Tuesday, July 9, 2013

4th of July Sweet Cherry Pie

Over 4th of July break most people seemed excited about getting out of town, soaking up some sun, swimming, watching fireworks, etc. I was just excited to get out of the office (shocker) and spend my days nerding out in the kitchen. 

homemade cherry pie crust recipe easy

I pretended I was Joy the Baker. Nothing to do but have fun cooking my heart out, take a million photos of my finished products, and listen to groovy tunes all the livelong day. (I'm sure her career involves way more than that, but let's not burst that bubble just yet, mkay?)

homemade cherry pie crust recipe easy

Despite my best efforts and no matter what Songza 
(my current obsession) played, I couldn't get this song out of my head. It was my mighty mantra to chant and sing as I overcame the fear of making my very first pie from scratch. 

I decided to go with my homegirl Martha Stewart on this one, and Miss Thang did not disappoint. Let's get cooking...

For the crust:
  • ½ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into pea-sized cubes
  • 6 tablespoons ice water

For the cherry filling: 

  • 2 pounds fresh cherries
  •  ⅓ cup sugar
  • squirt of fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold and cut pea-sized cubes

Brush on the crust before baking: 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter

Directions:
In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar; pulse briefly. If you don't have a food processor (don't worry, I don't), just use a big bowl and a spoon. You'll be fine. Add 1 cup of tiny cubes of butter; mix/pulse until mixture forms into a course ball, with a few pea-sized pieces of butter still in tact. These will melt beautifully when baked. Add a tablespoon of ice water at a time - 6 should be plenty, and try not to overmix.

Place dough on a clean surface and cut in half. Shape into 2 disks, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and let them take a nap in the refrigerator for at least an hour. I did 2. 

While your dough sits in the fridge, you can use this time to pit your cherries and prepare your filling. Once all the seeds and stems have been removed, simply combine the
 cherries, lemon juice, sugar, almond extract, and cornstarch in a bowl. Set aside in a cool area. If you still have time on your hands, be a Productive Patty and do your dishes, or get wild and start a dance party in your living room. The world is your oyster!

homemade cherry pie crust recipe easy

When naptime is over, place one dough disk onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin until it forms a circle that's about 13 inches in diameter and about ¼ inch thick. It doesn't have to be perfect. Once that's done, put your rolling pin in the the center of your dough and wrap your dough around it to help transfer to a 9-inch pie plate (like this). Carefully fill in the edges of the pie plate with about an inch of dough hanging over the edges. 

Roll out the other disk of dough just like the first one and use a pizza cutter or knife to slice 8 or 10 1-inch strips of dough.  Carefully weave the strips of dough to form a lattice over the top of the pie. (I found this website very helpful for this part.) Bring the lattice stripes and edges together, pinching with your thumb and forefinger to make a wavy decorative design. If you have extra dough, feel free to cut out stars, leaves, hearts, or whatever your little heart desires to put on top.

homemade cherry pie crust recipe easy

Brush the top of the crust with your beaten egg and butter mixture. It gives it a nice golden brown color. Dot the little cherry gaps in the crust with tiny cubes of butter.  

Preheat your oven to 375° and pop in your masterpiece. Cook for one hour, until golden brown and bubbly. Cool, serve with vanilla ice cream, and devour while victoriously shouting with your mouth full "She's my cherry pie!!". That last step is optional, but completely necessary if you're a weirdo like moi. 

homemade cherry pie crust recipe easy

Fun factoid: Did you know that July 22nd is Pi Approximation Day? Yeah I know there's Pi Day (3.14, March 14th) but everyone knows that! Surprise the world with your smarty pants skills and them this pie to celebrate!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Houston Gay Pride Parade

It's the most wonderful tiiime of the yeeaarrrr...There'll be jello shots flowing, rainbows will be glowing, you're such a hot meeeessssss. It's the moooost wonderful tiiiiime ooof the year!

houston gay pride parade 2013

I awoke Saturday morning with excitement in my bones. I was ready. Rainbows, glitter, decked out floats, boys in short shorts, scantily clad women, beads sailing through the sky, and the Houston Police Department turning a blind eye to the open container law. It was like Christmas for party animals! Plus (as I'm sure you've figured out by now), I cannot resist a sensational drag queen!

houston gay pride parade 2013

More importantly, we were celebrating something amazing. Choice. Choice, freedom, and love. In my opinion, love is love is love, and it makes my heart want to burst seeing thousands of people come together, accepting each other for who they are, celebrating their beliefs and their love.

houston gay pride parade 2013


houston gay pride parade 2013

To get the party started, I made rainbow fruit skewers over a blueberry sky, soaked in Passionfruit Vodka. It was a whopping 104° outside and I wanted something light, fresh, and cold. This baby did the trick!


cool fruit rainbow vodka
  
An array of juicy blackberries, blueberries, kiwi, mango, pineapple, mango, and watermelon. I made this early in the day and let it sit in the fridge for about 3 hours. Mother Nature's magical flavor rainbow gave everyone the swift kick in the pants they needed to get the party started, especially after biting into the watermelon and mango. 

