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  • Rusty

#26 and #27 : "Cat Care" Tart and "Patriotic Pie"

A pie to match my outfit...

We spent the pre-holiday weekend up in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Jeff had heard the Isidore String Quartet play locally a while back and was so impressed with them he decided we should go hear them at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport. Jeff booked us a VRBO and ordered the concert tickets while I looked up local bakeries, restaurants, chocolate shops and ice cream know, the essentials. We had a terrific lunch at My Place by the Sea.

Nearby, we saw the famous barn called "Motif #1" on Bearskin Neck in Rockport. It's dubbed the "most painted building in America" as all the local artists include it in their paintings. I read that they filmed some scenes in The Proposal in front of the building, (with Rockport doubling as Alaska) and I tried to watch that movie again to see the barn until remembered what a truly wretched movie that is!

And, if you saw the film CODA, you may remember the audition scene at the end. The movie was set and filmed in Gloucester and the audition scene was shot inside the Shalin Liu hall in nearby Rockport. In the video clip linked above, the wooden sliding doors behind the stage are closed. But for most performances, the doors are left open, giving a truly stunning view of the sea beyond the stage. And the Isidore group was absolutely astounding, with each of the individual players performing beautifully and coming together as a cohesive group. It was thrilling.

At this point, you're likely thinking, "That's nice, Rusty, but isn't this a blog about...pies? What about those?" Well, someone had to look in on the cats while we were away, and my friend Marilee kindly offered to check up on them and feed them. This was a huge favor as it meant she had to deal the 4th of July weekend traffic! I decided she deserved a special thank you, and Jeff and the cats agreed that a "cat care" pie was in order.

Marilee and I have been friends since we met at the North Fork Community Theatre over 20 years ago, but it wasn't until the fall of 2021 that we finally got to act together! Here we are (above, both sitting) as "the old folks on their way out" in the play Outside Mullingar. (Spoiler: we both died in Act One and enjoyed the second act drinking tea in the dressing room!)

Meanwhile the cats were waiting for my return patiently....or not...

Marilee loves lemon, so I decided that the "cat care" pie should be a simple Meyer Lemon Tart. Since I was making us a second, "patriotic," pie with a graham cracker crust (to celebrate July 4th) I decided to simplify and use the graham cracker crust for both pies.

An advantage of the "patriotic" pie was that no baking was required -- the filling was cooked in a saucepan and went right into the crust. And the lemon tart required just a few minutes in the oven, a plus since it was 86 degrees that day.

The lemon tart was pretty easy to make, and it was fun to show up at Marilee's house with a surprise "thank you" pie.

Meanwhile, I got to work on the patriotic pie. I found a container of strawberries I had pureed and frozen last year, and thought a strawberry mousse pie would be tasty - and it would get one more container out of the always-too-full freezer.

I whipped up some cream, and added some of it to the strawberry puree, along with some gelatin soaked in lemon juice, and the pie was ready for chilling.

I saved the rest of the whipped cream to pipe some rosettes on the pie, and topped the rosettes with strawberries and blueberries to make a red, white and blue pie.

The Verdict: Patriotic and pleasant.

This was a retro pie - its Pepto-Bismol pink filling, with the kind of wacky, kind of endearing berries on the cream, made it look like something from a 1950's Happy Housewife cookbook...or maybe I've just been reading too many old cookbooks about regrettable food. At any rate, it was perfect for July 4th, and actually pretty tasty. Jeff thought the graham cracker crust was too sweet, and I think if/when I make this again I'll use a regular pie crust instead. But it was a fun way to celebrate the holiday, and I got to thank a friend for a big favor at the same time and use up stuff in the freezer - a win-win. Hope you had a terrific Independence Day too!

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