I'm Cooking for a Party Again?

Strawberries, Blackberries, Blueberries and Raspberries

So, this marks the second party this month at the Day Job. Why? Just because. Actually, it's a Leap Year party. Leap Year only happens once every four years, so why not celebrate? Of course, it's really just another excuse to eat and show off our culinary skills.

Since 2012 is a leap year, many folks took the challenge to heart. On the proposed menu are 4-bean salad; 4-cheese quiche; 4-toppings pizza... you get the idea. And while I threatened to make both frog's legs and kangaroo burgers, I settled on a simple 4-berry pie.

I love a good pie, and except for a really excellent cream-cheese icing carrot cake, prefer it to almost any dessert. Pies are also pretty forgiving when it comes to fillings, at least. I used a store-bought crust (real pie crust - especially a good one - is so hard to make*) and two, one-pound bags of frozen mixed berries. I thawed and mixed the berries with a half cup of sugar; a quarter cup of light brown sugar; a sprinkling of flour; two tablespoons of corn starch; a half teaspoon of fresh-ground nutmeg; a teaspoon of fresh-ground cinnamon and a teaspoon of lemon zest. I joined the two crusts with an egg wash, which was also brushed over the top crust, along with a sprinkling of sugar. I baked it at 350F degrees for an hour. The result (which you can see below**), may be ugly (I prefer the term 'rustic') but it smells delicious. I only hope it turns out to be at least half as good as the quiche I made for our Valentine's party, earlier this month.
My Angry-Looking 4-Berry Pie

I still seem to have problems with crimping the edges of my pie crusts so they look pretty, but at least they held together, unlike the apple pie I made last fall, which had more than few separations between the top and bottom crusts (and no, I'm NOT going to make an obvious joke here).

Of course, there will another work party in March, for St. Patrick's Day. I already know I'll be making that Asparagus and Vidalia quiche again - it's been requested by several people and has green ingredients. And it was incredibly simple to make.

I do so love to cook. Not everything I make is successful. I have, on more than one occasion, made some truly disastrous dishes. But I've had some surprising successes, too. My pear-stuffed pork chops a few years ago were rather amazing. And I would gladly enter my Meatballs Marinara in any contest. 

Just don't ask me to make or eat poutine (Yes, Jon, I'm talking to you). The very thought of the traditional Quebecois dish of French fries, cheese curds and brown gravy just turns my stomach. I can promise that will never be a dish I serve my coworkers (or anyone else), ever.

More, anon.

*Someday, I'll convince my mother to teach me how to make her amazingly light and fluffy pie crust.

**A cell-phone isn't exactly a Leica.
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