My So-Called Summer

That makes it sound like I’m not really enjoying my summer. Or like I’m walking around moping all day in an over-sized flannel shirt wondering why I always have to be so ugh and whatever. Really not the case at all.

Aidan and I have been having fun checking off some of the requisite items on the summer to-do list like evening walks around the neighborhood, experiments with optimal fan placement in our apartment, and eating sweet corn. Last weekend, we also managed to both got an inevitable sun burn when we walked down to CNY Pride where we sat in the sun by the fountain . . .

CNY Pride Festival

Thank God there were kids around to splash the water around in attempt to relieve us all from the heat.

. . . and drag queens . . .

Miss Syracuse at CNY Pride Drag Show

Keke aka Miss Syracus, my favorite because her fringe looked so fabulous when she twirled.

. . . and ice cream Aidan and I “shared” (it was in my hand 90% of the time, so I use the term “share” loosely).

Enjoying ice cream at CNY Pride

Tasty.

Later that day we also hit up a bout between the Syracuse-located Assault City Roller Derby team and the Ithaca Bluestockings. The Syracuse team lost, but we still had a lot of fun watching the bout. It’s entirely possible that when we got home, I started looking at skates online . . .

Assault City Roller Derby B Team

The Assault City B Team ladies coming out onto the rink.

Earlier this week, we finally made it to our first baseball game of the season and watched a (quite frankly, boring) game between the Syracuse Chiefs and the Charlotte Knights. At first, we ended up sitting by an incredibly annoying group of friends/family members. But we eventually moved to a less hectic area and Aidan bought me more ice cream, so the evening was saved.

A view of the field at a Syracuse Chief's game

This was not an action shot. Because there was really no action.

And in true Anna fashion, I decided to contribute even more heat to our second floor apartment by making a pie in the thick of a period of hot, muggy days. The inspiration for the pie started with the intoxicating scent of in-season strawberries, and I decided to throw some rhubarb in the cart along with the berries because I feel like I’ve given rhubarb an undeserved cold shoulder for most of my life and because of my desire to speak to Aidan’s heart. At some point around Thanksgiving when I was trying to decide what kinds of pies I should bring to the potluck we were going to, Aidan responded to my questions about his opinion on the optimal fruit-to-pumpkin pie ratio for a holiday celebration by saying that he didn’t really like pie and that he thought apple pie, in particular, was boring and over-played. In response, I died a little inside. Couldn’t I make a rhubarb pie, he asked, since it was the only pie he remembered liking as a kid? No, I couldn’t and wouldn’t because rhubarb was way out of season and (recall the comment about the undeserved cold shoulder) gross.

The fact that Aidan doesn’t like pie doesn’t sit well with me because I am generally of the opinion that people who don’t like pie just haven’t been fortunate enough to have eaten the really good pie they deserve in life. As someone who has pie-making capabilities, if Aidan doesn’t like pie I can only conclude that I have failed him. [Insert sad music and frowny faces here.] And so I have been scheming for awhile now to give rhubarb another go in an attempt to (hopefully) offer Aidan a tiny glimpse into all the wonderful beauty that is pie, especially in its various fruit forms.

Strawberry rhubarb pie filling in the pie shell

Red and green like Christmas . . . Except in June.

For the filling, I used this recipe that I found on Smitten Kitchen–a recipe that she, coincidentally, updated with various improvements hours after my pie came out of the oven. For the crust, however, I used the all-butter crust recipe available on Smitten Kitchen instead of the crust included in the original recipe. In the past, I’ve frequently made Ina Garten’s Perfect Pie Crust recipe using a food processor because it was so easy but I didn’t think the all-butter recipe was any more difficult or time-consuming. Plus, I much prefer the idea of using butter over shortening (which seems to gross me out more and more each day). Unfortunately, the rhubarb I bought didn’t yield quite what the recipe called for and my desire for pie far outweighed my desire to achieve a 1:1 rhubarb to strawberry ratio. And so this filling has something more along the lines of a 1:2 rhubarb to strawberry ratio, with an extra 1/8 c cornstarch thrown into the filling to account for the increased berries and the knowledge, on my part, that it was most likely doomed to soupy-ness anyway. Whatever. It’s not like winning a fair ribbon was ever the goal of this endeavor.

I forewent anything fancy like a lattice top or even a simple egg wash (despite my willingness to make cupcakes, I am apparently not much more disposed to the finicky than my dad) and then baked this baby at 375 for about an hour.

I contemplate the pie

I contemplate the pie.

The final verdict: This was a damn fine pie. The crust baked up nicely, the filling was no where near the runny mess I was expecting, and the filling turned out to be really lovely–loads of strawberry sweetness with a nice tangyness at the end. If, or more likely when, I make this again, I think I would use tapioca as a thickener instead of cornstarch a la the updated SK recipe and use more rhubarb, but I would otherwise keep the filling the same.

Slice o'Rhubarb Strawberry Pie

Oh sweet deliciousness.

As for Aidan, he said that the pie was good. But that it wouldΒ  be better with whipped cream–from a can. Not that he wants the can for the superior quality of its product, but rather so he can squirt it directly in his mouth. Which, let’s not kid ourselves, is exactly what I will do as well. God bless Redi-Whip.

A slice of pie and a cup of coffee for breakfast

Breakfast of champions.

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