1. Roll a crust. Press it in. Every time I do this, I think of Mary Poppins comparing pie crusts to flimsy promises: “Easily made and easily broken.”
2. Wash the blueberries, then toss them with sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and love.
3. Berries in the crust. This is the point I have to summon all my strength to not eat them all.
4. Put on the top and cut holes. You see that little white blob peeking out through the hole on the left there? That’s a pat of butter. Butter makes it better.
5. Bake until golden.
6. Blueberry pie has the distinction of being one of the few baked goods better served cold. Like revenge.
This is the recipe I used. It’s from my friend Ellen, who apparently doesn’t believe in writing recipes in order, and also likes to sprinkle commentary throughout. It made me happy, even if it was a little bit of up and down reading to get through it. It’s from her grandmother.
Combine 4 cups fresh blueberries with 3/4 -1 cup of sugar, 3 Tbs all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, a dash of salt, and 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel (although I NEVER use the lemon peel).
Line 9 inch pie plate with pastry (see below). Add filling. Sprinkle with 1 tsp lemon juice (this is why I never put in the lemon peel AND I never measure the juice – I just shake until I feel like stopping!). Dot with 1 Tbs butter. Lay top crust over the top, adjust and cut slits for escape of steam. Seal edges. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
Double Crust Pastry:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
8-10 Tbs cold water
Stir together flour and salt. With a pastry cutter, cut in the shortening until the pieces are pea-sized. Sprinkle 1 Tbs of water over the flour mixture and gently toss with a fork. Repeat using 1 Tbs of water until the whole flour mixture is moistened. Divide in half and form each into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half until they are about 12 inches in diameter.
I’m doing my very first Hey Brooklyn giveaway! Friday’s episode features Porter Block and we’re giving away their latest CD The Gowanus Yacht Club. It’s a collaborative work featuring a lot of different singer-songwriters, and makes fantastic summer listening. Go to the episode page for details.
Please note: Only the CD is being given away. That cuddly dude with the soft brown eyes is mine-all-mine!
Hugs are free, and ads are cheap! Just $10!
If you would like to advertise on my blog and have your banner seen by hundreds of the most fabulous, discriminating eyeballs on the internet, now is the the time to set it up for July 1st! See here for more information, and email me (theambershow at gmail dot com) for details. All sponsors get a write up, too!
I’m back to selling photography! See my new store here!
I had a go at selling on Etsy a while back, but didn’t like it. On Etsy you pay a tiny fee per listing. That’s fine – it’s an amount I could cover with the coins dug out of my couch cushions – but it was annoying to pay given the lack of volume of business my store did every month.
I closed up shop and let it sit dormant. My best sellers were my copyright violating P*ep photos, anyway, and I couldn’t continue selling them.*
One of the beauties of SxSW is the people you meeting hanging out in the hallways, at the parties, in the bars, and at the dinners. I serendipitously wound up one night at a table full of people who were launching a start-up called “Store Envy” storenvy.com
It’s a similar concept to Etsy; the biggest difference for me is that they don’t have a fee per listing. Like Etsy, it’s free to launch a store, although it’s in private beta now. (They currently have Pro stores available that offer warehousing and shipping for a 15% fee) I requested a free beta store and got one, because they like me.
You can visit it by going to theambershow.storenvy.com Right now I’ve listed nine different 8×10 and 8×12 prints.
One thing I’m going to do in the near future is offer custom-cut mats. The problem with the way I (and a lot of people) shoot is that we compose our images in 2×3. That’s normally a 4×6″ photo, and if you blow it up again, 8×12″. Most frames, of course, come in 8×10″. There would be a HUGE market for anyone who starts making reasonably-priced frames for 8×12″ prints, as many of us are loathe to cut off those two inches for many of our favorite pictures when we blow them up.
Since no one has thought to make millions doing this yet, custom matting is the solution, but Hello! Expensive! So I’m going to start offering custom mats (bought in bulk), sized to fit both 11×14″ frames (a standard size frame you can find anywhere) and 11.75×15.75″ frames, the size of the most common RIBBA frame from IKEA, and frame of choice for cheap people everywhere.
Go check out my shop and pass it along to your friends, if you would. I’d appreciate it so much. If you have a suggestion for me, please share. Currently, 100% of the profits from the sale of every $10 print will be going directly to getting these little guys off the beach and into a good home. They are puppies born recently to a dog called Patches that some of my Puerto Rican dog rescue friends have noticed on the beach. We really don’t want them to languish in the filth they’re in, but there is currently zero dinero to help them with. Since I’ve gotten a handful of emails asking whether some of my prints were for sale over the past few months, this seemed like a good move all around.
*For you newer readers: I got a cease-and-desist letter from the maker of P*eps, telling me I couldn’t use their image for commercial purposes. If you’d like one, I still have a few of both “Godzilla vs. P*ep” and “4 P*eps” available, yours free with a $10+ donation to Manos Por Patas. Just forward your receipt to me with your address and I’ll send it along.
“I think a raving sea monster could have attacked your wedding and you wouldn’t have noticed from all the GOOGLY EYE STARING you were doing!” – Jen
This week SO needs a fork in it.
I got a hurt hand, went to the doctor, got majorly sick, had a disaster with Hey Brooklyn that Rob is looking into, took the first of hopefully many photos of shelter dogs, went to a Yankees game (with Chris Cavs!), tasted guacamole at the Bell House, had a lovely interview, celebrated my second anniversary, and began working on an exciting new project which I’m going to share here on Monday.
Thank you for all for the input on my last name. It was one of those things where I said to Rob, “I don’t really know if I should hit publish on this thing.” I’m glad I did.
I looked into buying a full-frame DSLR camera. Holy mother of dog! They are expensive! Even the prices on refurbished ones had me reaching for a paper bag to breathe into. I had no idea. This is what I really want, a Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
Last week I was asked to take photos of dogs for an organization called Stray from the Heart. They place dogs in foster care and try to find them “forever homes”. Most folks don’t have good, clear photos of the dogs they’re fostering and don’t know how to take them. But good photos go a long way to make a good first impression on potential adoptive owners, so they’re pretty important, and since I take pretty good photos of my own dogs they reached out to me for help, and I was thrilled that they did.
My first session was Sunday in a dimly lit apartment. I did the best I could and managed to get some good shots, but I got frustrated at the noise in the photos and the lack of rapid-focusing I needed. The experience hammered home the point that I’ve maxed out what I can do and learn on my Rebel Xti, and I’m ready to take on something beefier. The research begins.
In other pet photography news, Sarah from Things are Better with a Parrot exchanged some of her printed note cards for a photography session with pet photographer Li of Fat Orange Cat Studio. I spent an hour today pouring over Li’s website. She’s just started her business a year ago, and my favorite parts of her site were reading the “learning” parts of her blog. It’s so inspiring!
If you would like to advertise on my page, now is the the time to set it up for May 1st! See here for more information, and email me (theambershow at gmail dot com) for details. We’ll have your ad up first thing Friday morning.
I hope you get to do all of your very favorite things this weekend.
Still sick. Tonight, after a hot shower and a dose of meds I’m going to try to get out of the house for a while. I need new laundry baskets, some no-kill mouse traps and a 2009 day planner. Pretty exciting stuff, let me tell you. I’ve spent some time today “Poloadroiding” some vacation photos.
As far as first weeks go, this one is pretty much the worst ever.