Today I celebrate two milestones – my 100th post as The Dusty Baker and my 30th birthday!
Such times invite reflection. I’ve been told by many people that all the things you struggled to discover about yourself throughout your twenties come together in your thirties. I don’t regret one second of my twenties. For during that time I graduated college, dated a man for almost 9 years who is now my best friend, formed strong relationships with my parents and siblings, conquered 2 serious battles with my illness, moved to and fell in love with New York City, lived in 6 different apartments (one in Ohio!), discovered a serious relationship with food, performed in some incredible pieces of art, been loved by some very special people and, yes, struggled to figure out who I am, and who I want to be.
And I’m feeling pretty at peace with who I am, and what’s to come.
I started my first blog while I was going through the last stint of my illness. After some trial and error, I rethought of my mission and rebranded myself as The Dusty Baker, and launched this blog in October of last year. Sometimes it’s been a top priority, other times it’s taken a backseat to shows and other work. But throughout I’ve discovered an incredible community and forged connections with some passionate people across the globe:
- FoodBuzz and the hundreds of bloggers I get inspiration from.
- The Burwell General Store Recipe Swap that makes me think outside of the box and connects me with some ridiculously talented chefs.
- Bromography – a NYC foodie website where I contribute The Dusty Review and other food-related articles.
- Frosting for The Cause, where bakers contribute recipes, baked goods and a small monetary contribution daily that are dedicated to someone who has suffered from cancer. My date to post is September 11th, the 10-year anniversary of the event that shocked my city and changed the course of politics, economics and warfare in our country.
- Intercaketuality, a book-inspired website where I can contribute recipes inspired by books and stories that have captured my fancy.
So right now I’m off to a morning at a spa, then picking up a dear friend who’s visiting me for the week, and tonight I’ll dinner and drinks at my favorite restaurant in New York City (Mundo in Queens – check it out!) with a few of my nearest and dearest.
Oh, and then there was pie. For breakfast. Yes.
For some reason a rustic fruit pie or tart is what I want to celebrate with on my birthday. I don’t often celebrate this day too extremely; sometimes I pick peaches and make jam, or make dinner for my family, or order take-out. It’s usually just a good time for reflection and the company of a friend or two. But when I think of “who am I, in a pie!?”, simple pleasures come to mind:
A gluten-free, simple crust of whole grains with a tiny bit of natural sweetness. Fruit that’s ripe and luscious. Figs are often in season this time of year, fitting because my first taste of fresh figs was with my father and grandfather at his home in Portugal, and they’ve held a special significance since then. A little bit of attention and some heat and I’m happy. Like this pie.
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup quinoa flour
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sweet white rice flour
- 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
- 2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp date sugar + more to taste
- 1 cup / two sticks unsalted butter, cubed small
- 1 pint of blueberries, rinsed and stemmed
- 160z container of green figs, cut into thirds length-wise
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Place the flours, starch, xanthan gum, salt and 2 Tbsp date sugar in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
- Add the cubed butter and mix on low / pulse until it starts to come together into a ball. If too try, add ice-cold water a tablespoon at a time until it just pulls together.
- Press into a pie plate (I use a spring-form tart pan for gluten-free crusts).
- Blind-bake for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss stemmed and rinsed blueberries in 2 Tbsp sweet sticky rice and 1 Tbsp date sugar.
- When done, remove crust from oven, fill with blueberries, and arrange figs artfully on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the fruit is soft and the crust is lightly browned.