cranberry sage pie

cranberry sage pieI’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. Probably because I can never manage to keep a resolution that I make in January, despite my good intentions. Resolutions made throughout the rest of the year seem to fare better. But the closer I get to the 1st of the year, the more doomed my resolve seems to be. In 2012 I declared on this very blog that I would publish a post a week throughout the year. I did pretty well the first half, then I decided to move to Kenya and there went that. If I made any resolutions last year, they are long forgotten by now. So I think this year my resolution — declared on this, the 31st of January — is to make resolutions whenever I darn well please, break them whenever I feel so inclined, and forget about this silly fascination with setting them each January 1st. So I suppose it’s fitting for the recipe that accompanies my rebellious resolution to be for a cranberry pie baked in a rectangular dish. Who says it has to be Thanksgiving to eat cranberries? And who says that pies always have to be round? If it’s got a double crust and something tasty and gooey in the middle, it’s a pie as far as I’m concerned. Continue reading

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chocolate chip pumpkin loaf

chocolate chip pumpkin loafTwo weeks ago I was a very unsuspecting Californian caught up in a Polar Vortex in Ohio. This week I am a very concerned Californian caught up in the effects of the driest year on record since records first became a thing in San Francisco during the Gold Rush. These are confusing, alarming times. And during confusing, alarming times I find baking to be more necessary than ever. It can serve as a reminder that whether we like it or not, and whether we feel human beings are responsible for the damage or not (and I think we are), we need our environment. We need it to be healthy and thriving because when it is not, we are not. The more we can remind ourselves of this simple truth, then the sooner, I hope, we can get our act together and start protecting and conserving and respecting that environment in a way that will actually make our children and all of the children to come proud. Continue reading

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persimmon walnut bread

vegan persimmon bread

A few years ago I found out the hard way that certain varieties of persimmon can leave your mouth temporarily numb if eaten before they’re completely ripe. These are the hachiya and gyombo varieties and I will never make the same mistake again. Although, it might not be a bad idea to eat one before a trip to the dentist. Continue reading

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silky pumpkin pie from scratch

Silky pumpkin pie from scratch

This pie may not be quite as rare a treat as Thanksgiving coinciding with the first day of Hanukkah, but that’s probably a good thing since it means you won’t have to wait till the year 79811 to enjoy it. You can bake it as often as you like this holiday season, what with all the gourds and tubers that abound during these chilly fall and winter climes. And though it may sound like a lot of work, I can assure you that there is nothing so satisfying as roasting a pumpkin and then smashing it into a pie – as if to prove to the world that, hark, pumpkin pie does not in fact come from a can! Triple bonus points if you serve it up between today and Thursday on some dreidel plates. Continue reading

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oatmeal cherry chocolate chip cookies

oatmeal cherry chocolate chip cookiesBaking, I have thankfully discovered, is like riding a bicycle. Even after a too-long hiatus it is possible, and actually quite easy, to slip right back into the old momentum. And just like any reunion, it is oh so sweet. Especially when that reunion involves a KitchenAid mixer that has been waiting patiently – totally unused – in its box for nearly a year, eagerly awaiting that magical moment when it would be brought into the light and put to good baking use. Continue reading

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mulberry apple mint pie

mulberry apple mint pie

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting and falling in love with a new continent. Granted, I only saw a very tiny fraction of a very tiny fraction of it, but Australia had me at hello (and efficient public transportation). It only took a small suggestion from my generous hosts that they’d heard I occasionally bake pies and the mention of a bounty of frozen mulberries left over from the previous season’s pickings to prompt me to whip up this pie. Continue reading

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plum, pluot & strawberry pie w/coconut whole wheat crust

vegan plum pluot and strawberry pie

It’s been a long time since I produced a pie. This one felt good, even though I improvised and didn’t have much of a plan. I decided to cut a lot of the sugar and all of the butter, so I used the handy coconut spread I found in the fridge, and sweetened the filling with just a bit of honey. Because the three fruits I chose are naturally so sweet, it worked out really well. As I mention in the recipe below, if I make this pie crust again I will do a crumble top rather than a full crust, since the combination of whole wheat flour and coconut make for a stubborn dough that doesn’t easily roll. The pie, though simple, did not disappoint, and can be easily replicated with any combination of sweet, in-season fruits for a last-minute delicious dessert. Continue reading

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orange zucchini bread

orange zucchini bread

So much can change in a year. So much inevitably does. We grow, we learn, we try new things, we shed old skin and step into new. Sometimes a year makes us stronger, sometimes it feels like it has blindsided us a bit and we’re still struggling to regain our footing. Without regard or even respect for how we’re feeling, time barrels on. The years fly by. The best we can do in order not to get overwhelmed by the pace and impermanence of life is to experience each day, live it, breathe it, see it. Even if the day holds pain or anxiety or fear, if we get inside that feeling and let it become part of who we are rather than an outside force dominating us, then at least we are living rather than letting life pass us by. Continue reading

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vegan nectarine lavender pie

What a lovely lavender-filled pie this is. The lavender is only a hint, but it’s just enough to give this pie a unique and sophisticated character. Using as many nectarine varieties as I could get my hands on also contributed to the flavor fiesta. Not only is this pie flavorful, it is delightfully colorful as well. And so photogenic! I love when that happens. Some desserts were born to shine, and this is one of them. To be eaten quickly and with a smile on your face! Continue reading

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blueberry nectarine crumb bars

With a two-month trip to Kenya fast approaching, I’m finding myself struggling to stay on top of everything while manically frying, baking, blending, and cooking my way through the copious fresh fruits and vegetables I’ve purchased in the past couple weeks. Baking is always a sure bet when there are mounds of dangerously ripe fruits piling up on counter tops and refrigerator shelves. This recipe gobbled up five nectarines and two cups of blueberries like it was no big thing and spit them out in the most delightfully juicy and flavor-filled way. Continue reading

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