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Brown Sugar Peach Pie

Remember that time, last week, when I was all excited about my birthday?  How we were going to go eat pie! and see magic! and bask in the glow of my 24th year of life? Remember that? Me too.  That was the day before my birthday.  Let me tell you about my actual birthday.  For starters, it was the hottest day in Baltimore for 27 years.  Only TWO DEGREES away from the hottest temperature ever!  Actually, that is the starter, the middle, and the ender.  It was so hot that eating dinner in a restaurant that had it’s ovens on (and questionable ac) was painful.  And the bar? The magic bar where they do MAGIC?  Closed.  Because it was so hot that the city was losing power.  The end result was us showering and laying very still next to our ac window unit.  And Dan feeling awful that his (amazing) plans got blown by an insane heat wave (one that, if put into the context of Baltimore’s record snow storm, makes the global climate crisis seem a little more real. AM I RIGHT DAD?).

In the context of last week’s extreme heat it seems a little silly (in retrospect) that I turned my oven on.  In my tiny, unairconditioned apartment.  With a kitchen that vents very poorly.  And is as far away from the window unit as physically possible.  Okay, so it was crazy to turn on my oven.  But, BUT, it was so worth it.  Because the end result was pie.  Delicious, peachy, flaky crusted peach pie that made up for the heat, made up for my sweaty birthday, made up for the whole sticky mess.  Behold, the power of pie.

I’m going to assume a few things when I tell you to go forth and bake this pie.  First, I’m going to assume that you have air conditioning, or at least live somewhere where turning on your oven is a possibility.  If you don’t (but you’re dedicated to the idea of pie) make this at night right before taking a shower and going to bed.  Cool, dark bed.  I’m also going to assume that you love peaches as much as I do, and that the idea of peach pie makes your mouth water.  Finally, I’m going to assume that you’re just like me and that making (and eating) pie provides you with enough joy that it outweighs all the other crap.  So eat pie!  Look on the bright side of life!

Brown Sugar Peach Pie

6-8 peaches, a mixture of ripe and unripe

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tbsp corn starch

Pie dough (recipe here)

1 egg

1 tbsp sugar

Peel and slice your peaches.  The peaches should be sliced thinly.  Combine in a bowl with brown sugar, lemon juice, flour, and corn starch.  Mix thoroughly.

Heat oven to 375. Roll out your bottom pie dough and place in pan.  Scoop in filling.  Roll your top pie dough out and, using a knife or a pastry knife, cut into strips.  Overlap the strips in a lattice pattern.  Whisk egg, and brush egg over the top of the pie.  Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown.

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Blueberry Fig Ice Cream

I make no secret about the fact that my birthday is very important.  As the eldest child, the eldest grandchild on both sides, and a completely spoiled brat, I’ve gotten used to celebrating in style.  And by “in style” I mean “pool party and pie.”  Because I’m classy.  And because I love pie.  This year, my 24th year on this beautiful planet, is no exception.  And while there probably won’t be a pool party (unless you count rehearsals for the water ballet I’m in), there will be pie.  Loads of it.

Tomorrow, July 7, is my actual birthday (though I’ve been celebrating for a while).  Dan, the best husband in the world, has an elaborate plan involving savory pies followed by sweet pies followed by MAGIC!  Because he’s amazing.  And because he knows I love magic almost as much as I love pie.  But frankly Internet, I feel like I’m cheating.  Due to the nature of being born 3 day’s after America celebrates its big day, I’ve been indulging in delicious food for almost a week.  There was pie and then mountain pie and then grilled pizza and fig ice cream followed by more pie and because I have oldest child syndrome I’ve been pretending it’s all for me.  BACON BLUE CHEESE BURGERS WITH PICKLED ONIONS? YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE!

And I have to say that of all of the foods that were made (and ate) in celebration of America (cough, Elena, cough), this fig ice cream was up there.  It was sweet but also tart, creamy but refreshing.  The perfect accompaniment to the rooftop 4th of July party we attended wherein there was a 360 degree panoramic view of every fireworks show in Baltimore County.  All for me!  Just kidding.  Kind of.  Happy Birthday, America!

