Pies of the West Presents: special guest STACEY MARIE !
(Experimental Baking in a Properly Equipped Kitchen)
Stacey Marie and I met on a surf/camping trip and instantly recognized each other from the Tribe of Dork; Girly Tomboy Division. She is a wicked improvisatory cook and a massage therapist with a cult following, check out her business * cough plug cough * Pacifica Massage and Wellness.
Why Guest Star this lass? One day at Home Break, Stacey charged into a detonating wave with such panache that her pummeling is seared into memory forever. I was curious how this chutzpah spelled out in the kitchen, so we arranged for an experimental pie-bake. Heed our results:
After hemming and hawing we decided to flow with a) vegan curry tofu pie, and b) peapple pie. What is peapple pie? Primarily, it’s not PEOPLE pie, as my effing autocorrect insists. Peapple pie is peach and apple, pronounce at your own risk.
Stacey’s kitchen is chock full of spices and ingredients, plus mixers and quality Useful Gadgetry. Polar opposite of cooking in my kitchen – mine’s that puzzle you’re working on with missing pieces, but you don’t know which pieces and you don’t even know what the damn picture is since the puzzle box lid accidentally got recycled. Just as well Stacey’s place is prepared, as we had some challenges. And I’m not talking our music playlist that refused to comply until we put on Kevin Costner. ( You must try this. )
Our first challenge was the crust, and we chose two; vegan xantham-gum free, and polenta. Xantham gum , that which binds all together, is common in vegan dishes but turns my gut into Waterloo. Ok. Nix the xantham.
How does vegan xantham-free dough turn out? Why, like shit.
We did everything right; mixed it just so, gently mooshed the dough, freezered the dough, coddled that dang dough. Despite our efforts the dough kept breaking off into a zillion crumbs like so many rabbit turds. In the end we pushed bits of the mixture into little pie tins with our thumbs – rest assured this is not a move Stacey pulls on clients. In any case the crusts were U.G.L.Y. But effective. By the time we reached the final dollops of dough, it was warm. And what happened? It stuck together and rolled out! Did we hallucinate, or does vegan xantham-free dough work better when it’s WARM?!?! Arrrrg!
No debate here, the best thing to do with vegan xantham-free dough is to hurl it as a Rage Missile at Kevin Costner while he’s singing. The two are meant to be together. To illustrate, I only had one measly sheet of paper to mess with, so I present zero perspective, Mr. Costner doesn’t look remotely like himself, and his legs are stumps:
Now it was time for polenta. We simply boiled the polenta, threw in some vegan butter, and after it cooled we – easily, mind you – placed it into the wee tins and pre-baked to harden the crust. Perfection. *Ding ding dingdingdingdingdingding!!* Polenta wins!
Stacey walked me through the ingredients for the curry pie; tofu, celery, mushrooms, squash, onion, ginger, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, coriander, water, coconut oil, some kind of voodoo salt, what other spices am I missing? The curry itself involved this process of caramelizing tomato paste, garlic, ginger, onion, spices, coconut oil, water as needed by cooking the lot in a saucepan until it was scrape-able off the bottom of the pan. Here I discovered the merits of proper wooden spoons for scraping and tasting and ingredient wrangling. Totally better than metal ones from garage sales don’t ask.
Next we mixed and cooked the rest of the ingredients, where Stacey enlightened me that it’s best to cut food into same-sized pieces, so every bit will cook at the same speed. Another one of those slap-head-obvious-but-I’d-never-ever-guess and it’s great tips!
Not obvious was stumbling into an unexpected PERIL – Stacey’s mom called during the chopping process. Public service announcement: if you value your life, do NOT answer certain phone calls while baking. We almost lost it here. Note below how Stacey keeps her cool, though the ingredients suffer from emotive transference.
Disaster averted, we made way for the peapples. These babies couldn’t have been easier. Chop the peaches and apples into same size bits, plop into wee tins featuring lovely polenta or goddamn vegan xantham-free crusts and BAM! Ready to bake.
In the end we had DELICIOUS vegan curry and peapple pies that tasted fantastic. Every bite vanished within 24 hours. Stacey, you’re a genius! Not even our rabbit-turd vegan dough ruined the filling flavor. Shazaaaaam!
So there you have it. Stacey’s vegan curry recipe is super nommy, peapple pie is ‘new’ and delicious, and I like my first portrait so much I’m including it twice:
Thank you, Stacey Marie!
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Xantham gum is:
a) your friend
b) some nasty s***
c) a deity from Scientology
a) a type of Italian car
b) a word that almost rhymes with ‘Olestra’, but doesn’t
L) your new best friend
a) is also mysterious
b) bakes pie but probably not with xantham-free vegan dough
c) did a great job with ‘The Hatfields and McCoys’
y) has a sense of humor such that he will overlook my mockery and super crap doodle
Peapple Pie is:
a) trademarked by Stacey Marie and Madison
x) perfect for all meals and occasions
d) too yummy to be a Rage Missile
Vegan Tofu Curry Pie is:
a) healthy and delicious
9) great, so long as you avoid the rabbit-turd xantham-free vegan dough
*) a hippie’s dream
V) genius invention of Stacey Marie