Archive for the 'Miscellany' Category

Elsie Peterson’s pie crust

The same pastry blender and rolling pin I've had since age 18

When I left home for college at age 18, my mom made sure I first knew how to make a good pie crust.  She sent me off with a pie pan, rolling pin, bowls, measuring devices and a pastry blender.  She has always been know for making great pies.  Here is her pie crust, which is as much about the process as the ingredients.


For each crust (an open topped pumpkin pie has one crust.  A closed topped apple pie has two.)

1 cup unbleached white flour

1/3 cup butter

1 t salt

approximately 2 T to 1/4 cup cold water.

The process:

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.  Measure the butter but only add half or a bit more than half of it.  Cut half the butter into the flour using a pastry blender, until it is very thoroughly mixed in.  Now add the second half of the butter and mix it in with the pastry blender a little less thoroughly.  The resulting mixture of flour and butter might have little chunks the size of a split pea.

When the mixture has reached the consistency described above add the water.  You want to stir/knead/mix as little as possible.  So quickly mix, with your hand, the water with the flower/butter mixture.  The right amount of water results in a dough that holds together and is not sticky, or is just a tiny bit sticky.  As soon as it holds together stop mixing and roll it out and put it in the pie pan.

Fava Bean recipe

How We Eat Fava Beans at Plum Forest Farm
To eat fava beans remove the beans from the large outer pod. In the early weeks we generally eat the whole remaining bean including the slip of skin outside the inner bean. (Does this sound complicated? You’ll see once you open them up.) We cook the podded beans in olive oil and garlic in a cast iron pan until tender, which may be about 5 minutes. Later in the season we may remove the secondary pod as well (after cooking) if it is tough. Then salt and eat!

    Fava Beans with Olive Oil and Parmesan

– Serves 2 as a little snack

1 pound fava bean pods, favas removed from pods (further description of husking follows; removing them from the pods should be self-explanatory)
Really good extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt (I like Maldon)
Freshly cracked black pepper
Good Parmesan

Place the favas in boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Rinse in cold water and begin the second shelling. Of course, as with all tedious things, there’s an easy way: (for a right-handed person) take the fava bean in your left hand, between thumb and forefinger, “belly” (hollow, scooped out side) up, with the sprout end (sometimes has a black striped) towards your right hand. With your right hand, hold a small pairing knife perpendicular to the bean, cut horizontally across the sprout end, making a tiny slit. Squeeze the bean out of the husk; it should pop right out. Repeat, ad nauseum, remembering the whole time how delicious favas are and how much you are going to enjoy them.

Bring another pot of water to a boil and salt liberally. Add the husked beans and boil for another 2 minutes. Rinse the beans lightly in cold water and drain well. Place on plates and drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add just a few tiny grates of Parmesan.

Eat, savoring bean by bean, enjoying the fruits of your labor.

We are on a Seattle Times Video

Check out this video featuring several Vashon growers and crafters, including Plum Forest Farm! There is also an article about taking a day trip to Vashon Island.