life

Summer = Pie

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I love to bake and have had lots of great teachers in my mom, sister-in-law, friends and my TV obsessions…Great British Baking Show and the America’s Test Kitchen.  But, living in the south, means hot summers and no one wants to stand over a hot oven, so I turn to quick baking or, no-bake-at-all, pies!

It’s become my gifting tradition in my family to bake whatever the birthday person wishes for and this June my mom chose coconut pie.  It turned to the Test Kitchen for a recipe and used my mom’s old pie plate to truly make it special. It was delicious!

 

Coconut Cream Pie

(From the Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook)

Their notes: Don’t use low-fat coconut milk here because it doesn’t have enough flavor. Also, don’t confuse coconut milk with cream of coconut. The filling should be warm–neither piping hot nor room temperature–when poured into the cooled pie crust. To toast the coconut, place it in a small skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes. It burns quite easily, so keep a close eye on it.

FILLING
1 (14oz.) can coconut milk (see note)
1 cup whole milk
½ cup (1 ¼oz) unsweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cup (4 2/3oz.) sugar
¼ tsp. table salt
5 large egg yolks
¼ cup (1 ounce) cornstarch
2 Tbl. unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 recipe Graham Cracker Crust, baked and cooled (below)

GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
8 whole graham crackers, broken into 1” pieces
5 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 Tbl. sugar
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Process the graham cracker pieces in a food processor to fine, even crumbs, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the butter and sugar over the crumbs and pulse to incorporate.
2. Sprinkle the mixture into a 9” pie plate. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crumbs into an even layer on the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake until the crust is fragrant and beginning to brown, 13-18 minutes.

TOPPING
1 ½ cups heavy cream, chilled
1 ½ Tbl. sugar
1 ½ tsp. dark rum (optional)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbl. unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted (see note)

1. For the filling: bring the coconut milk, whole milk, shredded coconut, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
2. As the milk mixture begins to simmer, whisk the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, the egg yolks, and cornstarch together in a separate bowl. Slowly whisk 1 cup of the simmering coconut milk mixture into the yolk mixture to temper, then slowly whisk the tempered yolks back into the simmering saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until the mixture is thickened and a few bubbles burst on the surface, about 30 seconds.
3. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. Cool the mixture until just warm, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
4. Pour the warm filling into the baked and cooled pie crust. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the filling and refrigerate the pie until the filling is chilled and set, about 4 hours.
5. For the topping: Before serving, whip the cream, sugar, rum (if using), and vanilla together with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to high and continue to whip until the cream forms soft peaks, 1 to 3 minutes. Spread the whipped cream attractively over the top of the pie and sprinkle with the toasted coconut.

A very good friend of mine introduced me to buttermilk pie and it was love at first sight! It’s one of those pies that goes great with fresh summery fruits like peaches and berries.  I’ve had it with strawberries and even cranberries. It’s so versatile and easy and I think I may need to bake one asap! I’m a huge fan of Joy Wilson, of Joy the Baker, and was given my first cookbook of hers while pregnant with my son, and I think that’s where he and I both became obsessed with Joy and baking in general! Here’s a recipe for her Buttermilk Pie with Blackberry Sauce. Go get you some!

Pies don’t have to be all about fruit…chocolate and pie go hand-in-hand! One of my favorite recipes is from Real Simple Magazine’s November 2004 issue.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

(Real Simple Magazine, November 2004)

PIECRUST
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbl. sugar
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1 ½ Tbl cold water
½ tsp. vanilla

Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until crumbly. Add the water and vanilla. Pulse until the dough just comes together. Form into a disk. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill 15 minutes. Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a 12” circle. Fit the dough into a 9” pie plate. Refrigerate until needed.

FILLING
1 ¼ cups light corn syrup
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, beaten
3 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted
3 tsp. dark rum (optional)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
1 ¾ cups pecan halves
¾ cup chocolate chips
Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the first 8 ingredients. Stir in the pecans. Scatter the chocolate over the prepared piecrust and cover with the filling. Bake until the center is set, 45-50 minutes. Let cool completely. Serve with the cream, if desired.

There are SO many amazing pie recipes out there! I hope you enjoy these three and feel free to point me in the direction of your favorite pie recipe! If you’ll excuse me…I’ve got some butter to cut!

Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Vintage Treasures

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Whether you’re tackling some spring cleaning, or just want to focus on fixing up your latest vintage score, the tools you need are right in the kitchen!

Recently, my husband accidentally placed a still-wet bowl on our vintage wooden sideboard table, leaving a white ring behind. At first I panicked, and then after a surprising online search, discovered that the mayo in our fridge could remove it! I learned from Bob Vila that the light mark is actually a sign that the moisture is trapped in the varnish and hasn’t gotten through to the wood yet. He suggests ironing, which I don’t recommend. It left more marks, rather than removing the ring. I followed his steps for using mayo, “Dab a bit onto a rag, then gently apply the mayonnaise directly to the stained area. Let it sit for at least an hour or as long as overnight, reapplying the mayonnaise if the initial coating dries out.”  I left my mayo for a few hours and it did the trick. You can’t even tell where the stain happened!

