Tag Archives: quiche

Autumn Arrives… and there are pies (and other treats) in the forecast!

23 Sep

Today in Ashland we awoke to gray skies and much cooler weather.  How did that happen?  Just a few days ago the temperature reached 95 and right now the thermometer is barely hitting 65!  Welcome to Fall everyone!

That last month of summer quickly slipped by me.  Perhaps I was busy but it went by so fast!  One minute we were camping and then it was back to school again (not for my kids but still) and the leaves are now changing.  Now before I get off on a rant (I know, you’re all thinking, “whew”) let me just share a few of the baked goodies that I managed to squeeze into the last few weeks.

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One day, Emile and I were on our morning walk when I saw my friend going to her car.  I called out “Hi… How are you?” She responded, “Not good.  My dog is hemorrhaging.  I need to bring him to the vet.”  I was stunned into silence and don’t even know if I managed to wave goodbye.  As we continued our walk, Emile turned to me and said, “There’s a pie in her future isn’t there?”  He knows me so well!  This gluten-free cheesecake/pear tart (which was later topped with toasted almonds – sorry, no photo of that) was brought to that woman to let her know that I understood the pain of losing a beloved pet.

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Then there were the quiches… with crimini mushrooms and peppers that I roasted (and what a wonderful scent they left in my kitchen!).  One of these was brought to a friend with an ailing partner.  My heart aches for them both.  The other quiche was for our new interim pastor (aka Mary Poppins) on the day that she arrived in the valley.  It was my hope that by bringing her something homemade she would feel welcomed into our community.

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These chocolate cupcakes were my contribution to my friend Marie’s birthday party.  We laughed trying to decide if they were my version of Ding Dong’s or Ho Ho’s.  All I know is that they are simply delicious and deliciously simple to make!  I make my favorite cupcakes, fill them with a squirt of whipped cream, and coat them in chocolate (melted with a bit of coconut oil) and then top with more whipped cream.  Yum!

Here is a photo of them midway through the process… I use a paring knife to cut a slit in the top of each cupcake and then a pastry bag to fill the centers with the whipped cream.  It’s really easy!  By the time you coat them with chocolate and top them with cream, the inside cream becomes a hidden delightful surprise!

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Last week I picked many bowls of delicious grapes at my friend Stella’s house and because I don’t own a food dryer, tried my hand at making raisins in my oven.  It took about a day at 175 degrees… and it worked!  They are the best raisins I’ve ever had (except maybe for the muscat raisins we used to get at the market in south San Francisco).  I probably picked 15 pounds of grapes… and they cooked down to about 3 pounds of raisins…. but they are soooooo good!

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Another treat that I made was for my neighbors, Ellen and Owen.  They came home after a very long “vacation” to visit their granddaughter (and her parents of course!)  As sweets are out of the question for Owen, I decided to make bagels to remind him of his time in New York.  I used this recipe by John D. Lee because it makes bagel making fast (just about 90 minutes) and very easy!  These bagels are incredibly tasty;  I know because I devoured one minutes after it came out of the oven.  Do try this recipe… you won’t be disappointed!

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Finally, last Saturday I created a platter of gluten-free sweets (coconut almond macaroons, raspberry-topped brownies, and peanut butter cookies) for supporters of the Ashland Schools Foundation.  They were treated to a beautiful event at Bel Fiore Winery and though I am sorry I couldn not attend, I was very happy to contribute.

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That’s about all I have to share right now.  Next time I write I hope to share tales of my visit to see my daughter, Alexandra, for her birthday.  She’s been working at Warby Parker since the spring and I am anxious to see New York through her eyes.  Til then, I wish you all sweet dreams!

Mother’s Day… and a few pies

12 May

The last few weeks have been a bit crazy.  My Dad was sent to the hospital once again because he had an infection… and I had a few events to cater.  At times it felt like I was barely keeping my head above water, but somehow everything worked out.  Dad is home and doing better… and all of my events went well.

wedding photoThe Wedding Table

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I woke up feeling a little blue.  I know that I was lucky to have a mother that loved me… but I still mourn her passing all these years later.  I know that I am not alone in sadness.  I am very aware that this day is hard for many.  There are grieving mothers mourning the loss of a child… and many children mourning the loss of their mother.  And so while my husband slept I got up and started making pies…  it’s something that helps me feel better. Each of us has our own way of coping…  baking just happens to be my way.

The first pie that I made was a quiche for a friend of mine who lives nearby.  She is not only a mother, but also a grandmother, and she and her husband are raising their special-needs grandson.  I admire them both so much for what they are doing… and when I see them with their grandchild, I am humbled by their love and dedication.  If more people could be like them, this world would be a much better place.

quiche for ellie

Mushroom and Pepper Quiche

Next I began prepping a Strawberry Rhubarb pie for a man at church who recently celebrated his 97th birthday!  Two years ago I baked a cake for him on his 95th birthday, and amazingly he is still going strong.  Last week he wasn’t at church because he was attending the 75th reunion of his college class… not surprisingly only one other student made it to that celebration!  I am so inspired by this man’s love of life! I just hope that I can live out my years as joyfully.

dan's pieStrawberry Rhubarb Pie prep

And now I would like to end this post on a very happy note: I want to mention that this week my husband and I are preparing to leave for a long-awaited vacation in Italy.  We both have been to Italy before, he when he was just 7 years old, and me when I was 18. Clearly, it has been a very long time… but we are both looking forward to this exciting adventure.  And just so you know, I will be packing a few pie tins in my bag… just in case I get the chance to gift a pie! Wouldn’t that be fun?

