Farmer’s Market Cherry Pie

The first Friday of the month is reserved for recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food posts here.

The Reason:

We were just strolling through the farmer’s market, and this just kind of happened. We got almost all of the ingredients at the market; obviously the sweet cherries, but also the ice cream, and even the flour! It’s hard to beat pie, but it’s nearly impossible to beat homemade farmer’s market pie.

The Journey:

You know who makes a good cherry pitter? A 4 year old.

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Cherry pie used to be my all time favorite pie. Now I’d probably say apple, but cherry pie still ranks up there. And you don’t get it nearly as often as apple.

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I love our little farmer’s market. It’s not the biggest market, but it has everything you need (and it’s certainly the closest market). A couple of fruit and vegetable stands, chef demos, cheese, meat, eggs, bread, (flour!), crepes, and flowers. What more could you ask for? It’s so nice to see all the familiar faces, both the vendors who have been coming every week for years, and the neighbors you run into when you’re there.

We go every possible weekend that we can, and regret every weekend we can’t make.

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The Verdict:

I know it’s almost a cliched debate at this point, but for my money you CAN NOT BEAT warm pie with vanilla ice cream. Don’t give me any of that cake nonsense. I mean, sure, cake is delicious. But moist, delicious, fruity, warm pie, with ice cream melting in your mouth?

Heaven.

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The Recipe:

Whole Wheat Crust recipe from Whole Foods. I did get both a full bottom and top out of this recipe.

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons very cold butter
  1. Mix flour with salt in food processor.
  2. Add cold butter and pulse in food processor.
  3. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until dough forms into a ball. (It actually took me 3 1/2 tablespoons)
  4. Gather up and pat into a disc. Cover and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes before rolling out.
  5. When ready to use, roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 10-inch circle. (It was very crumbly at first; I had to work it with my hands for a bit until I could roll it.)
  6. Gently fold into quarters using a little flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place dough in pie plate and carefully unfold, fitting loosely and then pressing into place. Trim the edges and crimp for a decorative crust.

Pie filling recipe sort of derived from Food in Jars, but using directions from the Food Network.

  • 4 cups (1 quart) pitted sour cherries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place cherries in medium saucepan and place over heat. Cover. After the cherries lose considerable juice, which may take a few minutes, remove from heat.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Pour this mixture into the hot cherries and mix well.
  4. Add the almond extract, if desired, and mix.
  5. Return the mixture to the stove and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently. (~10 minutes maybe?)
  6. Remove from the heat and let cool. If the filling is too thick, add a little water, too thin, add a little more cornstarch.
  7. Prepare your crust. Divide in half. Roll out each piece large enough to fit into an 8 to 9-inch pan. Pour cooled cherry mixture into the crust. Place top crust on and crimp edges with a fork. Make a slit in the middle of the crust for steam to escape.
  8. Sprinkle with sugar.
  9. Bake for about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.

Sara shares a moment with a fugative

Sara heard some yelling from outside, but didn’t think too much of it. Still, she was mildly curious, so as she was going downstairs she peered out one of the windows to see what was going on. Our basement has those little half windows up at head level, so when Sara looked out she was eye level with a man on the ground with a police officer on top of him. For several long moments they made direct eye contact, not more than ten feet apart.

“Shane,” she said, “uh…you might want to come here and see this.”

I wonder what he was thinking as he stared into Sara’s eyes? Was he silently pleading for help? Was he feeling remorse from some crime? Was he ashamed to be seen in such an awkward position? Did he feel contempt to see someone who hadn’t had to deal with the kinds of things he’s had to deal with in his life peeking out from behind the curtains?

After he was handcuffed and taken away, scores of plain clothes police officers in bullet proof vests loitered about in front of our condo, more arriving every minute. I wasn’t sure why they were all still there until a canine unit arrived. When the dog came out of the car, it went nuts. Quickly the officers retrieved something from the alley (Drugs? A gun?), after which all of the officers packed up and left.

A little exciting, no doubt, but it turns out this was just the beginning.

As we were driving to the store later, we saw this:

(Picture courtesy the excellent Eric Allix Rogers)

“Do you think this has anything to do with our fugitive?” I asked. It’s not every day that you see a car up over the sidewalk and crashed into an elementary school. What are the odds that it was unrelated to our earlier close encounter?

Well, when you have questions like these, there is only one place to turn: the Internet. Unfortunately, I didn’t turn up much. However, I did stumble upon something I hadn’t even considered: all of this happened while the Farmers’ Market was going on! The car crash pictured above is mere feet from the market, and the street is as crowded during the market as it ever is. It is extremely lucky that nobody was standing there at the time of the crash (I myself spend some time standing on that spot on the way to and from the market).

