Archive | February, 2013

Goodbye, Love, and Apple Pie

18 Feb

apple pie prep

Apple Pie beginnings

In my last post, I asked what was so  good about goodbye.  The story behind that post was that an old friend is moving away from the area to live closer to his children and how much our community will miss him.  I mentioned that I was lucky to have been given the chance to say goodbye, because sometimes that is not possible.

Shortly after that post was published, a dear friend wrote to say that she’d lost a relative quite suddenly.  Saying goodbye was not really an option given the circumstances and that made his passing even more difficult.

My friend shared that her son was going to visit the family of the man who’d passed and when I offered to make a pie for the family, she accepted graciously.   It was all I could do to help and I was grateful for the chance to assuage the pain that she is feeling.

apple pie prep2

Almost ready for the oven!

This is not to say that a pie will make much of a difference; but it is the love that was sent with the pie that might.   After all, it is the very best thing that we have to offer one another on this journey called life.  And it is the only thing that makes it worth living.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  I Corinthians 13

“Life is short and we do not have too much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us; so be swift to love and make haste to be kind.” Henri-Frédéric Amiel

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” 
Mother Teresa

Where is the “good” in Goodbye?

12 Feb


Quiche Lorraine

Recently I learned that an old friend will be moving away to live closer to family.   Of course I understand that this makes sense; this friend had lost his wife a few years back and has since been living alone.   His family loves him and wants to be there for him, if and when he needs assistance.  That said, it’s still hard to say goodbye.

Sometimes I wonder if learning to say goodbye is one of my life’s lessons and to be honest, I don’t think I have learned what I need to know yet.  Each time someone I care about departs, it feels as if my heart breaks a little.   With all the goodbyes I’ve said over my lifetime, you’d think that by now I’d have this figured out.   However, saying goodbye is still a struggle for me.

The good news in this situation is that I have been lucky to have been given a chance to say goodbye.  We are not always afforded this luxury in life and I am grateful for the opportunity to visit one last time.   It’s a chance to say thank you for being a part of my life, and in my case, it is a wonderful reason to bring a gift of food.

Today I made Quiche Lorraine for our friend Bob but this was not the first pie I’d made him.  During my year of pies, I surprised Bob one evening by knocking on his door and delivering an Apple Blackberry Pie (you can read that story on Day 184).  A week or so later I received a thank you note from Bob and I’d like to share a part of that with you here:

Dear Karen

Pie recipient 184 writes in a continuous state of disbelief to thank you for your thoughtfulness.  What a way to make a person feel on top of the world!  Karen, surely there is a place in heaven reserved for you.  I only hope Emile makes the cut.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


As I read that note, I was almost in tears until I read the part about my husband, Emile, not making it into heaven, and then I laughed out loud.  Bob had used his dry humor to lighten the tone of the letter while still conveying his sincere appreciation.  That note was such a treat to receive; I treasure it still.  Thank you, Bob, for sharing yourself with us.  We’ve been honored to know you and look forward to hearing of your adventures down south.

Don’t be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before we can meet again and meeting again, after moments or a lifetime, is certain for those who are friends.  Richard Bach

Here lies my past, Goodbye I have kissed it; Thank you kids, I wouldn’t have missed it.  Ogden Nash

My First Gluten-Free Apple Pie!

5 Feb


If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I’ve made gluten-free pies before.  To do so I have used a variety of things to form a crust.  At times I have used ground nuts for the crust; other times I have used crushed cookies.  What I hadn’t yet tried was making a gluten-free pastry crust.

At the gluten-free cooking class that I taught at the Ashland Food Coop one of the attendees indicated that making pie crust was something he was hoping to learn how to do.  Unfortunately I could not incorporate that lesson into my class, but I was inspired to learn how to do it so that I could demonstrate it at a later date.

Today when I began preparation for this pie I searched for a recipe for pastry in one of my gluten-free cookbooks.  Several of the recipes called for sorghum flour, but I didn’t have any of that at home so I turned to the internet.  In the past I’ve found some great recipes on Simply Gluten-Free  and that is where I began my search.  After quickly scanning the available recipes I found this heading: Perfect Gluten-Free Pie Crust and I knew I was on my way.

What is great about this recipe is that it is not much different from making an ordinary pie crust and the author includes a number of helpful tips.  My regular gluten-free flour blend* worked like a charm and I recommend following  the suggestion to roll out the crust between sheets of parchment paper.  My crust did not make it into the pie plate in one piece, but it was easy to press back together… and crimping the edge of the crust was almost a breeze!

For the filling I chose organic Granny Smith apples, brown sugar and cinnamon with about a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed in.  As for the topping, I took the remaining gluten-free flour and added a half cup of butter, a half cup of brown sugar, one half cup of gluten-free rolled oats, and a half teaspoon of salt and mixed it together until it was crumbly.   Then it was simply a matter of putting the apple filling in the crust and sprinkling the crumble over the top.


Then it was just a matter of waiting for it to bake!  One hour later, the finished pie was removed from t he oven!


Gluten-Free Apple Pie

After I allowed it to cool for a few minutes, I carried it over to Deb, my next-door neighbor.  Deb, as you may recall has been gluten-free for a while and she has been a wonderful source of inspiration for me on my gluten-free baking and cooking  journey.  Right now Deb’s sister Jane is visiting and I thought this pie would be a nice treat for them to celebrate their time together.

Deb broke a tiny piece of the crust off immediately and told me that it was good… and that was all I needed to hear.   This recipe is definitely a keeper!  Please give it a try… and if you do, let me know how it worked for you.

“You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  Wayne Gretzky

*To make gluten-free all purpose flour combine 2 cups of brown rice flour, 2/3 cup of potato starch, 1/3 cup of tapioca flour and 1.5 teaspoons of xanthan gum in a mixing bowl.  Whisk well so that all ingredients are evenly distributed.