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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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October 13, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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October 13, 2010
 

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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010 1B REGIONAL ,ays and holiday bakin 2 , just around,the With the holid corner, our crusty reporter sets out to improve her technique Mona Hill Staff Writer mhill@plumasnews.com I'm a pretty good cook -- not really a gourmet chef, but I understand flavor, color and presentation. I don't have a kitchen full of gadgets and specialty pots and pans. My vegetable peeler is secondhand and one I've had for 40 years; it works better than any of the others I've tried. My blender gathers dust unless I'm making gazpacho or margaritas, no Cuisinart for me. Modestly, I'll tell you I'm the Queen of Salads: mixed greens in bite-sized pieces, no hunks of vegetables and a good blend of textures and ingredients. Sadly, piecrust has defeated me: lo, these many years. No matter how hard I try, regardless of how carefully I follow directions, I have never achieved a whole, beautiful crust. I've relied on Betty Crocker for many of my staple recipes for biscuits, quick breads, pancakes and waffles. Nothing fancy, just reliable results. Betty's also my standby recipe for piecrust -- we're talking flour, salt, shortening and water. How hard can it be? What I know about making piecrust I learned from my great-grandmother: She made great pies. I use a fork as she did and remember her strictures about too much water making the crust tough. Ditto, handling the dough too much. I slave away in a cloud of flour, coaxing it and the shortening into pea-sized crumbs. Result: thick, tough slabs of pastry that I can't roll out thinner and get into the pie pan in a whole piece -- IF it didn't stick to the worktop -- a whole lot of flour on me. I've never had a "whole" piecrust, never mind "round." I always have to patch the cracks, piece the piecrust to make ends meet and never manage to seal the pie attractively. In short: My piecrust is just plain dodgy. More often than not, I end up pitching the whole mess and starting over. Now, late in my middle years, salvation has arrived. Jamie Huynh, member service coordinator for Quincy Natural Foods, recently organized a piecrust-making work- shop with her mum, Juliette Williams, a cheerful, plenty-of- nonsense Englishwoman ..................................................... I met Juliette yonks ago when her husband, Troy, and my daughter, Hannah, were taking back-to-back guitar lessons from the same person. Juliette still has her lovely English accent and colloquialisms. A couple of times during the course of the demonstration I was called on to translate terms such as savoury and short crust -- thank heavens I didn't have to convert from gas marks or Centigrade (In the UK, gas mark 4 equals 350 degrees Fahrenheit -- no clue about the Centigrade equivalency). It turns out that except for my faithful Pyrex measuring cup, I can pretty much pitch everything else. Juliette does not rely on anything close to exact measurement. She unceremoniously dumped the flour into the measuring cup, kind of shook it to level it out and poured it into the bowl -- salt was casually measured out in her hand and onto the flour. A couple of brisk turns with the pastry cutter fluffed the flour and salt together. Juliette uses fat unapologetically: It's essential for the flaky in flaky piecrust. She prefers lard for the savoury main dish pies and shortening or butter for the dessert pies. For her demonstration, she used 1/4-cup shortening and 1/2-cup butter and deftly cut it into the flour and salt. It could have just as easily been the reverse. She also demonstrated rubbing the fat into the flour and salt. With both hands scooping up flour and fat, she rubbed them together across her fingertips. In the end, it looked like rough breadcrumbs with a few bigger bits scattered round. Next came the water, chilled in a coffee mug. After making a shallow well in the "breadcrumbs" and announcing that most American piecrust recipes, although similar, never call for enough water owing to our dry climate, Juliette sploshed a good quarter-cup into the bowl. After fold ing it- i nab it, she gave..it another healthy sptosh:' She avoids stirring to avoid mashing the mixture into a ball and folds it in instead. Just as it starts to come together, she gathered it by hand into a rough wodge of dough, getting any flour stuck to the sides of the bowl. Juliette leaves the dough, covered, to rest while she prepares the pie filling. She doesn't refrigerate it unless it's going be several hours before she uses it. At that point, she passed the bowl around and invited everyone to give it a poke, saying piecrust should be soft as a baby's bum. And, indeed it was: moist and soft with a bit of give! Wrapping and setting the freshly prepared pastry dough aside, Juliette broke dough she prepared earlier into rough halves, observing that the bottom crust uses more dough than the top. Sprinkling flour generously on the countertop, she took half and began to shape it as if she were centering t on a Words & Music Words & Music returns from its traditional summer break with three October evening programs scheduled around the county. First up is the Quincy Words & Music Thursday, Oct. 14, at Morning Thunder Car6 with featured artist Andrew Ohren. In Portola Friday, Oct. 22, at The