So what happened? I had to resort to witness interrogation to get what little information I could.

This silver car tried to evade the police. It sped east on 61st Street, leaving a trail of smoke behind – and a large number of police in hot pursuit. It attempted to turn right on Dorchester at speed, narrowly missing plowing into the 61st Street Farmer’s Market and crumpling into the fence by Carnegie School. The driver fled on foot while police apprehended an injured passenger. No other cars or people were injured, amazingly.

That’s right, an honest to goodness high speed police chase which almost ended in extreme disaster for the farmers’ market!

(Picture courtesy farmers’ market shopper Eric Allix Rogers)

At least two people told me that they were forced to drive for cover from the out of control vehicle, so some of the details are a little scarce. Did the fugitive try to run down the alley or down the street? We’re not sure:

I was busy running in the opposite direction in case the car plowed straight into the market.

I was also told that the chase started west of Washington park, closer to 55th and King, which means that there must be a lot more people who saw this (and that makes sense anyway, since you don’t pick up a police escort as depicted above without a little running room).

I pride myself on my Internet detective skills, so it is absolutely killing me that I can’t find any more information about who the guy was or what prompted the chase. Why isn’t this all over the news? A high speed police chase, followed by a crash into an elementary school of all things, a foot race, a flying tackle and arrest, and a canine unit finding evidence hastily discarded into an alley, with dozens of shaken up farmers’ market witnesses to boot! Surely that has to be a bigger story than, “A milestone for Maggie the orangutan at Brookfield Zoo” or “Police see lit cigarette as loaded weapon in statewide drought“, right?

Nobody knows nothin’?

Our Little Old Farmer’s Market, on T.V.!

According to an email I just received by way of the garden list serve, the farmer’s market a few blocks from our house that we go to every week (and buy something whenever possible) is going to be featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams tonight, during the ‘Making a Difference’ segment.

NBC filmed at the Market on July 3rd, wanting to get the story about how our Market makes healthy foods accessible and affordable for all.

Looks like the Nightly News airs at 5:30 p.m., (central time). I guess I’ll have to tivo it. No spoilers!  😉

Edit: In case you missed it, you can watch it here, with a little bit more of an interview with the guy here.

Weekend in Review

This weekend we had an unusual calm in the storm that is our summer weekend schedule. This means we had plenty of time on our hands, which we used to do basically nothing. Especially this weekend because it was super hot and humid, so I didn’t go outside unless I had a good reason. So I will give you the quick run down of the few events of the weekend:

We went to the Farmers’ Market and bought some of the best brats I have ever tasted. They were a tad pricey (okay, maybe more than a tad), but they were soooo delicious. They even came in old school butcher paper and they were all connected like a string of sausages. We bought a couple of ears of corn which we grilled with the brats and had a fantastic meal. I’m just saying.

While we were grilling outside, Evie made a “beauty salon”. I’m not sure where she got the idea from exactly, probably from one of her books. The beauty salon worked like this: she dragged a chair over to the porch stairs, and that was part of it, but we didn’t use the chair at all. Then she would have you sit on the stairs and she would sit on the stair above you, so she was level with your head. Then she would give you a back rub. Sometimes she would pretend to get something to put in your hair, sometimes she wouldn’t. Then she would tell you that you looked pretty and then call for someone else to come to her beauty salon. It was quite amusing!

Evie and I were practicing riding the tricycle over the weekend. She’s getting there. I was trying to teach her how to steer and I kept saying, “Point the tricycle where you want it to go!” and she would take her hand off the handle bars and point furiously, even as the handle bars pointed away from it, as if to say, “Over there tricycle! Why aren’t you going that way, can’t you see I’m pointing?”

Evie was my little helper over the weekend. We were fixing squeaky doors with WD-40 and she was my official  squeak tester. She was so excited to open and shut the door really fast and then declare, “No squeaks!” One good thing about kids is that, sometimes it is really easy to make them happy. 🙂

Saturday

It’s Saturday and that means farmers’ market.  There is a nice pictorial over on I Hate My Developer.  It is accurate for us as well since she apparently walks the same route we do.  Today’s bounty included some peaches and some hot peppers for some homemade salsa we are going to make.  They let us try several peppers and find the ones that were the perfect heat.  Unfortunately, many of the booths seem to be missing this time.  I’m not sure what the deal with the inconsistency is, but I guess it is the first year after all.  And we always find something to buy!

Of course that also means a trip to the garden.  I think our garden is running out of steam a little bit, and none too soon!  Oh the food we’ve gotten out of it this year!  We have tomatoes like mad but we are busily eating them on everything from fresh salsa, to pizza, to sandwiches, to homemade marinara sauce.  We got tons and tons of beans, so much so that we ended up throwing some away.  We didn’t want to but we just couldn’t get to them in time.  We also have 4 more squash to deal with, and another on the way.  So the garden was an unqualified success!  We are already plotting for next year (pun intended).

