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Posts Tagged ‘pie’

Today is the autumnal equinox, or the official start of Fall. I like to think of it as the Universe giving all of us here in the Northern Hemisphere a pat on the arm and a kind word to prepare us for that whole Winter thing.

What is It saying? When it comes to the grand workings of the Universe it’s always difficult to be sure, but I imagine the conversation goes something like this:

“Now now, Winter’s still a ways off and hey, you had a good Summer, right?”

(inarticulate mumblings about sunburn and too many mosquito bites)

“Well, not to worry. We know Winter is hard so We try to ease you into it with the likes of apple pie and hot cider.”

(sniffles, with a muffled acknowledgement that pie is really quite nice)

“And remember how much you liked that new recipe for spicy beef stew? Pull yourself together, dear, it will be fine.”

For those who prefer a slightly more technical explanation of the experience on which we are all about to embark, a few more details…

Solstice: occurs when the Sun is the farthest away from the celestial equator, or the imaginary line above the Earth’s equator. This happens twice a year, around June 21st (when it reaches the northernmost point) and December 21st (when it reaches the southernmost point).

Equinox: marks the time when the Sun crosses the celestial equator. Day and night are (close to) equal length. This happens twice a year, around March 20th (vernal) and September 22st (autumnal).

Would you like to know more? Check out Time & Date or Royal Museums Greenwich or EarthSky for additional information, helpful diagrams and fun facts (like Chichen Itza’s Snake of Light).

I do love pie and cider and crisp autumn days and bright red leaves. Today I’m also grateful that marking such astronomical events no longer requires human sacrifice, for the word “phenology,” and for the reminder that in spite of everything, we all see the same sky.

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Nights are cool, maple leaves are touched with red, and while a mosquito recently gifted me one massive and very distracting bite, the pesky little blighters are all but done for the year. It is 46F as I write this, and this year’s fall equinox will take place on September 22nd.

It’s time to come to terms with the fact that summer is on its way out.
/insert brief pause for distraught handwringing… or not

Actually, I think I’m ok with that. Why? Because fall is a terrific season. Because I love pie (mmm, pie:). Because if you were raised on fall as I was, its absence is missed. And because the nagging feeling at the back of my mind tells me that it’s time to get back to work.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t take the summer off. I’m still working, still writing, but I haven’t had much of a presence here. My schedule has been more erratic than usual, as fishing or family or other excursions called me away. And much of the writing I’ve done is tweaking, fixing, editing or otherwise sorting out existing material.

Fall is a great time to dig in and embark on new adventures. To make big plans. Use those extra hours of darkness to dream of the new, and on waking, make those dreams real.

I hope your summer was as fun as mine, and I hope that you, too, are ready for a change. It’s time to get to work.

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It’s a bit before lunch and I’m feeling snacky, so today’s edition of #ThingsILike is food related. (Let’s face it, a lot of the things I like are food related:)

In honor of the coming Pi Day (March 14th, for obvious reasons:) and my mother’s cooking, I give you one of my favorite fruit pie recipes. Thanks, Mom!

Blueberry Orange Pie

Crust:
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter, shortening or a mix (I use butter for flavor)
1 tsp. grated orange rind
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
5 Tbs. ice water

Filling:
4 cups blueberries (frozen work fine)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
touch of vanilla, Grand Marnier, or lemon juice if the berries need a flavor boost
2 Tbs. butter
Powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Mix flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Cut in butter until it is no more than pea sized. Add orange rind and nuts. Add water, 1 Tbs. at a time, mixing after each addition. Form into a ball and refrigerate* one hour before using.
3. Roll out half of the dough and use to line a 9-inch pie pan. Mix berries, sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and any extras. Pour mixture into pie pan and dot with butter.
4. Roll out remaining pastry and cover pie. Seal edges with water and cut vents in the top for steam. Bake 1 hour, cool on rack and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Note: This pie will probably overflow. Use a cookie sheet or foil beneath the dish unless you like cleaning ovens;)
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* If you don’t have an hour I’ll note that I’ve skipped this step; the dough is harder to work and not quite as perfect, but the end result was still nommy. Since we’re fessing up about time-saving measures, I’ll admit that I’ve also used store-bought pie crusts, seasoned with the orange rind and walnuts. Desperate times, but in the end, pie:)

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