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Matcha Miércoles

23 Sep

Or Matcha Mercredi. If you like French better than Spanish. Or Matcha suiyōbi if we are to be culturally (if not alliteratively) correct. And apparently the Japanese term for Wednesday means water day. And you need water to make tea. How apropos.

Although this matcha is mixed with juice. Fuck. I can’t work without wine, guys. But I will.

Because apparently:
I would drink the shit out of the citrus matcha. It tastes of orange and pineapple and has a bit of texture but not too much. Well. Almost too much but it has the right amount of texture to make you say to yourself: this is health in a wine glass. I am doing something good for me.

I’m big on the psychosomatic response. It is reallll.

On the coconut flavor: it did not taste tooooo coconutty  which in my book was good. And it had fiber so my digestive system was pleased. In fact it was more savory than the citrus flavor, I thought. So I would drink both of these. I’d choose the citrus as my first pick though.

There was a rougher texture to the coconut flavor. Which if you like pulp you’d be into. So if you like pulp and coconut go with that. If you  just want tasty greens with the added benefits that come with matcha do that. Yea, antioxidants!

No more aging, here I come. I stopped doing that eons ago.

My Bry Mai Tai

30 Jun

You’ll get the most convincing argument for tiki ever here. Go get it.
Then there is whacking so watch to the end. Whack with joy.

The My Bry
1 oz. white rum
1/2 oz. coffee maple rum
1 oz. rye
1 oz. Grand Marnier
1/2 oz. orgeat
1/4. lime juice
1/4 oz. pineapple juice
Shake with ice then strain over crushed ice.

The WOManhattan, a Classic Cocktail for Girls (and boys)

26 Jan

THE LATEST. Because I cannot help but be puny.

And some people have two cherries.

THE WOManhattan
2 oz. Maker’s Mark Bourbon
1 oz. sweet vermouth (I used Martini and Rossi)
Lots of angostura bitters
2 Luxardo cherries
Stir bourbon, vermouth and bitters over ice. Strain into chilled coupes and add cherries.

Girls on GIRLS hath arrived

13 Jan

Behold. Enjoy. I hope. You’ll learn to make an adult beverage!

If you did enjoy, then make the drink I teach how to make. If you didn’t ditto.

The Little Iowa
adapted from a cocktail I was taught by a “a nice bar man” at Bar Ama aka home of the best queso outside Texas
2 1/2 oz. Templeton Rye
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (I used Martini and Rossi)
3/4 oz. Cynar
frozen red grapes to finish
Stir over ice and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with frozen grapes.
Feel the Iowa.

YUVE Got Smoothie

21 Dec

I confess I half live off smoothies. Therefore it is only fair I share what I’ve been drinking, because I am thoroughly addicted. I should also share that my smoothies are so thick and rich they require bowls and spoons and really it’s more like I made myself soft-serve. Except this soft serve has redeeming health factors. My most frequent concoction is a beet-cherry-chocolate protein extravaganza and it is tremendous.

I was inspired to get off my lazy bum and get around to writing this because I got to try some tasty new protein powder made by a very cool and possibly even tastier woman.

I have been using MRM Veggie Protein, to which I thought I’d never find an equal in terms off decent vegan protein powders. AKA ones that are not chalky. But I did! YUVE is danged tasty. I’m also pimping it here because it has a cool origin story.

And chia seeds.

But origin first:
Once upon a time a woman left Russia for New York City. Her name was Lola. She wasn’t a showgirl but she danced. Except ballet. This stunning makes-me-rethink-being-hetero woman, Lola Sherunkova, wanted a quick enjoyable way to get nutrients and such in the Big Apple.

Lola talked to a nutritionist who recommended a rather large list of nutrients. I do not blame her for not wanting to take a gajillion supplements a day. If I were as gorgeous and brilliant as she ALL my time would be spent lounging nonchalantly while lithe goth men held my parasol for me. Fortunately for you Lola was much more enterprising. And YUVE was born.

My only wish is that it came in more than just the one chocolate-raspberry flavor. Mainly because then I could have even more excuses to use it. Because when you can’t decide between two flavors of shake you are forced to just have both. I am surprised I didn’t overdose on chewable vitamins when I was a kid.

Anywho, I am a big proponent of female owned and created business, and Lola is truly one of those came-from-nothing success stories. It helps that her product is great too. Go Lola! Big hugs. And such. And…more?!

Ps I too am creating my own shiz-nit. It is a web show. It involves making drinks and talking about the show “Girls”. That premieres January 11th so “Girls on Girls” should be out on January 12th. We made the pilot episode in the meantime which you can see here:

I beg of you to subscribe to the channel. Or SHARE it on Facebook or Twitter or whatever social media you like. Youtube makes it super easy to do that. It won’t force you to watch or anything. You’ll just see it in your list of subscriptions.

Now more YUVE. I tasted YUVE unadulterated first. Just to see. It was great. Then I started plugging it into favorite smoothie recipes. Like the one that follows. Also delish. Addictively so.

