Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Let's can, man

Because we can! Alright, I'll stop.

One of the MIL's favorite Sunday dinners at our house is rack of lamb, and she likes a little mint jelly with her lamb. However, when I went to the grocery to buy some, all I could find was that lurid green stuff—green for absolutely no good reason. The green has nothing to do with the flavor; it's just food coloring. So I learned to make my own, which comes out the lovely golden color of the apple juice I use for the base.

Yeah, I've done that thing where I grated apples, strain them through a cloth, blahblahblah. It seemed so unnecessarily labor intensive when good apple juice can be purchased (and it's not as if I have an apple tree in my yard).

This is so easy, and the jelly cooks while the water in your canning pot heats.

A few pieces of equipment are needed.

A big canning pot like this is also good for boiling crab or lobster (alas, we have only the former) or huge batches of corn on the cob. Oh yeah, and you need a rack to go inside it.

Most hardware stores have these dandy little kits that include a funnel that fits on top of your jars

and these tongs for lifting jars out of the hot water. Well worth the investment.

Ready? Here we go.

3 cups apple juice, unsweetened

1 package powdered pectin

several sprigs of fresh mint

4 1/2 cups sugar

Prepare jars and lids by boiling for 10 minutes to sterilize.

Heat apple juice and pectin in a large sauce pan. When pectin is dissolved, add mint. Bring to boil over high heat.

Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard for one minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove mint and skim foam if necessary. Pour into jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Jars should be covered with a few inches of water on top and not touching each other or the sides of the pot.

I leave to meet Sophie down at my parents' tomorrow, but I did get a few things done around the house. I got my vin de peche bottled, did a little gardening, made a big pot of chili for Husband, baked my dad's favorite cookies, and there's still time for a P.T.A. officers' planning meeting cocktail summit this evening. We've found a drink or two facilitates decision making.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Obamas and I are tight

Very tight. We email each other, you see. Just yesterday morning I received this email from Michelle (we're on first name basis, of course):

My mom, the girls, and I left home in Chicago and got to Denver yesterday. What a beautiful city!

The convention started this morning, and everyone here is getting ready for the big week.

All the work you've done is at the heart of what's happening here, and our team filmed a short video to give you a look behind the scenes at the convention center.

Take a minute to check out
the video and share it with your friends.

This week, folks from across the country will get to know Barack and our family a little better. Tonight I'm giving a speech at the convention, and I'm planning to share a few stories about the Barack I know—the husband, the father, and the man who shares my dreams for our girls, for this country, and for our future.

Before my speech, we're also going to show a video introducing our family to families across the country. Make sure to turn on your TV at 10:30 p.m. EDT (8:30 p.m. MDT) to see it, or you can watch it at

This is such an important moment, and I hope you'll join me by tuning into the convention tonight and all week long.

What? You received the same email? Well, Michelle has a lot of friends, you know. I wrote back:

Good luck with your speech. I know you will knock it out the park.

Tell the girls Sophie says Hi.

She did not write back, but that's ok. I know she is very busy. But Barack got back to me this morning:

I am so lucky to be married to the woman who delivered that speech last night.

Michelle was electrifying, inspiring, and absolutely magnificent. I get a lot of credit for the speech I gave at the 2004 convention—but I think she may have me beat.

You have to see
it to believe it.

And make sure to forward this email to your friends and family—they'll want to see it, too.

You really don't want to miss this.

And I'm not just saying that because she's my wife—I truly believe it was the best speech of the campaign so far.

That's nice, isn't it? I wish Husband thought I was electrifying.

Now it's Michelle's turn to write. Here is what I'm sure she will say:
Hi Cindy—

Thanks for your good wishes.

I think the speech went well, but can you believe they played that cheesy Stevie Wonder "Isn't She Lovely" over the applause? WTF? Of course I'm lovely! But that is hardly the point. I am smart, accomplished, well-educated, and articulate. So is Ted Kennedy, but did they play that song for him? Noooooooooo. Hillary may have kicked a few cracks in the glass ceiling, but there's clearly still work to be done. Lovely my ass.

Anyway, thanks for letting me blow off steam. The girls send their love.