Feather Community Art Center featured musi- cians are Penny and Dude Berry. Finishing up the month will be Jeff Ellermeyer as the featured musician Thursday, Oct. 28, in Chester at the Coffee Station. At the Quincy show, Morning Thunder doors open at 7 p.m. and no-host coffees, teas and libations will be available. The featured artist program begins at 7:20 p.m. Admission to this much-loved Plumas Arts program is still $3. Featured artist Andrew Ohren has become a well- known favorite in Plumas County. "His technical capac- ity is striking," said Quincy Words & Music coordinator Linda McDermott. season begins There is no limit to the beauty and diversity of solo guitar music when you listen to the music of solo guitarist Andrew Ohren. Using a nylon-string flamenco guitar Ohren is a master of replicat- ing boundless styles of music with the instrument. Ohren is also an accom- plished classical guitarist and classical guitar composer. He has been performing since he was 18: across the U.S. and all the way to Paris France. "The audience goes silent See W&M, page 12B Audubon Society n Dsts bird talk Everything you need is now on-line and easy to navigate, The Plumas Audubon Society will host Terri Weist as she presents "Three Countries of Africa" in the Plumas County Library meeting room Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. Weist spent nearly a month touring and observing wildlife in Zambia, Botswana and Kruger National Park in South Africa. At the Audubon meeting she will present a slideshow and talk about her travels. According to Weist, her trip began with a week on the Kafue River, Kafue National Park in Zambia, followed by a boat trip to Botswana and crossing the Zambezi River. A special highlight for her was the less-visited Pafuri Plumas Audubon hosts Terri Weist next week to talk about her birding trip to Africa, where she captured this malachite kingfisher. Photo by Terri Weist Camp with the most prolific birdlife in Kruger National Park B one of Birdlife's South Africa's top destinations. "We saw some awesome lightning and thundershow- ers as it was the beginning of the rainy season. The Okavango Delta was just beginning to fill B it wouldn't reach its full glory for a 'couple of months." In addition to her photo presentation, Weist will have a large map to show the geography of the trip. Weist is a wildlife biologist in the California Depart- ment of Fish and Game's Quincy office. The program is free and the public is invited. potter's wheel -- no worrying about folds in the dough. As she rolled out the dough from the centre, she frequently turned it with a deft slide that worked flour under the crust to prevent sticking. If the circle of dough began to go astray, she rounded it back into round with her hands. When she finished, the dough was a scant quarter-inch thick and pliable. Inviting us to "give it a go," she stood by to offer hints and correction. It turns out "round and slide" is a bit trickier than it looks. Our efforts tended to go wonky on one side or the other. With apple filling Jamie prepared earlier, Juliette brushed milk around the edges of the bottom crust before rolling the top crust off her rolling pin over the filling. Once the edges married up nicely, she lifted the pie in one hand and with the other, trimmed the edges with a table knife. Then holding her forefinger and thumb parallel on one hand, Juliette worked her way round the edge, crimping the edge with the thumb on the other. After poking four pinky-finger-sized vents in the center, she slathered the top with milk (she uses egg wash for savoury pies) and sprinkled it with sugar. Ready for the oven! Two of our little group were the lucky winners of the giveaway. One woman took home the apple pie and another won the piecrust. In an unbelievable fit of good will, the piecrust winner passed it on to me, because she said my face lit up on seeing the finished pastry, dough. Naturally, this story would not be complete without mentioning how it all rolled out in the end. I went home yesterday after work and rolled out a pie. It was a miracle: whole, round piecrusts without a patch in sight, perfectly browned, flaky and tender. Except ... ... I forgot to brush the rim of the bottom with milk and the pie didn't seal completely. 9-inch, double piecrust 2-1/2 c. flour 112 t. salt '3/4 c; shortening, ldtt'(cir'lard;' or a combination of shortening and butter approximately 1/3 c. ice cold water sugar and milk or egg wash (optional) Mix flour and salt lightly together in bowl, cut fat into 1/2-inch pieces into bowl. Using fingers or pastry cutter, rub or cut fat into flour to coarse breadcrumbs. Make well in flour mixture, pour in water and fold into flour to form lightly moist, firm ball. Roll out dough on floured surface from center and place in pie pan. Add filling; roll out top and place over pie; vent and trim. Brush top with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 450 (pre-heated for flakier crust) for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 and bake 45 minutes or until done. Recipe from Fannie Farmer's cookbook PLUH CALIFORNIA, Sign up for Emergency Notifications Aerts sent via text or email Job Openings Immediate text or email notification County-wide Community Calendar On-line Job Applications [] Live Help desk [] Supervisors meetings on audio Bookmarked by agenda, item [] Contractor bid and RFP requests Frequently asked Q&As Oered by department [] County Codes County Maps Plumas County new website was designed for your convenience. Please let us know if you would like any changes or additions. www PLUMASCOUNTY.HS