The tale of the best ever chocolate cream pie

Gentle readers, today I would like to tell you a story about the most delectable pie I have ever made.

A friend of mine from high school now lives in the far, far away land of Michigan with his wife and beyond-adorable two kids. Although we’ve stayed in touch through Facebook, I’ve now found a new way to spy on my old friend’s goings on: a blog he’s started, wherein he chronicles his year-long endeavor to make many, many delicious pies. Go visit The Rationality of Pie; it will be well worth your while.

I’m more of a fruit pie girl, myself. Give me a blueberry pie and you’ll be out of luck if you want a slice. I’m sure that Zeb has a ton of fruity pie recipes lined up when the weather finally warms up. However, since it’s wintertime and fresh fruits aren’t in season, most of the pies he’s posted about have been of the sweet variety: coconut cream, vanilla cream, Indiana buttermilk, etc. Honestly, I prefer reading about sweet pies, rather than eating them. Of course, that all changed when I saw the recipe for Chocolate Cream Pie.

If there’s one thing I can’t pass up, it’s chocolate, especially when it’s something chocolaty made in one’s own kitchen. Homemade chocolate pudding is just tops, and that’s what goes in the crust of this amazing culinary masterpiece. I’m not kidding, folks, this pie filling is some of the best chocolate pudding I have ever tasted. Zeb sums it up perfectly: “Forget the crust – just give me a pan of filling, a spoon, and ten minutes to myself.”

Having never made a pie filling that required precooking, I was more than a little nervous that I would royally screw it up. I shouldn’t have worried in the slightest: the milk didn’t burn, the cornstarch didn’t clump, the egg yolks didn’t scramble and the chocolate (a combination of semi-sweet and milk) melted into the creamiest, most heavenly concoction ever to grace my stovetop.

While I have been going on about the incredible chocolate filling, I must mention the meringue, which takes this pie to a whole new level of awesomeness. The meringue seems straightforward enough (egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar), but one addition makes it almost unearthly: cinnamon. Cinnamon meringue! It’s such a simple addition to a basic recipe that I never would have thought that it would completely change the taste of the finished dish. All I know is that if I ever have to make a meringue again, I am checking to see if cinnamon would compliment the dish, because the smell of cinnamon wafting through my kitchen is almost too much for me to handle. That’s a good thing, people.

Because this is Zeb’s creation (or rather, the creation of the guy who wrote the book that has become Zeb’s second bible), instead of posting the recipe here, I’ll point you over to the original post itself.

I made this pie for a dinner party about a week ago, and to say that it was a hit is the understatement of the year. Inappropriate, near-orgasmic sounds came from everyone at the table as they took tiny, savoring bites, and one of my friends demanded requested that I make it for his upcoming birthday. As long as I’m invited to the party, I think I’ll be happy to oblige.

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Apparently, I disappeared

Wow. Has it really been two months since I’ve visited my own blog? I need to remedy that, and quickly.

Not dead



No, gentle readers, I am very much alive. I’ve just had nothing of interest or value to post for the last thirty nine days.

Until I get myself back into regular blogging mode (which will hopefully be sometime in the relatively near future), here is a photo of my kitteh. Her name is Mai. She likes to smack my face while I’m sleeping. She’s weird.

Stuff My Students Said

As a teacher, I regularly come into contact with young children.  As young children, they tend to stay true to Bill Cosby’s adage and say the darndest things. On several occasions I have walked out of a lesson laughing so hard that I couldn’t even get the words out of my mouth to explain why I was laughing.  It makes for a pretty good work environment.

There’s only one problem.  My memory is that of a gnat.  I remember cutting one student’s lesson short last year because I couldn’t stop laughing, but I can’t for the life of me remember what that student said to make me laugh so hard.  That’s just not cool.

And so, with the help of a colleague, a new blog was born: Stuff My Students Said. We decided to chronicle just what the blog says: stuff our students say. Specifically, the stuff they say that makes us laugh, or is just plain out of left field.

While this blog is the result of piano lessons and stuff said by piano students, we certainly welcome stuff other students say, whether they be from music lessons or math class.  So, if you know any teachers, spread the word and tell them to submit the stuff their students said.

Tomato Town

Last night I had written a masterpiece.  It was one of those moments when the planets were aligned and the words came effortlessly, flowing through my nimbly typing fingers as if I were possessed. All was right with the universe.

And then, as I neared the end, some jerk in one of the science stations of the cosmos decided to do something akin to kicking out Pluto from the planetary reindeer game, causing the universe to crash.  Or, more precisely, Safari crashed. Since I type these posts into a text box on a web page, a crashing internet browser means sayonara to whatever I haven’t saved.

I thought about saving a draft literally two seconds before the screen went blank.

