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Cherry Mountain Pie

This time of year, late June and early July, has always been punctuated by the smell of a mountain pie baking in the oven. Growing up my grandmother always made one for my birthday, and I’ve continued the tradition. Served hot with ice cream, this dessert and its sweet fruit has long been a summer favorite.

Last weekend a friend of ours, another North Carolinian living in Baltimore, invited us over for a full on pig roast. I couldn’t have been more excited, I haven’t been to a good pig pickin’ since a Rosemond family reunion a few years ago. I thought long and hard about what to bring (cooking for an unknown audience makes me nervous) before settling on my favorite summer dessert paired with my favorite fruit of the moment. Saturday afternoon I sat down with a bowl of cherries and before I knew it I was pulling this beautiful pie* out of the oven.

I used the rest of the honeysuckle butter we made a few weeks ago, which was the perfect addition to the sweetness of the cherries. I also used greek yogurt and a little water instead of milk, which added a tartness to the crust. The whole thing was delicious, a tasty compliment to a hell of a smoked pig.

*I recognize that this is much closer to a cake or a cobbler than a traditional pie, but Mountain Pie it has always been called and therefore pie it shall always be.

Cherry Mountain Pie

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar*

1/2 cup greek yogurt

1/2 cup water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 stick butter

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 cups pitted cherries

Heat oven to 350.

In your dish, melt the butter.

While the butter is melting, mix together to flour, sugar, yogurt, water, vanilla extract, baking powder, and salt.

When the butter is melted, pour the flour mixture into it.  DO NOT MIX.  Add the fruit on top.  DO NOT MIX.

Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown.  Serve with ice cream.

Serves 6

 

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Barbequed Eggplant Pizza

I’ve long since given up on the idea of controlling how dinner parties progress. Usually something I make bombs terribly, or guests arrive late, or it rains on our cook out, or someone puts a cooler of beer on my landlord’s plants and they die. At the very least the smoke detector goes off. It’s all mostly outside of my control, so it’s best if I just let it go and let it happen.

Where this food blog is considered, dinner parties are both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, they’re the perfect opportunity to make and photograph a month’s worth of recipes without actually having to eat all the food myself (I get asked all the time why Dan and I aren’t morbidly obese. Or even if we are actually morbidly obese. We’re not. We don’t eat all the food by ourselves. Also, I’ve recently been told that I’m taller than I look online. I am tall. Dan is taller). The problem is, unless you cook all the food you want to showcase before the guests arrive, you’re at their mercy. If they’re later than expected, or distract you from taking all the photos you want, or eat the food before you get a good shot, you have to be creative.

All unpredictability considered, however, this blog would be completely different without our friends. They’re our recipe testers, the people we invite over for fake Thanksgiving and parties big and small. They’re the ones who tell me when a dish needs more of this or less of that. They’re the complete loves who gush over recipes and make me feel like this is a good way to spend my free time. I hope they never stop coming over.

Grilled Pizza

dough:

1 tbsp dry active yeast
2 ½ cups bread flour
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
¾ cup warm water
1 tbsp kosher salt

toppings:

3 chicken breasts
1 eggplant
goats cheese
green onions
barbeque sauce

Olive oil & salt to finish

Whisk together olive oil, yeast, salt, basil, and water. Whisk until fully incorporated, at least 2 minutes. Add half of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Add remaining flour and knead for ten minutes, until the dough feels like a stress ball.

Coat a glass bowl with olive oil. Place the dough ball in the bowl, turn once, and cover with a damp towel. Let rise for at least an hour. Punch down and let rise another 15 minutes.

Coat your chicken with sauce and grill until cooked. Slice your eggplants, cover in sauce, and grill. Chop into chunks.

Heat your grill to high. Roll your dough out into small rounds (these are personal sized pizzas) and coat one side with olive oil and salt. Grill, oil side down, for 3-5 minutes. Remove from grill and coat the uncooked side. Flip it over and spread your cheese over the cooked side. Top with chicken and eggplant. Place back on grill and let cook for another 2-4 minutes.

Finish with onions and sauce. Repeat until each guest has a pizza. This recipe makes 6.

 

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Strawberry & Fresh Cheese Tart

I find that it is often easier to live in the future than in the moment. I’m embarrassed by how many of my conversations with Dan begin with “when we have a…” Be it a house, a better yard, a dog, kids, chickens, a goat, a boat, a unicorn, I often focus on that next step. It’s natural, we all do it. If it weren’t for planning and hoping and wishing and thinking ahead we’d become stagnant. The downside, of course, is that it’s easy to forget today, the now.

In just a few weeks, I’ll turn 26. Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about how very old I feel. I’ve just spent a lot of time reflecting on all the things I’ve put off into the future, and challenging why so many of them can’t be brought into the here and now. Last week we made cheese, which had long been on our list of when-we-have-a-big-kitchen-and-a-goat list, in our tiny, messy, crowded kitchen. And it was hot, and I got a bit grumpy, but in the end we had cheese. And it was delicious.

There are some things that belong on the future list. We can’t have a boat until we live near the ocean, can afford a boat, and have a place to put a boat. But making cheese? We can do that in our apartment. Which is why today I ordered the supplies I need to make creamy goat cheese. Because… what’s stopping me?

Strawberry & Fresh Cheese Tart

1 pint strawberries

1/2 cup creamy goats cheese

3 tbsps honey

Fresh lavender

Pie crust (half of this recipe here)

Roll out your pie dough and press it into a tart pan. Line with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the bottom is cooked through. Remove from the oven, remove the beans. Lay a rack on top of the pie and flip, so the crust comes out of the tart. Then place a plate on the bottom of the crust and flip back over so the tart is sitting on its own. As you can see in the pictures, I sucked at this step.

Spread your cheese along the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle with lavender. Slice strawberries and fill. Drizzle with honey and serve.

 

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