Photo of vintage wooden furniture with vintage baskets

Personally, I’m team patina, but I know not everyone likes their brass that way. So, if you’re team shine, there’s an easy way to bring it back! Using Apartment Therapy’s guide to cleaning brass, you can mix the juice from 1/2 lemon with 1 teaspoon or so of baking soda, creating a paste that you can apply with a rag or toothbrush. What I love about this technique is that it doesn’t completely strip the brass of it’s vintage patina, making it look brand new.  You buy vintage because it’s vintage…not something that can be easily found at any big box store.  Also, as a sidenote, the Oxo brush is amazing…small head, firm bristles and this little rubbery pointy nub on the other end that’s great for crevices.  Be sure to check to see if your piece is actually brass first! Use a magnet…if it sticks, there’s probably another metal at play, but if it doesn’t, then you’ve most likely got a true brass piece.

Cleaning vintage brass with baking soda and lemon juice

Finally, some folks are wary of taking home a vintage piece that has a less-than-pleasing odor, but there’s a remedy for that too! When it comes to containers, or things that have been closed and left for long periods, an odor naturally develops.  As long as there are no signs of mold or other serious issues, I typically have found that some baking soda, coffee grounds or even tea tree oil can nip that stinch in the bud! For plastic containers, like Tupperware or thermoses, I’ll simply shake a good amount of baking soda into the container, covering the bottom, and let it sit with the lid off. I’ll even put a layer on the underside of the lid, as I don’t want to trap the scent back in there next time it’s closed.  For jewelry boxes or wooden furniture, sometimes I’ll put sprinkle baking soda directly on the piece and later vacuum it up, or you can put the baking soda, or even coffee grounds, on a small plate inside the piece to soak up the scent.  If it’s something washable, like glass, I’ll use diluted white vinegar if the dish soap doesn’t do the trick.  Another great trick, I learned when my kids were babies and I was using a Diaper Genie to dispose of their diapers, is a little dash of tea tree oil on a piece of cloth left in the container.  It’s a great odor neutralizer!

Vintage red yellow black plaid thermos

Alright friends, I hope this was helpful! Happy spring cleaning!

April Patchwork Market

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Morgan Grimm, talented lady and event planner extraordinaire, puts on one good market. I have never been disappointed as a vendor at her Patchwork markets, even when my sales weren’t spectacular. I always leave energized because of the folks I’ve met. So many amazing vendors under one roof, all willing to share ideas (and sometimes granola bars) and talk shop, as well as these terrific customers who are excited to grab a delicious Fullsteam beer and support local makers and small shop owners. I feel like I’m part of something when I’m there…living in this area, this resurgence of small batch, quality goods and creative folks collaborating. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday! (Did I mention I get a 5 hour break from my kids too?! Icing on the cake.)

Photos taken by the lovely couple behind Radian Photography:

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antique mall

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I’m very excited to share that Posy will be renting a spot at the eclectic antique mall, Cheshire Cat Gallery, in downtown Raleigh’s Cameron Village starting February 1! It’s such a relief to have a place to share all the great furniture and big vintage items currently taking up residence in my attic. It’s my own little spot in the vintage world and one that I hope will get more eyes on Posy. I get to paint and decorate however I’d like…which means I’ve been Pinterest crazy of late! One wall, one peg board and some definite elbow grease needed to get this spot shining! (This is a pic of my spot with its current resident. Keep on the lookout for Posy’s transformation!!)

Cheshire Cat Before

new year

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As much as I’ve enjoyed a nice long break over the holidays and some quality time with my family, I’m getting more excited as the days go by to get back into the swing of Posy things! I’ve got a great stash in the attic of vintage from estate sales, auction and other treasure hunts to post in the Etsy shop or ready for market. We’re talking midcentury metal and wood school desk, lamps, vaseline glass, an amazing turquoise midcentury bookshelf, more linens, record albums, a vanity stool, child’s rocker, and so much more! I never thought I’d be the kind of gal to miss her office…but when it looks like this, I do!

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blue ridge parkway

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This summer I went on my first vintage-buying trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway and scooped up a car load of gems.  It’s a 3-day miles long adventure along historic US 21. If you’re into picking/thrifting/vintage/bbq, I highly recommend going!

My Nana made one awesome wingwoman…she’s got a great eye and knew what some things were that I didn’t. Of course, she got bitten by the good deal bug and I eventually had to ask (i.e. beg!) her to stop for lunch.

This trip was a dream…getting to hunt down awesome vintage to share through Posy. I hope it’s one of many. I’m ready to roll down the windows, turn up the tunes and take that left off the dirt road and see what I can find!

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