Tag Archives: JoAnn

Day 323: The Ashland High School Nordic Team and a few surprises from my friends

23 Feb

Apple Pie

Yesterday I had a few pleasant surprises.  In the morning I received two phone calls from friends asking if I was going to be home.  They both said that they were just going to  “drop something off.”  Hmmm… I wondered, what could that mean?

A short time later the doorbell rang.  There at the door was my friend Donna.  She handed me a box and said “Happy Birthday!”  What?  “But Donna, today isn’t my birthday…”  She looked at me and smiled and said, “I know that… it’s my birthday.”  Donna reminded me that last year I had made her birthday cake… and this time she wanted to share a special treat with me.  She calls it “Lemon Posset” and it is absolutely delicious! It tastes like lemon curd mixed with whipped cream…  really incredible.  What a delightful way to celebrate her birthday!

A short while later, the doorbell rang again.  This time it was my friend JoAnn.  She had brought with her a brown paper bag which she then handed to me.  Inside were many of the ingredients for making one of my favorite treats, Pecan Pie.  JoAnn said that she wanted to do something to support my pie journey and sensed that I really liked making Pecan Pies…  which is true.  What a wonderful gift and how generous of her to go shopping for me!  I am very grateful for her thoughtfulness.

The last surprise of the day came in the afternoon when a friend called to offer us tickets to “The White Snake” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  It was a great show and a nice way to end a day of surprises.  And just when I thought I’d received more than my share of blessings, this morning the doorbell rang.  It was my neighbor Jae offering me tickets to another show at the festival!  How lucky can one person get?

With so much goodness going on, it just seemed right to share some of my good fortune… in the form of a pie of course… with the Ashland High School Nordic Team as they prepare to compete at the State Finals this weekend.  I send them all my very best wishes for realizing their personal bests and creating some very happy memories.

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. Charles Dickens

Day 283: A Chocolate Chess Pie for JoAnn

15 Jan

About a week ago I mentioned that I was looking for new pies to make and had found a recipe for Chess Pie.  It’s a custard-like pie that has one unusual ingredient: cornmeal.  There are many stories about where this name might have come from that you can read here.

When I mentioned Chess Pie on my blog, I asked if anyone could vouch for it.  A man named David Lowe wrote back and endorsed the idea and then sent me a recipe for a Chocolate Chess Pie.  Here is that recipe:

Fancy Chocolate Chess Pie (from Ken Hadrich’s book “Pie”)

9″ partially pre-baked crust
1/2 cup butter
4oz bittersweet chocolate
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp fine cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup half & half
1 tsp vanilla

Melt the butter & chocolate gently.
Combine dry ingredients. Whisk in eggs, egg yolk, cream & vanilla. Whisk in the chocolate mixture. Pour into cooled pie crust. Bake 55-65 minutes at 325F, turning in the middle to bake evenly. It’s done when it’s formed a thin, crisp top crust and barely jiggles when shaken. Cool at least 90 minutes.

Today I made this recipe and it is incredibly easy to make and this is what it looked like when it came from the oven.

It sort of looks like a Brownie Pie doesn’t it?  It has the same kind of texture on top – which sounds like a slight crunch when you touch it… and it smelled divine.  But I couldn’t leave it alone… I wanted to spruce it up a bit more.

So, I made whipped cream and piped it around the edge because I still wanted to show off the top of the pie.

Then I decided it needed one more touch…. shaved chocolate….

… there!  Now it was ready for delivery!

Yesterday afternoon my daughter Alexandra suggested a name for a pie. The lady that she suggested is the mother of one of my daughter’s best friends and her name is JoAnn.  We’ve known each other for about ten years and while I haven’t seen her in a while, I always think of her fondly.   Each time I see her I am impressed by her gracefulness and her sense of humor.

Tonight Alex and I called upon JoAnn and presented her with this Chocolate Chess Pie.  She thanked me for the pie and invited us in for a visit.  We spent an hour or two catching up and before we knew it, it was time to leave.  Then we gave hugs all around and we were on our way. And it occurs to me now that I did not share these thoughts with JoAnn – and I should do that now.

I want to recognize JoAnn for being a remarkable mother to two fine sons and for being a friend and confidante to Alexandra.  I would also like to thank JoAnn (and Facebook) for helping our kids stay connected, even though they live 3,000 miles apart.   Our lives our fuller (and funnier) because of their friendship.

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