Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Have you ever had a miracle in the kitchen? I can claim to have had more than a few miracles visit my kitchen over the years; however, this is the first time I’ve been visited by three consecutive miracles, including, a visit by the Virgin Mary.

It is late afternoon and the husband has gone out to run a few errands, while the kid takes a nap. Appropriately, it is also Sunday and I am putzing around the house getting things done, when I realize that Id like to have pizza for dinner. I pull up the recipe for the Friday Night Pizza as published in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  Opening the cupboard I am dismayed to discover that not only am I completely out of Canola oil, but that I also only have a few drops of Olive Oil left in the bottle. The recipe calls for Olive Oil and truly, any oil would likely do, but it looks as though I may be flat out of any kind of oil.  Ive already started to proof my yeast in the water, so I decide to try and claim the last of the Olive Oil from the bottle.

The first miracle is that I had exactly 3 Tablespoons of olive oil left in the bottle, the exact amount called for in the recipe. Does that EVER happen? The second miracle, is that my husband was diverted on his errand run and had not yet made it to the grocery store, so I was able to call and add both kinds of oil to his shopping list. (This was a rare event, he has ALWAYS left the store by the time I call to ask him to pick up something else).  Miracle #3 is that the Virgin Mary showed up in my yeast mixture as I added the Olive Oil. Coincidence? I think not

And now, we know why it is called Extra Virgin Olive Oil!

The truly amazing part of this story is that I just drizzled the oil from the tablespoon over the proofing yeast, shook it a few times, and ended up with what, really does look like some intentional fresca fresco of the Virgin Mary!

Vegan Red Curry Squash Pie

Tomorrow I am entering a non-vegan version of this pie in the City of Louisville (CO) Fall Festival Annual Pie

Contest. This was my first time baking a pie at our new-to-us home and in a disposable pie tin, so it is not as pretty as could be, but I do hope that it is at least delicious!

For at home consumption I made a vegan version of the recipe, which takes inspiration from my moms famous pumpkin pie and the Farmers Daughters Butternut Squash Pie. When I first made a pumpkin pie a few years ago I learned that the reason I dont like many pumpkin pies is that I am not fond of the combination of spices. My mom likes to keep it simple with cinnamon and all spice. She also uses less sugar than is called for in many pie recipes.

Prior to reading about the Butternut Squash Pie last fall, I had not considered making a pie with anything besides pumpkin. However, there are several varieties of sweet fleshed winter squash that can also make delicious pies. At our local farmers market the winter squash are just starting to make an appearance and the Red Curry Squash was recommended to me by Anna of Ollin Farms. Lest you are concerned, Red Curry is indicative of the color of the squash and has nothing to do with the flavor!

Vegan Red Curry Squash Pie
  • 1 cup pureed squash
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp allspice
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 3 Ener-G eggs prepared
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ¾ cup sugar

Instructions:

Prepare pie dough for one pie (I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks in standard pie dough recipe). Preheat your oven to 425F.

Add pureed squash to bowl. Sprinkle with spices and salt. Mix together Energ-G eggs and add coconut milk and sugar to the mix. Add to pureed squash and stir until thoroughly combined and smooth.

Pour mixture into prepared pie plate and raw crust. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake and additional 35 to 45 minutes 60 minutes (or) until firm in the center or a tooth pick inserted comes out clean and dry.

Apparently, Ener-G Egg does not cook like egg in a pie! At an hour and 10 minutes out my pie still smells great, looks great, but is liquid in sidegoing to bake another 10 minutesmaybe it will set as it cools. I ultimately took it out and it started to set, but tastes very carmelized. Hubby says this is yummy and I am disappointed! At least this was not my contest pie! I might have to try this recipe again with arrowroot instead of Ener-G.

Let pie cool completely before serving.

More on SIGG: trade secrets and our health

The recent hoopla over hidden BPA in SIGG water bottles was made possible because it is legal for a company to not disclose the ingredients of packaging that comes in contact with our food and water because of trade secrets. Now, I cannot claim to be an expert or to even have done significant research on this topic; however, had SIGG been legally required to disclose the content of their old liner (and even their new one) for the simple fact that it comes in contact with beverages consumed by humans (or anyone really) we would not have had this issue arise.

I find it ironic that paint (such as non toxic milk paints) or even my non toxic cleaning products, must have a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), because many of these items do contain toxic ingredients. And yet, SIGG (and other manufacturers) are allowed to claim trade secrets and not reveal the ingredients of their liner, despite the fact that over time food containers and utensils have been found to contain ingredients that are toxic, such as lead, and more recently, BPA. This is especially silly considering that no one actually expects you to eat paint; however, the primary expectation for a water bottle is that it holds beverages that folks intend to consume. How can it possibly be legal that SIGG was able to claim trade secret and not disclose the ingredients of their water bottle liners?

This line of thought has led me to wonder what else I dont know about food containers and the regulations that direct how they can be made and what exactly makes them food safe. If there is not already legislation in the works to require full disclosure on ingredients (even non reactive ingredients) for containers that hold food and beverages for human consumption, there needs to be one!  In the meantime, our family will do our best to stick with glass and stainless steel.

If you have any ideas or great resources regarding this topic please share them below or write about them on your blog and send me the link to share.