All about the Pi(e)

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary:

The mathematical value of π, or pi, begins “3.14…” so March 14 (3/14) is considered to be International Pi Day.

Pi is the English spelling of the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet. It means “the symbol π denoting the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter,” and also means “the ratio itself : a transcendental number having a value rounded to eight decimal places of 3.14159265.” This means that the outside measurement of a circle is a little more than three times its width. This ratio is one of the most important constants in mathematics.

Pi is probably used to stand for this number because it is the first letter of the Greek word that is the origin of periphery. And don’t miss the weird and wonderful things they’re doing over on Twitter. Funny, creative and inventive. You’re welcome.

This variant form of cauliflower is the ultimate fractal vegetable. Its pattern is a natural representation of the Fibonacci or golden spiral, a logarithmic spiral where every quarter turn is farther from the origin by a factor of phi, the golden ratio.

So, I really want to give a shout out to math on Pi Day.  We use math every day, even when we don’t realize it. Now head over to Live Science to see some really cool math. And really, much as I  respect math, I respect that wonderful, versatile food choice, pie.  Sweet or savory, I am all about the pie. So when my intrepid blogger friends invited me to a pie photo morning/tasting (because who would go to just the photo shoot anyway?) –  I ran right out and grabbed some pies. Because more is more.

We fanned out across the city and suburbs in search of our favorite types of pie. Undaunted by the amount of research this would take, we were committed to our quest, and you reap the results of our labors. Why, yes, I did try most, but not all, of these delicious pies. It was an early release day or I would have, though. Pacing. Here’s the rundown. Honestly, the things I do for this blog.

Hi-Rise Bakery – This is one of my favorite places for everything – sandwiches, baked goods, bread and jams, and I every so often make the Vanilla Bean Loaf – we call it Vanilla Bread.  We sampled the lemon meringue – next time it might not make it home.

Leah brought some of her favorite pies from Petsi Pies and they were all inhaled.  I had heard of Petsi Pies but this was my first time and the Bourbon Chocolate Pecan may have been one of my tops favorite pies ever.

More Cambridge? Pemberton Farms Marketplace is a sweet grocery/bakery/garden center that has everything you could need plus pies from The Pie Guy’s – the key lime pie is off the hook. So when I head back for that particular confection, I’ll be picking up a few hostess gifts, some wine and a plant or two next time I go.

Craving a savory pie with a flaky out of this world crust? Look no further than  KO Catering & Pies in South Boston.  Mostly meat pies here but some veggies find their way in, and  a lovely veggie pie or the Classic Beef Pie will warm you right up. We were hosted to try these yummy hand pies and sample we did. Then we ordered a bunch to go – great for the freezer for an easy dinner you almost made.

And from Shoofly Pie Baking Company, an unbelievably delicious and pretty – no one wanted me to cut it but I did anyway – cherry pie. She delivers – yes, delivers pie to Jamaica Plain, Roslindale and Hyde Park. with a trial run in Brookline going on now. Hopefully Newton is next! I’m not going to lie, when Kelli handed me still warm from the oven cherry pie, I doubted that it would make it to our pie morning. Yet it did, and it was whole. I  know. All the will power.

Freshly baked, incredibly delicious pies from the Ever So Humble Pie Company can be found at both Volante Farms and Brothers Marketplace.


So what do we do? Go Local Boston is our hashtag. We find things, we share our finds.

Follow these blogs for more fun finds – pie and otherwise.

A Little Bit about a lot of Things

Kim World

Leah’s Life: Pearls and Oysters

a flour scone, a sofra donut and some social media

[amazon-product image=”51uIJ1u3EWL._SL160_.jpg” region=”us” type=”image”]081186944X[/amazon-product]I had a bunch of things lined up yesterday which is always great but sometimes I feel overscheduled. Luckily, I had to be in the car a fair amount and that means NPR,  so I learned a lot. Like that Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery has a new cookbook and I want it, and heard this food scientist talking about among other things, the difference between baking powder and baking soda and wooden vs. plastic cutting boards: “It turns out that wooden cutting boards are good in a couple of ways — they’re porous so they tend to soak up juices from cutting meats and fish, for example, and that carries the bacteria down into the cutting board where they’re not at the surface anymore. And woods often contain anti-bacterial compounds in them so there’s kind of a natural antibiotic in the surface of the wood. Plastic cutting boards are easier to clean and are safer to put in the dishwasher, for example, but they also will tend to develop scars and bacteria will lodge in the scars and cause problems later. So I actually have a couple of each and use both. When a plastic cutting board develops scars, I replace it.” The book is a good resource for food safety which I am also all about.

[amazon-product image=”51L3%2BQRkB3L._SL160_.jpg” region=”us” type=”image”]1594202680[/amazon-product]

NPR has a link to Joanne Chang’s cheddar-scallion-scones which I sent to a friend last night (I knew she would love it). Amazingly, she had creme fraiche on hand (!) and is making them today. I may casually drop by or, if she wants to prevent scone-stalking, she can drop one or two at my door (subtle hint).

