Last week end I had the absolute pleasure of taking Kate McDermott's Art of the Pie class. I was so excited. From the time I got my confirmation I had been counting the days until the class. I met Kate at a food blogging conference once and ran into her again at a University Farmer's market event. Every time I had contact with her I reminded myself that I had to get to her class. She lived so close to me,just blocks away. But schedules and life's responsibilities have a habit of getting in the way of what we really want to do. I finally decided if I wanted to take the class I was going to make it happen. What a surprise when I discovered she had moved to Port Angeles-3 to 4hrs away from Seattle. But I was determined. Bags packed,car loaded ,reservations made , off to Port Angeles we headed on Friday night.
Kate demonstrated everything before we started our pies
If you don't know about Kate's classes please check out her web site. She was Seattle Magazine Editor's Pick for Best of 2010; her class was voted the Best Cooking Class 2010 by Seattle Weekly and my absolute favorite chef, Dorie Greenspan (author of Around My French Table and Baking with Julia) said : "I would do anything to take an Art of the Pie class from Kate." Kate recently returned from a month of teaching in Europe at Kate Hill's Kitchen at Camont-another favorite of mine and on my bucket list ! So taking all of that into consideration,can you even imagine how thrilled I was about taking the class?
After talking to us about placing our good intentions into the pie, Kate showed us how to gently but quickly mix our flour with our fats for the dough. If you put love into what you do what results will always be good.
We couldn't believe the size and quality of the rhubarb that was waiting to be the heart of our pies. We chopped rhubarb; grated a little fresh nutmeg;sprinkled sugar;added vanilla and oops spilled in a little Orange Cointreau. We tasted the tartness and sweetness of the mix before adding it to the pie shell.
Kate had us place our intentions into the pie before we made it and I wanted to put more of my love on the outside of the pie too !
The last slice of my rhubarb pie
It's all about love and following your senses, not having rigid rules. Fresh fruit, quality ingredients and good intentions. Don't get caught up in "the ingredients and the directions". Is it Zen like-yes it is. I was again reminded of Tita from Like Water from Chocolate and the love she put into her cooking-that's the love Kate puts into her baking and wants to pass on to all of us. Susan Dobrian wrote an article titled: "Romancing the Cook" and in that article she describes meal preparation that perfectly describes Kate's approach to baking :
The kitchen becomes a veritable reservoir of creative and magical events, in which the cook who possesses this talent becomes artist, healer, and lover. Culinary activity involves not just the combination of prescribed ingredients, but something personal and creative emanating from the cook, a magical quality which transforms the food and grants its powerful properties that go beyond physical satisfaction to provide spiritual nourishment as well.
Faith over at her blog The Kitchn has an excellent article that contains all of Kate's tips and basic recipe for the pie crust. I have fallen back in love with baking pies and can't wait to make my next one. I'll be off to the Farmer's Market this week end to see what looks and tastes fresh enough for my pie-you should do the same !
So,not only was I so very blessed to be able to meet 4 wonderful pie makers and share time and baking with them I stumbled on one of the most wonderful places to stay outside of Port Angeles. It's a place that has been around for years and is owned and managed by 2nd generation family members-Whiskey Creek Beach Resort . I couldn't believe my luck when I called Friday morning at 10am and got a reservation for a cabin on the beach for that evening ! When I told J we had to bring our own bedding and towels he just shook his head and wondered what I had gotten us into. As we drove down the road to our little cabin he was smitten. He fell head over heals in love with this place - we both did.
It's right on the water and feels thousands of miles away from civilization. We watched the eagles soar; the otters swim; the waves crash and the boats head east and west through the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. We could sit at our kitchen table and watch everything outside of our window-it couldn't have been more perfect. We had a fire going most of the time in the wood stove . Our last evening there the sun was shining, we took our crab legs and beer out to a log on the beach and had a lovely romantic dinner at the edge of the water. When I start to feel stressed I will put myself back on the log and remember the smells, the sounds of the water crashing on the rocks and eagles soaring overhead.
Drift Inn Cabin at Whiskey Creek-sweet and right on the water
If you want to see more pictures from Whiskey Creek watch the video !