Last week was a week of firsts for me in lots of ways . . . one major one being the pie you see above! I made this apple and dried cherry pie on Sunday in celebration of Adam's birthday ("pie" is second only to "garlic" on his favorite-eats list!). I've never made pie before, unless you count pecan pie made with a frozen crust following the instructions on the side of a bottle of Karo -- which, frankly, I can't count while still holding my head up high. For this special birthday pie, I knew I wanted to make the crust from scratch and that I wanted to incorporate some of the dried cherries I'd splurged on when I made truffles for New Year's (I promise to talk about that someday, too!).
Enter Smitten Kitchen (natch). I thought for sure Deb would have a perfect recipe for me but, even though she has several cherry recipes in her archives and plenty on pie, there wasn't anything I thought I could use my dried cherries for. So I settled for using her all-butter crust recipe and finding a separate filling recipe. My search eventually led me to the place I should have started with, the cooking Bible known as the Joy of Cooking. While the "perfect" recipe wasn't there, either, some quick flipping of pages led me to the super-simple apple pie receipe and I just added 2 handfulls of cherries to the recipe.
The results? Pretty darn good for a first attempt, if I say so myself! I should have mixed the dough up a tiny bit more, I should have rolled out the bottom crust a bit thinner, and the cherries didn't add anything at all (good to know, now I won't waste them in cooking!), but the pie was definitely good and the recipe is certainly a keeper. Next time I might add more spice just to see if we like that even more, and I'm sure I'll try other apple pie recipes as well, but this one is definitely getting bookmarked for the future!
The other first? This:
No, I didn't just learn to ride a bike last week . . . but I did, for the first time EVER, commute to work on this bicycle! This is proof of just how much influence your peers have on you -- had you asked me a year ago whether I would ever consider riding 5 miles each way to work everyday instead of taking the subway/bus, I would have been confident in saying a firm "NO WAY!" But one of my coworkers rides his bike in from Brooklyn everyday and after enough encouragement/suggestions, along with the realization that even though I was paying for a gym membership I rarely went, the idea started to grow on me. Combining my commute with my workout and cancel my gym membership? Brilliant!
The above bike belonged to my mother-in-law and had been in their garage for years, so when I asked if I could have it they were happy to give it to me. I'm pretty sure no one really believed I would actually ride to work, but when the weather got nice last week I totally did! It took much too long and I'm sure I was the klutziest person on the path, but I made it to work and back in one piece and got a great workout out of it! I plan to ride most of the summer and fall, weather-allowing . . . and it feels great!
Oh, and apparently I'm about 6 months behind the NYC bike commute trend . . . the New York Times even has a TOPIC on bike commuting!!