Speaking of generous friends, a particularly sweet one gave me her farm share (this is not the first time). It is from Siena Farms which means that everything in the box is gorgeous and the pickup is at Sofra Bakery.  Yes, I know, my day is not difficult. I am (only a little) glad is not any closer or I might have a problem – yeah, like getting any of my clothes to fit.  Maybe it is my food choices…my favorite was the dukka donut (cardamom and sugar and other gorgeous-ness) but there weren’t any and I quickly scanned the bakery case for a replacement. When my eyes fell on the persian spiced donut,  I bought one and ate it alone in my car. No sharing. I smiled the whole way home (sugar and halvah all over the place).  My super sweet, super nice foodie friend also sent the email that comes with the farm share. While I am happy with my farm share, I am thrilled with hers. Pretty, pretty produce and Ana Sortun‘s recipes?

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Ana’s Parsnip Skordalia

So, skordalia is a traditional potato and garlic sauce that is served with just about anything in Greece.  As is always in Greek dishes, it’s all about the garlic.   It doesn’t always have nuts.  This is our twist when parsnips and celery root are in season and garlic is finished curing in the fall.  We serve this with halibut braised in cinnamon & milk.

Makes 4 cups

6 pounds parsnips

6 baking potatoes

¾ cup heavy cream

1-cup parsnip cooking liquid

3 T chopped garlic

¼ cup lemon juice

2 cups extra virgin olive oil

at least a quarter cup of salt

Peel the parsnips and cut into chunks.  Place in pan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and simmer about 18 minutes until tender.  Drain (reserve a cup of liquid) and puree while it’s still hot in a food processor with the heavy cream.  Set aside.  Meanwhile, peel the baking potatoes and cut in 4.  Place in a small saucepot with enough water to cover, 1 T salt and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about 18 minutes until tender and drain.  Mash thru a ricer or food mill and mix into the celery root.  Heat garlic in olive oil with reserved liquid from parsnips.

Blend until completely smooth. Mix everything together.

Ana’s Cabbage Confit

We serve this with cod at the restaurant

2 small heads of green cabbage, quartered, cored & washed

remove outer ugly leaves.

1 cups extra virgin olive oil

2 T butter

1 cups white wine

½ tsp. sugar

salt & pepper

¼ cup slivered garlic or garlic flowers

¼  cup finely chopped anchovies

Cut each quarter in half and break into big“lamelles”(half moons)

Toss with the above and well season.  Cover with foil and braise at 300-325 for 1 ½ hours.

Squeeze a bit of lemon and stir in 4 cups cooked *fresh shell beans & plenty of chopped parsley

*Late summer and fall is the season for fresh shell beans

Disclaimer – I do not know if these recipes are in the book shown above.

So what about the social media? Where does that fit in this food fest? I was meeting Pragmatic Mom for a bite (I had a lovely quinoa soup) who, as I sat down said, “I have a few ideas for your blog.” I was unprepared (as in no paper and pencil) but she (ever resourceful) dug out a pen and I proceeded to write on a napkin (we were upstairs at L’Aroma) for over an hour. It was a really appreciated and seriously impressive analysis, discussion and basically genius brain download from the inimitable Pragmatic Mom.  I was able to give her some tech-y tips. I copied the napkin info on to real paper when I got home but not before meeting a new friend at Newton Center’s Pie. I had a lovely time with my friend and another mom friend (and terrific and sweet as pie real estate agent) but did not like the food.  A place called Pie should have really good pie. Note: I did not have the apple pie and the panini sandwich looked great but the filling of our turkey, cheddar and broccoli pie was too diced and had the consistency of baby food. Good if you have a baby. More notes went on the napkin “wrong direction” and “no chunks”. No spoiler alert – you will have to read about these later when I somehow tie them in to something in a clever way.

Are you counting? Did I eat at three separate places and were two of them for lunch? Look, something shiny! Oh, it’s gone. Go click on the books – it will take you to Amazon.
Sofra Bakery and Cafe on Urbanspoon

pies and pesto but not necessarily in that order

strawberry pieHere is a great post I found with a lovely berry pie recipe. I am really into the berries right now and just made a great strawberry pie with berries my family picked this weekend.

I am not a thorough baker and forgot steps in my pie recipe but it was very forgiving (and the berries were that good) – my family thinks I should mess it up the same way next time. I’ll try.

This is the recipe that I used, not because I am shortening-averse (although I am … a little) but because I didn’t have any and did not want to go to the store.  It was great and would have been better if I had remembered to add the ice water – really tough to roll out the dough – it was like a shortbread – hmm, it may have actually been shortbread… and I also forgot to add the butter until it was in the oven (that’s okay – easy to do through the holes of my shortbread crust).strawberry pie By now you are thinking, what did you remember to do? I used terrific ingredients and we had fun making it.

I am also into pesto right now – here is another great recipe with a twist. So summer is here – make the ratatouille again, too.

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