One kid's adventures in gastronomy

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Easy as Pie

Yesterday, Mama and I went blueberry picking.

berry picker/

We’ve done this many times before, and I told Mama, “I have good memories of picking blueberries with you.”

berry hider/

I told everyone we met that we were going to make blueberry pie and blueberry jam.


Soon after Mama stuck a bunch in the freezer (remember to freeze on a tray before putting them into bags!), we set to work on making that pie. We’ve made all kinds of pies before, and I thought we might make a Bluecherry Pie or a crumble, but Mama wanted to show me how to make a pie that’s both fast and doesn’t require an oven.

Here’s what we needed to get started:

Just graham crackers, melted butter, and a bit of brown sugar is all you need to put together a crust.

Just graham crackers, melted butter, and a bit of brown sugar is all you need to put together a crust.

Then Mama let me pound the graham crackers into crumbs:

This is a GREAT activity for a kid like me.

This is a GREAT activity for a kid like me.

Then we added the melted butter and brown sugar:

I got to eat the extra graham cracker.

I got to eat the extra graham cracker.

This is what it should look like when it’s all mixed:

crumb crust/

It doesn’t look like it will hold together, but trust me: It will. Mama explained that if you use too much butter, your crust will be greasy and not hold its shape. (Too little, and it will fall apart.)

Mama pressed the crumbs into the pie plate. (I didn’t want to touch it.) You should use your hands, but to help press it firmly into the edges and up the sides, use a measuring cup or glass.

edging pie crust/

From this point, you can chill the crust before filling it, or bake it (cool before using). Either way, you’ve just made yourself a pie crust that will hold together. (Shortcut: Buy a graham cracker, Oreo, or Nilla Wafer crust.)

Scatter blueberries around the set crust. (You may use any kind of berry you like.)

add the berries/

Use just enough to cover the bottom. (I put a little more in than that, and it was yummy.)

Use just enough to cover the bottom. (I put a little more in than that, and it was extra yummy.)

For the filling, Mama let me whip the cream. (Remember how to make chantilly?) Then she made sort of the same thing, but with cream cheese.

ready to assemble/

She said to do the whipped cream part first because you can use the same beaters for the cream cheese without having to wash them first. (If you did the cream cheese first, any fat left over from the cream cheese would inhibit the heavy cream from whipping.)

This is my preferred method of cleaning beaters.

This is my preferred method of cleaning beaters.

Fold the two together, add some lemon zest, and you have your filling. Carefully spoon the creamy mixture over the berries, and now you have pie!

blueberry pie/

I have to say that this is the easiest pie I’ve made. And Mama let me have a small piece for breakfast today…just before we had our blueberry pancakes. I love blueberry season!

Love, Jude

No-Bake Blueberries & Cream Pie

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 7 1/2 full-size crackers; may also buy pre-crushed)
1/3 cup melted butter (we used salted)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1.5-2 tablespoons + 1/2 cup powdered sugar, divided
2 splashes vanilla
8 oz cream cheese, softened
Zest of 1 organic lemon
About 2 cups organic blueberries

Mix together the crumbs, butter, and brown sugar until uniformly moist. Firmly press into a 9″ pie plate. Chill for 1 hour or bake at 325°F for 10 minutes; cool before proceeding.

Use a hand mixer to beat the heavy cream, 1.5-2 tbsp powdered sugar, and a splash of vanilla until stiff peaks. Taste and adjust flavorings, if desired. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and a healthy splash of vanilla until smooth. Stir in the lemon zest, then fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese.

Scatter the blueberries over the bottom of the chilled or baked-and-cooled crust. Carefully spoon the cream mixture over top. Garnish with berries, lemon curls, mint, etc. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


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Happy Pi Day!

I’m told this post is supposed to be punny, but as I don’t know what that word means, I can’t comment on it. I’ll just tell you that today, March 14, or 3/14, or 3.14 (depending on how you write your dates) is “pi” day. And because my mathematical zenith  rests at double-digit counting and basic addition, my thoughts naturally turn to pie. Pie, pie, pie.

Mama intended on showing me a new kind of pie today, something called a quiche. Let’s just say I’m still waiting. In the meantime, I’m taking a look back at a few of the pies we have done: cherry pie, blueberry pie, mixed berry pieapple pie, and even tomato pie and pot pies. (I won’t mention the absurd thing she called a pie earlier in the week.)