Here be what I make:
Beety Choco-Cherry (plus occasional raspberry) Smoothie
1 few small cooked beets or one big one
1/2 cup dark sweet cherries (I get them in the freezer aisle)
1 serving chocolate protein powder or YUVE chocolate raspberry protein powder
1 Tbsp. Cocoa powder
Dash salt
A squirt or so of liquid stevia (NuNaturals is the one type I’ve found not to be bitter)
Heavy dash of almond extract
1/4 cup cottage cheese (omit if you are vegan)
7-ish crushed ice cubes
1 cup water or chocolate almond milk
Blend it good. If not thick enough either stick in the freezer a little while or blend in some anthem gum

Pssst! I got YUVE for free. But would not be telling you about if I didn’t think it was worth it. I’m ordering more for myself!

How To Find The One

5 Dec

We’re all on a quest for the one. Let’s go all caps on that–THE ONE. The One that will complete us, reflect our best self, that will make us a better person. The One our friends will love being with almost as much as us. The One we can take home to our families. The One we can’t wait for our parents to meet at Thanksgiving dinner. The One. You know…The Pie.

This pie is my One. I would like to think it reflects me-delicate on the outside, but multilayered, sweet yet tart, complex, relatively perfect if untidy…friends asked me to make this pie for them to take to parties I can’t even attend. That isn’t an exaggeration. This is the pie I’ll go out of my way to share. And my family adores it. They’d ask it back to dinner and send it Christmas cards even if we broke up.

There were 5 pies at this last Thanksgiving. I made a pumpkin pie. A guest brought a yogurt-pumpkin pie and some sort of pineapple-coconut confection. My aunt made an amazing pecan pie that actually made me like, nay, flipping’ crave pecan pie for the first time in my life. And then there was also…MY PIE.

A total of 11 guests were present at dinner. Naturally there were leftovers of everything. Except MY PIE. That got devoured. We sent some leftovers of other pie home with guests, yet still had portions of three leftover pies. But as I said, not My Pie. THE PIE. The One. Through that evening’s haze of sugar and alcohol my family insisted that I make another one the next day. And even once clear-headed the next morning, in the frigid air of St. Louis, my family was willing to go to the store to get more cranberries, apples and flour. I promise there are no drugs in My Pie. Love, perhaps. Once you get it you don’t wanna be without.

How do you find The One? Time and an open mind. I’m sorry to say there is no Tinder for pies. Unless you count the epicurious app? This pie really came to be because of a shortage of necessary ingredients. Rather than abandon plans for my stellar apple pie, I rummaged in the fridge. Despite Thanksgiving performance anxiety (this is NOT the time you want to screw up) I made an adaptation or two or four from the recipe I was going to use and created the first iteration of this pie. Then over the years our relationship has blossomed. But I knew from first bite it was gonna be My Pie. Sometimes love is so easy.

I have come to believe in butter crust for most things but I stand by the shortening crust for this one. It is the perfect delivery system for the filling and topping. Let me compare it to an exquisite bit of brie you are going to eat on a cracker, perhaps with a touch of quince paste or something. You need the right combo of sounding board, ooze, salt and sweet. If you put the cheese on a massive flavorful cracker that cracker is all you will taste. This is also why I don’t like a lot of sandwiches-it is hard to get the bread to work in harmony with the filling. But for that Brie a thin, delicately perfect bit of toasted baguette? It’s bland on its own, but transforms when paired with its toppings. That is how I see it with crust. To each pie it’s own crust style. And My Pie goes shortening. As a super-duper bonus, if you use a vegan butter substitute in the streusel this pie will be vegan. Not that that made Moby give it awards, alas.

I’m debating whether I should tell you my secret ingredient. Hmmm. Okay, I’m gonna leave one ingredient vague in the directions. It seems small but this ingredient IS THE DIFFERENCE that makes it My Pie. Whoever guesses what, of the one vague thing, is the secret and can guess what I use gets drinks with me if the timing is right. Or just my utmost respect for their culinary acumen. We’ll see. But I’ll keep an open mind. My Pie and I have an open relationship.

1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I stir and spoon into the cup), plus extra for rolling
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shortening (I shamelessly use Crisco)
cold water
Whisk the flour and salt together. I use a fork to whisk. I know. Add the shortening and use your fork to cut in until floury lumps are forming the size of, say, a cocoa puff. Some can be bigger, some smaller. Feel it out. Now, sprinkle a few tablespoons of cold water over and toss it in. It will go further than you think. Add more water bit by bit until the dough is just sticking together. Don’t chill this dough or it will be really hard to roll. I just sprinkle some flour on a piece of parchment paper and roll it out there until it is big enough for the pie plate. Lift it up periodically and sprinkle more flour between the dough and parchment as needed. Now fold in half and gently ease in the pie plate. I use a Pyrex. If you are like me and not good at getting a perfect circle you may have to do a bit of patchwork on your crust but don’t worry. Cut off and/or patch in enough dough to get the same length of dough on the rim of the plate all the way around. You can make a pinched crust or use a fork to make a pretty crust but it will taste good no matter what you do. Put that sucker in the freezer.
For streusel:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (or vegan butter-y stick)
Put it all in a bowl and get in there with your hands. Pinch it together until it looks pebbly. I feel like you will know when it is right. Just picture what the top of streusel pies look like. That is how it should look. Put the bowl in the fridge whilst you cobble up the filling.
For filling:
2 granny smith apples
2 macintosh apples
some citrus fruits for squeezing (do not use jarred juice)
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
pinch salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of allspice and/or cloves
pinch of ginger
Cinnamon, as you are in the mood for. around a heaping tsp., if you need a ballpark figure.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Start with the apples but have the citrus halved and on the ready. Peel the apples, cut into quarters, cup each quarter into a few long slices then halve those. Every time you put a handful or or of apple into the bowl give a hefty squeeze of citrus juice and toss it until the apples are coated. Repeat, until they are chopped. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Take the crust out of the freezer and put the filling in. Make sure the apples and cranberries distribute evenly and there aren’t any weird nooks. Take the streusel out of the fridge and strew it on, pretty evenly. Put in the oven. If worried about overflow you can put the pie plate on a baking tray. After about twenty minutes check the pie. The minute the streusel starts to get brown tent aluminum foil over the whole thing. Trust me, if you don’t your streusel will burn. Keep the pie baking about 45 minutes total. Delish.

