Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Apple Pie in Autumn

The View from Agate Beach
Fisherman Bay to Kjargaard to Richardson’s to Vista; Mud Bay to Aleck Bay to MacKaye Harbor to Barlow Bay and Agate Beach.  According to my odometer, these roads on Lopez Island trace a distance of approximately ten miles.  But according to my memory, these roads trace a much greater, grander distance, a distance full of memories and viewpoints that far exceed any mile measurement.  I first biked these roads more than thirty years ago, long before biking was as popular as it is now.  Back in those days, biking was simply another form of transportation – not the “in” thing it is today.  Either way I loved these rural island roads when I was in my twenties and I still love them now that I'm in my sixties.  I hope I'm still biking them twenty years from now.
The old dock at Richardson's
From the turn of last century through the 1980’s, there was a store at the end of Richardson’s Road where we’d stop to buy ice cream cones.  When my kids were young they loved to explore the funky old place and paw over the tools and toys while they licked their melting cones.  The store burned down in 1990.  I still ride the half-mile “dog leg” out to the end of the road to where the store stood – partly to see the remains of the old dock and admire the view to the south but mostly because it brings back good memories.  One of the best things about returning to a place year after year is remembering the past and living in the present – all at the same time.  In today’s dynamic world this is an important experience.  One of my best memories of this historic site (the old Richardson’s store was on the national register of historic places) is being at the store with my father-in-law.  He used to buy his denim overalls at the store as well as various tools and kerosene.  He’d grown up in the 1920’s in a small town on the coast of Washington.  He loved old-timey general stores and Richardson’s was definitely such a store.  Even though it is long gone, it’s still part of my bike circuit and it brings back good memories every time I loop by.  The gas pumps have been inoperable for years but the price still shows 47¢/gallon.

Lopezian Goats
Over the years, my bike rides, both on Lopez and elsewhere, have become longer as I’ve become a stronger, more experienced biker.  But this sequence of roads on Lopez continues to be a favorite.  There are many parts of the ride that I love.  Sometimes I find myself pedaling through a deep forest; sometimes I ride past old barns and open fields full of cows or pigs and more recently, a herd of goats; sometimes I pass a beautiful old farm house or a dramatic rocky outcrop; sometimes I watch fields being plowed or, later in the year, being harvested; there is one field on my route that is often full of nothing but Queen Anne’s lace and another that is covered with round haystacks. 

When I descend a steep hill I know I’ll be sweating up the other side.  It’s a good feeling to realize I have the strength to do the climb.  One of the best things about regular exercise is that you do get stronger and, as you do, you can do more and you enjoy it more.  This weekend I plan to put my strength towards a good cause.  I am joining other women in the greater Seattle area on an organized bike ride to raise money for a nonprofit organization call WAVE – Women Against Violence Everywhere.  I feel privileged to be able to help this organization and to be strong enough to do the ride.  There are too many women here in the United States and around the world that suffer from violence and abuse.  It is important to educate ourselves and do everything we can to prevent violence against women.  How much better the world would be if every woman (and child) could live without fear.

I’d like to share a poem that I wrote last week.

Lopez Autumn

Fading days of summer
The sun hangs low in the sky
Washing the mowed fields in bright light.
I watch the geese gathering
And see the goats graze
Their babies grown like unruly springs
Bouncing over the cut grass.

In the evening, I bicycle to Agate Beach
I watch the last kayakers load their craft
I pass the sailboats anchored in Fish Bay
And the apples rosy red on the trees.
The plums are eaten and gone.
The sunflowers spent,
Their stems bent in the strong winds.

It’s been a hot dry summer.
We ate crab and garden tomatoes,
We made berry crumbles,
We shucked oysters from Sweetwater.
We caught wild salmon.
We brined it; we smoked it;
We ate it with goat cheese.

Now the rabbits are busy
Filling their nests with nuts.
Rosehips and snowberries
Decorate the hedgerows
Where I ride along Davis Bay
The poplar trees are turning yellow
And the evenings are already cool.

Gone are the sweet golden sunsets
And the warm air in the afternoon
I’m thinking about sweaters and soups.
I’ll find my jacket and rubber boots.
I’ll make an apple pie
For Saturday night
And miss the long late evening light.

By the way, in case you want to make a good apple pie on Saturday night here is my favorite recipe.  It comes from a battered, wire-bound Five Roses Cookbook that my mother gave me in 1963 when my family lived in Ontario, Canada.  I’ve made this pie many times over the years and I’ve never found a better recipe.  It might sound very indulgent to use both whipping cream and butter in the filling.  However, the combination makes the pie very moist and the addition of lemon rind is even more delicious.  This pie gives you a very good reason to go out on a vigorous bike ride or to take a long walk.  Do this BEFORE you eat a piece of pie! 

September is a wonderful time to make apple pie.  We picked the apples from our tree and ate the pie with Lopez Island vanilla ice cream.  If you want to be very traditional, pair it with Canadian cheddar cheese or if you live in Washington, a nice big piece of Cougar Gold – Washington State University’s signature cheddar. 

Deluxe Apple Pie

1 Double Crust Pastry  (I recommend making your crust with a combination of butter and vegetable shortening – the original recipe called for only shortening)
6 apples
6 tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/3 cup(s) sugar
1/3 cup(s) Five Roses All Purpose Flour - or any good quality flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup(s) butter or margarine
1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
6 tbsp. whipping cream

Preheat oven to 230ºC (450ºF). Prepare pastry and line a 23 cm (9") pie plate, reserving some for top crust. Core, peel and slice apples. Combine brown sugar, sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt together, then mix with apples. Spread apple mixture into unbaked pastry shell. Dot with butter; sprinkle with lemon rind. Pour whipping cream over top; then cover with top crust, sealing carefully and making slits to allow steam to escape. Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 180ºC (350ºF) and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until apples are cooked.

Just out of the oven...yum
I’ll get back to healthy recipes next blog.  Sometimes it is good to indulge and enjoy the season’s bounty while it lasts!

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