Saturday, September 14, 2013


Lots of peach pies lately  - one, because they're in season and two, because it's so darn good! This is basic peach pie with an all butter crust - not too sweet but with all the yummy goodness that comes from ripe peaches.

Let's start with the crust. I make the bottom and top crusts separately. I know, I know - it seems like unnecessary extra work but for some reason I find doubling the batch so much more work.

Single All Butter Crust

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
6 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" pieces
3 tablespoons of ice-cold water, more or less
  1. Start with cold ingredients, the colder the better. Cold ingredients and limited handling are the secrets to perfect pie crust. I keep my flour in the freezer. 
  2. In a bowl, sift together flour, salt, and sugar. Use a pastry blender or two knives to cut in the fat (butter). The dough should still have some pea-sized pieces afterwards.
  3. Add ice-cold water (no ice cubes!) one tablespoon at a time, stirring with a fork until the dough sticks together when pinched between two fingers. You do not want to drench the flour. 
  4. Mix flour mixture until it pulls together into a disc. Remember that over-handling creates a tough crust. Make dough into 1-inch thick disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Now repeat to make the top crust.

Approx. 5-8 peaches, depending on pie dish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch, or quick cooking tapioca per directions on box)

Place baking sheet  in oven on lower third rack and preheat oven to 425º F. 
  1. Bring a large pot to boil. Drop peaches into boiling water and poach for two minutes - have ice bath ready to quick-cool peaches. 
  2. Peel skins from peaches. Half and pit the peaches, then slice into 1/3-inch pieces. You want approx. 6 cups, more or less, depending on your pie dish. Deep dishes require additional peaches.
  3. In a bowl toss peaches in lemon juice. In separate bowl mix sugars, spices, and thickener (tapioca or starch). Sprinkle over peaches and stir with spatula. Set aside. 
  4. Roll out first dough disc between two sheets of plastic wrap - this is for easier cleanup - you can also generously flour a cold surface before laying down the dough, then sprinkle flour on top of dough and rolling pin. Start from the center and roll out with short strokes to make an 11-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick. 
  5. Center dough in pie dish. Sprinkle flour/sugar mixture on bottom of the crust (this is to prevent soggy bottom). Place peach filling into pie dish. 
  6. Now roll out second dough to 10-inch round. In order to create a lattice-top crust, use a pizza cutter or knife to cut 1/2-inch to 1-inch strips. Start with the two longest middle strips and create a cross over the pie. Place remaining strips on pie, overlapping the straps until pie is covered. Trim overhang from strips. Fold over edges and crimp. 
  7. Using a pastry brush, brush milk over the dough (this browns the dough), sprinkle with sugar. Place in oven at 425º for 20 minutes, then lower temperature to 375º and continue baking for an additional 30-35 minutes. 
  8. Let cool for at least 3 hours before serving, otherwise it may be runny. Serve alone or a la mode.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


ph via
Americans celebrate Memorial Day not only to honor our fallen soldiers but also to kick-off barbeque season! Only, it seemed I was the only one crying for BBQ. I had to bribe my friends with two pounds of Korean-style short ribs to get them to fire up the grill! Usually, barbeque equals pie in my world but this year I picked up a dozen of what looked like scrumptious ripe apricots. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them but almonds seemed like a good pairing so I chose to bake a tart instead of traditional pie. I found this Lovely Summer Apricot Tart recipe from Honest Cooking, The Food Magazine.

ph: Kimberly Hasselbrink, The Year in Food

Lovely Summer Apricot Tart
Pastry Crust:
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour
2 Tablespoons almond flour plus more for sprinkling
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350º F. Butter a 9" round tart pan or a rectangular tart pan of your choice. 
  2. To make the pastry crust -- combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl. 
  3. Add the remaining pastry ingredients and stir until combined. I used a pastry cutter to cut in the fat/flour until it resembled course meal. If you squeeze a bit between your fingers, it will stick. It just won't resemble a dough ball. 
  4. Press the pastry crust mix into the bottom and up sides of your tart pan until it resembles a crust. 
  5. Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes, making sure not to burn it.
Tart Filling:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon honey
2 Tablespoons almond flour
6-8 apricots, sliced thinly
  1. Whisk together cream, egg, almond & vanilla extracts, and honey.
  2. Add in almond flour and stir to combine.
  3. Arrange sliced apricots in any patter you desire.
  4. Carefully pour the filling all around the fruit but do not cover it.
  5. Place tart pan on a baking sheet and carefully slide into the oven.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, check to see if done. If not, continuing baking up to 20 additional minutes, checking frequently to make sure you don't burn it. 
  7. Remove tart from oven and let cool completely. 
Note: My luscious looking apricots ended up being overly-tart and under-ripe. After slicing them, I sprinkled them with about 1/8 cup of sugar and macerated them until slightly sweeter.

