just a smidgen

Once in a { Blue Moon } Peach Pie and a Celebration of Stars

{ Blue Moon } Peach Pie

CBC Radio One ran a program not too long ago on the subject of “Rejection Letters. One man being interviewed observed that he’d never received any Rejection Letters and commented that

perhaps he hadn’t taken enough risks in his life.. did that mean he hadn’t accomplished all that was possible?

That had me wondering..

have I taken enough risks in my life?

my angel

In the early days, I did submit my blog to “Martha’s Circle”.. and received this polite Rejection Email in return:

“Although your site does not meet our minimum requirement of 100,000 monthly page views, I wanted to let you know that we found it well designed and informative – a site we’d be proud to be associated with, should your needs and ours coincide.” At the time, with my little beginnings of a blog, I had absolutely no clue just how many wonderful and hugely successful food blogs there are out there!

A few months ago, I read that The Prairie Journal was accepting submissions for their next publication. I typed up a few of my favorite poems, then popped them into an envelope… along with a self-addressed and stamped return envelope, in the event that my poems weren’t accepted, held my breath and mailed it…

What did I have to lose?

Running through my mind over the past few months was a horrifying mental vision of some stranger, somewhere out there, reading my poetry and thinking that it was juvenile.

Have I really ever risked much in my life?

I think I’ve almost always played it safe.. I’m definitely conservative and quiet by nature. The first time I hit “Publish” on my blog I had a panic attack.  Months later when I wrote my first poem, the “Publish” button was again hit with trepidation. What would the reception be, I was nervous that readers would politely respond but privately snicker when reading my poetry.

But I kept blogging, thinking that surely my writing and photography could improve with practice?

I soon discovered that this blogging world of ours is,  indeed, usually one of the safest and supportive places to write.

Reading about books being written and articles being published by so many of you has given me courage.

This morning I went to the mailbox and saw a tiny envelope addressed to me, not the large “return” envelope I’d included in my submission letter. I immediately began thinking..

“This is a rejection letter. This is what a rejection letter looks like. This is probably a rejection letter, so don’t get your hopes up.”

Instead, there were two simple sheets of paper, a trim handwritten note kindly asking that I proof-read one of my poems enclosed and then return it back to The Prairie Journal. That’s when my mind interjected again..

“They probably accept almost everyone. They only chose one, only one poem was good enough. You haven’t really accomplished anything special, you know.”

I felt the impulse to rush and phone my husband, my parents, my children, friends… I wanted to change my Facebook status to “I’m being published!” But then I began to question myself, would this seem like bragging?

And then I stopped…and wondered when and why had I begun to think this way.

I am blessed, both my parents most certainly encouraged and praised me almost every day of my life growing up, they still do to this very day. I believe in praising my own children’s accomplishments and love to celebrate them.

Why, then do I allow such negative and self-deprecating thoughts to permeate these moments of my success. When I do meet with a modicum of success, why do I minimize it and, worse still, begin to question my own abilities.

When did confidence somehow become interchangeable with conceit?

I’m slowly trying to change the pattern of my thoughts. I’m learning to let go and acknowledge both my strengths and accomplishments, along with my shortcomings.

I’m learning to let myself  love and celebrate my own talents and success..

…shouldn’t we all?

After all, I admire the talents of friends, writers, artists, musicians, photographers, athletes, and parents I see all around me.. both in life and here on WordPress.

I’m  so fortunate to be surrounded by “stars”…

and every { Once in a Blue Moon }, we have the good fortune to be recognized.

Travis built us a beautiful fire pit in our backyard this spring and we finally put it to good use last night. A few lovely friends dropped in, armed with marshmallows, chocolate, an amazing Greek Salad, new tunes… and not least of all, great wine.

spree’s heavenly Green Gazpacho with Crab called for second and third heaping bowlfuls { everyone said your gazpacho was amazing, spree! }

and the night passed with a lovely Full { Blue Moon } gazing down on us from above.

It seemed àpropos to serve a seasonal { Blue Moon } Peach Pie with its own Constellation of Stars…
{ I’d have loved to attach one star for each of you, but I ran out of crust. }

it was a heavenly end to summer..