Caio for now!

 

“All that I am, or all that I hope to be,  I owe to my angel Mother.”  Abraham Lincoln

 

 

Friends, Pies, and Pepper

28 Apr

Lilacs in our yard

Though I haven’t written in a while, I want you to know that I’m still here and in the last few weeks I’ve made a few pies.  One, a Triple Berry Pie was delivered to a nurse named Nancy at Ashland Hospital.  She was very kind to my Dad and I wanted to thank her for all the care that she showed him.

pie for nurse nancy

Another, a Mushroom and Pepper Quiche, was delivered to a friend shortly after she returned home from the hospital.  It was much appreciated by my friend and it felt good to know that I could help her on her way to recovery.

quiche prep for DeeDee

Another pie, my go-to Apple Crumb Crust, was delivered to a woman I met when she was having a yard sale.  Her name is Josie and I overheard her saying that she is moving to Guanajuato, Mexico – one of my favorite cities!  I was amazed at the idea of her packing up a home that she’s lived in for years and moving to another country.  That kind of adventurous spirit certainly needed to be rewarded… and what else would I bring but a pie?

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And one day last week I made these delicious Gluten Free Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies to thank my friend Don for coming to my aid when my car battery died at the worst possible time.   I made one phone call to his workplace and in just a few minutes he showed up and got my car started.  I didn’t have time to bake him a pie (so much going on!) and I hope that these brownies gave him some indication of how grateful I was for his help.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

This last week was especially challenging as my dear kitty of 18 years, Pepper, was preparing to leave this world.  She was the epitome of grace as she ate less and less, and then not at all.  The last few days she sipped only water until that too was unnecessary.  In the end, she left peacefully with a final “meow” as I held her close.  I feel that we were lucky that she chose our home to come to live in all those years ago… and am grateful for all the time that we had her… but I’m still very sad to see her go.

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“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”  Anatole France

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.”  Will Rogers

 

 

 

 

Pi Day… and more pies!

15 Mar

P1000610This past week has been filled with a variety of pies!  The week began on Sunday when I donated this Apple Crumb Pie to the Schneider Museum of Art  as one of the raffle prizes for their annual Bridge and Brunch fundraiser. It’s been my honor to cater this fundraiser for the last few years and I am delighted to serve this great organization.

Then on Wednesday I attended my last Italian class for this term.  A few classmates offered to bring something to celebrate our “success” thus far with this romance language.  One friend made a delicious Tiramisu (which translates to “pick me up)”, while another friend brought along a sparkling beverage to toast our health. Our lovely teacher brought grilled vegetables (verdure grigliate) and I crafted this vegetarian pizza “pie.”  Che divertimento!

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Before I went to class on Wednesday, I dropped off another Apple Crumb Pie (do you get the feeling that I like making this pie?) to our friend, Noah, who was hosting two Japanese students at his home.  The Japanese boys had been hosts to Noah (he went to Japan with the Ashland High School football team last summer) and they’ve kept in touch since then. Noah had extended an open invitation to his hosts to come and visit Ashland and stay at his home and they finally took him up on it!  I think it’s really wonderful that these young men are creating a lasting bond.  It gives me hope for the future!

P1000611And then yesterday was Pi Day… you know, 3.14, or March 14.  Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.  I wish my math teacher in high school had brought in some real “pies” when she was teaching us this stuff.  I am sure that I would have paid MUCH more attention (and maybe even become a different kind of pi lady altogether!)

In honor of Pi Day, I brought a quiche to the medical staff who are tending to my Dad.  He’s facing some health challenges right now and I wanted to show my gratitude to them for their care and concern.  It is most appreciated.

quiche for pi day

“Cooking is like love – it should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.”  Harriet Van Horne

Wishing you all the Happiest of New Years!

2 Jan

desiderata

With the new year beginning, a number of thoughts have been spinning around in my head.

Several were sparked by a Christmas greeting from my friend Tim.  In his card Tim included a copy of the poem, Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann.  This poem was written in 1927 but did not become popular until the mid-1960’s.  It’s a beautiful poem that many have chosen to use as a guide to living a good life.   While the entire poem is indeed wonderful, following are a few lines of that poem that I especially like .

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

And from the last paragraph, these words:

Be at peace with God…. keep peace with your soul… strive to be happy.

Simple words but packed with intelligence and gentle encouragement!