This tart was absolutely delicious! Slightly tart, rich in creaminess, but with a sweet crust. Perfect foil for BBQ.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Boys exploring cave with flashlights look up in wonder near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, March 1957
I came across this photo by Vokmar K. Wentzel on National Geographic Found. I love it because it instantly reminded me of one of my all-time favorite films, The Goonies. Don't you miss those adventure-comedy films in which kids are kids, having the most unbelievable adventures simply through the power of their imaginations? I do.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I was at the Chelsea Market yesterday and took a moment to pop into Anthropologie. I adore most of their home decor items, especially the ones which are vintage or French flea market inspired. I was flipping through a few books when a pretty jar caught my eye. It wasn't until I removed the lid that I realized it was a candle. Illume Boulangerie Jar are fragrance candles with the most delicious scents. You have a choice of seven candles, all capturing the essence of mouth-watering spices or desserts like Pumpkin Souffle, Apple Brown Sugar, Vanilla Fig, Sweet Vanilla Cinnamon, Whipped Cream Pear, and Coconut Macaroon. My absolute favorite was Coconut Banana Cream. It smelled like the most heavenly pie.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


via smorgasburg
I spent the day with my friend Cathryn and her son Diego at SMORGASBURG, an all-food market hosted by Brooklyn Flea at East River State Park, for what amounted to a food rave with New York City's best artisan food purveyors. It was a literal smorgasbord of good eating. This not-to-be-missed event happens every Saturday, 11am-6pm, rain or shine, so go get your eat on!

No Smorgasburg is complete without pie and lucky for me, there were two pie vendors present - cutie pies, 'hand crafted baked goods' by chef Alice Cronin and Butter & Scotch, a bakery featuring liquor-infused creations by Allison Kave (First Prize Pies) and Keavy Landreth (Kumquat Cupcakery).

As a nod to the Kentucky Derby and the "the greatest two minutes in sports", I opted to try Butter & Scotch's Mint Julep Cream Pie, and because one slice is never enough, their S'more Pie. Both were absolutely scrumptious although beware of the Mint Julep Cream Pie if operating heavy machinery immediately after consumption -- potent!

Deigo, who recently celebrated his first birthday, took his first bite of pie and Hooray! He's a believer!

Friday, May 3, 2013


via circus blog
Igor comes from a long line of circus people. His skill with horses is only surpassed by his indomitable will. It is forged in fire like the swords of yesteryear, dangerous and unyielding. He possesses no kindness or compassion, is defined solely by his brute force. At night, while others sleep, he schemes, his mind racing with ways in which to break others. Just as he does the horses.

Igor goes days, even weeks, without speaking. He is frugal with his speech like a miser hoarding his words. He does not shout, nor raise his voice. His will cracks louder than any whip. It flays your soft underbelly, exposing you to his contempt and ridicule. Like a skilled butcher he can slice away skin and bone, revealing your deepest fears and flaws; shave you down to a caricature of human weakness. If there is any softness in Igor, it is hidden. It angers him that such an Achilles heel exists within himself. But exist, it does, in the underfolds of his brute strength. In that space resides a longing with no name, a persistent ache that plagues him like an illness he can't shake. Until the day he sees Sasha. Suddenly that ache has a name and he wants to possess it. He wants to possess her.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman launched his Godzilla-sized inflatable sculpture, Rubber Duck, into Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. The famous duck has floated in waters around the world in cities like Sydney, Osaka, and Sao Paolo. This world record sized inflatable duck measures over 54 feet in height. Rubber Duck can be seen bobbing in Hong Kong's waters near Harbour City Tsim Sha Tsui from May 2 - June 9.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


via pinterest

Wouldn't a slice of this pink layered cake be lovely... Happy Birthday to me!