Once in a { Blue Moon } Peach Pie
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Lattice Pie Crust
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 lb lard, cold from the fridge
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ice water
  • Filling
  • 6 cups fresh peach, peeled and diced
  • (6 large peaches)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp instant (Minit) tapioca powder
  • 4 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • heavy whipping cream
  • coarse sugar
Instructions
  1. Pie Crust
  2. Whisk together flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a one cup measuring cup, whisk the egg and then whisk in the vinegar. Add the ice water until you have one cup.
  4. Using a knife, cut the lard into large one inch cubes. Then, using a pasty cutter, cut the lard into the flour mixture until you have pieces that look like oatmeal and larger pieces as well.
  5. Quickly stir in some of the liquid using a fork. Gradually stir in additional liquid, stirring each time. Add only enough for the dough to start coming together. You’ll know you have enough when you can press with your hands and the dough forms a ball in the bowl.
  6. Keeping the dough in the bowl. Press the dough into a ball. Cut into four large pieces for deep-dish pans or six pieces if you have regular pie pans. Flatten each dough ball into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.
  7. Refrigerate the dough while you make the filling.
  8. After you’ve made the filling, remove two of your pie disks (the remaining two can be frozen for use later) and lightly flour both your countertop and your rolling-pin. Roll out one disk of the pastry until it is a circle larger than the bottom of your pan and sides.
  9. Make sure to lift and dust under the dough as you roll out. Repeatedly dust your rolling-pin as well so that the dough doesn’t stick to the counter. Lightly roll the dough around your rolling pan and lay it in your pie pan.
  10. Tuck under extra dough around the top edges and flute. We left the sides of the crust high to allow for any shrinking.
  11. Preheat the oven to 450°F. (Yes, 450°F, even with a convection oven.)
  12. Pour the filling into the raw pie shell. Roll out another disk of dough as above. Using a ruler or straight edge and knife, cut rectangles for your lattice top. Lay across in a weaving pattern. If a piece breaks, just tuck the end under the other piece and keep going, no one will know once it bakes.
  13. We had one inch thick pieces, but smaller ones would be more intricate. You can also buy a special pie crust cutting tool for making fancier lattice scalloped edges. Once the top has been laid across, pinch the edges to the sides of the crust.
  14. Slide the pie in the oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce the oven to 350º F, wrap the edges of the crust with foil to avoid over-browning and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes. You’ll know the pie is set when the filling is fully bubbling between the lattice top.
  15. Remove and set on a wire rack to completely cool before trying to slice.. or you’ll have a runny pie.
  16. Filling
  17. Directions
  18. Bring a large pot to boil over high heat. Prepare a large bowl with ice cubes and water. Cut peaches in half horizontally, remove pits. Lower half of the peaches into the hot water and boil for 30-60 seconds, depending on how ripe your peaches are. Remove and immediately submerge in ice water. Repeat with the other half. Take out the peaches, shake off excess water and peel off the skins. Slice into bite sizes pieces and put into a large mixing bowl.
  19. Sprinkle the peach slices with sugars, tapioca powder, lemon juice and salt. Gently stir and let sit for 30 minutes while you prepare your pie shell.
  20. Spoon filling into the unbaked pie shell, top with lattice. Cut shapes out of the remaining pastry dough and lay, overlapping slightly, around the edge of the crust. I didn’t both to press them together or into the crust and they stayed in place for the most part.
  21. Lightly brush the lattice portion and pastry shapes of the crush and liberally sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake as written above.


And here is that Green Gazpacho Recipe with Stacked Crab..

 

Love, Smidge

 

Green Gazpacho with Stacked Crab
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped cucumbers
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped romaine lettuce (lus about ¾ cup thinly sliced for serving)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 tbsp sherry
  • 1 1/2tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed, crustless white bread
  • 1 cup water (or a bit less)
  • 1 cup dungeoness crab or lobster, cooked and chilled
  • 3 tbsp chives, minced
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, puree the cucumber, lettuce, bell pepper, onion, olive oil, sherry, lime juice, cilantro, garlic and salt.
  2. Add the bread and let stand until soaked for a few minutes. Puree again until smooth.
  3. Blend in water to achieve the desired consistency. Add any additional seasonings to taste. Pour into a large glass mixing bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  4. Pour gazpacho into four bowls. Place a small nest of lettuce in the center and pile the crab or lobster on top. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with chives.
  5. Serve immediately.
  6. Serves 4.
 

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