jama and the (not so giant) peach pie

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s into September we go!

Full color paperback edition published this year.

Since it’s Roald Dahl Month, with this year marking the 50th anniversary of James and the Giant Peach, something peachy is definitely in order. Dahl’s birthday is next Tuesday, September 13th, and while I may very well attempt a “revolting recipe” then, this week I’m sticking with peaches, or should I say, I’m sticky with peaches. The very first bookish recipe I shared on alphabet soup back in 2007 was for Peach Cobbler, and I remarked then that it was only fitting to begin a blog with a salute to the author who inspired me to write children’s books in the first place.

Pick a peach, any peach.

Whenever late summer rolls around, and the farmer’s market crates are overflowing with hundreds of those juicy golden orbs, I make my once-a-year peach pie. This year, because of James and the Giant Peach, I decided to step outside my comfort zone a little and try Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee, which is a fancy French name for an all butter shortcrust.

From past experience, I knew all butter would be a little trickier to handle, but as hope springs eternal with novice bakers, I felt I could manage a double crust rather than a lattice top. So I gathered all the ingredients, closed my eyes, and thought of  Roald. Continue reading

out and about in charlottesville, virginia

Michie Tavern, Charlottesville, Virginia

Recently, when my parents were visiting from Hawai’i, we drove out to beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia.

Our main objective was lunch at Michie Tavern — an 18th century colonial rest stop serving Southern specialties based on historic recipes. I had been to Charlottesville several times before, thoroughly enjoying Monticello and the University of Virginia campus, but this was our first time at the Tavern. I thought it would be fun to dine near the homes of Jefferson, Monroe, and Madison. Very presidential!

Michie only does a buffet lunch; people wait in line and enter the restaurant at the right of the building. The two hour drive was definitely worth it — take a look at the Bill of Fare:

Colonial Fried Chicken
Hickory Smoked Pork Barbecue
Murphy’s Biscuits
Michie Tavern Corn Bread
Black-eyed Peas
Green Bean Salad
Southern Beets
Stewed Tomatoes
Cole Slaw
Potato Salad
Garden Vegetable Soup
Crispy Peach Cobbler

The fried chicken was so delicious, we all had seconds, but then we were too full to try the peach cobbler for dessert. No matter, I purchased a Michie Tavern Cookbook (cookbooks are my favorite souveniers), and made a batch the other day.

Though they call it a “cobbler,” I would call it a “crisp.” I always thought cobblers had a pie crust on top. Anyway, there’s a pancake-like batter that you pour into the bottom of the baking dish, then you layer the peaches over that, and finally sprinkle the topping over all. Absolutely heavenly!

Continue reading