Tuesday, November 17, 2009


We had our own visitors last week, and it was with great sadness that we saw them off after only a few precious hours. I "met" JD on message boards in 1998 or so. I was smitten from the start, and I confess that she has always remind me of a girl Erik!

They proved that, once again, I was completely right, when at dinner they sat across from each other, speaking what appeared to be a completely different (and completely incomprehensible) language, while her husband and I frowned at our pasta and tried to ask questions.... Intelligent questions, like "Wait...what?" and "Huh?"

I, of course, got JD in a bear hug in the driveway, before she could even get out of her car. Having spent some time together, in the online sense, she was not surprised and had braced herself for the inevitable. I completely, and inappropriately, tackled her husband next and, I hesitate to share, I may even have patted his back before letting him go. Oh dear.

Fortunately, they recovered! They were burning up vacation time so they left DC and spent the week here in San Francisco, and the surrounding areas. We only got them for the one night, so I did what I always do...cooked way too much food, made them take a bag of homemade snacks back to their hotel with them, plied them with wine, and generally talked them blind before begging them to spend the night.

Either my kids or my cooking sent them on their way, may we never know which one it was! :) And if you're reading this, JD (or Bill!) we adore you both and we thank you SO MUCH for sharing your vacation with us!

Our dinner involved tomatoes from the garden and pesto from the garden that I had made and froze, and apple pie using the filling I had preserved from our apple-picking adventures. Is it wrong that I'm so happy that none of it made us sick? Success! haha Not even kidding.

In order to use the apple pie filling I had to make a crust, which reminded me of three great tips.

The first, which I learned in college but did not use last week, is that if you don't have a rolling pin you can use a wine bottle. I didn't own a rolling pin until 2002, but, somehow, I've always managed to have a bottle ~ or two! ~ for just such an emergency. *cough*

The second tip is in the picture. A pie crust is just about the simplest thing in the world to make. A cup of flour, 1/3 cup shortening, a pinch of salt, and a few tablespoons of water. Mix it all together, and though it will be a crumbling mess, you should just ignore that, turn it onto a smooth surface, and roll away! I use a silicon mat (tupperware brand! because, apparently, it's 1973 in my kitchen!) and then I put a piece of wax paper over the top, between the pin and the dough, before I start rolling. That piece of wax paper is a miracle. You just totally pretend like the crust is not breaking apart, sticking to the pin, or tearing through the center. And, soon enough, it's not doing any of those things anymore!

The third tip, I used for the first time that night, was to cover the edges of the crust (around the entire circumference of the pie) with strips of aluminum foil. If the edges of your crusts ever cook too much, getting dried out and darkened while the rest of the pie crust remains light and flakey, this foil tip will change your life.

So, in summary, when you come to my house, you will get a homemade meal (that may or may not make you ill) and my kids will force you to play Yugi-Oh cards before making you want to put a pencil through you're own ear (to stop the noise! please! anything to stop the noise!) and then I will squeeze you ~ hard ~ and hold onto your leg to keep you from leaving. The porch light is on. What are you waiting for?


  1. You were the bestest hostess ever! And no, we never got sick from all the goodies you bestowed upon us. I'm *still* thinking about that apple pie. And the cookies and pumpkin bread got us through a very long trip home!

    Hopefully someday you will bring the brood on the obligatory History Trip to Washington DC, and we can finally return the favor. As I told you, there will be a smorgasbord of cereal options waiting for you.

    You rule!

  2. Oh, ha, haha, you're brave! Just as soon as I can stand to 1) be on a five hour flight and/or 2) be in a hotel room with either my husband or my kids, I'll take you up on that offer. :) Thanks again for coming, you and Bill are just the bee's knees. xoxo

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