and Dan) in the Examiner, here!
08 September, 2009
Last week my friend Erik visited me for a few days, and since he was planning to spend another few days in San Francisco, I decided to show him the best of the rest of the Bay Area, particularly the East Bay, where I live. We never went long enough between eating to get hungry again, and we got terribly sunburnt, but we had a blast and it is always great to be reminded what a wonderful place I call home. Here are some pictures from our adventures (I may post more when Erik sends me his- he is much better about documenting everything).