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such a tart

3 May

You should know—and perhaps you’ve already noticed—that my photography skills—the little that I had—went to pot fast here on McPolish. I’d like to blame camera phones, Instagram, dirty politicians, and cheap gin, but really it’s because I’m too lazy to pull out my big, fancy camera and do a proper photo with good lighting, photo editing, etc, etc.

And because of this, I realize in my quest to achieve Pie Greatness this year, I’m not giving you very appetizing shots of the pies I’ve made.

Well, Interwebs….

Prepare to be disappointed again, friends!

But what April’s featured pie lacks in photogenic-ness (?) (it’s a word now), it makes up for in taste. And know that I at least attempted to get you some better photos this month, friends. I may not have succeeded, but it’s the thought that counts.

I should also prepare you to be twice disappointed because technically I made a tart, which is not exactly a pie, but it’s not not a pie. As I mentioned on The Instagram when I made this brown butter raspberry tart from epicurious, tarts are similar to pies in that there is crust and there is filling, so it counts. And, and, when I looked up just now whether it should be tart or tarte, The Wikipedia says this “tarte” is a French word that can mean either pie or tart, “as both are mainly the same with the exception of a pie usually covering the filling in pastry, while flans and tarts leave it open.”

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The uncooked tart, which is similar to pie.

The key word here is usually, people. When have I ever done anything “usually”? Do you see pastry lids on any of the three previous pies I’ve made this year? No. No you do not.

Ergo, this tart counts toward my Year of Pie goal.

It also counts because I say it does.

Anyhooters, once I nailed the browned butter part of this recipe (my first batch of browned butter burned, and I learned something then: There is nothing sadder than burned butter) (I learned, too, that it’s easier to brown butter in a pot with a light colored bottom, because you can actually tell when it starts to brown) (tell your friends), the rest of it came together beautifully. And instead of listening to the directions, I only cooked it for about 30 minutes, rather than 40, but it seemed done, so I pulled it out of the oven. But then about an hour later I was second guessing my decision, and was worried I’d have yet another fall-apart dessert on my hands when slicing it up that night for our guests (because yes, I all the goddamn time buck the adage that you should never make new recipes when you’ve got guests coming for dinner, because what if it all goes to shit) (answer: order pizza) so I threw it back into the oven for another ten minutes or so just to be sure.

Let the record show that Swede gave me A Look when I did this and then put a voice to my doubt over this choice. And let the record show that he also agreed with me when I said, “I may have fucked up the tart.”

And also let the record show we were both wrong.

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The finished tart, which is still similar to pie.

Next time I’ll probably just bake it for 40 minutes straightaway, rather than 30 minutes and then another 10 random minutes later in the day. But it obviously didn’t affect the taste, because the four of us—me, Swede, and our old next-door neighbors who came for dinner—killed that tart in one fell swoop. There was not a crumb in sight.

And tart makes FOUR.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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and here we have the march pie

26 Apr

There are five things you should know about this Fudge Bottom Pie, besides the fact that yes, I did in fact make a pie in March and that makes THREE MONTHS IN A ROW THAT I HAVE DONE SOMETHING I PROMISED NO ONE IN PARTICULAR I WOULD DO. SUCK ON THAT, PIE HATERS!

 

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One: While thinking about, and while making this pie, I sang about this pie. Specifically, I sang “Fudge bottom pie, you make the rockin’ world go ‘round!” a la Queen’s Fat Bottom Girls, because you just can’t not sing it. And now you’ll be humming it for the rest of this post. You’re welcome.

Two: This pie fell apart. REPEAT: FELL. APART. The flavors are delicious, with the whipped cream pillowed high on the cream filling piled on the fudge layer slathered on the crust—it all mingles together in a bite that is delightful. But it FELL APART. The cream layer never set properly, and it didn’t hold when sliced. Had I read the comments on the recipe, I would have known this was probably going to happen, but I didn’t, so I didn’t, and rather than a nice clean holding together slice, it was more like what you get when you mix cake and ice cream together. Which is not a bad thing, necessarily, simply disappointing.

Three: Baby McSwedolish enjoyed the pie, because giving pie to an at-the-time 7-month old is always a good idea. She liked it almost as much as she likes yogurt, which is saying something, because she likes yogurt like I like Diet Pepsi. Which is to say that someday she may say she likes yogurt so much she would smack her mama for it, which is mildly disturbing because I really don’t want to get punched in the face for yogurt. If I’m going to get punched in the face it should be for something really, really good, like two Diet Pepsis.

Four: The crust of this pie tastes like a cookie, and I would definitely make it again with a different filling. Perhaps a filling that actually holds together.

