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Blueberry Blackberry Crumb Pie

30 Aug

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There is no good way to ease into this, so I am just going to say it– WestCoastKef has left us the City of Angels. And when somebody who has been THERE for your husband the way WCK has, you throw a party and bake the man a damn pie.

Intel from his Beloved led me down the berry pie path, and Smitten Kitchen brought me to this mixed berry crumb pie. They are better at life than I could ever hope to be, and so I will reproduce the original recipe verbatim below.

But, first, some photos.

Immediately upon arrival, WestCoastKef had my living room looking like a photo shoot for his debut album, Bojanglin’ Back Home, which drops late 2017. COP THAT.

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What’s the number one sign your people are really ready to celebrate your ass? Double fisting bottles.

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… which escalated quickly. One bottle down approximately 1 hour into party.

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There are many hilarious interceding #turntup photos and videos, but we are grown ups with bills to pay and the internet is a scary place so instead… a jump to the group shot at the end:

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WestCoastKef– we will miss you mightily. And while I will pretty much never forgive you for bringing Settlers of Catan into my husband’s life, you can bet we will still be on the first spring break flight out to LA.

And now, the pie:

Smitten Kitchen’s Blueberry Blackberry Crumb Pie

For the crust

  • 1.25 c all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea or table salt
  • 1/2 c cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 c very cold water

Forthe filling

  • 4 c blueberries
  • 2 c blackberries
  • 3/4 c sugar (for a moderately, but not very, sweet pie)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 7 TBS tapioca flour/starch or 5 1/2 TBS  cornstarch (I used cornstarch)
  • Pinch of salt

For the crumb topping

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 TBS sugar
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.3 c all-purpose flour
  • Two pinches of salt

Assembly

Make pie dough:
– By hand : In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. (Some people like to do this by freezing the stick of butter and coarsely grating it into the flour, but I haven’t found the results as flaky.) Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add another tablespoon of water.
– With a food processor: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Turn mixture out into mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.
– Both methods: Wrap dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Longer than 2 days, it’s best to freeze it until needed.

Heat oven: To 400°F (205°C).

Roll out crust: On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12 to 13-inch circle-ish shape. Fold dough gently in quarters without creasing and transfer to a 9 1/2-inch standard (not deep-dish) pie plate. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. Save scraps in fridge, just in case.

Par-bake crust: Freeze for 15 minutes, until solid. Dock all over with a fork. Coat a piece of foil with butter or nonstick spray and press tightly against frozen pie shell, covering the dough and rim and molding it to fit the shape of the edges. Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully, gently remove foil. (Set the foil, still molded, aside. It will come in handy later.) If any parts have puffed, just press them gently back into place. Patch any tears or cracks with reserved dough scraps. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and leave oven on.

Meanwhile, make filling: Mix all filling ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

To make crumb topping, stir sugar, zest, baking powder, flour and salt into melted butter in a large bowl with a fork until crumbs form.

Assemble and bake: Pour filling into crust and scatter crumbs over the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes with these two important things in mind:

1. This crumb browns much more quickly than the pie is done. Grab that piece of foil you set aside from the parbaking phase and upend it over the top of the pie to protect it against further browning once it reaches the color you want. This might only take 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Fruit pies are done when you can see bubbles forming at the edges, with some creeping through and over some crumbs. If it takes longer, that’s better than an underbaked pie.

To serve: Try to let the pie cool until close to room temperature before serving. This gives the pie thickener a chance to help the pie set. The pie will be even better set after a night in the fridge. Bring it back to room temperature before serving.

 

5 For Friday: A Day in the Life

13 Mar

Alrighty, Keftanis– this Friday finds us in a MUCH better position than last week, when DC was still a snowy mess. BEST OF LUCK to everyone running one of the RnR DC races this weekend–I truly hope the weather gods are with you!

So it’s Friday and I’m linking up with the DC Trifecta- Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney– for a fun “day in the life” post.

photo(1)1- The Alarm – My day usually starts pretty early– I’m either hurrying to not be late for the 7:00 start of a 12-hour shift (wooo nurses!), heading over to spend a fun day with the most wonderful baby in Arlington, or getting ready for an early work out. As you can see, sometimes I get up on the first try, and sometimes I need a couple extra Zzzs. I like to leave myself little reminders of things I have to do that day– and if you don’t know yet, November Project is an awesome group of people who provide, a tough, FREE workout (plus free hug high fives) every Mon/Wed/Fri in DC. #TheTribeIsStrong Not pictured: the 5 times in between my alarms that MrKef’s buzzer goes off, which wakes me up and not him.

2- The Breakfast– I have eaten a Cherry Pie Larabar for breakfast everyday for the past 2 years or so (…seriously, I even bring them to FERRAGOSTO). I do not even want to think about doing the math to know how much that cost me–but I love that something with only three ingredients can be so filling. Not pictured: the 2 cups of coffee I drink before considering myself fit for human interaction.