If you make a pie today in celebration of Pi Day, let us know! What’s your favorite?

Love, Jude

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Reflections on year 2

So here I am, wrapping the second year of writing my blog. What do you think of that?

If I’m being honest with myself, I would have to say that I’ve enjoyed experiencing all the different foods I get to eat (or push around my plate) each and every day. And though I may be a fickle fellow, liking something one day but not the next, I certainly have my fair share of unusual favorites: grilled asparagus, pan-seared scallops, eggs with runny yolks…

The best part is that I often want to help in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter what mama is making, but I’ll drag over a chair and say, “I want to help!” Mama once came upon me in the kitchen, rooting through the cupboards and saying, “what can I make?” And that, right there, makes it all worth it.

Thank you for being part of this journey. Here’s to another year!
Love, Jude

We didn't have any jam  or jelly for my sandwich, so Mama and I made blueberry jam!

We didn’t have any jam or jelly for my sandwich, so Mama and I made a quick blueberry jam!


Conflict Kitchen (pre-school edition)

There’s a right way and a wrong way to make a sandwich. Mine is the right way, and Mama’s…well, she can’t be right all the time, can she?

We agree that you should lay out both pieces of bread or the two halves of a bun, whichever you prefer. We agree that you should gather your remaining ingredients before proceeding.

Where we differ has to do with how you apply those ingredients to said bread. Take, for example, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (or, as I like to call it, a “hamburger sandwich” because, when you look at it from the side, it sort of looks like a hamburger is in there).

Sandwich bliss.

I eat all the crusts first, saving the soft inner sandwich for last.

Mama spreads either jam or peanut butter first on one half of the sandwich then wipes the butter knife on the clean half. No, no, no! She doesn’t realize that she’s just contaminated that half of the bread, and this is clearly unacceptable. Witness:

Oh, unspeakable horrors.

Oh, unspeakable horrors.

Now, you could use a clean knife for the other half of the sandwich, but I vastly prefer this method:

I won’t say who taught me this trick*, but I like it.

I won’t say who taught me this trick*, but I like its simplicity.

From there, Mama spreads jam or peanut butter on the other half and then puts the two halves together. Again, this is unacceptable, as sometimes, two jam halves are better than a half with peanut butter. Or maybe you don’t need anything on the second half. She doesn’t even ask first!

Feel my pain.

Feel my pain.

Sometimes I need help spreading the jam all the way to the edge of the bread, but I would still consider this the first meal I can make myself. And that’s not half bad, no matter how you slice it.

Love, Jude

*Mama would like me to point out that she does not condone the cleaning of even the dullest of knives with your tongue.

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Cooking lessons first, morality lessons later

If you’re anything like me and Mama, you have a fridge and freezer full of freshly picked fruit. Time to start making jam!


When Mama was growing up, she told me she had an Italian plum tree and a sour cherry tree in her yard; later, there were apple trees. One by one, though, they began to die, but the plums and “sours” (as she calls them) continue to be among her favorite fruits. It’s probably how she came to pinch the cherries from the tree down the street from her, in the yard of an old woman whose tiny house was all that stood guard over the coveted summer crop.

It’s a wonder, then, that it took three summers before Mama noticed the wild raspberry bush in our neighbor’s yard…especially since the house has been vacant since before I was born. When she noticed the red gems glowing in the sunlight, she darted across our semi-private mountain road with me (after looking both ways, of course) and pointed out the very reddest…

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Refrigerator Pickles, Part Deux

I sure love pickles. Not sweet or bread & butter pickles, mind you, but dill. I especially like when they’re crunchy.

I’ve made pickles before, and it’s really quite simple. Mama found a new recipe that she thought we could try, and it was a perfect chance to use the garden dill before it goes entirely to seed.

These little cucs are the perfect size for a pint jar.

These little cucs are the perfect size for a pint jar.

We have to wait a few days before we can eat them, but no doubt they’ll be worth it.

If you're mouth's not watering just looking at these, then... you mustn't like pickles very much.

If your mouth’s not watering just looking at these, then… you mustn’t like pickles very much.

Love, Jude