Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Pie Diaries: Month 3

October: The Rinehart Family's World Famous Kahlua Pumpkin Pie

Counter-intuitive to the nature of Kahlua pumpkin pie, believe me when I tell you that the members of my family are not big drinkers. Which is why we were all the more confused when, one year, my mother expressed such delight at a Thanksgiving Kahlua recipe book that fell out of the Sunday paper. "Look!" she said, "Kahlua Glazed Turkey! Kahlua Glazed Winter Squash! We could have an entire Kahlua-themed Thanksgiving!" Crickets chirped. The family blinked at her in confusion. Although we managed to talk her down from converting the entire meal, we were adventurous enough to try the Kahlua Pumpkin Pie. (Probably because I was in high school and the allure of alcoholic beverages was still so tantalizing.) The pie a was complete success and has since been an integral part of our Thanksgiving holiday experience! Thus, it seemed an obvious choice for the third installment of The Pie Diaries.

Kahlua Pumpkin Pie

Makes 1 (9") pie
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 40 min

1 (9") pre-baked pie shell
1 cup undiluted evaporated milk
1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed, lump free)
1/4 cup Kahlua
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups canned pumpkin
Kahlua cream topping (recipe follows)

Beat milk, sugar, Kahlua, corn syrup, spice and salt together until blended. Stir in eggs and pumpkin until mixture is smooth. Bake pastry shell in hot oven, 450*F, 7 or 8 min, until it begins to brown lightly. Stir filling. Pull the oven rack part way out and slowly pour pumpkin mixture into prepared pie shell. Reduce heat to 325*F, and continue baking until filling is barely set in center, about 40min. Cool pie on wire rack fro 20 min. Serve with kahlua cream topping.

Kahlua cream topping: Beat 1 cup whipping cream with 1 tablespoon each powdered sugar and Kahlua, just until stiff. Turn into serving bowl and drizzle. 1 table Kahlua on top.

Full disclosure: this pie is in no way vegan or gluten free. Had I a little more energy, I would go the extra mile and make a crust but, what with it being vacation and all... I let my mother buy a frozen crust. (*Gasp! I know, I know... but I'm tired!) I have, however, made it vegan in the past. There's a pretty easy evaporated milk conversion using powdered soy milk, and the egg-replacer works fine. The biggest loss when going vegan in the whipped topping- but if you spend the extra $$ to get soy wipped cream you can still drizzle the Kahlua over the top for much the same effect. Also, (*Gasp again!) I'm totally using canned pumpkin. (OH, the shame!!) Apparently my mother didn't bake enough pumpkin to last until Thanksgiving. But seriously! What is a good American Thanksgiving without store-bought crusts, pumpkin from a can and alcohol!? Sounds like a Patriotic Pie to me!

(Plaid on plaid apron experience... A must for the holidays.)

(Pie noir?)

The Kahlua taste in the pie is super super subtle- it's just a little extra sweet- so my favorite part is the whipped cream.... I mean, how can real whipped cream get even better?? By adding alcohol. Clearly.

(My mom and dad- in the foreground- with members of the Wick-Sailor Clan.)

My parents live in a co-housing community in Florence, Mass; right outside of Northhampton. Thanksgivings here can get huge; especially when all 33 families join together. (Sooo much foooood.) This year is a little quieter with only 2 families in attendance. The pie will be my contribution to the feast.

(Feast of pies! Pumpkin, pan-apple, and blueberry!)

Mmmmmm... soo worth all the gluteny goodness! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Deep and Undying Affection for Postcards...

I. Love. Postcards.

I love them. I love sending them, I love receiving them... and there are many, many reasons for my deep affection.

I started sending postcards regularly the first winter I lived in Philadelphia. It started, jokingly, as a way to keep from sending drunk text messages. Instead of getting an incoherent text in the middle of the night, wouldn't a totally illegible postcard be better?! The diagrams alone made them worthwhile... Slowly, I established a pretty good group of postcard pen pals. My summer travels afford me the opportunity to grow those ranks and to start a solid collection of my own...

(One card away from 50! Thanks to everyone who sent me cards!)

So amazing! And all the while, being the good little artist that I am, I was thinking about why I was so enamored with postcards... what about them was so enchanting? I think there's something so... lovingly ambiguous about them. They exist in this hilarious space between public and private- written for one person but open to the world. (Especially postal workers. I keep meaning to ask a postal worker if they read people's postcards...) They are also sort of outdated. We live in a technological era; one of email and text messages and facebook comments.

I was at Haystack when I knit my first postcard. And then I became obsessed.

(Artist Statement:) "The era of love letters has passed. We used to deliberate over affectionate and expressive letters, page after page filled with handwritten expressions of our emotion. But the days of receiving an actual letter, carried to our homes in the hands of a local postal worker are almost completely gone. Today we send text messages- embarrassingly misspelled words in abbreviated sentences- and we think they can successfully communicate complicated emotions.

This series of hand-knit postcards explores the nostalgic nature of mail and the contradiction of the material object with the ambiguous texts they display. The phrases, although easily recognizable as something you might see on a postcard, indicate a slight longing or desperation in a writer who might be veiling their feelings through pithy rhetoric. In the same way that post cards and letters are something of the past, hand knit objects imply a similar sense of tactile nostalgia and emotional devotion. The fact that the post cards were each knit by hand, laboriously stitched to read these words, exposes the writer’s/knitter’s intensity all the while being contradicted by the brevity of the words and the truncated sentiments. "

The objects are hilariously fun.. but, although I haven't tested one out, I have my doubts that the USPS would deliver them... But to deny them the chance to be sent through the mail would be terrible, right? And so...

I had them made into paper postcards.

(oooh, sexy rounded corners!)

Sets of all 6 postcards will for sale at the rapidly upcoming Renegade Craft Show in Chicago! (And then on my etsy account.) Very Exciting.

I'm making more and more stuff for the fair everyday, so all of y'all who live in Chicago, you best be putting that date on your calendars so you can stop by and give me your moneys. I'll trade you amazing things like recycled canvas dropcloth grocery bags and other stuff! And I'm sharing a table with two astounding artists: Lucy Knisley and Nelly Kurz! Come by and say hi!

(I totally stole this AMAZING comic from Lucy's livejournal, so now you all have to go read her super awesome comics! Also, you have no idea how excited I was to be cartoon-ized!!)