Recently, I touched on the idea of “slowing down.” I talked about Alice Waters, a few books I’ve read, and the Slow Food Movement. The response was overwhelming. When I hit publish, I really had no idea how it would go over. However, it was what I was feeling + thinking about at the time, so out it came.
There were a few commonalities between comments. Many of you said that your locally grown food choices are scarce. There were also comments about local food being more costly or hard to come by in seasons other than summer. While, local food is definitely part of the “slowing down” I am referring to, it doesn’t even come close to encompassing the whole idea.
While I could spill all of the points I want to make right here + right now, I’m going to draw it out nice and s.l.o.w. I couldn’t be more excited to discuss this topic because it is something that I am very passionate about. I’m hoping that talking about it on the blog, will actually help me incorporate these ideas into my life.
The first point in my “slowing down” experience, is going to be learning to cook/bake from scratch more often. I feel like I do a somewhat decent job at this already, but I want to go further. I want to learn different techniques, and I want to become comfortable + confident with them. What does this have to do with slowing down?
Well first I’ll tell you two things specifically, that I want to become more skilled at.
I feel like these are two staples, that we consume quite a lot of, but I rarely take the time to make either from scratch. I want to allow myself time in the kitchen for trial and error and I don’t want to rush through it. There will be flops + fails and that is just fine.
Not only should this start to save us money, but it will allow me to more closely watch exactly what + how much of each ingredient are going into the specific recipe. It’s hard passing the bread aisle and not throwing a loaf in the cart. It’s right there!! However, I feel like I take advantage of bread. I pick it up and consume it like it’s nothing. You know when you actually put your own time + labor into something it is 20x better. That is what I want.
Now this is neither bread nor soup. It’s pie. And it’s my first attempt at making a flaky, doughy homemade crust. I’ve made many pies before but usually go with a graham cracker crust. I typically don’t like these doughy crusts when bought at a bakery because they are just too rich.
When you make things at home, they are just better. Well, usually! I have been eyeing up Jenna’s Peach Pie since the day she posted it. Then, at the market on Saturday, I swooped up a large bag of slightly bruised organic peaches for $1/lb. I’ll take those bruises. Gimme gimme.
I swear…Colorado peaches give Georgia peaches a run for their money!!! The dough was definitely the trickiest part. I would say the hardest thing was rolling it out because it was cold from the freezer. I didn’t make any substitutions, except for using Spectrum brand shortening, instead of Crisco and sucanant, instead of plain sugar. It was all I had in the pantry! I also subbed arrowroot starch for cornstarch.
All measurements were kept the same. I wasn’t going to mess with this one!! Look at that basket weave. It was my first attempt!
I think Jenna must have used a shallower baking dish, because the amount of peaches called for did not fill up my pan. I used about 6 med/large peaches and could have used about 3 more. I may have eaten about 1 full peach though…a slice from each…you know, quality control.
I was feeling a bit discouraged because the pie pan looked pretty empty. However, I continued with the top crust and threw it in the oven with a little egg wash + sucanat on top. This pie is actually vegan, except for the egg wash. An easy sub for that is just brushing a little non-dairy milk on the top of the crust before baking. A sprinkle of sugar is also, always welcomed.
Oh my my. I haven’t been this proud of myself in quite some time. The crust was amazingly flaky and crisp. I loved that it wasn’t too rich and didn’t put me in a sugar coma. The peach mixture only uses 1/4c sugar and the crust only uses 2T. Also, you end up dumping about 1/3-1/2 of the dough by the time you trim it away. So, while the nutritional information for shortening is quite scary, a nice serving of this peach pie, really isn’t all that bad.
I’ve definitely gotten in the habit of “healthing up” recipes, which is great for everyday baking. However, sometimes, you gotta’ go for the real thing.
Love that basket weave!!
Ahhh, the time spent was SO worth it.
For dinner, there was another recipe I couldn’t stop thinking about. Mama Pea’s “Cheese” Stuffed Bean Burgers.
I followed her recipe almost exactly. We were out of quinoa [the horror!!] so I subbed millet and it worked perfectly. Everything else was 100% the same and this was 100% delicious. It’s a good “clean out the pantry” recipe too. I had everything on hand at home. Perrrrfect.
I had a good day, taking a break from packing and getting back into the kitchen. I’m excited + hopeful that I will be able to keep this process going. I hate rushing. I really do. It needs to eventually stop…or at least improve!
Slowing Down Ashley Rule #1
- Appreciate my time in the kitchen instead of rushing through it, while learning to make breads + soups this fall.
Hope you all have a great weekend. We have SO much going on! Friday night we’re going to see Yonder Mountain String Band at Red Rocks, with a slew of our friends. Saturday we’ll be packing all day and then heading out to dinner with friends for Chris’s birthday. Then, Sunday is Chris’s birthday. He finally caught up to my age, 27 ;)
The bed is calling.