It was a sad moment, and I cried for many an hour over the lost work of literary brilliance.  But a lost post is not what I want to talk to you all about, gentle readers.  Today I want to talk to you about tomatoes.

My grandparents have a vegetable garden in their backyard.  It is unlike the garden I normally maintain in that:

  1. the plants grow from the ground, rather than carefully doled out handfuls of soil placed in sad looking plastic pots, and
  2. the plants actually produce edible vegetables.
IMG_5442

there's many more where these came from

One of the prize crops that grows in this garden is the beefsteak tomato.  The tomatoes in my grandparents’ garden grow like weeds.  They have taken over like an unstoppable invading alien species, or a plague of tomato-shaped locusts.  Tomatoes can be seen in every corner, in every spare container, and there is no end in sight. They are like that ginormous salad you get at a popular restaurant.  You know the one; the more you eat of it, the bigger it seems to get.  To be honest, I’m a little frightened that I will wake up one morning to find that our tomatoes have mutated and taken over the world.

The point is, there is an over-abundance of tomatoes here.  My grandparents have given bags of tomatoes to me, my parents, their neighbors and even that weird guy who works down at the corner gas station.  Each time I leave the house, I hear a refrain of “Would any of your friends like any tomatoes?”

We are a little bit tomatoed out.

There are only so many times I can eat a salad of mostly tomato before I start getting tired of it. (Read: about thrice.)  So, I am taking it upon myself to help my grandparents get rid of their tomatoes in the most humane way possible: by delving into my arsenal of recipes and making every dish known to man that requires the use of tomatoes.  I have a feeling that I will most likely be exhausting that arsenal rather quickly, as the tomato plants are replenishing their reserves as fast as we can pluck them from the vine.

And so, gentle readers, you can look forward to an onslaught of recipes in the coming days and weeks featuring our favorite fruit that is beginning to wear out its welcome.

In the meanwhile, would any of you like any tomatoes?

Current events

Once upon a time, I regularly checked in on a blog that was maintained by the wife of a friend of my main squeeze.  Her posts were witty and hilarious, covering everything from the mundane and ordinary to the spiritual and all that is Josh Groban.  Over the course of some months I developed a feeling of oneness with this woman who, despite being friends on Facebook, I have never actually met.

Then one day the posts stopped.  There was some lame excuse for not blogging. Something about a doctoral dissertation and birthing a small human being.  Every once in a while (read: every four or five months) a new post would show up in my RSS reader, letting the world know that she had not in fact fallen off a cliff and perished a horrible, bloody death, and that someday soon the posts would return with their previous frequency.

It seems that someday soon has arrived.  Theology Girl has been updating with alarming regularity over the past week.  (You hear that, Adrienne?  Now everyone on my blog knows about it, so you have to keep updating.  How’s that for peer pressure?)

Although I had planned to take a short break from the internet, I hadn’t expected it to go on for quite as long as it has.  I wish I could present a cute baby from my loins as proof that I’ve been busy with other things, but that would be a vicious lie. The truth is, I’m just plain lazy.

The good news is that almost two weeks away has given me plenty of blogging fodder.  Here’s hoping I can maintain my resolve and follow through with posting the weird shit I saw last week.

I’m sure that my return to blogging after my brief hiatus, though, will be completely overshadowed by the big news that has just overloaded all the airwaves: the death of Michael Jackson.

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Experiment: internet abstinence

Every once in a while I get the feeling that my life is being sucked away by all the time I spend puttering around on the internet.  This is especially true after a couple of weeks of dreary weather and friends who have left to go on vacation. The only logical course of action in a situation like that is to spend all one’s time playing flash games, reading blogs and stalking people on Facebook. However, like most repetitive activities done whilst bored, after a time that routine gets really old.

I can’t help but wonder if I’m slightly addicted to the internet.  While it’s not quite the same taboo as being addicted to internet porn, there’s something unsettling about realizing I can’t get through my day without checking the weather channel more times than I brush my teeth.

This week, however, promises to be different.  For one thing, the weather is supposed to be lovely. For another, I only have a couple students to teach, so my days are relatively free.  For yet another, my long-lost fiance, who I have not seen in a couple of months, is riding into town in his noble Subaru.  Tonight.  And staying for a whole week.

In an effort to wean myself back into the real world, I’ve decided to try an experiment this week: internet abstinence.  Email will be checked once per day, since that is my primary method of communication with the outside world, but the internet browser will remain unopened.  Blogs will remain unread.  Free flash games will remain unplayed.  This blog will remain unupdated. (Admittedly, the change won’t be seen much here, since my blogging seems to have deteriorated into a once-a-week phenomenon, but you get the picture.)

So, gentle readers, I will return in a week, hopefully with tales of wonder from the real world, and hopefully without too many symptoms of withdrawal.  You can expect an onslaught of comments on your own blogs when I get myself caught up. Later, alligators!

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