Tag Archives: photos

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

on freak outs, animals and otherwise

8 Nov

One thing I was not expecting when we moved was how hard the animals would freak the fuck out.

I knew the move would be an adjustment for them, particularly for the cats, as everyone says* that cats are attached to places, while dogs are attached to people. But what I did not know is that in our first two weeks of living in our new Animal House in Zoolandia (our affectionate nickname for our new town) I would wake up more than a few times with all three animals in bed with Swede and me. The dog, yes—she sleeps with us every night.** But the cats have never—and I mean never—slept in bed.***

The first night I woke up and thought that Swede had piled a couple thick pillows and blankets on my legs. He’s never done this before, and I don’t predict that he ever will in the future, so why this was my first thought I can’t really say except that these things make sense when it’s 2 am and you try to turn over except you can’t because your legs are pinned down by pillows and blankets. Except it’s not pillows and blankets, it’s a large cat, draped over your legs. I managed to free my legs and roll over, only to nearly roll out of the bed in fright, because as I rolled over something jumped off the side of the bed, right at head level.

A ghost? The essence of the previous owner spiriting away after coming to check on us to see how we liked the house?

No, just Lady Gaga Halloween Cat, who had stationed herself near my head to…I don’t know that I’d call it sleep, as I don’t think she actually sleeps. Maybe go into a trance would be a better description. And when I rolled over I must have snapped her out of said trance because she went flying off the bed and into the shadows of the room to hid and most likely further plot her outline for world domination.

On night four, I woke up at approximately 3 am, and reached up to move the pillow that I thought was pressing against the top of my head, and again nearly fell out of bed in fright. This time it was the Fat Cat, who—and this is probably the weirdest thing he’s ever done****–had stationed himself above my head, and was resting a single paw on the top of my noggin. There is little that is as disconcerting to wake up in the middle of the night and feel something furry attached to the top of your head, Interwebers. Believe you me.

And the dog, well, she’s still adjusting to All the Wildlife that she can now see when she positions herself on the couch to stare out the front window. The dastardly birds, the bastard squirrels, and don’t even get her started on the Other Dogs in the neighborhood who deign to walk down her street. This all, of course, when she’s not busy running between the living room at the front of the house and the bedroom at the back of the house, crying, because Swede and I are in separate rooms, and how is she supposed to protect us if we’re in separate rooooooooms?

I’m not sure if there’s anything I can do to help the beasts settle into their new home, besides give them time. Time will help, yes? Yes, let’s hope so. Because we can’t go back to the condo, it’s sold and out of our hands. The good news is that they’re already showing signs of settling in. The Fat Cat, for one, has taken to exploring the basement (and then getting stuck down there when we shut the door). The dog only races between rooms in mild anxiety, rather than full-tilt. Lady Gaga Halloween Cat—

Well, whatever. We all make progress in our own ways, on our own time.

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So irritated that we moved them. They just…ugh. They just can’t believe our audacity. 

*I don’t really know who this everyone is. But I heard one person say this one time and it made sense to me.

**Terrible idea, BTW, letting dogs sleep in bed with you. This one in particular because she’s a bed hog, pillow hog, and snores like a g-d Mack truck right in your face.

***Apparently they used to, before Swede’s life had meaning, ie, before he and I started dating. But then here I come along, Jerky McJerkerson who’s allergic to cats and effectively kicked them out of bed. This is a big reason why, for the first four years of Swede’s courtship of me, I’m positive the cats were secretly campaigning to overthrow me as girlfriend and get back one of Swede’s previous love interests, whom I’m told were much more cat-friendly.

****And that’s saying something, considering this is the cat who regularly will sprint out of the room for no apparent reason, and yell—yell—at visitors when they come in the front door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo friday: state and monroe

11 Aug

20170803_163605_Burst01Monroe and State.

State and Monroe.

