I really think I've done it. This may only be my second or third attempt to develop an original recipe, but I truly think this one (Maryland Crab Soup Pie) is a winner. Martha Stewart may not have thought so last Saturday, or rather the Blue Hill at Stone Barns chefs didn't, but in my mind, I conquered.
What: "Seasonal Pie Bake-off" with Martha Stewart as "special guest judge"
Where: Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture gorgeous bucolic farm in Westchester County, NY
Results: Check out my post on The Feed, TimeOut New York's food blog
Want more "full-disclosure" details? Yes, nutty me drove from NYC to Baltimore, MD and back last Thursday evening (after work!) just to gather the true Maryland blue crabs I needed to make my pie authentic (and at 192 miles, pretty local, right?) --Oh, I was also visiting my best friend who'd minutes before flown into BWI from LAX and immediately headed to this restaurant to eat crabs loaded up with rock salt and Old Bay (holla! if you're from MD) with some friends and family, so I'm not completely nutty. From the USQ Greenmarket I gleaned all my veggies: decent pale-yellow corn, plump lima beans, thin French green beans, heavy red tomatoes, hefty, rough-and-tumble carrots, a staunch head of cabbage, firm, smiling celery, dusty onions, and some perky little potatoes, oh, and some peas (disclaimer: being it's not pea season, an organic and frozen variety of those snuck in).
I chopped and chopped, picked apart little crab bodies and claws for hours,
and stewed everything up until my whole apartment building was filled with the rich, nose-tingly scent of seafood, spices, and seasonal harvest.
Meanwhile, I also made pie crusts, lots of them. The chosen one: Melissa Clark's All-Butter Pie Crust from the New York Times. Fat meltingly delicious...do you see all the spots of butter in there??
Slapping it all together with some roux to thicken
and without a thought about presentation (OK, I thought about it and was going to have 2 crab claws coming out of the top as my friend's mother suggested, but it just didn't work out. I accidentally threw the crab claws away that I was saving for this...it was a looong night, believe me), I lugged my two pies (one for presentation -- I know, I know) all the way to Tarrytown, NY. If you read my short TimeOut blog post, you know how things ended...
Nevertheless, I had many a compliment on my pie that day. The best part of the Harvest Fest was the pie free-for-all at the end of the day. Competitive pie bakers, plastic forks, and dozens of pies...it was a germophobe's nightmare and a pie lover's heaven. More than a few people told me my pie was their favorite. One woman even asked me for my card to see if the pie would be available to be shipped to her! Hmph, so there! Really, I lack competitive spirit, but when you know you done good, you just know it.