Friday, November 28, 2014

Breaking Pie

Still got your stretchy pants on?

I do - and I already have plans for tortilla soup with the remains of the turkey.

BUT - before turkey, there was PIE.

I cooked my pies on Wednesday night and started Thanksgiving Day with a pie taste test breakfast.

One pie I cooked my normal way - with pumpkin pie spice.

But because I had made some amazing Indian food last week and used garam masala, I had been thinking I wanted to try the garam masala instead of pumpkin pie spice in one pie and then compare them. I decided I would be the pie chemist and break tradition. The Walter White of pie. Going rogue on a holiday which is known for tradition. BOOYA!

So I sat down to breakfast with two tiny slices of pie. The garam masala pie was much darker in color with visible flecks of spices.

I tasted that one first and it was SPECTACULAR.

But in the absence of comparison, I couldn't really tell if it was better than the traditional because I love pumpkin pie.

So I took a bite of the second one - the one I've made and loved every year of my adult life.

I was shocked to see that it tasted like WATER compared to the first one.

Not anywhere close to the same animal at all. Incredibly bland.

Can you be pleasantly shocked? If so, I was. I will ONLY make garam masala pie from henceforth. Try it! Here's the particular spice blend I used - I believe each garam masala blend is slightly different.

Frontier garam masala


The chicken recipe that inspired this experiment is below.

But now, a little joy! Today's Mix-Ability challenge is hosted by Anna Wight, and her challenge was to create a snowy scene. I had seen a beautiful White Christmas card by Sandi MacIver on Facebook a few days ago and decided I had to make a card for today's challenge with that set.

First, I taped off a rectangle on a piece of watercolor paper. Then I lightly sprayed the masked area with a mixture of Tempting Turquoise re-inker and rubbing alcohol. Next, I stamped the images from White Christmas in Smoky Slate.

After that, I took a Kemper Splatter Brush and splattered white paint all over the scene.

I know people like to use toothbrushes for this, but I find that the spatter brush makes it much easier to control and regulate the spattering with that ingenious construction with the rotation against that little rod. Highly recommend. 

It's hard to see in my photo but since I didn't dilute the paint, the spatters are 3D and very cool looking. I decided to add a little color to the background and break up the blue, so I watercolored with Daffodil Delight, Orchid Opulence and Tempting Turquoise reinkers.

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In the trees, I added some silver Dazzling Details for a little sparkle. Then I cut out the snowman and popped him up with dimensionals.

Finally, I cut the "joy" out of watercolor paper with the Wonderful Wreath framelits.

Now I have a busy three days ahead of me. I'm ripping apart my stamp room! I've sold my desk and I'm looking forward to a new configuration in the space, with less furniture and less stuff in general. It's been nearly twelve years in this space and I think I finally have a better idea of what will be functional, easy to use, organized and pretty. Yeah, I'm a slow learner.

And yes, I'll post before & afters.

Hope you have a fun & relaxing weekend planned. Come play along in the challenge today if you have time to stamp!

Here's that delicious chicken recipe:

Chicken in a Creamy Cashew Sauce
1 garlic clove
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons garam masala
Juice of 1 lemon (I actually didn't have a lemon, so I used the equivalent amount of True Lemon
1½ cups Greek yogurt (Fage 2%)
3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
2 onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 tablespoons garam masala
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
¾ cup raw cashews
¼ cup heavy cream

To Finish
Steamed rice, for serving
Frozen peas
½ cup chopped cilantro, for garnish
1. Make the marinade: With the side of a chef’s knife, smash the garlic clove and salt into a paste. Transfer to a medium bowl, then stir in the garam masala, lemon juice and Greek yogurt.
2. Place the chicken in a 1-gallon Ziploc bag, and add the marinade to the bag. Seal, then massage the chicken to coat it with the marinade. Refrigerate while you make the sauce.
3. Make the sauce: In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until very tender, 7 to 9 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño, and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute more.
4. Add the garam masala, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper to the onion mixture and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the spices smell toasty, 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Stir in the tomatoes and chicken broth, and cook, using the end of the wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes a bit while the mixture comes to a simmer. Add the cashews and simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Blend with a stick blender until smooth
7. Cook the chicken: In the now-empty pot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan, shaking gently to remove excess marinade, and sauté until golden brown, 7 to 9 minutes.
8. Pour the finished sauce into the pan and add the heavy cream. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook, covered, until the chicken is very tender, 20 to 30 minutes more.
9. Cook rice, and add frozen peas when rice is cooked and cover until ready to serve.
10. To serve, spoon the steamed rice onto a plate or into a bowl. Top the rice with a portion of the cooked chicken and sauce. Garnish with the cilantro.

Pumpkin Pie - I use the recipe on the Libby's can, EXCEPT - instead of sugar + evaporated milk, I use one can on sweetened condensed milk, and instead of all the spices listed, I use 2 tsp. of garam masala. DELIGHTFUL. Slightly modified from original Pure Wow recipe here.



  1. this may just be my favorite card of yours to date.

  2. I will definitely try that chicken. I adore the little snowman and scene. Like the masking technique.

  3. Gorgeous card!!! Beautiful splatters on the colorful sky. Love the word die cut! When I am not so tired, I will revisit this post for the chic recipe!

  4. You cook like my mother use to. She loved and always made the traditional but was never afraid to try the unexpected. And for some reason, her unexpected was always amazing too! :) You are food artists! (or lucky gamblers!) lol
    Your card is so cute and sweet. I love the pretty colours and the tiny little snowman. It does fill me with Joy!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe. Now I have to go on a hunt for the spice you used! :)


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