Blueberry Fig Ice Cream

6-10 black mission figs

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 orange

1 pint blueberries

1 cup heavy cream

Cut your figs into eighths.  In a nonreactive saucepan, heat figs, water, and sugar over low heat.  Grate in the zest from one orange.  Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has the consistency of jam.

While your figs are cooking down, cut your berries into quarters.  When your figs are done, toss half the berries into the pan.  Stir, cooking only long enough to heat the berries.  Pour the whole mixture over the remaining cut berries.  Add the juice from your orange and the cream.  Stir everything together and chill.

Follow the directions on your ice cream maker.

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Pork, Fig, & Rosemary Browned Butter

To frame this post, I’d like to tell you Dan’s recommended names.  First was “Pork Fig Fat.”  Secondly, he went with PORK FIG AWESOME.  I was partial to both, but thought I’d give a more descriptive title.  No matter what you call it though, this dish was exactly what I needed.  You see, tonight was the first night that we have been home to cook dinner since last week, something that has left me feeling off center and a bit cranky.  Also, I ate some old marshmallows so that could be a contributing factor.

I started dreaming about figs mid last week, but beyond stuffing them with goat cheese and wrapping them in proscuitto (done) and fig ice cream (coming soon), I couldn’t think of anything interesting.  I wanted something sweet yet salty, juicy yet firm.  Figs are such a strange texture and flavor, I knew I needed to pair them with something that wouldn’t overwhelm them.  Something that would act as the facade broach to your neck scarf.

Incidentally, this dish was over 50% accident.  On Sunday night I was drinking a beer, but then I got too tired to finish it.  I didn’t want to waste half of a very nice beer, so I thought beer brine!  And that is what I did.  I was going to cook this Monday night.  But then we had to go to Pennsylvania to sort out some issues transferring the title of our car, so instead of marinating 24 hours, the pork marinated 48.  I was also going to put goat cheese on top of the pork, but I forgot that one.

I am glad to say that, with the exception of forgetting the cheese, this dish was a combination of happy accidents.  Like making a mixed tape of a handful of artists that don’t seem to go together but completely work (so much so that you start writing letters to them encouraging a tour).  I want to write letters to the pork and fig boards.  I want to let the browned butter association know about this.  I’ll probably just settle for letting you know.  It’s good.  Damn good.  As Dan described, the fig almost tastes like it’s the pork fat, but sweeter and more succulent than expected.  Which explains his first title suggestion.  Also, it explains his face whilst waiting for me to finish taking pictures.

Pork, Fig, & Rosemary Browned Butter

2 boneless pork chops

6 black mission figs

1 cup beer

2 tbsp honey

1 stick of butter

1 sprig of fresh rosemary

2 garlic cloves

4 slices goat cheese

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

Place pork in a bowl and pour honey and beer over, completely submerging.  Stick in the fridge and marinate at least 4 hours, or up to 48.

To Grill This Dish:

Remove the pork from the marinade.  Pat dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.  Fire up the grill.

Cut figs in half.  Brush both sides with olive oil.  Set aside.

In a medium skillet over low heat, melt butter with rosemary and sliced garlic.  Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until it is dark brown.

Grill pork for 5-7 minutes.  Flip.  When you’ve flipped the pork, put the figs on the grill open face down.  Place cheese on top of the pork, allowing it to melt slightly.  Cook 5 minutes and remove everything.  Let meat rest at least 5 minutes.

Combine figs and pork on a plate.  Top with browned butter sauce and serve.

To Roast This Dish:

Remove the pork from the marinade.  Pat dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oven to 350.

Slice figs in half.  In a roasting pan combine pork and figs.  Slice the butter and place the pats around the dish.  Slice the garlic thinly and sprinkle over everything.  Add rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Cover.  Let cook about 30 minutes.  Top with cheese and serve.

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