"I'm a genius," he proclaimed, then looked at me like a used car salesmen and an online guru in one. "Follow me on this. Pumpkin pie. Pecan Pie. Everybody wants both. Why do they have to be separate? [dramatic pause] Just combine them in one pie! One pie! A Pumpcan Pie!" Then he mimed a mic drop and took credit for everything that proceeds from here (except the chocolate chips. They were my own rogue doing.)
Pie guide after pie guide will tell you, with great emphasis, "do not overwork the dough," but where are all those pie guides when the liquid is spent, and the dough resembles a swath of desert? CRICKETS! The whole process puts my perfectionist self on edge because all I want is to deliver the flaky pie crust that friends and family (and sometimes complete strangers) expect, and I want it to be whole grain. That's challenging enough, but then, you want to make a gluten free whole grain pie crust? Well, here it is!
You won't be able to share this Turmeric Pie with everyone, but it's a step in the right direction. It's dairy free, but it's not vegan. It's gluten free, but it's not nut free. It's an attempt to share, and if you really know your crowd, it just might work. The main offender for my crowd was gluten, so this Turmeric Pie did the trick.
Corn for dessert? If it’s sweet, creamy and tastes like ice cream like this Frozen Corn Tart with a Chocolate Crust, then heck yesss!
My eyes were GLUED to the enigmatic recording software, lines flaring like a frenetic life-support monitor. The producer/engineer clipped, elongated, patched and layered vocals like a wizard. He added flourishes that lodged little tunes in my brain and made me reconsider every song I’d ever heard- how little I had appreciated the magnitude of work that goes into each song!
How does a stylist/blogger end up in a recording studio?
I was there for a work related project (I will definitely tell you more about why I was there when I can), pinching myself that my path and the good people in my life would bring me here. What I can tell you is, when life seems the most random, or when career tangents make little to no sense on paper but make my face hurt from smiling, that’s when my life feels the most on track.
Corn for dessert may seem random or as out of place as me in a recording studio (especially if you hear me sign- ha!), but I assure you, once you try this Frozen Corn Tart, sweet corn as a sweet conclusion will make sense.
Roasting the corn brings out its natural sweetness. Blending those sweet kernels with rich, healthy coconut cream yields an ice cream like dessert on a chocolate cornmeal crust. I’m nothing if not thematic.
And what’s a sweet corn treat without a little caramel? Argentina (and more alfajores than I could count) taught me that. If you’re feeling ambitious, try my homemade Scotch Caramel, or Smoked Sea Salt Whiskey Caramel, or if all your energy is spent after roasting and pureeing corn, I have it on good authority Whole Foods has an organic caramel that you can justify using as a little indulgence.
So here’s to the random adventures, the events and tangents that make little sense on paper but lead to a sweet conclusion.
Frozen Corn Tart with a Chocolate Crust
(Gluten Free with a Vegan Option)
About this Recipe: Sweet and creamy, like a good scoop of ice cream, but made with wholesome ingredients and healthier sweeteners. I use honey, but you can easily substitute another sweetener for a vegan version.
Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. But around here, we celebrate with butter and flour!
Harmony- it's something I have been think about a lot lately. I wish I were preoccupied with harmony musically, but rather, I think about harmony in the sense of differences working together to create something richer, something stronger. I believe there is a sweet spot, a harmonious juncture where nature and modernity could coexist, like the harmony of a sweet and salty sprinkling on a dessert, this dessert- a Vegan Chocolate Tart with Salted Oat Crust.
If only it were possible to have conversations with myself, both past and future, without the burden of mental illness. When people utter the word “cool” in a sentence with my name (not a brag, more of a statement of disbelief), I wish I could bring young Quelcy into the fold, with her cumbersome backpack and pre-algebra stresses and general obsessive bookishness. “Hey you, LOOK! Someday, somehow, this will all pay off.” Similarly, I’d summon that Quelcy who worked a job she grew to abhor.
That Quelcy found a solace and creative outlet in baking, in trying new recipes and techniques, all while tinkering with a new camera. That Quelcy would walk into my dining room, judging the updates with her eyes (as always), and say, “Oh, you’ve paired down the collections a bit. Good for us, but why aren’t you hosting a brunch today?”
Current me would justify past Quelcy’s poignant observation. I’ve managed to steer myself to this magical overlap, where people pay me to play with food and flowers and gatherings, but somewhere in that process of leaving the job I hated, and fuzzing the line between work and play, I forgot to slate days to bake just for me or to host friends in my home just for fun. In short, I forgot that weekends even existed.
I was due for a reminder, so I treated myself to one of those expensive recipe compilation magazines, those textured pages just dripping with sweetness set against dark fabrics, etched slate and cold, crisp marble. Then I sank into my couch, nestled under the warmest of plaid blankets and made a weekend plan. In the simplest of approaches, I began with the first page, which just happened to boast many of my favorite flavors paired together: chocolate, pecan, bourbon and pie crust.
As winter finally made herself known, and the darkness set in oh so early, I sequestered myself, by my own freewill, in my kitchen, where I embraced the full process of baking and playing with food… simply because that’s what I really love to do, and I needed the reminder.
Even if you don’t play with food and flowers and gatherings for a living, the holiday season can taint baking and cooking with a hint of stress. Dinners and holiday parties put schedules and deadlines on creative outlets, and in the process, they can suck some of the joy from kitchen escapes.
Maybe there’s a future iteration of me, who could join current me and past me in the dining room, and hopefully tell us both that she figures it out, she finds more ways to balance paying bills with feeding our souls (after all, she will be the older, wiser one). In the meantime, I’m letting my inner crazy attempt to steer me toward more balance and simpler baking joys, and I hope you find the same outlets during the crazy of the holidays.
Here’s to [some semblance of] sanity!
Whole Grain Chocolate Pecan Tart with Bourbon Whipped Crème Fraîche
Adapted from Bon Appétit
About this Recipe: By reducing the sugar in the crust, using raw cane sugar, maple instead of processed sugar and corn syrup, and an extra dark chocolate, my adapted version allows you to enjoy the winning trifecta that is pecan, chocolate and bourbon without that “I feel my teeth rotting” sensation. In my zeal, I accidentally skipped adding chopped pecans to the filling, but I left that part in the instructions, so do as Bon Appétit says and not as I do. I was also a little over zealous with the chocolate (as per my usual). The Bourbon Crème Fraîche has a thick and fluffy texture, almost like a non-melting ice cream- win win!