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3. The Afternoon– Starting at about 2:30 when BabyKef gets out of school, I usually spend a very large portion of the afternoon talking to my family. The call log here is pretty illustrative–I no sooner get off the phone with one before I’m calling the other. We’re either figuring out details for one of the three (3!) weddings we have this year, getting the high school gossip from our mom (who rules the place with an iron fist), or entertaining one another as somebody walks somewhere and is bored. Not pictured: the 12 calls to and from BabyKef and GrandmaKef in the mix.

4. The Evening Workout– I used to sneak in a  swim before work, but would get flustered because the pool 5831695848_d3036f8ba1_zdoesn’t open til 6 (and I have to be at work at 7), so I didn’t have time to be even a couple minutes late. Now I swim after work (unless it’s Wednesday when I go to the very best Yoga District class) and it’s amazing how much more I enjoy my swim workouts when they are not a mad dash to clock in on time! Not pictured: me with goggle rings around my eyes trying to convince people that they should let me take care of their newborn!

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5-Catching Up With MrKef– After the hustle and bustle of the day, it’s so reassuring to know I’m coming home to my two loves, pictured here: MrKef and Oliver Tambo. Sometimes MrKef and I cook something together, other times he just watches Oliver play around with the laser pointer while I cook us something (okay… most time that is what happens). We both work with the “general public,” as he likes to call it, so we almost always have some stories to tell about the crazy things people said or did during the day. Usually, he’s drinks a Hot Toddy and I eat blueberries until I am blue in the face (har har) as we catch each other up on what went down that day. Not pictured: the video I have of him giggling like a schoolboy as he plays with Oliver and the laser pointer–but trust and believe, it will make for excellent material at his retirement party one day.

Wired Cycling- Cycling. Training. Seriously.

11 Feb

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I’ve been on a pretty serious running hiatus lately–just before Christmas I had a little ache in my foot that went from “hmm, maybe this is the beginning of plantar fasciitis” to “IF YOU DO NOT TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF THIS PLANTAR FASCIITIS-RIDDEN FOOT RIGHT NOW IT WILL QUIT YOU FOR GOOD.” I’m back to feeling nearly 100% but, in the meantime, I’ve been logging some serious miles on the spinning bike.

So the other night I headed over to my old neighborhood (which was awesome well before it had an arch) to check out Leticia Long’s Wired Cycling studio. True to form, I got there with about 1 minute to spare so I got changed quickly in the ample, clean bathroom and stowed my stuff in a cubby. I was THRILLED to see these brand-spanking new FreeMotion bikes–I’ll fight someone in order to claim one of the two my gym keeps in its spinning room.

The studio itself is gigantic by spin room standards–no back splash of your neighbor’s sweat here. All the bikes are equipped with ANT+ computers, whose data is available to you both on the bike computer and on two giant screens that are displayed at the front of the studio. The data measures your rank in the class via RPM, Watts, and another metric called “energy” that I couldn’t quite figure out (calories maybe? who knows). I swore I wasn’t going to get all into the rank thing, but then I stayed in second place for the whole dang class and I just wanted to beat bike 15 so badly… but I might as well have been riding a huffy trying to chase Lance Armstrong right after a blood transfusion. Nothing doing.

To say I loved this class is a vast understatement. I try to take the info a bike computer provides to put together a challenging bike workout for myself, but Leti (as she’s known to the flock of regulars) makes an art form out of this. She put together 45 minutes of sprints, hills, and drills that really challenged me and was great at translating the why behind each portion’s place in the class and in a bigger training picture. There was no choreography or knee-killing “jump” drills, just the kind of researched, reasoned series that after about 10 minutes I knew was going to be the real deal.

Some other reasons to love everything about Wired:

  • Leti runs an 8-week winter training cycle of 2-hour classes on Sunday morning that is developed using real, live training science (I’m a sucker for evidence-based anything). If I ever don’t work 8 weekends in a row, I am ABSOLUTELY going to be enrolled in this.
  • Wired provides gel seats for people who want a great workout without the butt burn later.
  • The pricing is unreal. Your first class is $5 (!). Single classes are $15 (half of Soul Cycle, for what it’s worth). If you buy a 10-class pass, they are less than $12.50 a class.  Leticia also made a big point of telling a regular to buy a cheaper pass rather than pay the drop-in fee– my point is that this is a woman who’d rather provide a quality community of accessible fitness than make a gimmicky buck (ahem… Soul Cycle…).

I have only two cons, and they’re small ones– looks like all the classes are 45 minutes, and I usually prefer longer rides (though if they’re all 45 minutes like Leti’s Monday class, then it’s really a question of quality v quantity, and Leti wins) and my class was called a “HipHop/R&B Ride” but it was heavier on Chris Brown pop, who will just never make it to into my definition of either of those genres… but if you’re focusing on the music at Wired, you’re probably doing something wrong.

Anyway, I can’t wait to go back. Thanks so much to Leti and everyone at Wired for creating such an awesome space!

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