Up first is this lovely looking pie. A Happy Birthday pie for Daddio who much prefers pie to cake. A Happy Birthday Rhubarb pie. Rhubarb from our very own garden,and the very first time I’ve been able to walk outside and cut my own. Which is surprising, even to me now, considering our undying fondness for the tart stalks. Grandma had repeatedly offered plants from her stash to get us started on our own patch, but just as I thought we were ready to take her up on this offer, we would plan another move. But this move has landed us in a hotbed of rhubarb and asparagus, both of which we’ve been enjoying in sporadic bursts of delight. Isadora is now trained in the hunt for asparagus and yesterday pointed out that the clown on her water glass was holding stalks of it in each hand. I don’t think that was the artist’s intent, but we were pretty proud of her interpretation.
So, fresh rhubarb in hand, we set out to make a pie for Daddio. I thought I’d try a new recipe, one that required a top and bottom crust, and proceeded to grab the butter as a substitution for the shortening, like I always do. (I don’t do shortening, ever. Weirds me out.) But wait. I do have that lard in the fridge. Lard was the precursor to shortening, right? And I know exactly where it came from, so I definitely was not weirded out. Perfect! Who KNEW I’d find so many uses for my lard?
I should explain. We’ve got pig connections – bought a hog, had it butchered, packed it into our freezer. Butcher said “Want the lard?” I said “Hell yeah!” Brother-in-Law also had a hog. “Want the lard?” “Hell yeah!” Hence 20 something pounds in the freezer. Why the lard? I had heard that it was wonderful for making herbal salves – you know, the kind you don’t eat. I never considered that we’d actually be eating it. But I also happened to be reading Mexican Everyday, by Rick Bayless, who’s instructions for cooking beans called for lard. Lard was inserted, we didn’t die of heart disease, and all preconceptions about lard were conveniently discarded or swept under the rug.
Enter lard into aforementioned pie. Big mistake. At least with this lard. I’m completely ignorant about the rendering or refining of lard, but I’m going to venture a guess that this hasn’t been rendered to the highest degree. As it was going into the mixing bowl, I thought, with the slightest bit of alarm, Smells like bacon grease. But that will bake out, right? Wrong. Happy Birthday, Dear. Here’s your pork pie. We love you.
But he doesn’t hold a grudge. On Mother’s Day, he ventured out to the same patch of stalk-y goodness in our garden, with a chubby little hand in his, and cut some fresh asparagus for a Mother’s Day Brunch Feast. And whipped up this quiche from said asparagus, fresh Lovely Lady eggs, and pork sausage from the freezer, all from our very own bounty. Yep. This was what we were after – the dual satisfaction of a delicious meal prepared with love and enjoyed with family and the immense satisfaction of procuring the ingredients from our very own store.
Did I mention that it was his first quiche ever? I am a lucky, lucky woman.