A funny quote I came across, "Put candles in a cake, it's a birthday cake. Put candles in a pie, somebody's drunk in the kitchen."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I wish I were here, wearing this fabulous dress, and licking on this.

amalfi coast//co dress//italian gelato

Sunday, March 10, 2013


alan villiers, sons of sinbad
it's a terrible love that I'm walking with spiders
it's a terrible love that I'm walking with
it's a terrible love that I'm walking with spiders
it's a terrible love that I'm walking with
it's quiet company, it's quiet company
it's a terrible love that I'm walking with spiders
it's a terrible love that I'm walking with
it's a terrible love that I'm walking with spiders
it's a terrible love that I'm walking with
it's quiet company, it's quiet company, it's quiet company

and I can't fall asleep without a little help
it takes awhile to settle down my ship of hopes
wait 'til the past leaks out

it takes an ocean not to break
it takes an ocean not to break
it takes an ocean not to break company
it's quite a company, it's quiet company

but I won't follow you into the rabbit hole
I said I would but then I saw the ship of woes
they didn't want me to

it's a terrible love that I'm walking with spiders
it's a terrible love that I'm walking with
it's a terrible love that I'm walking with spiders
it's a terrible love that I'm walking with

it takes an ocean not to break
it takes an ocean not to break
it takes an ocean not to break
(terrible love, birdy) 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Nina Leen, 1949, Ringling Bros. Circus, Life Archives
I open my eyes and for a moment, maybe two, I don't know who I am. I feel weighed down, tethered by a thousand unanswered questions, yet unable to voice the simplest one. I am a ghost, waiting to come into skin and bone, afraid of the faintest flutter as if the slightest movement might erase me forever, never to return. I want to cling to something heavy and solid, to hold myself steadfast despite my unbearable lightness. I fear the fading... into nothingness. Curious, since I have pared myself down into almost nothing at all. In the mirror I see a caricature of everything I despise, the reflection of all my fears and flaws. It can't be smashed even as I break into sharp fragmented pieces, the broken edges slicing into me until I bleed. I do not know what it is to be whole. 

I fear most being exposed, under the magnifying glass of my own censure. I fear the fray that will unravel me, laying me open at the seams, my underbelly laid bare for all. I have enemies disguised as friends, and friends that are strangers. Everyone is interchangeable, puzzle pieces for an undisclosed agenda. Who do you trust when the faces all look the same, including your own? When you can not distinguish yourself among the swarm that buzz around you until you are dizzy. Am I not just another drone working for the promise of honey? It lingers in the air, thick and heavy, but all I ever feel is the sting. I do not know the comfort of a hive, have no shell to protect my soft insides. I break when I should bend, fold when I should expand, and dim when I should shine. Some day, maybe not today or tomorrow, but some day is a promise of things yet to unfurl. I wait to come into my own, when in truth maybe I've already come undone.

Monday, February 25, 2013


"If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song for me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?" - Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa (Karen Blixen)
The women I admire the most are those who despite convention, the times, and restrictions placed upon their sex still managed to defy society and carve out a life on their own terms, passions, and secret longings... lives filled with adventure, exploration, and self-expression. 

Women like Danish author Karen von Blixen who published her account of living in Kenya in the book, Out of Africa, published under the pen name Isak Dinesen in 1937. The book is a recollection of Blixen's life on her beloved coffee plantation in the Ngong Hills, as well as a tribute to  those who touched her life there. After she lost her plantation in 1931, Blixen returned to Denmark and embarked on a writing career that lasted until her death in 1962.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


ph via flickr, arieth lin
"When I look at the large green iron gate from my window it takes on the air of a prison gate. An unjust feeling, since I know I can leave the place whenever I want to, and since I know that human beings place upon an object, or a person, this responsibility of being the obstacle when the obstacle lies always within one's self." - Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Volume One 1931-1934

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


ph: craig fordham
"Long afterwards, she was to remember the moment when her life changed its direction. It was not predestined; she had a choice. Or it seemed she had. To accept or refuse. To take one turning down the crossroads to the future or another." - Evelyn Anthony, The Avenue of the Dead

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I'm in the French Alps on a snowboarding trip. We rented a chalet in Méribel Mottaret. Amazing. There's a fantastic view from every angle. Like the one above.

Friday, January 25, 2013


"I prefer empty cages, Sabina, until I find a unique bird I once saw in my dreams."   -- Anaïs Nin, A Spy in the House of Love

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I can't believe your thinking
save everyone, inside you
take everything
fake everything
save everything
about me

all of you, all right
just because, I want to know
do you still come last night clear eyes pale?
you never got there even thought you say you will
sorry now that you've fallen from my eyes
that's the truth

why are you telling me about everything?
why are you telling me about everything?
you're just waiting for her to come apart
you're just waiting for her

take everything
fake everything
save everything

(take everything, mazzy star)

Saturday, January 12, 2013


"This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Though canst not then be false to any man. Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!" -- Hamlet, William Shakespeare
 Translation: Take care of yourself first and that way you'll be in a position to take care of others.

