Sunday, March 22, 2009

One piece of the pie

I’ve been feeling kinda blah lately. But yesterday I decided to cook myself out of the blues.

I recently picked up a copy of Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry (love him and his philosophy on food), so I made his Maple Yam-Ginger Pie.


Soul food, bless it, can come with a measure of guilt. But Bryant’s vegan versions make it better without losing the heart. It makes sense for a pie with African and Caribbean influence to have a crust made from coconut oil. I didn’t miss the butter in the pastry, and the filling is creamy-sweet with a touch of heat, too, from fresh ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

This pie wasn’t easy though…for me anyway. I couldn’t get the consistency of the coconut oil right in the flour, so I ended up ditching my first attempt and starting over. Then it took like 15 blue moons for the agar flakes -- a plant-based thickener that I had never worked with – to dissolve in the coconut milk. But what the process taught me (and the lesson I kept hearing on my farm trip) was to just slow down.

I think maybe I’ve been in a hurry for nearly 35 years…to finish school and start the next one, to finish jobs, to get in or out of relationships. But life doesn’t start when the pie is finished. It happens while making the crust. Twice.

Speaking of sweet things and pies, I also loved this line I read over the weekend about restaurateur Julie Daniels Janklow of Sweetiepie in NYC.

“…her long limbs seem to furl in and out from a tiny core of sadness. She embodies an ineffable quality of a Robert Altman-at-his-‘70s-peak heroine, or a tragic film noir character. If you were a perfumer, you’d want to bottle it. Instead, you can go to Sweetiepie.”
– Miranda Purves for Elle magazine

Pie-making playlist:
Sugar in My Bowl -- Nina Simone
Making Pies -- Patty Griffin
Do You Feel Me -- Anthony Hamilton
What a Difference a Day Makes -- Dinah Washington
Truth -- Amos Lee
Cold Turkey -- Anthony David (Bryant’s choice with the pie recipe from his book)

1 comment:

aldyn1 said...

I love that playlist! Good songs to cook by...