Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tart Cherry Pie for Our Vegan Thanksgiving (Retail Confidential And Why I'm Thankful)

Our Thanksgiving is a quiet one. We like it that way. We've both suffered through enough horrors of "Thanking with Others" to last us a lifetime. I grew up with quiet holidays. Dr. Thyme grew up with chaotic holidays. When we first met and I had the pleasure of being introduced to his clan, I was mostly in shock and as a result, it induced a case of agoraphobia that has lingered with me to this day. I don't totally blame his family for this, I could just as easily lay blame with the many years I'd spent in retail.

Yesterday I baked all day. I made two pies: a pumpkin (for Dr. Thyme) and a tart cherry (for me).
 I plan to eat every last morsel of the tart cherry pie and maybe have a nibble of his pumpkin pie. I hate to admit it, but I'm not a fan of the pumpkin pie. I can take it or leave it. But I had some baby pumpkins left over from my lame attempt at table decorations. I used fresh-roasted pumpkin for the pie. 

My tart cherry pie turned out superb! I was thrilled. As is usual, I baked it in my all-time favorite pie crust from Baking with Julia's cookbook, the Leslie Mackie pie crust. Do yourself a favor and just make this pie crust. You will never need another pie crust recipe again for as long as you live. It's my go-to-never-fails-me flakiest pie crust ever! For the filling, I used two and a half cans of  Oregon brand tart cherries. The recipe for making a tart cherry pie is so simple, it's ridiculous! I consulted Rose Levy Beranbaum's Pie And Pastry Bible for a bit of guidance and extra inspiration. While I didn't use her pie crust recipe, I still stand by her as the Pastry Queen. She is my baking idol and she rocks the pie. Here's the recipe for the cherry pie filling:

1. Get your 9" pie pan out.
2. Preheat oven to 425.
3. Make sure the pie dough is cold, cold, cold. Roll it out to fit the bottom of the pie pan. Trim the edges. Place pie pan with pie dough in it back into the fridge.
4. Drain the cherries (reserving the juice)--measure out 3 1/2 cups of cherries.
5. Toss with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 3 tablespoons of corn starch, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and 3/4 cup of sugar. Add about 1 cup of the reserved cherry juice. Toss well and allow to marinate together for about 20 minutes.
6. Pour the cherry mixture into the pie shell.
7. Roll out the remainder of the pie crust with a ravioli cutter into strips about 1" wide. Lay across the pie as if you were making a basket. Easy. Just look online for tutorials on basketweaving if you need "help" in that area.
8. Bake pie for 45 minutes on the lowest level in your oven. 
9. Remove pie and allow to cool completely before serving. Store in the fridge and enjoy for the next few days! It's even better-er the next day and makes for a perfect breakfast!
This fevered pitch surrounding Black Friday this year is, well . . . it's just ridiculous.  
I worked retail for fifteen years. Fifteen. Christmas. Seasons. I remember back in the day when opening the store at eight in the morning was sacrilege! I've seen first hand what crazy looks like on Black Friday. There are those in the "biz" who will scoff and say: But people NEED to shop. . .it helps the economy. My question is: Whose economy?

 There are greater worries in this world than in what order you'll be "in line" for the midnight opening of Target. Seriously. If you think for one minute the ivory tower retail "executives" will have to arrive at work at eleven thirty this evening to work a ten hour day beginning at midnight--you'd be dead wrong. If you lament "But the prices are sooo good, how can I NOT shop now?" Well that is entirely up to you to make that decision. What I'd ask you to consider is this: If the retailers felt so unabashedly generous and grateful for YOUR hard-earned cash, why are they not making offers too-good-to-be-true during regular business hours? That's all I'm asking. Stop the insanity. 

Well. I suppose I can hop off my horse now and get to the heart of what today is all about. My thankful list. It's a short one, but quite powerful in its design. I am most grateful for: a loving husband, my sister, our canines (the three we have left. . . god love every single last one of them) our home and. . . my health.

I am fast approaching the half century mark. Dr. Thyme and I have been vegan now for four years. It's changed us both for the better. It's changed me in more ways than I can count. My health-o-meter is five stars. I can still run a 5k in under 30 minutes. I can walk five miles. I can hike 3 miles of heavy hills. . . with a backpack. I can bike twenty miles--maybe more, but I haven't tested this. I can garden an entire day (I've tested this!). I can run--not three errands, but five or six in one day and not feel like I've just finished a marathon. *Because running errands to me really does feel like an Olympic feat sometimes. My blood pressure is perfect. My physical being overall is--to the best of my knowledge. . . well, it's darn near perfect.

My vegan life has helped make all this possible. People constantly ask, What do you do on Thanksgiving!? Really? . . .  

It's ONE day out of possibly the next twenty Thanksgiving one-day moments I have left. What do you mean, What do I do about Thanksgiving?

We cook! We give thanks.
Happy Thanksgiving! 












6 comments:

  1. Happy Thanksgiving, Kelly! As a fellow retail work alum, I avoid Black Friday at all costs and celebrate Buy Nothing Day instead. Thanks for reminding me that we have so much to be thankful for!

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  2. That pie looks delicious..mmmmmm
    Black friday sounds crazy, I wouldn't go anywhere near the shops!
    Happy thanksgiving :)

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  3. Hi Jeanne! Girlfriend, I had no idea you had retail in your blood! We are a kindred spirit, those of us who've "lived to tell" and live to stay away as much as possible! I hope you had a great day!

    Hi Claire! Thanks so much!

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  4. I avoid all shopping on Black Friday...no way, jose! This pie looks delicious, as always, and your words make me smile, yet again. I hope you have a blessed week and a wonderful season of joy and food and fun.

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  5. I don't miss turkey at all. I'm vegetarian, and while I wish my cousin would make noodles without chicken broth, it doesn't ruin my day that I skip the noodles. For me, Thanksgiving is just as special as a vegetarian as it was when I ate meat--and I don't have to pretend that dry turkey tastes good. I'm glad you and Dr. Thyme have gone vegan (sounds really hard to me!) and are doing so well. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  6. Hi Monet! Your notes always make me smile! Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you have a lovely week my friend!

    Hi Bonnie! Oh boy do I remember those crazy dry turkey moments. Everyone surely has had one of those (or two or three!). I am so happy about the vegan changes we've made, too. As an aside--I loved your post about the knitted hats you are gifting and the "fiddling" with those metal needles--I have the same problem when I knit with those darn things! Yet I have over a dozen of them in my collection. Why?

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