Get a little pie in your life (sweet or savory), dinner at Frank and Lupe’s and getting up close with a Fiat

29 Nov

Jack’s birthday is coming up. And he wants a cherry pie.

I read recently about relationships in a magazine that “a heart wants what a heart wants.” In terms of Jack (and the kitchen wench), the stomach wants what the stomach wants.

And I am not about to argue with that.

To prepare myself for Jack’s big day, I made a turkey pot pie. Mainly just to confirm I still know how to make crust. And yes, I do. It may not be the most beautiful turkey pot pie, but it is really yummy.

Basically it is one of the easiest things to do, next to making rice. The ratio is the same – 2:1. 1 cup flour to 1/2 cup of butter yields you a flaky crust, as long as you don’t handle it too much. Be sure to add a few tablespoons of ice cold water and 1/2 tsp salt.

You are also looking at a picture of me at the Phoenix International Car Show this past weekend at Phoenix Civic Plaza. I fell hard for a red fiat, with red and white cloth striped seats. Wow, and wow. I mean, those Italians do know how to design.

Alas, since we don’t know how they run yet – over the long term – the kitchen wench will continue to drive her VW Beetle.

I digressed…for the inside of the pie, I used 1 small zucchini (not peeled), 3 small carrots (peeled), a russet potato (peeled), 2 ribs of celery and 1 small brown onion. I chopped all of the veg into about the same bite size and steamed it in a skillet with just a little water, covered for about 15 minutes. You want to make sure your veg is almost cooked – since it will cook a little more when you put it in your pie pan and put the crust on top. Also, I made a simple cream gravy with a roux (about 1 tbsp flour and 1 tbsp butter) then added some milk, chicken bullion and then some extra flour at the end to thicken. I’m not an expert at gravy either, but it isn’t rocket science to make. In terms of the crust… I forgot to vent the top (a chef no-no) but since the crust wasn’t perfectly sealed to the edges of the pie (an aspiring Martha Stewart I am not), steam was still able to escape.  The pie cooked at 400 degrees for 25 minutes and came out brown and bubbling.

My little sister Fran had a birthday this week and invited us to her birthday party at Frank and Lupe’s.  Fran is becoming quite an accomplished young lady. She is also a looker (but then there is that whole nut and tree thing). I am excited to see her accomplishments.

In terms of dinner, it had been awhile since I last visited Frank and Lupe’s. On this visit, I had a carne adovada chalupa (big chunks of tender pork, lettuce, beans, and guac, in a spicy sauce) that came out looking more like a taco salad. Undaunted, I ate about half of it, and enjoyed a couple of tangy margs with our group. I took my leftovers home, and ate them for lunch yesterday. Now, I’m ready to go back. Eat on the patio as we did; it is charming.

Yesterday, my friend Joanna brought in a cherry pie for all of us to enjoy at work. It was speaking to me. I used every last ounce of willpower not to grab a slice.

But then in the evening when I stopped at Fresh and Easy they had a cherry turnover on sale for half price (50 cents). So the kitchen wench caved. This is the best cherry turnover I have ever tried.

I was originally on a mission for dinner – Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza, as the kitchen wench doesn’t always have the means to get a pie at The Parlor or North. Sometimes substitutions must be made.

Continuing…the pastries at Fresh and Easy – a chain – are surprisingly good. When I am in the neighborhood of a local place like Petit Au Four (this is where you get the best chocolate croissant in AZ in my opinion), I buy there…but when I’m not, it is nice to know there are options.


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