I'm so happy Michelle and Barack are my friends. If you would like to be friends with them, just go here. And tell them you're a friend of mine.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Olympics are over, but I'm not

So the Olympics are finally over. Husband and I skipped the closing ceremonies and went to a movie instead, so I have no snarky comments to make other than to congratulate China for being able to create as big an overproduced, money-wasting, pointless, and garish spectacle as any other industrialized nation. Way to go, China. You've arrived.

But I'm glad the Olympics are over for another reason as well. Watching these games took me back to somewhere I never wanted to be: laying in a hospital bed, tubed up, unable to move without mind-blowing pain, and drifting in and out of a drug-induced haze as I watched the Athens Olympics from my bed. I had had a standard mastectomy but in the name of efficiency had teamed it up with the first stage in my reconstructive surgery. Two surgeons! One operation! Who could pass up such a deal? But really, I was afraid of having bandages come off and seeing nothing but a zipper scar across a flat or even (horrors) concave chest. No—I wanted a zipper scar across a small mound of something, even if it was only a tissue expander that in no way resembled the breast it replaced. For one thing, there was, of course, no nipple. Sort of like a face without an eye: blank, devoid of personality. It was better than nothing, I guess, but I still cried buckets when a couple of weeks later I snuck into the bathroom, locked the door, and peeked beneath the bandages.

But I digress. (I know some people hate to read that on a blog. Too bad. This whole thing is a digression. My digression. My blog. You know how it goes.)

For four days I watched it all: all the comparatively insignificant events they broadcast at strange times when probably only people on loads of drugs and off their sleep/wake cycle are tuned in. Track semi-finals, quarter finals, eighth finals (that was probably the drugs); men's gymnastics (everyone's so much more interested in the women girls); and some event where they ride a horse, shoot a gun, and do something else—paddle a canoe? It's something of a blur.

And during the commercials I either dozed off or contemplated things like "Where did it go?" My breast, I mean. The evening before I went in, I had washed it in the shower, careful not to scrub off the purple pen marking the next day's plans, and said a sort of goodbye to it. But I could never get out of my mind that when they wheeled me out of the operating room, I went in one direction, and that breast went in another, down the hall in . . . what? . . . a cooler of ice? It was no longer part of me, and I was without it. So I didn't follow up on it other than to read the pathology report (a good one, all clean margins) and wonder "Ok, they're done with it. Now what?"

But the worst was over because no amount of physical pain or mutilation could come near what it had been like the months before as I went through all rounds of diagnostic tests, waiting for results, planning for the worst, and imagining Sophie's life without me in it. That was the worst. She was only four. What would she remember? If I die, should she be there with me? Could holding onto her keep me there a little longer? Was that fair to her? I researched endlessly, looking up tables that charted out survival chances for various diagnoses. It's amazing what can sound like a good outcome in these circumstances. Ten years? Yes, I'll take ten years! Can I have that in writing?

That summer was spent under a black cloud while my mind spun these thoughts and did crazy things like plan out Sophie and Husband's financial future and the series of videos I would leave: "Your First Bra," "Peer Pressure: Most of Them Are Lying," and "So You Think You're Ready To Get Married." What else could I do when my surgeon answered my question "I'm going to be ok, right?" with "You know I can't tell you that"? After all, I'm a planner. I like to be prepared.

But there in the hospital, I had turned a corner from the lonely place where you think about these things and what you need no one can give you to a place where I could let people help me. Husband could wash my hair in the sink, Sophie could "doctor me up" with her Fischer Price medical kit, and friends could temporarily absorb Sophie into their families so that my ordeal became a fabulous adventure for her. I was going to be ok; I was just going to feel like shit for a while.

So I survived. Not because I was brave or strong but because I was lucky. Lucky enough that my cancer didn't progress to the next stage, lucky enough to have very good health insurance. For some reason 40,000 women a year are not lucky, and it's not because they weren't brave or strong. I'm sure some of them were absolute ass kickers.

It's not the most important thing that has happened in my life (that was having Sophie), and I don't think about it every day. It didn't fundamentally change my life, but it tweaked it in some important ways. I'm not as afraid. I'm more grateful. I'm more clear on how I want to live my life:
Don't drift. Dig in and make a mark. Do something. Be something that even if it doesn't last as long as you want will make a great memory. Kick some ass with a smile on your face and love in your heart.
I'll be back with some snarky comments for the London games. I missed synchronized swimming, but I imagine I'll have something to say about it in four years.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sophie has left the building

Sophie left this morning for a week at my parents' house down in Newport Beach. On a plane. By herself. "An unaccompanied minor!!!" as she likes to explain to anyone who shows the slightest interest in where she is going with her new purse, backpack, and violin.