An underground picture to complement the above-ground picture I snapped oh so many years ago.

photo friday: on the southside

4 Aug

Well south of Chicago’s Loop, past Soldier Field, past McCormick Place, the lakefront trail stretches out for miles. The crowds of bikers and hikers and rollerbladers (there seems to be a resurgence lately!) thin considerably, and if you know where to look, you find an unpaved nature trail that leads to some amazing, almost-untouched views of Lake Michigan, making you realize for certain that it’s not just good, it really is a Great Lake. Lakefront Trail

cherry picking > blueberry picking

2 Aug

It’s summertime, in case you haven’t noticed, and that means fruit is literally ripe for the picking. In the past month, Swede and I have twice thrown the baby in the Bjorn and set off for the fields, on the hunt first for blueberries, and then for tart cherries.

Our reasons for choosing these fruit are twofold: A) Blueberries are delicious, and 2) Tart cherries are the key ingredient in making cherry bounce.

Further-fold, we live not far from the states of Michigan and Indiana, where blueberries and cherries abound, which makes crossing the border all the more interesting, because doing so just for cheap cigarettes and gas gets old after awhile.

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You’d be surprised at how necessary this sign is. 

Right before the 4th of July we made our way to a blueberry patch (field? What’s the correct term here?). We spent two hours picking, and came away with approximately three pounds of blueberries. At the end of July we hit up a cherry orchard (orchard, right? I know nothing about horticulture) (are orchards and things even considered horticulture?) and spent another two hours picking, and came away with 43 pounds of tart cherries.

That is approximately 14 times more cherries than blueberries.

14!!

How, what, why is this possible, you ask? And why the hell are you even picking 43 pounds of cherries?
To answer your second question first, I refer you to the number 2 point in our fold.

To answer your first question, I shall tell you:

  1. We were to damn excited about the blueberries. The blueberry….pafield?…where we went had just started seeing blueberries on their bushes. Which is a nice way of saying we jumped the gun. Picking blueberries at the point we’d gone meant teeny-tiny clusters that had to be plucked delicately. Had we waited about a week or so, the bushes would have had blueberries all over the damn place. We could have swanned through the aisles of blueberry bushes and brushed 12 pounds into our buckets with the slightest sweep of our hands.
  2. It was hotter than balls out the day we went blueberry picking.
  3. Being hotter than balls, Baby McSwedolish was sweating through the Bjorn and becoming quite agitated about it, probably because he takes after his mother and detests being sweaty when it’s uncalled for.
  4. Being agitated for being in his Bjorn, I took one for the team and whisked Baby McSwedolish off to the shade where he could crawl around in the dirt and attempt to eat each blade of grass and/or twig every time I took my eyes off him long enough to blink.
  5. Alternatively, when we went to pick cherries, we somehow managed to nail the timing, and the cherry trees were positively dripping with fruit.
  6. It was not hot as balls.
  7. Seriously, I could have just shaken the branches a bit and a one million twelve pounds of cherries would come tumbling down into my bucket.
  8. Cherry trees are taller than blueberry bushes, and thus provide shade. Which means I didn’t get nearly as uncalled-for sweaty, and thus did not spend two hours cursing inanimate fruit, the state of Michigan, or anything else except bees. Because there did seem to be a lot of bees, and I really don’t like bees.

So remember, if ever you’re inclined to go out and pick some fruit, pick cherries, not blueberries. But also know this: But whether you’re picking cherries or blueberries, one thing is for certain—either is way the hell better and easier than picking strawberries.

 

photo friday: in the future

9 Jun

 

City 2Someday, possibly someday soon, we will have to move from our bootbox of a condo, when sharing the space becomes completely untenable* for two large humans, a smaller human, a dog, and two cats.

And someday, possibly someday soon, we will also have to leave our little neighborhood, because more space in this now-fancy set of streets costs more than we want to spend, and is out of our price range altogether if we want more space to also include a few blades of grass to call our own.

But that someday is not today, so today I will, as I do on the daily, enjoy this little neighborhood for all it’s worth and say thank you to God that I get to live where I do.

 

*Right now we’re at semi-untenable status.