Another stream of thought was inspired by a song that I recently heard and loved when I was a teenager.  It is by the duo Seals and Crofts, from their album, Diamond Girl, and is titled, “We May Never Pass This Way Again.”   The song has special meaning for me for I knew at a young age how fleeting life could be.  One of my favorite phrases is this one:

I wanna laugh while the laughin’ is easy. I wanna cry if it makes it worthwhile. We may never pass this way again, that’s why I want it with you. ‘Cause, you make me feel like I’m more than a friend. Like I’m the journey and you’re the journey’s end. We may never pass this way again, that’s why I want it with you.

Then there were Woody Guthrie’s “New Years Rulin’s” that I saw posted offering delightful suggestions/resolutions for the New Year.  Among my favorites, #5 Take Bath, #15 Learn People Better, #19 Keep Hoping Machine Running, and #31 Love Everybody. These works seem to offer sage advice for the new year and anytime for that matter.  Something along the lines of this:  Be a good person.  Try to be happy.  Spend time with people you love… and let them know that you love them.

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On New Year’s Eve morning I called a friend who’d I had heard was sick and learned that she is getting better…. but still is facing challenges.  And while we did not have time for a real visit, I was able to bring her a quiche… filled with love and good wishes for the year to come.  And I extend those same wishes to you all.  Happy 2014!

QUICHE FOR CAROLINE

“May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.”
― D. Simone

Sharing Life’s Journey

20 Sep

It’s funny that sometimes I can get so caught up in my own “stuff” that I sometimes don’t notice that there are folks around me experiencing troubles that are much more challenging than mine.    Even though I’ve been overwhelmed at times with my Dad’s health care concerns, I know that I am not the only one struggling.  In just the last few weeks several friends have shared their circumstances with me.  One friend told me that her house had flooded, another spoke of a family member who has been suffering from depression, still others are grappling with their finances,  and sadly several friends have lost loved ones.

We are all travelers on this journey called life, and while we cannot walk someone else’s path,  we can help our fellow voyagers get back on their feet when they stumble or offer them respite when they are weary.   Often the things we can do for one another will not change the circumstances of the situation.   When someone dies, we are helpless to bring that person back to life.   But that does not mean that we are powerless to help.  We can offer to cook a meal, or help with some chores, or we can just sit and cry with them.   Being willing to share another’s (sometimes painful) experience helps to make their journey a bit more bearable,  a little less lonely.

These past few weeks I have greatly appreciated the friends who called to ask how I was and to say that they’d been thinking of me.  That simple gesture was like a life line tossed out into a stormy sea.   These friends were recognizing my struggle and offering assistance if needed and I am most grateful for their concern.

quiche for beth

In that same spirit of helping one another, a few days ago, I brought a quiche to a family mourning the loss of a loved one.   A simple offering to let them know that my heart aches too – and that they are not alone in their grief.

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”  ~Edmund Burke

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”   Maya Angelou

 

Mother’s Day and a few Quiches

27 May

asparagus quiche

It seems like it has been YEARS since I have made a pie… but that is not true!  In fact, on Mother’s Day I baked a quiche and brought it to church for a friend – who did not show up that day.  That’s when I started thinking about Plan B.  After church I was talking with a few friends and mentioned that during the prayer time I had wanted us to think about “mothers without children and children without mothers” but had felt too emotional to do so.  Then one of those friends, Dr. Bill Sager, told me that forty-one years ago he was a missionary in Pakistan and received a call from his brother-in-law saying that Bill’s mother had died.  I watched as Bill’s eyes filled with tears remembering the loss of his mother and was amazed that so many years later this memory was still so vivid.   I offered Bill a hug and then thought of the quiche.  I explained that it had been meant for another, but that I hoped he would accept it instead.  Immediately Bill offered to take it to the person I had made it for (Bill is ALWAYS thinking of others) … but I told him that I think the quiche was really meant for him…. but I hadn’t known it until just then.

After Mother’s Day, I was busy with work and then last week I flew to Florida to see my Dad again.  He has been improving since he had surgery to clear his carotid artery.  He is looking better but is still living in a rehabilitation facility because he has to regain his strength and mobility.  I know that it’s been hard for him to go through this episode and at this time we are looking into “next steps” for him as he won’t be able to go home alone for a while, if ever.

On the bright side, over the last few days I have seen him show more interest in the world outside the facility.  For the first time in months I helped him to check his email and scan the world news.  Then yesterday, he wanted to watch the Indianapolis 500, and so we did (Congratulations Tony Kanaan!)  Later in the afternoon, Dad played a game of Scrabble with me, which shows incredible patience and concentration on his part.

As I was leaving last night, Dad, never one to gush, brusquely said goodbye.  I drove back to his place feeling sad and that maybe my efforts were in vain.  As I pulled into his parking place I noticed a flowering bush in front of his apartment that I had never noticed before (to be fair, most days I get back in the dark).  It was really beautiful and it stopped me in my tracks.   I realized that I had forgotten to find the beauty in each moment… and to remember that I am not alone going through this.

flowering bush

This morning  I woke up and baked an Asparagus and Cheddar Quiche to bring to my Dad.  I know that he will want to share it with some of his fellow residents and I think that that will be a perfect way to spend this Memorial Day.

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