So for a while there will be no doll parties around here.

And the Fix It Up Grooming Shop, where I do all business of this type (often much to my great aggravation when I am trying to get dinner on the table), will be closed.

So you would think I could get a few things done around the house. It's not that I can't find anything to do.

There's canning to be done,

vin de peche to bottle,



the fish tank looks like crap,

and I was supposed to go for a run.

But nooooooooo. After Husband and I got home from the airport, I indulged in a cycle of sloth. I crawled into bed and alternated reading and napping for longer than I'm willing to admit. (Good book so far.)

My dad finally called to report that Sophie was happily ensconced at the IHOP across the street from the airport, tucking into pancakes topped with strawberries and whipped cream.

And I got another call a while later with news that made me feel not so bad about taking pictures of Sophie at the airport using a camera with no memory chip. My dad, who updates his website about twice a year, has posted news of Sophie's arrival. (Check out the little picture on the top banner that turns my parents to stone when you roll over it. And say hi while you're there. He doesn't get many comments.)

She looks kind of happy, no? OK, big breath. Canning.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Getting a jump on my favorite season

We three Figs popped out of bed this morning like jack-in-the-boxes. It's the start of California Ski's preseason sale!!! Start your engines!!!

This the Fig family's ski equipment headquarters. We love these guys. They will spend hours fitting you in the perfect boot and will never try to sell you gear you don't need. Their strategy of kickass customer service has clearly worked for us. Greg, the owner, introduced us to his daughter who was pitching in on the cash register, as "friends of the store," which means we buy a lot of stuff there.

Husband was determined to get in early to get the best season rental equipment for Sophie. Everyone agrees that she deserves to be kicked up this year to high-performance twin-tipped skis. She's now got big ideas about skiing backwards through the terrain park.

I had a separate agenda. Husband did not know how serious I was until I pulled out the plastic in response to Greg's advice "You really should just buy these." New powder skis!! I love my Volkls for carving, but they just sink in powder.

These babies should do the trick. Here are two happy girls.

Now all we need it a little lot of snow. Damn—it's still August, isn't it??

Friday, August 22, 2008

How boring was Olympic diving?

So boring I had to entertain myself by making pickles. Nothing fancy: just Joy of Cooking's bread and butter pickle recipe. There is a lot of chopping to be done, which I always find relaxing and therapeutic. Not as good as shelling favas, but good nonetheless.

I found ridiculously inexpensive organic pickling cucumbers and added red and yellow bell peppers for extra prettiness. I'll take some down to my parents' house next week and open them right up. Because otherwise they will "save them for a special occasion." I think if you want a pickle, and you have a jar of them in front of you, that's a special occasion.

And if diving is so boring, why didn't I just turn it off? Because then I might have missed my new favorite sport, BX bike racing. Seriously, it's the summer version of short-track speed skating. It has the best elements of roller derby: speed, wipeouts, unpredictability, near-instant gratification. You never know who's going to win because anyone can and someone almost always does go down. And it's short: start whistle, exciting race, bing-bang-boom, and we've got our medalists. Who knew that Latvia was such a BMX powerhouse?

But I'm ready for it all to end. My attention is starting to wander from the events to things like Bob Costas's pen. Have you noticed he always has one in his hand? And a single piece of white paper in front of him.To show that he's not just sitting there: He's doing something. Like making some really important little notes. He's just taking a break from this to talk to us for a minute. When he finishes and the camera begins to pan out, he moves his pen to writing position above his paper so we know he is getting back to business. Can NBC just get him a laptop?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Figs and cheese for dessert

Although I love to bake, in the interest of ass size, we don't often have dessert. Most of the baked goods I produce are carted off to school events, parties, or other people's houses. But my post the other day that included Manouri cheese and thoughts of figs and honey made dessert necessary.

Off I went for some fig shopping. How excellent that my local produce market had not only the standard Black Missions but also a variety I had never tasted but had seen in The New York Times food section, the Candy Stripe. And how also excellent that, unlike the unfortunate people of New York,* I paid a mere $8 a pound for them. That said, I think $8 a pound for figs is really a lot, and I only bought four.