Finally, since it was my first free Saturday in like months, I finally tackled a problem that has plagued us since the dawn of time…a bad ceiling fan remote!  The ceiling fan in our bedroom doesn’t have any strings, so if you want to turn the fan off and on, you have to use the remote.  This usually means a 10 minute dance around the bedroom waving the remote around like a magic wand and mashing on the button a million times.  The dance finally ends with me standing on the bed pressing the remote against the fan base and then trying to withdraw my hand fast before the blades start.  Even this had been working less and less lately until we gave up on it altogether.

So today I decided to swap the receiving unit from the living room fan because it not only works, but we never use it and also the fan has strings making the remote unnecessary.  Sara was not behind the project since it was an ordeal the first time, but I persisted.  It actually went really well.  I had the remote out of the old fan and had it rewired in like 10 minutes.  Then on to our room which took a little longer only because I clipped off like 2 feet of extra wire, which is partially what made it take so long last time.  It was tough fitting the remote sending unit and all of that wire up there before!  But here’s the thing!  I discovered that the remote receiving unit and the remote itself were set to different frequencies!!  I don’t know why it worked at all, even though the codes were very similar.  So, surprise surprise, when I put it on the right code, it seemed to work much better!  So, consequently, I put it all back together without using the remote unit from the living room.  I didn’t put it back in the other fan though, just in case.  I can’t believe all of the headache that thing has caused me and all because I put the stupid switches in the wrong position.

Oh well, what’s done is done.

Farmers’ Market Goes Corporate

I’ve discussed before about the farmers’ market a block or so from our place.  We go there nearly every week and 99% of the time we purchase something from the Bleeding Heart Bakerybooth.  It is a little expensive, but everything is very delicious and very unique.  We get something new every time, anything from scones to rhubarb tarts to spinach and goat cheese croissants.  I’ve never been disappointed.

The last time we went there the booth wasn’t in the normal location.  Instead a booth from the Medici, a local restaurant and bakery, was in its place.  Eventually we found the booth further down and bought something there.  This week the booth wasn’t there at all.

Now I don’t know which company is actually bigger, they might be roughly the same size.  But in terms of Hyde Park restaurants, the Medici is definitely one of the heavy weights.  I like Medici a lot and in fact I have purchased bread from their farmers’ market booth.  So this isn’t against them directly.  But, especially considering that the Medici booth is in the exact (prime) location that the Bleeding Heart booth used to occupy strikes me as a corperate muscle job.  It would really be a shame if that was the case because 1) there is room for both booths since one sells mostly bread and the other sells mostly sweets and 2) the Bleeding Heart booth had so much more original things, instead of the boring old standards at Medici.

So maybe the booth will be back next week, but if not, my opinion of Medici will really go down.

Ma Ma

Well, the day has finally arrived, just over 10 months in the making and Evie finally said “Ma ma”.  (Well, more like “mamamamama”)  It’s funny because on T.V. and cartoons and stuff, that is always the baby’s first word.  Anyway, Evie has been pretty sick all weekend and she has been extra-extra-clingy to Sara.  I was trying to entertain her while Sara was busy but she really wanted her mommy.  And finally she said it!  It is also weird because it is the first time she’s ever made the sound and yet she meant it.  Contrast that with “Da da” which she was saying for months without really meaning anything.

In garden update news, holy cow weeds.  They just grow like crazy!!  It seems like a never ending job but I swear all the other gardens around us never have any!  Ours is like weed heaven.  Last week we weeded 4 times and never spent less than an hour and a half at it.  But the good news is, our “crops” are growing as fast as the weeds.  Well, the carrots are a little iffy, but everything else is good.

Speaking of garden-based updates, the farmers’ market is really taking off.  I previously reported that it was sort of lackluster but we’ve been back every week since and it gets better every time.  There are more booths now offering more things and they’re not sold out by the time we get there.  We’ve tasted fresh salsa, admired the fresh cut peonies, investigated the spinach, asparagus and mushrooms, bought organic Amish bread, considered the lamb and we’ve never been able to avoid buying something from the organic baker.  There is even a drummer now for entertainment.  All in all, much improved and much recommended!

Finally, a condo based update.  We bought like a big hutch thing to contain, among other things, our china.  So we can finally get all of those boxes out of the closet and unpack them for the first time (although it was convenient for moving that they were still all packed up).  Also, we finally put up some tie backs for the curtains in there so we can let some light in.

And now also I suppose I have a blog update ::publish::