Sunday, November 09, 2008

Concord Grape Pie: A Dessert to Live For

Concord Grape Pie

Last Thursday, I saw Salman Rushdie speak on religion and tolerance, and he presented a bleak outlook on the world, full of pessimism. He took questions from the audience, and the last question was stark, "What, sir, do you live for?" Rushdie replied, "dinner." And we all left to eat ours.

As I ate some of this ridiculously amazing Concord Grape Pie later that evening, I thought of Rushdie's statement. Why do we always term fabulous desserts "to die for"? This my friends--it's a pie to live for--despite all the bad in the world, to know that you could have just one more bite of this pie sometime in the future--well that's a fine prospect indeed.

Concord grapes are as sweet as can be, with what I can only term "real" grape-y flavor. On the East Coast you can find them at your farmer's market this time of year. Their only downside? Seeds. Fellow foodblogger Kathy at Not Eating Out in New York lamented this fact when she shared her version of this pie. However, the recipe I used gets around this easily. You squeeze the grapes out of their skins (reserving the skins) and boil the insides, then push the insides through a mesh strainer. The skins, the now-seedless insides, some sugar, flour and a bit of lemon juice all get mixed up and baked in a pie crust with a brown-sugar streusel crust.

You can find the recipe here at Lisa's Kitchen. I will admit it--I cheated with a store bought pie crust, but the grapes are so magical, it's really not important. Be sure to let the pie cool completely before you dig in--that gives the filling time to set. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 01, 2008



The winter coat is officially out from the back of the closet, socks are in heavy rotation. While daydreaming through my Emerging Markets class the other day, snowflakes flurried out the 14th floor window. The heater in my apartment? Clanging away.

In other words, its time for soup, hearty and warm. The first one of the season was an Italian--Ribollita--studded with white beans, pancetta, and spinach. Served over toasted, garlicky, crusty bread, it was delicious and got better as the week went on--the perfect, reheatable dinner for a quick meal. I used this Giada De Laurentiis recipe at the Food Network site, which I found via Apartment Therapy's The Kitchen. It's a quick and easy version of ribollita, which was just fine with me.