There they are, along with some Black Missions, one of the varieties we have growing in our yard. If we get enough heat to ripen what we have on the branches now, we'll be happily swimming in figs in the fall.

My verdict on the two figs: Those Candy Stripes are undeniably lovely, but their taste is not nearly as jammy and earthy as the Mission and reminds me of a Kadota. Nice, but overall I like the cheap fig** better.

You heard it here.

* They paid $19.99 a pound. I know: just plain silly.
** Right now they're at just under $3 a pound, which means I will buy them for general eating but will wait until they are closer to $1 a pound to make jam.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Women's Olympic gymnastics:
A few questions and a comment

Now that this competition is over, I can get to bed at a decent hour. Unlike swimming and volleyball, the gymnastics coverage was always on at an unreasonable hour. What was particularly unreasonable was that this was the case even when they were showing tape. We had to suffer through Bob Costas locked up in his hermetically sealed studio (really, he could be in Nebraska for all we know) and Mary Carillo's segments where she tries to bring China inside to Bob through her silly little travelogues. But then you know what would happen if you switched gymnastics and Bob/Mary. Right. And I'm not even NBC.

But there is more than broadcast hours that seems unreasonable to me about women's gymnastics. Here is a run down.

The U.S. team
What's up with that funny little strut they do as the walk from one apparatus to the next? It looks silly. They should stop that and just walk across the gym.

Have you noticed that the better someone does, the more of those fake-looking little air hugs they get? When Alicia Sacramone fell off the beam, no one hugged when she first walked off. Husband is a sensitive guy and was so upset by this. "Give the girl a hug! She needs a hug!!" he wailed.

The Chinese team
Cheng Fei: One of the commentators mentioned that the Chinese government gave her parents a house as a reward for her gymnastic achievements. After she made all those mistakes, will the government take the house away? I'm worried about that.

The Chinese woman gymnasts: Do they really need that many hair clips?

Can we dispense with calling them the Chinese women's team? They don't look like women to me. The one who's missing the tooth? That's the tooth Sophie just lost but on the bottom, and she's eight.

Bela Karolyi
Can anyone understand what he is saying? Subtitles wouldn't be out of line here. I did not think it possible I could feel sorry for that Ken doll Bob Costas until I heard him interviewing Karolyi.  

And finally
I was struck watching Nastia Liukin and her father sitting together as the bars event she should have won but did not concluded that she had something more valuable than a medal: She had her dad right there next to her. One of the Chinese gymnasts responded in an interview that she did not even know if her parents were in attendance. Sad.  I know the life of any elite athlete comes with much sacrifice and many compromises on the part of the athlete and the family, but I think it says something that girls who grow up connected to their families, in their communities, and receiving a regular education compete and even win against those who are taken from their families at as young as three-year-old, turned over to a state-run machine and denied a life of choice, an education, and a family. Husband remarked "It's kind of like a gymnastics orphanage." Really, it sounds more like a gymnastics prison. For kids. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What summer is all about

In a word: tomatoes.

Because although I love fresh tomatoes, I only eat them when they are in season. The rest of the year, it's dried and canned. That's just the way it is.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing these appear at my produce market. I actually consider myself sort of an ambassador for them. As I stand picking out my bag or sometimes just smiling at them, I lean over to anyone who is looking at them with skepticism and say "Yes, they really are worth every penny. You must try them." Not that I ordinarily make a habit of telling people what to do, but I make an exception here. And sometimes in the checkout line people will notice me gazing lovingly at my bag and I will be compelled to explain why they are so remarkable. And then I hold their place in line while they run out to get some. No one's ever come up to me to tell me I'm wrong.

What I think makes these tomatoes so special is the dry farming. Not watering the heck out of the vines concentrates the flavor, making ordinary tomatoes and even beautifully colored heirlooms taste in comparison like a big watery mess. And I think you just can't beat an Early Girl for sweetness.

This is one of my favorite things to do with my favorite tomatoes and is what I took to the dinner we attended in Mendocino this past weekend. (What, did you think I showed up empty handed?)

It's an appetizer! It's a side dish! Seriously, I would eat this for breakfast or dessert.

I team my tomatoes with kalamata olives, fresh basil, and Manouri cheese, my homemade balsamic vinaigrette, and flaked black salt.

