Saturday, May 19, 2007

Cooking Is An Art, But You Eat It Too!

"I can't cook. I use a smoke alarm as a timer." ~ Carol Siskind
Did I ever post about the day I burned three batches of macaroni and cheese in the span of two hours? No?! Well! It isn't going to be today either! My mother is the cook in our family and she passed this fascination with cookbooks and gourmet presentations down to my brother, completely bypassing me. Even my dad makes a great homemade broccoli and cheese soup! Me, I am the every day common, but boring cook; the one who manages to cook just enough to get food into a child so that she doesn't starve to death. Through the years I have mastered the microwave and take pride in the fact that I can put dinner on the plates and have any leftovers put away and all the pots washed.... before we sit down to eat. Nyssa, on the other hand, is beginning to embrace cooking, but what she learns has to come from friends or her grandma... I am hopeless.

This past Christmas she decided to make a pie, a cherry pie... not canned filling, but fresh.

"If life is a bowl of cherries, then what am I doing in the pits?" ~ Erma Bombeck
Nyssa found the recipe on the internet and set about cooking. She used Bing cherries and admittedly they are not the recommended type for pies, but this was all we had available at the market. The first step, of course was to pit the cherries.

Did you know they have a special little gizmo to pit cherries with? It is pretty handy although you have to be just a little careful or pits will fly across the room! I wondered if she knew her own strength with that thing sometimes.

Pitting the cherries is definitely the hardest part... look what happens to your fingers.... red cherry stains and guess what girls... it doesn't wash off easily. Much scrubbing was needed to get the stain out.

Some people say that homemade crust is the best but I think the ready made, rolled up crusts are just as good. It certainly makes it easier to put together. So here is the recipe...
6 cups fresh cherries, pitted
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into bottom pie shell. Dot with 2 tablespoons of butter across the top of the mixture. Cover top with second crust. Brush with 1 egg white whipped with a bit of water for shiny crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook another 35-40 minutes. Let cool before cutting.

"Cooking is a form of flattery....a mischievous, deceitful, mean and ignoble activity, which cheats us by shapes and colors, by smoothing and draping...." ~ Plato (427-347 B.C.) Greek philosopher
And here is the end result.... Nyssa's homemade bing cherry pie! Doesn't it look delicious? Believe me it was and didn't last long, barely long enough to take these pictures.

Of course now she is thinking..."Hmm, this might work with peaches or apples or even blueberries!" The blueberries don't come in until July around these parts and the peaches about the same time. Maybe we could try it with the more tangy sour cherries... but that might require more sugar... we do have home grown pumpkin available for pie... but she will have to get her grandma to help her with that one.

Luscious cherry pie.... savory sweetness. Posted by Picasa
What Nyssa will someday say about me.....
"My mother was a good recreational cook, but what she basically believed about cooking was that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you." ~ Nora Ephron
Now my brother is more of the gourmet cook. He took one of the pumpkins I grew and made pumpkin bisque. Recipes for Mom's new no-fail pound cake and the only thing that I make which is really exceptional, Potica bread are linked as well.

The theme for Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt this week is "Cooked/Cooking". You can go here to "Grab the Scavenger Hunt code" and here to join the blogroll. This really cute logo is available there as well. The link to other participants is in my blogroll on the sidebar.

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