Five: Did I mention I’m three-for-three in pie completion? Oh, I did? I yelled it at the top of this post? Funny, that. Well, whatever. I’ll mention it again just in case there was a loud noise in the background last time and you didn’t hear it. THREE. FOR. THREE. And even if this pie wasn’t a rousing success (by my own personal standards) I’m considering the fact that I got it made a success in and of itself, because it’s all about the journey and blah and blah and insert inspirational Oprah-esque quote, blah blah, move out of the way while I pat myself on the back, YAY ME.

PIE.

 

 

year of the pie–i’m telling you i didn’t forget!

5 Apr

I know you think I’ve let pie fall by the wayside, because it’s April and there’s yet to be a mention of pie since my successful(ish) January bake. But there was pie in February, Interwebers. And there was one in March, too, thankyouverymuchandhaveaniceday. But we’re not talking about March’s pie right now. We’re talking about February, because it’s April, and I am nothing if not timely.

February’s pie was delicious. I made a creamy lemon pie, with the recipe courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction because that Sally knows her shit. (If you’re on the hunt for some delicious baked goods, I highly recommend checking out her site. It’s reputable.* Granted, I haven’t had success with EVERY recipe I’ve tried from her, but let’s be frank—that’s most likely due to user error rather than the recipe she’s touting.)

I made the pie for Swede’s birthday, and it took some trial and error getting to the decision to make the creamy lemon pie, because when I asked Swede what kind of dessert he wanted for his birthday, he listed five different options. One of which was a lemon meringue pie, which I immediately jumped on because I actually know how to make a lemon meringue pie, and I know how to make a really delicious lemon meringue pie, but then I realized that couldn’t count toward my Year of the Pie Goal, so I decided what Swede really wanted was a creamy lemon pie, which would be also delicious and would, in fact, count toward my Year of the Pie Goal.

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The name of this pie says it all: It’s creamy and it’s lemon. And the whipped cream on top is delightful (and yes, I did that piping myself). I liked the crust, too, because A) Not a pastry crust! I still haven’t found my rolling pin! and 2) The almonds in the graham cracker crust add a nice flavor. Overall, this is a stupidly easy pie to bring together, though I was a little nervous that it wouldn’t set and the filling would come blubbering out once I sliced into it, because I’m nervous about this with any pie, really. But it didn’t! It held together beautifully. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, even Swede, even if it’s not really the pie he chose, but whatever.

Pie.

*After pinning thousands of pins on Pinterest, and actually making some, I’ve come to the stark realization that you can’t always believe what is on the Interwebs. (!!!) And frequently, the recipes I tried turned out like crap. So over the past year or so, I’ve largely been sticking to food sites that I know have been around since the dawn of blogs and have a good reputation.

 

things i miss since becoming a parent

8 Mar

Oh sure, like every parent I miss the usual things like sleep and being able to jet off to exotic lands at a moment’s notice for the weekend,* and going to the bathroom without an audience. But when you become a parent, you adjust to the loss of those things pretty quickly whether you like it or not, and eventually sleep becomes a vague concept, exotic lands are very far away from where I live and thus not really worth the plane flight for a mere 48 hours of different scenery, and well, if you have a dog you gave up going to the bathroom by yourself a long, long time ago.

So no, these are not the things I really miss. The things I miss, since becoming a parent, are much deeper than that.

Sitting at the bar. Swede and I went on a proper date night recently. We went for dinner and drinks and then we went to see a play because we are cultured and shit. And also because tickets were only $15. And we drank our drinks while bellied up to the restaurant bar, and I realized that it is a rare occurrence that I get to sit at the bar and sip some booze. And lo! How nice it was! So adult-like and swanky. And something I just don’t do enough of these days, because bar-sitting is just not conducive to toddlers, particularly those toddlers who like to dick around on barstools rather than just sit in them like a normal person. Also because it is illegal in some states to let people under the age of 21 sit at a bar. But mostly because tiny humans can’t sit still and nothing ruins a good drink faster than having to leave to treat your child for a concussion.

Driving by MYSELF. Listen, I don’t drive a lot in general these days (thank you, commuter train to work, and husband who drives more often than not when we go places) and when I do, it’s usually with two small humans in tow. I love listening to them babble in the backseat, and I can maneuver them in and out of their car seats like a champ. But driving by myself, or even just me and the dog? Wow. Just, WOW.

On Christmas Eve I volunteered to go pick up the pizzas we were serving to our guests (yes, we had pizza, and yes, it was glorious). I got into the car, and after a brief moment of panic when I looked in the rearview mirror and didn’t see either child in their car seat, followed by a quick relief with the realization that they were at home with Swede and various aunts and cousins, well. I have never felt such freedom. I was responsible for no one but myself and pizza! In those 15 minutes, you would have thought I was Julie Fucking Andrews playing Maria von Goddamn Trapp, except instead of a hilltop I was twirling around in a Subaru.

