Happy Holidays!


Happy Holidays 2011!Dearest readers,

Happy holidays!  Consider this my little holiday card from me to you. Complete with a recipe down below (under the fold)!  Hope this e-card finds all of you happy and well– and fattened up with great holiday food!

What are all of you doing for the holidays?  Best wishes for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, and New Year’s!


For all of you who follow my life’s little adventures in the world of food (and, I suppose, photography), thank you for it!  I hate making new year’s resolutions, but I will definitely try to make a point of updating more frequently.

In any case, it’s amazing to believe another year’s passed already, isn’t it?  Let’s see what’s happened this year for me– as well as play a little bit of catch-up:

  • January: I return from Europe refreshed and energetic, ready to finish off law school
  • February – May: I graduate from law school!
  • June-July: I study for, stress out about, and take the California bar exam
  • August: I move to the Sunset, then fly back to Taiwan for two weeks (food!)
  • September: I begin working at a small law firm in San Francisco (and subsequently fall off the face of the blogosphere)
  • November:I PASS THE CALIFORNIA BAR (look at the California Bar website– I’m there!  I’m legit!)– lots of celebrations all around!!
  • December: I realize that 2011 has been ridiculous and amazing.

This is the second year in a row that I haven’t been able to go home for Christmas (last year I was in Europe).  It’s a bit sad– I miss my family!  I miss the cold, barren East Coast winter.  San Francisco isn’t too shabby, though.  As I sit in Hipsterville (see my list of places to go Hipster-watching in San Francisco), taking my coffee and eating a morning bun from Tartine, I remember that life is all about the little things.  Happiness comes in small packets.   I’ll be with family tomorrow in the East Bay, eating and drinking to my heart’s content.

Anyhow, as promised, the recipe.  For Apple Pie.

American as Pie (the Apple kind)

(I made this pie ages ago– possibly when I was still living in the Tenderloin.  But it’s still pie!  And pie is always delicious!)

Apple Pie of my Eye (as adapted from Smitten Kitchen)


Crust (makes 2 crusts– one each for top and bottom):

  • 2- 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cold sticks of butter (1/2 cup total)– cut into small chunks
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp chilled water– more if necessary


  • 4 pounds Granny Smith apples (approximately 5)
  • 1 tbsp juice and 1 tsp zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbps all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg


  1. Make the crust first.  Mix the salt, sugar, and flour together in a large bowl.  Use a food processor (or two knives– chopping everything) to pulse the butter, salt, sugar, and flour into small, pea-sized chunks.  This shouldn’t take too long.  Short bursts for approximately 20-30 seconds total, so that the butter isn’t too fine.
  2. Sprinkle the water on a few tbsp at a time, and mix lightly with a spatula or your hands until the dough comes together in a non-sticky ball.  If it’s too wet, it’s going to result in a dense, non-flaky crust that will be difficult and not-so-fun to eat.
  3. Split the dough in two.  Wrap each and place them in the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours.
  4. After dough has been chilled, take the dough out and, with a generous sprinkling of flour on both the countertop and the rolling pin, roll out each dough ball.  It’s ok if you break it– just grab an edge and patch it up.
  5. The dough should be ~1/4 inches (1/2 cm) thick and 12 inches in diameter.  Carefully transfer the dough to the pie plate and ease it in.  There should be extra dough hanging over the edge at this point.
  6. Repeat the process with the other dough ball.  Set this one aside for later.  You can also choose to do this step later.  It’s up to you.
  7. Place the dough round and dough-lined plate back in the fridge.
  8. Meanwhile, peel and core the apples.  Cut them in bite-sized chunks.
  9. Toss the apples with the lemon zest and juice.
  10. Preheat the oven to 500 deg F.  Place the rack on the lowest rung in the oven.
  11. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg.  Add this mixture to the apples.  Mix and coat evenly.
  12. Pour the apple mixture into the chilled pie pan.  Place the second crust on top.  Crimp the extra dough on the edges with your fingers or with a fork.  Remove extra dough that is hanging over so that it won’t burn while it’s baking.
  13. Cut slits into the upper crust to vent the pie while it’s baking..  If you have extra crust, you can also put little cutouts on the upper crust.  I made little leaves this time around.  You can do it to suit your mood– or not at all.
  14. Bake  the pie on a baking sheet to catch any juices that may come bubbling out.  Place the pie in the oven, then lower the temperature to 425 deg F.
  15. Bake for ~25 minutes, or until it’s brown on top.  Rotate the pie, lower the temperature to 375 deg F, then bake another 35-40 minutes, or until bubbling and brown.  (Smells heavenly, doesn’t it?)
  16. Take the pie out, and let cool.
  17. Serve!

2 Responses to “Happy Holidays!”

  1. 1 Jing

    Looks delicious! Sorry you couldn’t go home for Christmas 😦 – I’m in MD and I miss you!

  2. 2 Jing

    Oh, and Merry Christmas!

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