Pies Part Two

This week I finally made pie #2: peach-blueberry pie with homemade vegetable oil crust. Since Justin doesn't like butter and I rely on him to eat a large percentage of any pie I make, I decided to try making a crust without butter. I also don't have the necessary equipment for cutting in the butter (ie a food processor) so an oil-based crust seemed simpler. Unfortunately, the crust didn't hold together well, and although it tastes fine with the pie, it's a bit tough. I think I'll go back to store-bought crusts for now! The filling was good, even though I used store-bought frozen blueberries; the peaches were ones I got fresh, then cut up and froze. They tasted much better in the pie than they did on their own!

This week I also got a CSA (community-supported agriculture) box, and here's what was inside:

I got two types of squash that I thought were zucchini, but one actually turned out to be round cucumbers! Even more surprisingly, they were tasty! I don't usually like regular English cucumbers, of the long dark green variety, but these cucumbers were milder and much tastier. The plums were also very good.

I forgot to post a photo of the previous box I got:

CSA boxes are fun because you never know exactly what you'll get inside. I signed up for a service where I can decide each week whether or not I want the box, based on how much food I already have and what's supposed to be in the box for that week. So far I've only gotten two boxes, but they're certainly fun, and it makes you be more flexible with what you're cooking.

Stone fruit is in season here in California - so my next pie will have to incorporate that. Not sure yet what I'll make, though!


California Bakin'

So though I promised to try to post more often this summer than I usually do, I haven't had the time! What have I been doing? Well, aside from working and cleaning (note to self: must get a dishwasher for my next apartment), I've been baking. So far I've made banana bread, zucchini bread, and an apple pie.

The zucchini bread came out a little drier than I expected, and with pretty obvious pieces of zucchini in it, but it was still tasty. I didn't have a grater so I just chopped the pieces - maybe next time I'll cut them up a little finer! But for a bread using only oil, no butter, it came out well.

The apple pie was great! I used a store-bought crust and cobbled together a recipe based on several in my new "Killer Pies" cookbook. The only thing I didn't like was how much the apples cooked down, leaving a crust "dome" over the pie filled with nothing but air. But it was tasty. For my next attempt I think I'll try making my own oil-based crust, probably a peach and blueberry pie.

This isn't a baked good but still interesting - Justin & I made paneer, Indian farmer cheese. It wasn't even very difficult, and turned out well. We used the paneer in matar paneer, which was delicious. We had more difficulty with the masala dal (yellow split peas) we tried to make, and will have to try them again. But overall, much success in the kitchen so far this summer!