I buy black flaked salt in bulk from this fancy place.

It has a nice taste, crunch, and appearance that is perfect for tomatoes, fish, zucchini, rice, pasta, . . . almost anything, really.

And about that Manouri cheese. Try some of this if you can find it.

It's a Greek semi-soft cheese made from the whey drained from feta production and then combined with milk and/or cream. The taste is much milder and less salty than feta, with a slight citrus note. It makes a very nice and more flavorful substitute for fresh mozzarella or ricotta. And it's particularly nice with something sweet. I've served it drizzled with honey and sprinkled with a bit of fresh thyme.

But you know what I'm really waiting to pair it with.

Monday, August 18, 2008

My husband is not a dentist

But he plays one at our house.

Sophie has been complaining of pain from a loose tooth. This happened once before, and I took her to her pediatric dentist, who pulled it. Our dental insurance covered the extraction, but we were billed for the topical anesthetic and the bubblegum-scented laughing gas. Husband declared this entirely unreasonable and vowed to pull the next one himself. To his credit, this is his second.

Like many doctors, he feels it important to start off with a little self medication to steady his nerves.

The scotch also makes a good topical disinfectant (according to him).

He was disturbed, however, that he couldn't find the needle-nose pliers he favors for these tasks. This tool wasn't quite doing the trick.

The vice grips were just the ticket.

A little more scotch. A check to make sure he had the right tooth (this gave me concern). And one, two, three—pop!

Like I said, he's not a dentist. But Sophie is a happy patient.

A Mendocino weekend:
Kids, dogs, food, and wine

Every August friends of ours have a house party at their country house in Mendocino County. (They're retired, and their life is good like this.)

Friends they have collected from many parts of their lives over many years come together to camp in their meadow, catch up on what's gone on in people's lives since last year's gathering, marvel at how much all the kids have grown, pat dogs, and share some good food and wine.  Attendance varies, but everyone agreed that this year was a particularly good one for kids and dogs. There were lots of both, and they all got along well: no barking, no crying.

We usually pitch a tent in the meadow, but this year our old van made a triumphant return to this event. This vehicle spent the better part of this year dead in the driveway, but after months of unsuccessful shopping for a replacement, we gave up and repaired this one by having a Subaru engine put in it. The conversion product is called a Vanaroo. As in "Whoohoo! We've got us a Vanaroo!" We're planning on getting some body work done and a paint job, but for now it cracks us up to have the fastest piece of junk anyone's ever seen coming down the road. The rear seat folds down for a futon that we outfit with all our down quilts and flannel bedding from home. I kept waking up in the night thinking how damn comfortable I was. 

I was relieved that Husband was not able to take off work early enough on Friday for us to be present for the butchering of the goat. When we arrived, it had just been taken off the spit

and was being carved. Carving, I can handle; butchering, not really. I know it's good to have a connection to one's food and all, but . . .

This was my taste of goat. Not bad at all! I expected it to taste more like lamb than it did. The texture is similar to lamb, but it is not nearly as gamey as lamb can be. I had heard goat can be stringy and chewy, but this was neither. The goat was only a couple of months old and had been feed alfalfa, so that was probably the difference. I don't know that I'm going to order up a goat from my butcher for Sunday dinner, but I did enjoy this.

After everyone has eaten themselves silly and the sun has gone down, the musicians come out

and the marshmallow orgy around the campfire begins.

It's funny the reversal in party behavior the years have brought. Our age group, mostly parents of young kids, sip wine around the campfire, while the seniors play music on the porch and pass a joint.

Breakfast the next morning is always fresh berry crepes. 

Tradition crepes (made in David's perfectly seasoned crepe pans) wrapped around fresh berries, peaches, and whatever else is on hand and a sauce of sour cream, yogurt, sugar, and a little rose water. 

Before we left there was time for a kids-and-dogs swim in the pond, complete this year with a mud slide,
and a hike to the top of the ridge to pick huckleberries.

Sophie made this piece of art from a wasps' nest we found in pieces on the trail.

I don't know if I'll ever have a country house (it's looking pretty doubtful), but if I do, I'll have a party every summer, and you're all invited. Bring a dish to share.

Friday, August 15, 2008

News: Jen from Use Real Butter
NOT an axe murderer!

