Which is how we come to wine and pie. And yes, there's a recipe in here ... two actually. Keep reading. We'll get to them. ("What?" you gasp. "She's talking about food? I totally forgot she did that.")
I am fortunate enough to have a large number of friends who love me to pieces and have been looking for an excuse to show it. One of these friends, when he saw me heading off into Limbo Land, realized he had two other friends who were living there too. He introduced us to each other. And now the three of us are also friends, tied together by the strangeness of our circumstances and by the fact that we happen to like each other. Our kids like each other, too. Coolness all around.
Last weekend, we got together with two other Limbo Land residents for an evening of wine, pie, and catharsis.
It was not all about the dessert. We kicked off the evening with a MiddleSouthEasternAsian smorgasbord that included homemade tahini hummus, spicy chick pea masala, green salad with feta, and a fragrant cinnamon beef and chicken and rice dish. There was also a big mess of tabouleh made with such dedication and commitment that every single leaf of parsley and mint was chopped by hand. I know this because I did all that chopping myself and my forearms still ache ... yes I own a food processor ... clearly I was not in my right mind. The tabouleh could have used a good bit more lemon. But it wasn't bad, considering I was winging the recipe from memory because the dog ate my recipe cards. That, however, is a story for another day. Tabouleh recipe is below (and if you can figure out what it was missing - I suspect it was more than just the lemon - please share).
All that food? It was just the appetizer. The whole point of the evening was wine and pie. You put those two things together and you have something magical. Hence the catharsis. Give anyone enough sugar and alcohol and they'll have epiphanies they didn't even know they needed.
For me, pie comes once a year at Thanksgiving. I make an apple crunch pie that I found in an issue of Family Circle waaaaay back in the mid-1990s and have made every year since. It's the only pie I make.
In honor of wine and pie night, though, I ventured outside of my apple-y comfort zone and made a strawberry-rhubarb pie. With fresh rhubarb. I've eyed it at the grocery store countless times and never done a damn thing with it. But it's good stuff, that rhubarb. Pretty and pink and tart. Recipe is below.
My pie was served side-by-side with our hostess's Hershey Bar pie, a decadent mash-up of almond Hershey bars, marshmallows (I think?), Cool Whip and two other ingredients that I really wish I could remember right now. Even my kids liked that one. And they think pie is for sissies.
Gotta tell you - it's worth living in Limbo Land just for the food.
The Dog Ate My Tabouleh
- 1 cup bulgur
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1 bunch of scallions, green parts and all, thinly sliced
- 2 bunches of parsley, chopped fine (take my advice and use the food processor)
- 2 packs of mint (about 1/2 c when chopped - hey, if you drop it in the food processor with the parsley, you'll really be cooking!)
- 1 seedless English cucumber, peeled (mostly) and diced
- 4-6 tomatoes with actual flavor, seeded and diced
- The juice of 4 lemons. I only had 2. Use 4. Or more. Lemon is good.
- Salt & pepper to taste
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (The Cheater's Version)
- 4 c trimmed rhubarb, sliced about 1/2 inch thick (about 1 1/2 lbs if you're buying it fresh - though frozen will do)
- 1 lb (16 oz) strawberries, hulled and cut in half (my diva cut the strawberries - girl's got mad skills with a paring knife)
- 1/2 c packed brown sugar
- 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 1/4 c cornstarch (though I'm thinking tapioca might work better)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- One refrigerated Pillsbury pie crust (that's the cheating part - if you want to go whole hog, find a good two-crust recipe and make it instead)
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp water