The Days of Kiddie Pools and (Gluten-Free) Pies

12 Jul

I’ve started watching Mad Men again (I tried to watch the first season a while ago and failed). It’s a fabulous show. The men are handsome, the women are impeccably dressed, the food looks…appropriately scary. It was the 50s, okay? I was struck by a comment one of the housewives made in an early episode regarding her new neighbor, a divorcee. She said something like “I can’t imagine working AND running the house! It must be exhausting.” Now, I am by no means a housewife, nor am I raising children, but I am a working musician and I do appear to be the only person in my household who cleans anything. Sometimes I’m floored at how much of the day can disappear simply because I’ve spent it cleaning! Can I get an amen? Just kidding. Anyways, there’s not much of a point to this rambling other than me wanting to note that

a) I sometimes wish I cleaned house wearing a fabulous dress and heels (but then the amount of sweating and dust flying around always changes my mind)

b) I probably should spend less time cleaning and more time blogging

c) How do I turn spending the entire day in the kitchen into dollars in my pocket? You are looking at a bona fide recently graduated, rather unemployed 22-year old with big dreams and (often) bigger worries. But I’m working on that, one step at a time.

So step one, today I write. I decided to make a patriotic pie (not) for the fourth of July (that was so long ago…the shame!!) and today I share it with you. Even though it’s all gone. Yes, Brandon and I ate it all. It was that good, and we actually have no shame. The week prior to the fourth, Brandon and I joined about 13 other people on stage for the release of one of my dear friend’s new albums (Graham Parsons/The Go Rounds–Feathername). As a side note, I made delicious vanilla cupcakes filled with cherry almond butter and frosted them to appear somewhat like the album cover. The show was amazing. Playing with a 15-piece band is not something I get to do regularly. Now, we’re usually a hot mess when performing in an air-conditioned environment, but on this particular evening we were in a barn. A very hot, buggy barn. It was a great show, but late night lake swimming was a definite necessity afterwards.

As we were walking back from the lake with Chris Bathgate, he asked me if I had come up with a good gluten-free pie crust yet. I said no (I lied). Well, I didn’t entirely lie. Bathgate was looking specifically for that flaky, buttery pie crust that you can pass off as your grandmother’s (and since that night I’ve made that happen). Anyways, he got me thinking about pie, which once started is a dangerous game. I ended up deciding to make a(n almost) no-bake pie since it was so gosh darn hot out the week of the fourth. I wanted something easy and delicious, and decided that strawberry was the right way to go.

I borrowed a crust that I’d made before from a sweet potato pie way back in the winter months (now you have something to look forward to). It’s disgustingly simple, tasty, and nut-based! You can use walnuts, pecans, almonds…the possibilities are endless. I chose pecans, since they are such a rich treat. This crust can be filled with whatever you want. It’d be lovely in a cherry-blueberry pie with a crumble top. Or a pecan pie…double pecans are almost as great as a double rainbow. But enough with the pie ramblings! I must stop. For here is your recipe:

STRAWBERRY PIE WITH PECAN-OAT CRUST

For the Crust (Adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook)

2/3 cup pecans (or other nut)

2/3 cup gluten-free rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)

2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

pinch of salt

In a food processor, blend all crust ingredients together until the mixture is finely ground. Scrape into a 9-inch pie plate and press the crust evenly across the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake the crust alone for 10-15 minutes (until just browned) at 350.

For the Filling:

4 cups fresh strawberries, in quarters

1/4 cup raw agave nectar

2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

2/3 cup water

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp lemon juice

In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until the cornstarch is no longer clumpy (this is making a slurry!). In a medium saucepan, combine agave, salt, water/cornstarch mixture, and a little more than half the strawberries. Bring to a boil, constantly stirring and roughly smashing the strawberries until the mixture is quite thick. Remove from the heat, and stir in vanilla, butter, and lemon juice. Allow this to cool.

Once both the pie crust and filling have cooled, add the filling to the crust and top with the remaining strawberries. Cover and place in the refrigerator to set some more and chill if you so desire (I did).

Top with whipped cream when you’re ready to eat! For a hint of citrus, feel free to grate a little lemon zest on top.

Enjoy!

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