Got that? I said she's NOT. And should know. I just had lunch with her and her lovely husband, who is also NOT an axe murderer. You never know though. This was my first blog meet-up, and I was a little nervous. Really, I was more nervous about what they would think of me, because—really, you know—I am quite an idiot sometimes.

Jen and I have been reading each other's blogs for a while. We discovered we have things in common: good things (we cook, we eat, we ski) and not so good things (we're both breast cancer survivors). What a turn though when someone whose blog you admire and who think you'd actually like to know shows up in your email inbox. And then on your phone. And your then town.

She did, as she and husband Jeremy were on their way from backpacking in the eastern Sierras to visiting family in San Jose, and I got the chance to share with her one of my favorite eats in Berkeley, Tacubaya. (The other tacqueria I was planning on taking Jen to would have required she drive farther from the freeway and—perish the thought—find parking in downtown Berkeley.)

If you want to see what Jen had you'll have to visit her blog (I forgot to take a picture—remember, I was nervous).

Here's the chicken taco I had:

and my salad:

But, really, although the food was great, it paled in comparison to the company.

Smiles, smiles. Jen looks better than anyone who has been backpacking for four days should. And who knew Jeremy could take such a good picture?

Hugs to you, Jen. Until we meet again . . .

p.s.—Sophie says hi. She's glad you liked one of her favorite restaurants, and she's excited to come to your house to ski.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Angelina and I make a pie:
She picks, I bake

Let's hear it for teamwork! And blog friends! A few months ago, I mailed Meyer lemons to Angelina of Dustpan Alley in Oregon, and now she has mailed me blueberries.

From Oregon! That she picked herself!!

And as evidence that there are berries and then there are berries, behold some blueberries I had in the fridge next to the ones that arrived on my doorstep today:

Think they make a difference in a pie? Heck, yeah.

So it's PIE TIME. Are you ready?

Cooks Illustrated's July/August issue had a recipe for blueberry pie, with a very clever crust trick, that I've made a few times now. The crust trick is the use of vodka in place of half the water normally used to reduce the gluten that forms when flour is combined with water. The dough tastes funky, to be sure, but the alcohol evaporates in the baking, and there is no residual flavor. Thank goodness.

I disagree though with Cooks on the use of butter and shortening. I hate shortening. It's fine for greasing pans, but it's just wrong as a food ingredient. I've always made an all-butter crust; I tried their combination and found that it just didn't taste as good. I'll gladly sacrifice a little flakiness for taste, and anyway my version has a lovely texture.

There's a trick to their filling as well. They add instant tapioca to firm things up without making the filling gelatinous. And adding a grated apple increases pectin without effecting flavor. Tricky, aren't they?

But as usual, I think Cooks makes things more difficult than they need to be. I've simplified their procedures in a couple of places where it doesn't seem to make a difference to me. And in addition to using all butter, I've changed the amounts of the basic ingredients for the crust. Their amounts gave me too much leftover dough.


Crust (enough for a double-crust pie)

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch square cubes
4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons vodka

Combine dry ingredients in bowl of table-top mixer or food processor.

Combine water and vodka. Add ice.

As machine is running, add butter to flour mixture piece by piece. Continue mixing until dough starts to clump. With machine still running, add liquid tablespoon by tablespoon until dough looks like this:

You will probably not need all the liquid.

Divide dough into two balls, and flatten each into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill while you assemble the pie filling.


6–7 cups blueberries
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons lemon zest and 2 teaspoons juice
3/4 sugar
2 tablespoons instant tapioca
pinch of salt

Put half of the berries in a medium sauce pan and place over medium heat. Mash berries gently a few times with a potato masher to release the juices. Cook until about half the berries have broken down and mixture has cooked down by about half. Cool slightly.

Wrap grated apple in a clean dish towel and squeeze out the juice. Break apple apart with your hands and place in a large bowl. Add cooked berries, remaining uncooked berries, lemon zest and juice, sugar, tapioca, and salt. Toss to combine.

Assemble pie and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling juice bubbles.

Everyone has their own style of crust. Cooks recommends for this pie a full top crust with 1 1/2 inch holes in it, which I think looks silly. For berry pies I always like a lattice crust.

But that's another post. I'll call it Lattice crust: Yes, you can.

Thanks, Angelina!! I wish you were here for a piece.

Now go over to see what that clever Angelina is doing with blueberries and cheese. Sigh.