When Writers get Writers’ Block, they write about Writers’ Block.
I started this blog almost a year ago to fill in something in my life that was missing- that creative outlet, the mentally challenging piece. Don’t get me wrong, my job was great, something I had trained for, but it had become a little routine. Writing gave me that academic, expressive forum. The ideas came fast and furious; posts got written while I was working, scribbled on the back of…
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So, heres the thing. I had a plan for the last week to make a chocolate pie using a recipe LOOSELY derived from “Minnys’ Chocolate Pie” (also known as “Revenge Pie” and “Eat my Shit” Pie) from Kathryn Stocketts’ “The Help”. The recipe and the book sat on my desk for a week, I just could not get motivated to make this pie or write this post. For those of you not familiar with the book (shame on you!), it takes place in 1962 Mississippi, and is the story of a white, privileged, 22-year old who sets out to write the story of black Mississippi housemaids and the prejudice they endure. It is a fantastic book and everyone should read it. There is also a movie, which is actually very good if you’re not the reading sort (double shame!)
But about this pie. Minny, one of the maids, gets her revenge on her very cruel former boss by baking her a very special chocolate pie. I had intended to make a similar pie (without the special ingredient), but I just couldn’t do it. Even knowing that my pie would be a simple chocolate pie, my stomach churned at the very thought of a replica revenge pie. So not only is it not Thursday, this is NOT a recipe from a book.
This is my recipe for regular chocolate pie. Regular. Chocolate. Pie.
1 packaged pie dough crust, such as Pillsbury How much do I love when recipes call for something pre-made? A lot. That’s how much.
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Ease the pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the edges decoratively Oh sure, “decorative”.
2. Prick the crust lightly with a fork. Line the crust with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes or until set. Remove the foil and weights and bake for about 5 minutes longer, just until the crust is dry but not browned. I have no pie weights. If you also have no pie-baking accessories from 1872, just bake it and squish it down if it starts to puff up.
3. Wine. From now on, step 3 will always be wine.
4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the sugar with the cocoa powder, butter, eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt until smooth.
5. Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake for about 45 minutes, until the filling is set around the edges but a little jiggly in the center.
6.Cover the crust with strips of foil halfway through baking.No
7. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool completely (somewhat. Then realize that cooling is what keeps the pie from being liquid. Let it cool completely in the fridge, and cover your mistakes with whipped cream.) before cutting into wedges. Serve with whipped cream.
Verdict: Extremely sweet. See-through-time kind of sweet. But pretty tasty, especially with copious amounts of whipped cream!
Decorative is a relative term anyway.
Cheers to step 3!
Finished! A regular chocolate pie to share with friends.
So, heres the thing. I had a plan for the last week to make a chocolate pie using a recipe LOOSELY derived from “Minnys’ Chocolate Pie” (also known as “Revenge Pie” and “Eat my Shit” Pie) from…
I love food and am a total believer in foods’ power over mood and circumstance. When something bad (or good, or neutral, or nothing at all ) happens, I’m all over it with the appropriate menu. Food can make anything better. Even facing certain death in a kill-or-be-killed arena where you are being sent to atone for crimes committed by your ancestors. Apparently.
“What’s impressed you most since you arrived here?” I rack my brain for something that made me happy here. Be honest, I think. Be honest. “The lamb stew,” I get out. Caesar laughs, and vaguely I realize some of the audience has joined in. “The one with the dried plums?” asks Caesar. I nod. “Oh, I eat it by the bucketful.”
And, so this week for Book Cookin’ Thursday, We will be making Lamb Stew with Dried Plums from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.
..or rather, the “No-Hunger Games”, if this stew works out!
* pauses for laughs*
Fine, all puns aside, the recipe I used is from the website notquitenigella.com , and you can find and follow it along here. She has some great pictures of every step in the recipe, and modifications for pressure cookers and stove top methods.
Let’s Cook! May the odds be ever in our favor.
- 1 kilo, 1 inch diced lamb neck (also called scotch fillet-you can also use lamb fillet, diced leg or shoulder).
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup plain or all-purpose flour
- 1-2 tablespoons oil
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 onions, sliced
- 2 cups beef or lamb stock
- 2 large carrots, cut into chunks
- 500g/1 pound small chat potatoes roughly the same size
- 1/4 cup pitted prunes (am I the only one who didn’t know that prunes are dried plums?)
- 1/4 cup Turkish dried apricots (Ah yes, the finest turkish dried apricots that the No Name brand makes…)
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 sprig fresh lemon thyme (or use thyme and add some lemon zest)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup ginger beer
- Salt if needed
- Serve with: wild rice, regular rice or Paddy’s potato scones
Step 1 – On a shallow plate, mix the flour, salt and pepper and dredge the lamb pieces shaking off any excess.
Step 1a- Regret leaving the prep work for this recipe until after work, especially when “after work” is midnight. Lousy evening shift. :(
Step 2 – Heat your cast iron pot or a frying pan on medium to high heat and brown the lamb pieces in the oil in three or four batches. Then add the garlic and onion and stir until the onions become translucent.
Step 3- If using a slow cooker: Add the stock, sugar, carrots, potatoes, prunes, apricots, rosemary, lemon thyme, bay leaves and ginger beer to the lamb and onion mix. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Taste to see whether salt is needed
Okay, I’m pretty tired, but I did not see sugar ANYWHERE in the ingredients list. What kind of sugar? How much sugar? I am adding no sugar, and I do NOT appreciate deception when I’m trying my best to be good and follow the recipe.
Step 4- Clean up after yourself, because if memory serves, J HATES it when he goes to bed after cleaning practically the whole house only to then waking up to an unholy mess his wife made after work. It’s like his least favorite thing, aside from K-Os and people who don’t stand up during the national anthem.
Step 5- Watch an episode of Nashville, eat a handful of Ritz crackers and a Cheesestring and fall asleep
Step 6- Cook, add some salt and LOTS of pepper when you realize you added a bottle of ginger beer instead of a cup and therefore the stew is very sweet.
Verdict: Sweetness aside, this was actually pretty tasty. Make sure that you only add a cup of ginger beer and then I would actually recommend this. I’ve never prepared lamb before, because I didn’t know how, but this was easy, healthy, filling and yummy! Would I choose it as my last meal before entering the arena? No, but I would make it again! Success!
Book Cookin Thursday #6:
I love food and am a total believer in foods’ power over mood and circumstance. When something bad (or good, or neutral, or nothing at all ) happens, I’m all over it with the appropriate menu.
Always assemble your ingredients!
Trying to stir-fry quietly is a lesson in futility!
I love my crock pot!
Finished product! To be served in a cave with a man whose talent is face-painting.