Yet MORE Pie

4 Aug


I can’t stop. I just keep posting pie. I am on a crust quest. Both for the perfect basic crust and the perfect frito crust.

It is very important to have ambitions.

Some of my acting goals are getting met at the moment-I start on a web series this week (playing a heroin addict!) and a short I wrote and am acting in is getting produced. So I feel as the metaphorical dessert for my acting repast, I can give pie a sliver of brain space.

They say it is important to not make grand sweeping goals without the accompanying actions you must take to achieve them. So, “win kcrw pie contest” is not a good goal. “Have intercourse with Trent Reznor” is not a good goal either, but for other reasons.

“Get together with pie fanatics to taste-test new crust recipes” is a good goal. It is achievable and gives a concrete course of action. I did that recently. I now have a new base recipe and a couple ideas of tweaks for the next round of crust. That taste-test get-together was just that: a small get-together. What was NOT small was the last pie event I held with my co-hosts Alice and Joel.


Indulge me as I regale you with tales of the last pie party. Joel HAS achieved the “win kcrw pie contest” goal. He won for best savory pie. Of course now he wants to win both the savory and crust categories so he can have a shot at the coveted “Best in Show”. He offered to help host, since he has a whole dang house with ample parking. Alice and I gladly took him up on that. So as not to step on my pie glory he contributed an apple tart. Then he decided to make a tortilla español. And to use his grill to make paella too. Alice made a cherry-ginger sangria, and one involving bell peppers that was bloody delicious.

I made another version of my southwest purple potato pie, and the first stab at a dual-crusted upscale frito pie. And then just cause I’m nutty decided I really wanted to make the this recipe I had been ogling for some time.

I was quite scared of how things would pan out for the frito pie. It was really only the second time I have concocted a pie all on my own. This monstrosity has a regular bottom crust, a spicy black bean and mushroom filling, and a top crust with involving Fritos that have been ground up, as well as regular and corn flour and butter. In an ideal world I would have gotten my hands on some huitlacoche but I’ve yet to locate any. If anyone has a source for corn smut, I want to know! So I’m still working on the frito pie. It’s a dang tasty thing though. And a lot of folks cited it as their favorite of the night.

And a lot of folks there were! Our pie parties have grown from tiny, to a group of five learning about crust, to having more teaching plus a matching cocktail, to having two matching cocktails, to having a dark side and a large group, to this July’s MASSIVE pie, paella, and sangria FEAST, with around 30 guests.

It was an epic night. It was a beautiful night. It was a filling night.

When I finally perfect the frito pie I will tell you more about it. Same with the purple potato pie. In the meantime, the cherry streusel one was already perfection, compliments of those wacky people at Bon Appetit.

And in case all this is not enough pie for you, check out what I am proud to say is my most popular Hello Giggles column yet. I am particularly happy because I was writing about Greg‘s amazing Savory Pies cookbook and the potato-crusted macaroni and cheese pie.

But first, dessert!

Cherry Streusel Pie adapted from July 2005 Bon Appetit
Crust: I made a butter rendition, but as I mentioned I am still tweaking it. Here is a very basic, reliable, and (I think) tasty crust recipe I frequently use. You can also read there why I sometimes think a shortening crust is preferred.
1 scant cup sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 14.5 oz. cans sour cherries. Most of the liquid strained.
dash almond extract (my addition)

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
6 Tbsp. packed golden brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the rack in the middle. Place a baking sheet lined with foil below this rack, if you fear spills. As you should.

Line your pie pan with your crust and put it in the freezer. Mix the first four filling ingredients. Add cherries and almond extract and stir. Allow to sit ten minutes.

Mix all dry ingredients for the streusel. Add the butter and vanilla and use your fingers to get a nice pebble-like consistence.

Pour the filling into the crust. Top with the streusel. Put it on the middle oven rack and bake about 20 minutes then tent foil over the top to keep the streusel from burning. Bake until the streusel is golden and and the filling bubbly, around 10 more minutes. Cool on a rack.


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