Thinking about one thing at a time. I was going to say that before I had kids I could separate thoughts into individual…thoughts. But now with kids it all just sort of runs together, at a constant, eager clip, because if it doesn’t, then surely 30 things will be forgotten, whereas if you let it all run together only 10 things will be forgotten. (shoesdiapersextraclothesdidwedropoffthecheckforsummercampwhatsfordinnerwhendidwelastbathethechildrenischeeseandacceptabledinnerwhereareallofourpants)

But then I realized that I’ve never thought about one thing at a time, and it’s always run together. Pre-kids it was maybe only thinking about five things at a time, which is admittedly better than my current 712, but it was never just one thing at a time. So this isn’t really a being-a-parent-thing, it’s just an I’ve-always-been-that-way-thing. Yet still I miss those halcyon days of five. I’m not sure my brain actually knows how to think about one thing at a time. So much chatter over and under and over and under each other in my brain, it’s really no wonder I’m in therapy. But I could do without all the clutter in my head, and I’m hopefully that one day the 712 will scale back to the low 300s.

I’m doubtful, but hopeful.

 

*I’ve never done that.

year of the pie–i haven’t forgotten

21 Feb

I told you back in January how I was All About the Pie this year. And then I pretty much went radio silent. And then you were probably like, “Oh look, McPolish made a promise about baked goods she doesn’t intend to keep—AGAIN.” Or you probably thought, “Oh sure. Big goals. NO action. Typical McPolish. AGAIN.”

And that is where you are WRONG, my friends. I am ALL ACTION.

For pie, at least.

Granted, I just barely got January’s pie off the ground, literally whipping it up on the last day of the month, but I did it. And while the only thing I have to prove to you that I did it is a terrible photo and the glowing accolade of my six-year-old nephew who isn’t terribly discerning when it comes to baked goods so long as they are sugar filled and no one tattles on him if he has a second piece when his mom isn’t looking, it’s safe to say my first pie was a success.

Kind of.

The filling and topping were a success. How could they not be? The filling was a decadent chocolate pudding-like creation. The topping was whipped cream. How does a person not like those things, separately or combined?

But the crust was meh.

Admittedly, it was store bought, and lacking in proper cooking instructions. (Proper baking temperature? Amount of time for parbaking? Bueller?) But it was the best I could do under the circumstances, seeing as how I still haven’t located my rolling pin and thus firmly believed I could not make a pastry crust. And more admittedly, I spent most of the month of January avoiding thinking about pie, pushing it off “until I find my rolling pin,” because the rolling pin was so key. You can’t make pie without a rolling pin! Because you need the rolling pin to make the crust! Except for all those other pie recipes that don’t require a pastry crust! But F those pies! I needed to make a pie with a pastry crust and I didn’t have a rolling pin and finding it required actually looking for it and it was more fun to just think about looking for it than actually digging through boxes.

And then the next thing I knew it was January 31st and I still hadn’t made the pie and I was all, “Awesome, totally screwing my goals from the word go! Again! Wheeeee!” But then I had a talk with myself and I was like, “Girl, just go get the damn store bought crust and make the damn pie and stop damn sabotaging yourself and don’t be an asshole.*”

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Terrible photo. Delicious pie. 

So I went to the damn store and I bought the damn crust and I made a damn chocolate cream pie from an America’s Test Kitchen recipe and it was damn delicious. A damn success all around if you ask me.

One month down, 11 to go.

*You should know that most of my pep talks with myself involve me telling myself not to be an asshole.

i can’t even blame jeff

18 Jan

I’ll just go ahead and say it: This was my most pathetic year of movie watching yet.

Eight? Eight movies? That’s all I watched?

What the shit was I doing with my time?

No, really, can someone tell me? My memory of 2018 is hazy at best at this point. (A defense mechanism, as trying to process all that went on last year in one fell swoop would most likely make my brain and heart and toes throw themselves up and declare defeat.)

I could maybe squeeze it to nine movies, if I count all the partials of Netflix/Hallmark holiday movies I watched. I don’t think I finished a single one, gripped instead by the exciting world of sleep that drew me in, drew me away from whatever PR rep/caterer/event planner was falling in love on the screen with the high school boyfriend who got away/prince in disguise/hotshot business man. But seeing as how they’ve all melded together in my mind into one giant super holiday movie (now THERE is an idea for a screenplay!) I’m not sure I should.

And unlike last year, when it was completely and utterly Jeff Bezos’ fault that I didn’t watch very many movies, the fault is all mine this year. In my defense, though I watched only a few movies, the movies I did watch were quality movies and quite spectacular: Lady Bird, Molly’s Game, Black Panther. I watched some simply terrific movies this year.