For outdoor decorations, I made a simple rainbow with streamers. I loved the way the colorful strands twisted back and forth in the summer breeze. They reminded me of flying dragons.
houston gay pride parade 2013

houston gay pride parade 2013

We pre-gamed for a while at my place, with nothing to do but crank up the pop music, enjoy our booze fruit, guzzle a few beers, and cover ourselves from head to toe in shimmery glitter and bright body paint. As the sun began to set, it was time to hit the parade!

houston gay pride parade 2013


Aren't these two just the cutest? I love their creative costumes!

houston gay pride parade 2013

houston gay pride parade 2013

houston gay pride parade 2013

houston gay pride parade 2013 104.1 KRBE
houston gay pride parade 2013
  
houston gay pride parade 2013

houston gay pride parade 2013

Ha! Clever girl...

houston gay pride parade 2013

houston gay pride parade 2013

houston gay pride parade 2013

(From left to right: Alvine, me, Mr. Mike G, Kateri & Michelle)
houston gay pride parade 2013

We left dripping with sweat, covered in a kaleidoscope of beads. It was such a fabulous night in the gayborhood where rainbows always reign!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Free Press Summer Fest

Well Houston, we did it. Fueled by mother nature's endorphins, loads of booze and God knows what else, slathered in the highest SPF we could get our hands on, we braved the summer heat and humidity for an entire June weekend outdoors. Partying our sweaty butts off through another Summer Fest

Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert

This year's
Summer Fest was definitely the most chill I've been to. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast, saw a lot of great acts and the people watching was fantastic, but it felt like everyone had their game plan set in motion to battle the brutal temperatures. The general plan for most consisted of: a) get in quickly b) find shade c) lay out your blanket/claim your land d) kick back and enjoy! 

After fighting a hangover from hell Saturday morning (a cardinal mistake of mixing beer, liquor and wine), I hopped in a cab and got to Eleanor Tinsley Park  late afternoon just in time to catch the tail end of Alabama Shakes performance. These festive party animals greeted me as I entered the park.

Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert indians

Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert alabama shakes

Brittany's soulful voice and the bluesy, toe-tappin' rock sounds made my heart swell. I was ready and eager to wander around and let the good times roll.  Here are a few snaps of the performances we caught, linked to my favorite songs.

Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert

Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert matt & kim


Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert the postal service

Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert macklemore

A guy in the crowd was wearing this giant fur coat and tossed it on stage to him. A pretty sweet reward for the gallons of sweat he lost wearing that beast all day.

Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert macklemore fur coat

Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert macklemore fur coat

Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert macklemore fur coat

Cat Power


Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert cat power

TV on the Radio


Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert tv on the radio

Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert tv on the radio

As the sun went down on Sunday, we ended our weekend with some gypsy punk, dancing the kazachok to Gogol Bordello

This is my favorite photo of the entire weekend. I want to recreate this photo for myself, but I'd probably look more like a drunken train wreck than a wine-soaked badass. 


Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert gogol bordello

Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert gogol bordello

Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert gogol bordello

Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park Free Press Summer Fest 2013 FPSF Houston eleanor tinsley park concert gogol bordello

Another successful year! I can't wait to see the lineup for Summer Fest 2014. I know it's going to be a scorcher, but let's keep the faith for any sort of cloud cover, rain, or low temperatures. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stanley Kubrick Exhibit: LACMA

Jeremy and I went to Southern California for our 2 year anniversary last month (yay us!). Topping his list of things to do was checking out the Stanley Kubrick exhibit at LACMA. The top of my list consisted of big Kardashian butts, lavish lunches at The Ivy, and paparazzi madness. We have different views on "fun". 

Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Director's Chair

I was excited to see the exhibit too of course, and definitely considered it something to check off life's bucket list. So as soon as we landed we headed straight over to the museum to wander around and marvel at the thousands of pieces that made up this director's amazing life and masterful work. 

Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Director's Chair

Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Director's Chair


Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The exhibit was split into different rooms, each filled with memorabilia from specific films. There was 2001: A Space Odyssey room, one for Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange, etc. My favorite room was The Shining. Out of all his movies, it's the one I've seen the most. It always sucks me right in. I don't really find it wet-the-bed scary as much as eerily fascinating, beautifully shot, and thought provoking.

Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art The Shining typewriter

Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art The Shining Danny Sweater Apollo

Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art The Shining Twins

Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art The Shining Jack Nicholson

Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Being the nosy girl I am, I enjoyed reading all of his letters. The one below is from Audrey Hepburn!

Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

A few more of my favorite pieces...



Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Mr. Kubrick's prized chessboard... 

Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Stanley Kubrick LACMA Exhibit Collection of images from Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

If you're a monster Kubrick fan and thirsty for more, Jeremy made an Imgur Gallery filled with snapshots of everything his googly eyes popped out at. If you want to see the exhibit yourself, you have until June 30th to get your buns over there. You won't regret it!

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