I was flipping through an issue of Self Magazine at the laundry mat when I came across this article, 7 Guilt-Free Pie Recipes. Here's one that delivers 13 grams of protein in each slice of pie. 

Peanut Butter-Berry Pie
1 All-Purpose Crust, Oat Variation (see below)
2 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam, warmed
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups evaporated milk
1/2 reduced-fat peanut butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup mini-marshmallows
1 pint fresh raspberries
  1. Heat oven to 350º F. 
  2. Chill crust 15 minutes. Remove from fridge; prick crust at 1-inch intervals with a fork. Line with waxed paper; fill with pie weights or uncooked rice. Bake until golden, 30 minutes. 
  3. When crust is cool, lift waxed paper to remove weights. Increase oven heat to 400º F. 
  4. Spread jam on crust to cover bottom. 
  5. In a bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla. In a thick-bottomed pot (to prevent burning), whisk milk with peanut butter and sugar over medium heat until steaming; remove from heat. 
  6. Whisk peanut butter mixture into egg-vanilla mixture until combined; spoon filling into crust. 
  7. Bake until filling is set at edges but center jiggles when you shake pan, 15 minutes.
  8. Heat broiler. Top pie with marshmallows; broil, rotating once or twice for even browning, until marshmallows are puffed and gold, 1 to 2 minutes.
  9. Let cool for at least 3 hours. Top with raspberries and serve.  
THE SKINNY: Serves 8; 378 calories per slice, 18 g fat, 42 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 13 g protein
All-Purpose Crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
2 tablespoons all-vegetable shortening
2-3 tablespoons ice-cold water

Oat Variation: add 2 tbsp quick-cooking oats
  1. In a food processor, pulse dry ingredients until combined. Add butter and shortening; pulse until texture is rough and largest pieces of shortening are pea-sized, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add 2 tbsp ice water; pulse to combine. Pinch dough; if it doesn't hold together, mix in remaining 1 tbsp water.
  3. Form dough into a round; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 days.
  4. Dust a piece of waxed paper with flour; roll out dough to forma a 12" circle Lay dough in 9" pie pan, waxed paper side up. Gently remove paper, then press dough into pan. 
  5. Trim edge of crust so there is a 1 inch overhang remaining. Fold over edge; pinch crust at 1/2-inch intervals to form a crimped edge.
  6. Add pie filling when indicated. 
THE SKINNY: 967 calories per basic crust, 52 g fat, 109 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 14 g protein 

via Self Magazine

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I can give it all on the first date
I don't have to exist outside this place
and dear, know that I can change

but if stars shouldn't shine
by the very first time
then dear it's fine, so fine by me
'cause we can give it time
so much time with me

and I can draw the line on the first date
I'll let you cross it
let you take every line I've got
when the time gets late

but if stars shouldn't shnine
by the very first time
then dear it's fine, so fine by me
'cause we can give it time
so much time with me

stars, xx

Saturday, January 5, 2013


a woman

a car

an island.

"Ah! The Garden of Eden in Saint-Tropez!"
"Monsieur Carradine! And I suppose you are the devil?"
"Perhaps so. I've brought the apple anyway."

Et Dieu… créa la femme

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


"Bring home the bacon"- To earn money, particularly for one's family; to be successful, especially financially successful.
Bacon Mushroom Onion Tart
4 strips of bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 package of mushrooms, sliced
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
7 to 8 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup of grated Swiss and/or Gruyère cheese
9-inch Savory Tart Shell (recipe below)
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F (position rack in center of oven.) 
  2. Cook strips of bacon in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat until crispy. Let cool, then cut into small pieces.
  3. In the meantime, cook the onion in the bacon grease, season with salt and pepper and cook until onion is a deep golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Add mushrooms, cook together an additional 10 minutes. Cool slightly. 
  4. Add bacon to the onion and mushroom mixture, then spread evenly in tart shell. 
  5. Whisk eggs, ricotta cheese, cream and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in cheese. Pour mixture over filling in tart shell. Bake until tart is golden and center is set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 15 minutes before serving. 
Savory Tart Shell
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, diced
1 egg
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, and salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender, for or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add one egg and mix with a fork until dough forms. If the dough doesn't come easily together, dump mixture onto counter and knead together.
  2. On a lightly floured surface (or between two sheets of plastic wrap), roll out the dough to a 12-inch circle. Place dough in 9-inch tart pan and press to remove any air bubbles. Cut excess dough from rim, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. No parbaking required.