So at least there’s that.

Movies I Watched + 3 takeaways from each

January 1, 2018-December 31, 2018

 

  • 1. Black Panther*–1. Black Panther has, by far, the best superpowers of any superhero. 2. “I thought you meant Coachella, or Disneyland.” 3. Golden spears and pet rhinos would make the world a better place.
  • 2. Lean on Me*–1. Morgan Freeman and Robert Guillaume. Does it get any better? No. 2. I think we can all agree that the 1989 version of the song Lean on Me is FAR inferior to the Bill Withers version. 3. Charmain! Oh, Laaaance.
  • 3. Sing!*–1. Johnny the Gorilla singing I’m Still Standing is the best. The best! 2. A pig in sequined spandex and a German accent? Yes, please. 3. I really can’t stand that singing mouse. Sorry, Seth, McFarlande.
  • 4. Molly’s Game*–1. Aaron Sorkin, you’ve done it again.Thank you for being talented. 2. Apparently the character played by Michael Cera is supposed to be, in real life, Tobey Maguire? And Tobey Maguire is apparently a complete dick in real life. 3. Idris Elba is in this movie, which I didn’t realize and which I love and also he works for Gage Whitney, which WELL PLAYED, MR. SORKIN. (And if you don’t know what that means then you clearly need to watch the West Wing another few times.)
  • 5. All the Queen’s Horses*–1. I would LOVE to hear Rita’s take on all of this. 2. Who the hell keeps 300 horses? 300 HORSES. That’s just…a lot of horses. How do you keep them all straight? 3. It’s still astounding to me that the city of Dixon never noticed that such large sums of money were going missing.
  • 6. The Secret Life of Pets*–1. You know, even cartoon movies about animals in potential danger make me a little anxious, and are hard to watch. 2. I had to do a LOOOOT of IMDBing to find out the voices behind the characters for this one. Though Kevin Hart, surprisingly, I got right off the bat. 3. This movie made me want to take my dog with me everywhere all the time. More than I do already. Because I’m That Person, and I’m fine with that.
  • 7. Lady Bird*–1. Laurie Metcalf is the newest person to be added to my Fantasy Dinner Party that includes Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Kristen Bell, and Reese Witherspoon (and John Goodman and Tom Hanks, if I decide to make it a co-ed dinner party). 2. I used to wonder why parents would get all uptight about their kid going far away to college or moving to a city far away, but I get it now. You spend so many years raising this person that you love more than life itself, and then they want to leave and there’s a risk that they might never come back and it’s heartbreaking to think about. 3. Yup. That’s 2002.
  • 8. Crazy Rich Asians*–1. This was much like and yet nothing like the book. 2. I would not mind going on a free shopping spree on a private island. 3. The long-lost dad thing makes sense in the book, but makes absolutely no sense here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

time stamp

10 Jan

I love a New Year for its no-time-like-the-present attitude toward trying new things. My new thing is pie.

I also love a New Year for its no-time-like-the-present attitude toward ditching old things. (No, I don’t mean half the crap that’s sitting in our basement.) (Well, I do mean that, but that’s a different kind of ditching old things.) It’s a time to reflect and think about all those things in your life you really don’t like, and decide you’re not going to waste time on them anymore.*

Ahem.

Things I don’t have time for anymore:

  1. Negativity. There’s enough of it in the world already. I don’t need to be adding to it, and neither do you.
  2. Smoothies. I don’t understand their point for adults. Is it to get more fruits and vegetables in your diet? Because I get quite a lot already. A friend suggested I use it as a way to get more vegetables in my toddler, which I can support, but turns out he wanted nothing to do with it and asked for his sixteenth granola bar of the morning instead. Milkshakes I understand (delicious). Smoothies? Not so much. They just make me hungrier.
  3. One-sided political arguments. I don’t care which side you’re on. If you can’t articulate the pros and cons of both sides of a political debate, then stop talking.
  4. (Sadly) Wine after 9:30 pm. It’s like the clock strikes 9:30 and all of a sudden any glass of wine I may start has the makings of a wholly blergh feeling the next morning. And there are much better ways to spend my morning, like bleary-eyed and confused, and full of longing for breakfast tacos.

 

I figure by cutting these things out of my life, I will gain back at least three hours every year. And you know what I can do with those three hours? Things I enjoy doing. Like reading a book. Or making pie.** Or having a glass of wine before it’s dark out.

The possibilities are endless.

 

*Though honestly, any time is a good time to start things or end things. It doesn’t have to be the New Year. It can be a Tuesday in July if that’s when the spirit moves you. Who am I to say when you should feel reflective or will be ready to make a change?

**Possibly. Seeing as how I haven’t yet made pie, I might hate it. You just never know.