Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Libby's Pumpkin Pie in NZ terms

Pumpkin Pie, in NZ Terms
Enzedican, at your service.  I love pumpkin pie.  I have made four pumpkin pies just this month.  And tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  It's high time I posted a recipe so peop's feeling nostalgia, craving pangs or curiosity* for this blessed dessert can work to a recipe that requires 100% less conversions than recipes you'll find on .com sites.
*Not convinced pumpkin and pie a happy marriage make?  Think Carrot Cake.  That is a a dessert, people.    Haki says to think of it as something cheesecake-like in texture with a comforting, spicy flavour.  Good husband. 

If you've recently immigrated from the U.S., you'll notice we don't stock pumpkin purée in cans as a standard item here.  At some places you'll find it in the special international section at crazy import prices.  I elect to make my own pumpkin purée.  I also make my shell "from scratch" (this expression still amuses me), with butter.  You can of course choose to buy the canned purée, a pie crust, or packet pastry to roll out and substitute parts of this recipe.  Now, let us begin...

Part 1:  Make Pumpkin Purée
Part 2:  Make the Pie Shell.
Part 3:  Make the Pie Filling.

Make Pumpkin Purée (what I do)
  1. I drop a whole pumpkin on the concrete outside to split it.
  2. Scoop out the seeds.
  3. Roast the two halves in a moderate oven until soft.  
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. Cut it up. I greatly prefer chopping soft, cooked pumpkin to cutting it into pieces uncooked.  GREATLY.
  6. Dump the pumpkin flesh pieces into a food processor and process until very smooth (you could reserve half for dinner, of course).    
  7. I then empty all of the purée into an icecream container and fill the empty processor with everything for the pumpkin pie filling:

Make the Pie Shell / Crust / Pastry

  • 90 grams cold butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water*
  1. Cut butter into small cubes.
  2. Measure dry ingredients into processor.
  3. Add the butter and pulse into little balls like crumbs form.
  4. Very slowly drizzle cold water down the chute until a large ball of dough begins to form and loudly tumble around inside.  
  5. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about a third of a centimetre in thickness.  Line a 9" (around 23cm) pie dish with the pastry, turning the edge under and crimping as you please.  
  6. Don't spend too long wondering why most kiwi things are metric, except pie dishes, adult heights, and baby weights.
  7. Cover and place in the fridge, while you...
Make the Pie Filling: Libby's Recipe, in NZ Terms
Wash the food processor real quick...

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 can (370/375ml) evaporated milk (370 = Pam's, 375 = Carnation; "lite" variety also works fine) 
  • "1 can" pumpkin purée (see above)
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell (recipe below)
  •  Whipped cream (I sweeten slightly)
  1. Begin heating your oven to 250°C.
  2. Quickly blend eggs in the food processor (a quick pulse or two).
  3. Mix the spices and sugar in a small bowl, then add to the processor.
  4. Pour the evaporated milk into the small bowl you just emptied.
  5. Use the empty evaporated milk can to measure out one can-full of pumpkin purée from your icecream container-full.  Add to the processor.  (I then freeze the pumpkin remnants in the icecream container for another day.  Less Dishes Method, my friends.)
  6. Mix contents of processor while drizzling evaporated milk from the small bowl down the processor chute.  Process until smooth.
  7. Pour into the unbaked pie shell and bake in the preheated, 250°C oven for 15 minutes.  This mixture is very runny -- move your unbaked pie into the oven when you are alone in the kitchen or all kids are still and accounted for!
  8. Reduce temperature to 180°C; bake for 55 minutes.
  9. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered in Gladwrap
  10. Top with whipped cream before serving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New Release Book: A Concise and Cheeky Lesson in Manners
Please Mr Panda, Steve Antony
My girls leaped towards this book, on sight, so I can attest to the cover's visual appeal.  Now, to its innarrrrrds;
  • I really really like that the title is a double entendre.  So much. 
  • This book reminds me of Mo Willems and Jon Klassen.  My girls laughed on each page.  But like Willems and Klassen, the price of this laughter is characters behaving badly.  I think Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is super-funny.  But I also think a child is more inclined to quote the shouted (rude, often demanding) lines in these types of books than they are to remember any moral...unless we really hammer it in.  And then still, they're going to laugh at the bad behaviour.  (We could debate the moral versus entertainment here).
  • It is very short.
  • It's a great opportunity for those who like doing voices.
  • I think it is neat-o that all of the characters are black and white and the doughnuts are the colourful.
  • I also think it is a nice touch that each animal's answer is different (and only one renders results).
Sound like you?  You can pick up a copy in bookstores now!

Review copy received  from Hachette.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Grisham's Latest
Gray Mountain, John Grisham
I've read a fair amount of Grisham.
I own a fair amount.
I get Grisham moods.

Sadly, I wouldn't number his latest offering among my favourites.

Gray Mountain sees a long-deferred return to a female protagonist! (The only other he's had, I'm aware of, was back in The Pelican Brief!  ...some people are saying this is his first, but I'm pretty sure those people are wrong).  Anyway, a female heroine!  A clever lure, old friend.  Sadly, the epicentre of the novel's weakness;
  • I didn't relate to Samantha.  I wasn't convinced I was reading a female voice.  I was told Samantha was brilliant.  I did not detect her brilliance in the narrative.  Quite the opposite.  She seemed a little stup'.
  • I'm told Samantha has chemistry with multiple other characters.  I had felt none by any other device.  (Related note: There is a small amount of sex.  It is pretty "meh.")
  • These things aside -- you know, ignoring the Main Character Blow-out -- I still wanted to read.  It felt like Erin Brokovich meets The Pelican Brief.  The best content, is all the research and supporting examples for his anti-strip-mining propaganda...
  • ...But because it is an Issue Novel, it isn't so thrilling.  Although there are a few moments that I went, "Nicely done, John.  Nicely done," it lacked suspense.
  • But I like some of the moral points.  But there's a fair amount of repetition and shouting of messages here.
  • There was a shortage of courtroom speeches.  I like a drummed up, emotional courtroom speech.  It's craving those that brings on the mood!  But I respect that this was a different aspect of the ol' lawyering.
  • Overall?  It was okay.  If you too, are taken by Grisham moods, now and then, you'll find a good legal tale here.  You will not find a ripping thriller, so much.  Or a love story to talk about.  But it's Grisham.  ...?    /feeble-thumbs up
Review copy supplied by Hachette.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Visit to the Central Fire Station

We joined a gaggle of other home school families for a visit to the city's central, historic (and active) fire station, yesterday.  A round of "I-Spy SK Humes," anyone?  There's at least one of my kin in every shot...
  • Yes, I was chosen to don the uniform. 
  • Bombing my moment was apparently exhausting for a certain mini me.  I hadn't even turned the key before she struck the final pose in this series.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Sex Book

And They Were Not Ashamed, Laura M Brotherson
Yup, I read this.  And I'm sayin' so.
I don't think talking about sex just anywhere and in any way is prudent. But I think talking about sex is important, and it doesn't happen enough -- not in the way I wish it would.
Written from the perspective of a female member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I found this book offered depth without the cringe-content, and I've considered so much while reading it and since that I'd never considered before.
I think it's a valuable book for a woman like me.  Or a woman like a younger version of me.  Or the husbands of those ladies.

I will be referring to it for reminders as I raise our girls of how I would like to talk about sex in our family.

Highly recommended to others for whom this angle appeals and who feel like they are always willing to gain insight that may assist in (continually) improving their marriage.
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